Up Near Hebgen Lake…

SUBMITTED JULY 2017
by Brandon

 

Let me start with the fact that I have never been to Yellowstone.  Although I live in Colorado, which is beautiful and has numerous lakes, rivers and amazing scenery, I was blown away at the majestic mountains and landscape that Yellowstone and the surrounding areas have to offer.  We arrived in Island Park, ID on Monday.  We had a cabin that was 30 minutes to the west entrance and I couldn’t wait to get started.  I had a couple of locations that I wanted to search and they both followed the same first few clues, from there is where I was split on what to do next.  I am not gonna pull all the exact quotes and exactly which videos I got my information from cause I don’t have the time, but I’m sure all the bloggers can check for me, so for now, I’ll stick to paraphrasing.

Begin it where warm waters halt.  Forrest what does warm mean to you?  Forrest replies “Comfortable”  What waters is Forrest most comfortable in? Fly water of course.  Which fly water, the fly waters of Yellowstone.  The Firehole, Gibbon and Madison rivers are designated flywaters only.  And where do they halt? The Yellowstone boundary line at Bakers Hole on the Madison, which all flow in one direction out of the park.  Speaking of Bakers Hole, IMO Forrest’s comments about making a cake or whatever and leaving out a few ingredients, would you achieve your goal?  Wouldn’t that be just like Forrest to be hinting about Bakers Hole?

And take it in the canyon down.  To me this meant the canyon that actually did come down.  The Madison River Canyon.  The earthquake in 1959 brought part of that canyon down, forming quake lake.

Not far, but too far to walk.  From Bakers Hole to the put in below the home of Brown is too far to walk and this simply means to drive there.

Put in below the home of Brown.  This is where I have two theory’s as to the put in, but my home of Brown is Hebgen Lake.

Forrest makes the comment that your destination is small but its location is huge.  Well in TTOTC Forrest describes Hebgen lake as huge.  My 1st theory for the put in is the boat ramp at quake lake is actually the old highway that is now submerged under quake lake.  My 2nd theory is just below Hebgen dam,

which is the 1st place you are allowed to put in with a raft, although you cannot fish from your boat in this section, just put in. Forrest says in one interview that he did not want to discuss when he found his special place because it would give too much away.  I always believed he said that because if he said 1962 or sometime similar it would let you know the earthquake of 1959 which reshaped some of the land there, had something to do with the solve.  Why not just say he found it when he was a kid or teenager?

theory 2
From there its no place for the meek.

below the dam are all kinds of warning signs.  One theory I never got to execute is this clue meaning to cross the street.  If you google the definition of meek, one of the synonyms for meek is biddable.  No place for biddies.  That whole chapter is about those biddies saying he couldn’t cross the street and he thought he could cross the street whenever he wanted too.  What do you think?

The end is ever drawing nigh.  As you put in below hebgen dam and head upstream, you are on the left and its not far in distance to walk up.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  Below the dam is definitely something you cannot paddle up.

Just heavy loads and water high.  Sure sounds like a dam to me.  Forrest said warm waters halt is not a dam.  He did not say Heavy loads and water high isn’t.  Which I also thought went perfectly with why your below the home of Brown.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze

This was my blaze.  Its something permanent that would not be feasible to remove.

Well I looked quickly down and around and all over the place but did not find the treasure.  Although I did find many great memories with my family.

Back to theory 1,

Once I was standing at the boat ramp, which is the old highway and got to:
From there its no place for the meek,
the end is ever drawing nigh;
there’ll be no paddle up your creek,
just heavy loads and water high.

I thought this was referring to Beaver Creek, which enters the Madison right at the beginning of Quake Lake.  Hence the semicolon connecting the two.  In one of the videos, I think its the logging video, Forrest talks about pulling a lodgepole pine behind a 10 horsepower motor and says, “now that was a heavy load.”  So in this theory my heavy loads and water high was all the trees in the Madison and Quake lake where it forms.

Well I hiked all around that area and up Beaver creek, but didn’t find anything.  Again we had a great time and will definitely visit the area again.  But for now, back to square one.

I hope someone will maybe continue with something I missed.  Once you are physically there you realize how this thing could be anywhere.  Its a huge area.  Please feel free to leave your comments.  I wanted to attach the pictures as my story went along but am not much of a computer guy.  I tried subscribing to your site and just got too confused on how to post this there, so I thought I would email it to you.  Thank you Forrest, Dal and everyone else who contributes to this blog.

Brandon-

Forrest’s Cattle……

by Diggin Gypsy

The Ole Coot said the book wrote itself and I know why. Flying so much, you look down over the landscape and your imagination goes into play. Everyone enjoy this and realize why all you need is a great imagination to solve the chase.

One Horse Land and Cattle Company is what he saw on Horse Butte and Edwards Peninsula:

(1) the race horse, (2) the moose, (3) elephant , (4) the buffalo and (5 )the cow  Bessie.

We all know Forrest has a elephant statue in his back yard by his pond, but why ???? And when did he put it there? And all those animals are CATTLE !!

Then we have the ole biddy and the teacher who was 40  ‍⚖️

We have the (6) Minerva bird we have an (7) arrowhead, (8) alligator, (9) Tex the cowboy  , (10) the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and the queen is on his leg and (11) the running man.

 

Take note, the plane on page 99 is a map of Edwards Peninsula. See TEX on the wing  see the outline of the foot!!!!    Have fun with this.  I believe these are all things to just say, “Hey all you people looking in New Mexico it’s in Montana !!!!!!!”

The landscape named his book the The Thrill of the Chase,  aka race horse  , who’s gonna be the winner.

There’s also an owl in there and a butterfly  .  Have the kids find those.

The chase was meant to be simple like this for families. Don’t show the kids the images. Let them find them. I let my grandson and he saw all of them.

Have fun and get  back to searching.

