Making Your Failed Solve a Winner…

by FMC


You’ve spent hours upon hours thinking about the poem, scouring Google Earth, and doing your research. You’ve likely spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars and time away from work and/or family to put BOTG in your search area. And now you’re back from your 1st or 2nd (or 15th) trip and you’ve decided that your solve is a bust. Now what?

Complete solves (those where each clue has a reasonable interpretation and where the clues work together to take you to a relatively small search area) are inherently personal given the time, money, and effort that go into them. And admitting to the world that yours was wrong can be hard for anyone. No one likes to admit failure. But I challenge you to change your way of thinking about these failed solves. Don’t think of it in terms of having to admit failure. Think of it as an opportunity to share the brilliance, creativity, and hard work that led you to put BOTG in the first place. Focus on the journey, not the destination. And this guide will (hopefully) help you get the most out of that journey and make your big reveal the best it can be.

Excitement about your solve prior to putting BOTG is a wonderful thing.  Specific details are almost always closely guarded, but a searcher’s confidence tends to make itself known.  Which leads me to my favorite Chinese proverb:

You were confident in your solve and for whatever reason, your solve didn’t pan out. Own that pre-BOTG confidence and commit to sharing your solve.  It may take some time to find the right pictures and write it up, but your solve deserves to be shared.

Sample Structure

The outline of your solve is up to you, but if you’re struggling with where to start or what to include, the following are a couple things to consider.

Your backstory with the Chase – How did you first hear about the Chase? Is this your first BOTG?  How many times have you read the books?  Do you consider yourself a hardcore searcher or is the Chase something you do while you’re also travelling to fish or hike?

Your initial thought process – What led you to your solve?  Was there a Eureka moment where something clicked reading the poem?  Was there something that immediately jumped in your head when you first heard about the Chase in terms of a specific clue?  Did something in the books resonate with you?

Solve walk through – This is the crux of your solve write-up.  I suggest going through each clue line by line with your reasoning/interpretation below each, along with any visual aids/extras that make your solve easier to understand, whether that’s maps, quotes from your internet research, etc.

Your BOTG trip – Where did you go and what did you do?  Did your solve plan play out as you expected it to or did you encounter any unexpected challenges?  Were you able to get to your search area and what is your takeaway from your BOTG trip (i.e. solve is eliminated because you searched everywhere and didn’t find it, solve is eliminated because it’s too impossible to get to your search area, the terrain made you question whether FF could have made two trips to the search area, etc.)

Making it Interesting

Have a good title – Why should a newcomer to the site click on your solve instead of any of the others posted here?  Reference where you went or your methodology (but in an unusual way) or make a joke… anything to stand out from the pack. Some examples of (IMO) good titles from the Others Adventures page:

Not Another Rio Grande Solve!

A (partial) knowledge of Geometry…

The Trouble with Confidence

Pictures – Everyone knows the old saying that a picture is worth 1,000 words… so use pictures.  Even the best of us at describing the dirt trail above the river, surrounded by pine tree covered rolling hills won’t have the same impact as this will:

Maps and Google Earth images (with or without MSPaint illustrations) are also good ways to complement your written descriptions your solve/clue interpretations.

Add in some non-Chase content – While most people are going to primarily be interested in your solve, the overall entertainment value of your write-up can be enhanced by adding in other interesting things from your BOTG trip.  Did you try your first rattlesnake jerky?  Did you go on a whitewater rafting trip?  Did you catch the biggest fish of your life?  Did you see a moose?  Do you have anything that those of us reading your solve in our cubicles or in line at the grocery store or anywhere else not very exciting will read and think “That sounds awesome – I’m jealous of this person’s adventure”?  Put it in.

So maybe you had a solve and put BOTG earlier this year… any chance I’ve inspired you to write-it up and send it to Dal?  If so, great.  If not, that’s okay too (I guess).  While I encourage everyone to write up their failed solves and BOTG trips, part of the fun (at least for me) in the downtime between trips is thinking about how I’ll share the next one with those on this site and what the reaction will be.  Keep this post in mind if you do the same.

by FMC-

110 thoughts on “Making Your Failed Solve a Winner…

  1. Sounds Interesting,
    But I couldn’t write up my thoughts on possible solves – I have 2
    But due to My Own Health issues – I have Not been able to check them out . . .
    I could see How Mr. Fenn could manage them Both – but it is beyond My Ability !
    I Will say This though . . . . . You Need to Really Know Your Redneck for it to Work for You !

