What is “IT”


“It”…as in Begin “it” where warm waters halt..
Take “it” in the canyon down…

Many people believe “it” simply means “your adventure” or “your journey” but others feel it could refer to a specific object such as a road, or a trail, perhaps even an historic trail, long ago covered up by subdivisions, malls and freeways.

Let’s talk about that concept here:

303 thoughts on “What is “IT”

  1. I always thought the first “it” meant “the hunt for the treasure” and the second “it” was for road or trail. But “it” doesn’t really matter as WWWH is the most important thing to me. If I don’t start in the right place “it” won’t matter where I go from there! 🙂

  2. IT (also referred to as Stephen King’s IT) is a 1990 horror/drama miniseries based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. The story revolves around an inter-dimensional predatory life-form, which has the ability to transform itself into its prey’s worst fears.
    Information technology (IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data,[1] often in the context of a business or other enterprise.[2] The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones.

  3. This is a very important subject. There have been a couple of brief discussions in the past that seemed to fizzle out. My interpretation of “It”, is one of the keys to the honey spot. Again, I say, my interpretation, thus my opinion. And yes, “what” is an important clue. IMO of course…

  4. If IT is a historic trail of some sort, it could also be a modern road. There are several that roughly follow trails for the same reason it was a trail to start with. It is the logical way to cross difficult terrain. If you make an assumption like this it is also logical to assume the Warm Waters Halt is some how related to the history of the trail. The problem is still trying to match some historic trail to the poem. The problem with the poem is there are so many possible matches and so little to go on to find the correct match. Even if you correctly identify the starting point you have no way of knowing you are correct short of finding the treasure. I believe Mr. Fenn has been attributed saying something to the effect that a couple of people have correctly identified the first two clues and missed the rest. Who and what they identified are still unknown, I suspect even the persons who had those right do not know. I just do not see how anyone could realistically “move with confidence” to find the treasure. I have a spot or two picked out and intend to go there to search when the weather is good for the trip, but my confidence level is more on the lines of that is a strong possibility, and the only reward I have any confidence in is having a bit of adventure doing it.

  5. A mild distinction for sure, but I see the 1st “it” as “your search”, as in your “armchair search” or “research as to where to start”. You begin your plan to follow the chase by discovering WWWH.
    The 2nd “it” refers to physically being in the right spot and taking the canyon down.
    Both ‘it”s refer to the chase or journey, as in the title to the poem. 1st is mental, 2nd is physical. Plan to be in the right place then physically move in the correct direction. IMHO.

  6. Nothing is specific– it’s a *riddle* after all, and by a doubleentendre livin Texan at that.
    Every single line should be suspect. Every word.
    I wouldn’t be surprised to find every sentence ends up being a double meaning.

    Ex: Assuming that canyon is literal could be a huge mistake. What if its a metaphor. What if he means the shadowy canyons of the concrete jungle ?
    Assuming that the capitalization of Brown makes brown a more significant word than others could also be a solution-killer.
    All just my two bits , of course.

    And I still haven’t been convinced that clue “número uno” is BWWWH. I figure he wrote the six stanzas with purpose, not on accident.

    • Oops. Lovin’, not livin. 🙂
      Anyway, I agree the “it” is very intriguing.
      So is the change of “person” that the poem goes in and out of.

  7. Very strange that just a week ago in a few email exchanges with forrest I stated that I was fairly confident in “my” interpretation of “It”; and that was enabling me to zero in tremendously on “my” general search zone. Coincidence ?…. Hmmm?

  8. I count “it” appearing five times in the poem. To me, “It” is “the trek” from WWWH to the treasure chest’s hiding spot.

    Begin it where warm waters halt (the trek)
    And take it in the canyon down, (the trek)
    From there it is no place for the meek, (the trek)
    So why is it that I must go (the trek)
    I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak. (the trek)

    Not much help in solving or finding. lol

    • It probably is that straightforward.
      I like:
      Begin it (the map research)
      Take it (the waterway)
      From there it (the trek! I think hoB is where you start with boots on the ground and see landmarks)
      So why is it (that’s the real mystery)
      I’ve done it (the heavy carrying)

      • Since nobody really knows what ff meant by “it”, your likes are as good as mine or anyone else’s. I like mine because “it” is simple, consistent, and makes sense to me. Trek doesn’t necessarily need to be boots on the ground. Remember Star Trek, or was that before your time *smiley face lol*. I think the more that a person reads into the poem, the further the person gets from actually solving the clues, whichever ones they may be. *another smiley face*

          • And of an episode of “Star Trek Voyager” with a female captain that was mentioned in that Da Vinci book I found at the thrift store..maybe I can rent that DVD?

          • “There are times, Catarina, when I find myself transfixed by a shadow on the wall, or the splashing of water on a stone. I stare at it, the hours pass, the world around me drops away, replaced by worlds being created and destroyed by my imagination.” – Leonardo Da Vinci Hologram, speaking to Capt. Kathryn Janeway, from the 1997 “Concerning Flight” episode of “Star Trek Voyager”. I didn’t watch…I just searched IMDB.com.

    • After further contemplation, I am now convinced that “it” is “the trek”, “the route”, or “the journey” to take from WWWH to the treasure chest’s hiding spot.

      Begin it where warm waters halt
      And take it in the canyon down,
      From there it is no place for the meek,
      So why is it that I must go
      I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

      I don’t believe that “it” is “the quest” because a quest is a search for something and ff did “it” to hide something.

      I don’t believe “it” is “the trail” because the trail would lead right to ff’s hidey spot, trails are often traveled frequently, and “up your creek” implies a different trail from “the canyon down” (i.e. two trails).

      By the way, I have been wrong about something once before. lol

      • LOL Bill only once? I wish I had your track record!

        “It”, is such a tiny part of the poem. Common sense rules in all things, or it should anyway.

        • Deb, there just might be a tiny bit of embellishment in my statement.

          I can’t agree that “it” can be so ambiguous as to imply many or all things. I believe that ff has said that he carefully chose each and every word in his poem. If I am right about ff, then in my mind “it” must have a specific meaning and be consistent in its meaning.

          I don’t want to be wrong twice. lol

  9. I just finished writing a post on my blog on the matter. This is a copy.

    I am reminded of the 1998 impeachment trial of President William Jefferson Clinton, when in his grand jury testimony he was asked to explain how he responded to his aides asking him if he was having an affair with Monica Lewinski. He told his aides, straight-faced, “There IS nothing going on between us.”

    Attempting to explain the above response, Clinton told the grand jury, again, straight faced, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the..if he…if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.”

    He confused everyone enough with that answer, that the impeachment failed.

    The question for today is: In Fenn’s Poem, what does “it” mean.

    (I’ve added the complete definition of the word “it” at the bottom of this post.)

    It (the pronoun “it”) is used five times in Fenn’s treasure poem in five different lines:

    Begin it where warm waters halt
    And take it in the canyon down,
    From there it’s no place for the meek,
    So why is it that I must go
    I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

    The easiest and safest assumption we can make is Fenn used the single syllable word as a substitute for multiple syllable words (or phrases) that would not sustain the rhythm of the poem.

    For example,

    Begin your journey where warm waters halt
    And take the narrow pathway in the canyon down,
    Not far, but too far to walk.
    Put in below the home of Brown.

    …while more descriptive, has lost all it’s rhythm be the middle of the second line.

    Two of the its (of the five) are relatively easy to work out with confidence:

    3. From there (the location you find yourself) is no place for the meek,


    4. So why is (this point in my life important enough) that I must go
    [And leave my trove for all to seek?]

    The conundrums are its 1., 2., and 5. But, I feel like the three are intimately related. What makes 1., 2., and 5. so difficult, is that there’s no reference point, before or after them. For the word “it” to be effective as a subject or an object, there has to be a reference before or after. See the examples below in the definition of it at the bottom of this post.

    Let’s start with the obvious (at least to me).

    1. Begin (your adventure) where warm waters halt
    2. And take (your adventure) in the canyon down,

    5. I’ve done (my adventure) tired, and now I’m weak.

    I have a hard time buying into varying the three, such as:

    1. Begin (your hunt for the treasure) where warm waters halt
    2. And take (your excitement at being outdoors) in the canyon down,

    5. I’ve done (all this writing) tired, and now I’m weak.

    I’m not saying that the reference to my and his adventure are correct. You can replace them with any word or phrase you think is appropriate for your search solutions.

    But, I AM suggesting that it’s the same word or phrase in all three lines.

    it (pronoun)

    1. used to refer to a thing previously mentioned or easily identified (a room with two beds in it), referring to an animal or child of unspecified sex (she was holding the baby, cradling it and smiling into its face), referring to a fact or situation previously mentioned, known or happening (stop it, you’re hurting me)

    2. used to identify a person (it is me)

    3. used in the normal subject position in statements about time, distance or weather (it is half past five)

    4. used in the normal subject or object position when a more specific subject or object is given later in the sentence (it is impossible to assess the problem)

    5. used to emphasize a following part of a sentence (it is the child who is the victim)

    6. the situation or circumstances; things in general (no one can stay here – it’s too dangerous now)

    7. exactly what is needed or desired (they thought they were it)

    8. informal, sex appeal (he’s still got it) sexual intercourse (they were doing it)

    9. informal, denoting a person or thing that is exceptionally fashionable, popular or successful at a particular time (they were Hollywood’s it couple)

    10. (in children’s games) the player who has to catch the others

    • For the record, Clinton was impeached. He was not removed from office, which is a second step that can be taken after impeachment. Same thing happened to Andrew Johnson: impeached, not removed. Sort of like being found guilty with a suspended sentence. Don’t know why I felt compelled to clarify, guess that’s my inner history geek coming out to play.

