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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…
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.
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.
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.
“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 –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
In attempting to confirm this, I had it exactly backwards. Luckily there were two handy USGS stations to confirm the water temperatures.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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…
Though it’s certainly not one you can “paddle up”.
“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.
“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”.
“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.)
And if you’ve been paying attention, we’ve actually already seen my blaze, just not with an up and down orientation.
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.
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?
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.)
“But tarry scant with marvel gaze”
And if you use your imagination in looking at this pond, you get this:
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:
“If you are brave and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And this was as close as I was able to get (near the fence line in the image above).
Okay. I had a backup plan. There was another road to the East coming in along the river.
But as soon as we turned onto CR12, I knew it wasn’t going to work.
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.
“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.
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.
We also drove over to Paradise Cove (from initial solve #2) and hiked into the swimming hole/cliff jumping spot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And I was able to get this picture of the search area:
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.
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…
But alas, still no treasure.
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.”
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.
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-
I think Forrest Fenn might have hidden his treasure somewhere within a small stand of cottonwood trees located just to the east of “Seidel’s Suck Hole” (class IV rapid) and the railroad tracks located on the Arkansas River in Brown’s Canyon in Colorado. Below is my dissection of the poem, clues, hints and comments from Forrest.
As I have gone alone in there – Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint. I am concerned that this is actually the first clue and that ‘alone’ is the most important word. If the treasure is buried in a special place that Forrest often went alone, I am not sure that my location is one of those places for Forrest…maybe it is, but the evidence is not as strong in this regard for my location as opposed to other theories that would have better hints from TTOTC. With that said, please continue reading because I think the other solutions below are fairly strong…especially the blaze.
And with my treasures bold, Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint. ‘Bold’ could be a hint to a short trek that I took which required me to go through two unlocked gates.
I can keep my secret where, – Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint
And hint of riches new and old. – Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint. The new treasure could be his autobiography and everything else is old treasure. Or, the ‘new’ riches could be the rafting and good times had by families and friends at this location.
Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down, Clue #1 – many hot / warm springs above Brown’s Canyon and some are tributaries to creeks that run into the Arkansas River above Brown’s canyon (e.g. Chalk Creek, etc.). Other hint – Forrest Fenn has stated that several people have gotten the first two clues…meaning it is a somewhat popular / obvious solution / place and not one of the more obscure theories. Brown’s Canyon is definitely not an obscure solution location and many people are searching for the treasure in Brown’s canyon. Extra affirmation – Forrest said that when he buried his treasure he could smell pinyon nuts in the air…pinyon nuts are common in the Brown’s canyon area but I do not think these are not located in Montana or Wyoming…during that interview, Forrest mentioned that he regretted one of the things he said…I believe the pinyon nut clue was that regret (basically shrunk the search area to New Mexico and Colorado). This area is at about 7300 feet (Forrest said it is above 5000 and below 10200 feet).
Not far, but too far to walk. Clue #2 – From Chalk Creek to the ‘put in’ at Stone Bridge is is approx. 10-11 miles which is not far but it would be a long walk to the starting point for a 79-80-year-old man.
Put in below the home of Brown. Clue #3 – ‘Brown’s Grotto Warm Spring’ is located a couple of miles north of Stone Bridge ‘put in’ (place to launch boats, rafts, kayaks, etc.). Stone Bridge is the first public ‘put in’ below Brown’s Grotto warm spring. The closer public ‘put in’ to this warm spring would be ‘Hecla’ but it is north of Brown’s Grotto (not south). Extra affirmation hint – Forrest has indicated that several people solved the first two clues and then essentially ignored, or flew right past, the rest of the clues…this could be a reference to the multiple people that indicated (on blog sites) that they started at the Hecla ‘put in’ which is ‘above’ (north) and not ‘below’ (south) of the potential home of Brown (i.e. Brown’s Grotto Warm Spring).
From there it’s no place for the meek, Clue #4 – Class III and Class IV rapids are not for the meek. Seidel’s Suck hole is the only class IV rapid in the canyon.