  2. That was a lot of questions, FMC. 🙂

    Perhaps someone will submit their solutions and help answer some of them.

    • There’s a whole page of solves posted here (Others Adventures page) and another with just Dal’s trips, but I can’t help but think with as many people as there are on this site and with as many people as (allegedly) put BOTG each year, that there should be more.

      I personally think that sharing information (that we are individually done with) will play a big factor in helping the eventual solver with actually finding the TC. So you once thought that WWWH may be the start of X river or that HOB was Y Valley or that the TC was nestled in Z particular grove of trees. If you don’t anymore, what’s the harm in sharing that? (Obviously if you’re just revising a solve after a failed BOTG and think it’s overall still viable, then by all means protect that.)

    • Pics are all randomly grabbed from the interwebs. I’m 36 and a guy if that helps with whatever mental picture you want to have of me.

  3. Well written, FMC. My goal is to wring every last possibility out of my starting WWWH location this season. I think just one more BOTG trip should do it for me. I’m planning to submit a lot of write-up’s to Dal once the the snows return to the Rockies and I get flung back to square one looking for a completely new solve area on maps over the winter.

  4. Good advice, FMC…although I don’t think I’d ever share my solve unless I had a box of gold to show for it. Besides…I’ve spent a good amount of time looking in New Mexico and I haven’t seen anybody mention where I’m looking…exactly.

    I DO know that failure is a hard thing to deal with…and positive support from a few is very encouraging…especially when most others are telling you…”You’re never going to find it”. :/

    My advice…just write their names down. You know…either on the good list or the naughty list…so you’ll know who to reward…or not. 🙂

    Also. Do not let success get to your head.

    Do not let failure get to your heart.

    (Thank you, Dal, for all your hard work.)

  5. For all the rabbit holes I have gone down in proximity to the West Yellowstone region over the last two summers I think I could write a book. Funny I haven’t seen one rabbit.

    Good advice on the solution sharing FMC. My current solve rests on cooler temperatures setting in at the blaze. If it doesn’t pan out that I am wise, I will have a long cold winter when the snow sticks to think and write about it.

    • ” Of all the rabbit holes I never seen one rabbit” sounds like a great book title.

      I’m new to the search, like as of this month. I think that it is fantastic that so many have shared their “solves”. If I come up with anything I’ll pass it on. I just want to see it found. then I’ll go over the poem and fill in the blanks.

  6. Nice post FMC, I really like this suggestion. It is nice to read stories about solves and try to understand others perspective on where the clues take them. It also helps a little with possibly knowing where the TC is not if the poster lets us know exactly how thorough of a search they did in there area.

  7. FMC if those aren’t your real initials, you picked 3 really good ones. F -Forrest, M-Marvin, C-Concy.

    The title to Mr Fenn’s new book “Once Upon a While,” I think shows how much he has enjoyed reading about searches. I’m sure he has “Whiled” away many a pleasurable hour reading.

    I enjoyed reading your post.

  8. I think a lot of searchers would like to share their stories, but not until they have the proper ending. The great adventures, perils and emotions I have experienced are hard to believe even for myself. I have been stalked by griz twice at close range, with narrow escape. I’ve played matador to a crazy moose. Pinned down by an angry rancher with a gun. Quicksand, snakes, bugs, storms ect. All made unforgettable and worth while by the views. I feel this has been a great challenge against Forrest, other searchers and the poem, but most of all it has been a challenge against nature and myself. g

        • So true on the bugs. I have never seen a mosquito hatch like the one my kids and I ran into on one search, and I grew up in Minnesota. Laughing and running, they will never forget it. They drove us out that day, literally. The cloud of vigilant mosquitoes followed the breath of the truck. g

      • For real. I am a different man now. All my life I was unsure of myself and avoided many things. The horrible nightmares were almost every night. Now, after the grizzle dreams have subsided. The nightmares are gone. A confident man. It is a joy to live like this, but the dangers are real. It is natures nature, and must be excepted by those willing to put BOTG. g

        • g, just now seeing your reply, sorry.

          A longtime friend once said to me that life was a struggle, in my youthful ignorance I said , “no it was just a challenge.” I was wrong! I have learned life presents many struggles. Its up to the individual to keep pushing.
          All I hope for in this life is, like you, to seek joy! Happy for you.

