A Search in New Mexico…

Jeremy Parnell


I just got back from New Mexico and since I’m unlikely to return any time soon I thought I’d share the solve I came up with. It has an unusual search area at the end, but I do think it follows from the clues and is reachable by an elderly man. This, I say, despite skeptical looks from people when I tell them where I’ve been, without explaining the solve, and with my own party members (my dad and two brothers) being very close to mutiny on the path itself. I’m pretty sure that I was one crazy idea from being thrown off a cliff.

Shall we begin?

As I have gone alone in there

This is skipping ahead, but I went rather deep into the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area.

And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

Like many others, including Forrest Fenn, we start with this line:

Begin it where warm waters halt

A number of different “warm waters halt” will get you there, but the one I liked most was Agua Fria in Moreno Valley, way up high in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains beyond the Taos Pueblo. Agua Fria, of course, is Spanish for “cold water”. There are a couple of reasons why I chose this location. Primarily, it fits lockstep with the other clues. Almost as nice, it is located at the intersection between the Vietnam War Memorial and the Angel Fire Airport, both locations being places that Forrest Fenn is likely familiar with, intimately. As everyone knows, he was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and flew private planes throughout the area later in life. Both chapters of his life were important to him. I don’t think it’s a small thing, either, that there’s another Agua Fria in New Mexico, in Santa Fe near where Forrest Fenn lives. I believe it’s fair to think Agua Fria was on his mind when crafting the clues. None of this is new. Others have started here as well. It’s been a popular starting location since the story broke.

And take it in the canyon down,

Which canyon?

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

Oh, that canyon. There’s only one that matches this description. Cimarron Canyon east of Moreno Valley. It is “not far, but too far to walk” from Agua Fria. In the poem “Brown” is capitalized as a proper noun, so it’s natural to look for a named place. Moreno is Spanish for “brown”. Moreno Valley is “Brown Valley”. Anyone who looks at the valley can see that Eagle Nest Lake is the anchor feature around which the valley thrives. When you arrive in the valley in person, it’s very clear. Eagle Nest Lake is the home of Moreno Valley. When you enter the canyon, you drive beneath the dam that forms Eagle Nest Lake. Entering the canyon, you are “below the home of Brown”, Eagle Nest Lake. Again, this isn’t new. Others have gone this way, some of them thinking in entirely different ways, for example saying that Eagle Nest Lake is filled with brown trout. I think it’s a lot easier than that. Eagle Nest Lake is the home of Moreno Valley and Moreno is “brown”. When you enter Cimarron Canyon, you are below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,

Down Cimarron Canyon there are a few places of interest. There’s Cimarron River, The Palisades, several creeks that empty into the river, and a few hiking trails that disappear into the surrounding wilderness. If we’re right in our solve thus far, there should be one that matches a place that is “no place for the meek”. I’ve seen in the blogs that people have explored each of Cimarron Canyon’s features, but I don’t know why they didn’t all simply start with Maverick Creek. Forrest Fenn has been described as, and certainly identifies with, being a “maverick”. Seriously, I don’t think Sarah Palin described herself as a maverick more times than Forrest Fenn has. If it were a drinking game, you’d get drunker faster taking a shot when Forrest Fenn is described as a maverick. And then there’s this: Forrest Fenn has said in interviews that he often Google’s a word to find its meaning. When you Google “meek”, you get “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive”. When you Google “maverick”, you get “an unorthodox or independent-minded person”. Maverick is the opposite of “meek”. Further, we’re looking at a creek, and that fits lockstep with the next clues. They closely fit with this particular creek.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

There’s a couple of clues here, but I’m grouping them together to demonstrate why Maverick Creek uniquely matches them, especially a certain spot. “No paddle up your creek”. It’s a small creek that flows down from the mountains into the Cimarron River. You can’t paddle up it. This isn’t really unique, as the other creeks in the canyon do the same. “Just heavy loads and water high”. Here we have something that is unique to Maverick Creek. There are really only two things up Maverick Creek. One is a 30-foot waterfall somewhat off the beaten path, and the other is old logging roads. I first thought that “heavy loads” might be the treasure you are carrying, but later realized that you aren’t carrying a treasure. Forrest Fenn is. You’re looking for treasure. You don’t have it yet. The “heavy loads” have to be in the location, not your hands. Maverick Creek’s distinguishing features are the waterfall, “water high” and the old logging roads “heavy loads”. Nothing else in Cimarron Canyon matches the clues so closely. At this point, many of you may be thinking, but the waterfall has been scoured over good, and many have traveled the old logging roads. Some really observant people may be thinking, why did I include the “end is ever drawing nigh part” in this grouping? This is the point that I diverge from where others have looked and take my own maverick path.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

In this solve, the “blaze” is a very large campfire “drawing” on the side of Touch-Me-Not Mountain, at the end of Maverick Creek. Go on, look up Maverick Creek in Google Earth, go to the end, look just above the creek onto the side of the mountain. It’s pretty clear. The formation of the trees and bald spot (drawing) is right near (nigh) the end of Maverick Creek. It’s viewable from the air, as Forrest Fenn would have seen flying over the area. When I visited, I found you couldn’t see it from the ground, unless you’re on nearby higher ground, but I think Forrest Fenn would have you look from the air as he did. To my knowledge, no one has done a hard-search of this area. Sure, people have walked the trail, maybe looked really closely around the falls and the start of the trail, but I don’t think anyone has seriously considered the end of Maverick Creek and up the mountain to where I think is clearly a campfire “blaze” as a good hard-search area. I looked and looked online, but if others had seen it, they weren’t talking. I think it’s next to obvious.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

The “blaze” is slightly higher than 10,200 ft. It’s at the end of a gully that topographical maps indicate is the worn-into-the-mountain beginning of Maverick Creek. Quickly down from it, around 10,200 ft is really where the creek starts. When I visited, I found that the creek forms out of the mountain slightly to the west. Yet, directly down from the “blaze” is near the end of the creek, and is actually the end on topographical maps. The important thing to note, as I’ll explain later, is that the creek forms out of Touch-Me-Not mountain. This is where the creek touches it.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

You have some magical views from here. Did you think there wouldn’t be?