The end is ever drawing nigh; Hint – as you walk up the east side of the Arkansas River using the abandoned railroad tracks (because the west side is private) the river is ‘drawing’ (i.e. pulling towards you) on the left hand (nigh) side. The end is Seidel’s suck hole which will be on the left if you are on the east side of the Arkansas. Extra hint / affirmation – Forrest was asked if he used any other mode of transportation besides walking and his car…. Forrest replied (paraphrasing to follow…not a quote) that he did not know if he could answer that question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ properly (i.e. maybe this means some might consider the railroad tracks a ‘mode of transportation’ whereas others would not? – this was a big affirmation for me about the railroad tracks being used by Forrest).
There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Clue #5 – since you are walking up stream there is no need for a paddle. There is a creek between you and the Arkansas River as you walk along the railroad tracks on the east side. You are heading north (‘up’).
Just heavy loads and water high. Clue #6 – Heavy loads (note this is plural) has multiple meanings
· Railroad tracks used for heavy loads
· Forrest Fenn’s heavy loads carrying the 42 lbs. treasure (two trips)
Water high could also have multiple meanings
· The water at Seidel’s suck hole is deep and there is a drop off at its beginning.
· The creek that runs between the Arkansas river and railroad tracks is at a higher elevation than the Arkansas River
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Clue #7 – I believe the blaze is the diamond shaped yellow ‘Dip’ road sign that is located in the rocks between the river and railroad tracks on the east side of the river just north (upstream) from Seidel’s suck hole. Extra later affirmation hint from Forrest – he said he walked ‘less than a few’ miles to hide the treasure. The ‘Dip’ sign potential blaze is located approx. 2.5-2.75 miles north from the Stone Bridge ‘put in’ meaning it is less than a few (3) mile hike. Forrest said he made the two trips in one afternoon and two trips to this location including hiding the treasure would probably take about 4-5 hours which is a full afternoon. Extra affirmation – Forrest said some searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure and that some people have walked right past the treasure and had no idea. Multiple searchers have written in blogs that they searched along the west side of the river at Seidel’s suck hole (those who started a Hecla). The distance across the Arkansas river from the west side to the blaze is approx. 200 feet. Also, people rafting on the Arkansas river sometimes get out of the raft on the east side before Seidel’s to inspect it and watch others go through before going through themselves…these people would walk right past the treasure without knowing it. Extra affirmation – Forrest has said the place is safe and a place you would want to take your kids. Many families with kids on vacation go to raft these rapids on the Arkansas river. For a ‘wise’ stretch hint, please see below for ‘in the wood’ clue.
Look quickly down, your quest to cease, Clue #8 – I believe this has double meaning. First, I believe it is a confirmation of the correct Blaze (i.e. if a sign is warning you of a ‘dip’ ahead, you should probably heed the warning and ‘look quickly down!’ (this is the clue that sunk its teeth into to me the most…I was ‘going in confidence’ after thinking I solved this clue). This clue was also telling me that I should look a short distance (i.e. ‘quickly’) south (i.e. ‘down’stream) for the chest.
But tarry scant with marvel gaze, – Unsolved, possibly not a clue – possibly telling the finder of the treasure to be quick with taking the treasure since this location is full of tourists. It might be a reference to all of the tar covered railroad materials located in the area (this tar would not be on the treasure and thus scant).
Just take the chest and go in peace. Unsolved, possibly not a clue– I could not find anything related to a peace symbol (except maybe the cottonwoods that had trunks that branched out from the base of the tree creating a peace symbol…but that is a major stretch). It could simply mean that the finder should just leave this public place quietly since he/she is now carrying 1-2 million dollars worth of treasure.
So why is it that I must go – Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint
And leave my trove for all to seek? Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint
The answers I already know, Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak. More of a hint than a clue, I think this should tell the solver that the distance travelled was significant and not short…. Even though Forrest was 79 or 80 he was a fit lifelong treasure hunter…the walk made him tired and weak and he was forced to make two trips to carry the heavy load. After Forrest hiked to Seidel’s suck hole and back to his car twice, he would certainly be tired and weak at age 79 or 80 (approx. 10-11 miles total for the two round trips). Some might have underestimated the distance he could have travelled. The elevation change on those railroad tracks between Stone Bridge and Seidel’s is slight and not significant, which makes this possible. I have done it…I am not very fit…I think he could have done this even at age 79-80.
