Not Another Rio Grande Solve!…




Hey all,
I first read about Forrest and his treasure chest in January 2016 after googling hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains. I figured since I moved to the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe I would give this a shot.
Here is my adventure for the past season. All of the following is my own opinion. I’ll get right to it. Hope you enjoy.

Clue #1

“Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,”

To me this is the first clue, because it tells you to begin. In my early days of research I came across Dal’s post where he used the start of the Rio Grande Gorge as his WWWH because it’s where the Rio Grande turns colder as it enters the canyon (it’s more of a canyon at the start than a gorge) and leaves the San Luis Valley. If you google “Lobatos bridge Colorado” you can find where the canyon starts. I moved to the valley about 2 years ago and the average low in January is -30F. The water flow rate is slow enough where the canyon starts that the river freezes over. It’s a popular ice fishing spot for locals in the winter. A synonym for halt is freeze. So now I have 2 reasons why warm waters halt where the canyon starts.

Clue #2

“Not far, but too far to walk.”

This seems pretty straight forward to me. Go a distance that would be too far to walk. I start to follow the river down and it starts winding and weaving, then cuts to the east for a couple miles, then heads back down south and continues weaving and winding. This stood out to me because it strongly resembled the preface to Too Far To Walk.

Clue #3

“Put in below the home of Brown.”

I kept following the river until I hit the NM/CO border. Then I noticed it looked like there was a way to get into the river just south of the border. I thought maybe Colorado could be the infamous HOB. One thing I’ve heard a few times from other people who have moved to CO recently was that there’s a lot of brown in the scenery. I also looked at the “B” in home of Brown and thought that whatever the “home of Brown” was would be a proper noun and capitalized in it’s proper usage. That would mean it should be identifiable on a map. Colorado fit the proper noun qualification for me so I decided to go with it.


The drop pin is where the canyon starts and the state line is just below the color change

Clue #4

“From there it’s no place for the meek,”

Just south of the border is Ute Mountain. In my research I also read Springer42’s story from late 2015 about his Rio Grande search where he used it because a. it’s an old volcano, b. it was the site of Meeker Massacre, and c. the Utes were supposed to be the bravest. So now I’ve found a put in spot south of the border and north of Ute Mountain. It was about late January/early February when I found my BOTG spot and decided to do a little early reconnaissance mission.

Clue #5

“The end is ever drawing nigh;”


Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.


Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.


Anasazi petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D.

Now this is where I started to get excited. I get to my BOTG spot which is an old, dry creek bed, Costilla Creek. About a mile away from the Rio Grande is where I put BOTG. At the parking area it’s any easy walk to get  to the creek, no elevation changes or climbing, just walk right in. Well about 500 ft down the creek on one of the rocks are some old petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D., the same times as the chest. So now I’ve got my drawing nigh. I look at the semicolon and think that it means to pause and keep going down the creek.

Clue #6

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.”

There will be no paddle up your creek. I take this as Forrest talking in the future tense. So when I’m in the present I keep going down the creek bed. Now for some more synonyms. A synonym for paddle is wade. So now I’ve got some petroglyphs in a dry creek bed that I can’t paddle a kayak up or wade up. Even if there was water in it I couldn’t paddle up because of the heavy loads, big rocks that would get in the way. A synonym for heavy is also ponderous. Could ponderous loads be big pine trees? And then there’s the water high. Along the whole way down there are high water marks on the rocks and where Costilla Creek and the Rio Grande meet, there are a few small pools/mostly mud pits right at the junction. Now to find that blaze!

Clue #7

“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,”

Once I found those petroglyphs in my dry creek bed I was sure I had the put in spot. I spent all spring and summer looking for a blaze, hiking up and down the Rio Grande until I felt like I had walked more than a few miles. Then I did a little more research on some synonyms and realized I may have found the blaze pretty early on. Synonyms for wise, found, and blaze could be sage, root out, and fire. Going back to drawing nigh for a moment. A synonym for nigh could be left. So down where the creek meets the river, right where the pools of water are, on the left side of the bank is a burned out root ball under some sagebrush. Great! Now I’ve got the blaze!


My Blaze

Clue #8

“Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”


View of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.


Another view of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.

