SUBMITTED MARCH 2017
by Tom Terrific
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
Forrest Fenn a retired Major USAF, noted art dealer and antiquities expert hid a bronze treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM. Forrest said he hid the chest when he was 79 or 80. So 2010 is my opinion of the date and probably on his birthday since he turned 80 on August 22nd of that year.
I was born in New Mexico and live in northern New Mexico spent most (except Navy during Vietnam) of my 70 years collecting anthropologic artifacts, fishing, hunting, exploring, Kayaking, rafting, backpacking etc. I am well versed in local Native American Lore, understand and speak Spanish at an acceptable level, also have a CDIB card and I am a tribal member of the Muskogee Creek Nation.
What I have compiled here is a reading and opinion of the treasure map poem of Forrest Fenn AKA (also known as) “ff” or “f” and how the local and indigenous people view his words and their meanings.
In his map written in poetic form, I will make an effort here to back up my opinions with the corresponding statements where ff and others are concerned, some of these statements were not written down, but I have witnesses to verify they were said, starting in 2010 through today.
ff has said there are 9 clues in the poem, per page 132 “Thrill of the Chase” AKA TTOTC, furthermore he said on page 133 there are “hints” sprinkled in the TTOTC Book. But in my opinion he has never mentioned that there’s not only 9 clues inside the poem, but there are almost certainly HINT’S in his poem as well, although to my knowledge he has never said that.* If the poem is in fact a map (pathway) to the Treasure then like most maps it could (should) have a key or legend to be understood. On the “Mysterious Writings’ blog on Feb 04, 2014 under “Six Questions Jenny Kile quoted ff “It is interesting to know that a great number of people are out there searching. Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. The treasure may be discovered sooner than I anticipated”. Also stated this quote to Jenny Kile: August 15, 2015 * “It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper. f.” Did you ever think how often giving your kids a “hint” is like that, a whisper, sometimes it speaks louder than telling them the answer they need to choose?
Often a map’s key or legend is at the beginning so one doesn’t get lost in the details, that is IMO our case here, hints and clues that described the translation of poetry into geographical places, rarely, if ever has that process been done. Looking in the first stanza we even see him use the word HINT, it should become apparent to you that knowing the difference between a clue and a hint is valuable.
The first 4 lines set up a hint of what the “Hidey Spot” is or may look like because it starts with the word AS, as he may have gone there with someone else in the past, I believe that someone was his father.
Background for that statement comes from this experience of the 2 leaders and members of www.nmtreasure.com.: In November of 2013 an Emmy Award winning film crew called www.moonshots productions.com were hired by “Animal Planet Network” to film a pilot series of reality actors for a possible long term production based on Treasure Hunting. My brother and I were selected along with 3 other members of our group, a young couple who were already actors and my wife who is also a native New Mexican. Eric Hartman email@example.com and his assistant Dave, film crew were all part of the www.moomshots.com who interviewed Forrest in November, 2013, Forrest told them “His father would know where he hid the treasure.” Eric and Dave told us what ff had said to them on that following November day in 2013 just prior to our filming.
Moonshot’s passed this info out but not many people seem to know about it, this may have happened because ff would not sign a contract as an actor with them for “Animal Planet Pilot Series” this lack of approval by ff may have caused a problem for more filming. Everyone in our group signed contracts before they filmed us, there was about 11 hours of video made of us cracking jokes, speculation of the meaning of the clues and hints, and just capturing the beauty of Northern NM. My wife who has a great voice even sang the State Song,” O Fair New Mexico”. We all thought this would be a regular feature on Animal Planet.
Primarily we took the film crew along the Rio Grande Gorge and into Taos and the Angel Fire area near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Moreno (Brown) Valley at The Black Lake.
Because Forrest had said to the film crew that “His father would know where he hid the treasure chest” AKA (TC) We started to examine that statement with a magnifying focus on what this “allegedly” privileged info meant. Since this info was never shared with the public we read a lot about what ff had said about his father, ff said according to Taylor Clark of California Sunday Magazine 07/15/15 “I thought I was gonna die,” Fenn explained recently in his feathery Texas drawl. “I kept asking the guy who gave me radiation what my chances were, and all he would say was, ‘Mr. Fenn, you’ve just got an uphill battle.’” Two years earlier, Fenn’s father had also been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and he had taken what Fenn saw as the dignified way out: a handful of sleeping pills. Facing that fate with terminal cancer 1987-1988 ff somehow survived and recovered. His suicide pact was similar to his fathers, except the place would be in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM at the same place where the TC is hidden now.”
