Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze…

by FMC



Last night at about 3 am, I had a new thought for my current, in-process solve.  And in thinking it through, it’s sufficiently general enough to share – it doesn’t apply to just my solve, but to a number of different end of the poem possibilities.  So here we are.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze

The two schools of thought related to this line and the blaze generally seem to be as follows:

1 – “If you’ve been wise” refers to an owl and viewing the blaze from above, most often via Google Earth, but also potentially from an elevated vantage point.  I’d also add GE/map “wise” based place names (Owl Creek or whatever) to this school.

2 – You need BOTG to find the blaze and “If you’ve been wise” refers to you having solved the clues leading up to this point where you are looking for the blaze.  You may be keeping an eye out for owl-shaped rocks, but you are reliant on BOTG prior to this line starting.

I’d generally put myself in School 1 as I think having an explanation for “if you’ve been wise” is an important part to being able to go with confidence to your search area.  I’ve also been of the opinion that the School 2 people are taking this part of the line for granted.  If you’re just going to find the blaze when you’re BOTG, why do you need to have been wise?

But it occurred to me that maybe there’s a third interpretation.  Most people tend to think of “if you’ve been wise and found the blaze” as one clue.  What if it’s two clues?

Under my new way of thinking, you still have to find the blaze with BOTG, but “if you’ve been wise” is a separate clue with an interpretation unrelated to the blaze itself.  Enter: King Solomon.

Whether a person is religious or not, I think the “Wisdom of Solomon” is a commonly known phrase/saying.

Per Wikipedia (which matched my own limited knowledge on the subject):

Perhaps the best known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon; two women each lay claim to being the mother of the same child. Solomon easily resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half and shared between the two. One woman promptly renounced her claim, proving that she would rather give up the child than see it killed. Solomon declared the woman who showed compassion to be the true mother, entitled to the whole child. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon#Wisdom)

Okay… but how does this relate to finding the treasure?

Picture the following scenario, one which I expect is fairly common among searchers (either armchair or BOTG).  You’ve solved the clues and you’re hiking up alongside your creek with heavy loads and water high up ahead (or maybe you’ve passed them already).  Maybe you’re on a trail or maybe you’re already off the trail.  You’re looking for a blaze, but at this point, you’re basically flying blind outside of that.  Simplified, maybe it looks something like this:

You think you’re looking for the blaze, but maybe you first need to be looking for something else; something that splits from your creek.  Maybe it’s another creek.  Maybe it’s a side-trail (if you’re on a trail).  But we aren’t taking that side-trail/creek because what would be “wise” about that?  We need to split the creeks in two:

And then we find the blaze, find the treasure, pop some champagne, revel in our brilliant solve, and go about arranging to give FF his bracelet and buying a new car.  Easy game.

Obviously, I have no idea if this interpretation is correct, but it’s something I haven’t seen before and it doesn’t materially impact my 2nd solve (because you have to figure out the rest of the poem first) so I figured it may be something that could benefit someone else.  Do with it as you will – I’m going to bed.



91 thoughts on “Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze…

  1. I think a lot of people confuse “wisdom” with knowledge, intelligence, maybe even cleverness… perhaps you need not only knowledge and information to decipher the previous clues, but also a touch of wisdom to get yourself to the blaze clue…

    • So do you think it’s by pinion nuts from his mistakeor that it was misleading. And where is the Y clue from?

    • Michael,
      That is news to me.
      Wisdom and sage?
      I know one thing I was really obsessed with sagebrush, when I went out West I couldn’t believe how resilient that plant was.
      I got tangled up in it a few times, I even bought back some and planted it. Unfortunately it didn’t survive!
      I was just fascinated by that plant, the the color, smell and the toughness of it.
      So if wisdom = sage, I’ll have to research it, also I don’t remember sage being close to the chest. Could you refer me to the location in Mr. Fenn’s book where he mentioned that?
      Thanks FMC,but I have no idea what your talking about.
      Thank you Dal, Dal could you tell me how I can order Mr.Fenns new book
      ” Once Upon A While ”
      Sincerely, MJ

      • Martha;

        Here is the quote you asked about: “Forrest also said, “If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains, I’d see animals. I’d smell wonderful smells of pine needles, or pinyon nuts, sagebrush—and I know the treasure chest is wet. Well you’ve asked me a lot of questions and some of them—most of them I answered, a few I haven’t, but I’ve got to tell you—there’s one thing I told you I wish I had not.” f Hope this helps. JDA

        • Forrest later said that he wished he had not said Pinyon nuts – he meant pine needles, even though he had already mentioned pine needles – JDA

        • Thank you JDA, I have always been told you ask too many questions, but hey life’s short, be honest tell people what you want,
          Why mess around with petty stuff!!
          JDA you are such a clam, kind and reasonable man. I hope your doing well.
          Thank you again, Martha

  2. Good one FMC. I’m in group 2 except I don’t necessarily think you need BOTG to know what the blaze is. That said, I have no idea what the blaze is. Best of luck to you and thank you for sharing your idea.

