My Take on the Word That is Key…

MAY 2018

by JOHN R.


I have been in the Chase for two years now. Like everyone else I have my own ideas on how to solve the poem and retrieve the chest. I have been working on Forrests’ statement on the Key Word.

The full statement is:

It is interesting to know that a great number of people are out there searching. Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. The treasure may be discovered sooner than I anticipated.

The word that I think is Key is HEARTH. Please bear with me.

I will work with Tight Focus.

If you look up the definition of  focus there are many definitions, but the one we shall look at is:

 A point at which rays of light or other radiation converge or from which they appear to diverge, as after refraction or reflection in an optical system.

This is the effect when you have a magnifying glass outside in the sun. If you aim the magnifying glass at a piece of paper, the suns rays enter the glass and are concentrated into a focal point, or Tight Focus, onto the paper which burns when its ignition temperature is reached.

The origin of the word focus is interesting. It originates in the 1640’s from Latin focus, meaning Hearth or fireplace. This also referred to home or family, as in years gone by the fireplace,( or hearth) was a focal point of the home where people gathered.

Hearth can also refer to a slab of concrete or stone in front of a fireplace, or the bottom part of a furnace in which the molten metal is produced or contained. Forrest would have been familiar with this term during his Bronze casting days. Don’t forget the various times that Forrest has mentioned sitting by his fireplace, and the importance Forrest places on family.

Not convinced yet that Hearth is the key word? Try this.

On Jenny Kiles site on the 23rd June 2015, Forrest was asked how he went about melding bronze to iron. He replied that it was done using a Heliarc, which uses an inert gas to keep the oxygen away, allowing the 2 metals to meld together. Now this is where it gets interesting. Heliarc welding is done using Helium or Argon gas as these are inert gases. So now we split the word Hearth up and use the Periodic Table.

He = Helium        

Ar = Argon

Th= Thorium

Thorium Oxide is used as a stabiliser in tungsten electrodes in Heliarc or TIG welding. Remember Forrest referring to Thor? Thorium is named after Thor, the Norse God of thunder. Thorium is also the 90th element on the periodic table. Lines up with all the references to the number 90. Maybe that is why the section on Jennys site was called Periodic Words from Forrest?

Still not convinced? Try this:

In Forrests books and blogs there are many photographs and references to hats, and in particular womens hats. Annabelles hat, Mildew and Bella Abzug come to mind as well as the painting shown on page 186 of TFTW.




Take the 3 letters in the first line. They spell HAT. Take the 3 letters in the second line and rearrange them They spell HER. HER HAT.

If you don’t think anagrams are part of the solve, then I guess you will not think that Hearth is the key word.

In my opinion I believe that Hearth is the key word that Forrest is looking for, but who knows until the chest is found. I would appreciate your thoughts.

-John R.

548 thoughts on “My Take on the Word That is Key…

  1. The word that is key is more simple than this IMO. Thanks for sharing though John.

    • the end matters not its the beginning and where the beginning came from that really matters and all the key words matter but one stands alone? to stand in comfort alone you might be warm. happy learning happy hunting go safely without un necessary risks remember its in a safe place

  2. Interesting and deep-thinking, but in my own solves I always try to be aware of apophenic tendencies.

    Apophenia: The natural tendency of human beings to find meaning and significance in random, coincidental, or impersonal data. Seeing patterns where there are none.

    • Michael –

      You are describing the most ardent believers here. Every time I try to explain that something is coincidence they react negatively. Even the ones that understand confirmation bias still succumb to it.

      When it seems like two things should not be occurring at the same time, or on the same page, and we are at a loss for understanding, we have a word that describes what is happening: Coincidence

      Here is my rule. Whenever someone says “This cannot be a coincidence” it’s a coincidence.

      They see patterns. They connect dots. They ignore facts by choice. They support each other.


        • Holy Cow there are several stories that remind me of techniches or circumstances here at the HoD.


          • LOL Lug—-

            Thought you might enjoy that. All the best to you with you search! By the way Lug, you’ve mentioned going into the studio before– are you a musician?