So hear me all and listen good, Unsolved, possibly not a clue or hint
Your effort will be worth the cold. Unsolved, possibly not a clue. Hint – all of the potential locations have the potential to be warm and cold depending on the season since Forrest has indicated the location is between 5,000 and 10,200 feet in elevation. The mulch-like soil in the small wooded area to the east of Seidel’s suck hole would be cold and moist so if Forrest put the chest into the mulch then the finder would probably get cold moisture on his/her hands or gloves. Forrest also said to bring gloves hinting the hands might get cold when digging in the cold moist mulch.
If you are brave and in the wood – Clue #9 – There is a small stand of cottonwood trees (maybe a dozen or two dozen) just south of the blaze and directly east of Seidel’s suck hole and the railroad tracks. The ground around the stand of cottonwood trees is soft and covered with leaf litter. Under the leaf litter is a layer of rotting wood, roots, mulch, and rotting leaves…it was slightly moist when I was there in the summer and would be wet in the spring thaw or after a rain. Extra hint – Forrest has stated that he knows the chest is wet but not underwater. If it is covered with that mulch like leaf litter it would be moist and wet after a thaw/rain (also, the cottonwood was known to Native Americans and pioneers as a ‘water’ tree (often pointing them to the location of water)). I am not sure why the word ‘Brave’ was used…the area is not scary. Digging through the mulch was not fun, but I was not really scared. I did not see any rattlesnakes. I did not see any native American rock drawings (i.e Brave as in Native American reference). Possibly you need to be brave to just be searching for treasure on public ground (or maybe more specifically doing some ‘digging’ (i.e. with your hands) on public grounds). Digging with a shovel might be frowned upon?. Forrest has not confirmed nor denied the treasure is buried. If the treasure is under the leaf litter / mulch / rotting ground, would that be considered buried? Forrest has indicated that a metal detector would only help if ‘you are on exactly the right spot’ (yes, that is how metal detectors generally work…I think a metal detector would help if you are in the wood). Stretch hint, the scientific name for this Rio Grande Cottonwood tree is Populus deltoides wislezenii (maybe the ‘Wise’ reference above is an abbreviation of the scientific name?). Extra affirmation – again, Forrest suggested taking gloves…gloves would definitely help protect your hands and keep them warm when moving around the cold, wet, heavy leaf litter/mulch surface in this area…you might not need a shovel, just some gloves.
I give you title to the gold. Unsolved, possibly not a clue
Other hints that help ‘rule in’ this location/solution. It is safe and not dangerous (Forrest has said this about the location). There are no human trails (not many access that side of the river along the tracks…and Forrest might not consider the railroad tracks a human trail). Although he would likely not admit it, Forrest Fenn seems to want to leave a legacy that would immortalize him in some ways (i.e. writing memoirs, books, autobiography, etc.) and choosing a famous location that gets thousands of tourists every year would be a great choice for someone wishing to have a long lasting effect…just think of how people that rafted through Seidel’s suck hole would react when they found out they were within 100 feet of this treasure…and think of how many people would see, and talk about, a possible future monument to Forrest Fenn erected at the location of the Dip sign blaze? This would be discussed with tourists on all future rafting trips through Brown’s canyon…Forrest Fenn knows a thing or two about making this type of big splash and seems to like the notoriety. I think he would choose a high impact location like this as opposed to something more obscure (just my opinion and Forrest Fenn might not agree with me). One thing that cannot be argued is that Forrest is a brilliant marketer and promoter. Nothing in the poem, and none of Forrest Fenn’s subsequent public hints / clues / statements have ruled out this location. My primary concern with my solution is that I could not find any evidence as to why this location might be so special to Forrest that he would like to be buried there…and that is potentially a big problem.
The only other problem with this solution is that I do not believe the treasure is there. On July 1st 2017 I searched all dead logs, in the hollows of the cottonwoods, all through the leaf litter, in the rock crevices, etc…and no treasure. I even purchased a metal detector and made a second trip July 3rdto the location to see if it was located in the mulch somewhere that I did not originally search and all I found was some old wire, pieces of metal, iron railroad track parts, old beer cans, etc. I did not find the treasure. Confirmation bias is a factor, and it is quite possible I think this solution is better than it actually was…unless Forrest brought a shovel and buried it in an area of hard packed soil (as opposed to the loose mulch) that I did not really search…I did get one intriguing hit on the metal detector in one spot of hard packed dirt that I did not dig because I did not have a shovel and could not do it with my hands. It might be worthwhile for someone to explore the area with a good metal detector and a shovel.
