The Sure Thing…

Submitted May 2014
by michaeld


NCM_0042I always felt like stanzas one, five, and six went together because it was Forrest Fenn speaking to us. These are the only stanzas where he is using I, me, and my to communicate to us. It seemed like stanzas two through four were telling us where the chest was at. It sounded like to me by the last line in stanza four, the location was divulged…so my line of thinking was that stanzas one, five, and six gave the directions to where warm waters halt,  then stanzas two, three, and four told us where to find the chest from there.

It was also logical to assume that the poem divulged the blaze by stanza four as well because it says “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.” I believe stanza four is used to let you know that the blaze exists in stanza one, two, or three, and that you must be wise to find it. If you have been wise and found the blaze, then look quickly down to stanzas five and six, because, if you found the blaze, then stanzas five and six tell you where to go to find the chest. This is a MAJOR departure from what I have read on the blogs…(most people have been taking the poem as all directions on the ground all the time). So once you know the blaze, stanzas five and six reveal themselves a bit….I quickly deduced that if stanzas one, five, and six went together, stanza one HAD to be the stanza with the blaze, since stanza four tells you to first find the blaze, then look quickly down to five and six for directions to WWWH. Forrest always said to start at the beginning. I noticed right off the letter I, and two ones in the first line…As I have gone alone in there….What if I was one. In the first line, with a little imagination, we see, “As ONE have gONE alONE in THREE”…Now, I know that’s a stretch for some, but remember, my solve began at the beginning. The first stanza uses the word I in a specific way…”I can keep my secret where” is telling us the LETTER  I is important to the solve. After stanza one, the letter I is not used again until stanza five. “As I have gone alone in there” is a code. I one one in three. A butterfly is really a flutterby, and there is really three. Imagination is more important than knowlege, and gone is one, as is alone). This is the  BLAZE….I equals one. As we read through the rest of the poem with this in mind, the very next line says, AND WITH MY treasures bold….So perhaps instead of just I being a number one, whenever Forrest refers to himself in the poem, it means the number one. So every me, my or I in the poem would turn into a number one… we see in stanza four it states, “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace” We now know the blaze has to be introduced in the first three stanzas, and we found it…

And one one  one in three is true…So what if “I” as in Forrest Burke Fenn, is the Blaze?? That would mean not only I, but Me and My would be ONE, since they all refer to FBF. So I substituted ONE for all me, my and I’s that were referring to Forrest Fenn (in red letters), And BOLDED all the ONES  that already appeared in the poem… and I also bolded any changes or interpretations I made to the poem, and this is what I got: ( I left out stanzas two through four because they have no ones or FF referrals)

As ONE have gONE alONE in THREE

And with ONE treasures bold,

ONE can keep ONE secret where

And hint of riches new and old.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down your quest to cease,

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So Y is it that ONE must go

And leave ONE trove for all to seek? = Y11 (trove = drove?)

The answers ONE already know,

ONE’ Ve dONE it tired, and now ONE’M weak. = 141 (it tired = drove?) and now ONE’ M weak….The reason I changed why to Y and the I’ve to a 4 (roman number IV…the e is silent) was because of what I found subsequently in stanza six….and where that took me on the map….So really I kinda went out of order to solve the 141 and Y11, because Stanza six made WAY more sense if I approached that way.

So HEAR ONE all and LIST TEN good,….(This is why the last I in stanza six  is used as a letter instead of a one…we already changed 10  me ,my, I’s into ONES, just as FF tells us to in stanza six! So hear ONE all and LIST TEN good) But I was looking for something else…something that would convince me I was on the right path…and Germanguy gave it to me on a silver platter!! He’s also saying to list ten letters… we hear in stanza six…

Your Fort will B worth the cold.

F U R brAve and N the wood,

I give U title to the gold.

FBFURANIU…wait, that only = nine letters…FBFURANIU,  we are exactly ONE’M WEAK (from stanza five) of spelling out FBF URANIUM. FBF = Forrest Burke Fenn…THE BLAZE!! The Blaze is FBF which is synonymous with me, my and I in the poem!! This is the carving we will look for on the tree, cliff, rock etc…but uranium?…URANIUM…URANIUM??

