Nez Perce Creek…

September 2017
by dal…


Everyone who knows my name probably knows my search area. It has not changed a great deal in the past few years. I looked elsewhere when I first went out in 2011 and 2012. But since about 2013 I’ve concentrated on the greater Yellowstone area. That is not to say inside Yellowstone National Park precisely. But in the general area of Gallatin County, Park County, Yellowstone and a bit further north.

How come my area is so vast you ask…?

Well…I say…because I go where the clues lead me and there are many, many choices as I move along my path. It takes me time to explore all the possible routes.

I pointed out a couple weeks ago that I felt the poem is not unlike a mideveal labyrinth or maze. They are different from one another. Which one of these puzzle types has become more clear to me over time. I originally thought Forrest had designed a labyrinth. A long route that twisted and turned. The single path was simple to navigate…but long and twisty. Here is a two dimensional representation of a labyrinth:

Since then, I have decided that what Forrest has really constructed is a maze. A maze differs from a labyrinth in that a maze has many false doors. The route is not direct. Many choices have to be made along the path about which doorway to go thru.The problem with a maze is that you don’t know you have chosen an incorrect path until you’ve followed it to it’s dead end. Then you have to retrace your steps back to your last choice and try a different door. Of course it can be more complicated because the maze could be constructed with doors behind doors so the choices are exponential with hundreds of more chances to be wrong than right. And, of course, all the paths, all the doors look the same so it is sometimes not so simple to see that you’ve been in this same place before.

We’ve all seen mazes drawn out on paper as a child’s puzzle in a magazine or puzzle book. They look like this:

In the mideveal world mazes were often actual devices…physically constructed out of hedges or fences or walls. Garden mazes are sometimes used as plot devices in dramatic films and recently corn mazes have become fashionable around halloween.

Fortunately, with Forrest’s maze I can, at least see where I have been before. Each choice may look different but there are many to choose from. No path is a known winner in advance. You will not know if you have made the correct choice until you come to the end. If there is no chest at the end then somewhere along the path you went thru an incorrect doorway. But which one?

Forrest says there are nine clues. I think this means nine correct doorways. If I get to the end and there is no chest, how far back do I have to go to try again? In my case I go back to the last choice I had to make and try again from there. Once I have tried all those doorways without success I go back to a further choice and try again….and on…and on…

I think you can see why it takes so long to move through the possibilities…

Apparently I am bad at making choices.

Of course all this is based on the premise that I’ve selected the correct place to begin. If I have not done so then all I will ever have are some wonderful hiking experiences…which is okay with me. I would love to find the chest but not to the point of distress when I don’t . Locating Indugence is not the driving force behind getting out and looking for it.

Okay…so what is the driving force…

I’ll take you through my last attempt so you can see how this works for me.

My startiong point for many years has been Madison Junction inside Yellowstone Park.

Madison Junction, Yellowstone National Park – Where the waters of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers meet and where the Madison River begins. WWWH?

This starting place is based on a lot of thinking about “where warm waters halt” that I did over a couple years. I, like everyone, was bumping around in the dark about WWWH. I tried a few different things but none of them really clicked in my mind until Madison Junction. I feel good about Madison Junction and for the time being I am using it. But I also constantly consider what might be better…what Forrest really could have meant.. That is to say, I am keeping my options open even though I presently work from Madison Junction.

Since “where warm waters halt” is the place to begin it is certainly the most critical clue to identify. If I am wrong about where to start none of the other clues will lead me to Indulgence…but they do lead me on interesting adventures.

I had always felt that WWWH had to be a place of significance. It couldn’t just be another geyser or hot spring because there are thousands of those things in the RMs and as hard as I tried I could not make any single hot spring stand out above any other in the poem. There did not appear to be any identifying words or lines in the poem that would point to one hot spring over another.

I originally thought the Rio Grande River where the cold water springs start enriching it and making it viable for trout was a good place for WWWH. Those cold springs are common knowledge among fishers in that area. My first twenty or so searches began at that location around the place where the Rio Grande crosses into NM and they ended at various locations in New Mexico.

Frustrated with the places that I saw in NM, most beat to death by tourists and fishers, I felt that none met my criteria for a place Forrest would choose to be his last view on earth.

After reading the book again and again looking for hints I decided to look for a more prominent place as WWWH. I first saw Madison Junction while visiting the park to capture footage of grizzlys for a film project I was working on. Years later after being convinced that my place on the Rio Grande was not working out I was reminded about Madison Junction.  It struck me as a likely spot for Forrest to choose and to know about as WWWH.

I was also drawn to the Yellowstone area because of Forrest’s remark about Yellowstone being a “special” place to him according to a document that Tony Dokoupil read and wrote about in one of the very first stories written about the treasure hunt, back in 2012. And I was also interested in a location that met the criteria Forrest mentions while answering a question framed by mdavis19 about specialized knowledge required:

Q- Is any specialized knowledge required to find the treasure? For instance, something learned during your time in the military, or from a lifetime of fly fishing? Or do you really expect any ordinary average person without your background to be able to correctly interpret the clues in the poem? -mdavis19
A- No specialized knowledge is required mdavis19, and I have no expectations. My Thrill of the Chase book is enough to lead an average person to the treasure. f

To begin, there was signage at Madison Junction describing it as the place where the Gibbon and Firehole rivers both end and as the start of the Madison. This is an atypical geographic situation. Not unique, but not terribly common either. Often a lake might have two or more streams feeding it and one leaving it that takes a new name. But Madison Junction is not considered a lake. It is simply a basin where two rivers pour in and one leaves. The single caution that I have about the place being Forrest’s WWWH is that it is simply a human decision that the Firehole and the Gibbon end and the river that leaves this place is a new river called the Madison. Why didn’t those same men decide that the Gibbon joins the Firehole in this location and the Firehole continues? It’s a subjective opinion…made by early geographers in the area. Forrest did point out that a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.

Q- Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. 

A-No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.

Even more unusual in this scenario is the fact that both the Gibbon and the Firehole are “warm” rivers. Not at all cold as you might expect from a couple of mountain streams descending from higher elevations. They are both physically warm to the touch, comfortable to sit in. In the heat of summer they are often too warm for trout who have to escape up cooler side streams. These rivers are warm because they pass through geyser basins full of hot springs and other thermal events that drain into the rivers and heat them up.

The plural of “waters” might refer to the two rivers that halt in this spot.

Signage and descriptions of the curious geographic confluence at Madison Junction appear on visitor maps and brochures. It is a widely understood location for  the place where two rivers end and a third begins. All these rivers were mentioned in TTOTC. This was better than any hint I had for any possible WWWH location in NM. So I adopted it as my WWWH. I can assure no one that it is correct…and I may change when/if something better catches my eye. But for now Madison Junction is my place to begin.

Shortly after, I began my understanding of the poem as a puzzle…possibly a maze or a labyrinth, but certainly one or the other. I would have choices to make about words in the poem like “down” and “below” and “nigh”. The choices I made would lead me in specific directions. What I needed to do was try to decide how Forrest would think about these words. The book helped me some there too. I found other useful hints about Forrest and language in the video interviews and many stories he has given us. I paid attention but tried not to let the research take me deeper than I needed to be for my particular solution…

As stated, my WWWH is at Madison Junction.

Madison Junction- Gibbon enters from the right. Firehole enters from the south. Madison leaves to the left.

From that location I immediately have a decision between three routes…or three doors that I can use.

First, take it (the Madison River) downstream into the Madison Canyon and beyond toward Hebgen Lake.


Second, I can take it (the Firehole River) down (south) into the Firehole Canyon.


There is a third sketchier route but I can’t rationalize that one so I won’t discuss it so that you cannot accuse me of taking too big a bite of peyote.

So right off the bat my maze begins. I have two choices and must select one to try out. I tried the Madison first. I spent two years looking at that path for a hoB. The obvious choice is Hebgen Lake. A spawning area for Brown trout. Many hundreds (maybe thousands) of folks have considered this route. I have been uncomfortable with it from the start…Folks have examined the lake and all its tributaries and gone below the dam as far as Ennis trying to make this path work. It may be the second most popular search area, right after the Enchanted Circle in NM. Diggin Gypsy seems to have patented the search in this area. She’s been looking around there for  5? years now. What could she miss that I could find?

