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-

Brown’s Canyon Solution

SUBMITTED JULY 2017
by Dave from KC, MO

 

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.

Stone Bridge

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).

Seidels Suck Hole

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’).

Railroad Tracks

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.

Dip Sign Blaze


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.

In the Wood


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

Oso Canyon…

SUBMITTED JUNE 2014
BY DAVE

Forrest,

I’m fairly new to this chase, but I wanted to share the thrill. I hope you can spare the time to share it with me. First a little background. I’m a little like the person you hope will find the treasure, though maybe older. I’m 59 and have had two heart attacks and quintuple bypass surgery. Unable to work full days installing power plants in telephone offices throughout the country any longer, I was put on disability. Nothing could be worse for a person like me. I HAVE to feel like I’m accomplishing SOMETHING. Fortunately, my girlfriend, Claudia, had a little savings and I received a large first disability check, so we moved from Mansfield, Ohio (a ghost town of old factories and no work) to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and bought a small RV Park. Now I can work at my own pace and we’ve doubled the size of the park in the last year.

A couple months ago, a friend of mine sent me an article about you and your treasure. I was intrigued. I LOVE a good puzzle or riddle and I like to think I’m pretty good with them. I learned I need to improve my skill. Within an hour, I was looking at the ruins of a small settlement on a tributary of Rio Oso on Google Earth, and convinced I had figured it out. I was at least sure I had the first part figured out. The Rio Ojo Caliente (warm pool river) ends in Chili (chilly). If I cross the Chama River and go up the canyon down, it is Oso Canyon. Not far, but too far to walk. But Rt. 114 from Espanola going west takes you to Rt. 31 going north to Abiquiu, and crosses Rio Oso. Then it follows along it to a point below a cabin owned by Spanish ranchers where, if you “put in” at the stream coming down the south side of the cabin, leads you up to the settlement.

Furthermore, when you come to the settlement, Polvadera Peak comes into view. Research showed me that this mountain was described by the news as a “blaze” shooting into the sky in 2010, the year the treasure was hidden. I was convinced that when I got there, the rest would fall into place.

After being convinced that it was too early in the year for the bears and the rattlers to be out, Claudia agreed to go with me. Unfortunately, it was also too early in the year to get through Rt. 114 without a 4X4 and I was without one. We parked our little gas saver at the side of the road when we came to our first pile of snow, and walked the next 5 miles to Rt 31.

Worn out, but exited, we started down the road. Only a half a mile into it we came to a cattle guard with signs posted on both sides of the road, “No Trespassing – Private Property”. Not sure what we might encounter if we proceeded on foot, we decided to go back out to 114 and continue on it, as it ran parallel to the canyon. After two more miles we could see the hill we wanted to get to, but it was getting late and I wasn’t sure it was approachable from this point.

We turned around and had gone maybe a mile when I heard the sound of a car coming up the road. It was a 4X4 with two guys in it who stopped and asked if that was our car back a ways. We told them yes and suddenly I realized that I was in the middle of NOWHERE with a beautiful woman and two strangers are stopping and talking to us and I started getting nervous because I had absolutely NO weapon with which to defend us if necessary. They seemed friendly and offered us a ride on their way back from wherever they were going if we were still walking. Then they pulled away. I was determined they would NOT see us on their way back, JUST IN CASE. So we walked off road the rest of the way back and hid when they came back by. You never know. The next day we could barely walk at all.

So, while I waited for the snow to melt, I did some research. Oso Canyon has been inhabited by humans for 10,000 years. Sounds like a place you would be interested in, I thought. I looked at pictures of Tipi rings and maps of forest fires and files on land grants. I love research. The more I looked into it, the more convinced I was that I was on the right track. I talked to the Forest Service and found out that Rt. 31 was washed out in a flood last year and was impassable by vehicle. I discovered a different trail that would lead me to the settlement from Rt. 114 and walked it so many times I wore a path on Google Earth.

In early April, Claudia’s dad broke his hip and she went back to Ohio to see him and visit her grandchildren. She left STRICT orders that I was NOT to go out to the mountains alone. I was to go to Ohio myself in the beginning of May to get her and visit my family.

By the time May rolled around, I had convinced her that if I was adequately prepared and left all of my info with the Forest Service that I could go out ONE day before I caught the bus in Albuquerque to Ohio. So I bought bear spray and a first aid kit and a snake bite kit and called the Forest Service in Espanola and gave them my agenda. I rented a motel room there on Friday night and got some sleep for my big day on Saturday.

Saturday morning was perfect. It was sunny and just cool enough to make hiking comfortable. It was probably ten o’clock by the time I parked and put on my backpack full of safety gear that I knew I was going to abandon as soon as I found the treasure, to make room for the box in my pack.