          • Sparrow

            Yes I play guitar and sing and I write songs. I recorded a song in October and now I’m being told it won’t be mastered and released until after we record in July.

            Racine Street Blues includes the line:

            And I’m in the wood by 5


          • Lugnutz—
            I follow a music producer named Bill Racine. Any connection with your band name?

          • Racine is a street in Chicago. Back when we had electric street cars there was a north south route on Racine.

    • Interesting and thanks for sharing. I’m of the opinion it’s much simpler and the key word is in the poem. In my solve the word leads directly to the first clue.

  3. I was always fond of the bromine, oxygen, tungsten, nitrogen key word:

    Br – O – W – N

  4. Very interesting information. Im not sure that hearth is key but I am fairly sure that fireplace, cookstove or campstove is important. I think we are looking for a natural Fen that is near to a land formation that is named after or looks similar to a camp stove, fireplace or cookstove. I believe this feature is HOB. FF described his mother taking toast “brown” from the oven and spreading jam to make the children an imaginary dessert after dinner. I believe that HOB could be one of two things. One of those things “browns” like a stove. But I also think that HOB could be the Fen itself (a home made up of layer upon layer of peat which is brown). Either way; I believe a fireplace or cookstove formation is essential on the correct map

    • Good luck – One never knows – It seems like a new idea, so it just might be the missing piece – Who Knows? – Again, good luck – JDA

  5. John—–
    This is uncanny. I want to share something with you. Ever since I have begun this search I have noticed many strange parallels to another treasure contest I was involved in years ago: “In Search Of The Golden Horse”. That Treasure by the way wound up being buried in Tennessee Pass, Colorado.

    Many times (and I have chucked it up to coincidence) I have thought “man, that’s so much like TREASURE”. One of the characters in that hunt was THE MAN WITH BLACK GLOVES. Early on I read where gloves would be an important thing to bring with you on the hunt. This is just ONE instance—but important to that hunt were a horse, an owl, the wind (by the way it was “warm wind”), characters from Alice In Wonderland, Kites, gates, Smaug (from Tolkein stories, etc.

    But today I remembered very clearly when I was searching way back then writing down HEARTH and circling it. The book said “In the Heart of the Earth is buried a horse…”—
    Combine Earth and Heart = Hearth. So when I read your story today I had that strange feeling again about these two hunts being linked somehow. I know that is probably ridiculous—-but it’s a hard feeling to shake. But when you mentioned HEARTH I immediately recalled that word being so SPECIAL to me in that other search. How strange.

    I really do think you are on to something here. The reason I say that is this recent HAT contest that just started (there was one before also). As you mentioned, the (3) elements used to meld those metals spell H-A-T.

    All I can say is great work. I’m at a loss how all of this ties together—-but I do not think your article is something to just ignore. I think there is something very valuable in it.

    Thanks for sharing with us John!

    • HEARTH,

      It sounds familiar … like I’ve seen it together before.

      Blaze … hearth … chest … down … ashes … oven … ground …

      IDK …

    • Thanks Sparrow. I think I know how Hearth is used as the word that is key, but am keeping that close to my chest at present.

      • Thanks for your article, John. There was a statement that Forrest made around Valentines Day… “try to marry the two”. When you marry the 2 to its mirror image, you get a HEART, appropriate for Valentines Day. Thought that was interesting in relation to your discussion. EARTH.

    • Sparrow –

      Check it out…

      Treasure – In Search of the Golden Horse
      (“Amanda had learned the most difficult of secrets. How “to” see”).. (because John discussed tight focus)

      Now, back to the chase. I believe the ideas you expressed in your recent article here hold merit. Using the acrostic above as a segue, and your BAIT,,,Forrest fishing scrapbook “lost my spot” has TAIB / BAIT as the acrostic in the first paragraph. That it is sensitive to the topic of the narrative adds weight to it.

      Amanda said “A guide. My kingdom for a guide.” I believe this is an equally valid thought for Forrests puzzle.