I managed to find an actual hoB above the lake. But it is an historic place and according to Forrest a knowledge of history is not required. None-the-less I looked for a year there. I could find things that encouraged me about meek and water high and heavy loads. I could even find a creek I could not paddle. But in the end, I could only find one convincing blaze and beyond that I could locate no chest..

So after two years in that area I retreated back to Madison Junction to explore another path. Heading south (down on a map) on the Firehole river and into the Firehole Canyon. Again, the hints and clues seem to work. I have two possible hoBs down this path. So the maze expands when I go in this direction. One choice is at Nez Perce Creek where the first Brown trout in the Park were stocked by the Army. More Brown trout…eeek.

Another is at Lower Geyser Basin where two fellows, one named Brown tried to stake out some land for themselves in 1870 so they could lay claim to the wonderful sights in that area and charge admission to see them. These fellows even started cutting fence poles in Firehole Basin. They were dissuaded from their entrepreneurial scheme by Nathanial Langford, a member of the Washburn Expedition who pointed out to them that the area would soon be a National Park and commercial holdings would not be tolerated.

Lower Geyser Basin – Yellowstone National Park

I liked this hoB…but in the back of my mind it seemed too esoteric and dependent on reading one small book written by Langford in 1870 titled “The Discovery of Yellowstone Park” . The account was nowhere else that I could find. Forrest clearly ruled out a knowledge of history would be required when he answered the question from Steve R. mentioned earlier.

So I began looking at other possibilities. But giving up on historical connections, in spite of the fact that Forrest had stated that US History was not needed….is difficult because I love to investiogate the history of the land where I stand at any particular moment…

I can sit down on a battlefield and imagine the battle. I can see individuals fighting for their lives. I can hear the sounds and feel the heat. I can smell the powder and hear the gun shots. It all plays out like a movie in front of me. It is an adrenaline rush. I can stand in a coulee in Washington and imagine the unimaginable mountain of water that poured out of the east to carve this thing I’m standing in thousands of years ago. When I pick up an arrowhead I can hold it tightly and imagine it being crafted . I can feel the breath of the individual carving it as I peer closer at his hands. History is intoxicating to me.

So, in June of 2017 when I visited the Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park I was armed with the knowledge of what I believed to be three clues, and I was hunting for a fourth. I wanted to explore Nez Perce Creek as a possible “no paddle up your creek” but I also wanted to walk along it and see if I could conjur up the events that took place here. The history of the creek not neccessarily related to its potential as a clue…but interesting to me…Finding those connections alone would make the search delicious.

Confluence of Nez Perce Creek and Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park

There are many tales of fantastic human feats accomplished in Yellowstone. The tale that has conjured up the most interest from me has been the story of the Cowan group.

In 1877 nine tourists were camping in Yellowstone when 800 or so Nez Perce came through trying to outrun the Army and get to Canada. Mr and Mrs Cowan were two of the visitors in that group. The Nez Perce discovered their campfire one evening and raided them. The Indians decided they wanted the party’s supplies and horses. Mr. Cowan unwisely but heroicly objected. So they shot him in the head and left him for dead. They took the remaining eight tourists as captives, Mrs. Cowan, beside herself in grief, all their supplies and horses and headed northeast.

Miraculously Cowan didn’t die. The lead barely penetrated and flattened on his skull. He was knocked out cold. When he awoke he was all alone, no food, no horse and I imagine he must have had one helluva headache. But bad luck always comes in waves and later another element of the Nez Perce came by and shot him in the hip…and left him for dead again.

Tough guys, these Cowans. He survived and was eventually found by Army troops and treated by surgeons. He was later reunited with his wife and others in the camping group after the Indians let them go. He wore the lead slug that the Army surgeon dug out of his head, as a watch fob for the remainder of his long life.

In 1905 George and Emma Cowan pointed out the spot where George was shot and Emma was captured by the Nez Perce in 1877.

In 1905 the Cowans returned to the park to show historians where they were camping when they were raided by the Nez Perce. George Cowan lived into his nineties and Emma Cowan wrote an account of the story which is still available today.

Many, many years later descendents of the Cowans and the Nez Perce that were part of that event met together in Yellowstone to reconcile and to tell family stories. It must have been a fascinating meeting.

I was interested in following Nez Perce Creek as part of my pursuit of Forrest’s treasure but I was also interested in seeing if I could find the Cowan Group’s campsite from when they were raided. I had a copy of the 1905 photo of the Cowans that was taken in the spot they remembered as their campsite. So even if this path did not lead to the blaze and Forrest’s chest I was prepared to have some fun, explore and learn.

Nez Perce Creek

I have to tell you that if you are looking for a sweet hike in Yellowstone you couldn’t do much better than Nez Perce Creek. I parked in a pulloff on the loop road. Grabbed my camera and my photo and headed out. It was a magnificent day. Warm, but not too warm. I was in good spirit made even better by the day and the landscape and the purpose.

I spent most of the day walking that creek on its north side. I passed no other humans. Saw lots of birds and listened to more. The world was beautiful and I was exceedingly content.

Shooting Star along Nez Perce Creek

I get down on my hands and knees a lot when I am hiking with a camera because I love taking pics of wildflowers and ant hills and peculiar rocks.

In one wide spot along the creek I stopped to canvas the area. It felt warm and occupied. I could see no one else but I could sense that something had happened here. I could just make out a very old campfire ring near the creek and possibly…just possibly…old wagon tracks.

Was this the site where the Cowans had been raided? I took out the photo to compare. It was ambiguous. Possible match but not guaranteed. I went over near the ghostly mark of a campfire ring, got down on my hands and knees and started scouring the grass and dirt looking for something but I didn’t know what.

Under a small tree, perhaps uplifted by that tree over the years I saw a glimmer of white, no larger than a postage stamp. I reached for it. Picked it up and held in my hand a quite old piece of china. Possibly a piece from a broken dish or platter. Who brings china to camp? Civilized tourists in the 1800’s would have brought china. Emma Cowan could have brought china.

China sherd that I like to imagine is from one of Emma Cowan’s plates

A glass bead. Perhaps worn by a Nez Perce Indian during the raid

I did not dig. I only searched the surface. I looked for another twenty or so minutes and was just about to quit when I saw a second tiny flash of white about ten feet from where I found the china sherd. As I moved toward it, I lost sight of it. I spent another five minutes trying to recapture the location of it. I finally did. I picked up a tiny, oval shaped, pure white glass bead.

I sat right in that spot, facing the creek and looking in the direction that I imagined would have given the campers back in 1877 the most delight. Bead in my left hand and sherd in my right I imagined the Cowans, the camp, the Nez Perce, the gunshot, the fear, the anger. Like a John Ford film it all played out in my mind. Panoramic scenes on the stage in front of me. It was exciting. It was exhausting. It was fulfilling.

Lupine along Nez Perce Creek

I replaced the sherd and the bead and continued my movie.

I did not find a chest nor a blaze leading to one. At the end of the day I didn’t have any sense that I was even in the right spot for Forrest’s treasure but good god I enjoyed that hike…


178 thoughts on “Nez Perce Creek…

  1. Lol what did I miss that you could find well the Big Kuchingggggggg I’m rich yea I missed that 4 times this year haha just got back. Love your write up definitely a maze I totally agree with that and I’ll never leave that area never never never except maybe to go to the Denver muesum lol lol

          • just got home what a great story and pics to boot i had the best time in west yellow stone I that crossed that creek there is a story about him runing the soldiers around in circles in that country he was a great back tracker We traveled to belt creek Neihart and the mem falls oh god we were all over Montana Wyoming king pass to west yellow stone wow what beauty to a split rock to a view at the base of i rock ill try to send pics thats hard to figure out for me but what a place to grow up thats a great back fourty id say artist fall point be safe all what damage the quake made un real be safe out there

  2. Dal: I always love your search reports, beautifully accompanied by your photographs. (I loved wading out into Nez Perce Creek a couple summers back, and your photos brought back fond memories of that occasion.) You also have a logical mind that has a solid grasp of how puzzles are both constructed and solved, a balanced concept of thoroughness, and apparently good horsesense about when to abandon one maze path and trace back dispassionately toward your last clue fork. I think this last point is an important one for searchers to embrace: don’t become too emotionally attached to your “perfect” solution. It’s a big world out there, and we all know Einstein’s admonition about doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

  3. Ohhhhhhh my a glass bead that’s so cool I found a blue one in North Dakota one time That’s exciting

  4. Well Dal better luck next time.
    That’s quite an adventure Im thrilled you enjoyed your hike.

  5. Dal, you were at the campsite that my husband and I found several years ago walking along the nez Perce. We enjoyed it a great deal and lived the tiny geysers next to the water. You have the same thoughts as I with Madison Junction and down firehole 10 miles, then at that point, I’m not sure where my door to open is. I believe you are on the right track if it is in Yellowstone, but who knows. I think the clues and hints on how to understand the clues are in the book. Let me know if you ever want to join forces. We were there in June also.