Suddenly a set of very large gears began to click and moved heavy loads in my mind, these gears were as big as a Steam Locomotive’s Transmission, knowing In fact Forrest father, William Marvin Fenn had told Forrest this; “Grab every banana,” his father used to say while they were out on hunts together, baffling his son.
One day ff’s father elaborated: “He said, son, the train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time, so you reach as far out as you can, because every banana you don’t grab is a banana you’ll never have.” This, according to Newsweek Magazine writer BRENT HUMPHREY. ff admits he never understood exactly what that meant, but perhaps he does now. I think you get where I am going with this if you are studying ff and his memoirs. On page 42 of the “TTOTC” ff said “The Katy Rail Road tracks were about half-mile from our house and late at night I could hear the steam engines puff and the engineers blow their air horns. It was a soothing sound and sometimes I think I can still hear when the wind is out of the east.” From an early age Steam Trains in my opinion were fascinating to ff, pulling heavy loads and filled by water (towers) high.
Admittedly ff has worn many hats in life, one of the earliest was fishing guide as told in “Thrill of the Chase, page 124, he, along with his father and brother all worked at a trout fly fishing store tying flies and fish guiding for pay. ff naturally became aware of how to catch trout and because of that experience he would certainly know of each state’s fishing regulations, which were published (Game and Fish Proclamation) each year in the 4 possible TC states; Mt, Wy, Co and NM.
We now come to what I and many searchers think is probably the 1st Clue in the poem, but remember we have already received in the first stanza what is IMO “hints” the words “AS, HINT, BOLD, NEW and OLD.” What may be the 1st (actual) “CLUE” after those “hints” may be “Begin it where warm waters halt” from line 1 of the second stanza (WWWH). Since I too have fished since childhood in New Mexico, and Colorado, there is only one place where I have ever in my 70 years heard those exact words “WWWH”, and that is in the New Mexico Game and Fish Proclamation, which stated for many years on the various rivers or mountainous streams at a certain spot: www (regulations) halt and (then) cold water regulations begin.
Next is the descriptor and IMO possible 2nd clue, second stanza line #2 “take it in the canyon down” only one definition of canyon exists and only one commonly used for down, and the Rio Grande to my knowledge is the only major river that goes South (down) out of the Rockies, it starts near Telluride, Co and travels east toward Alamosa, Co then almost due south to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville, Tx along the Old Mexico border a distance of 1885 miles.
According to NM Game and Fish at one time 1950’s through 1990’s
Where Warm Water Regulations Halted” on the Rio Grande was at the bridge in Embudo (funnel)NM near the old Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road Station. The Rio Grande is AKA also know as: RIO BRAVO (brave river) in Old Mexico. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embudo,New_Mexico
you are now at that point near the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge just over 5,800 feet. Since we think we got wwwh and canyon down, our opinion was to consider the next line as a hint, the jury is still out, but the line “Not far, but too far to walk” seems simple enough to us at www.nmtreasure.com, you either drive from there at Embudo, or you take the “Train” after all it is too far to walk.
Possible 3rd clue from line 4 of poem, second stanza says If you “Put in below the home of Brown,” yes the Rio from the Embudo northward is a world famous producer of monster size BROWN TROUT, regulations change and fishing for Browns from there is rouged, treacherous and almost impassible, possible matching our next line and perhaps 4th clue, line 1 stanza three says “From there it’s no place for the meek” the poem does not “insist” (from there) that we go there, just that it is simply scary, just examine it on Google Earth, it is hard to imagine a rougher terrain to walk so let’s ride the train and when it stops we will grab every banana.