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The terrain was not quite what I had expected. On Google Earth it looked very clear. Now that I was here, it was very bushy and lots of needles and rocks. Rough walking and no trail that I could see. None the less, I took off for the treasure. I had been struggling about ten minutes in the brush, thinking I was off to a bad start and that it would probably take me all day to get there, when suddenly I heard some clomping behind me along with heavy animal breathing. I turned around, almost having my third heart attack, thinking I was only ten minutes into my adventure and was already being attacked by a bear. And my spray was in my pack.

But, to my surprise, there was a cowboy on a horse heading up toward my van. He hadn’t even seen me. Then I realized, hey, he’s on a trail. Just a short struggle and it was a walk in the park. Once I got to the bottom of the first canyon, the path opened up and the walking became easy and the scenery became beautiful.

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Because of my heart, I can only walk so far before I take a break, so I found a big boulder to lean against and take a drink when I was startled again. It was the same cowboy coming back down the trail. This time he saw me and stopped. “Was that your campfire I saw up there?” he asked. I told him I had just pulled in about twenty minutes ago and had called the Forest Service to let them know I would be here, and that I would NEVER start a fire up here. He seemed satisfied and we talked for a few minutes. I told him I was headed for Oso Canyon and he told me it was a couple miles up the trail. He ranched back there and wondered if I had seen a cow and calf
 wandering around. I hadn’t and he told me to have a good day and rode away.

02

Now I was beginning to feel VERY comfortable. Another mile and I was looking at the little settlement I had come to investigate. I could see the cowboy and two others working in the distance while I took pictures and searched for treasure.
  I had heard that you said the treasure was not associated with a structure, so I stayed away from the log cabin ruins and adobe ruins other than for pictures. I was more interested in the clues.

03

I went down the ravine that I thought began below the cabin that I was now looking at, where the next clue said it was “no place for the meek”. I went down until it got fairly steep near the bottom and I could see that the clue made sense. This ravine was BEAUTIFUL. Little pools of water and waterfalls splashing around large boulders. Then I turned and headed back up the way I would have if I had come the way I thought the clues would lead me.

04

Next, I thought I would find a grave or graves that would satisfy the clue, “ the end is ever nigh”. I found no grave. Nor did I find ANYTHING that would justify that clue. My first disappointment. What DID fit was the clue, “There will be no paddle for your creek.” This creek opened into a beautiful clearing
and became just a large wet green grassy valley.

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It was enchanting. The little settlement had been built along side it. It also clearly had heavy loads (logs for cabins and rocks for walls and fences) and water high. SO many clues fit. The other clue that fit perfectly was the forest fire from 2010.

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As soon as you come into the settlement from the ravine, Polvadera Peak comes into view. But, try as I did, no matter how I did it, when “the blaze” came into view and I looked down, there was nothing.
  Of course, “blaze” can mean several things, so I gave up on that meaning and started looking for markings on every tree and rock, and looking into every grove of trees and bushes around the settlement. It reminded me of an Easter egg hunt. Still nothing.

So I moved on up the creek without a paddle. 
  At the upper end of the creek where it entered back into the forest from the huge cleared area where the settlement was, it once again became fast moving and narrow. The terrain was getting steeper again and the creek was cutting a small gorge into the soil. As I looked up the creek, I could see a point where the water looked like it was coming right out of the ground. “That’s interesting”, I thought.

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As I got closer I could see that it was a small tunnel through a little hill. Maybe ten feet long and collapsed in the middle so there were two short tunnels about three or four feet long. Trees were growing above it with roots hanging down into the tunnel which was about three feet in diameter. Just about dark enough in there to use that flashlight. Then, as I looked up and to the right, there was an Aspen tree with a fairly fresh carving in it. My heart started pounding and I remembered jokingly telling Claudia that my biggest fear was that I
would get so exited when I found it that I would have a heart attack and someone would eventually find ME sitting there with the treasure in my lap instead of YOU. She didn’t find it as amusing as I did. But my heart slowed down when I read the inscription, “EJ iz BJ” followed by three upside down “J’s”. It made no sense to me. But WHY would it be HERE? In the middle of NOWHERE. That also made no sense. 
  I spent a while there, poking around in the water and moving rocks around, but eventually ran out of ideas.

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I went back to the settlement and looked one last time before I gave up for this trip and headed back down the trail to Albuquerque. What a beautiful day it was. And that’s why I wrote you this letter. Though I have yet to find a penny, THANKS A MILLION!!!

Sincerely,

Dave Gorka