I looked all around whatever was left of the root ball but no luck, so it was on to some more synonyms. If you haven’t been able to tell yet I rely heavily on synonyms in my solve. “Look quickly down” could be translated to “goggle rapidly down”. So now I’ve got my sights set on the river, a great place to secret something. When I look down from my blaze there is a little section of rapids right there. It was about the time I found this out that I realized throwing away my snorkel set last November was a terrible decision.

Clue #9

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.”

At face value this tells me not to stop and stare, which I wouldn’t want to do if I had a box of gold and only one way in and out for miles. I looked for some more synonyms and found “tarry scant” could be a blackish slab of stone. Also, a synonym for marvel is goggle and a synonym for gaze it goggle at, which both direct me to somewhere under water.

So why don’t I have the chest? Beats me. I probably couldn’t have asked for a better season. Water levels were in the 20th percentile and I wasn’t looking in more than 18″ of water with a pretty weak current. Even tho I didn’t have any goggles I had some polarized sunglasses. I could seen my feet at the bottom of the river along with all the other rocks. I must have flipped over every rock I could move at least twice. That only leaves one answer and I hate to say it, but I must be wrong. Best of luck to all searchers!


49 thoughts on “Not Another Rio Grande Solve!…

  1. So why don’t you have the chest?Because in my opinion it’s in another State. Good read. Keep Chasing! Everyone be safe out there looking for the Blaze.

  2. Didn’t see the chest because it wasn’t there.
    “Last night I saw upon my stair
    a little man who wasn’t there.
    I saw him there again today.
    Oh how I wish he’d go away!”

    • That little poem made me think that Forrest may have been the Grand Champion of Marbles but I think I am about to be the Grand Champion of Loosing Mine on this Chase.

  3. Part of my solve used by someone else for their search? I feel like a minor celebrity!
    Small historical note: the Meeker Massacre actually took place in CO, but it was a Ute Indian tribe that was involved.
    Good luck in your future searches!

  4. MikeJ—- thanks for sharing. Very nice photos. I’ve been so encouraged lately to see so many searching in NM and Colorado. I hope many more follow your lead. Thanks for a very well put together solve.

  5. Nice job…good pics. Keep trying, someone is bound to blow this wide open at some point.
    I like the new format Goofy/Dal…

  6. Mr . Fenn has said if I told you where HOB was, you would go straight to the TC . Considering your HOB is the whole state of Colorado , How does this make sense to you .?

    Sounds like your solve is jamming a square peg through a …….


    • If FF said the home of Brown was Colorado and you were to put in below it, I assume most people would look for a canyon that runs thru the border and has a way to get into it just south, which would drastically reduce the search area.

    • I liked the idea of the the CO border, that specific spot in context of his solve being the HOB. But what do i know.

  7. Thanks for sharing Mikey J,
    Sure looks like a nice place to take a hike but not where I think the treasure is.

    Stretched some things a bit but not too bad. I just think some of the clues are in WY & MT where the treasure resides.

    Did you bump into any shady characters on the Rio?
    I heard & read it’s a highway for drug smugglers.

      • Jake, I hope that’s not the case. But one really doesn’t know but always be on guard and always take protection no matter what gun laws are in effect, I know they vary from state to state, which is stupid! I ‘ m not talking Bear spray! You have the right to protect yourself! Have a great day, Martha
        Hope you have a great day. Martha

        • Martha,
          I heard this from a latino coworker about the Rio, but he is an old timer & maybe he is talking about what happened years ago.
          I have read an article or 2 on the web but who really knows how accurate.

          Just have a piece to keep the peace of mind.

      • MikeyJ,
        Only seeing 4 people in such a long span is a good thing in my eyes.
        When Forrest came back to his sedan & no one was around…..

        However, the poem will lead you right to the area where the chest is.
        I know, I play the game of trial & error as most here do. I think there have been many treasure hunters down your path that may have overlooked something before even going there.

    • Jake, I hope that’s not the case. But one really doesn’t know but always be on guard and always take protection no matter what gun laws are in effect, I know they vary from state to state, which is stupid! I ‘ m not talking Bear spray! You have the right to protect yourself! Have a great day, Martha
      Hope you have a great day. Martha

    • Jake, I thought you would eat your hat if it wasn’t in Montana! Martha, so are you back in sunny California? Or was that Florida?

