Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by FMC

 

 

Last night at about 3 am, I had a new thought for my current, in-process solve.  And in thinking it through, it’s sufficiently general enough to share – it doesn’t apply to just my solve, but to a number of different end of the poem possibilities.  So here we are.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze

The two schools of thought related to this line and the blaze generally seem to be as follows:

1 – “If you’ve been wise” refers to an owl and viewing the blaze from above, most often via Google Earth, but also potentially from an elevated vantage point.  I’d also add GE/map “wise” based place names (Owl Creek or whatever) to this school.

2 – You need BOTG to find the blaze and “If you’ve been wise” refers to you having solved the clues leading up to this point where you are looking for the blaze.  You may be keeping an eye out for owl-shaped rocks, but you are reliant on BOTG prior to this line starting.

I’d generally put myself in School 1 as I think having an explanation for “if you’ve been wise” is an important part to being able to go with confidence to your search area.  I’ve also been of the opinion that the School 2 people are taking this part of the line for granted.  If you’re just going to find the blaze when you’re BOTG, why do you need to have been wise?

But it occurred to me that maybe there’s a third interpretation.  Most people tend to think of “if you’ve been wise and found the blaze” as one clue.  What if it’s two clues?

Under my new way of thinking, you still have to find the blaze with BOTG, but “if you’ve been wise” is a separate clue with an interpretation unrelated to the blaze itself.  Enter: King Solomon.

Whether a person is religious or not, I think the “Wisdom of Solomon” is a commonly known phrase/saying.

Per Wikipedia (which matched my own limited knowledge on the subject):

Perhaps the best known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon; two women each lay claim to being the mother of the same child. Solomon easily resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half and shared between the two. One woman promptly renounced her claim, proving that she would rather give up the child than see it killed. Solomon declared the woman who showed compassion to be the true mother, entitled to the whole child. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon#Wisdom)

Okay… but how does this relate to finding the treasure?

Picture the following scenario, one which I expect is fairly common among searchers (either armchair or BOTG).  You’ve solved the clues and you’re hiking up alongside your creek with heavy loads and water high up ahead (or maybe you’ve passed them already).  Maybe you’re on a trail or maybe you’re already off the trail.  You’re looking for a blaze, but at this point, you’re basically flying blind outside of that.  Simplified, maybe it looks something like this:

You think you’re looking for the blaze, but maybe you first need to be looking for something else; something that splits from your creek.  Maybe it’s another creek.  Maybe it’s a side-trail (if you’re on a trail).  But we aren’t taking that side-trail/creek because what would be “wise” about that?  We need to split the creeks in two:

And then we find the blaze, find the treasure, pop some champagne, revel in our brilliant solve, and go about arranging to give FF his bracelet and buying a new car.  Easy game.

Obviously, I have no idea if this interpretation is correct, but it’s something I haven’t seen before and it doesn’t materially impact my 2nd solve (because you have to figure out the rest of the poem first) so I figured it may be something that could benefit someone else.  Do with it as you will – I’m going to bed.

 

FMC-

My Total Eclipse Search in Thistle Creek…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2017
by Hoblin

 

 

As a 5th-grader in 1979, living in the midwestern US, we learned about that year’s total eclipse in school.  We made pinhole viewers in class and were allowed outside at the appropriate time to view the shadows that they made.  It was pretty cool, but I was envious of those in the Pacific Northwest that were in the path of totality, and I decided right then and there that I would definitely get myself to the right place for the 2017 eclipse.  I even saved the next day’s newspaper to remind myself!

Fast-forward to 2012, when I first heard about the Treasure Chest while living in Ohio.  Intrigued, I studied the clues for a few days and tried to solve them.  Living so far from the search area was daunting, though.  Unless I had a perfect solve, it just wasn’t practical for me to fly out to the Rockies on a hunch.  I bookmarked the poem, and put the search in the back of my mind, only looking into it once or twice per year.

Two years ago, I realized that I missed the mountains, and decided to move back to the Denver area, where I had lived in the late 1990s.  My request for reassignment at work was granted, but with planning the move, the treasure was the last thing on my mind.  A few weeks before my move, I was at the dentist’s office, and in the waiting room I came across an article in Outside Magazine about the treasure hunt.  Wow!  I would soon be living in Colorado, and almost any search area would be within a day’s drive of my new home!

After my arrival in Colorado, I had a few days before I had to start work, and I decided that I had to spend a day in the mountains, coupled with the treasure hunt.  I spent a day searching the Brown’s Canyon area, but found myself just hiking around without any direction.  Still, it was a day with spectacular views, affirming my decision to return to the Rockies.

I didn’t search at all in 2016, but that Spring I looked into where the path of totality for the eclipse would occur.  I was excited to see that it passed through the Grand Tetons.  I would be able to combine my eclipse trip with a search in Yellowstone!  I was dismayed that nearly every hotel in Wyoming was booked for those days 18 months in advance, but I was able to make a reservation in Gardiner, Montana.

As the trip got closer, I thought that I would be able to narrow down my search area.  Instead, the more I looked at maps and read clues, the more directions my mind went.  If you follow the Firehole River south, it heads toward Goose Lake, which is next to Feather Lake.  Goose feathers are “down”, as in a down pillow.  Was this the “Canyon down” in the poem?  I just kept coming up with more and more possibilities!

On August 20, the day before the eclipse, I arrived in the Grand Tetons.  Making my way toward Yellowstone and my hotel, I passed by a place with exceptional beauty on the Snake River named Oxbow Bend, and decided that it would be the perfect place to view the eclipse from.  There was a small parking lot there, enough to hold about 20 cars, so I didn’t know if I could actually get a spot there the next morning, but I was determined.

Looking at a map of Yellowstone that night, everything suddenly clicked in my mind.  Because it is “too far to walk” between the first two clues, you are driving.  Therefore, the first two clues refer to “towns” rather than geographical features.  You are driving the road from Madison Junction (where warm waters halt) to Canyon Village, and then taking it south (down).

From there, you “put in” below the Mud Volcano (Mr Fenn said to “show the poem to a child.”  If you ask a child to name some things that are brown, “mud” is a likely response).  This leads you to LeHardy Rapids (he also said that “you have to use your imagination” that hearty is the opposite of meek).  You definitely can’t paddle up a rapids!  My confidence was growing.

On Eclipse Morning, I got into my car at 1:30 AM to beat the traffic, and headed toward Oxbow Bend.  I was the only car on the road!  It was amazing to zip through the park, going the speed limit the entire way, which is unheard of if you’ve ever experienced Yellowstone traffic.  I saw deer and a fox, and the steam coming off of Sulphur Cauldron in the 32-degree weather was awesome.  Plus, my drive took my past Canyon, past the Mud Volcano, past LeHardy Rapids.  Would I actually see the eclipse and find the treasure on the same day?

I arrived at my desired parking spot at 4:45 AM, with three or four other vehicles getting there before me.  I got out of my car to view the night sky.  At high elevation, miles from any city lights, you can literally see every single star in the sky, and it is breathtaking.  Because of the cold, I retreated to my car, gazing out the window at Orion, waiting for sunup.  In the dark, I was hoping that my location was as spectacular as I had remembered from the day before.  Well, the sun did eventually come up and my memory had served me correctly.  This was where I would be viewing the eclipse from!