Okay, let’s think about this. Why would anything having to do with uranium be a very special place to FF? Maybe because it saved his life when he got cancer? Maybe because the very thing that is a symbol of war, which FF has learned comes at great cost, saved his life in the end. How’s that for a paradox (As in not far but too far). So the key word is ONE, and Forrest Burke Fenn, aka Me, My, I, is the BLAZE (both times) first time as me, my, I and second as FBF. So the nine clues, in order, are:

  1.  Y
  2. ONE
  3. ONE
  4. ONE
  5. FOUR
  6. ONE
  7. ONE M’ weak
  8. FBF

So if you search for Uranium on Y11 and 141….google comes up with Uravan, CO. ( If U R brAVe ANd)… Listen and HEAR what it sounds like…urbraveand…..uravan… With these clues we can find Uravan, CO and begin to unravel the mystery of where warm waters halt.

June in Uravan 073

So in order to find where warm waters halt, I go to Uravan, CO Uranium mine on Y11 and 141. And we know what blaze to look for (FBF) when we figure out the rest of the poem. Now that we have solved the clues, the book begins to make a lot more sense. Research goes a long way toward revealing the hints in the book. Yellowstone is really yellow stone, carnotite, uranium ore. Miss Ford is crossing the Delores River, with her loud voice and choppy steps. Y11 road is a graveled road to the south that crosses the San Miguel River at the “Black Bridge” and goes to Paradox and Bedrock, Colorado, via the scenic canyons of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers.


Paradox is a farming and ranching community. It was named because the Dolores River runs north and south through the valley rather than the usual east and west—a Paradox that occurs in only one other valley in the world. Red Canyon, MT is really Red Canyon quadrangle, Colorado.


15 miles of water runway is the hanging flume. 6000’ in elevation is where the chest is at or near (within 85%). The grave, the waterfall, the crescent moon (arch), 2.42 river miles from omega one (below the Home of Brown), on omega two (which is really omega three) which is 7 miles west of town (Uravan) on 141, between mile marker 79 and 80, on a large sagebrush flat with large stands of pine trees (stumps now) all around.



The Yellow and Purple flowers and the abundant tall grasses surround the gravestone. But I digress….back to WWWH… What do we know about the poem? We know what Forrest Fenn has told us, it contains nine clues that if followed precisely will lead us to the end of his rainbow, and the treasure. But we know more than that.


[ prə sī́sslee ]


  1. exactly: used to indicate that something is stated exactly
  2. accurately: with absolute accuracy
  3. in detail: in complete and accurate detail


It is perfectly logical then, to assume the poem contains within it, exact directions to the chest. Forrest tells us to “Begin it where warm waters halt”, and he means it, but we MUST start at the beginning in order to find the beginning.

Uravan was a town that no longer exists, and was bulldozed because it was radioactive. It sits on county road Y11. From there, other, possibly imagined, clues start popping up….Drawing=Glyph, Paddle=ROW, High=Hie…reverse it…Hieroglyph. Hieroglyphics canyon is in Uravan. “Not far but too far” is a Paradox….Paradox Valley is near Uravan. Bedrock, Colorado in Paradox Valley is where Y11 comes off of HWY 90. (it=9T?)  (“Safe upon the SOLID ROCK the ugly houses stand, come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!”)

