Clue Toledo…

It was just past midnight when I was slapped awake by a menacing bright blue flash and startling clap of thunder that was close enough to make the air around me crackle and smell like overheated bakelite….

I grabbed my bedroll and ran for the truck just as a cold wind began whipping the trees and icy raindrops the size of goldfish started hammering my head. From inside the van I could see battalions of angry lightning bolts exploding outside the truck like a celebrity paparazzi attack. This whole storm event was a big surprise. Two hours ago, when I was watching the sky from my camp, the black heavens were clear enough that I could see every star imaginable. No moon meant there was no glare as I watched dozens of falling stars and a lazy satellite make it’s way across the sky. But now I was focused on driving away from this lightning rod of a spot…fast!  But I couldn’t. The rain was torrential and I could not see well enough to drive.

What bothered me most about staying put was the thought of a mud and boulder avalanche this kind of sustained, pounding torrent could bring down on me from the mountains above my truck.  That frightening massif of rock and earth west of Yellowstone that peeled off the side of the mountain along the Madison River kept coming to mind. People died. Roads, cars and homes disappeared off the planet. The Forest Service built a memorial/visitor center to the event on the pile of rubble that consumed the Madison.  I didn’t like being below a steep mountain slope in a downpour and I couldn’t see to drive. I wondered if I would be forever entombed or if they would dig me out? No one even knew I was here. I needed a distraction.

So I started using the awake time to consider how many Toledos there were that Forrest could possibly have referred too when he said the treasure was hidden “more than 300 miles West of Toledo.” I  own several mapping programs and a fairly substantial collection of paper maps that I always travel with. I like maps. I enjoy looking at them and gleaning information from them the way some people enjoy looking at a piece of fine art or postage stamps. Earlier, I posed the question about the number of Toledos to a few of the searchers who write me. Eddie said three. Marc came up with nine and Ellen was surprised there were so many. She counted eleven.

There are a lot. I was already up to eight workable Toledos, not counting the ones that were either west of the mountains or closer than 300 miles to some place or other within the range of possibilities. Does Forrest know there are a dozen or more? Did he use Toledo for exactly this reason?

Forrest can be tricky as Coyote. His clues are shrouded in layers of furry enigma and camouflaged under curtains of Fenn-speak. What kind of training prepares a person to hide his instructions behind such deviousness? …The military?…Maybe years of playing poker…Trading and buying?…Any/all of the above, I suppose.

My list of Toledos include cities, historical places and mines:

1. Toledo, Ohio

2. Toledo, Colorado

3. Toledo, Iowa

4. Toledo, Illinois

5. Toledo, Kansas

6. Toledo, South Dakota

7. Toledo, Indiana

8. Toledo, Minnesota

Let me know if you find more.

I ignored Toledo, Washington, Toledo Oregon and Toledo, Mexico. That last Toledo was invented by James Michner for his novel, Mexico. So I guess it wouldn’t count anyway. Besides, it isn’t North of Santa Fe.

I drew lines across the mountains at the latitude of my eight Toledos. When I was done I had eight  West to East lines across the mountain states. Progress!! Exactly what good this does or how this might help me find the treasure is still not clear to me. But sometimes you don’t know until you try.

What constitutes “in the mountains” was my next  issue. Is Denver “in the mountains”? It’s at 5,300 feet above sea level. That’s high, but Denver is not what I would consider “in the mountains”. Most people who live there seem to believe they are on the eastern slope of the Rockies…not a mountain town…a foothill town. What about places like Jackson and Durango? Certainly I would consider Silverton in the mountains. What about Taos?

Between the clues in Forrest’s poem and the clues he has handed out I can clear away a lot of that vast western landscape that some might consider “in the mountains”. Still, what’s left is a gigantic area.

Now, if this rain would just lighten up I could head out and be at my first search area of the day by first light.


47 thoughts on “Clue Toledo…

  1. Your description of the sudden thunder storm: “made the air around me crackle and smell like overheated bakelite….” Wow, Dal. That’s good stuff. Almost as good as Forrest Fenn when he gets into a lyrically descriptive mood. I could smell the smell and feel the goldfish-sized rain pelting down on my head. You have an amazing ability of taking us with you on your search. Good luck. Stay safe.

