In the RMs North of Santa Fe…

by Hear ME ALL


I’m sharing my first attempt at finding a solution that would lead me to the chest to show how imagination is important but also to show how even after being stuck on this for many months I did allow myself to reconsider other possibilities and options.  I realize that some will laugh, some may pick it apart, and some may see things that will make them scratch their heads.  I was convinced that this solution was feasible for many months but came to the conclusion after several failed attempts by myself and another searcher that this just was not the spot that is special to Forrest.  At the time it all seemed to make perfect sense to me.  Looking back on this and with what I now know, I scratch my own head wondering what the heck was I thinking.  I hope you enjoy and if not please be kind.

West Yellowstone, Montana

West Yellowstone, Montana

The first stanza talks about hinting of riches new and old.  When I did research on West Yellowstone which f likes to share stories about, I realized that some parts of the town are old and some to the south are fairly new.  The first stanza told me that West Yellowstone was the area that I needed to search.  F has said that most of the places the clues refer to were around when he was a kid.  That means that some came after so I attributed the new development to some clues.

Begin at Firehole Ave..  When you are stopped at the red light, there is another light for pedestrians with a hand facing out to signal them to halt.  In River Bathing is Best f said that the boiling geyser waters met with the cool waters in the Firehole River.  To me boiling waters meeting cool waters gives you warm waters.  If you are coming in to West Yellowstone from Highway 191 driving south, you will run right into Firehole Ave. and this light.

Take it in the canyon down to me hints at going south down Canyon St. from where it joins Firehole Ave.  You will just continue south from that intersection on Canyon St.  Forrest mentions Canyon St. in Totem Café Caper story.  I’ve also seen other posts from the past that suggest there was no way Forrest was going to down and back up a real canyon twice to hide the treasure.  Number one it would be a little dangerous for a man at that age and would not be fun to traverse with a load.  You have to pretend you’re in a Canyon when on the street but you really are taking it in a canyon down which is south.

Not far, but too far to walk to me simply meant I was driving.  Most if not all searchers would arrive at the first clue in a vehicle so continuing to drive instead of walk to me was an obvious choice.  I also wouldn’t want to walk through town carrying a chest filled with treasure.

Put in below the home of Brown.  To me this is the keyword.  Forrest capitalized Brown and most searchers don’t even give that much thought as it being the keyword.  I think this can be tricky as he knows people would tend to think of people named Brown, and then animals it might refer to, and on down the line.  To me it was Totem Café where the brown gravy assaulted his sense of smell.  I think Forrest enjoys having some fun and using imagination.  The put in below part came a little later for me.  When I looked up Totem Café back in February, a map came up.  It was a map of West Yellowstone.  That is when I realized that it was on Canyon St. and then noticed Firehole Ave. and started wondering if this could be the map that he has talked about.  Sure seemed that a number of things were connecting.

No place for the meek.  In my solve this was the Grizzly & Wolf Discover Center.  At some point in the past I remembered a comment from a searcher on Dal’s blog that said they thought they remembered Forrest saying bear were close by.  I’ve never come across Forrest saying that, but if that is the case this would be a pretty close place to my search area to have bear and also be not in a dangerous area since they are contained.   Also there are wolves at the center. Just south of the center is Gallatin National Forest, so if you use some imagination to pretend that you have to be brave when searching that area because of the bears and wolves that are close by it could work.  There used to be an exhibit that traveled the country that is now permanently displayed at this center. On the center’s website the article about acquiring this exhibit in 2002 says home of the world class exhibit BEARS: Imagination and Reality.  I thought that was interesting since Forrest has said that imagination is needed to solve the poem and has also said imagination is more important than knowlege.  Another thought that I had for no place for the meek was that you would not want to go down Yellowstone Ave. in accordance with Joseph Meek.

The end is ever drawing nigh.  Canyon St. dead ends shortly after the center.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  I never really made a strong connection with this part of the poem unless the meaning was, there is no paddle because there is no creek.  Could also mean you have to pretend you will be entering a creek where the canyon ends and no paddle will be needed.

