The following story was submitted by Germanguy.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED june 2013
Here is the long awaited results of my endeavors…
I have decided that I would not only reveal my search location, but also the discoveries made along the way that led me to believe the chest was there.
My adventure didn’t start with the search for the treasure, as much as it did with understanding Forrest Fenn. Uncovering as much knowledge as I could into his fascination of Western history.
My first clue came, when I discovered that he was on the Board of the Buffalo Bill Cody museum. This led me to look into any relationships of Cody to the first clue of the poem “Begin it where warm waters halt”.
Looking into Cody’s history, which was my next step. I discovered, he met a John Baker Omohundro, also known as “Texas Jack”, a scout and buffalo hunter, at Fort McPherson near Cottonwood Springs, Nebraska. Together, they participated in Indian skirmishes and buffalo hunts and acted as guides. During this time, They became very close friends.
Texas Jack died in 1880, of pneumonia in Leadville, Colorado, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery there. This confirmed my first clue. Leadville Colorado is nicknamed “Cloud City”.
But how does this relate back to Cody? After all, it had to fit a Fenn tie-in somewhere. Then with further research, I discovered that Buffalo Bill paid tribute to his old friend in September of 1908, when he commissioned a new headstone be erected on Jack’s gravesite, in Leadville, Colorado.
“And take it in the canyon down”, I took to mean a southerly direction. “Not far, but too far to walk.”, meant that it was ‘relatively close’ (a term Forrest has used). Then, Fenn states to someone (when asked for an additional clue), “It’s over 300 miles west of Toledo. I asked myself, why the “Toledo” statement? Then I looked at my ‘canyon down’ and it was Toledo Ave. What the heck? Is this a clue or a slip? Too coincidental to not be a clue. I think to myself, that’s a keeper for sure.
“Put in below the home of Brown” was somewhat of a puzzler, because my research pointed to Molly Brown and yet her home was in town and I was going away from town. More research showed that when her husband J.J. Brown was working in the mines on Breece Hill, she moved from town to a town called Stumpftown (not a misspelling) on the northeast side of Iron Hill be closer to him, especially in the winter. She moved into a 2 room cabin. Now this was a better fit for the poem.
The next stanza with meek, drawing nigh, paddle up creek, heavy loads and water high all came together at this spot. This place is no where for the meek. It is high up in the mountains and the air is very thin (oxygen recommended). The chest is close now (nigh). There is a ditch (creek?) that drains the Yak tunnels (mine shafts). Power lines overhead (loads) or mine “lodes”. Finally, snow on the high peaks (frozen water).
Blaze was a challenge, but knowing how tricky Fenn is, I took a chance and decided it was a metaphor for gold. Obviously, this area would be ideal for gold mines, since it produced so much over the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. One problem with that theory, was there are 100’s of mines in this locale. The next task was to determine if there were any gold mines remaining.
In comes the trusty USGS mapper. In it I could determine the commodities that were produced by the mines. Lo and behold, I was able to locate only one mine in this particular location through the mapper that said it was a gold mine and it was on the Hill to the left (or west) of Iron Hill, called Carbonate Hill. The rest I learned were producing molybdenum. A thorough search of all possible records I could find, uncovered that the mine in question was a producer of gold and the owner was “unknown”, in addition to which it was “abandoned”. Golly, could this be somewhere Fenn felt safe in hiding his chest, because there is no record? My adrenaline shot through the ceiling.
Next came the “worth the cold” clue. Believe me when I say it gets cold up there. One day it is warm and you think you can go out and search and an hour later it’s snowing and windy as all heck. This clue is dead on.
“Brave and in the wood”, fit the location to a “T”. Trudging through the trees is a bit unnerving, as you don’t know exactly what lies ahead or is coming up behind you. Since it was the only mine buried in some trees, the “in the wood” fit as well. The rest of the mines were scattered in open areas and along the clearing below the power lines that go up the hill.
In order to cover all bases, a two day search was conducted. All mines on the south side of Carbonated Hill were checked.
The results of the search were negative. Although, it was an adventure in itself, I have to say that due to the altitude, it will have to be a lost venture for me at this point. Anyone who wishes to pursue this location further, be my guest.
Your Brother in Arms