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

OK, so I’ve explained how the target area I chose fits the clues, but I haven’t yet explained the real reason I chose to visit that end of Maverick Creek. It’s hard to get to. It’s debatable whether an elderly man of 79-80 years could. I think he could, and I’ll explain how, but for now let me explain why I had to go and see if he could.

I found a blaze that was in close match to the clues. I hadn’t yet figured out why the place would matter to Forrest Fenn himself. It’s the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area. It’s kind of the go to place for hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, and all things outdoors in New Mexico. It’s not a stretch by any means to imagine he’s very familiar with it. Still, I didn’t know why it might matter to him, as his final resting place. That is, until I re-read the book.

There might be other clues in the book. I suspect a few, but really I don’t know. There is, however, one story that stuck out and that is “Teachers With Ropes”. In the story, Forrest Fenn describes how when he first opened his gallery he would visit other galleries and see what they did that worked, and what didn’t. He goes on to say how every gallery had the words “DO NOT TOUCH”. It was offensive, and it affected him so much that when he opened his gallery, he encouraged people to touch everything (even an original painting of George Washington, to the gasps of teachers who brought their children to the gallery). DO NOT TOUCH, in bold red letters in the book, is the only colored type in the book. Forrest Fenn, the maverick, scoffs at this and tells everyone, please touch.

This is the idea that led me here, and kept me fixed: How amazing would it be for Forrest Fenn to place his bones, and his treasure, where the Maverick literally touches the big huge rock that screams Do Not Touch! It doesn’t take a poet to see how this would be his one, last eternal jab at the world. It’s a nice discreet location, quiet and solitary, but boldly says, “I’ll do what I want. I will touch that, thank you.” The Maverick touching Touch-Me-Not. I think Forrest Fenn would approve (and maybe did).

But could he get there? That’s the question.

Maybe. That’s all I can say. The first day, my dad and two brothers and I tried hiking up the creek itself. We got a late start because there was some confusion over whether the trail was closed due to elk calving, and we had to get GAIN permits to hike in Colin Neblett. We didn’t get started until around one o’clock in the afternoon. It took us three and a half hours to get halfway up the creek. To be fair, we took our time, and was looking for treasure. It’s a tough trail, though, and I think it could be said it is very, very unlikely that an elderly man made that trip twice from his vehicle in a single day, carrying 20 lbs. of weight each trip. I say unlikely, but I really mean impossible. I just don’t like that word.

There is a way, though, and I don’t think it’s that far-fetched. It would require him to take a 4WD up the switch-backs on Green Mountain and come in from behind, down the saddle between Green Mountain and Touch-Me-Not. To test this idea, on day two, I rented a Nissan Frontier (we had driven from Kentucky in a little car that got good gas mileage, but was completely inadequate for the mountains). We left pretty early in the morning and began the slow ascent up Green Mountain and parked a little ways from the top where we could take the old logging roads over the saddle. There’s descriptions of this route if you query the Touch-Me-Not trail in Google.

This route, completely doable by a 79-80 year old man, puts you just above the “blaze”. The old logging roads are a little rough, and the inclines are somewhat steep, but a man of determination could do them, especially if he was beelining to already decided location. It’s debatable. We certainly got tired, and spent a considerable time up there, but we were looking all over the place, even as far down as the creek itself. One of our party, my dad, is a sixty-three year old smoker, though, and we had just hiked half the creek the day before, and he took the trek in stride. A lot of people consider 79-80 year olds as next to invalid. I think there’s a wide variety in endurance at that age. It’s debatable, but again, I have him going to a singular location and not trying to cover the whole mountain. I think most people would be surprised at what a healthy, determined, elderly man is capable of, especially if he knows he only has to do it and then it’s done.

There’s other questions. He’s said on several occasions that he took two trips to his car. In one interview he slipped and said “truck”. You almost certainly have to go this route in a 4WD. It’s a pretty dangerous mountain road. Could he have taken a truck? Often I hear people say “car” when referring to their SUV. It’s unknown, at least to me.

I’ll admit, it’s a somewhat extreme place for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, more extreme than some of the other solves I have seen, but I do think it’s doable. And, seriously, what’s better than the Maverick touching that which says Do Not Touch? In fairness, all of Maverick Creek technically matches the clues, and we found evidence of other searches further down the creek, but The End of the Creek, is poetic and legendary. It’s worth the extra steps, and (I believe) fortune favors the bold. It’s the reason I went looking in the first place.

We looked pretty hard, but we had limited time and it’s a large search area. There are tons of boulders out there, and they all look like square chests. It would take much longer than we had to completely rule it out. Anyone who says it’s not at Maverick Creek isn’t being honest with you or themselves. It’s a huge area, and no one has completely searched it, all of it. Most of the time, I believed that I could have been within feet of it, and completely missed it, despite Forrest’s encouragement that if you get within twelve feet you’re likely to find it… unless it’s buried… unless it’s under a field of boulders… unless the creek algae has hidden it…. unless it’s been muggled… unless it’s under a mudslide… unless a tree has fallen on it… unless…

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 10.42.31 PM

So, that’s the solve I was operating under. If you follow up on it and find the thing, please let me know. It’s fortune and glory, kid. You take the fortune, let me share the glory.