Just heavy loads and water high.  This one took me a bit to figure out.  For the longest time I thought it was just added for filler.  Then I studied the map some more and realized that one of the streets is Electric St. so that could mean heavy loads.  Two other streets are Old Faithful and Geyser so I thought that could possibly be for the water high.  The problem with that is they are a few blocks over and not on this path.  The old water tower is also on south Electric St. and at one time I thought that could be the water high.  Here is what I think Forrest meant by heavy loads and water high.  At the end of Canyon St. sits the Worldmark resort. I came to the conclusion that the world part refers to heavy loads as in carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.  For the water high I thought mark could refer to a high water mark.  Again I used some imagination and I’m sure many would dismiss my thinking.  You can park in the parking lot at Worldmark and go into Gallatin Forest through a break in the fence that the resort made to push winter snow off the property.

When the canyon dead ends I put in here.  Part of it is somewhat open with grass and sagebrush and some is thicker with trees.  In 1988 there was a fire that burned quite a bit of Yellowstone and close to West Yellowstone.  This area was burned in the fire.  The tallest trees in this area were probably planted a couple of years after that fire.  You can definitely see rows of trees in places.  When Forrest made some posts in the past as Forrest Fire, I thought he might have been trying to see if anyone was paying attention.  This area is not one that many frequent due to it being past a dead end.  It’s also not a spectacular looking area.  No water, or trails, just trees, sagebrush, animals, grass and a fairly safe place but you have an unusually high number of bear and wolves right next door at the center.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze. While standing at the end of canyon I gazed around for any sign that something could be a blaze.  About 1/4 mile south I spotted something and told my son that it might be the blaze. Most might not even spot this object unless really paying attention.  It was a radio tower with a beacon light.  The word beacon is also known as a blaze.  It is visible during the day but is clearly visible at night. This made me think that Forrest long ago told everyone they might want to take a flashlight and sandwich because the blaze was more evident at night.  I believed that the blaze was the red beacon on top of the radio tower.  In My War For Me, f talks about how the blink was winking at him.  The beacon on the tower also winks.  In that story he also talks about how some place was beaconing to him.  I thought that was an odd choice for wording when he could have said beckoning.  When I considered those things it seemed to add up. Also in his book and some recent replies to questions he uses red letters.  Where I began was a red light and the blaze is also a red light.  Red is also one of the colors in the rainbow.  Could the Firehole Ave. light and the beacon light be the beginning and the end of Forrest’s rainbow?

As for the sixth stanza I thought that Hear me all referred to Radio Rd. which is south of town that goes right to the blaze.  Forrest also mentions radio a number of times in other stories.  He also used the word canned for getting fired from his newspaper job.  Canned can also refer to pre-recorded radio.  Your effort will be worth the cold if you are brave and in the wood.  I was doing some internet research before we took our first trip and was studying West Yellowstone.  West Yellowstone is located on a very cold and heavily wooded plateau so that was good enough for me.  Also if you remember back to The Totem Café Caper Story, Forrest talks about Frosty’s polarity.  West Yellowstone sits almost exactly in the middle between the North Pole and the equator.

To conclude I must say that this area south of West Yellowstone does not contain Indulgence.  I did see new country, learned new things, made memories with my son that are priceless, and learned to adjust to the poem.  I took a total of three trips to this area with only two of them allowing for searches due to the weather.  Another searcher graciously searched for me this fall as well.  He shot some video which I appreciated very much.  F is correct when he says the poem is important.  It contains so much more than what you might expect.  I learned to see not read.

Hear Me All-


66 thoughts on “In the RMs North of Santa Fe…

    • Iron Will – After I came up with this solution I read as much as I could to make sure nobody had reached the same ending point that I had. I did come across your story and thought darn, he was close. My son and I did walk through the trees in the picnic area after we couldn’t find the chest where we thought it would be. I wonder how many searchers have gone to West Yellowstone based on f’s poem?