Stanza 2: “Begin it where warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown.” This was the HARDEST PART of the whole solve. I couldn’t for the life of me find a decent wwwh in my area …Germanguy was convinced it was the continental divide, then Uncompahgre plateau, then Unaweep Canyon….None of which worked for me…because FF already told us where to begin looking, (Uravan) so WWWH becomes a point at which to begin the actual trail to the chest…not a place to begin looking for the general area…we have the general area already! And then it happened. April 18th 2014 at about 11pm… I was searching the internet for Y11 road references, and I hit the jackpot! Y11 FIASCO mountain bike trail…

This technically challenging trail follows the old Indian trail from Uravan to Saucer Basin, a small collapsed salt dome. The trail climbs along the south rim of the San Miguel River canyon, with great views of the hanging flume and the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers. It can be ridden as a lollipop overlooking the confluence, or as a loop featuring a very technical downhill into Saucer Basin and returning along CR Y-11.
Saucer Basin!? Tea with Olga?! Warm waters halt when they run over the edge of your teacup and into the saucer. My heart was racing!!  This wwh along with all the other stuff was just too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence…this was it! I had it! I found wwwh!! FF had taken us full circle on this bicycle trail, from Y11 road in Uravan to Y11 road in Delores River Canyon!! This is when I boldly posted the poem was solved…I was wrong…By the way, it turns out Forrest could easily drive from Y11 at Uravan to Y11 at Saucer Basin, but I may not have come across Saucer Basin if not for that mountain bike trail description! So begin it in Saucer Basin and take it in the Delores River canyon down, not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. The dreaded HOB!! I couldn’t find it! I searched forever…nothing, nada. So I must have to be there to see that part right? But the San Miguel River is a well-known and famous Brown Trout fishery, and runs a very Brown color at its confluence with the Delores River…and it is less than a mile downstream to the confluence from Saucer Basin. So I started working on the rest of the solve using the confluence as HOB. It was an educated guess, but it worked out so well later that I kept it as fact…a dangerous game!

June in Uravan 066

Now, everyone needs to get on google earth and look at that confluence!! Double Omega central!! “From there it’s no place for the meek, the end is ever drawing nigh. There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.” After searching for some specific directions hidden in this part of the poem, I came up with everything is too far to walk if you “PUT IN” the water…So I measured in the streambed instead of on the roads, believing No place for the meek may mean by water instead of by land. And searching for more directions, I looked at “Not far, but too far to walk” and thought to myself, not four, but two four two walk. So I “Put in” AKA started, below the confluence, and measured 242 feet. Then 242 miles, then yards. Nothing made sense…I started to think, is 2.42 miles too far to walk? WAIT! Not four is saying less than four….so 2.42? So I tried this measurement. EXACTLY 2.42 miles downstream from the “PUT IN” spot below the confluence of the Delores and the San Miguel you end up at another Omega! And using a USGS quad map, you find a grave on that Omega!!

phone1 736

I was really getting excited now! Begin it at Saucer Basin, and take it in the Delores River Canyon downstream on Y11 road. Not four, but two four two walk. Put in, and begin your 2.42 miles below the Confluence of the San Miguel and Delores Rivers…now I found a grave marker exactly 2.42 miles downstream from the confluence of the San Miguel (home of Brown) and the Delores River. (Not far, but 2.42 walk) Worked for me! This  grave was calling me out! Was there a crude aluminum grave marker in the tall grass there? I HAD to go look at it. When I arrived in Uravan, where Y11 and HWY 141 come together, I reset my odometer’s trip meter. “seven miles west of town in a large sagebrush flat that HAD large stands of pine trees everywhere”…pg. 65 TTOTC…

EXACTLY 7 miles west of Uravan, CO on HWY 141 is the dead end on the sagebrush flat (that leads to the grave) that had numerous pine tree stumps all around in the tall green grass and the yellow and purple flowers were scattered about.…I had goose bumps when I read the tag on the mining claim corner marker that was on that flat…The name of the claim was DREAMS!! As in, “My church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms where DREAMS and fantasies alike go to play.” When I found the Grave, the name on the stone was John Christian… (John Charles Whatever??). The real kicker was there were broken pieces of an old tea cup and SAUCER resting beneath the shade of the headstone. I reached down and picked one up…the only word legible on the back was Tea (Tea with Olga)!! Warm waters halt when they run over the edge of your teacup and into the saucer. My heart was racing!! I have never wanted to dig up a grave…but boy I was tempted!! As I observed the area, I could tell nothing had been dug up for many years…and I felt like FF would not have done that. But I searched the heck out of that peninsula, from top to bottom and side to side…for three days…nada.