      Good luck,

      • Thanks astree. Appreciate that. TISOTGH was extremely fun— but very addicting. If you put the first letters from the very first letter of each chapter together it spelled IGNORE STATE SHAPES. And there were many drawings of state shapes in the book. It was a very mysterious book and search. What a blast. lol.

        • Hi Sparrow – it was my first puzzle, the book given to me on my bithday.

          I saw the acrostic, was working it as
          There were 4 drop cap A, and the rabbit card said to use 4 things.

          The first 4 dropcaps in Forrest’s book?

          Thanks, sparrow

          • Cool! Yes– I worked on that book from 1984-1986. When I got out of the Mental Hospital in 1989 I began again, but shortly thereafter it was found.

  6. Wow that is amazing! The sun will focus tightly on a hearth-like rock formation which will reveal the treasure…

  7. John R

    Thanks for your post – You are thinking. I guess that we will just have to wait and see if HEARTH is in-fact the word that is key. Again, Thanks for your post – Keep Thinkin’ JDA

  8. Thanks John. Very interesting analysis. Funny you should bring up ‘hearth’. Early on in the chase, I had associated the Home of Brown with a hearth or beehive oven due to all the toasty brown references in TTOTC. I was curious about the the phrase “Home is where the heart is”, and even possibly the the shape of a heart as a blaze. I had also heard the phrase Home is where the “hearth” is. So I asked the folk at Library of Congress about the phrases, and they obliged. “Home” was from an old poem which proceeded “Hearth” in common usage. I now believe the WORD THAT IS KEY, is an old name for a specific area that now goes by another name. Some people are already searching in that area. …….. for what its worth to anybody. OS2

  9. I like it.

    Home is also what I think is my word that is key, for a similar reason. Home means focus point, and it is a key on my keyboard. No idea how to interpret this yet.

    • I’m not convinced that Hearth is the key word, but I certainly think you are on the right train of thought. I just wouldn’t stop the train until it reaches a natural Fen which is “home”/hearth to FF. I feel certain that TTOTC is really the story of the creation of a natural Fen. “It doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters who they think you are”. That is why we can read all of the stories and think they are rambling descriptions of FF’s life when in fact they are stories that took place over many thousand years that led to the creation of a natural “Fen”. In the story, “The Learning Curve”, FF mentions that they could take away everything, but they couldn’t take away “my name”. He several times mentions that his name is special to him.

      This is kinda off track, but my thoughts have brought me to a question I came across while reading TTOTC for the umpteenth time last week. FF has mentioned several times about Iron and getting the clues “nailed down”. But, I noticed in TTOTC that he made mention of the iron nails used in his homemade bells that have been hidden separately from the treasure. He said Skippy’s son Creighton gave him the bells. He was a deep sea diver. Question is this. Does anyone know for certainty that Skippy really had a son named Creighton? Turns out that Craton is important to the formation of a Fen. Study geography and Craton and it leads to some interesting things. So; was Skippy’s son really named Creighton? Its interesting that he would be mentioned in what appeared to be a random comment, but perhaps was not random.

      • I do not know the answer to what you Creighton question – sorry.

        Talking about nails – In “Graveyard Logic” Forrest says: “She had made the ugliest pottery thing I have ever seen. It was about 18″
        high, 10″ across, and it reeked with dismal black figures that had sharp edges. The iron nails that she had driven periodically around that poor jar had been mostly destroyed and were crumbling as a result of the high-temperature firing”

        – Interesting – probably another rabbit hole, but who knows? JDA

      • Iron nails, rude aluminum marker, bronze casting, gold frogs

        key words, words that are key, words rearranged to make new sentences, letters rearranged to make new words, clues that are really hints, hints that are really clues, anagrams, synonyms, double entendre, triple entendre, nouns

        numbers that mean anything and everything, 200ft, 500ft, 5000ft, 10200ft, a few, several, too far but not too far, tight focus, big picture, omegas, rainbows

        wooly worms, trout, driftwood, arrowheads, hats, waterfalls, old biddies, pineapple pies, grapette, disappearing string, rust stained britches

        i’m so confused i don’t know which way to go

      • Well of course FF has a nephew named CRAYTON. Do you think he would lie? Hard to imagine you have read the book that many times yet still mid-spelled his name.