  1. One certainly can not say that you are short on imagination! Congrats to you, for seeing many things in the poem that most would not see…LOTS of imagination – KUDOS to you! Glad you and your son had the adventures. JDA

    • JDA – Thanks. I have dialed back the imagination just a bit but not all the way. My new approach which started before I abandoned this solve completely relies more heavily on the poem than anything else.

    • Illinoisghost – I liked it too until I could not locate the treasure. I agree that it was very straightforward and at the time wondered if that is what f meant when he says that. One never knows unless they try. I give a lot of credit for those that do try whether their solutions make any sense to others or not because some day and some day soon I have a feeling that the treasure chest will be found.

      • Yes I agree with most followers with you I agree completely, I believe iminagination
        Is key to the fenn graill and when I finally get there I too will try. And Also glad you could bond with your son which would be key for me also !

  2. My cousin and I searched that area in June of 2014. The water tower area, caboose and even the sanctuary!
    While on the trail across from The Dude motel, looking for Dal’s stash spot, (was stolen possibly by a Ranfer, but we didn’t know that til I asked Dal), we met an elderly couple walking to their car. They KNEW F and his whole family! We asked about searching south of town, and he said there was an old hermit that had been looking for a treasure in the forest for thirty years! It was some buried gold left there by prospectors before the patk was a park. They got jumped, killed, but had already hid their gold. Soon, everyone in town was searching the south woods but gave up after several years. The hermit had his grandpa’s journal with the story and possible hidden hole described very precisely as “south of town, an hour’s hike passed the creek at the base of a small pile of rocks.” The hermit is dead, but a few people still take 4 wheelers out and search. The description almost sounds like F’s poem. The rumor would have been around when F was there. If I can find my notes, I could name the couple who told us this legend. They had an unusual last name, I think it starts with a J. He was 83, said he fished with F and his brother.
    We found the beacon light, too. I know Dal has searched around and Stephanie too. So, I guess the area can be considered “clean”.

    • Donna M. – I had not heard about the hermit and gold story. That’s interesting. That would have been a hoot to find that gold and not F’s treasure chest. I did learn a lot and got to see some wonderful views along my journeys back and forth from Montana.

  3. Great story, good reasoning, a solve as good as any of them. Keep at it, you may be just a tad wrong at some point and still in the game. I like it. I’ve wondered a lot about that radio tower.

    • Windy City – I was so sure about this being correct but alas no treasure. I did learn many things and considered alternatives so I could move forward. It was hard for me to walk away from this solution, however I’m very glad that I did. The architect laid the foundation and IMO I found the foundation so I can start again.

  4. IMHO I don’t think following traffic lights, cracks in paved roads or roadside ditches leads to a special place of f’s. Look at the aerial picture of West Yellowstone. Looks more like a “blight” on wilderness than a “special place”. And keep in mind that there is no human trail near the place the chest resides.
    But thanks for sharing…..

    • piratejim – When I arrived in the woods south of town and walked to the beacon/radio tower, I too felt like that it was an odd choice for f to hide his treasure. At the time I thought maybe he hid it south of town because it would not seem like a special place to many other than f and it might have also been a place where he liked to go to get away from others so he could just sit and think.

    • Edit:

      FF has said knowing where to start is important, so I wonder if it changes much with HMA and IW solve(s) if you say…start with No place fro Meek at Grizzly centre and work your way out from there?

      And you mention above that no-one has considered Brown the keyword, I see lots of searchers and posts that consider this possibility.

      • Danny-boy – I realize that a number of searchers do consider Brown to be the keyword but from things I’ve read there are also many who dismiss it. In my new solve I don’t feel that Brown is the keyword. It is still important just not as important as I wanted it to be.

  5. I liked the solve and it seems almost plausible if you get out of town a bit. It could start in town, but you have to get out at some point. Keep trying and don’t give up.

  6. If I had a horn I would blow it. 😉
    Your imagination is like sterling. I do like down meaning south. No paddle up your creek, means a discipline paddle to me. You know he shows that in his book with his father.
    You know those stars wink as well.
    Best of luck to u. 😉

    • Amy – Thanks for the compliments. While I use imagination in my next solve, I rely more heavily on the poem. The TOTC and another tool are a close second because without them it would be much harder to confirm that what the poem says is correct.