  3. Interesting FMC.

    Here is a another school of thought: “If you’ve been wise..” might mean that the searcher has predetermined what sort of place is the end zone and what is the blaze, in addition to having solved all the previous clues.

    Those details could probably only be discovered by either miraculously guessing them, or by uncovering hidden information within the poem.

    In this school, the trick is to determine the way in which the hypothetical additional information is hidden in the poem, and then mining that information out with determination and perseverance.

    Probably there are more schools, and I’m interested to hear about them..

  4. I do believe that this scenario could be likely. Mainly because FF stated people didn’t know where they were and went past the remaining clues. They could continue up the river or creek without realizing where to part from it. But what is it that they missed that kept them on their path? Could it have been a clue on the river or creek or one from earlier in the poem that they did not grasp?

    Thanks for posting!

    • Aaron & Fmc,

      First FMC, I have been in both boats with your senerios and for a long time I believed the blaze could be seen from a aerial view. Almost all the places I’ve search had what I thought was the blaze near “waters high” so that’s where I would search, but always came home empty handed. I now believe you have to have those “boots on the ground” and be “wise” of all the things said by Forrest about the blaze and use that when looking around “water high” and also give yourself a radius from that point to look not just in maybe a obvious direction.

      Aaron, the statement about Forrest saying searchers have got two clues and went by the other seven is because of their “focus”. The two clues I believe we’re WWWH and canyon down. When they were in the process of going down the canyon they were focused on other places that fit the clues. As we all know the clues can fit a lot of places throughout the Rockies and this was the case on there canyon down trek. I see three possibles in my solve area that could be why they went past. I was lucky in taking a “tangent trail” on the way back after searching one of those other possibles then coming across the real meaning of “heavy loads” after that I followed the trail up and came across “water high”. But at that point I was more “focused” in area that I had seen in a aerial view of the whole area that could have been considered a blaze. Well anyway if or when I get a chance to head back out west I will put the 2nd option into affect. So Aaron being too focused in things you see on goggle earth might just take you past the true clue solves that get you to “indulgence”. Good luck to both of you.

      • Hello Bur, I also believe that searchers may have got WWWH and canyon down correct and went past the other 7. I think it is because they did not find PIBHOB and understood how it fit into the poem IMO. Are you thinking, based on your solve area, that they missed PIBHOB?

        Interesting that you considered a whole area the blaze versus a single object. Have you changed your view on this?

        Good luck on the next trip!

  5. I would hate to think it became, enie, menie, mynie, moe and they got pure lucky choosing one or the other or a complete fail. I believe if you are aware where you are at would have better results. IMO

    Thanks for your post.

  6. FF said it is not near a human trail, so you might adjust the example with that in mind. IMO

    • ff says the treasure is not near a trail. only the end of the chase is not near a trail. the strat could be a trail.imuho

  7. I think that FF put misdirection in to his poem. the addition of a side creek and the looking quickly down from the blaze.also rethink what the clues that are in the poem, it is 26 lines not 12. i think the first clue is before where warm waters halt. FF tells you to start at the beginning.warm waters halt is not the beginning of the poem. the only thing a owl has to do with anything is offering some sage advice,
    A wise old owl liv’d in a oak
    the more he heard, the less he spoke
    the less he spoke, the more he heard
    Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird.

    • I disagree, Mr. Fenn didn’t put misdirection in the poem. He wasn’t playing any games. The misdirection comes from other posters misquoting him. There is another misdirection coming from dead dogs from back east on bridges IMO. Don’t get stuck with a bunch of fairies unless its your only way out of a bad deal, then dont get stuck with them again. Learn where your value lies, IMO.

      • Strawshadow you said,….. There is another misdirection coming from dead dogs from back east on bridges IMO.
        Is this the dog on a bridge painting that was spoken of years ago as a possible take on dead dig lane in Santa Fe? Lol What did you mean? Can you elaborate?