        The key word isn’t a word that then requires that one use it in some complicated, bizarre research project to search for some odd meaning or reference IMO. It can be used in a more straightforward way to solve the clues. Don’t ask me how cause IDK but that’s my opinion.

        • toughshed- Thank you for the spelling correction. I actually realized I mispelled it the minute I posted. I’m pretty sure this poem can be solved even if I mispell a few words from the book. But, if you think it requires spelling, I’ll watch for the announcement that you have found it. My point was that I believe Craton (not the nephew) is important to the solve. And no, I did not think FF would lie. But, I think he might bend the truth a bit. I did think it was slightly out of place that FF mentiond his nephew giving him the nails and mentioning he was a deep sea diver. I do believe I understand why FF would mention that his nephew was a deep sea diver.

  10. JohnR –

    Your post is like a recurring nightmare for me.
    Waaaaayyy back when I fist started looking for the Fenn Cache I started with home of Brown. To me that was something that could be focused on, whereas WWH is ambiguous at best. I discussed this a few years ago. No one ever cared at all about my associations to the Periodic Table. I am not going to go nuts right here, but you can look at periodic elements as relate to things Fenn has said and photographed for years!

    Brown. Bromine Oxygen Tungsten Nitrogen.
    Brother, if you start looking at just Tungsten you’re head will explode. Highest melting point of any metal, over 10,000 degrees F, used in welding…

    This rabbit hole is all yours, welcome!


    • The “melting point” comment should be claimed as your OPINION. Have you
      ever looked up the melting point of tungsten, or even the definition of halt?

      The above is MY opinion.

      • The melting point of tungsten is the highest of any metal.

        You can look that up if your care to.

        It is the only substance that would not melt in the sun’s photoshpere, evyone knows that from 8th grade scienc class.

        I have looked up halt many times but I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter, same as I am interested in all ideas here. Who knows maybe your thought about what halt means is the key to unravelling one of the Mysteries of Fenn.

        If you are not familiar with my academic work, the first Mystery is hat happened to the ball of string that was so large it could not fit through the door.

        Lugnutz Dodge, Captain Ameritas

      • Oh, that should read Boiling Point, not melting point.

        You know what I mean, it doesn’t boil.

      • Yeh tigherfocus, you’ve mentioned several times about looking up the meaning of HALT. What dictionary are you using? Ive been to some old ones and some etymology ones and the usual basic ones…. i think I’ve gotten all the meanings and derivations of HALT. I wrote about the ‘rope’ one over a year ago. What meaning/context of HALT are you alluding to? Thanks, OS2

  11. Very compelling analysis John, however, IMO the key word is right there in the poem. No anagrams, not acrostics, no word play, no acronyms. It’s an everyday word and special word related gymnastics are not required IMO to find it.


    • Dittos Pinatubocharlie,
      Its not in the poem.
      I keep thinking about the feller with the P. U trk. bedroll, and kids.
      A frmr. Naval Intelligence Officer, told me, one time to stop overthinking issues. I tried to comply, and my life simplified a lot, by focusing on the things that matter, not the ” what ifs”

      • Batty,

        Guess I don’t understand. You said “Dittos……its not in the poem.” But I said “the key word is right there IN the poem”.

        Can you please clarify your comment?

        Thanks…… pinatubocharlie

        • hesrth isn’t in the poem. sorry i wasnt clear on this.
          I have struggled as long as i rember, not to
          say as i think. ie
          “throw (to) the cow over the fence, some hay.”
          instead as in English, “throw some hay over the fence to the cow.”

      • Thank you toughshed.

        And I will add in response to a recent post. Anyone discounting butterfly = flutterby (no anagrams that is), is, and this is being nice, the opposite prudent.


        • Well, we each have our own perspectives. I like to entertain myself by posting silly things that make me feel clever, like nomarch is to monarch as flutterby is to butterfly. But it’s just to make me Ha and Heh at myself, soda speak.

