Forrest Gets Mail – 11

 

Mr. Fenn,
I am a professional poker player living in Las Vegas… im 44 years old and I came to Vegas when I was 19 to pursue a career  in playing Blackjack… (not such a good idea btw) and have been here ever since. I received your book for Christmas (never heard about your story) and I will be trading in gambling on cards for gambling in the wilderness. Should be fun.

I recently purchased 10 books and have decided I need 10 partners and figured the best way to find 10 people I can trust* was to send it off to 10 inmates serving life sentences… figured they have the time and won’t be looking themselves😀😀.

I chose 9 men and 1 woman. I’m thinking my best shot is the Unibomer Ted Kaczynski.. as he is a pretty brilliant guy and also lived in Montana for a number of years… I have 1 question, Has anyone ever told you they were doing this also?

Hope this finds you well,

Brett

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Three Point Five…

scrapbook

DECEMBER 20, 2016

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the jungle in Laos. This photo was taken on December 21st after Forrest spent the night in the jungle and was rescued by these guys on the 21st.

I am toasting myself with hot chocolate because 48 years ago today I was shot down in Laos and enjoyed all of the fruits such a jungle paradise could provide. It would be my hopeful lot to retrace my steps and retrieve my pistol and Minox camera, both of which were unceremonially extracted from my person as I egressed that location, up through breaking limbs and leafs galore, via a life-saving hoist. But alas, perhaps I shall fail that rendezvous in lieu of, and deference to, demands made by my 86 year-old carcass. I guess my parachute is still hanging in that tree where I left it. I will wish it a Merry Christmas and thank it for doing a great job. Ain’t life grand? f

F-100F  Super Sabre cockpit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

If you’d like to hear Forrest tell the story of being shot down and then rescued the next day follow the link below to go to a video interview of Forrest filmed by the Air Force Association a couple years ago.

http://lummifilm.com/afa/page3.html

The interview is in two parts. The link to the second part is on the bottom of the video page.

 

Angel Fire Loop Tour…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2016
by CYNTHIA

 

11-09-2016 (Day after Presidential election)

I awoke this morning and immediately checked the news…the election results were confirmed from nervously watching the results on the news last night before retiring. This morning’s immediate financial reaction was stocks were dipping, pesos hit a record low, and the value of gold was soaring. Wait a minute! What? Did this mean I should go searching for Fenn’s chest filled with 20.2 troy pounds of gold. YES. YES…but where to go? I didn’t have time to research the poem and come up with new solves. So I stood here in my library perusing the giant wall map of the Carson National Forest and the Enchanted Circle.

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I hate to admit that I’m really stuck on this general vicinity, and I’m not ready to completely rule it out as the location of Fenn’s hidden treasure trove. Having spent a lot of time lately researching place names to match his clues in Scrapbook 107, I can’t forget the name on the envelope…U Puceet. Is Fenn saying “up-you-see-it”? Is he telling us to look up…like at a nest? Like at an eagle’s nest? Hmmm…ever since he ruled out that WWWH is not a dam, most searchers stopped going to Eagle Nest, but could it mean something else? Is this still the road less traveled?

I grabbed my backpack, put Molly in the truck, and texted Michelle that I was going on a “drive”…I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed but Eagle Nest would be on the itinerary and I wouldn’t be home before dark. I have really tired of the “low” road to Taos as well as the “high road to Taos” so decided on I-25 and the Santa Fe Trail once again. The best thing about going that way is stopping in Las Vegas for breakfast… I found the first two treasures of my morning at Pedro’s on Grand Street. A personal-size pineapple upside down cake and a peach-filled Danish, to go. The nice lady behind the counter wrapped them up and put them in a sack which I immediately placed beneath the seat to keep Molly’s drool from landing on it. We’d partake of one of them after the next stop… Charlie’s Bakery and Café on Douglas Ave where I picked up a bag of freshly made tortillas that I would take home.

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Eating at Charlie’s has always been a treat, too, as it is a “special place” in itself. This next picture is for Forrest… I think I once heard that he likes eclairs.

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Back to the truck I went and exchanged the pack of tortillas for Molly. I figured by now she might need a potty break and I wasn’t sure where or when the next stop would be. The walk in the weeds behind the parking lot was successful, and now it was time to eat one of those delicious-looking goodies. I shared the Danish with her… she snapped each bite from my fingers like a hungry pirannha. Then off we went again, my fingers still intact…into the wild blue yonder of northern New Mexico.

I decided to stay on the Santa Fe Trail once again. I really like the idea of Fenn using the poem to lead us from his house to the treasure. Wouldn’t it be funny if the dotted line indicating the Santa Fe Tail on this monument is right? I mean this could be a roadmap to Fenn’s gold!

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Traveling north on Hwy518, I stopped long enough to take a picture of Hermit Peak…from the east this time, looking west AT it.

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The rolling hills of the highlands and plains to the east of me were just as bucolic. The green fields were fading into their winter brown but still magnificent. I wondered if the driver of the lone truck on the rightside of below photo would agree.

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By now I had pretty much made up my mind to do a HUGE loop “tour”. I continued north on 518 to Mora, a fairly small community who earlier settlers called San Antonio de lo de Mora, or “stopping place”. Maybe warm waters halt there as well. Regardless, for anyone interested, look up Mora in The Place Names of New Mexico…there are about half a dozen clues from the poem that fit this area. I found this road plaque on the way to Mora in the picture below interesting. Who knew? I mean about the sandstone “hogbacks”…

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I had been through the Mora Valley once prior in a treasure search to reach the upper Pecos Wilderness by way of the Rio la Casa to Walker Flats.

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What I remembered most were all the little pink houses…as John Cougar Mellencamp put it,

“Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me…”

How appropriate for this particular day! I rolled down my window to take pictures of a few of these little pink houses…I could smell the wood smoke from their fires used to warm the cool morning air.

