Wind River Canyon…

July 2017
by Tbug-

 

Hi fellow Fennatics, I’ve been lurking off/on for a few years, the search for me has not involved botg and this is NOT a complete solve, rather I wanted to see the community’s thoughts on a few things (especially in light of all the recent SBs/posts from FF – writing this as of 4/20/2017). The following is a theory, not confirmed and will definitely NOT sway any of the Blog-erati (looking at you Seeker!). The following is just my opinion, guaranteed or your money back:

My backstory: First heard the Fenn story in 2013 from a co-worker who was very enthusiastic, we discussed for several weeks and then it fell the wayside, I would occasionally hear of an article or interview and then I found Dal’s site last year and have been reading a lot and coming up with some ideas. I’m a longtime CO/WY kid (I’m 40), between the ages of 6-16 I spent summers in Wyoming, often spending several weeks with family (Grandpa and cousins in Worland, other grandparents in Sheridan WY). Those visits included the 6+ hour drive from Laramie to get there, anyone who has driven in/around the state of WY can attest, the joy is NOT in the journey, most assuredly it is that you finally got there after so many grueling hours in the car. In my younger years these trips were fun only because of the ways my dad would entertain me, often involving ‘breaking records’ like total trip time, how long he could keep the speedo over triple digits, how far could we go without stopping for food or pee breaks, etc. The route we would take would sometimes change slightly, but was basically I-80 over to Rawlins, up 287 to Sweetwater or Lander, up to Riverton and Shoshoni and up the Wind River Canyon through Thermopolis and onto Worland. The scenery of this drive was…let’s just agree to describe it as ‘98% brown’. The stretch between Rawlins to Shoshoni is my own living hell, any scientists out there working on teleportation owe it to themselves to drive that route and re-invigorate their mission. However, once you got to Shoshoni there was hope, a light at the end of the tunnel and finally something to hold your attention besides antelope and tumbleweeds.

The Wind River Canyon has always held a special place in my heart…a lighthouse along the way signifying the drive was almost over and a beautiful canyon drive with lots of twists, tunnels, pre-cambrian rock, a train and of course the river. In my pre-teen years I marvel gazed at the tall cliffs and the uplifted and tilted layers and wondered what it would have been like to live 10000 years earlier. As my engineering mind was forming I wondered how long it took to construct that road, dealing with the river and weather, building the tunnels, etc.

Thermopolis – similar to the canyon this was another milestone on the journey, it signified we were less than an hour from our destination and to a 7 year old kid the hot springs park pool had the coolest damn water slide I had ever seen. My last drive up north was in 2008 heading to Cody for a cousins wedding, and we turned nigh at Thermop heading to Meeteetse so I didn’t get to see the true landmark of the town (IMO)…there is a small ‘geyser’ (air quotes here because it was probably a pipe carrying the water nearly 100 yards from the real source) near the chamber of commerce. In my youth it spouted water and steam 5-10’ in the air, halting, then returning to the earth, another curious site and a milestone telling me we were that much closer.

I thoroughly enjoyed SB 145 about the Bullet (I’m a car guy) and to me the Fenn summer trips from Texas to YNP sparked my first real theory: with such a long drive through much of the prairie west, surely the family made stops at various places along the way over those 17 years, and surely after Forrest was on his own he made additional road trips to his Valhalla. I looked up some historical Wyoming state highway maps from the late 30s…all the way until 1939, the various highways between Cheyenne/Laramie to Cody or Jackson involved many stretches of non-asphalt roads. I wondered how slow they would have driven and what the jalopies they drove, where they stopped for food, if they camped at night or stayed in motels, etc. I find it an easy reach that the family probably chose different, less strenuous/dusty/awful roads, at least after a few years of making the trip they probably figured out a ‘preferred’ route. Looking at the historical maps it is pretty clear that going up I-25 through Casper, over to Shoshone and up the Wind River to Cody was likely the preferred path. I have deduced this because hwy 287 by way of Rawlins and Dubois is 1) awful scenery (at least until South Pass) and 2) weather (wind anyone?) and 3) Togwotee pass north of Dubois was not paved until the early 40s, so at least in the first 5-10 years the Fenns made that trip, Cody was likely the best/least terrible way to YNP. EDIT: after a little more research, my route was indeed called the ‘Road to Yellowstone’ and Thermopolis was marketed as ‘The Gateway to Yellowstone’.

