SUBMITTED july 2016
I found the “Chase” around the last week of April looking for summer adventure for the family, including the “Beale Cipher” and local rumored missing or lost treasures. Forrest’s adventurous chase caught the attention of the family (a blended family of eight) and we’ve been hooked.
I started digging around for information on the blogs, and watched the videos, and by the first week of May we had a destination and went looking all within a week. Crazy, but exciting.
We agreed that the first place to look was “Begin it where warm waters halt” and one of the most common solves for this is the Boiling River in North Yellowstone.
I found the quote Forrest made regarding how several have solved the first few clues but had walk right on past the chest “too far to walk”, and looked closer to the boiling river for clues.
I wandered around on google earth and found the various “put-ins” along the Yellowstone itself and came across one five miles away(almost exactly) below a set of ponds I found to be the Gardiner water treatment facility next to the Gardiner Airport.
I believed then, that the “Home of Brown” was that “Brown” gravy water with an awful smell, or the resting home of every well cooked Brown trout. At least my 13yo mind told me that, and my 15 &14yo boys giggled.
I then went to the next clue. “From there it’s no place for the meek” which I took as a reference to Jo Meek who crossed the Yellowstone near here escaping from the Nez Perce and was lost and alone in the Yellowstone park till he was found by two of his companions. So, I assumed “cross here”.
The next clue, “The end is ever drawing nigh,” I took to say the creek “draw” is near, as just across the river is where Landslide Creek empties into the Yellowstone.
“No paddle up your creek” I felt that I was on the right path then because the creek is only about 2′ across at most points, and it’s name also seemed to allude to there being no paddling up it.
Here are the kiddos hiking along Landslide creek.“Just heavy loads and water high” I took to talk about the old dam, up stream, being the heavy loads creating the water high.
Here is a shot of the dam with Cinnabar Mountain behind it.
But, after following the creek up further, I found that there is also a lake upstream from the dam at a higher elevation, named, “Rainbow Lake” on the “Sepulcher Mtn.” ( I had to look up sepulcher and it means Crypt or Tomb)
I thought I had it in the bag,… but, I didn’t have a “blaze” I looked and at the end of Rainbow Lake was a circular shaped pond that seemed to stand out and looked like a gold coin!
So, we set out and looked in the “coin” pond.
And what we found was mud. It was a muddy messy pond frequented by bison, deer, pronghorn, and elk. If it was once there, it would have sunk into the mud.
We searched around Rainbow lake a little more and found a hole in the ground we assumed to be an old geyser,(did you know that Iceland has a geyser named the Blaze?) but, after research and a second trip up, found it to only be a sink hole surrounded by white clay and no other signs of “blaze” in the area. (Unless random Elk antlers 8′ up in the tree is a blaze.)
While researching the area, we found some supporting history, such as:
-It’s called Paradise Valley.(ironically it’s like a desert and we had to watch out for cactus. It reminded me of Texas or New Mexico)
-The Gardiner newspaper was called the “Wonderland”
-The town of Cinnabar has interesting history
*Apparently Buffalo Bill Cody held tryouts there for his European tour
*It was the first train stop for Yellowstone (a land dispute kept the railroad from going to Gardiner till 1903.)
*Oddly, as a main hub to the park, not a lot of pictures of it because people wanted to save their film for the park from what I understand.(was it to homely?)
*most of the buildings were moved to Gardiner after the railroad moved there.(like maybe log cabins being moved together)
-Gardiner Clovis Point (found while excavating for the Post Office)
-Stephens Ranch Fire (Stephens ranch, close to the Stephens Creek Bison Capture Facility, was set on fire by the Nez Perce during the Nez Perce war)
-Brown streak on Cinnabar Mtn. next to Devil’s Slide. (apparently a couple of miners originally thought the rusty ocher to be cinnabar or mercury ore.)
-Rainbow Lake used to be stocked with fish in the 30’s and 40’s and was also known as “Middle Rainbow Lake”(Close to the 45th parallel.. middle middle)
-A branch of the Bannock trail went threw here.
-Also an old bison migration route (and current)
-Parks’ Fly Shop is in one of the original Cinnabar buildings.
-There are many other, but I’ll leave it at that.
1-Bring food from home if you have a big family(It cost $100 to feed 8 at the burger joint in Gardiner.)
2-The chest isn’t in a muddy area.(or on a shore line frequented by large animals, they would step on it to get a drink.)
3-The chest wouldn’t be in a sink hole because they collapse and I’m not digging unless I have solid proof(it still may be in a hole, a native to Yellowstone is the Burrowing Owl that finds holes to raise its family and lines it with bison dung.)
4-Bison like to walk down the middle of the road at night, and are difficult to see until you are about 12′ away.
5-Bear spray costs $50 or more. (supply and demand right?)
6-There is little to no service in the area.(stay safe and prepared)
7-Water is a heavy load, (but necessary to pack if you wish to get back.)
8-Two miles in, is a long hike for 6 kids and two out of shape parents.
9-Research all of the clues before heading out, or expect to return after taking lots of pictures of the area for reference later.(Even if all signs point to the area, there are still billions of places you can hide a 10″x10″x5” box)
10-Adventure was found. (even if we didn’t find the chest, we had a fun family adventure and I believe that making memories with my children is the best treasure I can give them.)
Well, that is what I have for solve #1. I still think we are in the right area, just off target. We will still hunt in the area and if you are in the hills by Gardiner and see a clan of 8, stop by and say hi. Maybe we can share adventures over a granola bar.