Photos of the adventure

Please feel free to contact me: jeremysdropbox@gmail.com

Jeremy Parnell


119 thoughts on “A Search in New Mexico…

  1. This is an excellent potential solution that I believe relates well to the intention of the poem: no subterfuge. It’s simple, straightforward, and doesn’t reach for alternate meanings. Bravo.

    • I’m not an expert on plants so it’s hard to say. I was looking, but not sure exactly what all the varieties of sage look like. Certainly there isn’t anything like what you would find out near the Rio Grande and the pine smell is dominant. I want to say there’s sage there, but I couldn’t say for certain.

      • Sage is there. Some of the sights have park signs that show what it looks like and a brief description of it.

  2. Very like what I think Mr. Fenn has plotted, and also close to my own location guesstimates which are in The Sangre’s. Good work, not overworked. Just the right amount of projecting what’ s in Fenn’s head. Sorry you left empty handed, but hoping contented and a little thrilled at your bold adventure.
    I will point out though, that there is Brown type in the book at the Cancer topics, and other colors in some of the pics and graphics, but very slight (4 cowboys on Main St., ID card inside cover, etc). In the old days of printing it was difficult and expensive to add multiple colors, and it intrigued me that it was used so sparingly in this book. I thought it hinted at something, but I suppose the technology of printing has advanced way beyond my experience.
    Thanks, a good read.

    • Correct, there is other slight shades of colors in the book, shall we say meek ones? What I mean is it’s the only in-your-face bold red lettering. He could have simply used italics or actual bold. And the red may not be a clue. It didn’t stick out to me until after a re-read.

      I forgot to add to the story, but the other slightly less convincing clue I was operating under is that I told myself that Olga’s story pointed to Green Mountain as a good way to go. If that helps.

      • thank you Jeremy, I’m going to be out there before Sept. and we seem to have close ideas of what and where to go. I also see that a clue was used by you, meaning the hyphens. I for sure thought if you went there you would find it. I was telling my wife that you are my main worry when it comes to a solve. I do not know Jeremy if you knew that there are 2 Green Mountains in N.M. and they are not to far a part from each other. I have a solve ready for that one also. The biggest problem is that both mountains have great places that meet the poem and the books.
        hope to see you some day, my only threat.
        Timothy…Be safe and be smart.

    • Jeremy, Hats off to you if you understand Mildew. Your solve has certainly DRAWn attention. Thank God it encompasses New Mexico, as my solve does. My shot at finding Indulgence takes place next month. I’m at the point of not sharing any more clues, as everyone so far has “struck out” as did Babe Ruth on his final game. I think it was bad pine tar. Anyway, since my concretions took 3rd place…..Thank you Forrest, Dal and Desertphile,…”the $20.00 is in the mail”…..I am stopping by Santa Fe to drop of a collage of photos I took of the Chase and the arrowhead I found searching in April of 2014 near Tres Piedras, to get smeared with Red Ocher which I believe comes from the Clovis period, around 9,000 B.C. I am honored to recieve this prize. That was a mouthful…. anyway, again, don’t give up. I AM CERTAIN the chest lies in Northern New Mexico. I haven’t found it yet, I ‘ve only been wise…..or w / ise, meaning with eyes. You see I believe the blaze is seen with a UV light, known as a black light or a “Woods” light, named after Wm. Woods. So as you can see, “Brave and in the wood”….(In a BEAM of WOOD “LIGHT”)
      And when I shined the UV light where my solve is, hundreds of “eyes” appeared from the pine tar dripping knot holes.
      So Jeremy, i have “been w / ise” …BUT, …”and” found the blaze ? I’m not sure, though everyone will know by the day Forrest first saw the waterfall, which happens to be my birthday.
      Good luck for real, anybody has a chance at this and this site has become a family of Forrest Friends. Peace.

    • Agreed. We stayed a night at Maverick Campground. At it’s most eastern point is the only place in the canyon we could get a signal on our phones. It’s a great, quiet spot near the river if you get the chance to stay there.

    • I would have to agree. I have visited the area ,and I liked the Idea of the area’s possibility of a solve there. I also liked gravel pitt lake as a solve point , as well as Maverick Park. Plain and straight to the point I also felt. Great understanding of touch me not . I’m heading down there as part of my recon of NM this month . I have two solid solves there , at least in my mind and I most likely will stop along that area as well. I let ya know if I see anything there .

      I don’t put to many of my points out there. But I have been looking at the area for a while and Maverick Park Parking lot , looks like a owl. So , that was my blaze for a long time. Just felt I did’t have enough to look past the river area.
      Great Job … Glad your family had a great time , we did when we passed through there…

  3. Jeremy, I enjoyed your solve story. It follows a slight bit of something, that I can’t quite put my finger on, in my solve. The Colin Neblett area is not my area, but your reasoning is pretty good. Hopefully, I will be able to relay my solve to the blog. I’ve only four days left until search day. My search area is small compared to the area you depicted on the map. My time looking should not take long. I kind of expect to just walk right up to the chest. On another note… there are copious amounts of deer in your search area. About how many did you see? I love seeing deer. While out searching with Amy, we walked up on one that was in full velvet with his antlers still growing. It was already an 8-10 pointer. My wife, son and I also saw another deer on our way to our rental. Then, we saw another buck, non-typical, on our way home (full velvet and still growing)! I loved the whole Amy trip. I have fished Eagle Nest and I don’t recall ever catching a brown. I’ve only caught Rainbow, Kokanee, Perch, Suckers, and crawfish. Don’t stop searching. Thank you for sharing your solve. 🙂

    • We spent several days in New Mexico, both in Cimarron Canyon and Moreno Valley, out by the Rio Grande, and we left the state after going through Bandelier. On the trail we found elk and bear scat, but we had bear bells and were intentionally making noise to keep them at bay. Nevertheless, we did see an elk up the hill at one point and gave it a wide berth. We left with a nice elk antler shedding that was one of nice pieces of treasure we did obtain.