        • Kim,
          First I said in my opinion. And yes I was referring to the dead dog on a bridge painting by Gaul. Letting so called “friends” talk him into bad deal. Lesson learned, as I have gone alone in there. I know nothing about “dead dig lane in Santa Fe”.
          The biggest mis-direction comes from others who “quote” or should say mis-quote Mr. Fenn. They read it a certain way and that’s how they remember it. Much like how I misquoted the dead dogs on a bridge from above. Hope this helps as you read the blogs for entertainment:)

    • The Poem is 26 lines broken down as 12 lines that convey the meaning, a preface, a conclusion and an epitaph.

      This is how we teach poetry writing. This poem is composed as if the author had been reading a chapter called “how to write poetry.

      This is a ballad. The ballad is the first type of poem we teach and learn.

      If Fenn came to me and said I want to write a poem that contains clues to a hidden treasure. I would say write a ballad and make sure you first tell us why you are writing the poem and then at the end tell us why you wrote it or what we accomplished. Or BOTH


  8. If you’ve been wise is past tense, so, it could mean you need to pass by the “Y” in road, ie; (the fork) in creek , river,or trail.
    And found the blaze…also past tense, you may see the blaze just past your fork?
    Uhmm, dunno, lol
    There are 2 stops, halt and cease, are these rest areas on the trail or a picnic for your pimento sandwich or while driving too far to walk, you stop at the second one, but, arghh, he did say in consecutive order not a cumalirive narration of telling how to get to grandmother’s house, over the hill and through the woods.
    Gosh, well, goll-leee sarge, I just aren’t any help.
    Hope you got some much needed rest 🙂

    • Oh,oh, could us owls who wear glasses have the blaze a bridge, since glasses rest on the bridge of our nose, maybe ill look quickly down and it’ll smack me right between the eyes

  9. The blaze is “anything that stands out” according to Forrest. So in your solve, if you have worked through all the clues up to “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,” Is it too late then to find the blaze?

    Forrest has selected a blaze which is somewhere near the home of Brown (in my opinion) and it stands out, but if you have not yet found it, then how do you identify it once you have experienced the “heavy loads and water high”?

    Instead of halving the blaze, I have a different solution. I find the blaze to be across the creek, and in my solve, up the hill. In the past I assumed I had to search the entire creek in my area to find the blaze, but now I realize it was right up above me all the time.

    And it is sitting on the home of Brown as well. In a small way, my solution is kind of similar to this post by FMC, but I go up while still staying on the home of Brown. Makes perfect sense right?

    Of course, this is all my opinion based on my solve area.


  10. Couldn’t wait for the gold to buy the new car, so I’ll be making car payments instead of western journeys now-

  11. Using so called Google Foo, my most confident inducing solve has really worked out well from the armchair until i gets to the blaze. Oh yea, found an awesome blaze and a pretty good second one too. However, when looking quickly down, neither spot lends itself as a great place so special that ff would want to rest his bones there forever. Waay exposed. So, i’m kinda in group 1.5 whereas the Blazes are identified with GE but there is still somewhere to go or something to do that leads to a more secluded area with no traffic within 200 feet. At this point, my feeling is only BOTG will show the way there and perhaps in this case that could very well be splitting the creek’s Y and going booney hoppin. Thanks for the idea… Been needing a kickstart to play with.

  12. The key words in this solve are AT Three AM.
    Sitting at the computer at 3 AM that is where we all have been if we figure it out we can go back to sleep happy because we will soon have the joy of the solve then all that’s left is to travel out to. And pick up the box. And have Mr Fenn give us the title to. Yep the search is over the game over and the deal done.

    Oh so many of us so little sleep.
    I am of the opinion that 1 the clues are all on the map. The book gives us the clues and it will be so much simpler than any imagined.

    • Yup – YUP – Those 3AM sessions have brought insight, but also disappointment. But every disappointment has gotten me closer to Indulgence – I hope. I hope you are correct in saying that “It will be so much simpler than imagined. JDA

    • Hi Karen,
      I am new to the Chase, so maybe I am seeing things with fresh eyes, but I think it is fairly simple.
      I believe Mr Forrest said ( I maybe wrong) “that you can solve all the clues via a detailed map or GE but BOTG to find the chest.”
      My solve leads me to the blaze and the Blaze gives me a not tiny but specific search area for the chest.
      Only one way to find out I guess.

  13. Always interesting. Wise, (waze pronounced wize) is also a map cooridantes system that GPS and other mapping systems is based around. A company of the same name was launched in 2010-2011, but was in use in europe and military prior. its underlying idea is “visual mapping”.

    It occurs to me that if this site had a map of prior solves and also a collection of ideas of solves by line (say collection of every thing that “wise” or each line could mean as a glossery, old data may help new searchers put pieces together and add like a fenn wipikedia. it would alos probably be a marketable item

  14. An interesting way of looking at finding the blaze, FMC. IMO, the jump from the word “wise” in the poem to using the story of the Judgment of Solomon to split a distance between diverging paths seems a bit of a stretch. If I were following a creek that branched in half, I would be more inclined to follow the left branch, as in “the end is drawing ever nigh”.