By 6:00, the parking lot was full.  There were about 40 people gathered there, and we all got to know each other a little bit as the hours passed.  During this time, I was able to take photos of the mountains to the west, chat with people, and watch the pelicans in the river.  A park ranger showed up because a mother grizzly with two cubs had been spotted in the area, and he was there to monitor the situation.

At 10:17, the moon made first contact with the sun.  We all donned our eclipse glasses and looked toward the sun in the east.  A few moments later, someone shouted “Look!  Bears!”  We all turned around to the west just in time to see the three bears emerge from the water on the far bank of the river.  I reached down for my camera, and in that brief instant they had all disappeared into the woods.  It was as if the wise mother bear knew that if she waited until exactly 10:17, she would be able to lead her cubs across the road and into the river unnoticed!

The eclipse itself was amazing, and well worth waiting 38 years for.  We were rewarded with almost two minutes of totality from our location, and words can’t explain what a truly incredible experience it was.  The ranger was familiar with the bears’ habits, and knew where they were most likely to emerge from the forest, although he couldn’t predict when.  I thought about waiting around after the eclipse with my binoculars to get a better look at them, but I had a treasure to find!

I hopped into the car and headed toward LeHardy Rapids.  I parked, walked down to the river, and began searching for the blaze.  Unfortunately, the road went right alongside the river.  I could hear a constant flow of traffic whizzing by, and it became apparent that the location was not remote enough for Mr Fenn to lie down for eternity with the chest.  Also, the only blaze I could see was a long, thin stretch of white rocks in the middle of the river, which was in plain sight of anybody nearby.  My map showed that there was a stream feeding into the opposite side of the river named Thistle Creek, but I couldn’t locate it visually, and couldn’t tell from my map exactly where it was.

I spent the next few days exploring the Firehole and Madison River areas as well as the rest of Yellowstone.  I saw elk, moose, deer, bison, and a coyote, and I enjoyed the nightlife in Gardiner.  All in all, it was a pretty great trip.  Plus, I got to see the total eclipse, and fulfilled a promise that I had made to myself when I was ten years old!

After returning home, I spent some time researching some of the places I had looked into in Yellowstone, including Thistle Creek.  I had always been intrigued by Mr Fenn’s comment that if you don’t know where to begin the search, you might as well stay home and play Canasta.  As others have pointed out, “canasta” is the Spanish word for “basket.”  Imagine my intrigue when I learned that American star-thistle is also known as basket-flower!  How ingenious, I thought, of him to give a clue to the end point of the search while making it sound like a clue to the beginning point!

I then looked into LeHardy Rapids, and found that while most maps label everything north of Fishing Bridge as the Yellowstone River, most geologists actually consider LeHardy to be the official boundary between the lake and the river.  So if you are traveling south toward the rapids and Thistle Creek, the end of the river is definitely drawing nigh.  Mr Fenn has said that a knowledge of geography would be helpful.

I then found a few other things that made Thistle Creek seem like a logical solve:

In “The Thrill of the Chase”, page 91, Mr Fenn states that “The sound of the rushing water was stronger than the noise of the idling engine.”  Well, if I was on the far side of the rapids, the sound would drown out the noise of the traffic from west side of the river.

TTOTC also mentions Miss Ford.  I’d have to ford the river to get to the creek.

in TTOTC, page 111, the words “DO NOT TOUCH” are capitalized and in bright red type.  Because of its sharp spines, thistle is a plant that you DO NOT want to TOUCH.

While Mr Fenn has stated that rappelling down cliffs, as well as other activities that an 80-year-old couldn’t do while carrying the chest, would not be necessary, he also said “It is always a good idea to wear a personal flotation device when you enter fast moving water.”  I found it curious that instead of telling searchers not to enter fast moving water, he instead offered safety advice for doing so.  Hmm . . .

I decided that I had to go back to Yellowstone and search Thistle Creek.  Late summer would be when the water flow was the slowest, so I returned in mid-September.  I would drive to Cody, Wyoming on Tuesday, retrieve the chest on Wednesday, and drive back to Denver on Thursday.  I captured a screenshot from Google Earth of the location of Thistle Creek and saved it to my phone.

I bought some wading pants online, and went to my local fishing outfitter to acquire wading boots.  The clerk offered advice about the three brands of boots they carried, and I avoided telling her that I wouldn’t be using them for fishing!  As it turned out, they only had my size in one of the brands, so those were the ones I bought.

I came home, ate lunch, and figured that I should try on the boots with my wading pants to make sure everything fit.  Well, what happened next blew my mind.  For the first time, I noticed that the photo on the box of wading shoes was taken from the exact same place where I had watched the eclipse!  Definitely, definitely a good omen.

I arrived back at LeHardy Rapids, consulted my Google Earth map, and with my binoculars was able to find where Thistle Creek emptied into the river.  I put on my wading gear and started across the river.  Well, I made it about 12 feet.  The river bottom was rocky and slick, and I didn’t have a flotation device.  I simply didn’t feel safe.  Instead of the 50-yard trek across the river, I would have to take the back way in, hiking 3-plus miles across land through bear country.

I drove to Fishing Bridge and started north along the Howard Eaton Trail.

The trail started along the northernmost part of Yellowstone Lake, then veered into the remnants of a forest fire.  The next generation of trees was about three feet high.  In 20 years, hikers here will be traveling through a dense pine forest at this point.

It took about an hour to reach LeHardy Rapids.  From the overlook, I could see a dozen people on the boardwalk across the river to the west, but I had the entire east side of the river to myself.  I continued the hike to Thistle Creek, and then departed the trail to follow the creek down to the Yellowstone River, searching for treasure as I went.  Because of downed trees and steep banks, I had to cross the creek a few times on the way down.  I felt like I was brave and in the wood!  Of the four million visitors to Yellowstone this year, there was a chance that I was the only one to hike down the banks of this creek.

I made my way down to the river, and at the point where the two met I was looking high and low for either a blaze or a treasure chest.  I wondered if the people on the other side of the river were looking at me, wondering why this crazy person was poking around the waters.  I slowly returned up the creek, searching under rocks and logs along the way, making sure to stop and survey my surroundings every few feet to see if I could discern a blaze.  In all, I spent an hour exploring the stream.  This is the view of Thistle Creek emptying into the Yellowstone River.  As you can see, there is no paddling up this creek!

At one point, a bright orange marker on a tree appeared in view, marking the Howard Eaton Trail.  Was that the Blaze?  I looked quickly down, and then above, below, around, and across at this point.  No such luck.  Eventually, I reached the trail again.  I followed the creek east for a while past the trail, but it was difficult.  The creek was surrounded by hip-high tall grass, and there were football-sized “boulders” hidden underneath.  I began worrying that this would be a terrible place to suffer a twisted ankle.  And then I thought about bears.  And then I thought about the weather forecast of a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Again, I just didn’t feel like I was being responsible at this point.  From my location, Thistle Creek would soon split into two forks, and each would go another mile.  There was no way for me explore them both in their entirety and return to the trailhead safely before dark.

I took the trail back to my vehicle at Fishing Bridge, happy.  I had just spent three hours in the park and seen only three other hikers during that stretch.  I experienced amazing scenery and overcame my fear of bears.  I took the path down the creek that very few have taken, and I gave the search my best shot.  I spent two nights enjoying the nightlife of Cody, Wyoming, chatting with both locals and tourists.  On the drive home I had a great time, and great meal, at The Forks tavern in Livermore, Colorado.  In summary, I didn’t locate The Treasure, but found my own treasures along the way.