Digging Gypsy-

The Three Bear’s Adventure…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2016
by FIRST BEAR

 

It all started for me last winter, sitting at home with an air boot on. The Today show featured Mr. Fenn giving clues to his poem.  I had to find out more.  Researching more about the poem on the computer, I discovered a searcher was missing.   Our condolences to Randy’s family and friends.
Begin it where?  O’boy, dad and I learned this fishing the boundary waters. New and old meanings of words.  Warm = Friendly  waters = come together or meet. Halt at state line.

Weeks later, the air boot came off.  I was off and limping. Having found three warm waters in NM,  only one was on public land.  Like a drone bee I headed to the hive. Wow my first day, there were 2 spots that fit the poem but no chest.  I reached out to Mr. Fenn.  After that phone call, I felt discouraged.   But after a night’s sleep, I was ready to start again.  Learning more definitions of ‘tarry scant’ lead me back to the park.  I thought I saw what looked like a teepee shaped boulder in the woods on the north side of a fence.

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Glowing rock

 Behind the fence but no snow

Behind the fence but no snow

 

Standing there in marvel gaze, I wondered how to go behind the fence.  I went  down the canyon to a home of Brown,  the visitor’s center was open early for the season.    I went inside to ask some questions and maybe found a picture that implies a hint.

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There was so much to see and explore in the park that I called it my fun parks.  Behind the teepee boulder, I found a pool of cold water with big rocks.  Some of the rocks were pointing to the center of the pool.  I definitely had to check that out. After a poke with my stick and a beep beep from my metal detector, I knew I had to wade in.   Nothing but rocks with metal in them.   I spent one week looking at blazes & pools in an area of about .9 tens of a mile.  When nothing was found there, I explored the entire park. The weather was a little cold but it was still fun exploring.

Nails in the tree at the state line.

Nails in the tree at the state line. What I thought I knew that just wasn’t so.

 

I spent months and numerous trips looking for places where the clues would work. On one of my early trips, some friends mentioned this web site and then Jenny’s. Thank you  and congratulations Jenny.  I felt Weekly Words and the comments hinted to areas where I was looking.  At times, I felt someone was messing with me. Hope you had a laugh or two.   Then I started reading more and more.  First all the past WWs and then   more pages at Dal’s site. The ‘what ifs’ and ‘what if’s’ in red really caught my attention.

I saw a comment from Jeremy P. quoting Mr. Fenn –   ‘What if no one ever discovers my art?’   That kicked me into gear.  To me that meant something.   Thank You for that comment.

One time a couple walked by me with a very professional looking camera.  I had that surprised look on my face. lol   Just when you think no one is watching , there is.  Hope they didn’t take a picture of that.

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image7New and old tree blazes.   The older tree gave a shadow to a rock in the morning sun. hmmm image8

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Still no chest. Earlier this year, my sister joined in the adventure.   One weekend, my Brother and Sister joined me with BOTG to watch my back. My Sister had decided to get the book TTOTC to see if there were any hints in the book.   I thought there sure were plenty.  Thanks for the book Sis.  She found things on the web that I didn’t find or think of.  image10

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Thanks for the bear spay and camera Sis. I saw two bears one morning.

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Mother bear is on the trail just inside the shade by the tree.  The cub is going up to the left above the dark green.   Glad I heard them down in the water and got out of there.  It wasn’t the four legged animals in the park that worried me the most but the two legged ones that I felt were watching me.  I believe ‘Do your own work or you might not know what it means’.

Next trip out, Sis and I hit the trails including the James M John trail.  In the satellite view on Google Earth,  we saw trails that looked like shapes of things hinted to in the book.   When Sis read the ‘Ode to Peggy’ poem from the book, it hit me. Ahh a light bulb moment.   One image looked like a pregnant women.  The pregnant women in the trail looked quickly down upon two ponds.   One looked like an arrowhead with an X in the trail. The other pond looked like a tea cup or pot and had a Y shape in the trail. That’s it, we had found  the X spot.  Up to the X to check it out.  We found foot prints in the pond so we knew someone had already been there.  We looked around the trails surrounding the pond.  I  found a soup can bottom or metal rusty round thing – trash. Then the CE5 was hinted.  Sitting in the motel, Sis and I talked about it.   We looked there and found rocks but didn’t look under the rocks.  My metal detector had been acting up.  Sis got online to find a new detector. When you need one, you can never find one close by.  We ended driving an hour away to get one.

The next time up the trails, Sis was a little sick so she sat in the car. When I checked out the rocks again with the new metal detector, I got the beep beep and I’m thinking, it’s here. The big rock was cracked so I could move it in pieces. I found MRE’s. More Trash

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On the pregnant woman image trail, I found these rocks on top of the hill. Cool huh? Just think of the Indian history there!

Sis only had a week off, but we went home with some cool trash.  What it meant we didn’t know.   I went back and  lived out there most of the summer.

Back to Google Earth.  Along the top of lake Maloya, there looks to be the image of  a lazy Z in the shore line.   The top of the lake looks like horns.  Look closer at the horns of  the lake.  It appears like to be an arm going across to a circle, 36.995331-104.367324.   At CE5 , we found more trash.  Another rusty tin to add to our treasure. As I was walking back to the car, I’m thinking –  ‘All I’m doing is picking up clues’.   After the fact clues, my head hurt even more at this point.  GPS had shown me a different state line than the one marked with a sign. Computer research on the state line showed the actual state line may be different.

One weekend, my Brother happened to be back in the area for a wedding.   This gave us one more chance to go take a look at the state line in dispute.   Hunting season was upon us.   I needed to take one more peek.  Yes is was marked and I cleaned it up, more trash. There was no way to go look at the other spot safely or alone.

So thare she blows, Ask a kid.