Dave from KC, MO
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This is for a discussion about “the home of Brown” in Forrest’s poem.
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“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
Forrest Fenn a retired Major USAF, noted art dealer and antiquities expert hid a bronze treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM. Forrest said he hid the chest when he was 79 or 80. So 2010 is my opinion of the date and probably on his birthday since he turned 80 on August 22nd of that year.
I was born in New Mexico and live in northern New Mexico spent most (except Navy during Vietnam) of my 70 years collecting anthropologic artifacts, fishing, hunting, exploring, Kayaking, rafting, backpacking etc. I am well versed in local Native American Lore, understand and speak Spanish at an acceptable level, also have a CDIB card and I am a tribal member of the Muskogee Creek Nation.
What I have compiled here is a reading and opinion of the treasure map poem of Forrest Fenn AKA (also known as) “ff” or “f” and how the local and indigenous people view his words and their meanings.
In his map written in poetic form, I will make an effort here to back up my opinions with the corresponding statements where ff and others are concerned, some of these statements were not written down, but I have witnesses to verify they were said, starting in 2010 through today.
ff has said there are 9 clues in the poem, per page 132 “Thrill of the Chase” AKA TTOTC, furthermore he said on page 133 there are “hints” sprinkled in the TTOTC Book. But in my opinion he has never mentioned that there’s not only 9 clues inside the poem, but there are almost certainly HINT’S in his poem as well, although to my knowledge he has never said that.* If the poem is in fact a map (pathway) to the Treasure then like most maps it could (should) have a key or legend to be understood. On the “Mysterious Writings’ blog on Feb 04, 2014 under “Six Questions Jenny Kile quoted ff “It is interesting to know that a great number of people are out there searching. Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. The treasure may be discovered sooner than I anticipated”. Also stated this quote to Jenny Kile: August 15, 2015 * “It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper. f.” Did you ever think how often giving your kids a “hint” is like that, a whisper, sometimes it speaks louder than telling them the answer they need to choose?
Often a map’s key or legend is at the beginning so one doesn’t get lost in the details, that is IMO our case here, hints and clues that described the translation of poetry into geographical places, rarely, if ever has that process been done. Looking in the first stanza we even see him use the word HINT, it should become apparent to you that knowing the difference between a clue and a hint is valuable.
The first 4 lines set up a hint of what the “Hidey Spot” is or may look like because it starts with the word AS, as he may have gone there with someone else in the past, I believe that someone was his father.
Background for that statement comes from this experience of the 2 leaders and members of www.nmtreasure.com.: In November of 2013 an Emmy Award winning film crew called www.moonshots productions.com were hired by “Animal Planet Network” to film a pilot series of reality actors for a possible long term production based on Treasure Hunting. My brother and I were selected along with 3 other members of our group, a young couple who were already actors and my wife who is also a native New Mexican. Eric Hartman email@example.com and his assistant Dave, film crew were all part of the www.moomshots.com who interviewed Forrest in November, 2013, Forrest told them “His father would know where he hid the treasure.” Eric and Dave told us what ff had said to them on that following November day in 2013 just prior to our filming.
Moonshot’s passed this info out but not many people seem to know about it, this may have happened because ff would not sign a contract as an actor with them for “Animal Planet Pilot Series” this lack of approval by ff may have caused a problem for more filming. Everyone in our group signed contracts before they filmed us, there was about 11 hours of video made of us cracking jokes, speculation of the meaning of the clues and hints, and just capturing the beauty of Northern NM. My wife who has a great voice even sang the State Song,” O Fair New Mexico”. We all thought this would be a regular feature on Animal Planet.
Primarily we took the film crew along the Rio Grande Gorge and into Taos and the Angel Fire area near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Moreno (Brown) Valley at The Black Lake.
Because Forrest had said to the film crew that “His father would know where he hid the treasure chest” AKA (TC) We started to examine that statement with a magnifying focus on what this “allegedly” privileged info meant. Since this info was never shared with the public we read a lot about what ff had said about his father, ff said according to Taylor Clark of California Sunday Magazine 07/15/15 “I thought I was gonna die,” Fenn explained recently in his feathery Texas drawl. “I kept asking the guy who gave me radiation what my chances were, and all he would say was, ‘Mr. Fenn, you’ve just got an uphill battle.’” Two years earlier, Fenn’s father had also been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and he had taken what Fenn saw as the dignified way out: a handful of sleeping pills. Facing that fate with terminal cancer 1987-1988 ff somehow survived and recovered. His suicide pact was similar to his fathers, except the place would be in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM at the same place where the TC is hidden now.”