      In all, throughout New Mexico, we saw a whole field of elk, prairie dogs, mule deer, big horn sheep, foxes, a gigantic beaver, horned lizards, small snakes, large hares, trout, birds of prey, and sadly a dead hawk. I accidentally ran over a rabbit. One elk was up on a hillside and if I didn’t slam on my brakes it would have crushed our car. It was majestic. Coming in, through Kansas, we saw a field of buffalo.

      Being from Kentucky, where we are surrounded mostly by horses, it was like being on safari.

      I guarantee you’ll see deer if you look hard.

      • You wouldn’t think New Mexico has Beaver but we saw one that was hit by a car on the Rio Grande near Pilar. Only the head was crushed so we skinned it and tanned its hide. It measured 48″ head to tail. I think it was the big Brown beaver Primus wrote a song about.

        • It really makes you wonder about animals that have nearly gone extinct and you never really see… much. Can’t wait to see those spots in New Mexico with elk, beaver and sheep.

        • The beaver we saw was on the Rio Grande. We went to sleep one night hearing splashing out near the river. Didn’t know what to make of it. In the morning, we saw just something brown down a ways on the other side, scared ourselves into thinking it was a baby bear or something. Took binoculars to confirm, but it was a huge beaver.

      • Great solve….I will going to that area in May 2017 to make a documentary film.
        May I see the photo of the campfire drawing?

  4. This is a respectable solve. I think it lacks the wow factor and personal meaning Fenn needs for his final resting place and legacy. I still like your reasoning and thought processes. Good job and good luck.

  5. Where did you get that cool walking stick? Did you make it? Or find it on the trail somewhere?

    • I’m not sure where he got it, but it was a gift from my dad. What happens sometimes is that a vine will grow around a stick and over time fuse together. Of all the sticks I’ve seen like that, this is the straightest one I have ever seen. I really appreciate you noticing as it’s one of my favorite things.

  6. Nice solve. Great photos! It looks like you went all out. Glad you made it home safe. I was a little concerned! Isn’t New Mexico stunning?

    • It is completely stunning, Lois. We figured a million dollar treasure is worth giving our all, so we did!

      • I forget what beer I had, but if you’ve found the Taos Brewery you’ve definitely found a treaure. We don’t have anything like the Taos Cheesesteak or Happy Hippy Bowl here in the East.

  7. Thanks Jeremy. This area is on my list too. I’d heard about the seasonal restrictions due to Elk grounds from another searcher and was waiting till Fall. I like this area for a few of the same reasons as you HOB and the ruggedness. Sounds like even if you were close it could still be hard to spot. Great pics and don’t give up.

    • I do believe you could get real close and still miss it.

      Regarding the seasonal elk closings, I can report that Tolby Creek trail is closed. There was some concern that Maverick Creek trail is also closed, but when we arrived there were no signs saying as much so we went ahead in there anyway. If you do, please make tons of noise and proceed with caution. We did see one elk on the trail and there was evidence of them all over.

      I’m going to say way until August whether you heed the advice or not 🙂

  8. Jeremy, that is a truly excellent search story! I think that area is some of the most beautiful in New Mexico. Thanks for sharing your solve.


  9. Thanks for sharing your search Jeremy. I love your pictures. It looks like you had a lot of fun. Searching with your brothers and Dad sounds wonderful. They must be really good sports. Did you all collaborate on the solve or were they pulled into this adventure by you? Either way, it is great and I suspect the trip will forever be fodder for some gentle razzing from your family about that path and the mutiny you managed to avoid. I bet your Dad loved being with his “boys”…Life is so precious and its warms my heart to see so many people “going for the banana”. The beauty of that outshines all the glitter in the chest, (although that is nice too!).

    • It was an incredible adventure. They left the puzzle solving to me, though my dad did have his own location (which I don’t feel right disclosing except to say we didn’t find it there either). On the trail we did collaborate on safety concerns, and whether I was nuts, but we all get along even if we bump heads now and then. It was a great family moment that I hope we all remember for years to come.

      • I love this story. It sounds very reasonable until you remember that Forrest says it’s not dangerous, and it’s a place you could take your children. The safety concerns you said here don’t match up with that. But, I do believe it’s in that general area, and I have my own solve . I’ll gladly share my place with you if you’ll pm me from my FB page. I don’t pay attention to my email. Thanks

  10. Jeremy great photos! The treasure box among your pics 🙂 were you dreaming? Hats off to ya!

    • Haha, it’s good to visualize the prize! Unfortunately, not everyone I shared the photos with knew just what we were up to so I wanted to let them know what we were after.

  11. Jeremy, Thanks for sharing a wonderful solve. It makes me ask myself, “what was ff doing there in the first place that would make it so special to him?” Is it likely he stumbled onto it while exploratory hiking and decided this is where I would like to be buried? While the Sangre de Christos are my haunt for this chase, I am still looking for what would smack as truly that ultimate final spot. IMO hob and heavy loads are acceptable here but still kinda weak. Did you go with confidence to the Touch-me-Not? Great detective work, you’re certainly a boots on the ground explorer.