    • Irene,
      I was just wondering is that Bob Haworth in the background of your avatar, maybe at your book signing in Denver 2010 when he sang the song of your new book “Sisters on the Fly” same title. So that is before you contacted your friend Bob Haworth to do a song for Forrest on his new book ” The Thrill of the Chase” . You did help in getting them together, right. Bur

      • your looking at this all wrong man why are you looking up all them toledo’s for He clearly says he hidden it in the rocky moutains right ? the rocky moutains go from Colorado to Wyoming right ? but if you look Over 300 miles west of toledo Ohio and north of santa fe you will criss cross to Casper Wyoming. now if the Rockies run thru there i dont know.
        but now here comes in the higher that 5,000 feet above seal lvl so that means it got o be up in the moutains some place because denver.colorado is only 1 mile above sea lvl thats why its called mile high. well i hope this will help you and f it does and you find the loot from my ideas i would hope you would cut a piece off to me. so i can put it in a bank account for my daughter to have when i die. God bless and be safe. if you wish to contact me you can at

  2. You didn’t mention the Toledo that I believe Forrest is referring to… was this on purpose?

    • I doubt it. Very little of what I do is purposeful…
      Which Toledo do you mean?
      Toledo, Spain is the only other Toledo that has been pointed out to me.

  3. Dal, I’ve just spent the last few hours reading all of the blogposts, catching up on what’s been happening. Sounds like I’d like to make a shot at finding the treasure next spring or summer!

    If I’m not mistaken, Forrest originally said that the treasure is “over 300 miles SOUTHWEST of Toledo.” Perhaps that slightly changes things since you were thinking it might be straight, due west of Toledo.

    • I’m glad you brought this West vs. Southwest issue up. This is a problem and not unlike a few other issues that have cropped up from time to time. When I met with Forrest in June and we filmed the Santa Fe Interviews we discussed the Toledo clue (but not on camera). He strongly denied ever saying that the chest was located “more than 300 miles Southwest of Toledo”. He told me at that time that the correct clue is that the chest is hidden “more than 300 miles West of Toledo”. So when I wrote that story I quoted what Forrest told me, not what I have heard others say Forrest told them. In fact, I have never read anything from Forrest that says “Southwest”. But I know for a fact that he told me that the correct clue was “West”. This may be a case where people hear and repeat what they want to hear rather than what was actually said. It happens a lot. I remember an old campfire game from when I was in the Scouts. About thirty of us were seated in a circle around the campfire and someone would whisper a sentence to the person next to them and then that person would repeat the message to the next person and so on until the message came back to the person who started it. It was always interesting how that message had gotten distorted along the way. It was never the same at the end as it was when it started out. Of course another possibility is that someone wants to keep the clue for him/her/self and purposely passes on bad information. A final possibility is that it’s not a clue at all. Just flack thrown up by Forrest. This, of course would be unfortunate because it calls into question all the clues outside of the poem, his book and his blog. So we must be diligent in making sure that our clues are as first hand as possible. I suspect that if you wrote Forrest and told him that you heard two versions of the same clue and needed to know which was true, he would tell you.

  4. There is a Brown Realty off highway 4 just north of Jemez Springs (at the curve) SW of the caldera. Brown could also refer to the type of trout found around that area. Also, what about the Questra, NM where the Red River and Rio meet? Anybody thinking of areas along the Continental Divide Trail? There is a single white “blaze” (facing S on the CDT) on a Mesa just south of Cuba, NM.

    • Blister…
      Realty probably won’t work. Remember Forrest wrote this so it could work a hundred years from now. The Brown Realty is not likely to be there in a hundred years. Consider something more substantial…
      I wrote about looking in Questa..also not good because Forrest at 79-80 would not likely have walked down into that gorge carrying 42lbs on his back.
      The Questa story is here:
      You’ve got some good ideas but you need to look around this blog and others and read what people have already done..
      Put that good mind of yours to useful work…

      • looking at all the different clues,there is no way i can get to the usa,but i thing i can work out allthe different anagrams and cross references,this man is very devious and clever……but i may of worked it out !!

  5. Well Jon if you cannot get here to the USA pass your thoughts to someone who can! 🙂 Or hop a plane!

  6. You mentioned he wouldn’t carry 40 lbs, But i have seen comments that he carried it a little at a time Is there any truth to that/ if so it could be farther than people think.

  7. The Valles Caldera is the younger of two calderas known at this location, having collapsed over and buried the Toledo Caldera, which in turn may have collapsed over yet older calderas. The associated Cerros del Rio volcanic field, which forms the eastern Pajarito Plateau and the Caja del Rio, is older than the Toledo

  8. Anybody have any idea if the 300 mi. from Toledo is as “the crow flies” or 300 mi. driving from Toledo? Makes a difference for sure.

    • Stephen-
      I call that a non-clue. By that I mean it doesn’t mean anything. Forrest admitted he was just joking and he has also said it isn’t the kind of clue that will help anybody. He also said he was talking about Toledo, OH. The Rocky Mountains don’t start for well over 300 miles west of Toledo, OH no matter how you measure it.