          • Face your fears, move with confidence, but be smart about it. Too much confidence can occasionally get you into trouble. g

    •  g
      I feel this has been a great challenge against Forrest, other searchers and the poem, but most of all it has been a challenge against nature and myself.

      Couldn’t agree more. 🙂

      And this too ..

      I think a lot of searchers would like to share their stories, but not until they have the proper ending

    • That is an amazing stat Dal!
      I wonder what percentage of those visitors suffer from Confirmation Bias Syndrome?

      I hope I am going to be able to peer around my blaze a few more times before snows stick. The first Winter Storm Advisory for Montana was just issued for elevations above 6,000 feet. Good times!

        • Me too spallies 🙂 looks like we’re moving on up ! Just think , another 7 years and we may hit 2%…
          have a great evening my friend….. see ya 🙂

          • I think I’m safe spallies. I don’t think I have that many more years in me… 🙂 now go find that chest so I can take a break 🙂
            See ya my friend

      • thanks Dal for this website. without this website i wouldnt of made it past WWWH. Dals website made it so much easier especially for someone like me who knows nothing about Poetry.

        thank You for Your time Dal and i hope You find the treasure. the LORD knows You deserve it

    • LOL! This is likely true. I’ve been reading this blog for well over a year now and this is literally the first time I have ever commented.

      You need stories Dal? I could probably put a decent search story together of my hunt last weekend. Not a millionaire yet – so it wasn’t the winning solve.

    • Is that 600 unique visitors I wonder, or multiples of some smaller number?

      It makes me wonder what the actual % of Searchers have failed BOTG solves or if a lot of people have one in-process solve that they’re continually working through.

      I think BOTG-worthy solves are probably a lot more uncommon than most people think and a lot of the research people do tends to eliminate places more than find strong potentials. Fortunately (watch this segue) it’s possible to still contribute to the collective group knowledge by posting all your discarded WWWH fails at warmwatersfound dot com and helping build that index.

      *Dal, I promise I didn’t write this Guide for cross-promotional purposes. As I recall, I pitched this Guide to you a month or so ago, long before I had the idea for warmwatersfound – moderate/delete this part if its out of bounds or whatever.

      **”Pitch makes it sound like I got paid for writing this Guide up… which, lol, I wish.

      • FMC: I think one deterrent to posting failed solutions is that there is a significant fraction of searchers who are quite confident they have figured out WWWH. While their overall solution is incomplete or just plain wrong, they would be understandably opposed to revealing the one part of their solution that they’re sure is right. If figuring out WWWH gets you more than halfway there (metaphorically speaking), would it be wise to share that information with everyone?

        Of course, there are exceptions. I’m sure a lot of people think that the correct WWWH has already been revealed on this blog at some point, and if your WWWH is one of them, then there’s little point in maintaining secrecy.

        • I guess I’m just of the opinion that from a particular wwwh, there are only so many solves that make sense and I’d think most could be botg’ed within a single trip or maybe 2 trips.

          But you may be right. I’ve posted my personal wwwh ideas/fails at warmwatersfound dot com and harvested a number of others from solves posted here (with a lot more to go through), but, although people seem to be looking at them, fewer people are posting their own than I expected.

          I wonder if that’s partially a function of different thresholds for what wwwh need to be protected (in terms of quality). I may only get to do 1 both trip/year so I can afford to write-off more that I’ll never get to whereas someone living closer may make multiple trips/year.

          • FMC –

            There are an infinite, or lots anyway, number of possibilities from any WWH.
            Let’s look at one. Madison Junction in Yellowstone National Park.

            From there you can follow one of 3 rivers. You can hike or drive depending on what you think Take in the Canyon Down indicates. You can stay in the park or leave. Next you need a Home of Brown. You can pick a mountain, a ranger station, a trout creek, a Bear meadow, whatever. Forrest says a few people have been within 500 feet, I will bet hundreds have.

            Dal just ran a Madison Junction solve and explored Nez Pierce Creek. I have a couple solves on the creek. In one case I want to go further than Dal and make it all the way back to the cabin on Mary Mountain. That would mean I was running a solve that did the same thing that Dal did at least twice. Can you imagine what would happen if Dal found out he had stopped short of the treasure sitting in plain sight a few hundred feet ahead?