  10. “It” Begin “It’ is one thing and one thing only!, in this….”It” is the Quest…..Begin the Quest where the warm waters halt!
    “it” is the Quest……

  11. IT is going to be a long winter!!!
    I think IT varies and agree it helps the rhythm…
    What about…will lead…gone alone.. put in….too far to walk…drawing nigh…no paddle up…tarry scant…take the chest…all seem to suggest movement.
    Again I wonder how many things one can put into? and how many combos of heavy loads and water high make sense?
    Oh ya…if f went alone (Is it stag map?) how are we all going to fit in there at the same time…Olga’s bath was tiny?

  12. Ok begin IT take IT IT is no place for meek are all the same thing. Let me rewrite that, from Begin it all the way to the end is drawing nigh is all the same IT No paddle up ur creek changes to something else.

  13. I guess to understand Forrest’s writings a person would have to be familiar with his writings and his life.

    “Unassing a C model near the DMZ ”



    Final 647 as flown by Major Forrest Fenn


    F-100D, S/N 53-503, on display at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum


  14. With all the big questions about it, how that make sense?
    Perhaps its a number thing one must count or something.
    This poem fits so many locations, I guess I never considered looking at words like that.
    I used think the the treasure was easy to find.
    Then a failed search in flaming gorge, which burned a hole in my pocket lol.
    Then I thought mesa verde, cause the bracelet was from there.

    Now I’m kinda looking at it how Dal had said something one time, after awhile the defeats of not finding the chest gets easier. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find fenns trove!
    Finally back with the true fenners. 🙂


  15. Boy, Dal, you really know how to start something!
    Forrest used the phrase, “The Thrill of “the Chase.””
    Why not just substitute “the Chase” for the “it”?


  16. Last winter, after two years of looking for the treasure and still not knowing WWWH I felt I needed to try something different. I don’t believe the solution has anything to do with numerology or anagrams. I don’t believe I’ll know what the clues or hints in TTOTC are until after it’s been found and someone sits me down and rubs my nose in them…

    So this concept of “it” seemed like an idea worth exploring because if “it” was actually a trail or a river…and if there was some way to figure out what “it” is than it might be easier to figure out the first two lines in the second stanza.. what many call the first two clues.

    So I listened again to all Forrest’s interviews, read the stories, reread the book with the specific intent of identifying “it”.

    It was interesting to get fresh with all that material using the focus of finding “it”. In the past when I read and listened to all that material I had no focus. I was looking for “anything” that might help me. This time I had a focus..narrow point of view and it really made the material more meaningful.

    I came up with a couple of rivers that I had not considered in the past and also three trails that are still fascinating to me.
    The Nez Perce Trail through Montana, The Dominguez & Escalante Trail through Colorado and the Oregon Trail through Wyoming.

    Looking at the Oregon Trail and the idea that we should “ask a kid” led to the examination of the Immigrant’s Bathtub in eastern Wyoming.

    These days I am focused on the D&E Trail thru Colorado. It looks promising enough to keep my interest going and to have plotted out a couple of very different paths to take.

    And in addition to the fun of looking for the treasure..I am enjoying reading up on all these trails in diaries and expedition accounts by the folks that actually travelled them…Just as I feel confident that Forrest has done.

    I have some new leads for WWWH and a canyon..That is always exciting…

    So..I don’t know if “it” refers to the journey or a specific trail or something else..but it’s a fresh approach for me and I am having fun learning about the history of the west and how that might tie in to the hidey place for the treasure…

    Hunting for the treasure can give a person an education…

    • The best approach that I have ever read regarding the reviewing of ff material. And, definitely some “it”s that all can consider.

      Good luck with your new endeavors. I am sure you will let us know if you find anything, or you will at least tell us to stop looking. lol

    • Dal, you speak the truth! I have discovered so much through my research! As far as “it”, well, my theories are many…I thought for a while that I represented look, search or ogle…and t represented specific spot on map. Then I explored the possibility of I being the roman numeral 1…and treasure being thesaurus…I also considered it to stand for Isle of Treasures…and looked into different adventure children’s novels.

      • I did a lot of that too, Michelle. Now I feel like I am stuck in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. I think I liked it better when I was reading things like “Alice in Wonderland”. But I am enjoying everything I read 🙂

        • Thomas Edison used fishing line as one of the potential materials for the Incandescent Lamp. He ended up using carbonized bamboo..isn’t that used to make fishing poles? I’ll bet he was a very good fly fisherman. Ok, back it goes (my research) to the warrior monks then 🙂

        • E*, I think it could be (slightly)
          helpful to think in terms of another well-known children’s
          book. You may have read it
          (I haven’t), or at least heard of the story (I have). I think Forrest
          was familiar with it when he was
          a child, and I think that a correct
          solve relates to this.

          This is all just my opinion.

          Good luck.

    • I have to agree with you Dal. Since I have started the Chase I have been enriched with knowledge of all things Fenn. I have learned about western art history, geology, hydrology, biology, and all those other ologies. It is amazing how well one retains information when interested in a subject.

      When is the Final?

    • Thank you Dal for stating what many of us feel. I have also been enriched by Forrests efforts. It is the one thing I made a point of sharing with him. Now you are giving others the chance to say it here. 🙂

    • (edited by request of the author)
      Hi! New here. Just wanted to chime in and say I think it’s both a word game and a number.

      Begin ** with something else, strike out the *, leave *
      ****** halt with ***. Now you have ***, the number *.

      I’ll throw one more at you and please tell me what you think.

      home of Brown = ***** *****

      I’ve reached these by some method of madness and would love to hear from anyone who has seen the same. Thanks!

      • Staying with English, “where warm waters” = wHERE warm waTers = THREE? I like “Begin it where” = Begin it wHERE. Just joshing with you. *smiley face* Welcome to the chase.

    • Dal,
      That sounds like a lot of ground to cover looking for “it”. I have been accused of being an “armchair treasure hunter”. Not really, but everything and everyone seems to be labeled these days and some people aren’t happy until “it” has a name. My approach has been unique from most. The beautiful two letter word “it” may prove to be the most powerful word in the poem. “It” has no name or label. “It” is whatever we want “it” to be. I love that don’t you?

      • As I anxiously await a response from Dal, I would like to switch gears. I would like anyone reading this to post how they would feel if ff announced the treasure had been found. What questions would you have, and could you be happy for the one person who solved the poem and found the treasure? Please be honest. It would be pointless to say some sugar coated comment just for the sake of those who may judge. Go for it, and let us all know how it would impact your life. Thanks!

        • I think that I would go through all the stages of grief –little bit of anger little bit of denial but I’d want proof of course, that the treasure had been found by a. A logical explanation of the poem and b. Pictures of the actual treasure.
          After a couple Hours, and a couple glasses of wine, And perhaps a few choice swearwords, I would be done negotiating and Accept it and be able to be happy for the person who found it

        • I would be devastated. Can’t imagine how I would deal with it. I’m typically very happy for people who have good things happen for them….this situation wouldn’t be typical though…..I don’t know how I’d describe how I’d feel about the person or if I’d feel anything about them. Logically I’d know I shouldn’t be upset with them…emotions don’t always follow logic though.

          Why are you anxiously awaiting a response? It sounds as if you feel you have a solution and your giving it to him? Just curious, since you put that out there.

        • I’d just need to know the solution. Without that I think it would haunt me for a long time.

          My satisfaction will come from knowing how close I am.

          After knowing, it’s kay sera sera.

          I would be extremely happy for the finder unless it was one of the jerks that show up occasionally.


        • dal would need to create a new blog for peeps like me for I don’t think that I would have anything further to say on this one except congratulations to the finder. However, I also do not think that dal is going to need a new blog for some 1,000 to 10,000 years.

        • Here is how Gollum described his feelings toward Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, when he lost the gold ring to him in a battle of riddles in that cave: “Thief, Thief, Thief! Baggins! We hates it, we hates it, we hates it forever! I hope we can all do better than that 🙂

          • Now I am in Love with Smaug from the new Hobbit movie. He is Hot! And I have been very cold lately. And there was a probably cold well involved. But his cavern under the mountain is filled with warm gold and very large jewels; one looks very much like an Opal. And he likes riddles, so he would get me. I better read my “Dragonology” book at the coffee shop again. Bilbo said something to Gandalf about finding courage in another cavern…people were talking behind me..grrr..so I didn’t catch it.