Suddenly a set of very large gears began to click and moved heavy loads in my mind, these gears were as big as a Steam Locomotive’s Transmission, knowing In fact Forrest father, William Marvin Fenn had told Forrest this; “Grab every banana,” his father used to say while they were out on hunts together, baffling his son.
One day ff’s father elaborated: “He said, son, the train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time, so you reach as far out as you can, because every banana you don’t grab is a banana you’ll never have.” This, according to Newsweek Magazine writer BRENT HUMPHREY. ff admits he never understood exactly what that meant, but perhaps he does now. I think you get where I am going with this if you are studying ff and his memoirs. On page 42 of the “TTOTC” ff said “The Katy Rail Road tracks were about half-mile from our house and late at night I could hear the steam engines puff and the engineers blow their air horns. It was a soothing sound and sometimes I think I can still hear when the wind is out of the east.” From an early age Steam Trains in my opinion were fascinating to ff, pulling heavy loads and filled by water (towers) high.
Admittedly ff has worn many hats in life, one of the earliest was fishing guide as told in “Thrill of the Chase, page 124, he, along with his father and brother all worked at a trout fly fishing store tying flies and fish guiding for pay. ff naturally became aware of how to catch trout and because of that experience he would certainly know of each state’s fishing regulations, which were published (Game and Fish Proclamation) each year in the 4 possible TC states; Mt, Wy, Co and NM.
We now come to what I and many searchers think is probably the 1st Clue in the poem, but remember we have already received in the first stanza what is IMO “hints” the words “AS, HINT, BOLD, NEW and OLD.” What may be the 1st (actual) “CLUE” after those “hints” may be “Begin it where warm waters halt” from line 1 of the second stanza (WWWH). Since I too have fished since childhood in New Mexico, and Colorado, there is only one place where I have ever in my 70 years heard those exact words “WWWH”, and that is in the New Mexico Game and Fish Proclamation, which stated for many years on the various rivers or mountainous streams at a certain spot: www (regulations) halt and (then) cold water regulations begin.
Next is the descriptor and IMO possible 2nd clue, second stanza line #2 “take it in the canyon down” only one definition of canyon exists and only one commonly used for down, and the Rio Grande to my knowledge is the only major river that goes South (down) out of the Rockies, it starts near Telluride, Co and travels east toward Alamosa, Co then almost due south to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville, Tx along the Old Mexico border a distance of 1885 miles.
According to NM Game and Fish at one time 1950’s through 1990’s
Where Warm Water Regulations Halted” on the Rio Grande was at the bridge in Embudo (funnel)NM near the old Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road Station. The Rio Grande is AKA also know as: RIO BRAVO (brave river) in Old Mexico. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embudo,New_Mexico
you are now at that point near the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge just over 5,800 feet. Since we think we got wwwh and canyon down, our opinion was to consider the next line as a hint, the jury is still out, but the line “Not far, but too far to walk” seems simple enough to us at www.nmtreasure.com, you either drive from there at Embudo, or you take the “Train” after all it is too far to walk.
Possible 3rd clue from line 4 of poem, second stanza says If you “Put in below the home of Brown,” yes the Rio from the Embudo northward is a world famous producer of monster size BROWN TROUT, regulations change and fishing for Browns from there is rouged, treacherous and almost impassible, possible matching our next line and perhaps 4th clue, line 1 stanza three says “From there it’s no place for the meek” the poem does not “insist” (from there) that we go there, just that it is simply scary, just examine it on Google Earth, it is hard to imagine a rougher terrain to walk so let’s ride the train and when it stops we will grab every banana.