June in Uravan 059

The last evening I was sitting in the tall grass near the grave admiring the view and trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I glanced across the canyon and I saw something that caught my eye and triggered a flood of thoughts all at the same time. There, on the south rim of the canyon, was a beautiful waterfall! It was dry, but it was obvious it ran as a spring creek. There was a beautiful inverted natural arch that had been carved out by the water…was this Forrest Fenn’s Rainbow?? My heart was pounding again as I realized the error of my ways. The end is drawing EVER nigh! He was telling me Just keep going left whenever you have the ability to! So, on google earth I began measuring from my “put in”, below the confluence (The HOB), 2.42 miles…this time going left whenever I could. The first place I was able to take a left was at that waterfall! And 2.42 miles put me PRECISELY at the top of the falls, at 5014 feet in elevation. I was sure finding the grave was all a part of FF’s plan. He knew solvers would go there first…and he knew what they would see on the other side of the River too. But I had no internet or cell service at the location, so I was unable to determine a driving route to the falls. (I feel it important to point out that with google earth, your cache will function without an internet connection). I sure as heck couldn’t wade the Delores River in April! So I went home…and I passed a bridge that crossed the Delores…but It was fenced off, so I assumed it was private. I felt frustrated and excited all at the same time. Over the next day or two, I researched a way to get within half a mile of the falls by vehicle… (4X4 only out there folks!!)

The next day I drove the 11 hours and 685 miles back to the falls and hiked the scary and tricky, but doable descent into the little side canyon with the waterfall. I had a 200’ rope, a harness, and a one hour rappelling lesson under my belt, and I was determined to get to the bottom of that waterfall! When I got there, I was amazed at how much larger and scarier the falls was looking down from the top of it. The arch was 40 feet down, and the pool at the base of the falls was another 100’ feet below the arch! I was terrified, but I boldly harnessed up and tied my rope to a large tree. As I began to walk down the rolling edge of the precipice a thought occurred to me. How in the heck was I planning on getting back up? Fear (AKA logic) took over, and I was already able to see the pool and the backside of the arch, and no chest was present, so I wisely pulled myself back from the sheer drop off, and sat down to ponder my ignorance.


I had gold fever didn’t I?…I needed to rethink my solve. And come down off my adrenaline high for a while. Forrest said not to go looking where a 79 0r 80 year old man couldn’t go, and I give FF high marks in the athletic dept, but decided rappelling was probably not his chosen method. But I couldn’t let this area go.

So the double omegas of the canyon where the Delores River and the San Miguel river come together were screaming for me to read the book again…which I did.

“I tend to use some words that aren’t in the dictionary, and others that are, I bend a little.”

“Cross the street” pg. 20 = Y11

“cross the river” pg. 24.  =Delores River

“You should always tell the truth, but you should not always tell all of the truth.” Pg. 26.

15 miles of water runway pg. 53 = Hanging flume

Ravens  pg. 55, 61, 142  = Uravan and Raven mine

Red Canyon pg. 59 = Red Canyon USGS quad in Montrose County, CO

In Love with yellow stone= Uranium ore is yellow (carnotite)…do you see the genius of FF yet?

“7 miles west of town in a large sagebrush flat that had large stands of pine trees everywhere…” The Grave is exactly 7 miles west of Uravan in a sagebrush flat with pine trees.

There are so many more! I find more every time I read the book. He scattered confirmation hints throughout the entire memoir! They do more harm than good until you begin to solve the poem…then the floodgates of imagination, coincidences, and printed evidence all come together into a heavenly hodgepodge of “You’re Getting Warmer” stew.

As ONE have gone alone in three, and with ONE treasures bold, ONE can keep ONE secret where, and hint of riches new and old.

Begin it in Saucer Basin, (wwwh) and take it in the Delores River Canyon Down, Not 4, but 2.42 walk. Put in (begin your 2.42) below the Confluence with the San Miguel River (HOB).