  6. Great write-up Dal, I felt like I was right there with ya…. I love the beads and China shard ….. thanks for all you do here…. until next time… see ya buddy

  7. Dal—–

    Wonderful article and pictures! Just beautiful! It’s interesting you mentioned the poem possibly being a maze. The one sentence in the poem I have always suspected may actually be an anagram is:
    “But tarry scant with marvel gaze”.

    I have tried re-wording this many times, and on a couple of occasions noticed that “gravel maze” appears. I have felt that the word “maze” is part of the hidden anagrams but have never been sure.

    But the idea of a maze or labyrinth is very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

  8. Nice story Dal, you have researched a lot in your years of the QUEST, when you google determination and perseverance your photo and name is first on the list of Great Explorers and Searchers.

    As you know I, like Don Quixote, take a different tack, or should I say a different track. Since I think Forrest takes a train from the Denver Museum, maybe the old Denver and Rio Grande RR, AKA The C.T. RR. Which was its former name, End is Ever DRawing Nigh.

    If you truly think you have the beginning and from that point it is a Maze of sorts, IMO just step back and imagine starting at the end of your Maze, work backward and verify the 9 clues in reverse, but remember that each dimension is and has IMO, another layer to its meaning, I see it this way, ff said he felt like an Architect, they “illustrate a multidimensional structure”, using a single dimension, reminds me of the saying in Little Gidding by TS Eliot: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Illusion of 3 or multiple dimension is done in your mind using imagination, so there is the key Columbus used and Magellan circumnavigated the globe with it.

    Otherwise we may wind up like Hansel and Gretel, or Randy and Paris.

    Just Heavy Loads and Water High, In geography the Key and most important fact is knowlege of Latitude and Longitude, which are circles that create a real perspective, they are two dimensional, where you end up is at the beginning of one or the other, that is the X or Cross where all these 9 contiguous clues will take you and where they meet, the question is how the Maze ends, imagine starting there at those coordinates and verify backward. In your case, it could be 45 degrees, half of 90 and half of the northern hemisphere middle earth so to speak, try that latitude and see if it fits your search area..

    Somewhere out there are all the markers to locate “Brave and in the wood,” the final HINT IMO. It could be as simple as an old dead stump like

    The oldest known living tree is 4700 years old but there is a stump there in Bryce Canyon that had a dendrochronology age 4900 years, cut down in 1964. All the tree huggers mourned its untimely demise. I too mourn its loss, for what? To prove a global warming theory? It’s not nice to mess with 4900 year old Prometheus or Methuselah trees.


    • Nice point Tom-
      I think there might be a problem though with anyone jumping to conclusions about that Denver Museum connection. A while back when the the chase was in it’s infancy and Doug Preston was reciting that story about Forrest leaving his car somewhere he said that he planned to leave it at Northern AZ University. Most recently Doug said the Denver Museum…hmmm…which is correct? Maybe neither…but until we know for certain I think it’s a waste of time imagining that there is a clue or even a hint in the Denver Museum..
      Look here for the story where Doug said Northern AZ University rather than Denver Museum…

      • Dal,
        I enjoyed what you have written. The new topic now with statements that were made by Doug Preston sure have people thinking. The Denver Museum of Nature and Sience and of course the University of Arizona as possibly Fenn’s last clue of where they might find his car if he decided to cast his body on top of Indulgence. Is there a connection? Well I see one and it has to do with the “word that is key”.

        I started this search in the Montana – Yellowstone area and understand why searchers believe in these areas and also know some of the areas that are talked about because I too have either concidered them or searched areas around them in my first BOTG searches. But then I had a “ah ha” moment when I found a “main thread” that has influenced Forrest and he has kept though his life. Yes it took me to Colorado and I have been following it for years until I came across a place that fit the poem clues and the hints he has given in his books TTOTC & TFTW along with his interviews and yes the scrapbooks and statements made here on your blog. I’m sure that many searchers will change their direction of search to Colorado and maybe even some may see what I have finally found a few years back, but unless they understand the “word that is key” along the “main thread” in Forrest life those poem clues will not fall in place and they too will be along in the category of “solving the first two clues and going past the other seven”. Of course this is “my opinion” and I hope others don’t come across what I have found out. But if that happens and the chest is found in Forrest “special place” then I will accept that there was someone else thinking along the same thoughts as Forrest and myself and why he decided this place.

        Thanks Dal for this blog I enjoy all.
        Good luck to all, now I have to “hunker down” here in Tampa and prepare for Huricane Irma. To all my fellow searchers here in Florida “stay safe”. Bur

      • Funny i had the same thought of the slight twist in the Denver/Nau story, but what do we expect he is going to say the airport in West Yellowstone or Cody.I am very new at this ,and have come to my first conclusion,I would never play poker with this man even if i had the stacked deck.You have a great site Dal and your stories are wonderful reading.Being new obviously i found a rabbit hole in the twist above.So down the hole I go.Maybe I’ll find Jake and he will help me find my way back. bill

      • One day we may find out the reasoning. Don’t think Douglas Preston would just make such a mistake.
        Speaking of mazes, the most famous maze is the Hampton Court maze, very old, from the late 1600’s. Created by George London and Henry Wise.
        I walked through it many years ago.
        On line you can see the maze and how, if you keep making right turns, you can find the way out.

      • Didn’t he also say something about a bank. Thrill of the Chase —Chase Bank?
        But then he says it may change locations, which could certainly happen with a bank.

    • TT, There is a living bristlecone pine thats well over 5000 years old, here in the shadows of the CA Sierras. They also grow in northern NM & southern CO.

  9. Dal, not being critical, something tells me you might come closer to Indulgence if you were less distracted by history.

    I don’t question that this brings you great joy and satisfaction. Your post (Nez Perce Creek…) was well written and very enjoyable. It seems to me that Forrest’s mindset is more on the here and now. I feel if you can tap into Forrest’s mindset you are the closest to looking quickly down.

    As always, thank you, and wishing you the best! 🙂

    • I thought I remember Forrest writing he enjoys the history of old things.

      I think Dal is not missing anything to enjoy the history of his explorations.

  10. Your wwh lacks imagination, ff tries to help but can’t because of peoples death grip on their tunnel vision imo. Props for sharing but doesn’t that say what you think it is worth? You left home but forgot the kids.

  11. Great story, Dal! The joy of just being out in these wonderful places shines through your words.

    While I don’t think it’s quite a maze or labyrinth, I totally agree that there are false endings. My search has led me to these “doors,” and that’s when imagination is called for. There are a number of these, and gradually they build up a picture. You begin to see, literally, how you can move forward – but, boy, it’s a long job!

    The first thing to do, as others have said, is to sort out your WWWH. I honestly don’t think there’s anything in the poem that confirms Madison Junction, but there are hints of another place – plus poem correlations and markers on the ground to confirm it. Home of Brown then becomes easier to pin down, and you begin to see the way FF’s mind works.

    All IMO, of course!

    • I disagree with the above:

      A butterfly is a flutterby.

      Just like Begin = Gibbon

      Gibbon flows into Madison Junction so you just need to adjust your start a little. Good Luck Dal!

      • Mike;

        Flutterby is an anagram of Butterfly – every letter is used and no new letters added

        Gibbon is NOT an anagram of Begin – sorry – nice try though – JDA

  12. Dal…I always enthusiastically enjoy your stories(movies) of adventure and admire your gift for writing. I too look at the history when I am out and about…makes for fun movies. Most of my movies are similar to Charlie Chaplin takes or cartoonish…but that’s another story.
    Your maze theory is intriguing and has a Fennish quality in essence. Keep on keeping on searcher…

  13. I think that is correct. Madison Junction. Some lines sound like
    an Indian who makes a canoe for a Burial. I think you are to park the car at the bridge over the Madison between Madison Junction and west Yellowstone. Madison river is home of brown. the road is north of river then south of river at bridge. Which may have been an old one where
    fishing was good. I think its an open area where you could land a
    helicopter and the blaze is a marker for his burial site . placed face down
    to be flipped over to read smile at a homely girl. FF. Right under it.
    So park at the bridge. north of river. Go north up the mountain to the large open top area. To the northern part of that area and find a 2 foot by 3 foot object to turn over. Well That’s my guess. Its possible.
    Or Not I guess. several of the clues could be describing the bridge,
    Just to get you to the parking place. Then be wise about the rest.
    But I agree that WWWH is Madison Junction.