“The end is ever drawing nigh” possibly 5th clue, line 2 third stanza, so if we had put into the Rio Grande at Embudo and traveled up no place for the meek (gorge) (canyon) to its end, near Telluride, Co we would have to make a turn to the left, or “nigh” at Alamosa, Co and why did this clue include the word Drawing? DR is the initials of the Denver and Rio Grande RR which splits at Embudo, NM and up the tracts you could either travel to Chama, NM or Antonito, Co. Both are 90 miles away from the city or limits of Santa Fe, NM. So Why 90 miles see answer below.* Also there are only two places where this Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road still has passenger travel one is rebadged the Cumbress and Toltec scenic RR and the other is Durango and Silverton
We shall concentrate on the Cumbress and Toltec because its tracks follow the course of the ‘Pinos (pine) river” all the way to Antonito Co. Near Manassa, Co where the Pinos (Pine) empties into the Rio Conejos, and the Conejos empties into Rio Grande at Alamosa, Co. Interestingly it is exactly 90 miles from inside Santa Fe city limits according to Google Earth to Chama, NM and Antonito, Co and most importantly 90 to the “Toltec Gorge.” 90 seems to be an important number, mentioned at least 3 times in TTOTC Book page 57 it was 90 feet of water in Cozumel Mexico that Skippy, ff’s brother tragically drowned in and was also how far ff had to fly Olga’s Ashes, see page 116 of TTOC but a careful study of the Thrill Book on page 51 you realize who is on that page, father and Skippy, then notice the postmark which is circled shows (only) the #141, oddly there are 19 postmarks in the TTOTC Book, but all the rest are on even # pages, ask yourself what the statistical odds of that being accidental hint, over a million to 1? Now what is the sum of 141 minus 51? 90 again!
Now what does the name “Toltec” suggest and the name “Cumbress”? Perhaps important ideas may come to your mind once you know what these names are famous for; ff said he felt like an “Architect” after he constructed the poem, well in Old Mexico and throughout North America the ancient “Toltec’s” were the “greatest builders”, famous for their “ARCHIECTURE”, and “Construction” now the term “Cumbress” in Spanish means Summit, which is 10025’ at the highest point on these Rail Road Tracks. The lowest point on Denver and Rio Grande is a little over 5,000’ According to Google Earth.
Where have we heard those numbers before? http://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/ first line: TC is located between 10,200 and 5,000 feet.
The next line and could be 6th clue which says “There’ll be no paddle up your creek” “Just heavy loads and water high”. These 2 lines from the third stanza are both part of this 6th clue in my opinion we no paddle, IMO too far to walk, so just ride the train which will go up “our wooden creek” with coal powered locomotives that use tall water towers to fill the locomotive boiler tanks, are you with me so far? If you look at the links I sent, you will see many of those water towers, and since those Rail Road Tracks were built in 1870’s thru 1890’s and carried commodities like copper, gold, silver, coal, lumber, and livestock etc. Just what more proof do we need to infer “just heavy loads and water high.”
So now the next gear we have left to click is the “If you’ve been Wise and found the Blaze” IMO the blaze IS the Rail Road Tracks themselves I am sure it was blazing fast in the 1880’s and remember tracks are always face one way, UP! Our 7th possible clue. When asked on Mysterious Writings on April 29, 2016 “Mr. Fenn, Which direction does the Blaze face? North, South, East or West? Foxy I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f”
The next shift IMO is the 8th clue. “Look quickly down your quest cease” One of the most spectacular views along the Cumbress and Toltec Scenic RR is called the “Toltec Gorge”, it is one of the deepest and most stunning gorge’s in the Rockies, it certainly will impress you to see it and view the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and Tombstone Memorial and Plaque which was erected in 1880 at the top of this sheer 600 ft cliff right where the huge steam locomotive is balanced daily at the mouth of the tunnel, it’s an absolute drop into the Rio De Los Pinos, See the sign below it reads: Passengers are requested not to throw any rocks into the gorge as fishermen are liable to be below. “”, just imagine that this could explain “Look quickly down your quest to cease,”
9th and final clue may be “But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.” IMO this photo of the Toltec is a marvel gaze, I feel the TC is near. Also duplicating go in peace thought, IMO Memorials and Tombstones make peaceful places
If you have read ff’s chapter in TTOTC Book, “My war for me” when he describes the mysterious water fall and clearing that beckoned him to visit, the place where some of those brave French soldiers who died in the Indo China war in 1947 were buried, see in TTOTC page 91 he mentions arranging an army helicopter ride and visiting that clearing where the little stream dropped so mistfully onto the rocks below. If you use Google Earth to follow the narrow gauge tracks into the Garfield Memorial tunnel you will understand just how you must travel through a similar environment, a small river with many waterfalls, falling like a mist far below with clearings and pristine fishing, you are near the border of Colorado and New Mexico, see sign, I took photo in June 2016 and the one immediately above on September 30th 2016 I was in standing on the RR tracks for both at the border, trivial fact this train which follows the Pinos River loops back and forth from Co into NM 11 times on its journey.