This sure got harder as we went on.   Now to find the words,  places,  and right definitions.   In our tool box which contained the Poem  and the Book TTOTC.    Word=definition=place   park=to park=place  I thought two parks and his rainbow.  I saw a lot of rainbows on the trails.  One looked like a double arc together to make an x but the picture did not catch it.  Besides it was in the wrong state.  The full rainbows we saw had a start and an end.  2, 3,  6 and songs, rhymes, and kids stories refer to hints.  The double omega = mirrors.   Speed bump called rabbit hole. Thinking this has been a long time for me to be here.  There are a lot of smart people out there searching too but I feel there is a part of the game that is missing. luck=nudged   Which felt like running in front of a stampede in a horse park. Feelings, maybe computers are getting close. The Web, All you.     The six w’s –  who, what, when, where, why, & how.
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Go west young man and grow with the country.

I got the chance to learn more of the history of the area.  A two trail thought.   A Trail that has a mirrored trail.  The Oregon Trail goes the same way west as the Lewis and Clark trail.  The Santa Fe Trail has the mountain route and the Cimarron “plains” route.  Both start 300 miles west of Toledo OH.   Mirrored trails from a Midwest point of view. The book mentions his routes:  a mountain route  and a plains route to Yellowstone .   6 points of crossing.  Number 6 is a number we see used frequently. Funny how those historic markers or rest stops we stopped at are about 40 mile apart. When to mirror, what?  I hope you understand what I’m trying to explain.

Possible Blazes:

# 1 – A rock with an edge that glowed in the morning sun.

# 2 – Trails that looked like hints from the book.

# 3 – Two state lines on GPS and  a monument place

# 4 –  Highway and trail, new and old .  Two Historic sites and a trip to where “see

below”

# 5 – Two historic monuments and readings of the poem we would like to see and hear.

As seen on TVs.
My favorite thought is for a chance for all to go see the chest whenever they want to.   A chance to get my family’s name there and help them, and hide in a group of names.   Honor to the Armchair Searchers because you gave freely.   Where did Mr. Fenn hide it?  Did he really hide it there?   lol

Two mirrors on top in the chest,  to be in two places at one time.   Both ends of his rainbow.  To honor two families’ that were Brave in his times of need.   Mirror the end? or double endings?    There are hints of  two songs that  are in line  together   Give me a home in the land of the free and the home of the brave.   And in the end cremated to be in two places at once.

Now for a little fun.

Mr. Fenn is this how you see your rainbow?

To Wonder Land.
Mr. Ed. I’ll show you a new trick for an apple.
W. Sure
E. Grab my hat for me, put it on but hold onto it and don’t more your arm.
W. Ok
E. A nod and smile to ya.
W  Wait… a minute you did that last week.
E. Yes,,,, and you gave me a carrot, Thanks for the apple. chump Happy Hollow Ween, Trick or Treat.

Edna mode says,
What did you expect for  Free ? All the answers. Silly rabbit ask a kid.

I am just somebody that wanted to get into a good book and an honored place. As they drive into the morning sun, looking to see treasure’s of new and old.  They are heard singing carpool karaoke.   I’m proud to an American and God bless the U.S.A.

First Bear-

 

The Anomaly…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2016
by voxpops

 

 

The captain invited us in. We all squeezed into the cramped cockpit and gazed admiringly, but (in my case) uncomprehendingly at the jet’s array of dials and controls, and then out into the infinite space beyond. They served us afternoon tea, and from the elegant menu card I selected a fine fruitcake, which you could slice with a dainty silvered knife. Then we landed in New York, and I learned, expensively, not to get hustled into street card games.

That was my first trip to the States (coach!), back in the early ‘80s, when air travel was civilized, relaxed, and still a tiny bit glamorous. Fast forward almost 35 years and it’s something to be avoided if at all possible, and endured if not. The Airbus is aptly named.

I have crossed the Atlantic scores of times since that first trip, not least on a quest to find the treasure who is now my beloved wife, but this time was my last ditch attempt to finally finish the Fenn Chase. It has been a number of years in the making for me, but I want to concentrate on the last two in this article.

This is a difficult piece for me to write. I want to try to help searchers be aware that there is a nugget of information out there that will be of enormous help to them in their hunt, without handing it to them on a plate.

 Hiking up from Hebgen

Hiking up from Hebgen

Where to begin? Maybe at the conclusion of my first BOTG trip in 2013. Firehole, Hebgen, Upper Coffin Lake, sore feet. I thought, like most noobs, that I had it all figured out, at least enough to find blazes and hidey holes as we walked up the trail. Prior to that, I’d pored over the map of NM and Colorado looking for suitable Browns near to hot springs – the usual – but now I knew that FF was intimately connected with the Yellowstone area, it had to be down the canyon and close to Hebgen. Boy, was I wrong.

One of the Coffin Lakes

One of the Coffin Lakes

So, in my post-trip analyzing, I started to think more deeply. Everyone was picking their favorite WWWH, based mainly on whether they could find some Brown connection a few miles down the river, and perhaps even a blaze-like object nearby. How could that work? How would you know – and I mean, KNOW – that you’d got the right starting spot? Surely the poem should tell you.

Well, I looked and I looked, and I looked some more, and then I got bored and distracted and started to invent my own again, falling into the “let’s overload the Google servers with our endless Rocky Mountain scanning” trap for months more.

Meanwhile, there was The Anomaly. You read the poem and there are specific instructions. OK, but what do they actually mean? “Begin it…” I was back to square one. But hold on… maybe not completely. There was one instruction that you could perform without knowledge of geography, or history (as some suggest).

It seemed glaringly obvious to me, so I originally dismissed it. But I kept coming back and back to it. At the time I didn’t know much about Forrest, but since then and through Dal’s site, in particular, I learned that Forrest has highlighted this aberration on more than one occasion. Nobody seemed to be talking about it, though, and maybe it still isn’t being discussed today. I can’t be sure. But I was chatting about it recently with my wife, and despite our cultural differences (she’s American, I’m British) we were both taught about this in school.