So to re-cap: I have driven a lot in WY on a similar path that the Fenn’s could have travelled each year on their family trips to YNP. Much of that drive is awful (IMO) and has some significant landmarks along the way that could be ‘special’. There are warm waters halting in Thermopolis (for me it’s that cheesy chamber of commerce fountain). You can take a canyon south that is too far to walk, that is home to many a large brown trout (I know, I know). The Boysen Reservoir and dam were completed in 1952, so the Fenn’s would have seen a semi-natural river in their early trips, but the road through the canyon was there prior. I find it unlikely that the fishing Fenn’s would not have stopped at some point to fish that river. So, given Forrest’s love of fishing and fondness of his family and trips, I think it is at least plausible that this area may be special. I recall that Forrest (or was it his dad?) said that catching huge fish, while fun, the smaller ones could be more rewarding…I’m calling BS on that, because anyone who has ever landed a huge trout that takes 2 hands and all your strength to handle will tell you so…the Wind/Big Horn have always been prime habitat for large trout, catching a big ‘un is a likely scenario for an experienced fisherman especially if you learned the river over several years. My theory on the ‘special’ aspect is that Forrest and his dad may have caught some of the biggest brown trout they had ever seen on a specific section of the wind river canyon.
OK, the following is my official ‘arm chair’ solve, enjoy!

WWWH – check. We all agree YNP is a special place, to me the signature feature is Old Faithful, the water literally shoots up and halts, if but for a moment, before falling to earth. In Forrest’s writings it is clear to me that he chooses Form over Function, a pretty thing is so much more than just a thing. By the nature of the poem, interpreting WWWH is fraught with pitfalls and rabbit holes, so much so that it seems probable that was the intent…many want to say that ‘warm’ means this that or the other, but looking at the poem from just the poetry perspective, ‘Where Hot Water Halts’ is just not as pretty sounding as WWWH…also alliteration…3 is clearly better than 2. Now I’m not saying it is DEFINITIVELY a geyser, I like the idea of a hot springs pool on a river, where rocks are piled up to create a mixing area that you can adjust because usually the water is too hot to just have a singular pool, you need the colder river water. I also like a water fall, but more for water high than warm. Anyway, in my mind a geyser is both a simple way to view it because of the poem and very difficult because there are so many of them north of Santa Fe. The town of Thermopolis is a significant landmark on the long dusty trip from Texas, it offers food/lodging and a public hot springs park. Additionally the area has petroglyphs, notable dinosaur archeology, the Shoshone/Arapahoe reservation to the south and a colorful outlaw cowboy history; arrowhead and other treasure searches could easily kickoff in the area around Thermopolis.

Canyon down – check. Wind River Canyon contains exposed pre-cambrian layers and is many a rockhound’s outdoor classroom. One issue with the canyon itself: it is on the reservation and a rock climbing related search suggests the tribes view the canyon as sacred, (possibly burial grounds), route climbing is off limits and many have asked. Interestingly, game and fish have overseen the reservoir/rec areas (also on the reservation) since inception, a bit of paradox in my mind, publically accessible areas and roads, but on reservation land such that many activities are off limits. I stated earlier that I think it was likely the Fenn’s fished this river there are two areas just north of the dam that are managed by the state that include camping and river access, unclear when that access may have been established, likely after the dam was finished, I’m guessing back in the ‘40s/’50s things were likely less regulated.

TFTW – check. From Thermop to the canyon mouth is about 3 miles, the canyon is about 13 miles total length from the northern mouth to the dam, certainly too far to walk with 42 lbs. This clue/hint has always bothered me, if the poem is a map and the directions lead you there, why start from a point where you move on? I know many will claim they understand, yet no chest, so hard to buy into those claims. There must be a purpose to start in a place that you will eventually leave. Is it to help confirm you’re on the right first clue? Is it to make sure you see the entire path that FF took at one time? This just seems to be an oddity, include the fact that it is the one line that doesn’t rhyme and it seems to raise more questions than it answers.