My three takeaways from this adventure:

1)  If you are in Gardiner, Montana and want a cheeseburger and a beer, there is no better place to go than the Two-Bit Saloon.

2) If you are driving through Yellowstone in the middle of the night, there is no better CD to listen to than Neil Young‘s “Harvest Moon”.

3)  I still kinda feel like the treasure may be on the banks of Thistle Creek, but that I somehow overlooked it.  For safety reasons, only explore this area if you have a companion.

Hoblin-

My Perfectly Imperfect Solution…

SUBMITTED September 2017
by CAMILLE

 

I began my search in August of 2016.  For some reason I began by looking at a map of county names in Wyoming and my eye immediately went to the name “Hot Springs”.

And so I began with Where Warm Waters Halt being the westernmost tip of Hot Springs County Wyoming. This was also spurred by looking at Forrest’s map and following the declination lines.

Take it in the Canyon down – from the tip of the county you follow the south fork of Owl creek into one of the most remote canyons in the lower 48 (or so says the gentleman at the BLM office in Worland WY).

Not far, but too far to walk……I have, since the beginning, thought that the first two clues must be determined by looking at a map.  This was confirmed for me with the discussion about the little girl in India.  So you are definitely not going to be walking from the tip of Hot Springs County as that is too dang far.

Put in below the home of Brown.  Hmm….must admit I poached some information here, and started researching George Brown, fellow board member of Forrest’s at the Center of the West Museum in Cody, Wyoming.  I came across George’s obituary (he passed away in 2013 at the age of 83)…..(two can keep a secret if one of them is dead), and found that he was the manager of the HooDoo Ranch for 40 some years; a big operation just south of Cody.  I also saw that he has a great-grandson named Forrest.  Interesting!  So George was a live-in manager at the Ranch.  My bet was to take a bead on the ranch house and follow it due south to find where it crosses the South Fork of Owl Creek.  Voila!  The location is at a flat area just at the point at which the canyon starts to get scary.  That must be the place to park the car, why yes, I can see tracks right near the creek from my eagle eye Google spy.

Still working out my solution from home, I see that From there it’s no place for the meek, yes, a dang scary canyon, The end is ever drawing nigh  – yes, you must cross that creek to get to the other side.  There’ll be no paddle up your creek – on Google Earth you can see that the creek is not one to be navigated with a boat. Just heavy loads and waters high. I determined the heavy loads to be the carrying of the treasure and the waters high as a hint that you will need waders to cross the creek. (you can also see from the cover of Forrest’s book that the shadow is wearing waders). From the start I believed that the reason Forrest made two trips from his car was because he needed one trip to pack in his waders, and then the second trip to bring in Indulgence.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, well hey, you are in Owl Creek after all, how much wiser could you be?  I figured the blaze was just something to be found on site that would clinch the location for you.  Your effort will be worth the cold – another hint that you need to wade the creek.  Otherwise what on earth would be cold?  We’ve been told not to search in the winter and to wait until the snow is gone. If you’ve been brave and in the wood – well, it just so happens that if you cross the south fork of Owl Creek at the longitude of the HooDoo ranch, you are on the Wind River Indian Reservation, hence “brave”.  Also, on Google Earth you can see that the north side of the creek at that point is barren, and the south side is wooded.

Ok!  This sounds like enough data for me to take a trip to Wyoming.

Here are some views of the trip:

Along the 50 mile drive from Thermopolis out to Owl Creek on a BLM road that crosses private property via easements.

Washakie Needles looking to the Northeast

Approaching the canyon

The parking place at the end of the two-track road where you get out and walk in ½ mile- easily doable twice in an afternoon

South fork of Owl Creek looking east.  No paddle up this creek – easy to wade

This last picture was taken at the exact coordinates of the longitude of the HooDoo ranch house.  Looking across the canyon from the Wind River Reservation side there is a large rectangular chunk that has fallen out of the wall.  Looked like a blaze to me!

Blaze on Owl Creek

It was a grand adventure, which included:

  • The realization that we absolutely had to have a four-wheel drive vehicle
  • That the only place to rent a jeep in Wyoming seemed to be an outfitter in Cody; about 100 miles from the search location
  • There is a locked gate on the BLM road that goes out to Owl Creek
  • With a keen eye to research I was able to secure that gate code
  • The jeep had a rattlesnake bite kit in it – just in case
  • Getting to the parking site on the creek in fine order, if not a bit muddy
  • Crossing the creek far too soon as once on the ground I became incredibly disoriented, even with a GPS, learning that Google Earth and actual earth pretty much don’t look anything alike
  • Searched up and down and high and nigh
  • Saw a lovely brown trout in a pool in the creek
  • Decided to leave when our dog spotted a cougar on the bluff above us

My conclusions: even though this is the prettiest solve I can imagine, I don’t think this is where Forrest hid the treasure. It is just too remote and hard to get to, even though it is easy enough to park and walk ½ mile downstream once you get there. You actually have to cross private land on the way. Even though the BLM is supposed to have an easement, there are bad feelings between BLM and the local ranchers. This is why the gate is locked. According to this solution the chest would have been on tribal land, and I now think that probably this is not what Forrest is referring to by being “brave”. I also now don’t think that my George Brown solution is reasonable. It required way too much research to be plausible.

So the search goes on!

Camille

Searching Reese Canyon…

SUBMITTED September 2017
by BobZ

 

First things first, I got the book TTOTC.  Read the entire book including poem.  There are three places in the poem that puzzle me (more than others).  The first was “I can keep my secret where, and hint of riches new and old.”  So what does that mean?  He’s not keeping his secret where, he’s telling us where with the poem.  The second, “If you were wise and found the blaze.”  Why in the past tense?  All other lines in stanzas two through four are present tense, and why did you need to be wise to find the blaze?  Finally, “If you are brave and in the wood” Why brave? Was this a further clue to the location of maybe just a hint.

From there I tackled the poem from the many Fenn writings, interviews, scrapbooks (thanks for that). As Fenn said you need to know where warm waters halt, without that you have nothing.  So I looked up the definition of warm water which was defined as either sea or ocean not in the artic.  I googled sea or ocean in the Rocky Mountains and came up with the Western Interior Seaway.  I googled that and came up with Bryce Canyon:

The exposed geology of the Bryce Canyon area in Utah shows a record of deposition that covers the last part of the Cretaceous Period and the first half of the Cenozoic era in that part of North America. The ancient depositional environment of the region around what is now Bryce Canyon National Park varied from the warm shallow sea (called the Cretaceous Seaway) in which the Dakota Sandstone and the Tropic Shale were deposited to the cool streams and lakes that contributed sediment to the colorful Claron Formation that dominates the park’s amphitheaters.

Other formations were also formed but were mostly eroded following uplift from the Laramide orogeny which started around 70 million years ago(mya). This event created the Rocky Mountains far to the east and helped to close the sea that covered the area

Only problem, Bryce Canyon was in Utah outside of the search zone.  That took me back to my first bother…I can keep my secret where.  So maybe he means the letter I and not the pronoun I is keeping the secret, and replacing Y with I it becomes Brice Canyon which is right below Durango, CO (even later in the poem the line is “so why is it that I must go”).  I put Brice Canyon on the Google map and pulled back.  Admittedly I began to work a bit backwards from there.  As I pulled back I saw the Navajo Dam, per Wikipedia: Navajo is a rolled earthfill embankment dam, composed of three “zones” of alternating cobbles, gravel, sand and clay. The dam is 402 feet (123 m) high…heavy loads and water high.  I now have two points.