So what is The Anomaly?

Seek and ye shall find.

Anyway, I put this little morsel into use, alongside the “oooh, if I mix that vaguely watery-halty thing with this brownish smudge I get right alongside that off-white mark that has to be the blaze,” it narrowed the field considerably. I placed a mark on the map.

I convinced myself. It was there! Definitely! Well maybe… or there! Yes, there! No, wait.

There’s no 4-way stop with these guys

There’s no 4-way stop with these guys

Well, I couldn’t wait. One cold February morning I got in the car and headed east – I had been watching the weather, and maybe it would be OK when I got there. I had to be there before anyone else beat me to it. It was fun, sort of, if you count driving down slippery cattle trails, getting stuck in snow drifts, and performing a heart stress-test as you drag yourself through the white stuff. At least I knew the terrain now, and could come again as the conquering hero. And return I did, this time with my wife and without the snow, and along with the unshakable belief that Indulgence would be waiting for me at the spot – because it was associated with The Anomaly (or at least close). Oh, and there was the “Y” that I was certain that I’d seen from GE. My wife thought it was an animal trail, Guess who was right?

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Getting to know the badlands

We returned home, with a new appreciation for the wide-open spaces, the rock formations and the rainbow of colours (I use the “u” now I’m back in Britain – get u-sed to it). My wife started to unpack and I started back out on the highway, convinced I knew where we’d gone wrong. The lovely lady was not best pleased. But this became something of a pattern of mine. I kept having to return to places in order to convince myself to finally put to rest erroneous ideas. It sounds like expensive folly, and, yes, it was an expensive way of searching, but it was frequently in those repeated moments of letdown and acceptance that new and more focused realizations would well up.

Deja vu all over again

Deja vu all over again

I laid to rest all my old and dried up WWWH, and began to look at the poem afresh. Where do warm waters actually halt, and how will that help me? Back at my old school desk, hidden away at the rear of the classroom, I used to avoid the teacher’s gaze, stare out the window, watch the clock (which I swear moved a thousand times more slowly then than it does now) and impress railway lines into the wood. I never learned to concentrate, but I needed that skill now. What is FF talking about? Clouds? Deserts? What? Something was nagging at the back of my mind. Was it something I’d seen briefly on a Google search, or was it some crumb of general knowledge that had lodged like the bit of BA fruitcake that fell between the seats? I checked the answer, and bingo! I rechecked. Still bingo. Great! But how to apply it?

It took very little to establish the answer to that question. There, in the poem, without a shadow of doubt, was the counterpart to the WWWH intel. And if I’d bothered to check all the way through, I’d have found another pointer to it that also added a second useful snippet of info. I now knew where to look on the map. It could only be one possible place within the four states. Funnily enough, it was a place that had been in contention during my stick-the-tail-on-the-donkey phase of searching. And the HOB fell right into place after that. Whoo-hoo! We were off. No stopping me now!

Except that’s all I did do – stop – for weeks. Left, right, up, down, I couldn’t get any further. No place for the meek, no blaze, no nothing. Had I got it wrong? But then something occurred to me. I thought about Forrest and his life.

To this day, I have not read FF’s books. I am sure they are a great read and contain lots of useful pointers. But you have to be able to tell the wheat from the chaff. I didn’t want to become clogged with so much info that I wouldn’t know what was useful and what not. I have seen so many searchers use incredibly convoluted interpretations based on this page, that picture, these works that Forrest references. I wanted to keep it “simple.”

Nonetheless, there was a fundamental piece of information about Forrest and his life that could prove useful. In fact, every serious searcher knows the fundamentals concerning Forrest, and they are important in being able to offer a line of reasoning that can be applied in your search. And right here was a possible hint to that awkward clue: “no place for the meek.”  The meek shall inherit the earth, so what do the others do? Yay, I was off again!

Bang, bang, bang, the answers fell into place. This was fun – and pretty easy! End is ever drawing nigh? Check! There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high? Check, check, check!

The next few lines were still open to interpretation, but they seemed to fit the area. Must be time for a trip. Let’s look at GE again.

Whoa! What’s that? I looked at the map. As clear as daylight was a blaze that shone like the full moon. And it seemed accessible. It had to be the spot. No question. Except there was one. What about The Anomaly? Well, maybe that’s just a serving suggestion. No, I say again, what about The Anomaly? Get lost, this is more exciting, this has to be it! And if it’s not, there’s another blaze over there. We’ll check them both, and another couple of spots for good measure.

How to find a "blaze" in one easy lesson

How to find a “blaze” in one easy lesson

It was a fun trip. Lots of Native American references, a windy plateau, stunningly beautiful scenery, and a motorized adventure that put hairs on our chests (much to my wife’s dismay), but no chest in our hands, of course.

What about The Anomaly?

Okay, you win, I promise to factor it in.

Back to the checklist. All those still tallied. What would The Anomaly add? Well, it brought me close to this interesting place that featured a perfect blaze… Close? Close???!!! Didn’t Forrest say that you had to follow the clues precisely?

Jeez, what a taskmaster! The alter ego can be a pain in the derriere, but sometimes you need to pay attention. OK, so let’s backup to HOB. “Not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.” Something my wife had said a long time before about one of those words came back to me. Although she’s not really a searcher (i.e. she’s not a raving lunatic), she will drop these little suggestions every so often, and I have learned the hard way not to ignore them. Before Forrest made the comment about not going where an 80-year-old wouldn’t, she had already told me that he wouldn’t have hidden it in some of the places I’d identified. It didn’t stop me looking there, but it got me extra servings of humble pie every time.

So what if I applied the principle behind my wife’s suggestion to another word from the same group… and voila! Now we’re getting precise. Let’s go back to the map and see what that does. Oh, yes, we’re no longer close, we’re right on it. And look at that! The name of this place is absolutely perfect. And it is almost begging us to go search there.