Put in below home of Brown – flimsy, thin, questionable, let’s agree ‘plausible’ check. I have been catching trout since I was 4, fishing is most certainly important to FF. I grew up with the outdoors playing a large role; camping, fishing, hunting etc. I think older generations likely did similar activities, because, yeah, no internet back then. I would also argue that Wyoming is a pretty boring place, if you didn’t do outdoorsy stuff you likely didn’t stay long, as they say, ‘there are 2 things to do in Wyoming: shoot guns and drink beer’, I would add go fishing, which should technically include beer, IMO. Anyway, the point is fishing is indeed a popular hobby in Wyoming, for me it is one of only a handful of reasons I even go back nowadays. So what of the capital ‘B’? As seen throughout the history of the west someone named Brown can be found just about everywhere. Maybe that was FF’s intention, but I’m taking the easy way out and saying it is the Brown trout due to FFs fondness for fishing (boom alliteration x5!). The entrance to the canyon from the reservoir side (but before it was built, note the river flows north, so ‘down’ here is downstream, but my canyon down is south) is another possibility for HoB given that the fishing would have likely been best just inside the canyon not on the plains, any fisherman can tell you the big fish live in the canyons with the big rocks.

WARNING: ENTERING CONFIRMATION BIAS WORK ZONE
So let’s say a 10 year old Forrest is with the family fishing the canyon on their way to YNP, but lo the fish are not biting. Well, we know Forrest began searching for arrowheads and other historical/cultural areas at a young age. The canyon walls command your gaze, anyone familiar with archeology would be intrigued by the area. At the entrance to the canyon (moving north from the reservoir, with the flow) you quickly encounter the tunnels, bored through the rock at the narrowest spot in the canyon and another significant landmark on the way north. Nearby is a popular picnic/camping area and fishing spot: Upper Wind River CG. Between the first 2 tunnels, and a short walk from that popular camping/fishing spot is a small creek/gully… Gold Creek drains into the Wind here. It is extremely steep, indeed NO PLACE FOR THE MEEK – check. Also it is only intermittent flow (NO PADDLE), there are back roads that go above from the east, on BLM land, so it COULD be accessed by an old man, not likely from below (but also too visible to a fairly busy highway, IMO). Also, the top of the mesa here is over 5000’, part of the gulch is as well, so 2 more possible checks.

The end is ever drawing nigh – In my solve you go ‘down’ the canyon heading south, Gold Creek is to the east (or left) of the roadway. I spent a little time on GE to see if something else to the ‘left’ fit in here and nothing definitive. There is very interesting geology all around Gold Creek, there is an interesting white band in a couple areas near the top, but they appear to be both on the reservation land and just below 5000’. To the east of the top of the gulch is Birdeye peak (the bird in the moon sketch?) and on the leeward sides is a wood, a small area with real pine trees (most of the canyon and surrounding hills are dotted with small bushes, but very few trees), also near this wood is a fairly large rock outcropping and would be my number 1 spot if I wanted to hide something valuable there.
The remaining clues: heavy loads and water high and the blaze: I will take the easy way out, the train and the reservoir will be my heavy loads and water high, as they would be visible/audible from my spot. As for the blaze, again, I will take the easy way out and say it is the sun, this is where botg may be necessary, the point on the end of birdeye peak looks W-SW and sunset could easily play a role, but time of year would change the location on the horizon so not really.

Some other shortcomings: last stanza I can’t find anything about my spot that might fit ‘worth the cold’. Also, FF’s comment that when we learn the real solve, we will exclaim ‘why didn’t I think of that!’, nothing with my spot seems to jump out other than it is a ‘simple’ solution that uses only the Poem clues, good maps and my knowledge of the geography.