          • I was just talking about reading these books again. I will wait to see the movie until later after the next best greatest whatever comes out.

            New technology is great but the imagination does it better most of the time, in my case anyway. 🙂

            E* I enjoy your posts.


        • Pam, thanks for the opportunity
          to share about this.

          I’d be happy for the finder. I have told several people that the
          treasure may have already been
          found, and that I can’t “hold it
          against” the lucky finder (who
          made his/her own luck!).

          The thing I would want to know
          is “where was the TC found?”.

          I’d also be interested in “when”,
          but to a lesser degree.

          I’d not be much interested in who
          found it.

  17. Also thought it might stand for specific trail, like A.t. is appalachian trail…maybe indian trail…like end of trail of tears…too many possibilities!

  18. If the poem must stand on it’s own and lead us on a path to the treasure, then “it” becomes a vital part in this clue. Forrest was deliberate in the creation of this Chase.
    The poem must stand the test of time, with just enough information to lead any newcomer to the chest.
    IMHO,,, It and WWWH are two separate things that intersect to give one the starting point for the Chase.

    • CDN – I agree with you. Let me know if you’d care to exchange ideas. I thought I had it but can’t close the deal. I need to get off of stuck.

        • No, way past that. But CDN’s approach is the only way I can find to keep it down to 9 clues. If every word play or direction is a clue, you get way more than 9.

          • Spoon, why is it important to you that the
            quantity of clues needs to be so well-defined?
            FF didn’t seem very

            This is not to say that any part of the poem should be ignored by a

            The above is just my

          • Andrew,

            You may be fully aware of this, and if so, please excuse my intrusion…..but the posts you are replying to, here at “What is “IT”, are almost three (3) years old??

          • Loco he doesn’t care, he’s a noob genius that has figured it out in a short time and is just bragging about his solution and going to get the chest in two weeks. How many times have we seen this, so typical.

            I thought you were breaking in to tell him it’s in Kansas.

          • LOL!! My bad, Goof!!!

            Yep, wish we had a buck for every one of those.

            Nope, I would never presume to tell a searcher something that everyone knows….. 🙂 🙂

    • totally like you opinion here CDN. Do you have an opinion on what “it” might be? I think “it” is either a trail or a river. I’m leaning more towards trail even though I think a river would test the time better than a trail would.

    • The poem may not be a puzzle that leads to a path after all, it may in fact be a riddle that leads to one specific thing.

      What do you “draw” from?
      What when pulled up is “heavy loads and water high”?
      What very popular movie came out around the same time Fenn had cancer that also has the same adventure
      Where would you find “water” to were you would have no need for a paddle?
      What, when pulled up, is there water (or possibly treasure) and are “in the wood”
      What when found can you look quickly down in?
      What does Forrest do on the last pages of his book TOTC (hint its in a half moon shape)?

      Who can solve this riddle?

      • Where can a child go and (perform this act) and get (this act) granted, look down and see the treasure???

        A child can pull it up, if he had the strength to.

        This spot may be special to Forrest because he went here to try and receive more time on this Earth, and it worked.

      • Well, maybe we should leave well enough alone.

        Then again, it may well count as a structure, and therefore be well-denied.


        • Not just a Well…a wishing Well.

          Could Forrest have wished to be cured and the wish came true so he paid the Well in kind and full??

          As far as a structure wouldn’t a well be natural minus what we build around it.

        • Well, well, well. Didn’t Tom Hanks’ character have some kind of phobia in the “Da Vinci Code” movie? Why does my life seem to revolve around Tom Hanks’ movies? Is the well “too far to walk”? I will have a “fireside” chat about that with myself and get back to you. Dan Brown had something to do with Socratic education or something, didn’t he? Is that what we are doing here on these blogs too?

  19. I think it’s the same for us all dal…except Michelle…smiles.

    I’ve been reading diaries too…the boy who died on the Oregon Trail and was burried in a dresser drawer made me stop and think!

    Treasure Hunting University has made college look like preschool.

    First you teach the rooster manners…how to read and write..of course treasure hunting…the maths and sciences…some literature…then how to solve the worlds problems…well played.

    • Roosters crowing are a good way to scare away nasty creatures that may be lurking on the trail..just don’t try to kill it with the “Spear of Destiny” while riding high on your horse. My spirit animal of olde is a Griffin. I like herbs, and I don’t think any Italians mentioned this one..except for maybe Da Vinci. 🙂

  20. If you haven’t read Journal of a Trapper, i highly recommend it.
    Over the years I’ve read Journal of a Trapper a dozen times, and always with a deeper appreciation for who Osborne Russell was and what he did. The mountains continue to beckon to me. They always will. A short paragraph in Looking For Lewis And Clark chapter that has never escaped my thoughts.

  21. You could say IT’s a road or you could say IT’s a river. A river is an ancient road. Consider that “A River Runs Through IT”. Now you’re getting somewhere! IT is not one of the nine clues. IT leads to the hub, the axis mundi.

    “There are two mountains on which the weather is bright and clear, the mountains of the animals and the mountains of the gods. But between lies the shadowy valley of men.”
    artist Paul Klee in “Diaries 1898-1918”

    Guess where you want to go? Take the red, black and green from “Tea With Olga”, and take IT from there.

    • I looked up axis mundi a few days ago, after I saw a striking picture of Yellowstone Falls in another coffee table book at that French store (where I like to read books). It also had a good one of the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. All aerial photos were taken using a bush plane; some through a bomb site. I am definitely going to the “Bear Lodge” in Wyoming some day. I would like to get it (the book) for Forrest for Christmas. Even if we don’t have money now, we can always dream and put the thought of magnanimous gestures out there, right?

    • The “it” in a river runs through it is not the river itself. I just love this from Maclean I have to post IT here…

      “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
      I am haunted by waters.”

  22. In the Thrill of the Chase he talks about many roads travelled and list tons of numbers that can be brought together to form a kind of map as well.

  23. What is it ?

    It is an abstract notion that typically needs some sort of preamble to fully understand.

    UNLESS the IT is identified by the narrator in another form.

    Such as a physical gesture.

    I would imagine while flying combat missions that using the word it would keep some people in the dark as to what is actually going on.

    Let’s say if the enemy is listening in on the radio communications.

    In the case of Forrests poem, It is what it is and it is just an abstract for the imagination so a person is not constrained to having to use a certain mode of transportation.

    In one of my solves a person could use train,plane or bus and still get to see the right side of town.

    However it is too far to walk !

  24. I think “it” and “the blaze” are one in the same. Try replacing “it” with “the blaze” in the first three stanzas . Then replace “the blaze” with “it” in the forth stanza. To me “it” and “the blaze” are a specific location which must be identified before deciphering the next several clues.

  25. Yes Deb…I did mention/suggest before October’s book signing how nice it would be for everyone to sign a year book as a Christmas gift for f.
    I didn’t follow through! 🙁
    I’ll see what I Can do?
    Deb I’d also send you a book…An adventure story like “Lassie,” only no lassie. We call our dog babygirl…she’s a german sheppard.
    If You’re interested?…send me an address and I’ll get it out next week. mharper4301.mh@gmail.com

  26. Just being natural doesn’t mean it can’t be a structure in my view. A structure to me is more than two things put together. I wouldn’t consider something like a cave a structure though as that’s not really made up of multiple parts. I wouldn’t consider a pile of rocks a structure as I don’t see them as really having any uniform position….but if they were cemeted together I would think they are a structure. Just my thinking…

    • Stephanie,
      Yeah, the whole “not associated with any structure has me stumped. Almost everything is a structure unless it is in the ground. I am focusing on “quickly down”. Why “quickly”? Strange to me.

    • Does a cavern with multiple rooms, like the one someone toured in the Dakotas, constitute a structure then? There was one in a children’s book I found at my friend’s consignment store in Jackson Hole, while helping her to organize the books. She gave me that book and I gave it to someone else. Paying it forward is a very good thing! Then everything DOES turn to gold! I have been reading my other friend’s copy of “The Book of Stones” lately, and I gave yet another friend an Ocean Jasper bracelet for her 60th birthday on 11/29. I have always loved rocks and did some lapidary work in my early teens. Rocks stack well on top of each other without any cement, as they do in cairns.

  27. I think structure can be a lot of things, but I think the main definition is something like something complex made of multiple parts. I don’t see something like a pile of rocks being complex or one rock or a cave or even something like inside a bronze statue as it’s not multiple parts. It’s kind of fun though that we don’t know what he means by it. I like that we all have to speculate on things like that.

    Oh and as for the opinion on my feelings if someone found it. I know it’s not politically correct….

  28. if they wanted to do that, I’d appreciate it….but we’re all equal when it comes to loving this chase. I’d ask them to donate to St. Judes in the name of grieving chasers.

  29. Begin IT where warm waters halt And take IT in the canyon down,

    And you can’t take IT with you. But Forrest keeps saying that he can take IT with him.