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Soon I entered the village of Cleveland made famous by its Roller Mill Museum. I did not stop at the mill this trip…I was on a mission. I did stop and take a couple pictures of the old Cassidy & Sons Country Store. This was where I needed to turn and follow the Rio la Casa to Walker Flats, and had a most difficult time finding this building. I mean the building was easy to find…it was the faded name that was difficult to see.

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I continued north and in a few more miles came to an even smaller village named Holman. Then I saw this road sign in the picture below. Holy crap, I had missed my turn-off for Rt434 in Mora to get to Angel Fire. I chuckled and made an immediate u-turn.

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Well, hell, I missed the turn onto Rt434 again and I was looking for it. Did fate just hand me four cards and a joker…should I turn around and go home? Was this an omen for something menacing about to happen? Screw it, I turned around once again and this time turned onto 434! I smiled, looked at Molly, and admitted I really wasn’t paying close enough attention to the details, apparently. She wagged her tail…not seeming to care.

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In a few miles I was passing the Alpaca Farm…once again, I just stopped in my lane, rolled down the window, and snapped away. This is one of the best things about parts of New Mexico, as well as the other three treasure states…there just ain’t much traffic once you leave the city!

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I continued north on the increasingly narrow, twisting road, the broad pastural valley filled with cows and alpacas giving way to the steeper sides of forest as we made our way to Coyote Creek State Park. It was time to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. Oh, there’s a sign there saying you have to pay the $5 daily use fee just to use the toilet… this time, I think NOT. We were like stealths…stretched our legs, took care of business, and moved on.

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In a mile we reached the forewarned road construction. I didn’t mind as I chatted with Javier holding the “STOP” sign and marvel gazed at the big-people Tonka toys. I wanted to drive this one…I bet it could help find Fenn’s treasure.

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Finally the “stop” sign twisted to “slow”, and on Molly and I went, following Coyote Creek and climbing in elevation as we made our way to the top of the plateau. As we crested the hill, the trees thinned and gave way to this… Wheeler Peak standing majestically off in the distance, the Sange de Cristo range filling the horizon… breath-taking.

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So many pictures still to be taken. The entrance to the Angel Fire Country Club…

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Deer crossing the street in Angel Fire during the middle of the afternoon…this is why I drive with my camera on my lap.

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It was painfully slow driving through Angel Fire as the deer gave way to a few slow-moving vehicles in front of me. I impatiently drummed on the steering wheel, trying to move them faster. By now it was 2:30 and I still had probably 20 miles until I got to Maverick Trail where I planned to walk to the Falls with Molly. JeremyP had posted a really good solve in this area…I really like Touch-Me-Not Mountain.

The slow-pokes turned west and off I zoomed now that I was on Hwy 64. I blazed through Eagle Nest, climbed the hill, and entered Cimarron Canyon State Park, another fee area. I quickly made our way past the Palisades stopping to take a few pictures…

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…. drove into the Maverick Creek Campground where we walked to the creek and pond and then on to the parking area at the Trailhead to Maverick Falls. I had never hiked this trail and there were 2 choices…the narrow one beside the big sign that said Maverick Trail, and the one with the chain saying “closed”. I opted for the narrow one. It was mid-afternoon, the day-light seemed to be dimming. This is a fairly steep canyon so the light was giving way to dusk, or so it seemed. I hated this trail from the initial climb up the steep bank. The soft golden leaves of autumn had gotten brown and brittle and slippery, and made the trail more obscure than I liked. I had no GPS co-ordinates and wasn’t positive this was the way to the Falls. Thank God I had Molly on a leash as she hauled my butt up over that embankment. There certainly was no way Forrest climbed up and down this trail with the chest and then the treasure. We went a bit farther since it leveled off but I still had a bad feeling about going any farther this late in the afternoon. A few pictures more, and we turned around. I decided to follow what I thought was the old-logging road now overgrown with vegetation down the hillside that was so miserable climbing up. I figured it would come out where the chain crossed the other “choice”. Well, I was wrong…this trail seemed to end in low-growing shrubs that I easily navigated but it was harder for Molly to bushwhack through. Finally, we reached the truck…

I was hungry so figured Molly must be too…I dug the second of the breakfast treasures out from beneath the seat. I gave Molly bites of the cake while I ate the pineapple slice smothered in a buttery brown sugar glaze, topped with candied pecan pieces and a maraschino cherry in the center. It was delicious, and the perfect mood-enhancer, after that miserable hike.

I was in great spirits again…maybe there was rum in that tasty pastry but I didn’t think so. There was still no traffic as we made our way east towards Ute Park and Cimarron, probably a good thing as I held my 35 mm Nikon up to my face and snapped pictures through the windshield as I drove. Some came out good, others not so much.

I love Cimarron for all sorts of reasons…the giant sign on each end of town says it is “Where the Rockies meet the Plains.” I concur…it also has old and new historical districts, but best of all, it is home to the St. James Hotel, a place where Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and other old-western outlaws spent the night. It is also HAUNTED…supposedly. I stayed there once in one of the haunted rooms. Even got up at the witching hour 2 or 3 am, I forget, and tried to find ghosts and spirits, nada. But we did end up with a reflection of a guy in a mirror slinking sideways in the corner of the bar. The next day when we looked in the bar…there was no mirror. Pretty cool…can’t wait to go back.

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We continued south on Rt21 through the sprawling Philmont Scout Ranch, where deer were abundant. I rolled the windows down so Molly could enjoy the wildlife viewing…she understands the word “animals” and seemed to enjoy the first hundred. I enjoyed every last one of them.

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We were still on the Santa Fe Trail, and there were frequent signs to remind us. The Philmont Scout Ranch would be a perfect place to search for Fenn’s treasure chest, if it weren’t the Philmont Scout Ranch…private property. So many good clues here, and I especially like the Tooth-of-Time land formation and ridge. What if the word-that-is-key is “Time”…what if that is how we unlock the clues in the poem?