At first I went off the Navajo Dam looking for a blaze.  After spending time looking around past the Dam, I decided to search the map back up towards Brice Canyon and the CO/NM border.  Following the waterway, three things immediately jumped out, Cemetery Canyon at the border (no place for the meek?), Los Pinos River was the waterway (the wood?), and where is the blaze?

So here’s the solve IMO:

As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold. (Informational)

Clue #1 – I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old. (“I” keep secret “where”)

Clue #2 – Begin it where warm waters halt (Begin the search in Bryce…no Brice Canyon) And take it in the canyon down (Take the search in the canyon down)

Clue #3 – Not far, but too far to walk (the canyon down is not far away, NM border sixteen miles from Brice Canyon)

Clue #4 – Put in (body of water in the canyon) below the home of Brown (Ute Reservation at border, or CO home of Molly Brown)

Clue #5 – From there it’s no place for the meek (Cemetery Canyon, TTOTC – you have to have guts to go in a cemetery) The end is ever drawing nigh (The river is drawing you to TC which is close)

Clue #6 – There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high (you don’t have to go far down the waterway but if you did you’d come to the Navajo Dam)

Clue #7 – If you were wise and found the blaze (The Pinos River looks like this about a mile downstream from the NM/CO border:

Aerial view from Google Maps as seen from northern view,

but If turned to western view – If U were Ys and found the blaze.  The name Reese is defined as ardent or fiery – a blaze, but looking back at the aerial view from the north:

An “F” blaze can be found in the pine river.)

Clue #8 – Look quickly down your quest to cease. (boots on the ground to check the Reese Canyon wall at the bottom of the U)

The bank of the Pine River at the bottom of the U.

Made it to the spot.  Hidden behind tall grasses, a nook about two feet wide by two feet deep by 8 inches tall…could this be it?

Alas, empty.

Spent some time searching around the little island in the Pines River where the Y’s become a U in Reese Canyon, then went up top to look around there.  Did not take a metal detector, maybe it is there but I missed it? Maybe was there but already found?  Maybe I’m missing something in the clues. Maybe it’s hidden hundreds of miles away!

But tarry scant with marvel gaze (on BLM land so take it and go)

Just take the chest and go in peace (straightforward)

Hint – So why is it that I must go (“Y” is it that “I” must go)

And leave my trove for all to seek?

The answer I already know,

I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold. (TTOTC in Teachers with Ropes bronze is cold to the touch)

Clue 9 – If you are brave and in the wood.  (To get to the ledge of Reese Canyon you have to step into the Pine River)

My daughter being brave and in the wood (Pine River).

I give you title to the gold. (His legal release of the property?)

I sent the solution to Forrest Fenn to see if he would respond with anything like…”Good try, but never there” or “Sorry, not even close”, but instead nothing, only an announcement three days later that the third book is almost complete and going in to print hopefully the following week.

Speaking of scrapbook entries, go back and take a look at Scrapbook 4, wonder if this scrapbook entry will make the cut in the new book?

Good luck in your searches.

BobZ-

Home of Brown…

green

This is for a discussion about “the home of Brown” in Forrest’s poem.

Got an HOB that didn’t work out…or maybe you need an HOB for a certain area…or perhaps you have an idea that needs some fleshing out..

This is the place to discuss all things HOB…

dal…

Where Warm Waters Halt…

green

This is for a discussion about Where Warm Waters Halt. We’ve all got ideas that didn’t work out or we are willing to share…I think we can give folks just starting out some ideas for the kinds of places that might just be the place Where Warm Waters Halt…or not!

Let the discussion begin…

dal…

Going to See the Elephant…

SUBMITTED August 2017
by FMC

 

The California Gold Rush lured thousands west to “see the elephant,” a nineteenth-century metaphor for the hopeful but risky pursuit of happiness, adventure, and fortune.

Disclaimer

This is long.  Really long.  My recommendation: Make yourself a bowl of coffee (shout out Cowlazars), find yourself a comfortable seat, and settle in.

How I came to the search

I first heard about the Forrest Fenn treasure from the VOX article that came out in early 2017.  Within hours of reading it (and watching the video), I had added “Go on a real-life treasure hunt” to my lifetime bucket list.  I tend to go full throttle whenever I discover a new interest so a lot of my initial time was spent gathering as much info about the Chase as possible and scouring Google Earth. I ordered the books and impatiently waited for them to arrive as I continued to research.

Initial Solve

Looking back on my initial solve gives me a little bit of “what were you thinking?” relative to my final solve, but it was part of the process so here we go.

Upon reading the poem, like most people, “home of Brown” jumped out at me and my initial connection with that line was Encyclopedia Brown, children’s book detective.  I read them as a kid, my kids read them, and this as a possibility was reinforced by the FF comment (paraphrasing) “show the poem to your kids.” Additionally, “Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Treasure Hunt” came out in 1988, right around the time FF was going through his bout with cancer and when he came up with the idea of hiding his own treasure in the Rocky Mountains and also right around the time (by my very rough estimate) that his grandchildren would have been in the age range for the Encyclopedia Brown book series.

A quick Google search told me that Encyclopedia Brown lived in the fictional town of Idaville.  Further searches led me to some vague references to an Idaville in Montana and a more concrete town in Idaville in Colorado in the late 1800’s  that subsequently changed its name to Guffey.  (Full disclosure – this was prior to the toponymy/geography question from April of 2017).  As it happens, at the time I was what I call a “Pinyon Pine truther” so a CO solve within the range map of the Pinyon Pine was reinforcement.  Working from Guffey, CO as “home of Brown” I worked backwards to Hartsel, CO as WWWH due to a ranch/hotel/hot springs that was around in the late 1800’s with the “halting” done by the people that came to visit the hot springs.

From: http://www.southparkheritage.org/hartsel

“The cattleman established a trading post, blacksmith shop, and other businesses on the land he claimed. In the area were hot springs that were used by the Utes for bathing and for medicinal purposes. In the mid-1870s, Hartsel capitalized on the therapeutic nature of the springs by erecting a bathhouse that included three bath rooms and a waiting room. In 1875, he erected a hotel because his ranch could not accommodate all of the travelers seeking the healing properties of the spring. Hartsel’s accommodations at the hot springs were very popular with travelers and profits from the enterprise helped him enlarge his ranch holdings and buy cattle. The post office at Hartsel was established on 16 March 1875.”

To be fair, “canyon” is a bit of a stretch to describe the terrain/drive from Hartsel to Guffey, but not so much of one as to eliminate it.

From Guffey, I had two divergent solve paths –

  1. (Less likely solve) – “Put in” at the Parkdale Recreation Area which is almost straight south of Guffey on the Arkansas River, and which is used to launch white-water rafting trips through the Royal Gorge Canyon.

Side note from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Gorge_Bridge

In 1929 Cañon City authorized the building of the Royal Gorge Bridge, which at 955 feet (291 m) above the river held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001.

In 1931, the Incline Railway, or simply the Incline (also known as a funicular), was added beside the bridge to reach the bottom of the gorge.

