Grayling Creek 2017: Cynthia’s Version…



The sound of chirping crickets awakened me as my iPhone announced it was time to rise and shine. It was still dark but I knew I had to hustle to get ready to join Dal and the ABC Nightline crew at Dal’s place in West Yellowstone where we’d planned to meet to start the filming of what I hoped would be an outstanding piece of Fenn treasure hunting.

It was Monday, September 18th, 2017. I’d been thinking about visiting Yellowstone National Park ever since I moved to New Mexico 25 years ago. I’ve been searching for Forrest’s elusive treasure chest for almost 5 years, and now I felt like I’d run out of places where warm waters halt, at least in New Mexico. It was time to broaden my search area, and West Yellowstone and the National Park was my new destination. I was ecstatic!

Lucky for me, Dal had agreed to meet me and my friends in West Yellowstone when we were still in the planning stages of synchronizing our itinerary way back in August. Soon after, ABC Nightline asked if they could film us on one of our searches… we both said yes.

Since Dal has searched this region repeatedly over the last several years, I let him decide where we should take them. I prefered a place outside the National Park boundary so that Molly could tag along. He agreed and knew the perfect spot…. at the bend in the road where Hwy191 crosses Grayling Creek. He knew Forrest had fished from the bridge downstream along Grayling Creek to the canyon.

Dal had the solves for the first 4 clues… all I needed to do was find the BLAZE. It sounded simple at first but the previous night I laid in bed worrying about my ability or lack of knowledge in finding one that made sense for the film crew.

It was starting to get light outside when I grabbed my camera and backpack and lifted Molly into the pickup truck. The temperature was chilly and the sky overcast and gloomy… thank goodness I’d brought a raincoat. Thank goodness I’d brought warm clothing…

The film crew took some departing shots of Dal, Molly, and me as we packed our gear into Esmerelda and drove towards Hwy191 where we turned north and headed to the bridge ten miles up the road. There was a wide enough area along the highway on the south side of the bridge where we could get both vehicles off the road. On the map that follows, the red arrow at the bottom is the town of West Yellowstone, and the red arrow near the top is where the road bends and crosses Grayling Creek, our destination for the day.

In the picture below, the small bridge crossing the creek in the grassy area is for snow mobiles to use in the wintertime. This is where the crew staged their cameras for our intial interviews that morning.

While the crew transported their gear from their SUV to the bridge, Dal headed across to scout a place where we all could safely get down the bank to the creek and forest.

The ABC crew was comprised of Michelle Kessel producer, Clayton Sandell correspondent, and Connor Burton producer and drone operator.

After the interviews, Dal and Molly took the lead as we scurried down the embankment and bushwhacked our way through the trees into the grassy meadow.

Dal had explained that the trees and brush were too thick along the creek downstream from the bridge so we’d walk through the woods into a large meadow and from there we could make our way to Grayling Creek. We could see trees, we could see mountains, and we could tell there’d been animals. We could smell the sweet smells of pine needles and sage brush…

And holy moly, off in the distance at the far end of the meadow, I could see a BLAZE… a rock face looking towards us.

As the film crew and Molly and I made our way through the sage brush, Dal walked up the hillside a bit to get a better view of the area.

Dal took some pictures from his vantage point, then came back down to the meadow and joined us. I had dropped Molly’s leash for a minute to take some pictures as well, only to lose her momentarily. She had wandered off to the thicket of willows behind the folks in the picture below.

Her nose led her to this… a dead mule deer with its front legs dismembered, and brush covering her body to hide her… Dal said it looked like a recent bear kill. Hmmm, were we being watched?

Instead of continuing straight to the BLAZE, we moved to our left and walked down to Grayling Creek. The pictures make the water look brown but it wasn’t… it was clean and clear and did not look deep.

At this bend in the creek, we left the shoreline and walked back through the trees to the base of my Blaze…

There, surrounded by trees, was a perfect hiding spot… beneath the end of this large boulder. I got down on my hands and knees and peered in… I didn’t see anything glistening nor anything that looked like the bronze chest with the loot… so I crawled in even farther. Just rocks… no treasure chest. But it looked like a great place where Forrest could have pushed the chest in a hole in the rocks… but he didn’t.

The crew asked us to walk back to the large meadow. They went to the far end as we stayed put. Then they launched their drone.

Before we knew it, hours had flown by. The crew told us they had enough footage and we could head back to the bridge and our cars. In the picture above, Dal is trying to find the game trail we used to get from the meadow through the forest and back to the road.

Eventually, we all made the short climb up the embankment and back to the bridge. Clayton asked us a few more questions on camera, and asked both Dal and me to read the poem for the final footage of the morning.

Our mission was over… we provided ABC with a damn good search story and an awesome half-day adventure. They were happy… I was happy… I found a good BLAZE. Were Dal and I disappointed because we didn’t find Fenn’s loot? Not at all… despite it being after noon, our day was just beginning.

He cranked up Esmerelda and off we went… into Yellowstone National Park and Forrest Fenn’s childhood special places.