On we went to Rayado where this is one of my favorite non-clues but should defintely be a clue…I mean, look at this. EX spells “X” and there are two upside down omegas.

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We passed by the few buildings comprising Rayado, made our way through Miama, and on to Springer where we hopped up onto I-25 for the ride home.

The orange-ish sky was now fading to twilight and the horizon was a dark silhouette to the southwest. I could make out the outlines of numerous antelope along the fence to the west.
The night sky gradually increased in size as the daylight faded to black…

There was almost no traffic between Springer and Las Vegas. The half-moon blazed out my side window and there was a planet as bright as any star in front of me…it looked like a starburst in the shape of a cross. Patsy Cline softly sang Crazy through the radio…Molly slept on her pillow in the backseat. It was a time to reflect…

I thought about all the people who waved or nodded their head when I passed by today…was it because I drive a pickup truck and look like a local, or were they unusually happy? Were they as elated to have the acrimonious campaigns over as I was? The vitriolic spewing of words during Sunday NFL football was almost enough to make me stop watching until the election was over. But I was totally calm now…driving is soothing to me, and it worked. Regardless of ones political persuasion or convictions, I think John Cougar Mellencamp still has it right…

“Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me…”

Eleven hours, 400 plus miles, and 200 photographs later, Molly and I made it home. We are resting comfortably in front of our juniper fire…oh wait, it was Forrest that said that. We are just resting comfortably, happy to be home, and happy to be living in America!

To see more pictures, click on this link:
https://cmeachum.smugmug.com/Angel-Fire-Loop-Drive

Peace!

Cynthia and Molly

 

As I Have Gone Alone in There…Hermit Peak…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2016
by CYNTHIA

 

Another search season is rapidly coming to an end. I’ve been so busy searching for others at their locations that I feel like I’ve neglected myself. This would be extremely bothersome to me, but no. Here it is the second day of November and our temperatures remain unseasonably warm. I knew today would be a good opportunity for Molly and me to take a road trip…a reconnaisance of sort to a new place for me, a new road, a new trail, a new mountain peak. The biggest problem…finding a destination that is new to me but still north of Santa Fe. With each previous search trip and special place scratched off the map of potential search areas, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find that new road.

As I pondered my dilemma, I thought of Chris the math teacher and his logic that the poem starts at Forrest’s house. (Chris is the guy who creates detailed, difficult scavenger hunts.) Maybe he’s right, but the poem needs to lead us from there… I remembered the comment by a guy on one of the blogs. He said “ the word halve sounds like have, so the first line could read ‘As I halve gone” which translates to halve the word ‘gone’ which means go…ne. Go northeast. This works…from Fenn’s old wagon I would take the Santa Fe Trail northeast. But now where?

image1As I perused my maps of the Santa Fe National Forest, I remembered seeing a road plaque for Hermit Peak on my way up Rt518 to Walker Flats. Hmmm, “Hermit” Peak…As I have gone (go northeast) alone (Hermit) in there.

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It works…Hermit Peak sits 20 miles NW of Las Vegas, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Molly and I made our way up I-25 to Las Vegas where we took the exit for Montezuma…an equally interesting settlement, with a HOT SPRINGS, a potential place where warm water halts (where the multiple hot springs empty into the cold water of Gallinas Creek.) The only problem…this area is extremely popular, and all private property. We stopped, regardless.

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After taking a few photos of the “baths” and creek, back in the truck we went and on up the canyon we traveled, winding our way along Rt65 into the unknown…new territory to me.
It was beautiful!

image4As we approached the tiny community of Gallinas, I enjoyed the various styles of architecture along the river…

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… as well as the well-fed horses in the pastures.

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And like many small communities in New Mexico, there are the tidy places…

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…as well as the not-so-tidy places.

Gallinas was no different.

But the scenery soon turned stunning as Hermit Peak came into view… a glorious monolith off in the distance.

image9image10We soon came to an intersection where Rt65 split from the soon-to-be dirt roads which headed into Gallinas Canyon or Johnson Mesa. I had choices and had no idea which one would lead me to the treasure. We proceeded straight ahead.

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Molly and I first stopped at Oak Flats, a small day-use area along the Gallinas Creek. We discovered a deep fishing pool along a rock wall, which would have been “special” if it hadn’t have been so close to the picnic table and pile of litter beneath. What the hell is wrong with so many outdoor recreationists that they have to litter EVERYWHERE? The only extremely clean, litter-free public land I ever see is in our National Parks. I’m always amazed!

After stretching our legs a bit, we turned around and headed back the way we came. But instead of going to El Porvenir, I decided to take a right on FR156 towards Johnson Mesa, just to see what was beyond the curve. Almost immediately was EV Long Campground, where we once again walked down to the creek and splashed in the water, and took even more photos.

Then finally, I turned back onto Rt65 and headed northwest towards El Porvenir, not knowing what was coming. Some of the camps and homes were quite nice for being out in the boonies, and some were not. One had a “bridge” in drastic need of repair. I thought of the line in the poem “From there it’s no place for the meek”… and then I saw Hermit Peak…so majestic, and now closer than I’d ever been.
image12It wasn’t long until we arrived at the turnout/parking area for the Hermit Peak Trailhead. We exited the truck and walked to the bridge crossing Beaver Creek, only to see a sign that said DO NOT use…it had been damaged by a flood or debris. I stopped but Molly waded across the creek. When I called for her to come back to the truck, she came trotting across the bridge…no worries, she had not read the warning so she didn’t know.

image13We drove to the actual El Porvenir Campground where once again we got out and stretched our legs. We found the same trail to Hermit Peak but did not have time to hike it. Maybe next year…

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On the way back to Montezuma, we stopped at a dam/reservoir place and took a few more pictures before heading home.