“The end is ever drawing nigh” possibly 5th clue, line 2 third stanza, so if we had put into the Rio Grande at Embudo and traveled up no place for the meek (gorge) (canyon) to its end, near Telluride, Co we would have to make a turn to the left, or “nigh” at Alamosa, Co and why did this clue include the word Drawing? DR is the initials of the Denver and Rio Grande RR which splits at Embudo, NM and up the tracts you could either travel to Chama, NM or Antonito, Co. Both are 90 miles away from the city or limits of Santa Fe, NM. So Why 90 miles see answer below.* Also there are only two places where this Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road still has passenger travel one is rebadged the Cumbress and Toltec scenic RR and the other is Durango and Silverton
We shall concentrate on the Cumbress and Toltec because its tracks follow the course of the ‘Pinos (pine) river” all the way to Antonito Co. Near Manassa, Co where the Pinos (Pine) empties into the Rio Conejos, and the Conejos empties into Rio Grande at Alamosa, Co. Interestingly it is exactly 90 miles from inside Santa Fe city limits according to Google Earth to Chama, NM and Antonito, Co and most importantly 90 to the “Toltec Gorge.” 90 seems to be an important number, mentioned at least 3 times in TTOTC Book page 57 it was 90 feet of water in Cozumel Mexico that Skippy, ff’s brother tragically drowned in and was also how far ff had to fly Olga’s Ashes, see page 116 of TTOC but a careful study of the Thrill Book on page 51 you realize who is on that page, father and Skippy, then notice the postmark which is circled shows (only) the #141, oddly there are 19 postmarks in the TTOTC Book, but all the rest are on even # pages, ask yourself what the statistical odds of that being accidental hint, over a million to 1? Now what is the sum of 141 minus 51? 90 again!
Now what does the name “Toltec” suggest and the name “Cumbress”? Perhaps important ideas may come to your mind once you know what these names are famous for; ff said he felt like an “Architect” after he constructed the poem, well in Old Mexico and throughout North America the ancient “Toltec’s” were the “greatest builders”, famous for their “ARCHIECTURE”, and “Construction” now the term “Cumbress” in Spanish means Summit, which is 10025’ at the highest point on these Rail Road Tracks. The lowest point on Denver and Rio Grande is a little over 5,000’ According to Google Earth.
Where have we heard those numbers before? https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/ first line: TC is located between 10,200 and 5,000 feet.
The next line and could be 6th clue which says “There’ll be no paddle up your creek” “Just heavy loads and water high”. These 2 lines from the third stanza are both part of this 6th clue in my opinion we no paddle, IMO too far to walk, so just ride the train which will go up “our wooden creek” with coal powered locomotives that use tall water towers to fill the locomotive boiler tanks, are you with me so far? If you look at the links I sent, you will see many of those water towers, and since those Rail Road Tracks were built in 1870’s thru 1890’s and carried commodities like copper, gold, silver, coal, lumber, and livestock etc. Just what more proof do we need to infer “just heavy loads and water high.”
So now the next gear we have left to click is the “If you’ve been Wise and found the Blaze” IMO the blaze IS the Rail Road Tracks themselves I am sure it was blazing fast in the 1880’s and remember tracks are always face one way, UP! Our 7th possible clue. When asked on Mysterious Writings on April 29, 2016 “Mr. Fenn, Which direction does the Blaze face? North, South, East or West? Foxy I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f”
The next shift IMO is the 8th clue. “Look quickly down your quest cease” One of the most spectacular views along the Cumbress and Toltec Scenic RR is called the “Toltec Gorge”, it is one of the deepest and most stunning gorge’s in the Rockies, it certainly will impress you to see it and view the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and Tombstone Memorial and Plaque which was erected in 1880 at the top of this sheer 600 ft cliff right where the huge steam locomotive is balanced daily at the mouth of the tunnel, it’s an absolute drop into the Rio De Los Pinos, See the sign below it reads: Passengers are requested not to throw any rocks into the gorge as fishermen are liable to be below. “”, just imagine that this could explain “Look quickly down your quest to cease,”
9th and final clue may be “But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.” IMO this photo of the Toltec is a marvel gaze, I feel the TC is near. Also duplicating go in peace thought, IMO Memorials and Tombstones make peaceful places
If you have read ff’s chapter in TTOTC Book, “My war for me” when he describes the mysterious water fall and clearing that beckoned him to visit, the place where some of those brave French soldiers who died in the Indo China war in 1947 were buried, see in TTOTC page 91 he mentions arranging an army helicopter ride and visiting that clearing where the little stream dropped so mistfully onto the rocks below. If you use Google Earth to follow the narrow gauge tracks into the Garfield Memorial tunnel you will understand just how you must travel through a similar environment, a small river with many waterfalls, falling like a mist far below with clearings and pristine fishing, you are near the border of Colorado and New Mexico, see sign, I took photo in June 2016 and the one immediately above on September 30th 2016 I was in standing on the RR tracks for both at the border, trivial fact this train which follows the Pinos River loops back and forth from Co into NM 11 times on its journey.