So, as I go alone on this quest (my family, friends and random strangers all think I’m insane), I’m left to answer some questions (besides the poem clues):
Is the area special to Forrest? I think it is plausible, the fishing would have been amazing back when, the canyon and town of Thermopolis break up a long, boring journey, and the area would have been ripe for exploring; world’s largest mineral hot springs, petroglyphs, dinosaur digs, indian reservation nearby, and rich cowboy history.

Access? The top of Gold Creek is just outside the reservation boundary (note: there are no fences or obvious markings for this boundary – on satellite views at least) and is indeed private land, however, there is a patchwork of BLM land (see game and fish interactive map) that can be reached by low clearance dirt roads with a near zero likelihood that someone would see you. The area is hilly, but more mesa like, once on top the walk to the rock outcrop or gulch would not be very difficult, even for FF and his 42lbs. Also, there are few manmade trails (but definitely cattle and big horn sheep frequent the area), but the roads nearby would allow a walk of about 2 miles with only a few hundred vertical. At this point I take no responsibility if someone goes and checks it out and it is private or otherwise inaccessible, as you can see below the route and parking can be done from BLM land only, assuming you can get up Birdseye road. So for me this area is plausible and maybe worth a look for a brave soul.

So you’re probably wondering about the other clues/hints: heavy loads and water high, worth the cold, etc. For me I think throwing out any of the poem is a bad idea and the number one reason I haven’t gone to make this search. I do believe that FF’s statements about how simple it is and you just need the poem, a good map and knowledge of geography lend themselves to this as at least plausible, do I really believe this is FFs special spot, no, but then only one way to be sure! If anyone has been in the area please let us know and of course let the flaming arrows fly about what I missed, but please don’t give me some cryptic, arbitrary statement about stars or numerology or how I haven’t solved all the layers yet, you all are crazy.

Here is a 3D pic. My spot would be a few inches to the right of the Boysen Fault line, but the access road is just out of frame. Also, currently public fishing is allowed from the dam up to just below the fault line shown.

Tbug-

 

 

On Quitting the Chase…

by Ken S.

Warning – this is verbose and long winded.

I have only been at “The Chase” for a little over five months now starting in December, 2016.  I realize I am a late comer to the party.  I have not been out in the mountains yet because we still have snow down to the 5,000’ 6,000′ level here in Montana.  I was raised in south central MT and YNP has been in my backyard my whole life.  Many of you have been at this for years and it has changed your lives and, in some cases, how you now live your lives.

For me, and for most of you, all I can think of any more is “The Poem” of clues.  I think of it as soon as I wake up in the morning.  I recite the poem throughout the day.  Nearly every night I review different websites for new clues.  I stay up way too late looking at GE, the thesaurus, dictionary, and topo maps.  I have had several “solves”, most of which “work” to some degree or another.  For me, it is consuming and I want to/need to stop.  I have many other things I need to do and think about.  I hope in giving away what I have learned so far, I can maybe get this Chase out of my head.  Really, the best way for that to happen is for someone to find the chest!

In this monolog I am going to give most all of my solutions to clues I have found in the poem.  And, yes, I find more than nine clues in the poem.  As some have said, maybe each sentence counts as a clue, but within each sentence there may be several sub-clues (you can call them hints if you want, but I will refer to everything as clues for ease of typing).  I am not going to quote or cite blog posts or videos but will trust my memory of what I have read on different websites, primarily this one.  I know many of you will shoot holes in my logic and thoughts, that’s OK.  Some of you will discount me because I haven’t referenced ff quotes.  But, maybe some of my thoughts will nudge someone else into a different line of thinking, as do many of the blog posts I have read from others.  Btw: I am  a poem purist, I have not purchased the book(s).  Line by line, here goes:

As I have gone alone in there
Alone could mean Lone Wolf, Lone Star Geyser (ff is from TX), Lone Mtn near Big Sky, MT.  I only developed one solve based on this line.  Btw, there is a Fenn couple that own land at Big Sky, MT (public record).  I don’t know if they are related to ff.