Upon returning home, I checked the latitude of the northern limit of Santa Fe versus the area where we spent the day. Unfortunately, Las Vegas, Montezuma, the hot springs, El Porvenir, even Hermit peak, none of these places are 8.25 miles north of the northern limit of Santa Fe so none of them meet the necessary criteria to make it a viable search spot. Even so, after 7 hours and 300 miles, it was still another great day. It was not a day spent in pursuit of Fenn’s treasure …it was a day spent in pursuit of mine.

More pictures if you want to see them:
CLICK HERE

Cynthia-

 

 

 

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Three…

scrapbook

NOVEMBER 2016

 

Remember the story titled “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn” that appeared in the California Sunday Magazine last summer? The writer, Taylor Clark, visited Santa Fe early in 2016 to interview Forrest. After he wrote the story and his editor approved it for publication it went to a “fact-checker” whose job is to make sure the purported facts in the story are true and not simply the imaginative construction of the writer. So, the fact checker must contact someone who can authenticate the facts in the story. In this case that was Forrest.

California Sunday Magazine comes inside the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Examiner every Sunday, so potentially, a few million eyeballs browse the colorful, photo essay stories they publish.

I was perusing my files and ran across the following note from last May.  I thought you’d find it interesting. Below is the fact-checker’s questions about “facts” in the story and Forrest’s factual replies. Do a little fact-checking on your own. Compare what Forrest wrote to what was actually written in the story. What do you think?

The California Sunday Magazine story is on our Media Coverage page on this very blog…
Look about three links down..
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE MEDIA PAGE

 


The cancer in your kidney was in more than one spot? 
It was under my kidney embedded in the inferior vena cava, which is the vein that takes blood from the lower body back to the heart. There was just one spot

Your cancer was removed in 1988? 
My kidney was removed in 1988 and also the cancer.

You were shot down in an F100 over Laos? What happened? How did you survive that?
I was shot down twice in the F-100. The first time was in south Vietnam and the second time in Laos. I crash landed the first time on a small airstrip and walked away. The second time I parachuted into the jungle and was picked up by a helicopter the next day.

You’ve searched for artifacts in deserted canyons?
Deserted canyons is not a good phrase. I have looked for artifacts in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.

You’ve sold moccasins to the Rockefellers and sculptures to the Spielbergs? 
Yes, I sold antique Sioux moccasins to Peggy Rockefeller and Charlie Russell sculpture to Steven Spielberg.

Two years before you were diagnosed with cancer, your father was diagnosed with advanced cancer?
Yes, my father had terminal pancreas cancer.

And he took a handful of pills after he was diagnosed?
My father was given 6 months to live and 18 months later he took 50 sleeping pills

When you talked about facing death, you expressed that you’d rather die alone, but with dignity, and at first, you thought you might take sleeping pills at the site of your treasure? 
Yes, since I was told I was going to die I wanted to do it on my own terms as my father had done.

So it would be fair to say that you sort of see this as a dignified way to go out, rather than sort of dying slowly?
I saw my alternative as being a hospital bed that would offer a temporary postponement with a hose in my nose, tubes down my throat, and needles in my arm. And with friends and relatives watching and crying. That was the last thing I wanted.

Initially, you weren’t really sure how you’d want to die?
I don’t understand that question. If I had my way I would die under a tree somewhere deep in a pine forest and let my body go back to the earth.

But then one night you were lying in bed when you got the idea for hiding the treasure chest and then leaving behind a poem. Correct? 
Yes

But then the whole scheme was a disappointment because the cancer treatment fortunately ended up working?
Yes, I got well and ruined the plan.

However, you still liked the idea of hiding a treasure, so you stuck with that part of the plan?
Yes

The hidden treasure includes Ceylon sapphires and Alaskan gold nuggets the size of chicken eggs?
Yes, two nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each, and hundreds of smaller ones. There are two Ceylon sapphires, hundreds of rubles, 8 emeralds and lots of diamonds.

And while some of the things included in the treasure came from your own collection, you bought some of the things to add to the chest?
Yes

Even your wife didn’t know when you buried the treasure, correct? 
I have never said I buried the treasure so please don’t say that. I hid the treasure, but that does not mean it is not buried. I just didn’t want to give that as a clue. My wife’s name is Peggy.

You hid it in 2010?
I have never pinned it down that close. I just say I was 79 or 80 when I hid it.

It took you two trips from your car to get all of the treasure to the hiding spot because it weighed 42 pounds? 
Yes

So you were 80 then?
I was  79 or 80. I have a reason for not wanting to give an exact date.

And you kept  what you’d done completely secret? 
What I have done is no secret at all. My book describes it. The hiding place and when I hid it are secrets. I am the only one who knows where it is.

And even your daughters didn’t find out until you published your autobiography?
Yes, but I call it a memoir.

How long did it take you to refine the poem included in your autobiography? 
I worked on it for 15 years, changing and rearranging words.

You originally had 1,000 copies published?
Yes, because I didn’t think anyone would want my book.

And you’ve now sold around 20,000 copies?
I gave the books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe, and they sold them. I have made no money and have not sold any of the books personally

And you gave rights to your book to Collected Works because you didn’t want to be accused of doing this for the money? Is that correct?
No, I did not give the rights or the copyright away. I gave only the books. I didn’t want anyone to say the hidden treasure is a hoax for me to make money on the book.

But the treasure is worth a lot of money, correct? 
Yes

So that would be funny if people accused you of trying to make money off of this. 
You are correct. I didn’t even get my publishing costs back.

You added to the gallery a brick-laid plaza, a gold-fixtured guesthouse and a sculpture garden with a scenic pond, correct?
The brick plaza is part of the big guest house. There were 3 other guest houses and the pond has 2 waterfalls.

And you did that by hand? You did that yourself?
No, I had contractors do it for me, but I helped.

And the pond once housed two pet alligators, Elvis and Beowolf? 
Yes, but the name is Beowulf, not Beowolf.