        • Amy – It is hard. If I had not been open to other possibilities, then I would be stuck and wandering around. Even though I’m very confident in the moves that I’m making now, I still have to second guess things until I find confirmation that allows me to more forward again.

  7. Yea, J,
    Been there done that.
    I parked near the end of the road where the construction was going on & did not have to go through a fence.
    Zig zaged through that wooded area looking for that white spec on GE & couldn’t find it unless it was one of the tree stump piles that were bleached.

    I got far enough away from the construction site where it was quite & headed for the tower & bumped into a well used dirt road & then the tower road & heard gun shots off in the distance. I heard people talking loudly & what sounded like a chainsaw in the distance. I followed the road west to a clearing & decided to head back to the car while keeping my eyes open for anything that looked different.

    Well, Thanks for the lunch & gas anyway.
    I didn’t know so many people had searched this area although they may have missed something, but I did not see anything special.

    I thought your solve was doable seeing it eventually took you into a wooded area. The hike was very easy & obviously not a dangerous place.

    I would cross this area off the list although it could be further south, but the poem still has to take you there.

  8. I like it. My first solve centered on the street names. Particularly the wwwh as being a boundary line= Boundary street. But I was thinking the chest may b hidden in that bear and wolf exhibit somewhere…but have doubts about that also. Nice imagination though.

    • B. Heston – Thanks for the compliment! I had considered Boundary street as a back up at different times. I thought maybe I should put in on Madison Ave. which is directly south of the Totem Café or the HOB in my solution. It didn’t lead me to anything that I felt was useful so I gave up on that idea. One thought I did have was that f chose West Yellowstone because you could fit so many of the places or streets into the poem. Ultimately it’s not in or around West Yellowstone IMO but I’m sure f thought that a number of searchers would find a connection to that little town with the poem. I can see him smiling now because of all the searchers that visited West all because a poem brought them there.

  9. Hear Me All, Great write up. Did you check out the Eagle’s Store on 3 Canyon Street, West Yellowstone? It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

    • 23kachinas – I did some research on the Eagle store but never did stop in to visit. My trips were pretty rushed with using most of my time for the long drive to and back so I didn’t take much time to take in the sites. I do regret that now.

  10. Hear, Thanks for sharing your story and ideas. Glad that you got out for the adventure with your son…sounds like you had fun. Don’t give up the search!

    • Cynthia – You’re welcome. We did have fun. My son won’t admit it now but I know he did and will cherish the time. I’m not giving up by any means. I have made some adjustments and feel very good about where I’m headed. In the West Yellowstone solution, I relied very heavily on the books and a lot less on the poem. After a lot of work I was able to see the poem differently and the approach I’m taking now has proven at least to me that I’m tracking correctly now.

  11. Hear me All,
    And listen good, it’s like you were reading my mind and that says alot.
    With peaceful thoughts of family and turkey just around the corner this is just what I needed. Your inspiring solution certainly caused me to raise a brow and take notice.
    Thanks for sharing your adventurous tale.

    • Strawshadow – I’m glad I was able to provide some inspiration! To me it made a lot of sense at the time and parts of it still do but I have changed courses but I’m still searching in the Treasure State. 🙂

      • Don’t ever give up on the Treasure State J.
        I would bet my life on it.
        Although it may be on the border of MT & WY, I would still win half the bet.
        Half Life 2 is still a good game to win. ʎ2

        • Jake – My current solve does not involve WY, only MT. If I owned MT, I would bet the whole state that it’s “the state.” 🙂

  12. Wow.. another search that the poem fits… more and more its almost he wrote it to fit a lot of areas … being in town … even tho genius I was hoping finding it out in the woods near a river, trees. etc… But who knows with a guy masterminding it for 15+ years

    • 1idwillhe – From the dead end of Canyon St. to the radio tower is Gallatin National Forest so there were trees and if it had led me to a place in town instead of the woods south of town, I would have been very suspicious.