        • Hi FMC:

          “I guess I’m just of the opinion that from a particular wwwh, there are only so many solves that make sense and I’d think most could be botg’ed within a single trip or maybe 2 trips.”

          I think you might find some rather significant disagreement on this point from Dal. How many trips and how many days has he explored the possibilities under the assumption that WWWH is where the Firehole joins the Gibbon at Madison Junction? And he’s not the only one — there must be a dozen others who have posted here in the last couple years that use Madison Junction (or perhaps Ojo Caliente) as their WWWH.

          JDA is another example: hasn’t he used the same WWWH for all 14 or 15 trips he (or his team) have made to Wyoming? For those that are convinced that some (or even most) clues can only be solved on site, it could take a very long time indeed to exhaust all the possibilities. Especially for someone who lives far from the Rockies, as I expect most searchers do.

          • They are entitled to their opinions obviously, and maybe time will prove them right. Without knowing their complete thought process, it’s hard to comment on whether their 3rd no place for their meek below their 4th hob after their 2nd canyon is a viable solve.

          • Famous last words Zap – “My next trip will be my last one to MY area” – If it ain’t THAR – IT AIN’T THAR – JDA

          • Hi JDA — just to clarify, I was only using you and Dal as examples of how in order to be thorough, one might have to make quite a few trips using the same WWWH. I can say with certainty that all my future trips will continue to use the same WWWH I’ve been using for over a year.

          • FMC: yes, just my theory on the reticence of people to share their WWWH ideas. The funny thing is, I fully expect that the correct WWWH would be poo-pooed by most — even if it came from Forrest himself. It’s just human psychology that no one wants to embrace the notion that they were wrong. Some have invested tens of thousands of dollars on their theories, so denial would be an expected reaction.

          • I agree with your last statement, Zap. I’m even willing to believe that the correct WWWH may already have been shared on this blog and quickly dismissed.

          • Hi Blex,

            “I’m even willing to believe that the correct WWWH may already have been shared on this blog and quickly dismissed.”

            Thankfully, it hasn’t (in my opinion, of course). If it ever is, Montana will get a boost in visitors, but I suspect most searchers wouldn’t accept it.

        • OK Zap –

          We can disagree. You are one of the people that you talked about in a comment earlier today or yesterday. You cannot be pushed off your wwh even if Forrest tells you your wrong. I’m paraphrasing you. That makes sense because you do not seem to take him at his word. You seem to think he us often manipulating.

          You also think he provides hints or clues in scrapbooks right?

          The way I read SB 78 he has never said anything that would aid one searcher, or group of searchers, over another. In other words, if Fenn has ever said anything that hints at your solve, your solve is wrong, right?

          You tell me

        • Lug – you speak of a hypothetical situation that will never come to pass. But if Forrest ~did~ come out and tell me and the whole blog that my WWWH was wrong, I’d simply quit the Chase. Why? Because such a pronouncement would mean he had deliberately placed over a hundred hints to the wrong spot (which he most certainly did not). Since Forrest has zero desire to deceive, I can only conclude that my starting location is just fine.

          You don’t think he leaves hints in Scrapbooks, and that is your prerogative. But realize that leaving hints in SBs would NOT favor one searcher or group of searchers over another since the same information is available to all. What you may fail to appreciate is the difference between a hint helping with a clue, and a hint helping to SOLVE a clue. I believe Forrest uses hints for the former purpose, not the latter.

          • Zap –

            You brought up the scenario where Fenn would tell searchers where WWH is. You mentioned today or yesterday in a comment.

            If Fenn knows where a Chaser X is searching and then drops a hint to that location he is aiding Chaser X.

            I do not think he has dropped over 100 hints towards wwh or anything else. As I have said many many times, I would love to know what the heck you are talking about. Maybe you could list 10 of the hundred and tell me what they refer to? I asked JD to that once and things he responded with weren’t hints, just the obvious in the actual writings.

            Let us discuss something you have referred to as a hint. And several others have said the same.

            Fenn said he read about a character in For Whom The Bell Tolls. The character appears as the main character not in For Whom The Bell Tolls, but rather in A Farewell To Arms. To me FWTBT is the obvious thing, the thing he actually said. The hint would be to the thing you have to work to know, A Farewell To Arms.