In my opinion, that’s definitely something that could be a draw/side trip on the drive from Temple, TX to Yellowstone and something that might have stuck in the mind of a young FF.

In this solve, “No place for the meek” was a reference to going up the hill along a jeep path (there was a creek nearby as well, as I recall) and you ended up at a rocky outcropping (‘heavy loads) where you would first see my “blaze” – an area of red clay.

Initial Solve 1 Overview

And when you zoom into the rocky outcropping, it’s easy to see where my initial confidence came from…  The plan was to search in and around (and below, obviously) this pile of rocks.

Rock Close Up

  1. (More likely solve) – From Hartsel to Guffey on County Road 9, “Put in” (turn on) to CR 102 just south of Guffey.  In this solve, “No place for the meek” is Paradise Cove, a swimming hole with various platforms for cliff jumping, approximately 14 miles east of Guffey along CR 102.

Paradise Cove

From there, you’d go towards some water-filled quarries that are tucked back NE of Paradise Cove (heavy loads and water high) and start searching for the blaze.

Quarries NE of PC

So I had my initial search areas, but could I find any backup search areas in case these two solves didn’t pan out?  Were there even better solves out there?  My research continued.

And then I had what I call my Eureka moment.

My Eureka Moment

Up to this point, my focus had primarily been on my initial home of Brown theory, but I began anew trying to start from WWWH (it is, after all, what FF says to do.)  As I was reading and re-reading the poem, I made a connection between two lines in stanzas/quatrains 1 and 6, parts of the poem typically thought to be outside of the main “clues” section of the poem.

And hint of riches new and old.

If you are brave and in the wood

“Brave and in the wood” made me think about why you would need to be “brave”.  What if you were in a Petrified Forest?  Petrified wood is old and could be considered “riches” to FF (with the chest as “riches new.”) So I googled Petrified Forest Colorado and looked through the results… alas, nothing that I could connect to a reasonable WWWH.

But working on the same geologic timeframe as petrified wood, what about fossil sites?  So I googled a bit more, poked around in the results, and found the Kremmling Cretaceous Ammonite Locality outside of Kremmling, CO.

http://www.skyhinews.com/news/72-million-years-ago-kremmling-cretaceous-ammonite-locality-takes-trekkers-into-the-past/

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/13571-memorial-day-trip-to-kremmling/

But could I make a reasonable connection between FF and Kremmling, CO?  Google Maps shows the route from Temple, TX to Yellowstone going through Denver, CO.  Could FF have passed through Kremmling (or detoured there) as a kid on his annual drives to Yellowstone?  Looking at a CO Atlas from 1940, one of the main highways of the time (in red) goes right through Kremmling, CO.

1940s CO Highways

Additionally, in looking over the town of Kremmling on Google Earth, there’s a prominent feature that is pretty easy to connect with FF and his stories.  See if you can spot it in the picture below.

McElroy Airfield

Could FF have passed through Kremmling as a kid?  Could McElroy Airfield have been one of his many random stops as he flew and explored the Rocky Mountains?  Who knows, but either of these scenarios is plausible.  The more important question, however, is whether or not I could find a WWWH in or around the town.

Clue by Clue Solve

“As I have gone alone in there”

We’ll come back to this.

“Begin it where warm water halts”

Just south and a little bit west of Kremmling, the Blue River and Muddy Creek join the Colorado River.

Confluence

Side note: I never put much stock in the double omega/colophon as being important, but for those that do, it doesn’t take too much squinting to see the double omega in the bends of the Colorado River here.

Following Muddy Creek north leads you to Wolford Reservoir.  And yes, I know FF has explicitly said that WWWH is not related to a dam, but the confluence of Muddy Creek and the Colorado River (the actual WWWH) is 5 miles from Wolford Reservoir as the crow flies and probably at least twice that following the bends and twists of the creek.

It is at this point of exploration that I had my first bit of luck.  In looking at the reservoir (and admittedly, not knowing much of anything about reservoirs), I only saw the water coming down the overflow spillway from the top of the dam (the arrow in the picture below) and not the other flow of water from deeper (by the x) and assumed that the surface of the water would be warmer continuing on through Muddy Creek and being halted by the colder Colorado River (fed by snowpack runoff or whatever).

Wolford Reservoir

In attempting to confirm this, I had it exactly backwards.  Luckily there were two handy USGS stations to confirm the water temperatures.

USGS Data

The red line is Muddy Creek and the green line is the Colorado River, there’s a clear difference in temperatures between the two.  Essentially, the “warm” waters of the Colorado halt the cooler waters of Muddy Creek.

Side note: For those more comfortable with Fahrenheit, 15 degrees Celsius is approximately 60 degrees F, and 10 degrees Celsius is approximately 50 degrees F.

“And take it in the canyon down,”

Following the Colorado River downstream from WWWH, you quickly come to Gore Canyon.

Gore Canyon Overview

Gore Canyon from Above Kremmling

Side note (1):  Many people have wondered why, in FF’s response about the Little Girl from India, FF references hiding another treasure in the Appalachian Mountains.  Why not the Himalayas?  (Full disclosure – this is admittedly a stretch and probably just a coincidence.) In the Google Earth Image above for Gore Canyon, there is a San Toy Mountain in the foreground.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Toy,_Ohio

San Toy is a ghost town in southeastern Bearfield Township, Perry County, Ohio, A flourishing community in the early 20th century, it was a coal town created by the Sunday Creek Coal Company.  San Toy quickly outgrew its coal mining town size. At its peak, it had a baseball team, several saloons, a theater, a hospital, a post office, and many other various stores and schools. San Toy was practically a relic from the Wild West that grew out of the Appalachian foothills.

Side note (2): This is probably also a coincidence, and it requires perhaps a bit more squinting than the double omegas from before, but if you look at the general direction of the Colorado River and the general direction of Muddy Creek and the Blue River, you get the following.

X Marks the Spot

“Not far but too far to walk,”

In my solve, this relates to the bends in the Colorado River and the difference between the straight-line distance and the path distance – the path being what you would take on a boating trip down the River.  We did after all, “begin it” at the confluence of these waters and we are “taking” the waters down into the canyon.

Straight Line Distance

River Distance

Put in below the home of Brown”

This one’s pretty straight-forward.  As you go down the Colorado River and before you get into Gore Canyon proper (and its class V whitewater), you pass Beaver Dam Gulch.

Home of Brown

Beyond the obvious – get out your dictionaries and look up “beaver”.

“From there it’s no place for the meek”

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek”

I’m taking these slightly out of order as, in my solve, they go together to tell you which side of the river to “put in” at.

I think anyone that’s been around the Chase for a while has heard the name Joseph Meek, but for those that haven’t, the shortened version is that he was a fur trapper (a major portion of which was beaver) in the Rocky Mountains that later moved to Oregon and has ties to (is featured prominently in?) the book “Journal of a Trapper” by Osborne Russell which FF references in various places.  If it’s not obvious, I’m not 100% clear on how strong the connection between FF and the book and then the book and Meek is, but it’s enough to work with.  If “place for the meek” would be where he would trap beaver (i.e. Beaver Dam Gulch), “no place for the meek” would indicate we want to be on the other shore.

In a similar vein, Beaver’s tails are called “paddles” so “no paddle up your creek” also points to being on the shore opposite Beaver Dam Gulch.