    • That sounds really interesting. I’m wondering why that area would be significant enough for FF to want to be laid to rest there, though. I have fished and traveled the Madison countless times, and there are many stretches that aren’t anywhere as gorgeous as others, and from that bridge down to the Barn Holes is pretty blah compared to other areas, IMO.

  14. Great search. I had wondered about Nez Perce creek ever since FF posted the scrapbbok about some history of the Nez Perce along the Yellowstone River. I am glad that you were able to check it out. It fit the No Paddle Up Your Creek line, to my way of thinking.

  15. Dal,
    I continue to find myself appreciating and respecting your skills in writing and illustrating your stories; they are truly inspiring. Your humility makes the story all the more endearing.

    You wrote:
    “How come my area is so vast you ask…?
    Well…I say…because I go where the clues lead me and there are many, many choices as I move along my path. It takes me time to explore all the possible routes.”

    “Where the clues lead me” is, IMO, the most important message (to searchers). There’s one person only who has ANY fact about The Chase, and the only thing we searchers can do is make our best guesses and go forth.

    I believe perseverance always pays in all well-intentioned endeavors. Best of luck to you.

    Be sane and safe.

  16. Dal;

    What a delightful tale! Searching for Forrest’s treasure is such fun, and rewarding on so many levels. Thanks so much for sharing a few of your precious memories with us. JDA

  17. If the Firehole empties at Madison Juctiom how can you take it down the canyon by going up river?

    • Julian-
      On a map “south” is down. So by following anything south you could be following it down…no matter which way the water flows…

      For instance, we say we are going down to Mexico. We don’t say we are going up to Mexico..The earth has a north pole and a south pole. North is up and south is down…

      It’s an imaginative application of the word “down” in the poem. It is also a possible door in the maze that needs to be explored…at least for me. Not everyone would try that door…not everyone believes that Forrest would intend the word “down” in his poem to be interpreted as “south”.

      • Dal. I think you are right on with down equating to south. The clues give locations and directions that Forrest says to marry to a map. And, as you pointed out, in North America, down is south.

      • I sent him an e-mail once,because I thought it was at san lazaro,he wrote back and said san lazsaro is south.I think he also lives south of santa fe,can’t be at his home.when he said north.I believe he really meant north of santa fe.I don’t believe he’d lie to me.

        • Virginia…this has nothing to do with his direction that the treasure is at least 8.2 miles north of Santa Fe…
          This has to do with the line in the poem that reads “and take it in the canyon down”.
          We are simply saying that “down” could also mean south…
          In other words he does not say “and take it in the canyon downstream”
          So down could also take you upstream…if the geography is right for it…

      • Pg 41, TTOTC…. “… and walking DOWN to the cemetery, which was just a block NORTH….”

        • I have not found a better WWWH than at Madison Junction. I’ve been there a few times and was convince that going down while looking at a map was the right interpretation. I spent two trips searching the nez pierce creek area and the fairy falls creek because All the clues lead me to the area. If you’ve watched enough of other searcher solutions you might come to the same conclusion. I have sense moved on to a new location down stream from the Madison junction, but have not dismissed my first solution.

          • That’s where the Madison meets the Firehole. If you go down canyon road you find the clues match fairly well. There are a few creeks there that seem to fit. You also have an old hotel that fits in some ways, Geysers with warm waters that fit and you even have a rainbow hotspring nearby.

            But according to my solve it’s not there. It’s a false lead, but there is a clue in the area.

            On a personal note about myself as a searcher:
            To me getting the chest is a necessity. I’ve had a rough time of it in life but I’m not mad and I forgive everyone who ever did me wrong. I just want to live out my life in peace. I want to stay out of trouble as I have for a very very very long time and I don’t want to make any trouble either. I learned some hard lessons and even though I might have complained on occasion, that doesn’t mean that I’m angry or un-remorseful, or vindictive. This is my last post. I guess I finally learned to stay of the blogs.

  18. Great write up, Dal…you’re getting good at painting pictures with words!

    I like your wwwh…if you use your imagination a little:

    The original quote about a secret– “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”

    Three waters meet at your wwwh, and only one leaves. 🙂

  19. While this is an interesting take on wwwh, I think Dal’s Madison Junction has potential; however, the interpretation of “canyon down” is where I believe FF wanted this to be very difficult. It’s an elevation change “down” which means going down the Madison. It does not make logical sense to go “canyon up” but in a South direction.

    The general area of Gallatin County, Park County, Yellowstone and a bit further North sounds logical. It also makes sense to start in Yellowstone but travel out for the final spot. IMO

    • Yes, Covert One, I tend to agree with both of your points in this case. To me as a searcher favoring a geographical and geological approach to a correct solve it just doesn’t make sense to interpret “canyon down” as anything other than down in elevation. In terms of why Fenn didn’t say “canyon downstream”, there could be poetic reasons for this in terms of rhyme among others.

      As to the second point you make about starting in
      Yellowstone but travelling out for the final spot, this also is something that has bothered me. I am not a big fan of Yellowstone as the Fenn treasure site, because I personally prefer to avoid Yellowstone or any other National Parks as the hiding place. It is probably not legal and in my point of view not ethical for a person (early explorers/pioneers excepted) to inter their remains inside an established National Park unless perhaps it is a National Cemetery. However, if you could start as WWWH within the Park boundary and end up at a final site outside the Park, then this might work for me. Now, some followers will ask what is the distinction between a National Park and public lands such as National Forest or BLM. As a geologist experienced in mineral exploration on public lands, I have found that access and rights for ordinary citizens are far less restrictive on these “multi use” public lands compared to National Parks, Monuments, and Wilderness Areas. Are there differences between having your ashes scattered versus being interred in a grave, or leaving certain tangible assets in your grave as it applies to non private land? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but suggest searchers consider these questions before striking out on a ground search in any kind of highly regulated and popular tourist site.

  20. Dal – Thank you for sharing your search story with all of us. That is an area I have always wanted to explore, regarding The Chase as well as the Cowan’s story. Your fine writing and your beautiful pictures made it all so real for me, as if I was there. I needed that right now.

  21. Dal ~ “I would love to find the chest but not to the point of distress when I don’t . Locating Indugence is not the driving force behind getting out and looking for it. Okay…so what is the driving force… I’ll take you through my last attempt so you can see how this works for me.” … “I did not find a chest nor a blaze leading to one. At the end of the day I didn’t have any sense that I was even in the right spot for Forrest’s treasure but good god I enjoyed that hike…”

    If that’s not The Thrill of the Chase… I don’t know what is… Once Upon a While, new and old meet.

    Really enjoyed this telling tale, Dal.

  22. Dal,
    Thanks for sharing. That’s awesome that you found the beads and china or pottery! Nez Perce Creek was my first search a few years ago. I like you, didn’t feel it was right. I loved the walk next to the river. There are many springs on the South side of the creek but I learned on the North there are some caves at the Northernmost end that I wanted to explore for fun. Someday….

  23. I always enjoy your search write-up’s, Dal and following along on Google Earth. IMO, you do your BOTG searches in the “correct” manner; meaning that even when you turn around to go home empty-handed, you are always leaving with a new lifetime experience that made the trip worthwhile in itself, not to mention some new knowledge.

    Relating to the story you told about the Nez Perce and the Cowan Party, did you happen to notice that there is a Cowan Creek that joins the Nez Perce further upstream? The story makes me wonder if there is anything interesting to be found at this confluence where the geography seems to reenact the history. It appears to be a 4 or 5 mile walk from the nearest road and I seem to see what looks like a faint trail to it on GE. I doubt it’s a spot where the treasure is hidden, but just looks like a fun, shiny object of a place to chase after like a magpie. (And hey look! There’s a Magpie Creek too!)

    Well done, and thank you for sharing! Beware the minotaurs! 😉

    • Alex- Blex-

      I did know about Cowan Creek. That was a much longer hike that I had taken on an earlier day and starting on the other side of Nez Perce Creek. It was fun too…but seemed too far for Forrest to have walked that afternoon, twice, while carrying Indulgence and the goodies as he hid the chest.

