SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by The Geezer Team
We (the Geezer Team) believe that the best way to find the treasure is to take Forrest Fenn’s poem at face value and temper that with information provided by Fenn since the poem’s publication. Our approach will also include establishing segments such as A-B wherein A is WWWH and B is the HOB, the HOB and the blaze make up segment B-C, and the blaze and the treasure is segment C-D. We don’t know if our approach is any bettter than other approaches, we just like it.
The first stanza, we believe, is an introduction wherein Fenn is telling us the treasure is hidden in some kind of rock shelter at least as big as himself plus the treasure box, “As I have gone alone in there,”. We’re guessing to getÂ in there, he may have walked in upright, stuped, crawled, or wiggled in. He is also telling us that knowledge of the hiding spot is his alone and safe. Fenn said when he decided to hide a treasure he knew exactly where to do it but how would he know about such a location? We believe it was discovered during approximately 12 summer trips to and from Yellowstone when he was a youth. If you study a highway map from the 1930s you’ll see a major route from Texas to Denver. That route passes right along three of the four major river systems for that part of the Rockies. The three river systems are the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, and the Platte. (Fenn has ruled out the Rio Grande, however). On those long trips away from and back to their Texas home, we believe the Fenn family stopped along the rivers to rest, to camp over night, and to fish for trout. And, there was probably enough leisure time for two exuberant boys to explore, discover, collect artifacts, etc.
In the second stanza, we got started right away on segment A-B. We believe that “Begin it where warm waters halt” is a tributary water way, which flows into a river, and that we have found that tributary. Finding A, of course, is the key to the whole enchilada. The tributary has numerous hot springs making it a warm water source. Then we have: “And take it in the canyon down,” which means the searcher is in a water craft of some kind (canoe, kayak, raft) going with the current and into a canyon. We believe the use of a water craft is confirmed by “put in” (2nd stanza, 4th line) which is a nautical term meaning to land, esp. put in to a port. Alternatively, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance might be able to be used when this river’s water is low, typically, early spring and late autum. But we don’t know if that’s legal. Now, what about “Not far, but too far to walk.”? How can a destination be both “not far” but also “too far” at the same time? Since the searcher has to go down through a canyon he/she might think why not just walk up on top the river bank. We believe Fenn is telling us (and we observed) that the canyon has sides that are riddled with deep gulches making that kind of endeavour a long hike – up and down, up and down, up and down, etc. thus adding many more miles, and tough ones at that.
“Put in below the home of Brown.” tells us where to stop, where to “Put in”, thus determining segment A-B. It seems like there are two ways to interpret “… home of Brown.”, both require Brown to be capitalized, but for different reasons. The first is that Brown is a proper name wherein the searcher must find a person, place or thing named Brown along the river, in the river, or on top of a bank overlooking the river, etc. We call this the “proper name” scenario The second interpretation is that Brown refers to an animal species; e.g., Brown Bear, Brown Trout. I can hear many folks screaming right now; ” … but, but, but, but the rules of capitalzation …”! And, early on in our quest, we would have been screaming right along with you. However, the capitalization of common species names is now becoming a regular practice. But, this is also a special case allowing Brown to be capitalized to distinguish a common species name from a feature like color. For example, we are saying these are not just trout that are colored brown but are a species with many distiguishing features. We call this the “Brown Trout” scenario, which we will pursue if the “proper name” scenario does not produce the treasure. More discussion on this later.
In searching for point B of segement A-B, we actually found a location with an interesting proper name. The proper name we found is Brownsville! But don’t try to find it on a map because it hasn’t existed for a long time. The town of Brownsville was a ghost town when the Fenn’s visited the area and there is now a different name for that location! That Fenn sure is a sly old fox, but don’t try to baffle the old Geezer Team, buddy boy! Actually, we stumbled into that information, serendipitiously, and went to the old Brownsville cemetary but couldn’t find “any body” named Brown (ha, ha, ha). We discovered later that the Brown in question is in a different cemetary. The old Brownsville town wasn’t quite on the river, but the slope of the land from the town down to the river canyon was sufficient for us to believe that that part of the river is “below the home of Brown.” Further, if a searcher “puts in” on the opposite river bank there is a gulch that kind of fits the next part of the poem.
For segment B-C, Fenn cautions that the going will be tough (“From there it’s no place for the meek,”) and searchers will be in a non-navigable creek (“there’ll be no paddle up your creek,”). We are puzzled, however, by the words “your creek”, why not just say “the creek”. One reason we could think of was that maybe we should be looking for a creek with a name like “Treasure Creek” or “Gold Creek” or “Searchers Creek”, etc. But there are no creeks with names that fit that category in our search area. We are more puzzled by the next line, however: “Just heavy loads and water high.”! Some searchers say the heavy loads could be big boulders and rocks but I hope no one is trying to carry them around! Some searchers say the heavy loads are the treasure box contents, but it hasn’t been found yet since we’re following the poem sequently, as Fenn suggests. Does “water high” mean there’s water further up the gulch, does it mean the water found will be deep, or is it a water feature like a water fall? We know for a fact that this gulch has a wet lands seven miles up from the river and has some small springs along the way but for the most part the gulch is seasonal – intermittent wet and dry. Like a tree that’s been cut down, we’re stumped, so we will move on to the next stanza.
