Uraven, CO – Where Warm Waters Halt…

by Jeff


I have been following the search for FF’s treasure for about three years. There is so much information and so many possibilities out there that my head would spin every time I started to read the posts on this site. I stopped reading the posts many months ago, but I was drawn to click on germanguys post “could it be here?”

I’m not going to comment on how he got to the destination.  Germanguys post leads us to the intersection of 141 and Y11 which is the first bridge access approaching from the south to the former town site of Uravan Colorado. If you continue north a few more miles you will see the only building in the Uravan area on your left: The Umetco building. Turn left and cross the bridge over the San Miguel river, then stay to the right,  continue for a mile or so to the confluence of the San Miguel and the Delores rivers.

This in my opinion is where “Warm Waters Halt.”

View from "Three Crosses"

View from “Three Crosses”

The warm water Delores river flows into Paradox valley through the town of Bedrock, Colorado. From this point the water is pumped out of the river, and is highly concentrated with salt as it flows through Paradox Valley.  The water gets desalinated and is used for local irrigation.

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The reason it is called Paradox Valley is because the valley was caused by a giant salt dome that collapsed which changed the course of the river. From here the river flows North until it merges with the Colorado river. As the Delores river leaves Paradox valley it eventually trickles into the confluence of the Delores and San Miguel river. The San Miguel is a cold water river that breathes new life to the Delores river.

There is a water flume constructed in the 1890’s above and below the confluence, it was built high in the canyon walls. The original flume was around 15 miles long leading to a gold mine that was mining placer gold by pumping water onto the mountain to find the gold.

Heading north on the Delores river…”taking it in the canyon down”  whether it be in a boat or in a car will be a beautiful ride. The collapse of the salt dome left behind massive canyon walls that are spectacular to view from the river.

About 10 miles from the confluence is the “Stock Trail” that leads up to Sewemup Mesa.
This is where cattle rustlers “The McCarty Gang” were said to have brought stolen cattle. It is such a desolate area and was easy to hide cattle. They were said to have cut out the brand on the cow and then sewed the cow back up and waited for the wound to heal. Then they would brand the cattle with their own brand. Hence: Sewemup Mesa.

FF said he would be happy if it took a thousand years for someone to find his treasure. I am thinking he went where very few have gone, or will chose to go on purpose…

Sewemup Mesa

Sunrise in John Brown Canyon

Isolated from development and most human activity by a fortress-like bastion of high, almost impregnable cliffs, Sewemup Mesa is one of the most ecologically pristine areas in western Colorado.

A striking band of thousand-foot-high cliffs of Wingate Sandstone encircles more than 75% of Sewemup Mesa. These cliffs rise out of the slickrock gorge of the Dolores River on the east, and to the west they tower above Sinbad Valley, the remnants of a collapsed salt dome. Domes of pink-banded Entrada Sandstone dot the top of the mesa, breaking the sloping landscape of pinyon-juniper forest. Many huge ponderosa pines line the canyons of the mesa top and grow directly from sandstone terraces along the mesa’s western cliffs. Few places offer more exhilarating solitude than that at the edge of Sewemup Mesa’s soaring cliffs.”

Continue north taking the canyon down and you will pass rd 72 which leads you into the only area of Sewemup accessible by automobile. Continue a few more miles you enter the town of Gateway Co. and you will find rd 4.4 aka: John Brown canyon Rd which will lead you on a back country adventure all the way to Moab. This road is no place for the meek. I can attest to that!

Below JBC rd.  are many dry river beds that climb into JBC that in the monsoon season could at anytime have waters high, and you certainly will not be paddling up any of these creeks.

Now all you have to do is find FF’s blaze…

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Good luck!
Happy hunting the area is beautiful!

54 thoughts on “Uraven, CO – Where Warm Waters Halt…

  1. has any one here, read the book whispering sage, drago 1922 free online.

    page 3 paradise valley then many quotes same as poem ,
    there is a blaze centre page broken arrow mountain ?

          • The story resemblance to Fenn’s poem is shocking. Associate clues: “Gone alone in there”, “ treasures bold” “ “It’s what they whisper”, “if you’ve been wise”, etc, etc.

          • Every single clue line is in the book… including the end “heavy loads and water high”. “It’s not in Nevada” -f brown=(little b = Nevada) Brown (big B= Montana). Paradise Valley, MT is where the warm waters halt in the story. Go down river to “if you’ve been wise-”

  2. If you go back the the area of that X take a metal detector and follow the Arrow pointing on the left. Watch for other petroglyphs. The spanish explorers, miners and rustlers used such marks to show travel routes etc.

  3. Jeff,
    Thanks for revisiting my Uravan adventure. Your statement ” I am thinking he went where very few have gone, or will chose to go on purpose…” in my opinion, is correct. Somewhere in his book TTOTC you’ll find, (paraphrasing) “a place forgotten by time”.

    • Hello GG,
      I actually visited the area shortly after your solve at the end of June 2014. I spent a week in the area…I wish I had more time.

      GG you should know I searched the area by y11/141. I took my canoe across the river to the area you marked as X. It is a beautiful flood plane with lots of beaver activity. I searched the entire area…no blaze or treasure..

      I could have gone all seven days without seeing another person, but I ran out of Rum. 🙂 At which point I found myself in the Naturita visitors center. I introduced the ladies working at the time to the FF treasure story, and they ate it up! I was told to come back later in the day to meet Dallas. She was very helpful and spent an hour or so with me in the local museum looking through the mining records to see if FF’s father ever worked in Uravan. It does not appear that he ever worked in Uravan.