And with my treasures bold,
Treasures Bold could be the creeks that flow into the Lamar River including the adjacent creeks called Jasper, Amethyst, Agate, Crystal, Opal, Chalcedony, and Flint.  All are treasured gems.  Their creek names are bold on a topo map in the area.  I have two solves that use this phrase as a clue.

I can keep my secret where,
I have found no clues in this phrase.

And hint of riches new and old.
The word old may refer to a historic mining district.

Begin it where warm waters halt
There are warm waters all over the west and in the Rocky Mtns.  I have considered mostly those only in my area of familiarity.  In YNP I considered both Soda Butte Cr. and less warm Rose Cr. in the Lamar Valley.  Neither are hot springs.  Soda Butte is warm and Rose does not freeze in winter.  I also considered the Firehole River, the Boiling River, Corwin Springs, the hot springs at Thermopolis, WY, and in the Shoshone River at Cody, WY.

WWWH could also refer to the geographic borders of YNP, but does it mean inside YNP or outside YNP?  Soda Butte and Lamar flow from the boundary inward, Firehole/Madison, Snake, and Gardiner/Yellowstone, flow outward.

Thermopolis, WY is well below the elevation of the chest hiding place but the poem doesn’t say you have to decrease in elevation.  I used Thermopolis as the start point for a solve that looks at the really “big picture”.

And take it in the canyon down,
Different canyons that I have thought of in my solves are Lamar River Canyon, Icebox Canyon, Gardner R canyon, Yankee Jim Canyon, Firehole/Madison R canyon, Yellowstone River canyon, Big Horn R canyon, Clear Cr. canyon in Colorado, and canyons that head south (down) on a map (only those which are associated with warm or hot springs).

Not far, but too far to walk.
This phrase is so very subjective.  Even though ff was 79 or 80 yo, I have hiked long hard miles with people that age.  It also depends on the altitude and terrain.  It is ten hard miles from Buffalo Ranch to Lamar R joining the Yellowstone R.  It is several miles from Boiling River to Yankee Jim Canyon.  My interpretation for this is that ff probably walked no more that six miles total on his two round trips to hide the treasure.  The higher the altitude the less the mileage would have been.  Similarly, if he was bucking brush versus walking through high park grass, the effort and distance would be much different.

Put in below the home of Brown.
I have a few different HOBs.  I borrowed from the blog for using the Lamar R. and Buffalo Ranch.

Along the Big Horn River just above Sheep Canyon there is a long-operating bentonite plant owned by the Brown Family.

Brown could also be Brown’s Lake east of Fort Collins for those looking in the Estes Park area.

I also thought of the sewage lagoons below Gardiner and the Grizzly Adventure in W. Yellowstone.

And, here is a doozy:  In one translation I found the word Brown has a Spanish translation as the verb “doarse” meaning ‘turn, turn about, turn around’.  But, in most Spanish dictionaries “doarse” means “to turn brown, or golden” such as for sauteed food.  So, doarse is a pretty weak interpretation of Brown, but . . .

From there it’s no place for the meek,
This one is also subjective depending on one’s personal fears – or maybe it refers to a place where the meek would not be found.  At first blush I thought this meant that “You are going to have to work for it.  It’s not easy”.  Or, it could be a scary place – bears, wolves, buffalo, rattlesnakes, guarded private property, nasty switch back roads, nasty park rangers?  Could meek be a religious reference (inherit the earth).  If so, could it be related to a church camp or mountain chapel?)  The Big Horn River cuts through both Sheep Mtn. and Little Sheep Mtn and sheep are referenced in literature to be meek animals.  Meek is associated with timid so maybe “no place for the meek” is associated with the antithesis such as Devil’s Slide, Hell Creek, wolf, etc.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
Some of the blog posts suggest this as meaning “to the left” so some of my solves used it that way.  Others did not.  For my Thermopolis, WY solve I interpreted it as the Shoshone River which enters the Big Horn R just below the Sheep Canyons after its run from the YNP west entrance down through Cody, WY

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
As with most I interpret this as a small stream or dry creek bed.  It could also mean a stream with heavy rapids that cannot be ascended even by kayak.  This could mean the Shoshone River through Cody, WY.  Also, paddling is not allowed in YNP, nor can Lamar R be paddled upstream in the canyon portion because of the close boulders.  This could also mean to bypass Slough Creek which is the only creek with substantial water flowing into Lamar R.  It could also mean Crystal Creek which is one of the “gems” streams with very little water that flows into the Lamar.