  13. HearMeAll ~ “The first stanza talks about hinting of riches new and old. When I did research on West Yellowstone which f likes to share stories about, I realized that some parts of the town are old and some to the south are fairly new. The first stanza told me that West Yellowstone was the area that I needed to search.”

    I can’t argue your thought process on what you refer to as clues. However, I do have a suggestion… what I see is that, WYS is / was a guess for an area. My thought is, that new and old could be almost any place fenn mentioned in the book, as to the way you explained it. NM would be an excellent area with that thought of new and old sections of a city / area or even history. YSP would be another for that same reasoning you explained. WY could be as well because of his involvement in Cody, with “new and old” as museum.
    So, out of curiosity was there any other reason why WYS should be the place to understand “hint of riches new and old?” I find it hard to see it as a definite answer, to the way you explained it.

    • Seeker – You make a valid point. I did not want to add excess information to my solution since it was not correct, but since you posed the question as to why I felt like West was the place that spoke about riches new and old I will gladly share.

      The reasoning behind my choice for thinking that West Yellowstone played a part in the solve involved some logic and some research. F spent roughly 17 summers with West Yellowstone as his home away from home. That alone isn’t convincing enough but logic tells me that he is very fond of that little town even if the treasure is not around there. The other component was my research. I’d like to take you on a journey back in time. 1998, the year that f was diagnosed with cancer was also the year of the great Yellowstone fires. In 1988 Canyon St. stopped at Yellowstone Ave. which leads into the park. The vast majority of the development south of Yellowstone Ave. did not take place till after 1988. The railroad buildings and the old water tower were there but not the hotel, McDonalds, the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, RV parks, and many other buildings along with housing. Around 2009 this area had all filled in with those places. Forrest told us that he felt like an architect drawing the poem. Based on the research I did, I felt like maybe he was working on the poem as the southern part of town was being constructed and used some of those places as clues in the poem. 2009/2010 he hides the chest which is shortly after the development in that area was completed. I expected to find the chest near the blaze/radio tower whether it was walking a line to it, around the tower, or south of the tower. We checked all those possibilities and could not find the chest. It made sense to me at the time and still does fit if you forget about some of the places not being able to last for a long length of time. It was fun but ultimately I knew that if I wanted to continue to be a part of the chase I would need to make some adjustments.

      I hope that helps you understand my thought process for selecting West Yellowstone as a place that showed potential.

    • There will always be questions Hear me All, One person one day will see the poem as Mr. Fenn meant it to be seen. Life is a set of circumstances and we play with the cards were dealt. In the end how we see it is just as important as what we’ve done with it. IMO

  14. Great write up and sounds like a good time…yet another blatant example how anyone can make the poem fit one’s own take on how to interpret.
    Makes sense when Fenn states that the finder will not know if the first clue is correct until the treasure is in hand….
    thanks for sharing HMA.

  15. I like the “beacon being the blaze” idea. I always wondered why there was a pole in the middle of nowhere in my search area. Maybe I will wait till dark next time and see if it lights up like an emergency phone booth or an airport beacon. Yes, there is an airport not too far. 🙂
    This is probably the reason why the search partner has to wait in the car.
    Short and sweet and full of imagination,I like it. 🙂

    • Hate to butt in, but you’re talking about the one up at Hebgen lake? Not sure if Hear did, but I spent hours searching all around that, until I gave up on it and found that Ranch near Santa Fe

      • Yes, Grayling Arm. I don’t search Montana, but always curious to learn about different areas. I went there in July (West Yellowstone) and thought it was a beautiful town. I could understand why Mr. Fenn’s parents went there. My oldest son said he’d love to live in a town like that.

        • pdenver – I did notice Rainbow Rd. but other than f talking about leading to the end of his rainbow I could not find any other connections. IMO MT is where the chest is resting. I love Colorado and would have loved for it to be next door to me but it wasn’t meant to be. Next I hoped that it would be in NM because other than dipping a toe in at Four Corners several years back I could not find any concrete evidence for NM. That only left two states. When you read TTOTC f talks about WY and MT the most. If logic is applied it is highly unlikely that f would hide the chest in Yellowstone due to legal issues. That leaves MT and the reason why is something that I can’t divulge at this time. I will say that if you go back to the poem it will show you where to search. No guessing, no games, and it will be a moment where there will be no doubts. It’s not easy but if you really see the poem instead of reading it then you will understand. Sorry that’s not much help, but if I told you, you would hate me for spoiling the fun in finding it yourself.