  30. Hi Stephanie,
    St. Judes sounds perfect!
    As for the books Deb..I ordered a few but they won’t arrive until the 26th of Dec. :/
    Angie…is working on a set of 12 Children’s stories. The book titled,
    “I’m not Bubby”
    Includes cute stories like…
    “They’re looking for me!”
    Bubby decides to be funny and worry mom and dad by hiding in the closet. The phone rings and Bubby quickly grabs it…taking it into the closet with him.
    He whispers “hello.” A man on the other end says “hello Bubby are your mom and dad there?” Bubby says “yeah but they’re busy with the police!”
    The man worried then ask Bubby “well is there anyone else there?”
    Bubby quietly replies “the Fire Dept. But there busy.” The man asks “is there anyone else there?”
    Bubby whispers “the ambulance people.” Worried more now then ever…the man ask Bubby “what’s going on?”
    Bubby replies “they’re looking for me!”
    Anyhow 12 short stories…”I’m not Bubby, I’m Elwood.” etc.
    I’ll be back in a few…

  31. Hi..
    I’m thinking Bubby the children’s book will be done by spring. 🙂
    As for my last diddy…
    it went on sale tuesday but I wouldn’t waste my time.
    A repetitive bore with no soul!
    Now the current book I’m working on is awesome and I’d be glad to discuss it–if it’s okay? It’s title

    ……50 Years on Weed…..
    The Chronicles of a Pot-Head!

    (Which might help to explain things!)
    Is 25 chronologically told stories a few quotes songs and pieces along the way.
    In it are snakes and helicopters and the cops but has nothing to do with the TTOTC…unless I write a story about the last year…then the title might include the word….Medicinal.

    • Mark,

      I wrote a song you might be interested in, about two hippys who commit suicide, it’s called “smokin’ their way to heaven”…

  32. Stephanie I don’t sleep much…I figure there’s so much to do and so little time to do it…that I’m late. Thanks for putting up with me!

    My Son Tim graduated today..I was so proud! Now he’s been offered a spot here at SIU for his doctoral…which is cool because they usually like their grads to be from other universities…he’ll be homegrown!
    M I’d like to hear your song! plz!

  33. Ansel, I don’t see a problem. If you find the treasure in the US then sell it here and take the cash back to Canada. They do allow you to have cash don’t they? f

    This was Forrest’s reply to someone that asked the same question. You can find it on Forrest gets more mail.

    • MaggieMay
      Thanks, but we all know selling a famous 42lb bronze chest of gold is not like going to your local jewler and selling old jewlery. After reading what Forrest said, I assume he could care less what’s the finder does with it. That seems very sad to me, but I’m just the sentimental type.

      • In one of Forrest’s interviews he specifically states that he hopes the finder, a thousand years from now, puts the chest on display and tells the whole story. I believe he cares deeply about that chest and who finds it…

      • Pam,
        I was simply referring you to one of Forrest answers to an email. I believe you have to look close at his answers. I also believe that he does care about who finds the chest and what they do with it, but it is up to the finder to decide.

  34. Okay I’m up. I’ve got my coffee. I’ve taken the dog out. A shower in a few…I hate Mondays!…30 minutes and I’m on the road. Ill use the soft lense because it’s early! Then switch.
    Okay should I bring my guitar if Buffet does open the door?
    Where should I go first. Let’s see..The little Red Caboose, Buffet, paris, and Larry Byrd!
    I guess Vandalia…then Buffet (the wifee is saying no Buffet but honestly, why not?). then lunch in Paris. Then the Bryd Monnument for last!
    Shame I can’t post pics. I’ll talk to you all in a few hours from Vandalia…
    I think it was The Curtiss May Candy company…or Baby Ruth that use to be close to and operate around here…profits were too low though so they moved. Some crazed directer made a documentary about it…great documentary!

  35. Can we redirect and get back to IT??
    Will be a Looong winter.
    The poem is PRECISE. If you remember that, the very FIRST “it” in the poem can only be…. “your quest”. The poem tells you that info. If you need more help, well I could give everyone a Christmas present. My dear wife can be considered cancer free at this point but has complications. Argue about the second “it'” — I say 50% chance it is also “your quest” but it also could be the treasure. Just ask. Third ‘it” is up for grabs….

    • Ida, I won’t give my interpretation, but, “can only be” IMO is not true. Depending on one’s interpretation of how the poem is worded, the first “it” can be one of many things. Good to hear that your wife is C free! Happy Holidays

  36. Can ” only ” be? No, unless you’ve got a picture of you and the treasure , that first ‘it’ can’t be ONLY anything , it can be a lot of things , NOT just ‘your quest’.

    Easy Example: the first ;Begin It where warm waters halt — it= the route you need to take to trace an x on the map,

    or even easier: it= ‘your heading’

  37. Map & Idaho-
    I agree with both of you about the first instance of “it” in the poem. Begin it…”it” is your quest or your route and can really only have that kind of meaning. I think the two words , in my head, are synonymous…at least in this case..

    I believe the second “it”..in the canyon down…is also talking about the reader’s quest or route..

    I think the third “it” as in… it’s no place…is once again talking about your quest…your route…

    The fourth instance of “it” as in the question..why is it…”it” refers to the question he is posing and could simply satisfy a need for more syllables and could easily be dropped..
    He could say:
    Why must I go?
    Why is it that I must go?

    They both have the same meaning but the choice he made in the poem provides two more syllables and fits the pattern of the poem better…

    I believe the fifth instance of “it”, as in..I’ve done it…refers back to the journey..the quest..the route…all the same…
    But interestingly he has done it when he was tired..
    Is he referring to when he hid the chest… or long before that when he had cancer?
    And does it even matter?

    • Does ‘It’ even matter, indeed 😉

      I disagree on 2 of your 5, Dal – but otherwise totally agree with your rundown here.
      Those other two, I believe have
      It = the treasure.

      (Remembering the original title that was attached to the poem). Still say “It” might just be the treasure chest or the x on the map.

      (P.s.Idaho: sorry I didn’t hear what you were hoping to have heard. Sometimes I’m too blunt (New Yorker, sorry) and sometimes too earnest… I don’t detect subtleties as often as others. )

    • Dal,
      I agree with your assessment 100%.
      Consider opening a discussion regarding the difference between the nine “clues” and other “hints” in the poem. Most do not discern the difference. (I know, nine, count ’em, nine).

      IMHO you can be done with your compass and protractor (remember those?) after the first stanza. Boots on the ground in the second stanza.

      Thanks for the well wishes.

    • The forth instance could also refer to “the route”. Think of the sentence worded this way…Why is this route that I must travel and leave my trove for all to seek? He could be leaving a question in which the answer leaves a thought provoking clue. I believe IT is always the same and we should try to find IT’S coordinates.
      The fifth instance could also refer to “the route” in that he means he was tired after completing it.
      I am thinking that the reason he made two trips was to carry the approx. 20 pound chest first then another trip with 22 pounds of contents to put in the chest.
      Just some thoughts.

      • Reviewing past posts. Decided to clarify and add.

        IMO…”IT” is the same for all five instances in which “IT” is used in the poem. My thoughts:

        ”IT” is a trail/road/tracks which I will begin “in there” at the same place “where warm waters halt”.

        “In there” is not the starting point of “IT” but is the starting point of my “quest”.

        “IT” travels “in the canyon down”.

        “IT” has many suitable areas to “put in”.

        “IT” travels a long distance and passes by the “home of Brown” and a spot which “from there”… is “no place for the meek”.

        “IT” can carry “heavy loads” and cross “water high”.

        “IT” is “the blaze”.

        “IT” has a downhill slope and/or is above the trove so you should “look quickly down” as you traverse “ITs” path.

        “IT” is the route in which “I must go”.

        “IT” will be traveled “tired”.

        “IT” is in the “cold”

        I must be “brave” to be on “IT”.

        “IT” goes into/through the “wood”.

        The chest is within 500 feet of “IT”.

        …That’s all I have to say about “IT”.

        • You left one out …”Why is “IT””……….=Y is “IT”.
          Y is a fork in the road.? “IT” must be a “road”.

          • ritt-
            Good addition!
            This gives a new idea for “So hear me all and listen good”.

  38. Idaho- you bet, compass, protractor, all those degrees of hot and cold orientation ;). Got ’em!

    Dal: if you’re taking suggestions, I’d like to spend more discussion time on that first stanza / sentence / clue, especially the loaded ‘punch line’ of
    “new and old”.

  39. I got the book “IT” by Stephen King at the library… A small but thick [ 1000 pages ] paperback. The books starts with a flood, and I hoped somewhere in the book “Where Warm Waters Halt” would be mentioned. The book takes place out east.
    Rather than continue a story that begins with a small boy getting his arm ripped off by an underwater clown, I got the electronic version at the library and had the librarian do an electronic scan for WWWH — no luck.
    So– it looks like IT is not a book by Stephen King…

  40. When I first started following Dal’s Blog, this discussion was active. I recall making a point in defense of another blogger’s suggestion that it was important only to be shot down.

    Years later I see now there are so many other “its”, brown this or that, encoded hints or lon lat locations. and so on.

    I have turned full circle to having an individual approach. Initially I chose this route since I was a newbie and you all discovered so much already and the only way for an advantage was to think outside the box.