From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, from May thru October. Entrance to Garfield Memorial Tunnel has this huge granite tombstone marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel this marker or RR tracks? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel.
From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, May thru October. Above tunnel has a huge granite tombstone memorial marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel. See photo, if you stop in the middle of the Garfield Tunnel it’s exits (entrances) look like “Omega signs” one on each end < Ω tunnel Ω >.
See Rail Road Tracks on the right photo below, I was on top of the tunnel here, river below almost 1000’ drop from this vantage point.
Is it possible that Forrest and his father or other family members had ridden that Scenic Train? Perhaps even fished the Pines River 600 feet below? Is it also reasonable to think that Forrest almost certainly flew over or nearby the Toltec Gorge on his many trips into Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado? Use Google Earth to draw a straight line to Cody, Wy home of Buffalo Bill Museum, from Santa FE, NM. Do you still think it is out of the realm of possibilities? Target acquisition was what he did in Nam, now I propose he found Rocky Mountain Rivers to explore and fish, especially the ones close to home only 90 miles away from Santa Fe which he could easily journey to, fish and return home the same day.
Now I shall skip to the final stanzas and try to analyze the final “HINTS” IMO, not clues: Per TTOTC Forrest was 2 years older than his sister June and 2 years younger than brother Skippy, he was right in the middle, now the middle of Cumbress and Toltec RR is Osier Station, Co, it is 2.2 miles from Osier to Garfield memorial tunnel, on page 95 TTOTC Forrest was at that beautiful Waterfall and clearing in 1968 on December 22nd and ff’s birthday is August 22nd , per Dal’s site, look at page 110 of the “Thrill” Book it states that 20 students and 2 teachers filed into ff’s gallery? #22 was also the name of a very disturbing and enlightening book about pilots, their stress and their almost suicide missions: “Catch 22”. Also #22 appears several other times in his TTOTC Book like the 22 turquoise beads on the bracelet he will buy back? But I digress; “So why is it that I must go” A line that reflects the feelings of the protagonist in Catch 22, and this line as well “And leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.” They seem like lines straight out of Catch 22, and speaking of pilot stress, how much weight did ff loose in his tour in Vietnam? 22lbs perhaps? Per page 131 TTOTC ff says 20 troy oz of gold was in the chest? The whole load was 42 lbs, so minus 20 lbs and Viola! There you have 22 Lbs for the TC itself, Folks, I do not make this stuff up! If you still do not believe read on….
“I am a very simple person and you want me to have copious meetings with lawyers, preachers, undertakers and your family. What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it? You don’t know how many man hours I have spent on that subject. Thanks for the input but I think you should mobilize your club and hit the trail searching for the wondrous treasure. Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train. When you find the treasure please come sell me the great turquoise and silver bracelet that is in the chest. I wish now that I had kept it. f”
Duh…Forrest say what? : “Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train!”
IMO climb the water tower ladder and hide the bike inside so no one will ever find it! This man has thought of everything, or so he said.
Treasure Hunters, Can You Hear Me NOW???
If you are riding the train from either direction, it won’t stop and let you off at the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and it becomes very dark in there so you might wanta take a flashlight, now contemplate your navel or stomach because at Osier, Colorado 2.2 miles away, the train stops, passengers disembark at this, the halfway point and eat a sandwich? Just sayin, where have we heard that before and who said it..?
By car travel up Hwy 285 from Santa Fe, NM to Antonito, Co and take a left and go about 8 mi to a town called “Mogote”, Co, turn another left there and cross the Conejos River and head for Osier Station near Toltec Gorge on Farm rd 103. From Osier is 2.2 miles distance as as a crow flies to Garfield Memorial Tunnel, but over 3 if you follow the RR Tracks, it is pretty level and easy walk, the view is spectacular! Ice out and snow melt is about first of June. Stay on the RR tracks, walk in the wood uh duh, unless you hear a train a commin!
Somewhere near there could be his secret where. The mystery of why, only Forrest knows but it is tantalizing to imagine that ff was in this place.
Tom Terrific, Terrific as in “Enthusiastic”
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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…