From there, enter the river, (No place for the meek) the end is to the left, (drawing nigh) there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.( The creek at the end of the 2.42 miles)

If you’ve been wise and found the (Blaze) = FBF? look quickly down, your quest to cease, but don’t just stare in awe, take the chest and go in peace.

So Y is it that ONE must go and leave ONE trove for all to seek?

The answers ONE already know, ONE’Ve dONE it driving, and now ONE’ M weak.

So hear ONE all and list ten good, your Fort will B worth the cold, F U R brAve and N the wood, I give U title to the gold.



The Video

See all of MichaelD’s Photos from Uravan, CO HERE

40 thoughts on “The Sure Thing…

  1. Well, that was a pretty impressive solve, with an equally impressive search. At least you got to breathe in some impressive scenery. This part of the country is awesome, ain’t it?

  2. I’ll have to set aside some time to read all this Mike! Looks very interesting so far though. 🙂

  3. MichaelD-
    Your head is way bigger than mine my friend. There is no way I could ever think of this.
    Your ability to think beyond the obvious is impressive…
    Your ability to follow your dreams is stunning…
    I’m very glad you considered “how to get back” before you took the line down to the ledge…
    and finally..I agree..Forrest would not have rappelled into that position either..

    Are you going back?

  4. Michael

    One of my first solves was based on that I thought stanza 1 told us what the blaze is

    Now that I feel convinced I’ve solved the blaze (now I just need to get there somehow dagnabbit!) Stanza 1 does not reveal but rather hints at how the blaze is revealed later in the poem

    thanks for the write up and pictures

  5. Great pics great video but you lost me on all that reading My brain stopped after first paragraph 🙂

  6. I’m going to need some of those dizzy pills Forrest Fire was talking about…
    Great details though — thank you so much for sharing , and for putting all the armchair solvers to shame by actually getting out there !!

  7. I hope the final solve is not this complicated…. Its great getting out their tho – thanks for the post Mr.D and your solve that’s very bold of you to post it – we can’t wait for our turn this summer.

  8. Wow. Thanks for sharing Michael D. I’m glad you are the one writing your solve because if it had been anyone else I would have gotten very worried at the spot you are repelling……I don’t know what’s more impressive, your mental or physical gymnastics. Probably should have a warning for the kids not to try this at home but then that would just encourage them like it did when we were kids. Wow!

  9. Wow! Your search is humbling…so sorry you weren’t able to get to New Mexico to have a drink and swap stories. Loved all your pictures and video–at least we enjoy the same music…Journey–how appropriate!

  10. Great solution and wonderful video. What a beautiful place! The Treasure has got to be there – it must be there!! Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. I love your choice of music in the video!

  11. I’ll take the RED pill so we can stay outdoors with you instead of indoors which is many of our BLUE pill realities.

    “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth – nothing more.”

    – Morpheus, from The Matrix

    • A Red extra strength Tylenol please…reality over the illusion of ignorance. Truth sets you free even when unpleasant. Besides, I can always escape reality into my ‘book’, and wear the rose color aviators I inherited from a friend who quit the blog.

  12. An elegant (and complicated) solution. I loved reading your post. But, as Forrest often says, remember than this was hidden by a 79-year-old man–fit but nevertheless no spring rooster. And, maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think Forrest has any technical climbing skills with ropes and such.

  13. Yes, in retrospect some of my location Ideas were perhaps a bit extreme. however, my solve is not complex at all in my opinion….List ten ONES…List ten Letters, this gives you Y11, 141 (questionable), One’M weak, FBF and URANIUM.
    Search those things in google to Find URAVAN. Also find URAVAN in stanza six….Look for a WWWH in/near Uravan…find Saucer Basin…and follow the poem to the chest. Bingo, Bango, Bongo.
    Oh…Also have to hear 242 in too far to….