    • Gunslingers untie.

      By THE ASSOCIATED PRESSOCT. 28, 2016, 3:49 P.M. E.D.T.

      Killough was described by his mother as highly intelligent and an excellent worker as long as he had his mental illness under control. [ … ]

      Instead, he left high school early and worked for a railroad services company in New Mexico. He transferred up to Wyoming three years ago but ended up taking a job with another company, she said.

      It was unclear why or how long he had been staying at the Days Inn in Billings at the time of his death.

      Killough entered the clerk’s office at the hotel before dawn Thursday with a handgun, according to Billings police. Both the clerk and officers said he was acting strangely and saying things that didn’t make sense, the police said.

      • Well, thanks Wendi for an update of mental illness and/or drug abuse in humans.
        I would let the Grizzly’s do the autopsy.
        Then again, that would be inhumane, to the Griz, of course.

    • Hi Jake,

      This is not the part of the Rio Grande where the drug smuggling occurs. I live less than 2 miles from the Rio Grande outside of Taos and there is none of that going on here, and nowhere else in the Rio Grande between here and the Colorado border. When you hear about drug smuggling along the Rio Grande that is hundreds of miles south of here on the Texas border.

      Here is what the Rio Grande looks like in Northern New Mexico:



      • Thanks Mark,
        After checking out Gmaps, I see & have learned a lot.
        I had no idea the Rio Grande separates the US from Mexico.
        Learn something new everyday.
        My latino coworker must have been talking about that part of the Rio Grande.
        Beautiful picture there & that’s a deep canyon.

        • HI Caucasian Jake,

          That’s great to hear that you’re becoming educated on some things. Keep it up there’s a whole world of humans, just like yourself to learn from.

          • That’s a big stretch rieterd,

            What I find interesting is where he has been, there are petroglyph’s that were probably created by native americans long ago & I think the line in the poem – The end is ever drawing nigh; – could mean a drawing is near the end where the treasure is.

            My asian friend disagrees.

  8. Very nice story…since you live in the area of the treasure chest, I hope you don’t give up searching. I liked your story-telling and pictures.

    • Thanks, I’m actually moving back to the east coast Tuesday so I think this is the end for me.

  9. Great Job! One of the best, straight forward, solves I’ve seen.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    A couple things that I’ve gleaned interesting from your solve.
    1. WWWH – I like the approach of the seasonal freezing.
    2. HOB – Home of the Grizzly Bear, Brown Bear, Brown Trout is maybe a marker of a states border.

    Possible suggestion on your search;
    – Look quickly down your quest to cease.
    Maybe you don’t want your quest to cease just yet, so don’t look down.
    – maybe a marvel gaze would be better.
    – Find the alcove, where the native Indians laid their fallen to rest for eternity.

    Thank you for sharing and good luck.
    Please leave one of the one pound nuggets for me to find.

    • Funny you mentioned alcoves. If you look right above the state line there is a little slot canyon and just south of that there are 2 alcoves. It’s on private property tho. However there is petroglyph that would lead right too it, but I think it would be more than a few mile walk in one direction.

      • Good luck back east. I’m a New York and Virginia guy, now in Pittsburgh. I hope to make it out the Rocky Mountains this sprint for my first search.

        I have some evidence that points to a specific type of rock to look for and a specific shape to look for in the folding of that rock (The Blaze).

        It seems like with all the artifacts FF found in those alcoves and talk about flying his jet low along the mesas to find those alcoves, what could be a safer place for him and his chest. Can’t be seen from below, and can’t be seen from above. You’ve got to know exactly how to get to them.

        Good luck back east and thanks for posting your solve.

    • Effort worth the cold to me means you’ll be going into water. I was thinking it was in an old anasazi well/cistern or live well. In the wood just mean in the wilderness. If it had been in my spot there would have been tha San Juans to the west and the San Cristos to the east and the Rio Grande is the lowest point, right in the middle.

      • I agree MikeyJ,
        Your effort will be worth the cold does not relate to the bronze chest being cold or the gold or you have to go in winter or at night when it’s colder.

        Just makes sense you’re going to have to get wet at some point to get to the chest. OK, it’s 80 deg F out in the Rockies when I was searching. Look around, there’s only a few things that are cold there.