You may have read the report I sent Dal about that abortive and very expensive trip in the snow (again), that was followed up by two more to the same spot.

Red in the face at almost 10,000 ft

Red in the face at almost 10,000 ft

But there must have been something very compelling about that spot…? I’m glad you mention that, because, yes, there was – and still is.

Care to share? Well, OK, up to a point. It’s the blaze. It’s the 85/15. It’s where The Anomaly and the poem coincide. It’s where FF becomes terrain, so to speak. It’s a verifiable pivotal point. It also happens to be very beautiful.

And how do you verify it?

With The Anomaly.

Making use of The Anomaly

Making use of The Anomaly

And what if you haven’t discovered this anomaly? The words in the poem help you identify where it is, but of course they’re not always precise as just words. For precision and verification, you need to unlock stanza 2, identify the (exact) places described in stanza 3… and find The Anomaly. And of course, I’m talking numbers here.

Alright, so I’ve discovered this anomaly or aberration, and identified the blaze, but you now say it won’t give me the chest…? No. Those three rugged trips taught me that stanza 4 is not some airy-fairy love and peace message, but some more, very clear, instructions (and to purchase proper studded tires in the winter). The blaze is only a waypoint. A marker that is then used to redirect you.

And how do I know where I’m to be redirected to? Word meanings need to be studied. If you look quickly down in the right way, you’ll find it, eventually. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not when you’re as slow to comprehend as this old man.

Which brings me to this last week. After going back and back over the poem since those trips to the blaze, I had been edging toward the right place. I also noticed something else. Something was being described. Not just a poetic word picture, but something more tangible, something you could see on the page – on the map. Not something you found already there, but something you could draw for yourself. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was yet (I had a choice of two possibilities), but it was looming out of the fog.

Elk arrives as the morning mist clears

Elk arrives as the morning mist clears

Actually, fog is a good way to describe the process. The poem is like a thick blanket of fog in the beginning, and as you make the discoveries, so pockets begin to thin and clear.

One place that had begun to clear was part of stanza 5. “So why is it…”, if recognized as something beyond a straightforward question about F’s state of mind, is readily interpreted as Wyoming or West Yellowstone, or another likely place. But does it contain more specific info? I believe it does. In fact, couple stanza 5 with The Anomaly, and you have a specific set of instructions. In fact, I was so sure of this, I booked a plane ticket – giving myself one week to wrap this show up (mistake number 1; mistake number 2 was to turn the air-jet on full above my plane seat and then go to sleep).

Making an early start

Making an early start

My instructions gave me two places to check, a few hundred yards apart. There were two due to minor variations possible in interpretation. I arrived on location feeling jaunty and up for anything. Even the car rental people had been really friendly and helpful – everything was right with the world. Within minutes, I was disabused. No sane 80-year old would try to get up to location 1 with a 40lb pack. The area was littered with fallen trees, dense undergrowth, and large boulders. I made it with great difficulty, sweating and panting, to the exact spot, and gave it only a cursory inspection. It was not going to be here.

Location 2 was the more compelling location for numerical reasons. You can interpret that as you will, but if you know enough about FF, you’ll probably be able to work out what I’m saying. Except it wasn’t at all compelling when I arrived. It was a veritable swamp. My GPS told me to go into the mire. Fen or no Fenn, I wasn’t going in there.

No place for the sane

No place for the sane

I spent the rest of the search day, checking out a bunch of other less plausible coordinates, attracting a little unwanted attention, and going deaf.

Now, my hearing is shot from years of playing keyboards, but I can still make out what most people are telling me (even call centre [sic] operatives – sometimes). Just as I was going out to dinner, my last vestiges of auditory perception trailed away into a distant and muffled bunch of static. Well, thought I, that’ll make the motel room right by the highway more pleasant.

I should have known what was to come next. My throat got scratchy, my nose started running, and I knew that I’d have to go back to that infernal swamp. I bought some ear drops, aspirin and a pack of trashcan liners, and headed out to the location at first light.

Something wicked this way comes

Something wicked this way comes

This time I looked more carefully, and whereas, it had looked like the place was inaccessible the day before, now I could see where some animals had found a (mostly) dry path into the interior. My GPS told me I was getting closer and closer… and then I was at the water’s edge, seeing the reflections in the still water. Scanning the reedy marsh, I saw channels of muddy water, a few trees where the land got a touch drier out in the middle, and something staring at me. I peered into the still-very-dim light and made out a female moose. She was watching me impassively. What was considerably less passive was the enormous male splashing his way toward her, his magnificent antlers looking much more impressive on the move than on the wall of some rustic tavern.

Morning, Ma’am!

Morning, Ma’am!

G’day, mate!

G’day, mate!

Behind the swamp

Behind the swamp

A little nervously, I watched them for a while before resuming my surveillance. I looked down, and if it had been a cartoon or a corny comedy, I would have done a double-take. Instead I just gawped. I was looking into the water where a large log was mostly submerged. Sitting on top of the log was a single, square-ish, marbled rock. I looked around. There were no other rocks anywhere near. Behind me was rotting vegetation, perched on a muddy bed. In front of me was the swamp. The last boulders I’d seen were about fifty yards back, before you got down to the fen itself.

I rechecked the GPS. The exact spot was about fifteen feet out into the swamp (although allowing for the device’s current margin of error, it could equally be right there at the log). The Anomaly had brought me straight to this festering spot. Surely it couldn’t be the treasure’s location? Could it be in the wood, under the water? I knew retrieving the chest was not going to be easy, but I hadn’t expected this.

Now you can see the log as well

What’s that?