Just heavy loads and water high.  
This could mean the large boulders in the Shoshone R as it flows from below BB dam down through Cody, WY or the heavy silt load on the Shoshone R at the BB dam, the Willwood dam, and where it flows into the Big Horn Reservoir (all in the Thermopolis solve).  I also took this to mean heavy loads of huge boulders in the rapids in the Lamar Canyon.  Water high might mean the high water mark of the Lamar (or any) river.  Water high could be where Lamar joins the Yellowstone and becomes a river too deep to cross on foot.  It could also mean any alluvium, especially braided – can’t paddle that – , at a creek’s mouth such as where it spills into a larger river)  Heavy loads (lodes) might also be referencing the many prospects and mines such as in SW Montana and along Clear Cr in Colorado.  Heavy loads and water high could mean a glacier or perennial snowbank.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,   
For the Thermopolis solve:  you have gone past Sage Creek (wise) as you go upstream.  The blaze is the Firefighters Memorial on Shoshone River upstream of the dam, elevation:  6190’.  This falls apart at the end because of the ff comment about no human trails in close proximity.

On the Fort Collins/Estes Park solve I was looking at a B-29 crash site that I thought ff might visit and honor because he had been a military pilot.  The B-29 trail description is to look for an Arrow on the final leg to the B-17 crash site.  For this solve I ignored it being a place ff might want to be buried.

My first solve along the Lamar R included an “owl face” along the river in the foothills between Tower Falls and Lamar Canyon.  The “eyes” are two small lakes, the beak is a small hillock south of the eyes.  The Blaze is an outcrop of white soil between and north of the eyes about 200 feet.

The Blaze could also be Tower Falls as seen from Specimen Ridge.  The Blaze could also be the Devil’s Slide above Yankee Jim Canyon.  Either type of “Blaze”, rapids or falls, could easily have a rainbow associated with the spray.  The rapids would show a rainbow most of the day with the sun to the south.  Tower Falls would only have a rainbow early in the morning with the sun to the east.  Devil’s Slide is also rainbow colored rock and soil.  Devil’s Slide is on private property but the very top end is on USFS, although quite a tough hike to access.

Blaze could also be a burned area but most of the YNP area burned up in 1988 and many subsequent years so that could mean just about anywhere in MT or WY.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
This phrase tells me that I am very, very close to the chest.  It is either literally at my feet or just down hill from where I am standing.  If you imagine my “owl” of pond eyes, it could mean to look at the “downy legs” and talons of the “owl” which would put it at the high water mark of the Yellowstone River across from Tower Falls.

To Cease could mean two (2) C’s such as Crystal Cr. or Cache Cr.  Two C’s could also mean the continental divide where water flow splits between the Pacific Ocean (sea) and Atlantic Ocean (sea).  But, that is just about anywhere in the Rockies in MT, WY, CO, and NM.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
To me, this means “Get the heck out of there before getting caught”.  That could be a situation for both NP lands or private lands.

Just take the chest and go in peace. 
I think this means “Don’t whoop & holler”, don’t tell anyone you found it until you are safe at home.  Peace could be a reference to a church camp or travel through a cemetery even though the TC is not hidden in a cemetery.  Peace could mean respect for the dead killed in the B-29 crash.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek?
I don’t see anything here.

The answers I already know,
I don’t see anything here.

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
I think this is telling the reader ff did the trip on rubber tires, probably by car or truck and that he was gone a week.  Of course, a week of travel could put him in any search state depending how many times he stopped and how fast he drove.

So hear me all and listen good,
Is there sound which could be a clue – water gurgling?  I liked the recent post from another Chaser of a natural amphitheater.  I thought that was a good interpretation.