      I chose to write about my second trip up Nez Perce. This was the more interesting of the two hikes.

      In fact, I took a third trip up Nez Perce that same week. I really like that creek and highly recommend it for a friendly, family hike. There are several thermal events along the creek….not spectacular pools and geysers like in the Firehole Basin…but fascinating, none the less.

  24. Another well-written, informative and picturesque adventure from Dal. Have you ever thought of writing and self-publishing a book of your own memoirs? If so, I know a guy in Santa Fe, NM who might be of some help! Thanks much for sharing and all else you do for this blog.

  25. Lovely write up Dal, makes me want to go back to Madison Junction again sooner than later.

    “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

    T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding
    British (US-born) critic, dramatist & poet (1888 – 1965)

  26. Dal,such a good story and nice pictures,you are so lucky to be able to go places and see the things you do.I saw a picture of the mountains and all kinds of wildflowers mixed in together all in bloom,I thought what a beautiful sight,to be able to see that in person would be breath taking.thats a treasure for sure.forrest has made me fall in love with what god made.the universe,world,earth,life,everthing is alive,its a wonderful part of life.and good medicine for the soul.good luck dal.I’m still trying,not givin up,but am doing it from home,cause i’m trying to figure out the clues,I don’t know if the clues are a sentence or one words,that make 9 word clues or 9 sentences.

  27. well hello every one still on the road skippy was wise back in the day his thought on the dude was right on its a profit maker now any way west yellowstone was a great experience im in wy now some where by where by the rails end by the popo agie or how ever you spell trhat 6 hours from home guess i got to run w tell you all about the trip later have a great day got to go find a dry creek some where after a visit to the p musuem and then on to i rock have safe fun all

  28. Dal,
    Very interesting write up. I feel the “serious searchers” underestimate you. Kudos where Kudos are due. Thanks for sharing.

  29. Looks like I’m back in business, Dal.

    You are an excellent writer, my friend. I always appreciate your stories.

  30. Nice write-up Dal. I hope you write a book about all your search experiences when the Chase is over.


  31. loved reading your article Dal – you seem just as talented with a camera as you are with a pen ..and a knack for finding sunken ships 🙂

    Nez Perce Creek def looks like a great place to take an adventurous hike and a yummy lunch on a sunny day, and searching for a little-known historical site just sweetens the pot too – i often wonder whether NPFTM could refer to an off-track (vehicle) maintenance road, like the road following NP or Slough creeks for example (?)

    wait a minute!? ..did you ..did you just mention “brown trout”??
    ( ..EEEEK!! 🙁 )

  32. It is interesting how each of us look at the solution. A maze, a labyrinth, a codex that reveals lat/lon coordinates, an anagrammed matrix, and on and on.

    I’ve looked at the poem many ways over the years. How can it be straight forward, requiring no special knowledge, toponymy, or history, and still be so difficult?

    Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R
    No Steve R,
    The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.

    What’s more important in solving the search, a greater knowledge (“knowlege”) of Toponymy or Geography? ~Chris
    I don’t know how Toponymy can help you at all Chris (I had to look that word up). But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure. f

    So how could Fenn hide geographic clues from folks like me that have wandered the Rockies most of their lives. After all, he said if we knew what the home of Brown was we could go straight to the chest. Why hasn’t some rancher, park ranger, hunting/fishing guide, or anyone else with intimate knowledge of the geography of the Rockies found the chest?

    How can the first clue be so critical and easy at the same time. The first two clues can be figured out from home and many people have done just that, yet went past the treasure.

    I believe Fenn has told us how to solve the poem. All we have to do is be at WWWH and see what Fenn does. The map is right in front of us.

    So no special knowledge is required, but a serious case of pareidolia might help. 🙂

    Just my opinion.

      • Dal, thank you for a great story and pictures…and not succumbing to the “no specialized knowledge needed” faction lol. Don’t be apologetic, be proud that you are a curious learner! After all, you have earned the right to engage in post doc research after having acquired an advanced degree in Fennology (specialized knowledge indeed).

        Goofy – indeed; there is something amiss in that no one, including those of us with intimate knowledge of the geography of the Rockies, have found the treasure. There are brilliant folks searching or who have searched in the past. The wilds are swarming with people recreating these days. Where can a person go that hasn’t seen another footstep? The vultures circle me when I’m hiking, as far as I know I’m still alive. A dead body will not remain undiscovered for long.

        Many of the folks using GE exclusively as their map are doing exactly as you suggest with pareidolia. I know this because I have searched for others who for one reason or another can’t search for themselves (I just exposed my fault line). However, their efforts seem fruitless as well.

        Here is my heretical thought…we are all led to believe (initially from a memoir that is admittedly by the author 15% fiction) that FFs intended final resting spot and where the TC is secreted are synonymous. The poem/riddle/maze is diabolically clever. I’m starting to wonder.

    • Could it be that 9 points [depending on the readers view of a physical clue to a directional clue] reveal an image or shape?

      “Is the map that needs to be used to discover where warm waters halt found online or in paper form? or both?” ~mdc777
      “C’mon now agent 777, a map is a map. The more detailed maps are most useful if you have the right map, but I’m not sure I needed to tell you that.f ”

      The right map with the right details, hmmm.

      • * * * * * * Seeker with a wild surmise – “Could it be that 9 points [depending on the readers view of a physical clue to a directional clue] reveal an image or shape?” * * * * * *

        This is not a literal answer to your rhetorical question . . . and I assure you all I don’t mean this in any mystical magickal mandala way, and I’m sure not suggesting this is some secret backdoor key to the puzzle . . .

        When I need to restore perspective, or break tunnel vision, or get otherwise rimrocked or cul de sac’d, I often draw an enneagram.

        It’s one of those polygons you can draw without lifting your pencil (once you get used to the angles). You get 9 lines, 9 points, and 9 X’s where two lines cross.

        Probably just me, but I find it clears cobwebs and can retrieve an outlook and reboot refocus and/or re-align my map.

        Not something I’d normally share, but your comment brought it to the fore. It’s just a kind of rabbit’s foot or lucky rock.


        • Jake, I’ve often thought of the basic 5 point star enneagram…. at point 6, you are back at the beginning & can now interpret what clue 7-8-9 mean for the final leg. But a star doesn’t make as much sense to me as an asterisk. Got a design for that?

          • There’s another regular enneagram (9-pointed star) that can be drawn without lifting your pencil, OS2.


            I don’t have that one in my freehand drawing repertoire, but it is more asterisk-like in appearance than the one I presented first. There are also two regular heptagrams (7-pointed stars) in those two configurations (star-like and asterisk-like) if you want to explore further.


          • JAKe, From time to time I thought of an enneagram as a path on a map (all nigh turns of course) and arriving tired & weak back at the starting place but then knowing The Answer too … for the final leg given in stanza 6. Following an enneagram path is more like walking a labyrinth than a maze, but I think labyrinths require equal numbers of yee & haw turns. The center of the labyrinth is the place of peace. I believe ( I could be wrong) that earlier in the year ff hid the TC, Taos had a community campaign to visit 7 local labyrinths. It may have inspired ff to change his poem a bit. Maybe not.

          • * * * * * * Seeker cited (and sited) – Tarry Point and the Nine Point Circle * * * * * *

            Eureka! Now I have a title for my write-up. 😉

            As Scarecrow said upon receiving his Th.D. from the Wizard of Oz – “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side!”


          • Which just goes to show that the scarecrow’s new-found confidence did nothing for his ignorance of geometry. His statement is never true for isosceles triangles.

  33. I always like reading about your adventures and seeing the photos you share. Sorry you didn’t find it, but best of luck for you next one!

  34. I enjoyed your story Dal, and I am ever impressed at the mileage you’ve covered in the chase. I might be a little jealous. I thought I’d add to the attributes of Madison Junction that you have mentioned that make it a great interpretation for BIWWWH. I normally try to avoid leaning on history in the chase based on the FF comment you cited, but sometimes I can’t resist. I am referring to the legendary 1870 Washburn Expedition campfire at the confluence of th Gibbon and Firehole rivers where the concept of a National Park System was born inspired by the featured environs of the area. This concept led to the creation of the first National Park: Yellowstone National Park was initially surveyed with the intention of including all thermal features of the area. For me this history is what really makes Madison Junction stand out as a great interpretation of “Begin it where warm water halts”.