The stone

The stone

So let’s just think this through. How could it have got there? Could a moose have brought it in to mark the choicest reeds? Well, they do have large jaws, but the rocks tend to crack their dentures. Could a fisherman have found this spot and placed it here for later reference? Why? It was the only place you could get to along the animal trail – you couldn’t miss it or mistake it for somewhere else, and it was a heck of a stretch to put it out on a submerged log. Besides, it didn’t look like a fish would be seen dead in that fetid fen. And there was no evidence of recent human ingress. Why would you go there?

Now you can see the log as well

Now you can see the log as well

But if it had been placed there deliberately a few years ago, why had it not been swept away? As I was to discover over the next couple of days, the water levels would rise and fall with the rainfall, but as it was on the side away from the mountain, there was practically no current to disturb it. There was no logical explanation.

I reached out and prodded at the stone with my cane as that was the only way to reach it without getting down and dirty in the mud. There didn’t seem to be anything underneath it (apart from the log). I poked around the log, but soon realized that if I was going to check it out properly I’d have to get into the water. I sneezed violently before extracting the plastic liners from my backpack, deftly transforming them into high-fashion waders.

High fashion

High fashion

I sank almost to my knees in the slime. The swamp attempted to steal my Gucci ripoffs, but I persevered, prodding around the base of the log, and sinking my hands into the rich silt. Nothing there – well nothing you’d want to take home with you. The stone just sat there making no comment.

Going for broke

Going for broke

Company for breakfast

Company for breakfast

Stepping out, I realized my mistake. The “waders” had perforated, making a mess of my seriously unfashionable trainers and jeans. If I was to search anymore, I’d need to take off my shoes and swap pants for shorts, and then use double-skinned liners.  Back in the water, I slipped and almost fell.

Doing it in style

Doing it in style

Not wishing to be turned away from the airport as some kind of undesirable stowaway bum, and having cleared out a half-gallon of goo from my sinuses, I knew I needed to stay warm and dry if I was to extend the survey. So I rented a drysuit. What I didn’t expect was the bright light and interrogation cell. Where are you going? Why are you going there? Actually, aside from that, they were really nice guys, and their recommendations probably saved me from hypothermia, or pneumonia.

Everyone turns out to admire my outfit

Everyone turns out to admire my outfit

I looked really cool as I drove back to the location in my snazzy blue and yellow suit, attracting admiring glances from all and sundry. I sloshed back and forth to the trees at the bog’s centre and sat down in the water (not to read the paper or munch on my sandwich, but because I tripped and lost my balance). I was so glad of that suit. After a couple of hours of this, I called it a day and returned the outfit, feeling somewhat stupid for wasting the time on searching when it obviously wasn’t to be found in that depressing environment.

yellowblue

Looking cool

I confess to uttering a few oaths at Forrest Fenn then. All this work and just a slab of rock? Was he playing games? Had someone else substituted the rock for the chest? I had already written to the poem’s author to tell him what I found.

Maybe I was just plain wrong,

And yet, and yet…

The poem took me to the coordinates. The coordinates took me to the marbled rock. What was it telling me???

Coordinating the find

Coordinating the find

Changing channels

Changing channels

That evening and the next morning I felt rough – very rough – and thought I might have to quit, and time was running out before my return flight. Forrest had broken his few weeks of near-silence and published Scrapbook 158. It told me (and all searchers) in no uncertain terms that no one else had found the treasure and it was waiting patiently. That gave me enough of a lift to carry on. But how? Where?

I played with a few of the words: e.g. weak = week = 7 and adjusted my search area, but it just led me into almost impenetrable undergrowth. I slipped into an almost hidden rocky creek and cursed again. This was stupid. I wandered in a more tranquil and open area, but the numbers were all wrong. Something was awry – it was all slipping away. Think!

Does this fella know?

Does this fella know?

That night it hit me. Hard. The drawing. What is the drawing saying?

OMG! The realisation slammed into me like a charging moose. I had two possibilities for what this drawing represented. I thought it was the first, and I had ignored the second, because it simply didn’t look complete. Why hadn’t I thought to complete the second BEFORE flying out. In my mind’s eye I stared at it, watching as the shape finished itself, creating a twin. That was when I made the final, fatal error.

Next day, the day before I was to fly out, I started riding the backwards bike, doing the thing that Forrest had recommended. But I hadn’t thought to really concentrate on where I was going. This is the trouble trying to think on location. You need to do it in the calm of your own home, before committing time and resources. The place I ended up was ironic, but I couldn’t make it fit. I wasted the rest of the day scrabbling around in nebulous spots; and I wasn’t doing any better the following morning when I frittered away my final opportunity, trying to make a runway into a secondary blaze.

I sat in the airport, numb, and feeling sorry for my co-passengers who would have to endure my snotty sniffling. We boarded the plane. We deplaned. Bird strike and hydraulic leak. Now I was going to miss my flight home. I just wanted to be with my wife, and put myself to bed with a hot cup of tea and a couple of aspirin.

I slouched miserably, waiting to see if the airline would be able to reroute me. And then it dawned – a clear, opalescent blue. I almost ran out of the airport, but I knew I was risking serious illness if I carried on with this venture. Why, oh why does an insight occur at the wrong time, namely when it’s already hindsight?

Clarity at last - but too late

Clarity at last – but too late

Looking at Google Maps on my phone and going through the reverse pedaling again, I this time chose the mirror instead of the twin. And lo and behold, there it was. THE spot.