Discovering point C requires finding the blaze, a major element to finding the treasure. Fenn offers little help in the poem simply saying “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,” which tells us nothing because we already know that the Geezer Team is wise! He has told us, however, that the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail and that searchers have been within 500 feet! So at .5 miles we got out of the gulch and went 500 feet left and right. Some searchers believe “nigh” means left, so why not just do the left side? Well, we’re having a hard time finding that definition. No matter, if you go one side and don’t find the treasure, you’ll be wise and go on the other side, or go home empty handed. But, when a searcher leaves the gulch what should he/she be looking for as a location? Look for a place that satisfies Fenn’s sensory experience as if he were standing near the treasure hiding spot. Fenn wants to able to see his beloved Rocky Mountains, a river valley, the river, pine trees, and indiginous animals (deer, elk, prong horn, big horn sheep). He wants to smell sage brush, pines, and most of all Pinon Pine, especially when the sap runs thick! To date, we have searched an area approximately .5 mile from the river and 1 mile up, on both sides of the gulch, with no results. Winter is coming on so we will wait until spring 2018 to do the next mile up.
Since the blaze must last 10,000 plus years it can’t be a tree notch, a carving, a cairn, or any thing like that. It can’t rot, rust, or be prone to erosion or being moved in any way. So we are left with something like a natural rock formation or discoloration. But we don’t buy that either. As mentined earlier, Fenn said he knew exactly where to hide the treasure. It is highly improbable, though, that a natural blaze would be in exactly the right place too. We’re guessing that the blaze is something he made, brought in and placed himself. Something meaningful to show the way. Something like, like … Well, figure it out yourself, we can’t have all the fun. The meaning of “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.” is that since the blaze is man-made, you will know it when you see it, else you are not wise! So now we have a way ahead for segment B-C.
Segment C-D is from the blaze to the treasure and Fenn gives searchers instructions. He says “Look quickly down, your quest to cease.” We believe he means, when a searcher sees the blaze, stop! Moving forward toward the blaze (a natural tendency) will put the searcher out of position to see the chest! Looking down has several interpretations such as look down at your feet, or look south, or look down the trail, or if the blaze is high, just bring your gaze down. We believe it doesn’t matter at this point. When we find the blaze we’ll try anything and everything to find the treasure, even bring in bull dozers, back hoes, construction cranes, jack hammers, etc.!
In the final stanza first line, Fenn urges searchers to listen up with: “So hear me all and listen good,” then: “Your effort will be worth the cold.” and “If you are brave and in the wood”. We believe that the “cold” means that the hiding place is on the north side of some feature, a cliff, rock out-cropping, boulder pile, etc., where the sun never shines. And/or the river and creek waters are always cold! The last sentence of the poem is puzzling. Why does one have to be brave, unless its just a general trait expected of searchers? For “in the wood” we’re guessing Fenn means in the chest, which is lined with Lebanon cedar! For the rest of that sentence and the last line of the poem, “I give you title to the gold.” Fenn has gone weird on us. If we have the chest and its contents we don’t need title from him or anyone else. Unless, unless, … unless all the intended treasure is not in the chest and we have to collect the rest from him or his estate!
A bit about the “Broun Trout” scenario, which we believe is actually a “Brown Trout spawning” scenario. First we have to find a new WWWH for segment A-B, either on this river or another. Next we go down a canyon as before but this time we’re looking for a Brown Trout spawning tributary to begin segment B-C. Once we find the tributary, we are “… below the home of Brown.” and can head up that creek and then explore 500 feet on either side to find the blaze. The phrase “… no place for the meek.” now takes on a new meaning as it refers to the trout swimming up stream to spawn! Females carry approximately 10,000 – 20,000 eggs (Just heavy loads …) which are laid and fertilized in the autum but don’t hatch until the spring when the waters start warming up. The hatch becomes thosands of fry and those that survive become fingerlings which stay in the creek at least a year. Thus, although still non-navigable, the creek must have water all year and be deep enough for spawning (… water high.).
We imagined spawning to go something like this: After swimming up stream, a male trout approaches a female and she says “Wow, you look buff, what’s up big boy!” He says “Yeah, been working out for the spawn. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a little romance?.” ”I am! I just laid a few thousand eggs over by those rocks in a nest I made. Go knock yourself out, then come back for a cigy-pooh! (Jack Kerouac beatnik slang for cigarette). After which I’ll cover the fertilized eggs with sand and gravel, then we’ll get back to the river. You won’t tell any body about this, will you? I mean, we just met and now we’re having all these kids! A girl has to worry about her reputation.” “Nah, what happens in this creek, stays in this creek.”
The Geezer Team-