    • Of course the “it” above could be the National Park System….or “it” could be YNP. If I had to make my best guess I would say that “it” is the word that is key. “It” could be “inspiration” (as in the inspiration to create a National Park System). “Inspiration” is a way to “take it in” (as in: to breath)…which leads to the next chapter the story of YNP and the National Park System… After the concept was born for YNP, the artist Thomas Moran was commissioned to paint a glorious painting to be used to convince the. US congress to approve the creation of the Park. He made this painting from studies taken of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from the position that is now “Inspiration Point”. Second clue?

      • The other night I thought what the heck and connected those two dots: Madison Junction to Inpiration Point and then from Inspiration Point to what I find to be the most literal interpretation of “put in below the home of Brown” in the area. I am referring to the boating put in that is right below Joe Brown Creek at the head of Yankee Jim Canyon. Tracing from there back to Madison Junction forms a nice isosceles triangle that I was intrigued to find to be a near perfect Golden Triangle. I know this gets a little heady but it is really quite elegant when you realize that a Golden Triangle can be used to form a logarithmic spiral that is “ever drawing nigh” or infinitely spiraling leftward and inwardly as it closes in on what would be a very (infinitely) specific location on the map. Problem is that this spot is way too remote to be the treasure locale. Still I offer this as another set of doors leading from Madison Junction that include distances that are “too far too walk”.

        • DW – what do you think about Deaf Jim Creek area? ‘Hear me all and listen good’, looks like a lot of private land there, but wondering what you may/may not have seen near there…you mentioned a cemetery nearby I seem to recall. Nigh as left also works into the area as you drive in.

          • I didn’t explore much around Cinnibar Mtn or behind (south of) it. There is a cemetery near Aldridge Lake and there is mining history associated with the mountain…. I find that whole area intriguing due to the Joe Meek/Blackfoot raid history, and I would bet that Forrest has at one time been interested in that area too. I’m sure that with the Devil’s Slide as a home of Brown a reasonable solve could be put together giving excuse or inspiration to explore back there. I was tempted to walk out to the base of the Devil’s Slide but didn’t know what the ownership of the was (Royal Teton Ranch or other). It is very dry and exposed terrain. Doesn’t seem quite like I imagine the special place. Other searchers have gone back around Aldridge Lake and the cemetery… you may be remembering their posts. From what I’ve read I don’t think that area has been extensively searched.

        • DWRock, you have painted a pic of those ever-ending triangles in my brain waay too easily. I must be tired. Makes perfect sense tho. Thanks for the new insight.

  35. I seen a lot of good solves for the YS area but no chest.
    What are the odds with all the people that have been there over the years including rangers that no one has found it?
    Seems unlikely.

    • If it had been found there or anywhere else Forrest would have announced it’s finding to the known universe including this blog. It has not been found.

      • Dal – In Preston’s forward he states that Forrest had figured out a better way to know the TC has been found. Better than the IOU for the bank. I am of the opinion it might be a miniature transmitter that looks like a small piece of jewelry, sending a signal out which he is able to see on his computer. He had his cancer go into remission, so he wanted some way to know if it is found in his lifetime. Just my thoughts. What do you think his method is?

        • What power source would be used for this miniature transmitter Franklin? Even the best small batteries today would not last seven years.

          I lean more towards a solar powered camera with a transmitter – Possibly up a tree quite close to where the TC is located. It could have motion detecting capabilities, so would only have to transmit if there were motion in the general area of the TC – plus look at all the fun Forrest could have looking at the wildlife.

          He could have a second camera aimed at the trail that is not in close proximaty to the TC and could then say how many people had been within 200′ (or less) of the TC – JDA

          • JDA

            Sure that’s a good idea. My idea would probably not work due to the brass chest preventing a transmitter from getting a signal out. Anyway, he could afford any type of expensive high tech device that was available in 2009-2010 so it must be something like that. Solar powered is a great thought.


          • It is a BRONZE chest, NOT a brass chest. Brass is quite a bit softer than Bronze. There was once a Bronze age, no brass age. Brass is uses for ammunition casings – Bronze for sculptures and the like – just sayin’ JDA

          • A side note to folks who believe there is some camera device…when the camera is active/activated a good metal detector will pick up the interference. This is much like trying to metal detect near overhead power
            lines. Good luck and happy searching.

          • ken – or a scanner that might pick up local transmitter frequencies. but i’m not buying into any digi-tech ideas personally

            my thoughts are that, although a bank may not be around in 1000yrs, a law firm probably will be 🙂

          • JDA –

            I hope you find the TC.
            I believe you will be stuck from a sharp as you open the lid. A poison will course through your veins as you frantically try to solve the final clue that enables you to contact Forrest before you collapse and die on top of Zaphod and Faulkner.

            Good Luck!

          • My, My lug – what did I ever do to you to have you wish my death? And why associate me with Zap and Jake?

            I am not sure what precipitated these words. Please explain – JDA

          • JDA –

            I am merely suggesting how Forrest might ensure that he is notified when the TC is found. The other ideas mentioned don’t seem certain or concrete. My idea works.

            You open the chest and you are stuck by a needle. the note reads something like.

            The co ordinates of the Home of Brown represent a phone number. Call me at that number and I will deliver the antidote to the poison now coursing through your veins.

            I am giving you credit as the person who will solve the final clue whereas Faulkner and Zaphod could not. Also I am spelling Jake’s name incorrectly and he cannot stop me!


          • Zap –

            I did not receive an email with your comment so I will just punch in here.

            I was out of town briefly before the September madness ensues.

            Upon my return I opened my email I had 500 from TTOTC! I started reading through but I could not comment because I was behind. I fell further back. Today I had the ingenious idea to just delete all the emails and see what’s happening NOW. I deleted more than 700 emails.


          • I sure am glad I am not your enemy, for surely you have a morbid sense of humor towards your “friends” – Just sayin’ JDA

        • Or maybe there is something saved especially for the finder?
          Or maybe something is stated in the autobiography that would congratulate the finder and make it known to fenn of the find.
          Or, are ya’ll just counting the chickens before the eggs hatch…
          Personally, I think there’s a crystal scull in the chest and fenn has another at home in the vault that will notify him when its bother is found.
          Then again, I probably need to back away from the ancient alien theorist show… maybe I’ll just read the bible. No hocu pocus there… only a burning bush that talks.

          Where’s JayA when ya really need him?

          • The banter always comes around to how fenn knows…or legalese. No findy chest…you know the drill.
            I also do not believe there is hi tech involved…probably something motivational.
            Law firm around 1000yrs. from now? Same one? Uh…maybe…but, not likely.

          • well, according to popular science, there’s only two species that will potentially survive a nuclear winter;
            ..cockroaches, and lawyers

            ( ..fact!! 🙂 )

        • Imo, fennel wants to know in his lifetime if someone found the chest…a simple extra reward of say $50000 if you contact him would do it for most people

    • Byron – define “unlikely”

      my blaze was in YSP near Mt Washburn, in an off-track area that was hugely unlikely to have been visited since the pine beetle eradication programs early last century

      ..see what i did there? 🙂

      • Was the pine beetle eradication program a program to eradicate the pine beetles or a program to insert the pine beetles into the forest to eradicate the pine trees??

        Hope the former, but “Early last century”???? Not sure the infestation had done much by “Early last century.

        Sad sad what they have done to the forests. JDA

      • JDA – it’s too early in the morning (here) for humour, not before a large coffee at least 🙁

        “serious infestation prompted chemical treatment of about 5,500 whitebark pine on Mount Washburn during 1933-34”

        trees too far gone were cut down by lumber-jacks who camped on-site. these camps were supplied by mule-pack strings ( “heavy loads” interp)

  36. Great story of your search area. The way you started out I was certain it was going to be continued and the chest located in the next one. You are so thorough in your search tactics, I’m really surprised you haven’t laid claim to the chest. Good Luck.

  37. Thank you Dal, the end is ever drawing nigh & I’ll bet its not too far to walk. Good luck, you earned it.

  38. Dal – Your stories are always a good read and your pics are great. I’ve had a few YSNP solves and did BOTG search there up above Violet Hot Springs last year and loved it.

    Since I won’t make it back anytime soon and I have a new solve in NM that I’m exploring, I’ll ask publicly about one of my final YSNP places that I didn’t get to (yet?):

    I’ve had a theory about Rush Lake being Tarry Scant (and possibly Tangled Crrek as the no paddle up your creek – being related to the telephone cord scrapbook).