By this time, you’ll be smiling slightly patronisingly (note the British “s” – and if you’re observant you’ll have spotted a few more) at this man having lost the plot completely. Just give me a chance to explain. Forget about my sloshing around in the quagmire, and exuding my incubated aircraft germs into the mountain air, and let me recap the whole process:

  • The Anomaly is there, discoverable, and must be used at the appropriate juncture in the poem.
  • The entry to the poem is via THE place where warm waters halt, which is found by using general geographic knowledge, by understanding the references in the poem itself, and/or by knowing who wrote the poem. Once found, it cannot be unfound: the correlations in the poem guarantee you have the correct place.
  • Stanza 1 contains broad hints to the start place, the end place and the entire theme of the poem.
  • Stanza 2 has both general and ultra-specific instructions. HOB will further confirm your starting point.
  • Stanza 3 needs a little imagination and flair to get you started, but all the ducks fall into a row after that.
  • Stanza 4 is both direct, and likely to mislead if you’re unwary. Look at all possibilities before wasting your time and money. Remember, Forrest has a great sense of humour.
  • Stanza 5 contains more vital information, and again, play around with definitions and ideas until things start to gel.
  • Stanza 6 demands that you pay attention. I strongly suggest you do. The last two lines are still slightly fluid for me, but definitely contain more than one hint.
  • The Anomaly, plus other critical info that goes with it, will NOT lead you to the chest, but will lead you to where you start to ride the backwards bike. Oh, and you might see a nice reflection.
  • Once you get to that point you’ll need to start all over again! Don’t throw away the poem or your clues, as you’ll need those again, plus a healthy dollop of imagination.
  • The FINAL end point is in a beautiful, easily accessible location that is frequently visited.

Take this, as always, with a large pinch of salt. I failed – yet again – and I’m kicking myself for my asinine mind spasm as I write – ouch! But the wise ones may see here something that sparks their interest and enables them to verify what I’m saying. If I’d had this partial roadmap at the beginning of my chase, I could have got as far as I did – and further – in a tenth of the time, but then, in reality, I would have also probably dismissed it as some old geezer’s crazy ramblings. I would have been an idiot if I had, because when I eventually followed this map myself, I was able to see a picture emerging – a big one.

Good luck.

Oh, and for those who wanted to know (yes you, sir, the one in the far right corner there) I did get rerouted, and made it home in one piece. The captain was a disembodied voice, and there was no silverware or prettily printed menus, but my wife is beautiful, I’m still deaf and sniffling, and my treasure was here all along. Thank you and good night.

voxpops-

Ghosts…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2016
by JACKAL

 

SUMMARY:

I made two trips to Montana this summer, in July and August.  I did not find the treasure chest.  Therefore everything I believe and know is suspect.

I did find a location which I believe fits the poem and other information from Mr. Fenn so well that I sent him two emails containing photos of the blaze (see below) and a third email with my complete solution (complete except for the chest, of course).  Two hours after sending my solution on August 9, 2016, this appeared on Jenny Kile’s website Mysterious Writings (http://mysteriouswritings.com/forrests-surprise-words-what-you-know-for-sure/):

Surprise words from Forrest:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  ~Mark Twain

I don’t know if this was in response to my solution or not.  But taking it at face value would seem to indicate that this is not the correct location.   I’m not sure what to believe.

DETAILED SOLUTION:

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold,

I can keep my secret where,

And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt

Madison Junction, where the Firehole and Gibbon rivers

Madison Junction

Excerpts from Fly Fishing the Madison River, Craig Mathews, yellowstoneflyfishing.com (http://www.yellowstoneflyfishing.com/madison.htm):

It was in National Park Meadows where the Gibbon and Firehole come together to form the Madison that the Langford-Washburn-Doane (August-September 1870) expedition conceived the idea of making the area a national park.

Formerly, this stretch held many three- to five-pound trout, but though some are still there, they are fewer due to warming of the water.

This warmth is due to the warming of the Firehole, which provides over 70 percent of the volume of the Madison at this point.

And take it in the canyon down,

Down Madison Canyon.

Not far, but too far to walk.

About 40 miles by road to…

Put in below the home of Brown.

Hebgen Lake.

Hebgen Lake

An informational display at Baker’s Hole Campground describes how brown trout spawn at Baker’s Hole in the fall, and then grow for several months before moving down to Hebgen Lake, their “permanent home.”

From there it’s no place for the meek,

Ghost Village Road.

Ghost Village Road

On August 17, 1959 a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck the Hebgen Lake area, causing a landslide downstream of Hebgen dam (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959_Hebgen_Lake_earthquake) and causing at least 28 fatalities.  This slide formed Earthquake Lake, also known as Quake Lake.  It filled in three weeks and inundated Halford’s Camp (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/custergallatin/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5127785).  Log cabins from the camp floated among the trees until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut a channel into the slide to prevent a collapse and the water level retreated.  This left the Ghost Village along the shore of the lake, and ghost trees in the lake itself.

The end is ever drawing nigh;

Drive to the end of Ghost Village Road.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Beaver Creek, which meets the Madison where it enters Earthquake Lake.

Beaver Creek

Just heavy loads and water high.

You’ll be standing in the creek to retrieve the treasure.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

An owl-shaped rock formation with an opening that faces the creek and is big enough for a treasure chest and the person who left it (44.853983, -111.365765).

Blaze

Blaze Location

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

I searched the area for three hours on three separate days and did not locate the treasure.  Other writings indicate that it should not be hard to find once the blaze is found.

Blaze Interior 1
Blaze Interior 2

Blaze Water

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Don’t delay as other people may be in the area.

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go

And leave my trove for all to seek?

The answers I already know,

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

Should not require great effort to locate and recover the treasure.

So hear me all and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.

You must stand in the creek to recover the treasure.

If you are brave and in the wood

Ghost Wood at Earthquake Lake.

I give you title to the gold.

ANALYSIS:

When I first studied Mr. Fenn’s poem in detail I decided that there were probably many reasonable solutions that fit the clues.  On my first trip in July I concentrated on the Madison River around Nine Mile Hole and Baker’s Hole.  These places fit the first few clues but I never found anything that I believed was the blaze.  On my second trip I found this rock formation but did not immediately recognize it.  I thought it was very interesting and it had the right characteristics and I thought at the time “why is this not the place?”  I continued on up Beaver Creek most of the way to Highway 287 before turning back.  When passing the area on the way downstream, I thought “I should look at this from the other side of the creek.”  When I did I immediately recognized the owl’s head formed by the center rock, and its body and wing formed by the rock on the right.  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.  This is it.