Your effort will be worth the cold.
A synonym of cold is Icebox (canyon in YNP, another is Piercing such as water spray from a water falls.  It might be as simple as having to wait through the cold of winter before snow melts enough to search in the field.

If you are brave and in the wood
This could very well mean the TC is hidden in a hollow log thus easier for a child to retrieve.  Or, it could mean under a log thus easier for a child to see under.  Or, it could mean to duck under the water to get under a log jam.  In two interviews FF has said people should get out and kick over a log.  My favorite interpretation is that there is wood inside the chest that carries a “deed” to keep the findings.  Wood could also mean it is in the trees, if so, there are trees along the the high water mark at most rivers.  Brave might mean be careful of buffalo and grizzlies.  Brave could mean Warrior Mtn in the Idaho Springs, CO mining area.  Btw, there is a Santa Fe Mtn just south of I-70 near Idaho Springs and 8.25 miles north it leads one to a mountain called Fairburn.

I give you title to the gold.
A legal title for the finder could be inside the chest along with legal caveats and codicils.

Finally, I am saving two solves from you all because they are within a day’s drive from my home.  I plan to check them out if the snow ever melts.

Solve #1 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, cross the Lamar over to Crystal Creek.  Look around between the Lamar R bank and the top of the drainage.  Look for a hollow log or under a log near anything that could be a blaze.

Solve #2 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, look on GE for the Owl Eyes and forehead blaze.  Walk downhill to the Lamar R bank and look through the trees near the high water line along the river.

Solve #3 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Yellowstone Picnic Area, hike up Specimen Ridge, break off from there and hike down to the Yellowstone R across from Tower Falls.  Look around the side of the draw on your way down as well as check out the high water area along the Yellowstone R.

Solve #4 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down the Lamar R to its merging with the Yellowstone R.  Check out around the confluence area at the high water mark.  There could be a recognizable blaze in the area.

Solve #5 – Begin at Thermopolis, WY, travel down the Big Horn R and shallow BH canyon just below Thermopolis.  Travel down to where the Shoshone R flows into the Big Horn R (below the bentonite plant owned by the Brown family) at the upper end of Big Horn reservoir near Lovell, WY.  Follow Shoshone  R up through Cody, WY, up past Buffalo Bill dam and reservoir until you find the Firefighters Memorial (blaze).  It might be there but there definitely are human trails in the proximity.  Also, for some inexplicable reason, I doubt ff would use an industrial plant as HOB, then again . . .

Solve #6 – Begin at the Boiling R. south of Gardiner, MT, travel down the Yellowstone R canyon towards Yankee Jim Canyon.  Somewhere near there you will see the Devil’s Slide down the side of the mountain.  In this solve HOB is the sewer plant for Gardiner, MT – not very attractive.

Solve #7 – Start at Idaho Springs, CO.  I didn’t find a HOB here but I did find a Toledo Mine, Santa Fe Mtn, Warrior Mtn (brave), and Fairburn Mtn (blaze).  I didn’t work this one very hard.

Solve #8 – I didn’t develop this one very well.  Start at Brown’s Lake near Ft. Collins, search for a B-29 crash site in CO just west of FC.  There is one not far north of Estes Park but still outside of RMNP.  This one can be mostly driven to on FS roads but has to be walked to the last mile or so.

Solve #9 – Begin at Upper/Middle Geyser Basins, travel down the FH river canyon, turn around (Spanish verb for Brown) at the Firehole River Drive one-way sign, look around between the confluence of the FH river into the Madison and then up stream towards FH falls.

I admit all of my “solves” have holes in them.  This has been strictly arm chair stuff while I’ve been waiting for the snow to melt.  Remember, I only learned of the Chest Chase last December so have not had a chance to get out in the hills.  And, after a couple field trips, I hope I can get this out of my system.

And, finally, it has been nearly two weeks since I have read anything about Fenn’s treasure.  I think I have broken my addiction to the poem.  I think I’m back to my previous life again.

Ken S in Montana