Did you self-publish The Thrill of the Chase? 
Yes, I have self-published all 10 of my books. The name of the company is The One Horse Land and Cattle Company.

Your walls are lined with age-cracked pottery, feathered headdresses and a case of arrowheads. Correct?
Age-cracked is not a good phrase. How about ancient pottery?

You grew up in Temple, TX? 
Yes, born and raised

Your dad was the principal of the elementary school you attended?
Yes

As you were rising in the Air Force ranks, you realized you worked best as a schemer, working on your own? 
I was not a schemer, but I knew that if I was to compete with PHDs and aeronautical engineers I had to out hustle them, and I did.

You left when they tried to promote you to colonel lieutenant?
I was promoted to Lieutenant colonel but turned it down and retired. If I had accepted the promotion I would have had to stay in the Air Force two more years, and I wanted out.

How, if at all, did your experiences in Vietnam impact the decision to leave? 
When I was shot down in the Laotian jungle I had a lot of time to think. I kept telling myself that there had to be something better than this.


 

If you are interested in comparing some of what the fact-checker fact-checked, against what was eventually published in the story you can find a link to the California Sunday Magazine story on our Media Coverage page on this very blog…
Look about three links down..
CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE MEDIA PAGE

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Two…

scrapbook

OCTOBER 2016

 

mnewmexico

 

Forrest forwarded this to me with few words, which is not like him at all. I think parts of it made him nervous.
dal-

—————————
Mr. Fenn,
You likely don’t remember me but I wrote about a month and-a-half ago to praise you on your book The Thrill of the Chase.  In my email, I mentioned that my husband and I would be visiting New Mexico (for a business trip, which would include a quick search for your treasure, beginning at 32 degrees latitude at the southern border of NM and working our way north.)   Well, we took the trip and, as you know, we did not find the treasure.  There was some disappointment of course — I was secretly certain that I’d interpreted your clues accurately — but that disappointment was quickly dispelled by what we did find… amazing sites and interesting history.  Because of the book, I truly believe that our eyes were open a bit wider and our minds that much more receptive to the stories and histories we learned.  So, although we didn’t find the treasure, it was a wonderful trip.

I write again to give you a bit of an update.

I’ve reread The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far To Walk umpteen times now.

I laugh now when I think back to the first few times that I read The Thrill of the Chase.  At that time, I was enamored with what I thought were the simple, gentle musings of a fellow harkening back to his younger years .  To me it was a collection of amusing stories, life lessons, and inspirational insights.  It was imperfect yet sweet.  Now, I simply think that the piece is genius and calculating, thick with creative license (remember non-fiction only has to be 85% accurate), multiple layers and ciphers that redirect the reader to entirely different end points.  It is not a collection of short stories culminating in one book; it is a collection of riddles culminating in what could be three or four books, depending upon which layer you’re on.  Pictures contain hidden letters and numbers, the meaning of words and sentences are altered by either a phonetic re-read or a reorder or substitution of letters.  It’s flexible and supports unsuspecting readers as they continue down the wrong path.  It’s the literary version of the Butterfly Effect.  And it is the reason everyone has different starting points, different ending points.   It is brilliant… and addictive… and the reason why I question everything I read (hmmmm, I wonder what that’s supposed to mean), why I’ve read Hemmingway and Salinger and why I know that Robert Redford actually has written a book.  It’s the reason I know your Grandpa Fenn’s name and about the YMCA (thanks to my love of genealogy), and the countless other tidbits of information I’ve garnered along the way.  It’s the reason why I may just go for it and search for the “missing appendix” behind the hardcover and binding…

And it’s the reason why I’ve never squinted so much in my life!  My flashlight’s batteries are now dim and my eyes are nearly crossed.  I never used “reader” glasses before but over the past several weeks have found them to be quite helpful.  My rock hounding loupe (my husband and I are rockhounds) is constantly at my side and I eagerly await a new one, which I ordered off Amazon, with a stronger magnification.  Then perhaps I can learn your alphabet (I do know that L = Y, as in YMCA) and I’ll hopefully soon make sense of what appear now to be random numbers and letters and superimposed images cleverly hidden behind the innocent photographs of your youth.  Until I can figure out the alphabet, my “solve” begins by Hebgen Lake and winds up at the Thumb Basin in Yellowstone. Perhaps yet another victim of the butterfly, or perhaps my route will change, but right now it is the path that I’m on.

Regardless, it is a fun ride and I just want to thank you for this perfect puzzle.

Sincerely,
Bonnie

 

 

Not Another Rio Grande Solve!…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2016
by MIKEYJ

 

 

Hey all,
I first read about Forrest and his treasure chest in January 2016 after googling hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains. I figured since I moved to the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe I would give this a shot.
Here is my adventure for the past season. All of the following is my own opinion. I’ll get right to it. Hope you enjoy.

Clue #1

“Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,”

To me this is the first clue, because it tells you to begin. In my early days of research I came across Dal’s post where he used the start of the Rio Grande Gorge as his WWWH because it’s where the Rio Grande turns colder as it enters the canyon (it’s more of a canyon at the start than a gorge) and leaves the San Luis Valley. If you google “Lobatos bridge Colorado” you can find where the canyon starts. I moved to the valley about 2 years ago and the average low in January is -30F. The water flow rate is slow enough where the canyon starts that the river freezes over. It’s a popular ice fishing spot for locals in the winter. A synonym for halt is freeze. So now I have 2 reasons why warm waters halt where the canyon starts.

Clue #2

“Not far, but too far to walk.”

This seems pretty straight forward to me. Go a distance that would be too far to walk. I start to follow the river down and it starts winding and weaving, then cuts to the east for a couple miles, then heads back down south and continues weaving and winding. This stood out to me because it strongly resembled the preface to Too Far To Walk.

Clue #3

“Put in below the home of Brown.”