    Here I am again. Happy Spring you all.

  41. Hi all! I took a sabbatical, hoping someone would have found it by now, but now I’m back! I think it is Y, at least that is what it says in his poem…So why (Y) is it…and I must go. Also if you’ve been wise (Y’s) fits with all his double letters…and San Cristobal creek in NM is the 2nd Y in mho. Read the legend of Saint Christopher which is who San Cristobal is named for…

      • Theres a great video of their giant plow online. Also, not everyone knows this, but some of the roads open to bikes before they open to cars. The stretch from mammoth to junction I think is already open.

  42. Apr 24, 2014

    What is it?

    This is my solution.

    The first 4 lines are the story line, hidden treasure, etc.
    Hints of what is to follow, riches new and old to discover.
    To understand the solution to the poem.

    The second 4 lines are the big picture, the opening shot.
    The general area and exact spot of WWWH (with canyon down)
    and HOB and all the rest of the poem.
    You have to put a stake in the ground, and know what WWWH is,
    but you never have to go there, Mr Fenn tells us that, “too far to walk”.
    I have a WWWH, never going there. I know it’s there.

    Mr Fenn has given us directions to recover the treasure chest.
    Who gives directions, a director does!!

    Ok, everybody up. Think about your place in the Rocky Mountains.
    Arms straight out in front at shoulder height, palms facing away,
    fingers to the sky, thumbs touching. There, you’re a director.

    You have to frame the opening shot, and it has to contain ALL the clues.
    No moving your feet. Now, Begin it

    Camera 1 you’re in too tight, pull back a little and give me more elevation,
    I want to get all that area of the WWWH place. Ok, now Take it
    in the canyon down, down, yes, pull back more, zoom out, yes good.
    Below the HOB, below, below, zoom out out, good right there.
    Camera 2, go wide angle, I think I want all that on the right, yes, good.

    Lets see, WWWH , canyon down, below HOB.
    Good job crew, lock down those cameras. THAT’S IT. THAT’S IT.
    That’s the whole picture. All the clues have to be in your view.

    Tomorrow it’s boots on the ground. We put in right there, below HOB.

    Oh, IMO

    Researcher and Searcher (aka OldGuyFromMaine )
    (I’m 73 and so far put 20 miles on my boots out in the Rockies)
    I’ll be back.

    • OldManFromMaine, that’s good thinking. However, I don’t know how much it’ll help in
      finding the treasure.

      Forrest once said, in a response to a question,
      “Look at the big picture.”

      That statement supports my solve.

      I’m not convinced that knowing what “it” means
      (in each case) is all that important. If I had to
      guess, though, I’d guess that “it” may mean
      “imagination”. I found imagination to be very
      necessary to my solve. So far, I don’t have the
      TC in my possession. But I expect to in a couple
      of weeks.

      The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

      Good luck in your search. Please be safe.

  43. “For more than a decade, he packed and repacked his treasure chest, sprinkling in gold dust and adding hundreds of rare gold coins and gold nuggets. Pre- Columbian animal figures went in, along with prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces carved from jade and antique jewelry with rubies and emeralds.”
    Jeri Clausing, AP

    • Dal, this fits my “dry run” theory, in that while he was waiting to see if anyone found the plant, he was busy filling the chest. Once he was satisfied that nobody found the initial treasure without clues, he could then place the chest and release the clues. This rewards searching, as opposed to finding; which, in my opinion, agrees with Forrest’s work ethic and not being about luck.

  44. Hi all.

    I’m new here but i feel i can contribute to this site seeings as how i have spent allot of my life in the the outdoors rock hounding, gold panning, allot of hiking and traveling.

  45. I’m working on a theory that “it” refers to time. Where warm waters halt could be a time in histoy, meek is a type of mollusk fossil from Eocene new mexico, specifically, Sandoval county, forgive me if this has already been mentioned, lots of posts to go through, anyone else working on a similiar ideal?

    • I made a connection to the medieval times. During that time they called it the warm water period by geologist and others.

      “It” to me refers to take caution as you go in. Just like a pilot would do.

      • I’m leaning more toward ice age, glaciers, maybe Browning montana…seems like Forrest has referred to time a lot, and time fits the poem, begin time where warm waters halt, take time in the canyon down, i’ve done time tired, time is why he must go, keep his secret in time, so on…I just started on this theory yesterday, still working out the bugs, I keep thinking where do you find time? You don’t, you make it…

  46. The Canadian Connection:
    I am not sure if many of your remember or are aware of the classic Canadian Rock band – Prism.

    I bring it up because prisms make nice rainbows and I like to think the Fenn’s Rainbow!
    It was one of my favourite bands growing up because they sang about space a lot and of course I wanted to be an astronaut when I was young.

    Some of their songs that suscpiciously relate to this chase are:
    1977 Spaceship Superstar
    1977 Open Soul Surgery (I included this for you Whiterock7/Jay A)
    1977 Take Me to the Kaptin
    1978 Take Me Away
    1978 Flyin’
    1978 See Forever Eyes
    1979 Armageddon
    1980 Mirror Man
    1980 You Walked Away Again
    1980 Cover Girl
    1981 Rain
    1981 Turn on Your Radar
    1981 Don’t Let Him Know
    1982 The Wolf will find it

    My solution has a very interesting prism key, so I was doing a little research today to bring everything together and I had to chuckle at how many of these songs relate to my solution.

    It probably does mean much to many of you but someday I will get around to explaining it all (legal stuff you know how it can be) but I thought I would plant a seed and see if any others can relate to this connection.

    The Wolf

    • I think my mom has some of the original Prism records, I will have to ask her. Although, I imagine you can just download them nowadays…:)

    • Seed? Is that not from another song …Every time I plant a seed, He said, kill It before It Grows…

      Maybe I should call the Sheriff, IT could be an Alien Egg.

      Did i just say that out loud??

    • That’s an interesting list, Wolf. I always found this site interesting. You can input your birthday…or someone else’s…and find out what was the hit song on that day. Unfortunately, it only goes back to 1941. I don’t think there were any “hit” songs before that anyway…unless you think the sound of rocks and sticks “hitting” together makes a hit song. Ooga Booga! LOL! I kid. I kid. 🙂 (Hopefully Forrest won’t read that.)


      • On another note, I got to thinking about where/when I first starting using that phrase, “I kid. I kid.” and I’m pretty sure I “borrowed” it from Triumph The Insult Comic Dog. And you know what, Wolf?! I remember him giving a prophecy about ARMAGEDDON…in Hawaii!

        Don’t watch! You’ll carry the weight of what you see…(cough. cough. anchorman’s hair.)…for the rest of your mortal life!

        Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


    • The Wolf, I think you may be on to something . . .
      but since I already believe you are pretty
      intelligent, analytical, ambitious, and crafty, I’m
      not commenting further about your posting
      (at this time, anyway).

      I think I have been within about a quarter mile
      from the TC, so I’m not going to claim (yet) that
      I’m in the “500 feet club” or the “200 feet club”.

      In two weeks, I may have a different viewpoint
      about this kind of thing.

      The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

      Good luck in your search. Please be safe.

  47. Another strong clue! Begin IT. Gen 1:1 (In the Beginning)… BERESHIT. IT is the Treasure, the Purpose, the Gift, the Objective, the Sacrifice, the Divine plan, Completion, the Light in the Tent. Search for the poem’s symmetry and you’ll find a ‘knot’. Attached to a t/T/cross. This represents the hook of the fisherman of men aka FF.

  48. It also seems to be an intricate root system. A bipolar one. DBR. Letter by letter till you open/break into IT. b for ‘Brown’ is like a vertical honeycomb entrance into a volumetric system. One with complex geometry and structure. A hive.

  49. “Your effort will be…” (eff-or-t = F or T). “If you’ve been…”
    IF could also be IT. Right?
    The 24 x 31 grid is a Calendar. “B” sits on the row for August. Consider rows 1-12 as Jan through Dec. Then, row 13 is the inverted reflection of Dec, row 13 for Nov and so on.
    What’s common to August, IF, Eff, Eph, Bee, B… and all you think you know?
    Ephesus! An important city in Roman times (Augustus). Also the home of B. Last home of Mary. Ancient Anatolia. Synonym for Anax. Homonymous of Effes. Famed for the temple of Artemis, the Odeon and the Temple of Hadrian. One of the Seven Churches as written in the Book. Also a supporter of Ignatius. The city of the Seven Sleepers (possibly) and where bimetal coins (Electrum) circulated since the beginning of coins. IT, could be a coin or collection of rare coins from Ephesus. Roaring lion, stag, or more likely… Bees.

    • I have decided, begin it, is to mean: begin his secret where his hint of riches new and old are.
      As for the it in cayon down. I have to wait for an AHA moment. I’ll have plenty of time. 8 inches of snow is on the way. Maybe more. It’s the end of days here in middle Tennessee. Why oh why couldn’t I have already headed west?

  50. Two words in the poem tell you what “it” is. “Hide” and “Seek”. This is a game, or chase to find where ff is hiding. So don’t forget that the fox occasionally dresses as the hound. What he may tell you is technically true but may not mean what most people think it means. THINK deeply….