    Have you ever looked there? I asked a redditor to look there this year, but he didn’t make it.

  39. Sir you do a wonderful job of painting a picture of what you are doing, seeing, and feeling. you are a very good writer and your pictures are beautiful. your analogy of the maze is a very good way to describe Mr Fenn’s poem. Thank You very much

  40. Dal, have you considered/looked on the north side of the little hill just north of the Nez Perce trailhead? I did some analysis you know where given your WWWH and that was somewhere I found intriguing and would like to know your thoughts on it.

  41. Park at the Bridge between end of Fire hole down Madison river canyon towards west yellow stone. Poem more lines condensed into 24.
    Key words just placed in. 1 line from 3 . long ago people ask where best fishing. just go into Yellowstone and park at bridge walk banks. Brown
    trout. Common thing to do. Launch canoe or dingy and paddle.
    Forrest probably walked those banks a lot. And did just that.
    Go to the canoe put in below the bridge at the So that’s the home of the brown trout area. not other bridge -meek.The river ends left of road- nigh-at bridge. no paddle no creek just up. the chest is heavy cold bronze
    carry to water from up high. Blaze is some marker laying on ground with chest under it just set into the ground. It can make sense. But it may not be correct. If it was a longer poem. jumbled up references and old
    sayings. slowly shortened. maybe a key word like below put into reworked
    other lines. Just a mess put back together. I bet young Forrest did a lot of early morning trips just to the older bridge and fished the banks there.
    Its the only place I can make the poem work so far. Hard to explain
    Very hard to explain how it matches parking there.
    Well that’s my Thoughts.

  42. Dal, I always enjoy the write ups of your adventures and pictures and especially appreciate your philosophy.

    Crazy busy work had prevented recent regular site visiting, and I noticed a new (to me) link to the Tarry Scant site and checked it out. If you type in “West Yellowstone” in the search, one of the results is a transcription of an interview from 5/8/17, On the Road with Charlie Part One. (Exact quotes there.)

    To paraphrase, the interviewer mentions a cousin’s lodge on the Madison, but Forrest said it must have been after his time. He goes on to say that he spent 19 of his first 20 summers “there,” in Yellowstone, or West Yellowstone, but hasn’t been “up there” since 1950 (!). Whether he meant West Yellowstone specifically rather than Yellowstone, I cannot say, but, good heavens, the statement seems to call into question Yellowstone as the hidey spot, unless I’m missing something?

    • SeeN-
      I am aware of that quote..
      You can interpret as you wish…as will I
      Forrest has been to Yellowstone many times since 1950. Both the park and the city just west. One of the most well known is when he and Skippy and Donnie built The Dude Motel on Boundary Street in 1960. But there are other documented times as well, both inside and outside the park.

      • Thanks for the clarification – I should have known better. It seemed odd, and I guess he just misspoke, sort of like the pinyon nuts incident, or I misunderstood. I’ve also misspoken once or twice in my life myself : ).

  43. I can’t explain it; but I believe that wherever Skippy is, he would be able to figure out how to correctly address a lot of these ‘technicalities.’

    TTOTC comes alive with his memory.


  44. Nice write up as usual, Dal- I was hiking up an eroded hillside near my old site when I found a bullet shell. I took a photo and replaced it. Later I checked the markings and found that it had been manufactured in the twenties for a service revolver. It was a strange thing to find there. It occurred to me that this was the period when the last wolves were being exterminated in greater Yellowstone. A handgun would probably not be the weapon of choice for hunting wolves, but useful as such for cleaning out a scrape.

  45. Great Story Dal. Ive been an on-and-off chaser for about 4 years now. My last trip to Yellowstone to search for treasure was back in 2014.
    While i’m not getting into the mountains these days, I do occasionally lose a day at work when my mind is pulled back into the poem. This happened today, (don’t tell my employer). As I went through the poem, I fixated on “no place for the meek” and wondered what clue lay within these words. My mind fired off the following. Opposite of Meek is Brave, Brave is mentioned again in last paragraph. FF grew up in era of kids playing Cowboys and Indians, and Brave could be reference to “Indian Brave” So, I GM searched the banks of the Firehole for a creek with a name referencing indians… Jackpot! Nez Perce Creek. I then lost an hour reading the history you outlined in your post above. Armed with another potential solution to the clues, I figured I may be on to something…. Not one hour later I went to your blog, and, ironically, your most recent adventure is searching the VERY CREEK i was jazzed about. May have to get away this weekend before the snow flies.

  46. I was looking at the history of Nez Perce Creek as well..but I haven’t read anyone in the above mentioned article nor in your writings Dal about the connection between Nez Perce and Joseph Meek being married to the Nez Perce chief’s daughter Virginia Meek(obviously not her given Indian name) ?? Any thoughts??

      • Yes sir!! I like you have gotten so lost in history I sometimes wonder which treasure I’m searching for. Let me know if it leads you anywhere!! Happy Hunting!

  47. The thing I find ironic about many who believe that the Madison Junction area is the best solution are not considering that it is closed from December thru April every year and Forrest has stated that it is accessible the year round… Doesn’t this rule out this area or am I missing something?

    But in Keeping with the thread… At the last point above Madison river where Firehorn Canyon Rd leaves Firehorn River there is a brown building. If you put into the river at that point and follow it down thru the canyon at some point you will be able to see the camp ground at Madison Junction… Couldn’t the camp ground be the “Blaze”? We know from Forrest that the treasure is wet and if home of the brown means brown trout then look around boulders in the river at that point because that is where feeding trout hide!

    If my insight leads you to the treasure…. I hope you will share!

    • Eric-
      For me Nez Perce Creek is one possible route to take from Madison Junction as you follow the clues. But there are two other directions I might logically go when following the clues. Both of those could take me out of the park. So although most of the park is closed to cars in winter and early spring 7 or 8 of the nine clues could be outside the park even though my WWWH is definitely inside the park…or…if you want to bicycle, ski or even ride your snow machine…the park roads are open much longer.

      I wouldn’t use a “man made structure” as my HOB because I believe Forrest ruled out man made structures for all the clues…but not everyone falls in line with my method of thinking about the nine clues.

  48. Dal,

    Maybe I missed something. You said – “I wouldn’t use a “man made structure” as my HOB because I believe Forrest ruled out man made structures for all the clues…but not everyone falls in line with my method of thinking about the nine clues.”

    I realize you said you “believe” Forrest ruled out “man made structures” for all clues. But is there scattered among his comments him saying this? I know he said, “There is no need digging in the old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure.”
    How I read this comment is where the treasure lies, this resting place, is not associated with any structure. Reason why is why would someone be digging at a outhouse unless they think that hoB is the resting place and the final clue.
    Is there another after comment stating “all the clues” follow the “not associated with any structure” that Forrest made on the tv broadcasts?

    Thanks for your help on this, or anyone else.

      • What if he means there is no complex structure related to where the chest is hidden… As in this definition of Structure….
        – the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.

        Therefore the chest could still be hidden in an actual structure like a building or something…
        I said on the Today show that the treasure is not associated with any structure. Some people say I have a desire to mislead. That is not true. There are no notes to be found or safety deposit boxes to be searched. The clues can lead you to the treasure, and it will be there waiting when you arrive.

        Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.f

        • Thanks Zap & Spallies for the replies,

          But again it is not Forrest saying all clues are not associated with a structure it’s Cynthia saying something Forrest said referring to her home of Brown in her solve.

          “Not long after this, I met Forrest at Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe. And once again, I enthusiastically relayed this search story to him. When I discussed the CCC cabin as being the ‘home of Brown”, he immediately said, ‘don’t you remember, I said it can’t be associated with any structure.’ Hmmm… does that mean NONE of the clues can be associated with a structure? Later I talked to a local woman who used an Indian ruin as her home of Brown… she confirmed he reminded her of the same statement: “The hidden treasure is not associated with any structure”… period! IMO (in my opinion) he is saying NONE of the nine clues can be associated with a structure.”

          Of course Cynthia stated “IMO” to all clues. So I’m not saying Forrest did not say something about hoB to her but searchers seem to think this relates to all clues because she seems to think it does.

          Guess what I need is something Forrest himself said confirming that “all the clue solves” not the “treasure itself”- (where it lies) are associated with a structure and I don’t see it especially in other people’s comments.

          Sometimes things can be taken out of context when having conversations. This I know to be true in some emails I have sent people with proposals and they reply back a different idea others then what I truely meant.