I kept following the river until I hit the NM/CO border. Then I noticed it looked like there was a way to get into the river just south of the border. I thought maybe Colorado could be the infamous HOB. One thing I’ve heard a few times from other people who have moved to CO recently was that there’s a lot of brown in the scenery. I also looked at the “B” in home of Brown and thought that whatever the “home of Brown” was would be a proper noun and capitalized in it’s proper usage. That would mean it should be identifiable on a map. Colorado fit the proper noun qualification for me so I decided to go with it.

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The drop pin is where the canyon starts and the state line is just below the color change

Clue #4

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

Just south of the border is Ute Mountain. In my research I also read Springer42’s story from late 2015 about his Rio Grande search where he used it because a. it’s an old volcano, b. it was the site of Meeker Massacre, and c. the Utes were supposed to be the bravest. So now I’ve found a put in spot south of the border and north of Ute Mountain. It was about late January/early February when I found my BOTG spot and decided to do a little early reconnaissance mission.

Clue #5

“The end is ever drawing nigh;”

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Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.

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Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.

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Anasazi petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D.

Now this is where I started to get excited. I get to my BOTG spot which is an old, dry creek bed, Costilla Creek. About a mile away from the Rio Grande is where I put BOTG. At the parking area it’s any easy walk to get  to the creek, no elevation changes or climbing, just walk right in. Well about 500 ft down the creek on one of the rocks are some old petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D., the same times as the chest. So now I’ve got my drawing nigh. I look at the semicolon and think that it means to pause and keep going down the creek.

Clue #6

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.”

There will be no paddle up your creek. I take this as Forrest talking in the future tense. So when I’m in the present I keep going down the creek bed. Now for some more synonyms. A synonym for paddle is wade. So now I’ve got some petroglyphs in a dry creek bed that I can’t paddle a kayak up or wade up. Even if there was water in it I couldn’t paddle up because of the heavy loads, big rocks that would get in the way. A synonym for heavy is also ponderous. Could ponderous loads be big pine trees? And then there’s the water high. Along the whole way down there are high water marks on the rocks and where Costilla Creek and the Rio Grande meet, there are a few small pools/mostly mud pits right at the junction. Now to find that blaze!

Clue #7

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

Once I found those petroglyphs in my dry creek bed I was sure I had the put in spot. I spent all spring and summer looking for a blaze, hiking up and down the Rio Grande until I felt like I had walked more than a few miles. Then I did a little more research on some synonyms and realized I may have found the blaze pretty early on. Synonyms for wise, found, and blaze could be sage, root out, and fire. Going back to drawing nigh for a moment. A synonym for nigh could be left. So down where the creek meets the river, right where the pools of water are, on the left side of the bank is a burned out root ball under some sagebrush. Great! Now I’ve got the blaze!

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My Blaze

Clue #8

“Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”

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View of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.

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Another view of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.

I looked all around whatever was left of the root ball but no luck, so it was on to some more synonyms. If you haven’t been able to tell yet I rely heavily on synonyms in my solve. “Look quickly down” could be translated to “goggle rapidly down”. So now I’ve got my sights set on the river, a great place to secret something. When I look down from my blaze there is a little section of rapids right there. It was about the time I found this out that I realized throwing away my snorkel set last November was a terrible decision.

Clue #9

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.”

At face value this tells me not to stop and stare, which I wouldn’t want to do if I had a box of gold and only one way in and out for miles. I looked for some more synonyms and found “tarry scant” could be a blackish slab of stone. Also, a synonym for marvel is goggle and a synonym for gaze it goggle at, which both direct me to somewhere under water.

So why don’t I have the chest? Beats me. I probably couldn’t have asked for a better season. Water levels were in the 20th percentile and I wasn’t looking in more than 18″ of water with a pretty weak current. Even tho I didn’t have any goggles I had some polarized sunglasses. I could seen my feet at the bottom of the river along with all the other rocks. I must have flipped over every rock I could move at least twice. That only leaves one answer and I hate to say it, but I must be wrong. Best of luck to all searchers!

MikeyJ

The Mark on the Map…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2016
by Alba and Raul

 

The following story was submitted in Spanish because that is Alba and Raul’s native language. They visited here from Spain and upon their return, wrote of their adventure. There is a Google English translation on a link at the bottom of this page. It is not a very lovely translation but most of their broad points come across…although the beauty of their native language and finer points of their storytelling are probably lost in the translation.

dal-


Marzo y Abril de 2016.

Hipótesis base – La marca en el mapa.

Nuestra hipótesis base, la idea que condiciona todas nuestras líneas de investigación posteriores, se apoya en el texto final del segundo libro. Allí donde dice que le invitaron a poner una X en el mapa, y que declinó el ofrecimiento, aunque estaba ahí en espíritu. “In Spirit”, dijo. Así que buscamos ese espíritu, que aquí en España relacionamos con algo que está pero no se ve, o algo que aparece como translúcido. Bien, efectivamente, en el mapa, al mirarlo al trasluz, aparece una gran “S” (¿Spirit?) delimitando perfectamente una zona muy concreta del mapa.

Es curioso porque en este segundo libro únicamente hay 9 capítulos que tengan ese marco rojizo en la primera letra del párrafo. Así que asumimos que podía ser una pista.

Teníamos pues un lugar candidato. Veamos si hay más indicios que apuntan hacia esa zona.

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Hipótesis complementaria #1 – Interpretación del prólogo del segundo libro.

FF dijo en una entrevista que en el prólogo del segundo libro daba una idea muy clara de cuál era su concepto de la libertad y del disfrute de la vida en la naturaleza. En ese prólogo, efectivamente, habla de un viaje en canoa que le permitió disfrutar de varios días de descanso y soledad en plena naturaleza, alejado de otras personas. Indica que siguió una ruta habitual por el río, pero que se quedó en una zona apartada. Y aclara que no ha vuelto a ese lugar, ya que está demasiado lejos para él….