    • I have lived around mountains most of my life, and flown over the Rocky Mountains more than a few times, but I can honestly say that any sort of confidence one might have of finding a 10 in x 10 in box quickly vanishes the first time they see the Rockies on the horizon, and this was my first time with boots on the ground.

      That said, Touch-Me-Not, specifically the point 10,200 ft and below my “blaze”, was always the goal and I was determined to make it happen no matter what hoops I had to jump through.

      I’ve never driven up a loose rock road thousands of feet into the air, nor hiked a saddle between two mountains. I don’t think I had even been as high as 11,000 ft on a mountain. But I was going to do it.

      At the end, it was less about whether the treasure was there and more about whether Forrest Fenn, and I, could get there.

  12. Jeremy,

    Your photos interest me, on a recent outing I came across a similar thing. I’ll be emailing you.

  13. Jeremy I like your solution and thanks for posting it. I was up there in 2013 I believe. I like your solution better than mine. Odd how folks can end up in the same place using different interpretations. The main difference between our solutions is I didn’t have a blaze, that’s what I was looking for. Your story brings up many of the problems us searchers have.

    I like the idea your blaze is a blaze; I do have a little trouble using trees as the blaze. Having said that I’ve looked at a lot of trees looking for a blaze.

    I don’t think Fenn would give a second thought to driving that road. If it were wet it would take an experienced driver and capable vehicle, but not that big of a deal for someone that lives in the mountains and goes off roading much.

    I’ve given a lot of thought to what Fenn means when he says don’t go where a 79 or 80 year old man couldn’t go. I think Fenn was covering all the bases with that statement. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. Saying that gives the less adventurous an easy out; a 79 or 80 year old man wouldn’t go there. Fenn is very fit and capable; if it’s in a more difficult area no one could question the statement; he was 79 or 80 when he hid it.

    Again, thanks for posting your solution and telling us about your adventure with your dad and brothers. It’s great that all of you went together.

  14. Jeremy,
    Thanks for sharing. This was the direction I started, as do a lot of others, but fine job! I’m not a NM searcher, but your pix make me want to be!

  15. Jeremy,

    Well thought out and boots on the ground. Going with the geographical point of view was great. Thanks for the share and the pictures!!!

    • Thanks! I appreciate your interviews with Forrest. Such a wealth of information there.

  16. Jeremy, I loved your story and the way you told it. I’m happy for you to have such a wonderful trip with your family. Good luck in the future on finding the treasure. I just wanted to give you a couple of things to think about because I originally thought of that area when I started searching a few years back, but thought some more and researched more and decided against it. One reason is because somewhere Forrest said something like, the poem is directions to get there and he only knows one way in and one way out. The other thing is it seems to me that most of the stories from his book are about things that happen in Wyoming or something that has to do with Wyoming, which is why I chose WY. I loved you talking about all of the animals you saw. That was my favorite part. Hope you get to look again.

    • That’s a fair concern and I did consider it. The quote is:

      “When you hid your treasures, did you take the same path that is described in the poem, or were you able to skip some of the steps because of your familiarity with the area?” – Curtis

      “The clues should be followed in order Curtis. There is no other way to my knowlege. f” – Forrest

      Of course, this location almost certainly requires a 4WD for a 79-80 year old man to go to in one day, twice. It doesn’t require one for your average healthy adult of reasonable age.

      When I read the quote, I saw Forrest responding to someone who asked if you could skip steps. You can’t, no matter how you get there physically. You have to follow the clues. In my case, I followed them to the end of the creek. I don’t see Forrest’s statement as saying anything about how you physically get there. He may have intended it to be read that way, but I didn’t read it that way.

      You’re entirely correct about WY being the bulk of the book and I wish searchers there the best of luck. I’m not ruling out any location, just saying where I ended up.

      It was very hard choosing between WY and NM. Ultimately it came down to my estimation of when he stopped flying, that he hid it without his wife knowing when, and knowing that I can’t disappear for several days without my wife knowing. 🙂

      And the flip of a coin.

      I may try WY some day if people don’t find it here first.

  17. every time i read someone solve i get a little depress because they in most causes are pretty good. you can see the love, the hard work, time and effort, study, etc, etc, and sleepless nights in each solve. i am going to make sure my grand son watches the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. those who don’t know the movie three guys go high in mountains to search for gold. one a Mr. Hobbs goes a little nuts and it end badly for him. the others take the lost good naturally and move on. i warn anyone who is searching to make sure that finding the the TC is not all your trip is about. we really enjoyed our trip to New Mexico in 2013 which was my first camping trip thank you Mr. Fenn. we are going to search in aug and like everyone we have a great solve and a few crow recipes that we hope we don’t need. we didn’t post a solve because we really didn’t have a good solve and just went to poke around.

  18. Now this is one of the best solves I’ve seen on these blogs in awhile,not sure about your thinking on wwwh but other than that I thought it was really good well thought out and reasonable solve,has alot of elements of my second location and solve! Nice job and I think it’s this kind of thinking that has a chance!

    • Thanks! Agua Fria works, I think, best for this solve, but there’s other WWWH that will get you to the same place if you look hard enough.

  19. Thanks for sharing Jeremy. I keep coming back to the same location where you were searching.

    Here is an interesting search spot if you ever make it back to Taos.