Alternatively, the below TOPO Map shows there is a creek on the opposite shore…

No Paddle TOPO

Though it’s certainly not one you can “paddle up”.

No Paddle Alternative

“The end is ever drawing nigh;”

I interpret “drawing nigh” as an indicator of direction, both with “nigh” (left) and reinforced with “drawing” (as in a golf shot).  From the shore, it’s easy to see that from the path we’ve taken thus far, we’re being forced left.  As we are closing in on our final search area, I’ve included on the map below a measurement of the distance from the nearest road.  A little over a mile and back twice in an afternoon is certainly feasible.

Drawing Nigh

“Just heavy loads and water high.”

Obviously, we have our creek of rocks as “heavy loads” and there’s the whitewater through the canyon as “water high”, but in the close-up below, you can also see train tracks as a possible interpretation of “heavy loads”.  We’ll also be coming back to “water high”.

Heavy Loads

“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze”

Again, anyone that’s been around the Chase for a while is familiar with the concept of a horse-related blaze (basically the white-streak on a horse’s face.)

Horse Blaze

And if you’ve been paying attention, we’ve actually already seen my blaze, just not with an up and down orientation.

Rock Blaze

And probably the two most important after-the-fact checks on a “blaze” both fit here.  1) This blaze is not facing north, east, south, or west; it’s facing up towards the sky.  And 2) While not impossible to remove this blaze, it would not be feasible to try.

“Look quickly down your quest to cease”

So with the blaze identified, we have our primary search area.

Primary Search Area

But is it possible to dial it in further?  Maybe. And I say maybe because, while we can potentially narrow the search area a bit further, I’m looking everywhere in my primary search area just to be safe.

Anyways, remember how we were coming back to “water high”?

What’s this in the search area?

Mystery Water

It appears to be a small pond.  And we know from the description that FF gave, that “the treasure is wet” (Full disclosure – prior to the Safety First ATF statement about the treasure not being submerged, I entertained the notion that the chest was in this pond and there’s even a bit of a shadow that you can see in the image below.  I now think it is unlikely to be in this pond.)

Small Pond

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze”

And if you use your imagination in looking at this pond, you get this:

Marvel Gaze

When I first made this connection, I think my mind was blown for at least a day.  If we use the “gaze” from this eye, you get (roughly) this:

Gaze Search Area

“If you are brave and in the wood”

In the Wood

One more thing to take into consideration… what’s the status of this land/search area?  I personally believe that the TC is on public/BLM land though, as I mentioned earlier, to the extent that it’s possible, I’m searching everywhere between the blaze and the river and also in the wooded areas above the blaze.  But, as it turns out, a good chunk of my search area is BLM land.

BLM Search Area

With this solve and search area in hand (and my initial solves as backups), I booked my trip and started packing for BOTG.

FF After the Fact Statements and this Solve

Before we put Boots on the Ground, let’s just go over a few of the ATF statements that FF has made and “fact-check” the solve.

Notice that the foundation of the solve is only the Poem and a map (GE) and there is no reliance on “interpreting” TTOTC.  Additionally, there is no specialized knowledge used in the solve.  In this solve, if I’m labeling something as “the word that is key”, I’d go with “old” from “riches new and old” as this is what essentially unlocked the rest of my solution.  From the NM tourism video, FF describes being in the TC area and being able to see trees, see mountains, and smell pine trees.  This area matches that description (in that it’s essentially “open” land and not enclosed forest with no sightlines to see mountains).   As you can see from the images, there are no manmade trails in close proximity.

Much has been made about the “several” searchers that have been within 200 or 500 feet of the TC.  The “200 foot club” searchers could have been on the train as it went past this area.  For the “500 foot club”, the other shoreline across from our search area is a popular staging point for kayakers/rafters going through Gore Canyon.

ATF Feet

With regards to the FF comment (paraphrasing) “people have solved the first two clues and went right past the treasure”, I’m not going to speculate as to what FF considers the first two clues, but I will say that I can see how people might possible have identified Beaver Dam Gulch as the HOB, and still missed the treasure.  If you continue past HOB, the next opportunity to access the river is at Pumphouse Campground, where many kayakers/rafters leave the river after doing Gore Canyon and where less experienced kayakers/rafters put-in to the river to run the intermediate rapids below the canyon.

Past HOB Overview

And if you “put-in” at Pumphouse Campground, there’s a trail (Gore Canyon Trail) that goes back up into the canyon (“no place for the meek”) with “no paddle up your creek” and “water high” referencing the rapids and “heavy loads” referring to the train tracks across the river.

Pumphouse

While I didn’t think this would lead to the TC, I did plan to search this area as well as I’d be close by and it’s not an unreasonable solve in and of itself.

BOTG #1

I recruited my Father-In-Law to join me on the trip and we flew into Denver.  We drove the next morning to Kremmling, grabbed some sandwiches and water, and proceeded to drive to our pre-planned parking spot.  The plan was simple – park, hike down towards the blaze and conduct an informal search grid through the primary search area, being sure to check out the pond.  If we didn’t find it by later in the afternoon, we’d call it a day and come back the next day to check the top of the ridge.

BOTG Plan

Unfortunately, as happens in many solves, the simple plan that we had based on Google Earth views of the area, became complicated.  Google Earth didn’t tell the whole story.  While the roads in the picture above look to be public roads with driveways off of them (you can actually see houses in the picture above near the sharp bend on the left side and also in the lower left corner and there’s also a house just below where the picture cuts off), and while there don’t appear to be any houses nearby/along the ridge that comprises the primary search area, the land (other than the BLM parcels reference previously) are actually part of individual ranch parcels that together, make up the Grand River Ranch community, a play area of the super-rich (parcels go for multiple millions of dollars) that includes private fishing holes, a private shooting range, etc.

Basically, all access from the North was cut off by fences with No Trespassing signs.

Private Land

And this was as close as I was able to get (near the fence line in the image above).

Close from the North

Okay.  I had a backup plan.  There was another road to the East coming in along the river.

Backup Plan

But as soon as we turned onto CR12, I knew it wasn’t going to work.

No River Access

We drove down the road awhile anyways, just to see how far we could get.  There was a gate (marked below) with no trespassing signs on it, but as I understand it, so long as you’re on the public road (CR12), you’re okay.  It didn’t end up mattering though as, even though we made it to the parking site, we would still have had to cross private property to get to the search area and assumed there would be fences to prevent us from doing so anyways.  We briefly considered going anyways, but a quick Google of Colorado trespassing laws quickly put an end to that idea.

Foiled Again

“As I have gone alone in there”

I realized at this point that the only way to access my search area was by water and, without the necessary time to devise a safe way to do so (remember, there are serious and deadly rapids downriver from the search area), we reluctantly ended our attempts to get there.

The rest of the trip was crossing t’s and dotting i’s, mixed with some non-treasure activities.  We drove down the scenic Trough Road to this overlook.

Gore Overlook

And we did go to Pumphouse Campground and hike the Gore Canyon Trail.  Though we did not see any blazes, it was a nice hike with some good scenery.  Full disclosure: we did not go all the way to the end of the trail or really search in a diligent manner so it’s possible the treasure is in this area somewhere.

Canyon Trail

We also drove over to Paradise Cove (from initial solve #2) and hiked into the swimming hole/cliff jumping spot.