      PS I know you partnered up with Dallas and I read your post of her health problems. Is Dallas still with us?

      • Jeff,
        Yes, she is still kicking, but I understand from another individual in the area that knows her, that she has move out of the town.

        Funny thing, I know who you are. Dallas told me that someone had come into the center and talked about the treasure hunt, way back when. So I guess that was you…:)

        • Hello Germanguy, I’m heading back to the region to continue my hunt for the FF treasure as soon as it gets a bit warmer. Love to chat with you about your thoughts. jdb72065@gmail.com

    • germanguy- Any chance you could Email me? I found something that seems to connect with some earlier comments you made. I think you will want this info. You can Email me at lequia@sbcglobal.net

  4. Your description was so clear,precise and well thought out. Sounds like a very special place. Thanks of sharing.

  5. Jeff, thanks for sharing looks like a wonderful adventure and like u said there r many places that fit FF clues

  6. Interesting, you have to wonder how many are on the same trail you are traveling and halt at the same place, but for different reasons or starting points?
    Seeing someone on a trail wondering if they are there for the same reason and judging you answer by how big and heavy their pack is? Not far from JBC there is a Mesa in the shape of an arrowhead.
    There is one thing I have found about the Chase to be a fact, it will keep your travels light! My pockets are always empty.
    Not to mention, if we did manage to find the right path, will we know for sure, what the blaze really is?
    I can only imagine what Dal has spent?

    • Empty pockets? I’m read to sew my pockets shut. I don’t need them anymore. My pants have holes in the holes. And those are my good pair.

  7. Great story and descriptive and beautiful chase. Wish I was there. Thank you. I wish I understood the connection between 4.4 and John Brown.

  8. Great story and pictures Jeff. I too agree that the special place is somewhere very infrequently visited by people.

    My wife and I took a trip many years ago on a 4-wheel drive trail in Utah deep into the Canyonlands National Park to the least visited area of any national park in the US. The NPS says that fewer than 200 people a year go into that area and we can vouch for the fact the trip was one heck of a jarring ride like nothing we had experienced before. We saw some of the most unique countryside in the US. We met one other person the entire day, and it did take the entire day to get in and out of the area. It was after midnight when we got back to our room in Moab.

    I think Forrest’s special place is much more accessible, but somehow, just as remote. But then he said when we all find out where it is we will be saying something to the effect of “Why didn’t I think of that!”

    Again, thanks for the story and best of luck in your searches.


  9. I enjoyed reading this write up Jeff. And I love your pictures. It looks like an amazing place. Sewemup Mesa reminded me of the ladies sewing kit f wrote about. I love reading other’s write ups. We not only get to have our own adventures and see amazing places but we are also getting to see amazing adventures through other searchers.

  10. Very enjoyable Jeff. Don’t give up you could of been with in 200 feet of your dreams.
    Good Luck and be safe…

  11. Jeff,
    I used to live in Grand Junction, CO on the western slope, and this was my favorite drive going down to Farmington, NM. It’s beautiful and peaceful, and full of history, oh and there are areas that are still free range :). This was before or just as The Thrill of the Chase came out and I wasn’t aware of it, or I’d sure been out as much as possible checking the area out. Thank you for sharing this and the lovely pictures.


    • Yep, that was me alright. There are a couple of videos on youtube showing the reconstruction of it that was done .

  12. Leap’in Lizards…there is sooooo much of this great land that can still be explored!
    There exists nowhere in the world the depth, power, and beauty as the American West. The wildness… the adventure…the grandeur… awaits us all that are stricken with gold fever. Thank You for sharing….and Thank You Forrest for the burr under our saddles.

  13. I really like your solve Jeff and the great pictures. The Sewemup Mesa is Amazing! You also gave me a lot of fun new words to anagram for a Sunday Funday morning… Thanks! Now… I am off to find the W. Tee Cup Museum…:)

  14. Just reading the posts and comments helps us so far from the Rockies feel closer to the search.. Thanks to all…

  15. I doubt very much that a road is no place for the meek…many, many people have travelled that road to Moab. Plus, if two people have gotten the first two clues right but “walked right by the other seven”, then your solve is not working. But I’ve been to that area and there are plenty of places to search, that’s for sure. Have a great vacation! It’s wild, beautiful country.

  16. I’m thinking “Put in below the home of Brown.” means south … Put in = Give time and effort. South of JBC… What is south of JBC… 😉

  17. I have not stepped outside New Mexico but this sounds like another extremely interesting solves. The warm waters have lead us all in very different directions. What was your “begin at home of Brown” that should help send you directly to the prize.

    • The poem actually reads “Begin it where warm waters halt.”
      What you are referring to “Put in below the home of Brown.”

      I think the “home of Brown” is the entrance to John Brown Canyon.

      There are many options from there depending on how you perceive what below means… It could be farther down the canyon,,,, It could be south of JBC… It could even east of JBC on 141…

      One definition of “put in” simply means to give effort.

  18. From there, it is no place for the meek.
    How about crossing a road with a blind bend to it. Watch out for either cars or bicycles as you cross it.

  19. If it’s supposed to be in the Rocky Mountains; do those mountains stretch that far to the west?
    -new searcher

  20. I used to work as an Outward Bound field guide near Sewemup Mesa and the Uncompahgre Plateau. Fascinating area, lots of history and legends (in addition to the cattle rustlers). My favorite camping spot is just south of Sewemup. I know that I can always go there and not be near anyone for miles. Truly amazing area.

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