    At Taos mountain is a little place called Brownell Chalet. Located just below the Chalet is the chair lift to the top of Taos mountain. The lift is also open during the summer months so it seems like an easy way for FF to get his treasure to the top of Taos mountain.

    If FF had his ashes spread on the mountain like Olga, his body would be next to the treasure in some small way.

    • If I do get a chance to return, I’ll definitely go up there and have a look. We didn’t have the time this trip, but I was very interested in getting to the top of that mountain. It’s above the 10,200 ft. we were looking at, but I’d go up there for the view alone.

  20. sub just in case i am not i think i am missing this one thanks. Jeremy that was a great solve and thanks for sharing. it can be hard. glad you had a safe trip and the pictures are wonderful cant wait to go.

  21. I like your search area and looked in mav for a couple hours in early may the streams were running and I saw plenty of sage.. Thanks for sharing

  22. “Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges – Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” – Kipling

    Let me tell you tell you a secret. Everything Forrest Fenn said was true. I don’t know if you’re going to find a chest of gold and jewels up that mountain, or any other mountain. Here’s what I do know:

    If you throw a couple of bedrolls in the back and leave out of Kentucky, heading west with nothing more than a book, a poem, and a poetic solve to guide your way, past Louisville and through Indiana, through Illinois, past the Great Arch in St. Louis, through Missouri and Kansas and windmills and buffalo, the plains of Colorado, and you see specks of white way off in the distance, just above the horizon, and you are unsure of whether they are clouds, and as you get closer you realize they are actually snow capped peaks and that the darker blue beneath isn’t rain, it’s a massive mound of earth formed over millenia, and you suddenly feel very small, and you realize the futility of finding a small ten inch box in all of THAT. When you see that, and you decide to press on a little further, and you make it to the base of your mountain, and you start to climb, and you look out at the blue and green valley you suddenly realize you’re above anything you’ve ever known. And then, then you make it to your spot. Your spot! It’s not a pixel on a screen, it’s dirt and earth, and you are standing there. When that happens! When that happens you kind of feel you know a little about what Forrest felt when he came out of his hiding place and said to himself, “Forrest Fenn. Did you really do that?”

    When you’re standing there and you look out over the canyon you’ve made it, and you realize the other guy is still back in his cubicle wondering how he’s going to get his family to Wally World this summer.

    It’s fleeting. It doesn’t last long, but you can take a small part of it with you.

    So you come down out of the mountain, and you’re talking to your brothers and you say, “I felt like I could have been within five feet of the treasure at any given moment and still have missed it. It could have been us. I mean, someone has to win American Idol.”

    And one of them looks you right in the face and says in all seriousness, “You know they’re cancelling that show, right?”

    That! That, right there. That is the Forrest Fenn Experience, my friends. That’s America. Someday someone might find that treasure, but until then Fenn’s promise of a worthwhile experience sits there waiting for anyone. Anyone at all. You just have to go. Your adventure awaits, and the game is afoot.

    I only wish he had hidden it in the Appalachians so that I could go this weekend.

    • Jeremy, Very well spoken, thanks for putting the Thrill Of the Chase is such good words. As long as we all go looking, hoping to find the chest, we need to realize that it is indeed a daunting task, and the likely hood of finding it is very small. I don’t know if anyone will find it but every one that goes out into the great outdoors can come home with their own treasures of memories and experiences that can not be gained in front of a TV screen or computer monitor.

    • That’s awesome Jeremy. Thanks for sharing that. This is the essence of the chase.

        • This solve doesn’t require Taos to be special to him. I have him touching the big rock that says DO NOT TOUCH, and that’s not directly associated with Taos.

          However, he has written extensively on the Taos people, art, and culture. I believe that if you check the date of one of the books he was writing around the time he hid the chest, you’ll find that it’s related to the Taos people.

          Worth visiting just to talk to them. Nicest people you’ll ever meet.

          • Rather, I have him touching it, and inviting the entire world to touch, the big rock that says DO NOT TOUCH, with a rather large incentive to go and touch it.

    • “Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges – Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!” – Kipling

      Thanks for sharing that Kipling quote, Jeremy. After 10 years my wife can attest how much I enjoy Kipling. Ofttimes she has to hear me going on and on…at length! 🙂 I swear sometimes she pretends she likes Kipling just because I do…bless her heart. Sometimes the best way to learn something is by rote.

      • You’re so right. In 7th grade I had a nun that when she held “detention” after school, she assigned a poem from our reader, and we prisioners had to memorize & recite it in front of our fellow inmates to be released. I remember walking that long mile home shouting from the top of my lungs… “O’ Captain, my Captain…” And a few others that I learned that year. Then in college, I was reintroduced to poetry and became an imediate fan. Those tricks of brevity, of one word meaning a whole paragraph, had been pounded into my soul…. by me, and I was proud. I pity the kids who don’t get spanked so well.

    • Jeremy. I can so relate to the thrill you describe of crossing the miles of flatlands, seeing a cloud off in the distance… and slowly realizing it’s actually a mountain materializing on the horizon. I remember the same sense of awe the first time that happened to me. I was much, much younger and from southern Indiana. At the time, it felt like too much for just one person, me, to absorb. Thanks for so eloquently reminding me of that initial, magically overwhelming experience. I’m glad to know another has shared the same feeling.

    • danny bow i am a birdwatcher and i have a lot of place i love to go birding to. i have been married 18 yrs. when i asked my hubby where my favor place and he was able to name some place i like to go but my favor place or two he didn’t know. we think the same is with Mr Fenn we believe that the place is special to him but not in the book at all. we go in mid aug and we either find it or come home to eat crow.