            And you have noted that the first letters in But Too Far Too Walk are the same BTFTW. You believe that you have found those letters on the map in Montana and that this must be what Fenn is “hinting at”.

            I would ask anyone to consider that A Farewell To Arms is the hint and that he is referring to the Arms of the Hegben Lake. Madison Arm and Grayling Arm. He also mentions “arms” like a jillion times.

            So what can you tell me to make me think that For Whom The Bell Tolls is the clue rather than A Farewell To Arms?

            Allow me to add for all the nuts reading this right now. A Farewell To Arms anagrams to

            At Roswell Farm


        • Hi Lug — I would agree that if Chaser X told Fenn his WWWH in an email, and then ~subsequent~ to that, Forrest immediately submitted a Scrapbook to Dal (or a Q&A to Mysterious Writings) that contained a blatant hint to that WWWH, that would be favoring that searcher. But this isn’t what’s happening.

          Most of these SBs have been out for years, and the shear volume of communication from Forrest would not permit a searcher to positively identify a specific hint out of that deluge that was deliberately directed at him or her (or anyone else that has solved the associated clue). Of course, that doesn’t stop some searchers from thinking that some of Forrest’s comments were specifically directed at them.

          You reiterate your belief that Forrest hasn’t dropped 100+ hints in his various communications, and that’s fine. But you might ask yourself where this belief comes from? And why do you think Forrest has shared almost 200 Scrapbooks with us, plus Vignettes, Speed Bumps, Q&A’s, and so forth? The Scrapbooks in particular he has put a lot of time and effort into.

          You asked me to perhaps list just 10 of these 100+ hints to WWWH and explain how they work. But surely you realize that if I did that, you would discover what the keyword is (or at least what ~my~ keyword is, if you still think it’s wrong), and it wouldn’t take you or anyone else long to put two and two together to figure out WWWH. So I can’t help you there.

          I believe at least one aspect of the Chase is a pattern recognition problem. When you spot something three or four times, you can chalk it up to coincidence. Seven or eight times starts to get suspicious. But hundred plus isn’t suspicious — it’s deliberate. Maybe I have a slight advantage because I’m pretty good at pattern recognition. You brought up FWTBT, which is a good example. The error in TTOTC is an anomaly, and anomalies scream to be understood. One should at least be mildly curious when an erroneous novel title shares the same 5 initial letters as a key line from Forrest’s poem. I’ve previously mentioned the “through the (dumb) barbed wire fence” from page 70 of TTOTC. There’s also “… being foolish than to watch” on page 139. How ’bout “white bone fragments (flittered) through the” on page 116? Don’t you find that detailed wording about Olga’s remains a little odd? SB 145: “waiting for the bell to (ring)”. SB 148: “(causing summer’s palette) to fade toward wistful browns”. SB 169: “the fare to Biloxi was”. I could cite dozens of other examples.

          Some of these come about simply due to chance. On average in English, five consecutive words will start with those 5 letters (in any order) about one out of 4700 times. So it is a matter of noticing that there is an excess above chance — or that there is something anomalous about a particular group of five words. I see an excess, and I see anomalies. But I know many others want to chalk it up to chance or sloppiness.

          • Zap

            You are not noticing patterns, just pattern. The one that you are interested in.

            Fenn tends to repeat his words and errors. I have books he wrote before TToTC that contain missspellings and patterns. Its not just Fenn, we all do it. We all work in patterns.

            IMHO i bid you adieu,

          • Zap –

            Can you explain how the 1 in 4700 applies when the words dumb or flittered need to be ignored in order to make the pattern?

            While your at it, what do you think proximaty refers to if not proximity. Please allow me to add that I have always spelled it proximaty. Do you know why? Are you older than 50?

            Thank you!

          • Hi Lugnutz: I am happy to concede the point that the long odds become much shorter as soon as you allow an extraneous word to be inserted within a group of 5 words. Honestly, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” was enough for me, but I did find at least a couple dozen other cases that don’t involve extra words. And still I freely admit that a number of these will be incidental since the volume of material I’m looking at is in the tens of thousands of words.

            As for “proximaty,” I have no strong opinions on what that might represent. Perhaps a nod to pirates (matey), given Forrest has mentioned pirate treasure more than once, and has also mentioned Noah Beery Sr. more than once.

            As for why you would choose to misspell it the same way Forrest has, I have no idea — in spite of being over 50 myself. A connection to proximate or proximal?