    In my mind, I am not able to completely dismiss the idea of the word “wise” being a double entendre for “Y’s”, but it doesn’t sound like a firm enough idea to be significant on its own without being paired with some other clues. In my experience, finding Y-shaped features in the Rockies is just as easy as finding omega-shaped features – they are everywhere and are too numerous to count!

    I also gotta say that the image from Blue’s Clues you posted above is hilarious! That’s the perfect facial expression.

  15. That seems to be some good thinking and could help some searchers out, Wise could be clockwise and well as counterclockwise.
    Or you might have to just be “wise” enough to spot “it”.
    I’m not sure if Forrest would use the term “misdirection” but rather “hidden”. In my opinion he runs you up and down, right and left, north, south, east, west and back to where you see you have arrived where you started and know the place for the first time or something like that.

    • lone aspen said “wise could be clockwise or counterclockwise”
      Isn’t blaze veering left in a river or canyon or riding side saddle to the left?

  16. Can the blaze be pre-determined by the poem or can it only be determined at the search area?- becky

    Becky, you are a rascal to ask that question and I have been sitting here for about fifteen minutes trying to decide what to say. Well, it has been thirty minutes now and I think I’ll pass on the question. Sorry.f

    Why won’t Fenn answer this question? Some should ponder the implications of either choice.

    • He could not answer it because the question was to specific. It doesn’t give him much room to give a vague answer that doesn’t give too much away.

    • He could not answer it because the question was to specific. It doesn’t give him much room to give a vague answer that doesn’t give too much away.

  17. If you HALVE been wise and found the BLADE
    I mean halve practically tells us what the blaze is. If you’ve found the blade {look down and BOOM} see knife that growls*

    to divide/cut into two equal parts, I halved an apple.

    • Blaze definition
      A mark to indicate a trail, usually painted on or CUT into a tree.

      A person makes a blaze with a blade. See grass blade references in book.

      Fate Accompli

      • I partially disagree, yes a blaze does mark a trail, trail head and on a tree. A blaze can also be a natural mark or resembles an object of some sort.

        There are many trails that suddenly ends and is picked up again with something that resembles an object that another hiker relays to another hiker, as to what to look for to pick up the trail again.

        I found this to be true when I was hiking in the back country and took advice from someone that has been there before me.

        FF, I believe has said don’t mess with his poem. IMO, The blaze is not man made, if you paint a blaze or cut it into a tree, it is man made… So the blaze is natural and can’t be split or halved. IMO the blaze has to be visible for many years, including withstanding fire, wind and erosion.


        • CharlieM;

          I think that you are misreading the quote. Forrest has said, “♦Not associated with a structure……what does “associated” mean?
          Def: Connect (something) with something else because they occur together or one produces another Does this rule out it being in town? Could it be in a front yard, park, Memorial, etc. etc.; as long as it is not in a structure? (Taken from the “Cheat Sheet” above) Please note that he said, “Not associated with a structure – NOT it is not associated with a MAN MADE structure or object. A mark on a tree is not a structure. I would even go so far as to say that several stones stacked on top of each other as a marker is not a structure. You may disagree.

          That is the fun of the chase, we all have different ideas, I just do not want to see you painting yourself into a corner, based on something you THINK Forrest said, not what he actually said. JDA

          • JDA,
            You might want to look a bit more… There is a comment about just that use of language.

        • Charlie M,
          There’s a QnA floating around about the blaze being able to be remove… Fenn answered was interesting. You might want to look it up.

          I personally would be careful about the size of what a natural feature would be, when thinking about what the poem might refer to as the blaze.

          • Seeker;

            This may be the quote you wanted: While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try, and I am certain it’s still there”

            I was not able to find your other quote about the blaze being man made. JDA

          • JDA,
            I’m done plastering quotes and comments… Folks have many reliable sources to find them for their selves.
            Hint… Not a QnA, as much as it was an interview…

          • Seeker,

            So I’m not up all night trying to find what you are talking about, could you point to where it is?

            I didn’t hint at the size of the blaze, I would never do that.


            With your “Def: Connect (something) with something else because they occur together or one produces another.”

            It does create a structure when you attach a blaze in any fashion to a tree or pile rocks etc… It’s not natural. IMO FF does associate a lot to nature, why would he go outside of those boundaries placing the TC in the Rockies?