    • It is what it is.
      I dislike that saying, truly, because I believe it is what you make it, but I digress. In the poem, imo, “it ” is in reference to the Internet in one instance, to your journey, in another, to pose a question in another…

      • I like what you said … ” I dislike saying that ”

        As a kind of reference to the term being used… I’ll go to F’s words. In TFTW Map page…
        ” Several years ago I wrote a book titled The Thrill of The Chase. In it,I spoke of a chest full of gold and precious gems that I hid in the mountains.” Un Quote :

        You can see the term in it referring tho the Book. Not the title. Felt that was interesting . But it also gave me a reception of it…

        IMO it could mean 2 things. 1 I’ll pass out there the other is the point of my solve now. So
        The first on IMO “it” would be your Quest.
        How could it be the treasure? So , it would sound Begin the treasure where warm waters halt….
        Nope I don’t feel that sounds correct.

        IMO F is playing a game, and there are teams . He’s on one and we are on the other. I call his team ; Have’s and Us(Searchers) Have Not’s.

        Enjoy your search all . Of course this was only a opinion , and I respect all researchers out there…

        Good Luck in your TOTC

        • mike – imo I also think (it ) means quest its like begin it where warm waters halt – begin your quest when the snow stops melting it is also a place imo

      • If “it” is referring to the search, the adventure, the quest, etc. then it basically means nothing and is just filler. He could have just as easily left “it” out. Begin where Warm Waters Halt and take the canyon down. It makes me wonder why “it” is there. Perhaps he put “it” there as a distraction for knuckle heads like me. 🙂

        If “it” is referring to a place or thing i.e., the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, or in Dal’s solution the Madison River; that could help substantially with a solution.

        It would give Dal’s solution an interesting double meaning. Where warm waters halt is the beginning of the Madison. So we would begin at the beginning of the river.

        Begin the Madison where warm waters halt and take the Madison in the canyon down. We would put in below the home of Brown meaning leave the river.

        I don’t throw out any solutions that I can’t find an “it” associated with WWWH; but when I do find an “it” associated with WWWH it gives the solution a little more validity. Just my opinion.

        • Good logic. Simple logic may say “it” is the water. Another thought is combined with halt as in alternate direction. Example the triple divide. Is “it” the source of the water[s] needed to be known. and not so much the body of water. Just a thought.

          Yet using this line of thinking, can the Scant part of the poem also indicate the same. fenns comment of talking in circles may lead to that idea. MW-Q&A.

          Could there be another reason for the It in the sentence?… IT would be foolish to
          “Discount” them. Just another thought.

          My head hurts….

  51. I agree with most that the first “it” in the second stanza most likely refers to the chase, the journey, the search. But I don’t like the theory that the second it (“And take it in the canyon down,”) is just a redundant reference to the chase. This is not only unnecessary, it’s very awkward. Forrest doesn’t write like this in TTOTC, and even allowing for “poetic license,” it would be a strange turn of phrase.

    This use of “it” without a clear antecedent suggests he doesn’t want to give away what “it” is — perhaps because it would be a dead-giveaway as to the start point. A lot of seekers think that it refers to a road, trail or waterway, but the next line of the poem (“Not far, but too far to walk,”) would seem to contradict this unless you are still traveling in a vehicle. If Arizona had been one of the possible hiding place states, then one workable decryption of these two lines could have been to take a horse or donkey down into the Grand Canyon (e.g. South Kaibab Trail) — not far as the crow flies, but for many (especially lugging a 42-pound chest!) it might be “too far to walk”. With a little imagination, I think you can come up with some other excellent answers to this riddle that *would* work in one or more of the four states.

  52. And take “it” in the canyon down. ??? Take the river??

    NOPE !

    “IT” refers to “The Blaze” itself. This is the point where everyone is meant to get lost chasing historical clues, without studying the context of each statement. It is designed to force you to follow on the Chase without telling you to turn off the main trail.

    This is the point he makes when he says that nobody has gotten the first 2 clues right, because so far everyone has followed the route he lures you into taking, by dreaming up the historical part of the “Chase” at a turning point.

    The rapture of the tale has you even researching the historical parts, and it helps you to forget the actual steps as they are charted logically through his roundabout and secretive clues. Its all in the wording and the tone of each statement.

    …..if you are “Wise and Found the Blaze”, you would be turning off the trail “not far, but too far to walk” from where you found WWWH, “Put in below the home of Brown”, to go through the Blaze, where you find the chest on the Thrill of the Chase…….the place in the hunt that you feel the excitement getting closer to the end.

    If someone from the hunt followed the clues in a straight line as the tale is told…..then they meet their end at the same place that the party in the historical “Chase” happened to wreck as well………at the point where the Biblical Phrase “the end is ever drawing nigh” comes into play.

    Through the Historical review of information, he even uses certain words to “Keep his Secret Where” and “Hint at Treasures New and Old” to lure you to the creek that goes away from the chest. Heavy Loads and Waters High are the words used to seem like he is describing a location nearby to one side,

    The other hint comes at the end telling you to be Brave and in the Wood? As a cowboy would be in the saddle. He says that he will give you the “Tittle to the Gold”. Did I spell that wrong Forrest? LOL ! That one word is another clue to finding which creek to double back through if you actually went that far, the same way the historical chase members took after meeting their end.

    He tells you that you are Up a Creek w/o a paddle, but……..he leaves you 2 hints as there are 2 trails out of the canyon following dry creeks going separate ways.

    Take the Blaze in the Canyon Down if you are a real cowboy,

    And if you are lost on the way out, you can stop at Eldorado Tires to get some better directions. Boy I sure am tired of writing about all this.

    I hear that guy Eldorado lives somewhere out there in the Rockies and has some info about all this.

    Give him a call and see if he will team up !

  53. eldorado-
    You wrote:
    “This is the point he makes when he says that nobody has gotten the first 2 clues right, ”

    I believe he has said for about 4 years now, that folks HAVE gotten the first two clues correct…

    You sound pretty confident. How come you haven’t gone to get it yet?

    • Perhaps my wording was a little off, I meant to say they haven’t gotten PAST the first two clues BEFORE getting thrown off.

      Numerous people have these clues found I know, but nobody figured out his tricks in this part of the chase.

      Every person who speculated where I am searching as well has been thrown off down the river to the creeks.

      I made the mistake of going once, was led out to the area he was “Hinting” at holding a Hidden Treasure from the past history of the area, and then as I was leaving I saw the final clue to let you know.

      The one where he says, “The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I am weak”…

      …you worked right through the clues, and as you were leaving with a heartbreak……as you pass a landmark you get the “TURNAROUND AND GO BACK RIGHT NOW” clue.

      That’s why i am going back…..Forrest left a clue if you were in the right area to let you know to not get let down by doubt and trust yourself in all your work. He also did this to remind a certain person he thought would be coming for the Title to the Gold to recognize the symbolism to the clues of the Blueprint in Santa Fe……the same named business appears there as well.

      Don’t think I am not going to return having the “Title” in an LLC already….LOL

    • Dal, if someone has been within 200 feet or 500
      feet of the treasure, it’s highly likely that more
      clues have been correctly interpreted than only
      the first two.

      I think the treasure is thousands of feet away
      from any human trail. Nobody, in my opinion,
      would have hiked within 500 feet of the treasure
      without having a VERY GOOD REASON. And
      that reason would be the hunt for the treasure.
      It is not likely that it was just for the sake of
      fishing or hunting (animals) or sightseeing.

      The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

      Good luck to all searchers. Please stay safe.

  54. Begin it- is your chase

    Take it- is what you have at the transition of wwwh. In my case “it” is a stream. mo


    • Hi Frank,

      Valid question- The answers I already know… lol

      imo, the whole poem is the chase. I just like to break down each line with a meaning.

      I think Forrest omitted thesaurus on purpose when he stated that all you need is the poem and a good map 🙂

      I also believe that trying to solve the riddle’s metaphors and euphemisms with metaphors and euphemisms is like taking a journey to the center of the mind, a chasm with no escape.


      • ” the whole poem is the chase”… Is it?

        I think it about one’s perspective on how they read or see the poem. The Book is about the thrill of the chase, so we automatically think the poem is one in the same. Right?

        In the general sense, sure. The thrill of chasing after the proverbial pot of gold. FF chases was to discover treasures, but treasures important to him, and not so much a leprechaun cauldron. How many out there collect crushed, mangled, rusty tar bitten soda cans? or ever save enough string to create a ball wider than your average doorway?

        Perspective is what the poem is about. imo. And while other set out with directions in hand and come back with nothing more than dirty hands, the poem as done it job.

        5 years in the making and all the searches have been relatively the same. We read the poem as directions. But the one thing I have noticed over the years from Q&A’s , SB, Interviews and the book… is FF is a story teller. He blends hints/informative information in with answers, by telling of a short story or recollection.

        And most go nuts over that. Seeing a floating hat, or a tree, a pic of a dog or a soul snatching alien egg. Because all those thing are useful in having knowledge of geography.