          • Zap

            Funny you bring up pirates. I was taught to spell by a pirate of sorts. He wanted to be a captain, but had a private ear they say. I was taught to spell phonetically. Problem is anyone doing so is handcuffed by their ability to pronounce the word all proper.

            When I learned how to spell and pronounce it correctly I continued in my old way. Prox him ma tee. It’s ma’s fault really.

            How do you feel about the potential connection between Gardiners Island and the Gardiner River in Montana? Just between a couple of buccaneers?


          • Hi Lug: to answer your question,among the first places I checked out was Gardiner (or is it Gardner?) Canyon and the Boiling River. Compared to most of Yellowstone, it is butt-ugly. Ain’t no pine needles to be smelling there. In my opinion, that stretch of northern YNP is a desert. Best of luck to anyone searching there: you’ll get no competition from me. 😉

          • Zap –

            I agree, cannot imagine Fenn loving the area.
            But the Gardiners Island reference is just so out of place,


        • Lug: in my profession, I regularly compute probability of detection vs. probability of false alarm. That is the whole point of determining how often something occurs entirely due to chance.

          • Ahhhh I see.

            Writers are creatures of habit. Writers and artists may not be predicatble.

            You a fascinating person. I would love to here more about how you compute probability of detection.


        • Interesting discussion.
          Perhaps the incorrect attribution of the story line is a misdirection and a nudge to the actual hint.

        • The back-and-forth here is interesting to read. I agree with Zap that Lugnutz cannot definitively say whether or not WWWH has been mentioned on this blog or not (he can once he finds the treasure, of course).

          The next issue is the debate over whether or not Forrest has included subtle hints in his posts on this blog or not. That’s honestly something that I have been on the fence about. At first, I thought absolutely not, as that would give people who visit this site unfair advantage. But as I developed a solve, I started to see subtle hints related to it. Am I correct or delusional? I think that the right answer to this question in the pursuit of my own all-around mental health is: “maybe”. I don’t think anyone will know the answer until the treasure is actually found. I also don’t think that whoever finds the Chest necessarily needs to read & dissect whatever subtle hints Forrest may or may not have left on this blog – or in his books.

          That’s kind of why I am hoping whoever does end up finding the treasure shares the actual location with the general public (i.e.: not Toby). If that happens, there will still be fun to be had, as we can all go back looking for what all of those “subtle hints” of Forrest’s were.

          Anyways, don’t be so harsh on each other, guys. I, for one, think that the both of you have some compelling ideas that you are confident about, and hope you share them with us eventually. Also, I think that the anagram that Lugnutz came up with was pretty cool! 🙂

          • Hi Blex

            We won’t know if wwh was ever mentioned until the TC is found.

            Zap says it has not been mentioned. I sau it has. Now what? I will defer to Zap as it is in his wheel house, but I believe we can predict that it is more likely that I am correct. Whay does probability say Zap?

            I’m not be harsh on the old fellow, I push him because I know he is capable and smart. He just won’t get the cart out of the mud without a little push.

            In my humble pie

          • Once FMC has compiled all the WWWH’s that people have shared with him or that he has found on Dal’s or Jenny’s sites, I’ll be happy to scan it to see if mine is there. I’m pretty confident it won’t be, despite the fact that I know many, many searchers who have been by it quite unawares.

  9. Sharing my incorrect solves would spoil the fun for anybody else working on anagrams..

    I share with Forrest and I hope he enjoys the laughs.

    Thanks FMC

  10. I believe the solve does not need to be technical. Don’t think outside of the box and what one says Forrest meant other than what he said in his poem. Use only the words as they were meant to be.

    I’ve seen a lot of comments about what the blaze looks like, and I see a lot of conjecture about what the words say, one should take the words in the poem as used in regular day conversation and the true meaning, according to what the English dictionary says.

    What I’ve seen on discussions is out of the order sequence that Forrest says himself, people are going after things that are out of order to his poem. In order to find the treasure, follow the instructions from the top to bottom. It’s the same as following directions to the letter in order to achieve the right goal coming from from, let’s say your boss or the help section of computer software, the instructions given need to be followed in order to achieve the desired goal.

    The one item in the poem that really needs to be identified is, “below the home of Brown”, Is it a person, place or object?