  14. Michael D…I found:
    High- hie
    Paddle- row
    Draw- glyph
    All from stanza three, back in Jan. That’s the only way a blaze can last, on rock or metal.
    He “built” the poem, but also said ” don’t mess with it”, like moving words and sentences. You kept to that. He said no anagrams or crossword puzzles. You kept to that too.
    I have my main solve, alas, in New Mexico, still waiting for this late summer. It’s funny, because I have a solve in each of the four states!
    I feel his poem kept exactly as it is, uses words that need to be replaced with existing words, thus the need for definitions. My solve does this! Just like hieroglyph. WWH has a meaning using the same application.
    I think you, me and Chris Yates are all on the same wave length here.
    Maybe F wants togetherness in finding it. He said he wasn’t religious but very spiritual…your spot seems to be just that!
    Good luck on your return trip! Your music rocks!
    ¥Peace¥ Donna

  15. Thanks everyone for the kind comments…I believe we are beginning to see cooperation and transparency could be a useful tool to expedite the finding of the correct solution. Of course, this means giving up the greedy side of yourself and succumbing to the community spirit….something difficult to do sometimes.

    • Michael D – really appreciate you sharing such excellent material to jump start my brain. In the spirit of cooperation, I wanted to mention that in addition to the Red River the Tongue River and Bighorn River in WY/MT also flow north.

      An excellent read about Native American horse culture/history is “Where the Rivers Run North”
      by Sam Morton

      Book trailer

      • In the spirit of giving I will develop and share on my post about Nez Perce and Brown/ HOB. Most everyone beside me probably knows this already……but here goes. The reason the Nez Perce and upper Firehole had to be populated with trout is because there is no drainage connection to the Pacific and the trout could not navigate the Firehole Falls (WWWH?)

        • Appreciate knowing why NP creek is the original home of brown trout in YP. Helps narrow workable solves in the Park. TYVM 🙂

  16. Hey Michael, you have big ones buddy. What a trip! Loved your story and solve, you and GG are awsome. Thank you and GG for sharing your stories of The Thrill of the Chase……… 🙂

  17. Great solve in a great location. Too bad it wasn’t there, MichaelD. You did good on your first video ever, and I too enjoyed the music. What I really like about that location was lots of good places to secret ff along with his TC. Stay safe, but keep at it!

  18. People can share info in a community spirit if they want

    But when the chest is found there won’t be any community about it

    Whoever finds it will own it

    • Ah, well, you are entitled to your opinion. I plan to involve the community quite a bit when/if I find it: for example, giving everyone in the community a chance to bid on each piece of the treasure at the auction. 😉

  19. True.
    Researching and sharing is the only way some have of participating in this adventure.

  20. Hi Michael, I applaud the creativity and zeal with which you tackled this but IMO it seems way too complex. After creating 9 numerical clues, it would appear that you went back and used dozens of phrases from the book and poem as additional clues. Since F has told us there are 9 clues in the poem and only a couple of subtle hints in the book do you really feel that his directions are this nebulous?

    • Marvin,
      I did go back through the book looking for confirmation/coincidences. The things I “farmed” from the book I do not consider clues….I believe Forrest placed them there as confirmations. I will admit that some are most likely just coincidences…But there are others I am convinced MUST confirm the clues…Especially the URANIU “M” clue….You gotta admit that is a sound interpretation of stanza six…Perhaps not correct…but more compelling than some. Perhaps In Love with Yellowstone is really In Love with yellow stone.

      At some point, I am convinced the poem HAS to give us 9 unambiguous yet somehow camouflaged clues. URANIUM could certainly be a clue. FBF could certainly be a clue and perhaps the blaze. Even if you throw the rest of my solve away, these things as possible clues is, in my opinion, beyond the realm of coincidence.

      So now, how do we enumerate them?
      Is FBFRANIU one clue, and One ‘M weak one clue? That would be two clues….Or is it FBF is one, URANIU is one, and One’m weak is one? That would be three clues. Or is FBF one and URANIUM is one? So that would leave six or seven to go.

  21. So many great solves to the Poem! I hope to visit many of these places time allowing!

  22. Great solve and very entertaining. I would venture a guess that you have touched on an aspect of the poem that most of us over looked.

    Thank you for sharing.

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