        Is the poem the same… the chase? or could it be a story. A story of something, maybe even Geography?
        [the study of the Earth surface and inhabitants]

        ” My church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms where dreams and fantasies alike go to play.”

        That sounds like a story of geography and FF’s rainbow.

        Well, that’s my perspective anyways.

        Hmmm, I wonder what the hint is, about Tucker chasing rabbits and never catching one, means?

    • Frank,
      “if begin it – is your chase – why couldn’t – take it – be your chase also”
      A very good question, and one each searcher must satisfy. I will preface my answer with a simple warning: This is only my opinion, and I’m very simple-minded and small-brained, so no one should take me seriously. In fact, it’s best if you just stop reading my blather right now.

      All things should be considered in context, and the context of the second stanza is, of course, set by the first and the fact that this is Forrest’s poetic riddle to aid or befuddle, depending on perspective, searchers attempting to locate the treasure chest.
      As I have gone alone in there
      And with my treasures bold,
      I can keep my secret where,
      And hint of riches new and old.

      As stated above, all of my thoughts are opinion and personal conjecture, so please don’t be too harsh on an old guy with a feeble mind. Anyway, it’s my opinion that the first stanza, among other things, places the searcher in a general area. With the first line of the second stanza, it places the searcher in a specific spot.

      Begin it where warm waters halt
      And take it in the canyon down,….

      I’m only addressing the ‘it’ words at this juncture, and in my simple-minded opinion, the meaning of each is quite clear considering context and punctuation. There is no comma at the end of the first line; hence, no pause.

      Consider the two lines with an added pause.
      Begin it where warm waters halt (pause, wait for it…)
      And take it in the canyon down,

      IMO, this is telling the searcher to begin the path of the quest wwwh, and then take the quest’s path into the canyon below where the waters flow. I presume a virtual search at this juncture and, therefore, a virtual path all performed from the comfort of one’s chair. This interpretation also presumes ‘waters’ suggests moving or flowing water, or at least the potential for such.

      Now, consider the two lines without a pause (as I believe Forrest intends and punctuation dictates, though we know Forrest dislikes rules).

      Begin it wwwh and take it in the canyon down,

      IMO, this provides a completely different meaning to the two lines. Without the pause, the ‘it’ changes from the searcher’s quest to the waters (noun) mentioned just before the second ‘it’. The interpretation gives a completely different context/location when considering the second stanza’s remaining two lines:

      Not far, but too far to walk.
      Put in below the home of Brown.

      If you use the first interpretation with the pause and venture into the canyon down before addressing the third and fourth lines, you potentially miss the home of Brown. However, if you’ve interpreted the poem using the second (no pause) meaning, you’ve not yet moved from wwwh. I suppose it’s important only if you believe wwwh and hob are relatively near one another. If there’s a significant distance between the two, it shouldn’t matter, should it? And what distance would be considered significant? How deep was a hole again?

      Best of luck to all, and stay safe out there.

  55. Seeker, I agree, it’s not just the chase, but the thrill as well. The thread is about “it” that’s all I was trying to convey, exactly what my perspective is on that topic.

    The hint about Tucker chasing rabbits probably means focus on the poem, and not chasing some foolish notion down a rabbit hole 🙂

    But if you do, have fun outdoors, and definitely get your hands dirty. jmo

    • The book and the challenge to find a chest full of gold and trinkets is the thrill. The poem and my post is about “IT”. The question is, what is IT we are trying to understand?
      We have gone around in circles with. “Take it” as the chest, the searchers travel/exploring, a trail, FF himself etc.

      My suggestion is. Is it possible that there is a Theme / Story, and is nothing more than Geography itself? Most like the idea of ” where warm waters halt as the first glue” I would think that would be at the very least the second clues [ and used with WWWH]…as there are many, where warm waters halt in the Rocky Mountains and most are north of SF.

      “There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure Phil, but it is risky to discount any of them. { You over simplify the clues.} There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts. f” 

      I placed the { } in that quote.

      “The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.ff”

      So don’t we need to know “first” what “waters” the Author is talking about? and since all we need is the poem… the poem must tell where or what that is.

      Is the “IT” waters? and not the thrill of it all… If all you’re [ any searcher] doing, is looking for a good time, an adventure. that all well and good. I like a good time as well. Maybe… Possibly… just a thought… “IT” is the first clues. With so many “warm waters halt” in the Rockies Doesn’t it seem strange that folks got the 1st “two” clues correct… “But may not have know it”

      Folks like to talk about the S in answers a lot. Which has been answered [ typo] I’ll ask, why is water plural? I’d doubt very much if that is a typo as well.

      • Hello Seeker,

        Many seasoned searchers are talking about the importance of the “answer vs answers” distinction and I have been trying to find the discussions on that. so far no success.

        Do you happen to know what have been discussed?

        my take on importance of the “it” is that , although there are many wwh locations , there must be only 1 wwh location on “it”.

        I am a beginner so i do not know what the “it” is yet.


  56. Take “it” in the canyon down……

    Take the Blaze on the Chase itself, following a series of clues that will mislead you if you dont “find the shortcut to head ’em off at the pass”

    The Chase is a historical, and well, quite hysterical Chase as well. If you find the area, then the history, it all falls into place as the only location that has these hints at treasures “new and old”. But what treasures old is he hinting at??

    In fact last night I think I discovered the “Special Gift” that Fenn placed in the chest for the finder.

    I believe the area the Chest is placed in, is something of an area that outlaws used to store their stolen gold troves. I have found evidence of many cmaps and other holdouts in the areas.

    The outlaw in question, robbed trains, banks, and wagons, and was also a part of the KGC. From my work with other maps, I have found that the Blaze itself was well known to numerous renegades, and ranchers as well.

    There is something magical in the map as well, and Forrest himself will be amazed about the nature of the OTHER troves being found with a certain set of clues, and a generic mapping system used to find similar features to use for their markers. The same markers found in AZ are also found in my spot.

    The history is something of a legend, as are the missing troves, but when I took the ‘madrugada estrella map’ and held the transparency over the Blaze, the river drawn on the map there took the shape of the pass perfectly, and the points of reference were lined up to the surrounding peaks, with the foot trails marked to get to the locations.

    The 3 trails from the Blaze were clearly marked, with marker stones set onto rocks, and the area came alive with four additional locations to search, each slated to hold thousands of dollars of gold coins and bars.

    Dal, you asked me why I haven’t gone to get the Chest yet.?

    Here is part of the reasoning……I plan to now find the Chest and the rest of the troves set there from this extra map system when I go so I am pausing for another two weeks until I can get more info on the other troves.

    OMG….that many troves, with every point on the map matching? !!!

    Forrest was right….there is something else there and he’s been hinting at it the whole time.

    The real outlaw gold stash that has everyone thinking that there is an ‘illegal’ treasure that might get them in trouble? Forrest wouldn’t rob anyone, so it’s gotta be something notorious surrounding the actual area in question gving people the jitters.

    Just my take after seeing others comment on the legalities of the Chase.

    • Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R

      No Steve R,
      The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.ff

    • eldoroadoenterprises, I suggest you stay in
      “tight focus” with one treasure at a time, since
      there’s a lot of competition.

      If you arrive at the correct hidey spot one day later than the first successful searcher, then you’ll not BE the first successful searcher!

      The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

      Good luck in your search. Please be safe.

  57. Sorry Seeker, all I’ve read is the poem, nothing more. I can’t speak of the books and interviews and such. Too much clutter. My entire solve is based on the poem alone using maps and a thesaurus. In my little pea brain, warm waters is the first clue. But what do I know? I’m just biding time, until my time to go 🙂

  58. The letters – I and T are listed, in order, in the poem 7 times

    What is “IT”

    It is fun

    it is the chase

    it is a battle of wits

    it is in the middle of with

    it is the end of my rainbow

    it is in the canyon down

    it is a place in the sun

    it is thinking of you

    it is insanity

    it is the answer

    it is a treasure hunt

    it is a hike in the woods

    it is having been tired, now weak

    it is no place for the meek

    it is in the middle of title

    it is why I must go

    it is the beginning and the end

  59. This is a good discussion. I’m of the opinion that warm waters is a common understanding of nature. What makes them halt, ie, suspend or impede, not stop is the defining clue that allows a searcher to take “it” in the canyon down. There is a conversion going on from warm waters to something else. What is “it?” mo


  60. “IT” Forrest said is contentment. His latest post at MW mirrors his search for peace or contentment.

    IMO: There may be as many interpretations of Forrest’s poem and his subsequent statements as people reading them. I’m a bit surprised that we limit interpretations narrowly to the physical. One of f’s more revealing comments is that he is very spiritual.

    The poem’s directions are an enigma. His post on death alternately seems more of a spiritual directive – like Forrest is seeking internal peace for his soul in the solitude of nature. IMO, his transparency here holds a message…forget every care and anxious thought stemming from the external world or the voices in your head. Get out of yourself and away from your passions in order to hear the voice of God living within your soul. When the mind is emptied of clutter and worldly noise, the voice of contentment and strength allow one’s spirit to mount up with wings of eagles and soar. We are more than flesh and bones. It’s our spirit that enjoys a sunrise and feels joy.