      • In the feed above, you mention several Toledo’s, eight to be exact. But here you write that Forrest clarified this as being specific to Toledo, OH. Can you please confirm that ff is for certain talking about Toledo, OH.

        • You are looking at this wrong. The Toledo clue is something that I posted at Stephanie site yesterday. If you take all of the capital letters in bold in TTOTC, and add them up with their numbered place in the alphabet, then you get the number 419. 419 is the area code to Toledo. Its not the distance that is the clue, it is the way you figure out what Toledo means, and why he used Toledo in the first place.

  9. Yellowstone specifically is close to the mark, being somewhat more than 300 miles west of Toledo, SD, if I found the right town ( its awfully small and doesn’t really come up very much in history.) Specifically the areas of Fishing Bridge, and slightly farther than that is the Madison River Campground. Both of those areas (well, Yellowstone as a whole) seem to be very important to Mr.Fenn throughout his life. The area is somewhere North of Santa Fe, falls in all the right regions. Fishing bridge specifically would be where warm waters (of Yellowstone Lake), where the whole area is heated by geothermal activity, halt. Etc, Etc. It looks like you get our email addresses on your blog. I’d like to bounce some ideas off of you without revealing too much. If not reply to this post when you get the chance, I will check it often.

  10. What if it is not the town of Santa Fe but the railroad he is talking about?

  11. I’m pretty certain I have solved all the hints and clues. I am to set out on my quest June 8, 2015 wish me luck.

  12. Dal,
    I found all the Toledos you listed except Toledo, Colorado. Can you point me in the right direction?

  13. I believe I have two locations that the treasure is located however my main hang up is how he transport this box by himself to it’s destination. A. by plane if it was the Yellowstone region and then to handle 42lbs. or by car, his or a rental north of santa fe. I assume he had a drivers license in 2010 but did he still have a pilots license?

  14. Could be The Toledo Wabash and Great Western Railroad. The railroads routes were within 300 miles east of a north/south line of the Rocky mountains and Sante Fe. This could make the treasure 300 miles west of Toledo or at least one of the stops along the line.
    Found this on page 141 of “The Contested Plains, Indians, Goldseekers, and the rush to Colorado.
    And no I am not plugging this book. Just found the info while reading it tonight.

  15. Cerro Toledo (Toledo Hill) is near the end of Santa Clara creek which runs right next to Canyon Rd. : ) 19 miles N of Santa Fe

  16. Holy Toledo there sure are a lot of “Brown’s” aren’t there?

    “Other suggestions of origin (“holy Tiedo”) are not religious, but may be more likely. Holy Week has always been the worst week at the box office for show business; old-time Vaudeville actors contended that any week in Toledo was Holy Week. Toledoans Joe E. Brown and Danny Thomas popularized the term as they became nationally known performers.”

  17. Here is a great example of just how well Dal writes. Some day we will be blessed with his own memoir of the many adventures that the Chase propelled him into…maybe. The reason I liked this thread was his mention of maps/and his love for them. I do believe a good map will aid the finder….

  18. Dal – Please be completely honest. Did you write “Clue Toledo” above..or did Forrest??

    If you did, you seemingly know more than you are leading on.


      • Wow.. lots of “Fennspeak” in there. Impressive.

        “No moon meant there was no glare as I watched dozens of falling stars and a lazy satellite make it’s way across the sky.”

        “What bothered me most about staying put was the thought of a mud and boulder avalanche”

        Forrest please chime in, he’s channeling you…!


  19. I took Toledo as being Toledo Ohio.
    It’s on latitude 41.6528 so if it’s a clue it would be better to follow that line of latitude West rather than drawing a line in a Westerly direction which may not follow the lines of latitude.
    My question is, did FF say West of Toledo because that lady who asked for a clue came from Toledo?
    I can’t find the video or interview anymore that would provide an answer.

  20. He Clearly says that he buried it in the Rocky moutains and as every one knows that Colorado is a little over a mile above sea lvl. There are 5,280 Feet in 1 mile and he says its 5,000 feet above sea lvl. then says OVER 300 miles west of toledo , OH. and North of Santa Fe.
    If you take a ruler and criss cross both of them Directions you hit Casper Wyoming. Now I think this is said and ment to be a ruff Direction and heading of the location I would follow that down to the rocky moutains and maybe search in that area. Just a idea and if it does intrest you and you look into it and do find this tresure I hope you would kick me off a little so i can stick it in a bank account for my Daugter to have when I die and she hits 21. god bless and be careful …keep you feet dry and watch your 6. If you do try and contact me you can on facebook Warchildvolk 8 – )

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