      • Thanks for that wildbird. I like the idea of him going to the wheel to get his cure. Why else talk about the cancer. Other areas seem over searched.

        • danny bow i have posted this many times. you may know this. press control key on computer same time press f key a little box will come up. type in a word you want to know what was posted and it will list them or you can type a person say me and all my messages will come up. some messages are better than others that are not as good. we keep our solve very close now because i have come very close to typing things i shouldnt. we want others to know how good our solves are but we cant reveal too much for fear of losing them we all so sure unyil that horrible day ours is coming in mid aug 55 days til crow bbq. YULK!!

  23. Hello, Jeremy. Thanks for sharing your solve with all of us. I must confess that I haven’t had a chance to read through it, yet…but I certainly will. I just wanted to say…after a brief perusal of the comments…what a kind, caring, considerate gentleman you seem to be. You have made a great effort to respond to others’ comments here and your contributions have not gone unnoticed. As I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to appreciate kind people such as yourself. Keep up the good work! And good luck to you, Sir!


    An earlier draft of the poem ended, “Then take the chest and leave my bones.”

    Fenn has rewritten the poem, but he may just end up entombed with his treasure yet. “If I am diagnosed with terminal anything,” Fenn told me, “I will not die in a hospital bed if I have a few breaths remaining. I don’t want to give any more clues, but if I am not too feeble to return to the chest when my turn comes, I cannot think of any better place for my bones to rest for a few millennia.”

    Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/03/clues-for-finding-forrest-fenn-s-buried-treasure-part-2.html

    • I think we’re all kind of hoping that FF will live on forever somehow, but I have to say that this is a good spot if you’re just feeble enough to take a truck up. After that, it’s one misstep away from getting to the bottom really quick. If it’s his intention, he can make it happen here.

    • 23, I.M.O. The meaning of leave his bones would be chicken or fish bones likely in the campfire , as I believe the prior sentence says to “move the stones” or something like that.

  25. Jeremy, thanks for posting an enjoyable solve. It’s well thought out, and like you I hope Forrest has many good years ahead.

  26. I wanted to share one other thought before slinking back into real life for a bit. I had three heroes growing up: Indiana Jones, Huckleberry Finn, and Sherlock Holmes.

    I think you can see how they all made it into my adventure, but here’s a Sherlock reference.

    From the book Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar, by Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein:

    “Homes and Watson are on a camping trip. In the middle of the night Homes wakes up and gives Dr. Watson a nudge. ‘Watson,’ he says, ‘look up in the sky and tell me what you see.’

    “‘I see millions of stars, Holmes,’ says Watson.

    “‘And what do you conclude from that, Watson?’

    “Watson thinks for a moment. ‘Well’, he says, ‘astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful, and we are small and insignificant. Uh, what does it tell you, Holmes?’

    “‘Watson, you idiot! Someone has stolen our tent!”


    Thou shalt not multiply entities beyond necessity (Occam’s Razor). It doesn’t make a solve true, but it really helps in reducing the Rocky Mountains to something your boots can tackle.

    Good luck out there guys, and I hope your tents don’t get stolen!

    • Jeremy, great Sherlock quote! Zeroing out unecessary entities makes my waffle stompers and brain happy.

  27. I love this solve!

    I’m curious about something though. Can someone give me a link to where Forrest suggests that, ” if you get within twelve feet you’re likely to find it.” I’ve never heard that before and I’m curious if he really said that or not.

    • Thanks!

      We tried to focus on areas that we felt hadn’t been searched thoroughly, so we didn’t spend a lot of time around the falls. Taking a cue from the waterfall story in the book, we did look directly above the falls, and I found an area where the creek disappears beneath some boulders that I thought would be a good place to stuff a body as well as a cache of gold.

      So I braved the cold and crawled in there, through the water, on hands and knees. With my flashlight I saw a light green something tucked up in a crevice, the color I imagine bronze would patina having been exposed to water over the years, but it turned out to just be a rock. Getting to the spot above the waterfall requires a little more balance and climbing down steep hillsides (we came from above) than I would think Fenn would have tackled, but, hey, we were there anyway, so why not? Dampened my pants, but didn’t dampen my spirits.

      As for the waterfall itself, your guess is as good as mine. Best of luck out there!

  28. jeremy i am sorry i am just getting here to read your posting. i do thank you for your posting i found it fun to read.

  29. oh we get to go in 19 days i think we leave tx on the 11th and stay a couple of days in red river at tall pines a place hubby stayed as a child

  30. My potential solution to the poem is leading me to a search area near yours and I’ll be searching in the coming weeks. Any advice on tackling the area? Anything you would’ve done differently?

    • Generally speaking?

      If you’re in Colin Neblett they require you to have a GAIN permit. You can get that online before you go, or there’s a bait and tackle shop at Eagle Nest where you can pick up one. Doesn’t take long and you get one that covers a few days pretty cheap. But make sure you plan ahead so that you don’t have to waste time covering these sorts of things.

      Stay safe. It’s bear country, so make some noise. Bear bells are a good idea.

      A local in Taos made a joke, “You know how you can tell it’s tourist season?”

      “How?” We asked.

      “There’s tourists and bells in the poop.”

      Mosquitos. Dunno if it’s because it was June or if it’s a year-round thing, but the mosquitos were ridiculous up the mountain. Swarms of them.

      If you’re staying more than a few days, go ahead and camp in the canyon, or stay in a nearby hotel. Taos doesn’t seem like that far away, but it takes a good 45 min to an hour to drive up to the Eagle Nest area. Save yourself the trouble and find a place up there in Moreno Valley or in camp in Cimarron Canyon at the state park.