    If warm waters halt at T or cross, many walk quickly past the ‘rest’ or contentment which can be found in surrendering our external passions to find spiritual peace. Plot XY coordinates on good map and you have a physical cross to blaze your trail.

  61. I used the search but didn’t find this idea………….

    Begin IT is the 9 year old finding an Indian arrowhead. In the “end” culminating in a true Treasure.

    The root perhaps of f’s “things” thing.

  62. What if Mr. Fenn designed the poem so that each searcher determined what “it’ is. For me, it would be “wise.” It’s a key word that has resonated in many takeaways from the chase. For example, knowing when to shift priorities when faced with multiple demands at home/work or celebrating mistakes and moving on to tomorrow for new perspective and possibilities. Or it could simply be something associated with an owl…a possibility that keeps popping up in my research on GE. A feather of hope at my favorite spot looks promising, but obvious…certainly someplace I would like to visit once winter snows melt.

  63. To me, “IT” is the keyword, and WWWH is the key location. In my solve knowing where WWWH, then identifying “IT” made everything else fall into place. I have read other posts in other sections of the blog that have me thinking I may have the wrong WWWH. I’ll leave my first solve as is, and start on a second solve with a different WWWH location, but what I consider “IT” to be, will remain the same.

  64. It is what you make it.
    It the journey
    It the direction
    It the instruction
    it the number
    It divorced and remarried.

  65. My thoughts:

    “Begin it where” it = journey
    “And Take it” it = view, take the view in the canyon. I don’t know if FF explicitly wants us to go into the canyon (old man limitations) – still trying to make my solve work with this rationale.
    “From there it is” it = journey

  66. I posted this up above but thought I would say it again and add to it. I can’t seem to stop using the word it… Anyway

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
    I am haunted by waters.” Maclean at the end of ‘A River Runs Through It’

    This happens to be centered around fishing waters located in the search aera. So what is Maclean’s “it”? Forrest also said a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help. Then Forrest also said nobody else’s poems inspired his.

    Then again maybe the waters haunt all fly fishermen. They sure do me. I watched my son pull a mighty Bull out of the Blackfoot just a week ago probably near where Norman saw his brother do the same.

    A tourist visits a place, but a pilgrim has the place inside them. I try to read Forrest’s poem and be a pilgrim but I’m still missing it. I’m haunted by it.

    Help me Forrest, you’re my only hope.

  67. All,

    To me “it” is the Thrill of the chase. Forrest has said that “it’s the thrill of the chase, i keep going back to that” So if “it” is the thrill of the chase, then the concept that “it” through out the poem is our chase or pursuit of his trove. The trail that we find along our way is indeed one that Forrest has “blazed” for us to follow.

    “I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.”

    Forrest has had his “thrill” and now may be prepared to enter into the seventh stage of his life. But, Forrest still in his sixth stage, ever the teacher, donned in slippers and spectacles is attempting to pass “it” on.

    • silentfly,

      Yes women are much better at asking for and following directions than us men. Hopefully she will see what is beside her rather than looking too far ahead.

      • Hello LitterateOne,

        That would be quickly down I imagine. with the snow its more of a slog though. The aberrations live out on the edges I’m thinking.

          • LitterateOne,

            I also like to blaze my own trail. And don’t forget your gloves. That darn Magneto, Maybe the X-men will help us. Wolverine is my favorite.

    • My quest for the chest started the first time I read the poem. This is why I’ve given up thinking about “it” in stanza 2 as the chase because I wasn’t at WWWH when it started for me or even in the search area for that matter. And for some in the chase they may never be at the correct WWWH but did there quest begin?

  68. Hello all. I know I am coming in many years late into the chase, but I just discovered “The Thrill” recently and have been studying the poem intently ever since. From a newbie’s eyes, the obvious thing that sticks out to me in this poem is the number of grammatical and structural oddities at play in the poem. In the context of this conversation, there cases where pronouns are used without a clear antecedent. I think each time “it” is used, it is referring back to the same thing, which is not defined. I do not think this is some vague thing. I tend to agree with those that think that “it” is referring to a place or a road. If that is the case, WWWH ceases to become a general clue we overanalyze, and instead becomes a very specific clue that references a more specific location along a path or within a place as to where to begin.

    • Welcome aboard, naynay.
      That’s an interesting idea. I think it might have been discussed before, but I’m not sure.
      I’ve only been involved since April, so with spinning head and a grin I have to admit I could be wrong.
      Good luck.

    • naynay, I think that FF has said that the clues
      get progressively easier to solve. I agree with
      that assessment.

      I think that the first clue may be the most
      significant one. If you don’t get that one right, I don’t see how you could ever get anywhere
      near the TC.

      My solve’s first clue was an easy one to try, followed by solving the next one so they don’t conflict with each other, and then the next one, etc. etc. All of the “previous” clues had to make sense before I would tackle the next one.

      I spent a few months working on my solve. Solving the first clue, in my opinion, was not all that difficult, and yes, I considered names of
      rivers, etc., with temperature consideration on
      my mind. Eventually, I decided that I’m not
      keeping it simple enough, so I started to think
      like a child would. Voila! Bingo! A good
      candidate appeared for the solve of the first
      clue! And it is supported by everything we know
      about Forrest, in my not-so-humble opinion.
      After that, all the other clues “fell into place” relatively easily and quickly (during about a month of head-scratching).

      I think that when FF said “look at the big picture”,
      he was giving a HUGE hint about the first clue!

      The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

      Good luck. Please stay safe.

  69. Peter – You posted this awesome comment over on the Key Word thread:


    Peter on July 19, 2016 at 5:48 am said:

    Not sure what the key word is but found an interesting point. The word ‘it’ whether by itself or within another word is always preceded by a cardinal point letter (n,s,e,w), except in the last line. But you probably have the treasure by then

    My equivalent for “it” in my main solve is ‘The Madison River’,…so replacing “it” with my ‘it’ in the first stanza,…you get:

    Begin The Madison River where warm waters halt,
    And take The Madison River in the canyon down.
    Not far but too far to walk,
    Put in below the home of Brown.

    Because of you oh-so-excellent comment,…I am now going to see if I can match your compass directions to the direction of The Madison River (which I am not very good at!).

    Thank you soooo much for sharing here! 🙂

  70. Andrew, that was a really old comment, I think. I don’t remember what I was thinking at the time, but I might have thought 3 was a highway…

  71. One thing that I’ve noticed is,don’t know if it means anything or not though. But “it ” is no longer with you once you leave the canyon. If we’re supposed to leave the canyon. Only one that knows is FF. And he’s not saying.


  72. I think that a good (valid) solve doesn’t significantly depend on any of
    all these various possible definitions of the word “it”. To paraphrase the
    person who suggested that the word “it” could pretty much be omitted
    from the poem without much effect, here’s my (rough) interpretation of
    how some parts of the poem might be interpreted by omitting — or at
    least largely ignoring “it” — or what “it” may mean:
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Starting from a place where warm waters halt,
    And following a path that goes downhill in the canyon . . .

    From there, go where meek people wouldn’t be comfortable . . .

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I read “The Thrill of the Chase” several times carefully, and then I read
    “too far to walk”. I have much respect for Mr. Fenn. And although I have
    a great appreciation for what he has done with his life, including hiding
    the treasure and offering people the opportunity to find it, I am not going
    to spend a lot of time in an analysis of every one of his motives for doing
    this. Yes, it does help to “know” him (somewhat), as it gives some insight
    into how/what he may have been thinking as he laboriously worked on
    the poem. He has emphasized that we should not “overthink” it, and I
    agree. But it does take a little imagination — not a lot –, which is very
    important to a valid solve.

    Please stay safe, and remember the sandwich and flashlight. Not only are
    they good to have available, but FF’s mention of each was a bit of a hint
    that could help one solve the poem correctly — or at least, these mentions
    helped validate an already-existing solve in which I have a large amount
    of confidence.

    The above is just my opinion. Yours may differ.

  73. Hi, new to posting here but not new to the Chase. Since this is the “IT” topic, I will throw my 2 cents in as: “IT” belongs to “Begin IT” Which means to “Start IT”…so what do you start? A Car, Train, an Airplane. IMO, these three things are the entire solve.

    WWWH…Begin your solve by knowing what “Warm Waters” are. A person is of Warm Waters. When their “Warm Waters” Halt…they are gone. Figure out easily whom ff would be talking about and adjust your search accordingly.

    As to a “Train” theory it could be all the Cowboy/Western movies…those who’s “Warm Waters” have “Halted” (1800’s-1960’s)

    The Airplane…FF told us that at 50,000. feet in an airplane he flew would “Boil your blood”…so he’d take his students to 49,500 feet…(Above sea level, of course)…Warm waters would halt at 50K feet…Of course I could go on but still working my solve. I have enjoyed this blog as well as this TH. Thanks to Major Fenn for this opportunity.

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