I searched pretty thoroughly for about three hours total over three days.  Three hours doesn’t sound like much when sitting at a computer at home, but in the real world with your feet in cold water and sitting on a rock hunched over hoping an earthquake doesn’t strike right now, it’s a long time.  I searched in the water in front of the opening, within the banks on either side, and across the creek on the other side.  Inside the rock formation itself I turned over all of the rocks I could move and poked around using only a rock and a stick.  I decided that everything I’d read indicated that if you find the blaze it should not be hard to find the chest.  So I did not do any excavation other than turning over the first layer of rocks, and pushing on others to verify that they probably could not be moved by an 80 year old man with limited time.

This location is a 25 minute walk from the parking lot at the end of Ghost Village Road.  It is on level ground and does not require entry into the water until right at the formation.  It’s a beautiful setting with a view of Earthquake lake where the Madison River and Beaver Creek enter.  And what better place to rest your bones than Ghost Village, in the Ghost Wood.

After spending three days at this location I have a hard time believing it’s not the right place.  But I did not find the chest, and so this may be own confirmation bias speaking.  I suspect others have felt the same way about their solutions, but I have never seen photos of a site like this that are consistent with everything I’ve read about the treasure location.  I know of nothing about this site that contradicts Mr. Fenn’s words.

My first two emails to Mr. Fenn contained photos of the blaze and an indication that I had not found the chest.  I got no reply.  In my third email containing the full solution, I said I believed that the chest had been previously found and not reported to him.  Two hours later I found the Surprise Words From Forrest quoted above on Mysterious Writings.  So I don’t know what to believe.

To me the relevant news to listen for is whether he says that more clues have been solved, or if he continues to maintain that no one has found the chest.

CONCLUSION:

I had two fabulous trips to Montana and hiked places I otherwise never would have gone.  I found that West Yellowstone has an excellent selection of ice cream shops (I recommend the huckleberry honey lavender from City Creamery).  I found that there is no substitute for boots on the ground when deciphering clues.

Thank you Mr. Fenn.
Jackal-

 

The Majesty…

SUBMITTED AUGUST 2016
by MATT

 

 

Hello Mr. Fenn,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to offer my sincere thanks for all the work you have put into your writings, your books, and of course for creating “The Chase.” I have admired your life story and your work from afar for a couple of years now, and just recently I traveled to the Rocky Mountains for the first time and took an end-of-summer vacation – embarking on my own chase and visiting some popular “Fenn spots.”

As a single dad of 31 from Auburn, Alabama, I do not get the opportunity to travel much. However with my young boy and girl at camps, I traveled to Montana and Wyoming for a few days to find the thrill so many others before me have.

1

#1 is the view upriver on the Madison toward Hebgen Dam. About 150 yards from the Dam. I walked the trails up to the “off limits” area near the Dam and started my search from there.

Without going into details on my own ideas for your poem, I found myself pulled in by the majesty of Hebgen Lake and West Yellowstone. I started my adventure at Hebgen Dam, scouring the trails and the edge of the Madison River. I saw many fly fishermen, and was able to get some wonderful advice on how to break into the sport itself, something I have wanted to do for some time. Over the course of the next two days, I walked the edge of the Madison River, as well as venturing up Cabin Creek into a remote canyon. Camping right on the edge of the Madison at Campfire Lodge and Campground was a dream come true. Yet nothing prepared me for the jaw-dropping sight of rounding the bend on the Madison River and facing south along the water toward Ghost Village. It is a sight of wonder I’ll never forget. The mountains in the distance with their rock faces, the canyon with trees and lush greens, the flowers, the half-sunken cabins to the left from the great quake and flood… Amazing.

2

#2 is a shot of a man-made waterfall way up Cabin Creek that I was surprised to find. I suspect not many people have worked their way up the canyon that far, as I had to travel in the stream for some time. I doubt an 80 year old man could climb as I did, but my desire for adventure took over and I put the hunt on hold for awhile 🙂

I stood on the bank of the Madison, finding myself lucky to be alone – a rare moment with no fishermen or hikers in sight – as the sun slowly set behind the mountains. I scoured around and worked my way south to Ghost Village, and eventually down to Beaver Creek over the course of many hours. A bull moose walked leisurely across the river in front of me, making it look easy to cross the small rapids in an area where even my 6’5″ frame struggled to not get swept downstream. I couldn’t wait to come back to this place again, even though I hadn’t even left yet.

3

#3 is a picture a hiker took of me at Ghost Village, right at the bend where the Madison turns west and flows toward Beaver Creek and Quake Lake. You can see the half-sunk cabins in the background.

As a light rainshower moved into the canyon, I worked my way back to the campground, enjoying the cold mountain rain. Perhaps I only enjoyed it because I knew fresh dry clothes awaited me moments ahead, and I was not lost somewhere up Red Canyon 🙂 A strange buzz came from my pack, and I realized my phone had been on for two days but had not beeped or rang due to lack of signal. I checked it during the brief moment of cell service and saw a message from my 7 yr old little girl:

“Daddy did you find the tresher?”

4

#4 is a Bison who decided to own the road for awhile in Lamar Valley. I ventured to the Lamar Valley Ranger Station and hiked up Rose Creek, which offered incredible views.

I’ve shared your story with my kids, and let them scour the photos in your books, as well as the “Tresher Map.” I chuckle as I write that. I cannot wait to go back to those mountains, and I’ve promised my little ones they can come on the next adventure with me. Perhaps we can learn to fly fish together, and create some memories that will become our own treasures.

Thank you, Forrest.

Many Blessings,

Matt

PS: I also ventured to Baker’s Hole, Madison Junction, and the Ojo Caliente geyser. Just amazing.