          • Geezzuss… Have you guys never read “safety first”???
            “…Under a man made…”

            You fill in the blank.

        • Charlie, imaginarily speaking……


          See cut of one’s jib on Wikipedia: knife blade shape

          Been – wind instrument

          The pungi (Hindi: पुंगी), also called the been (बीन), is a wind instrument played by snake
          charmers on the Indian subcontinent.

          I wrote this poem in 5 minutes to counter Dal’s malicious Garmin malplacement of the treasure. There are as many hints in this poem as there are dents in Esmeralda, who still glides the tartop after 294,000 miles. Dal must be on something and I don’t think its Sarsaparilla.

          Don’t tell me Dal in whispers hushed,
          Of golden hoards and treasures lush,
          And broken trails and bushes crushed,
          Or shattered dreams lost in the rush.

          But say it true and not a fib,
          And make it plain without the glib,
          I’ll set my spinnaker and jib,
          And go directly for the scrib,
          (I don’t know what scrib means but it rhymes and that’s all I care about)

          Fait Accompli

  18. FMC,
    I have a solve I am still working on which meshes with your idea about the Blaze. Here it is: I have a WWWH start, then take it in a canyon down, below a place named Brown, then turn left onto a public Forest Service (“your “) road along a creek heading north and then west. After a mile or two I reach a decision point in order to get to an omega (“end”)feature on GE. I have to park the vehicle and strike out on foot less than half a mile to the west to find the Blaze. It looks just like your sketch. Probably total coincidence.

  19. FMC.

    I understand splitting a creek, trail etc… To go in a different direction if one way doesn’t work out. But to me not having focus on where your going and having to choose left or right while having botg has no focus, IMO, it is floundering around.

    However if you are doing a search via GE it makes perfect sense taking a creek, trail or canyon to the left or right, up or down if it starts below HoB to accomplish finding the blaze. One doesn’t work then do the other. That is providing you can recognize the blaze using GE.

  20. As I “halve” gone alone in there (the blaze)…
    This doesn’t work with my solve, but I thought it might help someone else. I need to think about it more. Maybe I am missing something in my solve.

  21. My interpretation of “wise” differs from all of your examples FMC.
    The secret is noticing things that others do not.
    (Like why is this post dated November 2017??)

  22. He could not answer it because the question was to specific. It doesn’t give him much room to give a vague answer that doesn’t give too much away. IMO

  23. Searchers:
    Quietly enjoying the comments and ideas. Need to get this out there again: in my very humble opinion, and that’s all it is at this point in time, the “Blaze” is a natural phenomenon or physical characteristic that will last 1000 years or so. Not a mark on a tree or a stack of rocks or something man made or a play on words. A “structure” could pertain to something natural well off a human trail but not man made. Sharing my guidance.
    Good luck to all.

  24. Hi again. As to “Heavy loads and Waters high”..Heavy loads refer to mountains. .Waters high refer to water mist after sunset or the Dew before sunrise. Just above the mountains. The light of sunset and sunrise reflect the blaze, off the mist. The blaze shows it’s self at those times of day. Good idea to take a flashlight as light is diminished at both times of day. ..this scenario happens at my favorite solve site…Colleen

  25. It seems as tho as he used a lot of pun’s in my solve. There is a lot of the words with multiple definitions. I checked them all. I have one location that most (normally 3) definitions and most interpretations apply. Multiple Rockey Mountains, 3 Brown’s, many reasons you can’t paddle, 3 blazes, 3 in the wood, 1 area

  26. Ponder this; FF said in the poem “That I must go”. Which I in the poem must go and what happens if You remove all the I’s? Is that just capital I’s or lower case i’s as well? “So why is it that I must go”

    • It is this sort of thinking that makes me think I’m on the wrong track . Your thoughts make sence but leads to dispare bc your thoughts change up the whole game. Remove the “I’s?”..ok..what does that leave you with? I guess I’m not willing to disect this poem as you do. Too difficult for me. So you may “win” and ..so..good luck.

  27. What if the blaze, is in reference to “Blazing a Trail”; the term is old, and actually meant marking trees or cutting chunks of a tree out, to leave a trail for other people to follow?! Hence, the name Trailblazers, because it was an actual job, that people of old used to do! Just a thought. I don’t have any real thought to what that might actually mean, in terms of a location. Other then maybe he marked trees? Or he marked the trail, with something.

  28. hahahahahaaaa!! Sorry, something Purple-I live in the Great State of Oregon, so it’s okay!! 🙂

  29. You could try reading it a few more times, because I feel I explained it pretty simply, but tbh, I’m ok with people not getting it (for obvious reasons).

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