Guffey Cove

We did not attempt to get up by the quarries I mentioned previously as, from the main road, we could see the road up towards the quarries went through a gate that was pretty much right in front of a house.  While I suppose it’s possible that we would have been able to get up there without trespassing, we figured it would be unlikely and didn’t really explore it much so again, it’s possible the treasure is here.

After Paradise Cove, we drove down to the Parkdale Recreation Area (initial solve #1), but could not get to the trail and rocky outcrop as the BLM land has been leased out or to a quarrying company.  Instead we drove down into Canyon City on the last full day of the trip, briefly visited the tourist trap that is the Royal Gorge Bridge itself and then did the highlight of the trip – a ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad that went through the Royal Gorge and under the Royal Gorge Bridge.  Coincidentally, the end of the train ride was back at the Parkdale Recreation Area.

Royal Gorge Bridge

On the Train

We flew back the next day and I started trying to figure out if access to my search area via boating down the Colorado River was a) feasible and b) worth the expense and time of another BOTG trip.

River Trip Planning

I’m very fond of not dying so that was certainly a primary consideration in this phase of research and I was also very cognizant of FF’s “don’t go where a 79 or 80 year old man couldn’t go” ATF statement.  My initial read on the task was that launching (from the public boat ramp near WWWH) and floating down the river to the landing point would not be a problem (provided the landing area wasn’t a sheer cliff, which it didn’t appear to be), but that getting back to the launch site against the current was going to be the major challenge.

So how fast was the river running?  I used USGS data for the Colorado River to get a sense of the discharge (in cubic feet/second) and the gage height and married that to measurements from Google Maps of the river width at my landing point.  I won’t go through the math, but at a discharge of ~1,400 cfs and a gage height of 6.25 feet, the river speed at my landing point was less than 1mph.  After some Googling of kayak speed and getting estimates of anywhere from 2-5 mph for a novice, depending on weather conditions, I abandoned my initial thought that I would need a motor and instead looked into paddle-based options.  (This obviously assumes river conditions are stable at these levels, which they should be late in the summer after the snowpack has fully melted.)  Full disclosure: If this is how FF hid the treasure, I do believe he would have used a raft with a small motor to help get back to the launch area against the current.  From my research, these are fairly common in the fishing world.

I had no intention of using a cheap Wal-Mart inflatable (remember, dying = bad) and was not willing to spend a significant amount of money on a raft for a one-off use.  Luckily, I was able to find someone on Craigslist that had a kayak (and life jacket) he was willing to rent. Problem solved.

I searched out pictures of the landing area and found the following.

Landing Area

While it looked reasonably possible, notice the trees to the left of the landing area – they’re either dead or (more likely) this picture was taken in winter.  What would it look like during the summer?  To be safe, the landing area would need to be verified with BOTG prior to any potential river trip.

I confirmed the law, which states that I could legally float this section of the river to the BLM land, provided I didn’t touch the shore or river bottom or anchor anywhere, which I had no intention of doing.  I could essentially paddle down the river 3 feet from shore so as to minimize any risk if something went wrong.  I also learned during my research that the train tracks and/or CR12 are emergency exit points from the Canyon for kayakers/rafters that get into trouble so I had an emergency backup if I was unable to paddle back to the launch point.  It would be at least a 4 mile walk back to town, but it was a welcome backup plan nonetheless when the alternative would be calling for rescue or being especially dumb and trying to continue on down-river (disclaimer: no chance I would ever be this dumb).

All told, I was reasonably confident that I could float the river, land at my spot and search, and then either paddle back or hike out and that I could do so safely.  I would, however, need to verify some things with BOTG to know for sure.

But would FF have hidden the treasure this way (assuming he wouldn’t have just parked at one of my options and trespassed, which I can’t 100% rule out)?  To be honest, I waffled on this one, particularly as it relates to the ATF statement about making two trips from his vehicle/car.  I initially thought I had a loophole if he only used “vehicle” as a boat could be a vehicle, but he does say “car” in at least one quote that I’ve seen.  Still, I can make a reasonable argument that he could have floated down to confirm the river was clear, motored back to the launch point, loaded the treasure, and then floated a second time back to the hiding area, before motoring back a final time, laughing to himself.  Why not use a motor myself?  Mainly because doing so would be a PITA, but also because I consider that “special equipment” which FF stated is not necessary.

Additionally, there are a few FF ATF quotes that lend some credence to this as a possibility…  “The clues should be followed in order.  There is no other way to my knowledge.” This assumes I have the clues interpreted correctly, however.  The quote “The clues are there, they’re not easy to follow, but certainly not impossible” is probably interpreted most frequently as related to solving the clues, but if you follow it literally, he’s potentially talking about the actual trip itself being “not easy to follow”.  Finally, most rafters/kayakers doing this section of Gore Canyon leave in the morning.  By the afternoon (when FF says he hid the chest), this section of the river would have been mostly empty. And finally (and this is circumstantial at best), I think that the fact that FF did not specifically say something to the effect of “you don’t need to go in a raft” in his comments about being safe is telling. That would have been the perfect opportunity to do so and would not have eliminated any significant portion of the search area.  That he didn’t say this increases the possibility that you do, in fact, need to go in a raft to get to the chest.

Whether I interpreted everything correctly or just managed to convince myself, when some family circumstances opened up a short window to go back, I jumped on it.

BOTG #2

My Father-In-Law couldn’t make it so I recruited some other family members and met up with them in Kremmling.  We went to the boat launch site and I waded (only to my knees) into the river and found that the water that looked flat did have some current to it.  We could probably have paddled up it for a little ways, but 3-4 miles against it would have been a definite challenge, if not impossible.

We could still potentially hike out, however, so what did the landing spot look like?  Hiking in on BLM land south of the river, I passed this BLM survey marker which was cool to find.

BLM Marker

And I was able to get this picture of the search area:

Landing Area from BLM

With the landing area on the far side of the river covered in pretty thick bushes, we eliminated kayaking down the river and hiking out as we couldn’t be sure that landing could be safely and easily done.  As you can see from the picture above, a new wrinkle also emerged – the steepness of the search area.  Is it too steep for FF to have climbed?  It’s hard to tell for sure from this distance, but I suspect it probably is.  Plus, even with a motor to get back upriver, would FF have been able to land a raft, climb up the embankment, and navigate the steep terrain on the other side of the train tracks?  After BOTG #2, I’m convinced the answer is no.

In short, without a motorized boat/kayak (something I’m not willing to attempt) and some luck with being able to land it or without some pretty blatant trespassing from the north (something I’m also not willing to do), I don’t think it’s possible to get to this search area and I have doubts about the overall viability of the search area given the apparent steepness of the terrain.

Abandoning my main search area again, I had a day to kill so I hiked the Gore Canyon Trail again, this time to the end.  No blaze that I could find, but still a nice hike and I got some good views of some of the rapids.

Rapids

I also drove further south on Trough Road as, if you interpret Pumphouse Campground as the “Put-in below the home of Brown”, you could interpret meek, heavy loads, etc. as the rapids downriver, the train that runs alongside the river, etc.  I did find an interpretation for “no paddle up your creek” with a bend of the river that had been closed off and a potential blaze nearby (an area of red clay that you could see from the river).  I poked around a bit and I did even find a “marvel gaze” that was both easily accessible, yet remote enough for FF purposes…

Nice View

But alas, still no treasure.