      If you’re going up in the mountains-mountains, Green Mountain or Touch-Me-Not, or any of the others, plan on it taking awhile to get up to where you’re going. This seems like a no-brainer, but it seemed like so much of the day-light was burnt getting to a search location that it felt like we were pressed for time while actually searching.

      So that’s my advice. Give yourself as much time as you can in your actual target location. It’s better to sit on a boulder thinking because you have too much time than it is skipping looking in areas because you ran out of time.

      Best of luck! I’ve got o-n-e other thing I would have done differently, but I can’t share it. I didn’t realize my mistake until I got home, but it might have been a big mistake 🙂 It’ll have to wait until I can go back to know for sure.

      • That’s funny. The version of the joke I heard though was How do you know if it’s grizzly poo? Because it smells like peppers and has bells in it.

        Anyways. Good luck to anyone heading out. And remember have fun!

    • jeremy hubby and i were Cimarron canyon in 2013 camping. we had to cut our stay by a day because of altitude sickness. weird we were in red river for 4 days and i felt fine.
      here are some tips they gave me at Cimarron
      reduce alcohol caffeine and salty foods
      drink 3 to 4 times more water than usual
      get plenty of rest before and during trip
      take it easy your heart is working harder at this altitude so quite will you are ahead if you are tired
      wear sunscreen – you receive 30% more ultraviolet radiation up here than at sea level
      wear sunglasses with ultraviolet protection even on cloudy or snowy days your eyes can get “snow burned”
      eat high carbohydrate meals, limit fat and protein for the first few days at altitude
      high altitude sickness symptoms
      unusual tiredness
      trouble sleeping
      it should go away in a day or two but if you develop a cough or feel like you have fluid on lung get to a doctor immediately.
      i hope i didn’t skip any of this and i hope it helps. good luck on your search. be save, be careful and have fun. if you find TC let us know before we leave on the 13 of Aug.

        • jeremy they were not mine they were given to us when we visited, it you are ill with this you cannot think. it makes your head fuzzy. hubby and i have to cross some water and went on our last trip to check things out. he fell and get wet. later he said he couldnt get across because he forgot his sandwich and flashlight. HE WILL have on next trip LOL. my nephew is a jeremy. i always tell him he is my favorite nephew. his response back is i am your only nephew and i not even related to you. he is a step nephew but still my favorite. thanks for helping me take my mind off chase for 10 seconds. we leave thurs but it will take us two days to get there. getting to old to drive that long. when are you looking?

  31. The Palisades Sill, (HOB?) near Cimarron, NM, may well be associated with New Mexico’s Brown, (Harpy) Eagle. – ( Cliffs are known to be their preference when ‘kicking back.’)


  32. As good as any other solve. Many people translate ‘Moreno’ to ‘Brown’ but a much more accurate translation would be ‘Tanned’. But hey, Forrest continuously talks about his Spanish class in TTOTC so it is very probable that he too would have mistranslated the word. Having said this, I agree that the word ‘Brown’, being capitalized likely refers to a proper noun and ‘Moreno’ fits the bill.
    Good job.

  33. I searched the past three years and your area is very close to the area I have searched. Great job on your presentation and explanation. Although my “solves” were different interpretations than yours, I have ended up in the same vicinity…that alone makes me even more driven to continue with the search. Good luck to all!

  34. Hi,
    I will be IN Taos Oct. 3rd to 8th of 2017 visiting a friend.
    I will be flying into Albuquerque, driving a Ford Focus kind of rental car up to Taos. No agenda -some places to hike and poke around in mind only. Anyone want me to look somewhere for them? As long as it makes sense to me,and not dangerous of course.

    • Do you have a copy of the 2nd memoir? I may be passing through Taos. I have never seen the 2nd memoir and now there is a 3rd. 🙂

  35. Just felt like tagging this old solve because I’ve been thinking about the various viable WWWH candidates and have always favored roughly this direction for a NM solve. Don’t know if Jeremy P has pursued it further, but I believe it could be out there and maybe he was the closest one…

  36. I really like the reasoning in this solve. I’m having a hard time finding the blaze on the side of Forget-Me-Not Mt. I wonder if the landscape has changed. Also having a hard time following Maverick Creek up to the end. I was thinking that possibly the blaze could be a view of Angel Fire somehow, although I would expect blaze to be capitalized the same as Brown was if it was in reference to the town. I doubt I’ll have any opportunity to go searching myself so good luck to those are really trying!

  37. Nice thoughts. I wonder if this mention of Fenn from scrapbook 98 of the song “My Blue Heaven” helps with the blaze and final portion of search. Here are the lyrics:

    “My Blue Heaven”

    Whippoorwills call, evenin’ is nigh
    Hurry to my blue heaven
    Turn to the right, there’s a little white light
    Will lead you to my blue heaven

    You’ll see a smilin’ face, a fireplace, a cozy room
    Little nest that nestles where the roses bloom

    Molly and me, and the baby makes three
    We’re happy in my, in my blue heaven


    You’re gonna see a smilin’ face, fireplace, cozy room
    And a little nest nestled where the roses bloom

    Just molly and me, and the baby is three
    We’re so happy in my blue heaven
    We’re happy in my blue heaven
    We’re happy in my blue heaven!

    This song seems to touch on the dove at end of thrill of chase book, the blaze, people’s thoughts about a fireplace being important, some sort of small enclosed area, and the idea of Forrest wanting to be “in the middle” again (just Molly and me and the baby is three). Hope this helps.

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