From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, from May thru October. Entrance to Garfield Memorial Tunnel has this huge granite tombstone marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel this marker or RR tracks? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel.
From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, May thru October. Above tunnel has a huge granite tombstone memorial marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel. See photo, if you stop in the middle of the Garfield Tunnel it’s exits (entrances) look like “Omega signs” one on each end < Ω tunnel Ω >.
See Rail Road Tracks on the right photo below, I was on top of the tunnel here, river below almost 1000’ drop from this vantage point.
Is it possible that Forrest and his father or other family members had ridden that Scenic Train? Perhaps even fished the Pines River 600 feet below? Is it also reasonable to think that Forrest almost certainly flew over or nearby the Toltec Gorge on his many trips into Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado? Use Google Earth to draw a straight line to Cody, Wy home of Buffalo Bill Museum, from Santa FE, NM. Do you still think it is out of the realm of possibilities? Target acquisition was what he did in Nam, now I propose he found Rocky Mountain Rivers to explore and fish, especially the ones close to home only 90 miles away from Santa Fe which he could easily journey to, fish and return home the same day.
Now I shall skip to the final stanzas and try to analyze the final “HINTS” IMO, not clues: Per TTOTC Forrest was 2 years older than his sister June and 2 years younger than brother Skippy, he was right in the middle, now the middle of Cumbress and Toltec RR is Osier Station, Co, it is 2.2 miles from Osier to Garfield memorial tunnel, on page 95 TTOTC Forrest was at that beautiful Waterfall and clearing in 1968 on December 22nd and ff’s birthday is August 22nd , per Dal’s site, look at page 110 of the “Thrill” Book it states that 20 students and 2 teachers filed into ff’s gallery? #22 was also the name of a very disturbing and enlightening book about pilots, their stress and their almost suicide missions: “Catch 22”. Also #22 appears several other times in his TTOTC Book like the 22 turquoise beads on the bracelet he will buy back? But I digress; “So why is it that I must go” A line that reflects the feelings of the protagonist in Catch 22, and this line as well “And leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.” They seem like lines straight out of Catch 22, and speaking of pilot stress, how much weight did ff loose in his tour in Vietnam? 22lbs perhaps? Per page 131 TTOTC ff says 20 troy oz of gold was in the chest? The whole load was 42 lbs, so minus 20 lbs and Viola! There you have 22 Lbs for the TC itself, Folks, I do not make this stuff up! If you still do not believe read on….
“I am a very simple person and you want me to have copious meetings with lawyers, preachers, undertakers and your family. What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it? You don’t know how many man hours I have spent on that subject. Thanks for the input but I think you should mobilize your club and hit the trail searching for the wondrous treasure. Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train. When you find the treasure please come sell me the great turquoise and silver bracelet that is in the chest. I wish now that I had kept it. f”
Duh…Forrest say what? : “Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train!”
IMO climb the water tower ladder and hide the bike inside so no one will ever find it! This man has thought of everything, or so he said.
Treasure Hunters, Can You Hear Me NOW???
If you are riding the train from either direction, it won’t stop and let you off at the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and it becomes very dark in there so you might wanta take a flashlight, now contemplate your navel or stomach because at Osier, Colorado 2.2 miles away, the train stops, passengers disembark at this, the halfway point and eat a sandwich? Just sayin, where have we heard that before and who said it..?
By car travel up Hwy 285 from Santa Fe, NM to Antonito, Co and take a left and go about 8 mi to a town called “Mogote”, Co, turn another left there and cross the Conejos River and head for Osier Station near Toltec Gorge on Farm rd 103. From Osier is 2.2 miles distance as as a crow flies to Garfield Memorial Tunnel, but over 3 if you follow the RR Tracks, it is pretty level and easy walk, the view is spectacular! Ice out and snow melt is about first of June. Stay on the RR tracks, walk in the wood uh duh, unless you hear a train a commin!
Somewhere near there could be his secret where. The mystery of why, only Forrest knows but it is tantalizing to imagine that ff was in this place.
Tom Terrific, Terrific as in “Enthusiastic”