        Your cooler full of cold beverages surrounded by ice.
        The refrigerator.
        Compressed gas or liquid being depressurized quickly from a port.

        How about a cold creek or river flowing down from higher up where maybe even ice & snow stays year round. Naa, this thought is too crazy.

    • Hmmm…. Thought the hew format might support posting the little images but I guess not. Diggin how did you get the image of your pick ax to post???

    • You can find it on the map, it’s about a mile south of the border. But it’s not labeled on the map.

  10. Mikey, enjoyed reading your story and seeing your great pictures. I’ve often pondered about ice being where warm waters halt. I also search in the winter; there are no bears, no bugs, no snakes, no leaves, no flash floods (not many), no fires, no glassy eyed flatlanders wandering around, even the methheads have enough sense to stay inside, and I don’t have to worry about my food spoiling from the heat. A famous wise man told me my effort will be worth the cold; If I’m in a spot and haven’t endured the cold, I figure I’m either in the wrong spot, or there at the wrong time of year.

    Having said all of that; I’m going to be there anyway, am well equipped, and wandered the Rockies most of my life. Anyone thinking about throwing their hoodie in a rental four by four and heading out in the mountains in the winter searching for the treasure should reconsider. I came across a couple searchers last year stuck in a snow bank in their rental yuppie four wheeler. I won’t recount the whole conversation; but I admonished them for being out in the middle of nowhere, woefully ill-equipped searching for the treasure.

    Anyway, they asked if I could pull them out. I said I would like to try something before I dug out the shovel, tow straps, and shackles. I asked them to stand across the road, and got in their vehicle. To their amazement I drove it out of the snow bank in a couple minutes. Then told them if they are thinking about getting some more equipment and heading back out there, they should at least learn how to use the equipment before doing so.

    Like JD says, stay safe out there.

    • Rock & roll Goofy.
      F – R – F – R – F – R – F
      Not in that order & sometimes you get out the same way you got in.
      Timing, feathering, steering & knowing & feeling the peaks & valley’s will get you out as long as the chassis is not hung up too bad & you’re not a yuppie.

      Yuppie, need not apply. Stay home with your guppie for the fall, winter & spring.

  11. Dudes, dudes.
    I am almost 72, Forrest was about 79
    living, mountaineering, fishing &,hunting in Co. my entire,life, and still breath well at,11k
    age,still does,grab your derriere , think think think, tranpose yourself

  12. I like the idea that drawing nigh is in reference to petroglyphs. Whenever I go out along the Rio Grand and nearby tributaries I like to search for them. One of my favorites is the radio drawing that I have posted on my twitter page. Not that it is a clue, I just think it’s funny. But then again if FF had made any art work out their it may be something like that.

  13. Great photos, MIKEYJ. I like your conclusion that “halt” might mean “freeze”. What I most like about your solution, however, is that it is fairly straightforward. You have used maps and a thesaurus (synonyms), and bypassed the temptation to refer to technical knowledge, old legends, or some clever numbering scheme.

    A couple of concerns. First, I have never been a fan of any “water” solution; it would seem that some high water event would render the chest unstable no matter how securely it was fastened down. Floods have been known to move cars, houses, and objects much heavier than a 42 pound box.

    Second, I’m reminded of what FF said in one of his interviews; I’m paraphrasing here … From where the chest sits you can see trees and small animals; you can see mountains … From the bottom of the canyon you were in, I wouldn’t think the searcher could see any mountains. Could you see any mountains?

    Maybe the area around or adjacent to Ute Mountain might offer better prospects, and still maintain the integrity of your first several clues.

    Thanks for posting your solution.

    Ken (in Texas) 🙂

    • No I couldn’t see any mountains from the bottom of the canyon. I believe FF said if you were in the area of the chest you would see all those animals and trees and mountains, and then he never defined how far out the area goes. If you were at the top where the canyons meet you would be about 200 ft from the bottom and would see all those things

  14. What a nice adventure, we have something in common that is, We Can’t find the Gold.
    Proud you had a safe trip. 🙂

  15. The Meeker Massacre happened just west of the town of Meeker, Co.
    There’s a memorial marker at on hwy. 64. 40° 2’1.94″N, 107°59’17.67″W

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