    I’m not a specialist in finding treasures, and I believe I have correctly identified the area of the treasure and did so in the correct order. I made one trip to this area and looked with out knowing prior that the treasure was not associated to any man made structure, I went off half cocked, so to speak. Unfortunately I can only return to the area until next summer of 2018.

    Forrest’s mention in TTOTC about poker, “your dealt four cards and a joker”, I believe a lot of jokers are being created and not getting the cards for a winning hand. My motto to myself is, “Keep it simple stupid”, has always worked for me 99% of the time. These are my thoughts only and not a condemnation of others, it’s based on merely what I see.

  11. I recently came back from my 3rd BOTG with the first half of BOTG 1 leading me to a very small search area, BOTG 2 (2 weeks) searching it hard, and 1st half of BOTG 3 (1 week) finally ruling it out and searching elsewhere. I am tempted to post my solve and have shared with at least one searcher, but I’m afraid I might have pieces of it correct and not ready to share with the world. Although I’ve been 3x in about a year with my 79 year old father (my own litmus test), I can’t afford to search more than one time per year since I live in FL. My challenge now is to find a new beginning for my solve for my next trip in 2018.

      • Meaning to go physically search as opposed to searching from home on maps or the internet.

        There is a long winding debate between those who think the poem can be solved and the TC located from home and those who think you must be operating in range.

        So folks abbreviate BOTG to indicate a physical search has been done.

  12. Can someone tell me what the acronym BOTG is? I’m old school and never use acronyms, or as some would say, shorthand.

    I like do do things in order, this time I am allowing an exception. I am referring to the last stanza of the poem where it says, “Your effort will be worth the cold.”

    I believe Forrest is referring to altitude, we all know the higher one goes, the colder it gets.

    I grew up in Montana, often spent time around Yellowstone and currently live in Colorado. I am familiar with all three states and their geography, naturally I don’t know every nook and cranny. The geography around Yellowstone has no real high mountains to be cold in the summer. There is very few canyons to go down.
    I simply can’t imagine Forrest putting the chest near and under waterfalls. I honestly believe he wouldn’t hide the treasure in the winter. I believe the Yellowstone area does not contain the treasure. Yes, he spent his summers there and is one of his favorite places. Yes, there are warm waters there, but there are plenty of other areas in the Rockies that has warm waters. It’s much too easy and I don’t believe Forrest would make it that easy. As I have stated in my first post in TTOTC mentions dealing four cards and a joker. I honestly believe the Yellowstone area is a joker card.

    This is merely reasonable food for thought and conversation. If I keep saying things about my solve, it won’t be there in 2018. So from this point on I will hopefully not be so forgiving with my thoughts, but will interject now and then.

    • Boots on the ground

      Meaning to go physically search as opposed to searching from home on maps or the internet.

      There is a long winding debate between those who think the poem can be solved and the TC located from home and those who think you must be operating in range.

      So folks abbreviate BOTG to indicate a physical search has been done.

  13. @Charlie M.

    BOTG = Boots on the Ground (its some sort of old British military jargon)

    BIWWWH = Begin it Where Warm Waters Halt (from stanza 2 in the poem)

    NFBTFTW = Not Far But Too Far To Walk (again from the poem)

    LGFI = Little Girl From India (or anyone searching at home who can figure out the first two clues but can’t get beyond those two without BOTG!

    IMO or IMHO = In my opinion or in my humble opinion.

      • I always picture her standing on the shore gazing out into what must seem like infinity, with a map in one hand and the poem in the other, smiling. g

    • LGIF from six questions on mysterious writings. Question and ff answer.

      Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is? And would she be confident as she solves each clue, or only confident when she has solved them all?
      I wish I had another treasure to hide in the Appalachians. The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues. There are many disabled people who are deeply into maps and geography, and they are having a lot of fun.

  14. As I waded across a shallow creek eating my donut, all of a sudden the ground underneath suddenly gave way and I was swept down the river. I thought I was going to die and realized i still had my life jacket on from when I had been out on the lake earlier in the day. I looked quickly trying to find a way to get to shore as the current grew stronger. Thank God for this old boat anchored in the river with no one inside the boat. I reached out and grabbed it just in time. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up guys! What a day!!! Searching the desert tomorrow. I’ll keep y’all posted.

    • Distracted water crossings – if you only knew how many people are killed every year by donut eating while crossing…:-)

      Seriously, glad you are ok and perhaps a little wiser for the experience.