¿Podría la zona marcada por la “S” ser una alternativa a ese lugar al que no ha podido volver? Bien, por un lado, es una zona cercana a Santa Fe (hora y media de coche). En segundo lugar, resulta que sí, que tiene río (la “S” podría haber estado en una montaña, o en una llanura), y resulta que, tercer punto, es un río navegable y habitual para las personas que practican rafting.

Así que, a partir de aquí, empezamos con el poema. Creemos que el comienzo está en BEGIN, así que interpretamos la primera línea: where warm waters halt

como el lugar donde se detienen las aguas templadas, literalmente –→ en el agua fría.

Puede ser el lugar donde están las madrigueras de las agradables nutrias – warm otters halt

Ambos lugares, dentro del cuadrado, dan un punto de inicio semejante:

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A partir de aquí, take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk, que nosotros interpretamos en dos sentidos, el literal (una distancia manejable en coche en menos de una hora) y el escondido, que ya se ha tratado en esta web, la distancia de 24.2 millas.

Resulta curioso comprobar cómo la distancia que te da Google Maps, desde ambos puntos hasta el Cooper’s El Vado Ranch es exactamente la de 24.2 millas.

¿Por qué esta ubicación? Bien, pensamos que El Vado es The home of Brown (trout). Al ser el lugar donde pescaron la trucha más grande de la zona.

Hasta aquí tenemos que la zona en la que estamos investigando cumple de forma muy natural con lo que pueden ser las primeras pistas (comienzo, dirección y destino de los primeros pasos).

Ante el siguiente párrafo, creemos que nos habla de un viaje a través del agua. Resulta que todos nuestros pasos anteriores nos podrían haber llevado a una zona montañosa, o desértica, o un bosque, pero nos conducen hacia un río, así que creemos estar en la buena dirección.

From there it’s 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.

No es un lugar para los cobardes, ya estamos cerca, hay que remar a través de una fuerte corriente de agua de montaña, exactamente lo que hacen las personas que practican rafting en la zona. Así que debemos bajar por el río, ¿pero hasta dónde?. El siguiente párrafo nos daría la clave:

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

Creemos que PEACE hace referencia al Monasterio, por el cartel con la misma palabra que tiene en la carretera de entrada, así que ya teníamos un área del río delimitada en la cual debíamos buscar el resto de pistas.

También, ante las preguntas de los buscadores, FF ha dicho que su iglesia se encuentra junto a los ríos, entre las montañas, en la naturaleza, y este lugar es una buena imagen de ese anhelo.

Hipótesis complementaria #2 – Wilderness Study Area

Además, la zona tiene la denominación de Wilderness Study Area. Así que puede hacer referencia tanto a la palabra WISE (tienes que estudiar para ser sabio) como a la palabra MEEK (Wilderness).

Lugares candidatos

Candidato #1

  • Más arriba del monasterio. Alrededor de Huckby Canyon.

Elegimos esta zona, por los comentarios de FF respecto a la lejanía del cofre en relación al coche. Y de su distancia en relación a la cantidad de gente que pasa por allí. Si hubiera aparcado en el monasterio, podría andar alrededor de cincuenta minutos más allá del Monasterio, hasta llegar a la zona Huckby Canyon, donde found the blaze, Look quickly down, your quest to cease, But tarry scant with marvel gaze.

Sería una zona apartada con una longitud de búsqueda asequible (no más de 3 millas de búsqueda), donde hubiese podido dejar su bote, en aquel viaje imaginario evocando su viaje pasado, y donde poder descansar para siempre en mitad de la naturaleza. ii_156e62a46e5fc6d5

Sin embargo, siendo esta nuestra primera opción, la tuvimos que descartar al no poder acceder directamente a la zona, debido a que es una propiedad privada del Monasterio, y no se puede cruzar el terreno para llegar a la zona más al norte de las instalaciones.

Tampoco es una opción viable rodeando el terreno por la parte pública, ya que nos costó más de una hora rodear toda el monasterio y su zona privada a través del monte y llegar al comienzo del valle más salvaje. Con lo que FF no hubiera tenido tiempo de ir y volver dos veces en una misma tarde.

Candidato #2 – LA ESTATUA

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Al estudiar el terreno in situ, descubrimos una pequeña estatua negra en lo alto de una colina que debe pertenecer al monasterio, pero de la que no hemos encontrado ninguna referencia en internet. Es solamente apreciable si estás en el lugar y miras en la dirección adecuada.

Al ser la estatua de un monje, creemos que puede representar a St Benedict, fundador de la orden. Investigando su figura, nos encontramos con que uno de sus milagros más conocidos es el de el “Blaze in the kitchen”. Esto vuelve a encajar con el prólogo del segundo libro, donde hace referencia a un episodio de su infancia.

Siguiendo este hilo, If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, puede estar indicándonos que si hemos pasado por la WSA (study to be wise) y encontramos la estatua (Blaze) debemos buscar allí.

Dos opciones:

  • Frente a la estatua. Junto al río.

Al decirnos Look quickly down, your quest to cease, decidimos seguir la mirada abajo de la estatua, que nos lleva al río. Buscamos en esa zona durante todo un día y no encontramos nada que encajara con But tarry scant with marvel gaze.

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  • Frente a la estatua. A sus pies

Si somos más estrictos con el término Look quickly down, miramos casi exactamente en la zona a los pies de la estatua (pero no bajo ella, al ser un objeto de culto!) donde localizamos además dos Memoriales, que podrían tener dos asociaciones, una con la palabra TARRY como sinónimo de REST, y la otra con los dos hermanos de FF. En un capítulo de sus libros dice más o menos que le gustaría volver a estar con ellos, y llegamos a pensar que estas dos Memoriales eran un homenaje a Rose y a Skippy.

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Pensad incluso que una de las cruces tiene una rosa (Rose) y otra un águila, una posible referencia a los vuelos de Skippy.