To be continued… 2018! Cynthia and Molly and Dal



You can read Dal’s version of this search HERE

The end result of the crew’s work are two stories on the ABC site. One story is video and the other is written. The written story is HERE

The video story can be found HERE

29 thoughts on “Grayling Creek 2017: Cynthia’s Version…

    • awesome adventure thanks for the share be careful in that country make noise and dont run if you see the griz thats a
      life line rule i believe

  1. Nice write-up and beautiful scenery. Did ABC give you any idea of when this story would air?

    • Randawg, It’s complicated. It was scheduled to air Oct 20th. Forrest had to postpone his interview last month and they never rescheduled but I think ABC is set to interview him the morning of the book-signing (Thursday). Hopefully they already have Dal’s and my segment done so all they have to do is add FF. Hopefully it will air before the end of the year. Dal should know ahead of time to warn every one.

  2. Gosh, that looked like so much fun. I’m glad you were able to make it to Yellowstone National Park. The photos above are absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Cynthia.

  3. Nice trip Cynthia and Molly, you too Dal, what surprises me a little is that the blaze always seems to be above where you search for the hidden chest, someone needs to ask Forrest if the blaze is above or below the TC location. Also ask if the blaze is a living thing, as it could be a tree or a mark either natural or man made on a tree. Just wondering how so many people think it is in stone, most but not all, as you know I like to go against the grain.

    It would be interesting to see how The ABC crew of Michelle Kessel producer, Clayton Sandell correspondent, and Connor Burton producer and drone operator show this search and its roots.

    The media certainly picked the best and brightest stars to illuminate the story, do you know when it will air?


  4. Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. The spot below the rock formation looked like a very good potential hidey spot. That would be the type of hidey spot that would easily explain Forrest’s reluctance to say whether or not the Chest is buried or entombed.

    Did they use the drone to check on any other potential hidey spots at higher elevations around your search area, or was it just being used by the film crew to get some dramatic overhead shots?

  5. Cynthia, I can’t believe you’ve never searched in Yellstone before! But I’m glad you went with such a great guide in Dal and also somewhere that Molly could go!!! We all know Molly is the one who is going to sniff out the treasure 🙂

  6. That is the place that I have memories of. I had worked at a little resort near there and we would take the customers on horseback into that area. I wish that I was able to go there now. Good for you. Great write up of your search.

  7. Cynthia, neat search and well thought out. You and Dal are the brightest stars in this unique treasure hunt.. great perspective.

    After reading both Dal and your accounts of the excursion into Grayling Creek I am struck by the difference and some similarities that are in each of your perception(s) of what the Blaze is and where it could be found, so many people have gotten off think that the blaze is “an object, like a rock with a white streak of quartz” or similar object and ff has addressed it in Mysterious Writings as:

    “Mr. Fenn, which direction does the Blaze face? North, South, East or West? Curious. Foxy

    I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f

    My take of the Blaze is that it may be an event, a bright, brillant even blazing occurrence that one must be Wise to observe at a special time.

    Imagine the event in the Christmas Story of the 3 Wise Men from the east who followed a star in the sky to find a predicted treasure from heaven, and bring treasures to the newborn King.

    Perhaps we must be wise to understand that an event might just be the blaze we seek, is it possible the blaze is a similar thing, idea, or even a living thing?

    One memorable trip for me was the Garden of the Gods in CO. what a unique place, but I doubt it is the special place because of finders keepers legal problem?


  8. Great story and great pictures Cynthia! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve always wanted to search this area and now I don’t have to as you’ve done it for me! 🙂

  9. Cynthia Cynthia whatttttttttttt you broaden your horizons to my side of the rockys your so sneaky. I searched grayling never found nothing I liked the pulpit rock theory I had last year and the lady on the rock But that was a bust looks like y’all had fun now get back to your side of the Rockies hehe

    • Ha Ha, Diggin, I was wondering if you’d see I was in your neck of the woods. OMG, I have fallen in love with YNP and the outlying areas to search for Fenn’s loot.

      This is a bit premature but i met so many people at the book-signing event who search up there. Since I plan to park my camper in West Yellowstone summer 2018, there are a bunch of us who want to gather in that area in June and have a mini-Fennboree for the searchers who search up there. These searchers are from far away but since they search in that area, we all will try to synchronize a time when we can search (separately) and then gather someplace to socialize in West Yellowstone. Are you in? We are thinking the third week in June 2018. So far there are 5 of us committing (prematurely) to doing this. 🙂 cynthia

      • I’ll try my darndest It would be fun for sure And i think Forrest sent u there to make it a rat race Sneaky ole coot getting all the top hunters to the finish line He is cheating !!!!

    • DG: your Pulpit Rock solution was the best one that has ever been posted here. I have no doubt that Forrest was referring to you when he spoke of searchers coming within 200 feet of the chest … just not on that particular occasion. 😉

  10. Great story Cynthia. Thanks for sharing it with us. Molly found her treasure (The deer carcass) – sorry you didn’t find yours – other than the beautiful outing and country. Again, thanks for sharing – JDA

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