      • BOTG,
        Lol! I have to be more careful while eating and crossing. I forgot to finish that story! I was rescued off that boat anchored in class 4 rapids by a helicopter of all things! They saw my bright orange life vest while they were looking for TC. Someone has told them TC was under the boat! They brought their weighted scuba gear and thought they found TC but it was actually an ornate gold plated box of fishing lures. I took pictures I will have to get to everyone soon to see if we can find the rightful owner(s).

  15. Here’s some food for thought for any up and coming Boot On The Grounders.
    Ive been out on two searches in my area of interest. Both times returning disappointed.
    The last time I returned I opted for the same routine, got out my poem and flipped open my lap top and came up with another convincing solve. I then put a ‘X’ on the map and applied the same disappointment I felt earlier to my solve.
    To cut a long story short, I am now up to 46 points of interest on my map. All credible solves. All within a square mile.
    My next trip out will be a dirt bike on the ground not boots!
    Looks to me like a huge process of elimination.

    • Fenn quotes (not exact) for you dirt bike joe: if you don’t know where you’re going any trail will take you there. There are no shortcuts. The finder will go with confidence to the chest. Not saying your approach is totally wrong but you may want to reconsider. A single square mile while large is hard to believe has 46 multiple 9 clue interpretations, I’m guessing you mean 46 various combinations of features you think are clues. Good luck maybe just get a metal detector and grid search it when you come up empty then you could maybe move on? Maybe a new thread: why is it so difficult to admit defeat? What line in the sand must we cross to admit a solve is wrong? My thoughts are that we must apply after the fact comments from f to test our solve and then also post it and see the bloggeratti comments, so many have blinders on to how crazy they seem. For the record I don’t have any botg searches because I don’t think any of mine were worthy in light of important quotes. All IMO but I highly doubt f would hide it where a dirt bike could legally go (leave no trace?)

  16. Thanks for the input tbug.
    Since that last post of mine I’ve had a revelation. It came to me from Fenn’s words.
    If you get stuck, go back to the beginning, or something like that.
    I analyzed each of my clues. I dug deeper into each one and many layers appeared before me.
    It was the last couple of lines that had me thrown.
    Applying my new insight, I now have my solve nailed down.
    IMO, HOB truly is the key to the whole thing.
    New insight, jazzed up solve, new approach, no dirt bike required!

    • Here is the quote you were looking for: “If you don’t know where it is, go back to the first clue.” f JDA

      • JDA:it is not to be presumed that this quotation fits on that trip of his ff and his friend on horses in the rocky mountains where he uses a means of locating the north and south points.
        Thus it is easy to assemble the puzzle with your quotations

  17. FMC,
    Your post has inspired me to format my own solve, failed or no 😉
    I’m working on a whopper. 3 pages in first draft, trying to find enough alone time. But it’s a great review and is/has been helpful. Thanks for that. 🙂

  18. I would add a word of caution and consideration about writing/publishing some solves. If you decide to publish via any medium a solve that involves dishonesty with private property owners (tribal lands) or entering private property after one or more team members or you received criminal trespass warning, you will be admitting to criminal trespass with intent and intent to steal something from private property. If you broke something like the law, it would not be advisable to declare it. The law is cumbersome and way beyond a basic version available on the Internet. Sending a team(s) to search after you were told not to be on the property is the same as entering the property yourself. Helping someone who received a criminal trespass warning to access the property is knowingly and willfully participating in the violation. IMO do not publish willful knowing legal violations. Most searchers worked honestly; but there are a few who did not. Just my opinion.

    • Good advice.
      I had trespassed unknowingly, but once I knew I contacted the property owner, apologized for my ignorance and got permission. 🙂
      On another note, I would send Forrest my solve. I would NEVER post it, I would give it to him as a gift. Then, if he chooses to post it he can. 🙂

  19. Dal, you have probably mentioned this already, but I can’t find it easily elsewhere on the blog: What is your preferred format for submitted write-up’s? Is a Microsoft .doc file the best? If images are included, are .jpg files the preferred format? And do you like having the images embedded within the .doc file, or is it easier to send all .jpg’s separately and just note the locations of where they should be inserted in the .doc file? Thanks!

    • Great questions and I was wondering the same thing. Thanks for posing it and hopefully the answers will come soon.

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