Closing

Given the quality (IMO) of my solve and the fact that I didn’t get to search my search area, I have no doubt that there are people that will read this and look further into this area.  If you want to trespass, while I don’t recommend it, that risk is on you.   I will say that if my solve is correct and getting the chest does require trespassing, I’m going to be pretty disappointed with FF, especially given his run-ins with people at his own home. With regards to rafting down, I would strongly advise against it as I have tried every way possible to see if it could be done safely (short of using a motor, I guess) and couldn’t do so.  In an ideal world (for everyone’s safety and my peace of mind), FF would comment and say it’s not here, but I don’t expect that to happen.  So be smart and don’t die.

I, personally, am calling it quits on treasure hunting, unless I happen to be in the area for work or on a family trip and then I might see if I can find any decent solves close by.  I went to see the elephant and, while I didn’t find her, that I went is good enough for me.

In 1854, when forty-niner Richard Lunt Hale returned empty handed to his hometown of Newburyport, Massachusetts, he “realized that my experiences had been as valuable to me as the bag of gold I had come home without. The gold might easily vanish, but that which I had gained in pursuing the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ could never be taken away.”

 

FMC-

 

My Last Search in YNP…

SUBMITTED August 2017
by CAROLYN Powers

 

 

I searched today for the last time in Yellowstone. My beginning was Madison Junction, where warm waters halt. Canyon down was Firehole river canyon because it is down when looking on a map. Home of Brown was the Brown Spouter in the Black Sand Basin.

The location I thought it might be, you can see it from the road and I know Forrest didn’t hide it where people could see him from the road. You would also have to cross the Iron Spring Creek, which similar to the iron fire escape slide Forrest would slide down at school, that would make his pant seat brown.  The end of the poem wouldn’t really fit in as well as I think Forrest says it should so I am now writing off Yellowstone. However, I still think it is very close to Yellowstone, either near Jackson Wyoming or in Montana. Those two locations are where I will now concentrate.

Biscuit Basin Fishing

Mountain Goat Family

Mysterious Hanging Box

Cave at Red Canyon

Also on this trip we went up to Hebgen Lake by the dam where we fished and saw the Mountain Goat families and the mysterious hanging box, up the Red Canyon and found a cave, and no it wasn’t in there.

Nothing in the Cave

Creek in Red Canyon

Grebe Lake

We went up to Quake Lake and Grebe Lake.  I found out that when you are at Grebe Lake there is an Observation Building at the top of the Mountain (Observation Peak) which overlooks the lake.  We went down the road to 9 Quarter Circle Ranch, which I mistook as a different ranch which is where we saw the honey badger.  The owner of Pine Shadows Motel, Chad, told us about an area close to West Yellowstone where you can see moose, where we saw a momma moose and her baby.

 

Moose Mom and Baby

Mountain Man Rendezvous in West Yellowstone

The last day there we were fortunate that the Mountain Man Rendezvous was taking place.  Also, for those that like to visit the places where Forrest has been, the Bud Lilly fly shop is no more. Bud Lilly died this winter and the name has been changed. Sorry. There are still a couple of things in the shop that are for sale that say Bud Lilly on it so hurry if u want to buy some. I believe that this might have been posted about already, but just in case it hasn’t here it is.

Momma and Baby Deer

Old Tree Cut Down in Red Canyon

Big Dandelions at Red Canyon

Best of luck to all the searchers out there and stay safe and use the good sense that God gave you.

Carolyn Powers-

Where Warm Waters Halt…Part Eight

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This page is now closed to new comments. To add to the discussion please go to the latest WWWH page.

This is for a discussion about Where Warm Waters Halt. We’ve all got ideas that didn’t work out or we are willing to share…I think we can give folks just starting out some ideas for the kinds of places that might just be the place Where Warm Waters Halt…or not!

Let the discussion begin…

dal…

Holy Blazes!

SUBMITTED August 2017
by John Edo

 

I remember reading about the chase some years ago and looked at the poem like that could be any where, and forgot about it for a few years.

About 2 years ago I read it again and with some help started putting together my own take on the poem. I tried to stay away from the books as the poem was all you need, but have purchased my copy and enjoyed reading it multiple times.  The first line of the poem seemed to include the experience of Forrest as he was flying and covered up his left eye over Philadelphia.  Eye alone in the(air). The picture from my war for me always seemed strange that half of his face was light and the other half was dark.

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I took a mirror and placed it both ways on his face and had found my guru!

 

Using this experience of Forrest with the “begin it where warm waters halt”; I found something very interesting in the air over his favorite bathing spot, in the Firehole.

There was face with half of it covered up looking to the east. Following the instruction to “HALT” I read the clues to see what was next. Take it in the canyon down; where it was the view from his eye; it went right to the canyon village falls. So I had my canyon down.

 

My first search of this area had something very interesting at the bottom of Tom’s trail carved into a tree that I happened to take a picture of.

A couple symbols that did not look like initials and were very out of place. It took me 2 days to figure out what they were.

Forrest and others had mentioned the owl of Minerva and sure enough the tetradrachm on both sides has a face looking to the right and the owl with the symbols on the back.

But I didn’t know why the symbols were upside down. I plotted the eye point and the canyon on a map and went back to the clues. The line of sight made an “f” between the upper and lower falls, which was my guru signing his work of art!

 

Not far, but too far to walk made sense form the start point to here and then put in below the home of Brown. “Put In”; to me sounded like “Put TIN” below Brown. Following the view points it went just under Lamar Ranger station to a place called mirror plateau. Is it possible the item to put in is a mirror? Lamar definition showed definition of the sea, so that seemed like a good home of Brown and the item to put in.

There was also instruction “down” from canyon, and I noted that point on the map as well.

Now from the reflection in the mirror, “no place for the meek” made sense as it was reversed and was a place for the meek. Uncle Tom’s trail; where I had been and the mark in the tree now made me feel better about this! The picture from “teachers with ropes”, with 2 boys in front of car, also pointed to the view from the brink of the lower falls looking at Tom’s Trail.

The end is ever drawing nigh line takes you back to the eye, as you’ve now seen the points of Forrest life. His bathing in Firehole, his “big empty” in the canyon, 328 combat missions also equals the number of steps in Tom’s Trail, artist point, being in the artwork on the canyon, and lastly his feeling of being redeemed by rainbow and beauty of the view in the lower falls.

Heavy loads were dented metal steps from rocks and water high also described the falls. “If you’ve been wise and found blaze” was next, and this really points to Forrest blazing his own trail in his own way. So back at the face, the next clue was  to “look quickly down”. From the eye looking down at a glance there is another point that sticks out similar to the canyon down; Mary Mountain west.

From the canyon down there is a Mary Mountain east. Connecting the lines between these 2 points; a line is created that is parallel to the view thru canyon and reflected back to the face. While searching the west point the clues to tarry a scant distance with marvel gaze did not seem to yield any places to travel along the line of sight to find it to take the chest. I had also looked at possible place at Mary Mountain East, but came up short on the clues.

I believe there are multiple meanings to each line and words between words that need to be read and followed. Like the end is ever drawing nigh; the end is severed… and brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold, brave and dint hew wood dig ivey out it let to the gold. Otherwise I had a great time in Yellowstone with my family and for sure will be planning a return trip. Wish all searchers the best, with big thanks to DPT, Iron Will, Diggin, and to you Forrest! Thanks!

by John Edo-