        • pdenver & Iron Will – In the solution that I’m working on now I did consider something that involved Grayling Arm and Madison Arm which are both part of Hebgen Lake. In my solve I was at a crossroads and wondered which direction to take. In Important Literature, f talks about For Whom The Bells Toll but actually describes A Farewell to Arms. In my mind at the time I thought that it was telling me to go away from Grayling and Madison Arms as in farewell. I felt clever when I came up with that but ultimately it did not have any part of the solve that I’m working on now. There are so many places in the RM’s that can be tied to the poem and especially so in MT.

          • Is there a tower nearby this area? It seems to me I may have come across one while exploring on Google Earth. It may be the same one you’re talking about, but I’m not positive.

          • pdenver – The radio tower that I was searching around in the first solve was about 1/4 mile south of West Yellowstone. If I remember north of Hebgen Lake somewhere there is a fire lookout tower. There are a lot of fire lookout towers in the remote regions of the Rockies and while I studied many of them I came to the conclusion that they did not play a part in the correct solution, at least for now.

          • Perhaps the tower might be put into a possible consideration, especially since you posted in your story of how Mr. Fenn went by “Forrest Fire” a while back.

  16. What if you started at the old train station (WWWH) and headed north on Canyon St out of town?

    • Tommy – One could definitely do that if they wanted. I considered many alternate routes throughout town and beyond the limits but never could come up with anything else that would stick. I’ve adjusted the way I see the poem and am working a different solve now that does use imagination but is also quite different than this solve.

  17. Hear Me All,

    I really enjoyed reading your solve. You identified your nine clues and supported them with imagination and logic.

    Thanks for sharing. Remember there are people driving down the street looking for a blaze because that’s one of the clues. I don’t see how you can start in the middle of poem…

    A clue?? Hmmmm…

    Stay Safe everyone! Hapoy Thanksgiving and the Holidays.


  18. Hear me all,

    Like your solve. I too was in West Yellowstone in the early part of 2011 on my first hunt for Fenn’s treasure chest. I know the areas you discribed and considered some of your solution. I stayed at the Stagecoach Inn where “Cody” ended up, At that time I had not read or had access to TTOTC book. Most info I had was off the internet through research and blog talk. I had found out about the “Dude Motel” before it became blog talk and in TFTW. So in short I did search some of your areas after my main searches turned up empty. My main two searches both started at “Mammoth Springs” each took Grand Loop Rd both different directions. One end at Undine Falls area, and the other at Roaring Mt. Grizzly Lake, Twin Lakes area. I also search Firehole Falls area. I move from that area after these searches and my quest has taken and different direction after reading TTOTC. Thanks for bringing back the memories of that area because it was a fun enjoyable time and Yellowstone is such a beautiful majestic place. Keep on keeping on… Bur

  19. Hear Me All and Iron Will, both of you have reinforced my belief that my solve leading me to the area just south of the Grizzly Discovery Center wasn’t quite as harebrained as it seemed the afternoon I departed from West Yellowstone in bemused defeat. I got caught up in the Chase in July–and by August I swept my husband up in a whirlwind visit to Montana that depleted our small stash of vacation days–and provided us with some wonderful fun. I was SO POSITIVE I had the correct solve–to the point of seeing the EXACT SPOT on GE. Sound familiar, anyone? 😉 I am only not providing details because I still would like to write it up for folks to enjoy here. Yes, I am working on my next solve, which leads me in a different direction–but I will always have fond memories of that first attempt and the exhilaration of a last-minute road trip.

  20. I like your approach of keeping it simple. In the same context, may I add for all to expound on this….We’re all searching for the end of Fenn’s rainbow. How does one see a rainbow? We see a rainbow when the sun is behind and the falling rain is in front.

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