          Zap, and Spallies thanks again.

          • Bur;

            I am not sure which way to go on this. For my solve, I mention something that is man-made. This “Man-made” thing is not what is important – It is just a way of defining a location. If the man-made “thing” were to disappear tomorrow, the location (and its importance) would remain. So, either way, I feel I am OK. I mention the man-made structure, but “IT” is not important, the location where it is is what is important.

            Who knows which is correct? Not I. At this point, I do not really care, my solve works either way. Just an observation – Interesting subject to banter back and fourth about though – JDA

      • Zap,

        I agree no clue is associated with a structure, and what Cynthia relayed from F. The RM are natural and so are the clues, except the roads and human trails that are along the path to the treasure. The roads and trails are needed to get from point to point to put botg and may very well be some of the clues. I take structures to be any type of building.

        Just Say’n

      • Hi Spallies: each has to decide for him or herself how to interpret the things that Forrest says. When I consider clue longevity, Forrest’s disinterest in following someone else’s trails, and then couple that with Forrest’s somewhat sparse statements on the subject of structures, I’m comfortable with the conclusion that WWWH, home of Brown, no place for the meek, no paddle up your creek, heavy loads, water high, and the blaze are all 100% associated with natural things or places. That “feels” more like Forrest to me.

        • Question: On the subject of man made structures, Is it not true that roads are a man made structure? It’s joining different materials to create a structure. I guess this might be able to support that from where F parked his car all of the clues start there.

          Then again……….just ramjble’n

        • Zap,

          I like the idea that all the clues solves are natural settings.
          But one thing we also need to think about is “history” being a big part of Forrest’s life. I know no special knowlege of history is needed but “what if” along the trail of understanding the clue solves you come across something that pertains or relates to some history for the area and it is man made.

          Is Forrest “structure” preferred idea a building, since he refers to a outhouse as a structure? Can there be other types of structures, not buildings, that fit into clue solves especially if it is a part of times gone past?
          I like to think this special place is all natural, but what about those kids he wants to get out and explore nature, wouldn’t is be nice if they came across part of america’s history in that adventure too.

          Ok everyone has their own idea’s on clue solves and where this chase takes them. That’s what keeps it interesting.

          Good luck to all,

          • Bur;

            See my post above. In a way, my man-made “Something” seems to fit yopur “History” aspect – a bit.


    • Bur-
      As Zap pointed out Cynthia’s recollection is the most recent confirmation but there are other instances that when added up also appear to confirm that none of the clues are structures…at least to me…
      “No need to dig up the old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure.”
      At the time people were considering outhouses to be the HOB..
      Forrest didn’t want folks tipping outhouses…
      So he said “No need to dig up old outhouses,” He could have stopped there…
      That was enough to keep people from looking below outhouses…
      So why add the second part of that statement?
      Using my logic he did that to make a further point…not reinforce the first point…
      I believe he is saying that NONE of the clues are associated with a structure
      So he went on to say, “the treasure is not associated with any structure.”

      There are other things Forrest has said that bend into that idea as well..
      For instance, his point that all the clues are “places” and that having a “comprehensive knowledge of geography” might be useful..
      These statements and others all conspire to enhance my opinion that when Forrest says that the treasure is not associated with any structure he is saying that none of the places that the clues relate to are structures…

      But I am reading a lot into things that Forrest has said…and I could certainly be wrong…but I am comfortable being wrong 🙂

      • Dal,

        Thanks for your input and statements made by Forrest.

        Some of my trails in the past were all natural and I’m not saying that the correct solve is not. I’m just try to find any comments that Forrest has stated that “all” clue solves are not associated with a structure (building) since it has been a part of searchers comments.
        Forrest “associated” comment has been out there since 2013 but many searchers have structures in their searches including Cynthia. So guess it’s all how we interpret what he stated.

        Thanks for the responses and I’m glad we all have different ideas. As has been said in the past, we don’t know all the correct answers unit we have the chest in hand.

        Good luck,

          • I like these definitions of structure as well…
            the relationship or organization of the component parts of a work of art or literature:
            the structure of a poem.
            Biology. mode of organization; construction and arrangement of tissues, parts, or organs.
            the attitude of a bed or stratum or of beds or strata of sedimentary rocks, as indicated by the dip and strike.
            the coarser composition of a rock, as contrasted with its texture.

            The more definitions I read on Structure it seems every thing in life has some sort of structure? Maybe like Dals cheat sheet mentioned we need to know what associated with means? Is the treasure associated with the structure? No it’s not… If you saw this structure would you associate it with a treasure chest? Ha ok now I’m just forcing things but it kinda makes sense. I think 🙂

      • I remember an interview with Forrest and Shilo, where they stated that the only reason he said “structure” was that the tv network didn’t want him saying “outhouse”.
        It’s been a long time ago, and I don’t have the link to the interview anymore. Sorry

        • Lucky,

          Good to see your comment. It would be nice to have that statement thrown into this discussion. Well I guess it is now in a way after your statement LOL. I know some of our conversations in the past had a structure involved and maybe your still thinking along the lines you were. I could tell you more that helps connect but research is research and I’m sure you have done yours.

          Thanks for your comment, good luck.

          • Thanks Bur,
            Good to see your comments.
            Let me know what you think after you listen to the interview.
            All the best to you!

          • Lucky,

            Well my interpretation is Forrest’s structure is just outhouses in general. CCC cabin hoB in Cynthia’s solve doesn’t make sense unless it has a outhouse there or her solve end is at this cabin to fit the “structure” part that Fenn replied on.

            Well guess this interview has his and Shiloh’s comments making the original comment have a little different meaning then what some searchers believes it means.

            I’m still sticking to my solve and in believing that not “all” clue solves are natural settings in nature, but they could be related to that.

            Thanks again Lucky,

        • lucky-
          He said structure related to outhouses a few times…In the statement you are referring to he used the word “structure” on TV instead of outhouse.
          Later he used both…in writing…as I wrote above. You can find those quotes on tarry by typing in “outhouse” and also on this blog by typing in “structure” or “outhouse” in the search mechanism.

          • Thanks Dal,
            I searched them both on , and I don’t see enough to change my mind and not go with Forrest’s first explanation. They went out of their way to state the reason he used the word “structure.” He won’t change his narrative.
            To me, it is “listening good”
            Like everyone else, I could be wrong! But I hope not. 🙂

  49. Eric: if you’re going to depend on a Forrest quote, you should make sure you’ve got it right. Forrest has NEVER said you can access the treasure chest location at any time. The closest thing he has said to this (and almost certainly what you’re referring to) is: “If you know precisely where it is you can probably retrieve it in any weather.” Any weather is not the same thing as any time or any season. Forrest has specifically said not to search in wintertime.

    I don’t think Indulgence is in Yellowstone National Park — but that’s not because of the seasonal road closures.

  50. Perhaps you might want to read just a little ways up the thread. This question was addressed above.

  51. I don’t post much, I mostly just lurk here anymore but I’ve gone to that place as well. Did a bit of research on the area because of some artifacts I have found myself that were more easily dated (glass bottles with a makers stamp). You actually should have turned in the china (I have no idea who you would give it to) they have been doing a great deal of archeological research out there.

    It was likely from the first hotel built in yellowstone. Strangely enough that area was at one time littered with buildings (If you have a keen eye you can still see the foundations on google maps) there is also a lone grave not too far from where you were. Close to the bridge that crosses nez pierce there was a military checkpoint as well as an army post. Across the creek there was an army tent city, one of their camp stoves and some old iron tractor wheels are still out there along with plenty of ancient cans, portable fencing, spice bottles and I even found a horseshoe.

    Before fenn said earlier this year that the chest was not under a manmade object I was kicking myself for not checking under that century old camp stove… I mean it counts as a “blaze” right?

  52. I still love to come read this story I think was one of your best solves And I wanna go back and find the bead if ya really did throw it down lol

  53. My son made an observation tonight. Von Braun was the father of modern rocketry. (Stay with me). The first nuclear tests were at Los Alamos. My son suggested that I was reading ‘heavy loads and water high’ incorrectly. He pointed out it could be ‘heavy loads and water’, or in other words heavy water as well. The HOB could be capitalized because it’s Von Braun, and the testing sites are very close to Fenn’s home. Finally, Forrest did fly the bomb around, so heavy loads….. well it makes some sense. Just have to lay it to a map. New Mexico seems so tempting…..

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