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Las dos anteriores localizaciones respetan la premisa establecida por FF, de que varios buscadores han estado cerca del cofre, puede que a 200 pasos, pero no se han dado cuenta. Tanto para el río como para la colina bajo la estatua, el camino del Monasterio está cerca, pero fuera de la zona de búsqueda.

Pasamos un día entero en cada una de estas dos opciones, y no encontramos nada. Puede que porque el cofre no estaba allí, puede que pasásemos al lado y no fuéramos capaces de localizarlo.

  • Variantes

Un tercer día decidimos variar un poco nuestra interpretación. Ok, si estamos en el río Chama, hemos pasado Home of Brown, vamos en bote, la zona donde está escondido el cofre está cerca del agua, un lugar donde FF pudo acampar y estar tranquilo, y la parte final de nuestra búsqueda debe ser la zona del Monasterio, con la estatua como BLAZE y el cartel como PEACE, vamos a fijarnos en MARVEL GAZE.

¿Y si se refiere a que busquemos con una vista maravillosa? ¿Puede esta vista maravillosa ser la iglesia? ¿Puede ser la estatua? Ok, bajemos el río un poco, pero manteniendo las vistas de ambas referencias. De esa manera, tenemos este área de búsqueda.

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Ésta opción sigue encajando en todo, pero no encontramos nada, aparte de varias supuestas madrigueras (¿quién será el valiente que levante las piedras con serpientes de cascabel rondando por la zona?), y una gran agujero en el tronco de un árbol, bastante profundo, pero con hojas secas en su interior.

Bien, tras la búsqueda sin éxito encima, en y debajo de la zona del Monasterio, nos planteamos otras lecturas del poema. ¿Y si al hablar de If you’ve been wise nos está indicando la MISMA zona del WSA? Es decir, la zona que en Google Maps y otras aplicaciones de mapas aparece designada propiamente como Wilderness Study Area?

Candidato #3

  • En la misma WSA

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Esta zona cumple varias de las premisas (río, después de Home of Brown, bajar por el río, Water High…) y el poema nos puede estar diciendo que si hemos sido sabios (así que estamos en el área de estudio) podemos encontrar el Blaze y luego salir (del cañón) a través de PEACE. La única salida natural de ese cañón es pasar por el Monasterio, así que puede servir.

¿Cuál fue la pega de este lugar? Condujimos durante muchos kilómetros para acercarnos a la parte superior del cañón, para, a partir de ahí, bajar y llegar al río, pero nuestro vehículo no podía acceder hasta el final del camino y, además, vimos que el desnivel entre la cima y la orilla hubiera sido difícil de hacer dos veces en una misma tarde para una persona mayor. A

Así que no llegamos a bajar allí. Quién sabe si tuvimos el cofre a la vista y no fuimos capaces de bajar el cañón menospreciando la fuerza de FF para andar caminos empedrados… ¡Id con cuidado!

(en todo caso, en varias entrevistas, FF ha dicho que él no ha subido y bajado cañones en su ruta hacia el lugar del cofre… quién sabe)

Candidato #4

  • En la casa de Brown, más allá del puente (no place for the meek).

Esta opción se basa más en el comentario de FF sobre la sencillez del poema. Como si fuéramos unos niños en una gymkana, seguimos las primeras claves del poema (WWH, cañón abajo, Home of Brown…) y aquí nos detenemos en la palabra MEEK. Si no tenemos que ser MEEK… ¿tendremos que hacer alguna prueba que requiera valentía?

Bien, en la misma Home of Brown existe un puente colgante para el que tienes que tener cierto valor para cruzar. ¿Y si es tan sencillo como ésto? Así que debíamos cruzar el puente y seguir buscando el resto de pistas (bajar por el curso del río, con gran cantidad de agua… y localizar un BLAZE).

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Superado este puente, aparece un camino que sigue el curso del río, a través del cañón, hacia el WSA y el Monasterio.

Dedicamos un día entero a subir y bajar el curso del río pero no vimos nada más que pudiera encajar con el resto de pistas del poema.

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Candidato #5

  • Bajando río abajo, por todos los rápidos.

Descartada también la zona anterior, decidimos re-interpretar otro apartado del poema. Esta vez, la palabra QUICKLY, que asociamos con los rápidos del río. A partir del Monasterio (recordemos que a la zona superior nos fue realmente complicado acceder) existen multitud de rápidos en el río, localizables a partir de mapas topográficos de la zona, así que fuimos buscando río abajo en las mismas zonas de los rápidos y sus nombres como posibles palabras relacionadas, prácticamente hasta el desvío que termina en el lago.

Varios días de búsqueda a un lado y a otro que tampoco tuvieron éxito.

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CONCLUSIÓN

Más de diez días buscando en el cañón del Río Chama, con muchos apartados del poema que encajaban con naturalidad en nuestras hipótesis y distintos lugares candidatos, pero que no nos condujeron a la localización exacta del cofre. Puede que hayamos estado a pocos pasos del tesoro o puede que hayamos malinterpretado por completo la intención de FF y el cofre esté a miles de kilómetros de la zona en la que buscamos, pero una cosa es intentar descifrar su acertijo y otra muy distinta es llegar a la montaña y ser capaz de localizar entre la maleza un cofre escondido hace bastantes años. De una u otra forma, ha sido una de las aventuras más emocionantes que hemos vivido, tal vez una de las más increíbles que vivamos, agradecemos a FF y a toda la comunidad de buscadores en este foro por sus debates (que han hecho de 24 líneas un acertijo universal), y esperamos que nuestra experiencia sirva para avivar ideas y avanzar en la solución final.

Alba and Raul-


Click HERE to read a Google Translation in English.

 

 

I Think The Chest is Here…

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Many searchers have decided the chest is in a general area…maybe even a specific area of the known universe of the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. So this is the place where we can talk about where we, as individuals, think the chest is at…Don’t give away too much though… 🙂

dal…