          • A redneck in a helicopter over the sandy desert, or Deshret I mean, over Heliopolos would be forlorn. Would that be his Kismet or Kemet? I mean, I’m confused.

            I mean, if Eric Bana is knighted, would we try to grab every father of Sir Bana? Weight… that didn’t make ani sense, unless…

            I mean, I just have so many unansered questions, like it’s just a wild goose chase and all of this is a fraud (just kidding).

            I need to warm up some water for my Ti while I continue to sit here on my mastaba until past midnight. I mean, how many “I Menes” do I need to go back and edit now?

            C’mon Jonsey1, you have nothing Nu to say about ani of this?

  12. I’m assuming how you use this key word in your solve is not something you’re willing to share? Personally, I think it’s a reach, but that’s somewhat dependent on where you’re going with it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. I appreciate the creativity, but Forrest has said to keep it simple and not “mess with his poem.” Anagrams, i.e., creating or centering on words that aren’t even in the poem seems like the polar opposite of that. I feel like more and more of the solves posted get away from this primary instruction, but then again…the simple solves haven’t yielded treasure either. Thanks for sharing though.

    • Keep it simple, like this … and much.

      As simple as: Begin it where a cold river begins.

      Just thinking.

    • Thats why the poem is so brilliant…. I think it can be interpreted using many fields of ‘special knowledge’ in science, literature, history, logic, and also inform on a parallel primary language level. IMO, OS2.

  14. Interesting comments here by everybody. Recently at my one and only search site, the horseshoe shaped area behind astra/hillside springs yellowstone, across from biscuit basin (my warm waters halt is heart spring, as in first stanza of poem referring to Fenn going into his heart where secrets can be kept, and heart spring being where warm waters halt) I saw up to the right on rock face as you enter the horseshoe shaped area two silver, shining stones, plates, which appear to be of silicate formation, and they shine depending on sun hitting them right.

    One of the plates looks sort of like silver surfer face from marvel comics but after reflecting on it later, I started thinking of the “titanium eyelids” Fenn speaks of in his war chapter when describing his plane taking off–titanium eyelids opening and closing. Furthermore in that war chapter Fenn speaks of his flight to a place called Chapone, which is a rough rendering of the word hat in I believe latinate languages. Then Fenn in a recent “you got mail” article Dal posted referred to his hat and spoke of “science fiction” I believe, so now I’m in process of thinking how all this relates to my search area and…I come across the comments from you guys here…and I don’t know what to think…

    It’s really uncanny, strange, how we all seem to be in some sort of mythical, strange reasoning time zone, our thoughts suggesting and reflecting off each other and touching on Fenn’s poem of course and strangely making each of our own personal search places seem strangely relevant. I would hope that we all be careful though, not get too dangerously caught up in delusive thinking. I like my search area, it seems in many respects a good place, a lot of the Fenn stuff seems to be a match, but I think it far more important at this point that people work together on this, that nobody expect to take home the gold, that it’s more important to operate in teamwork as if working on a complex engineering or scientific problem, because all of this is similar to that type of situation, calls for the highest integrity and imagination.

    I’d like to hear about some people going over my search area, but please be careful there as its dangerous, rocky, steep, treacherous in places, and it’s sort of personal to me now like its something of a version of Fenn’s own private place he speaks of…To me it’s sort of like Fenn’s place is a song and my place is a version of that song. Don’t spoil it by littering or scaring the buffalo and the bears and stuff like that. Just cooly go in, check it out, and come back out leaving it as pristine as possible please.

  15. You know, I’ve kind of struggled with the thought of “a redneck with 9 kids could find it” and whether the poem is far more complicated than that. In many ways Forrest is a simple man, with down to earth thoughts and feelings. But you also have to remember that this man was a Jet Fighter Pilot with great knowledge of Navigation and Avionics, and most likely see things quite differently than most of us do. What I mean is that he is a highly intelligent individual with a very complex mind also.

    Did he write a simple poem with a simple solution—or is there far more involved with the poem than we reailize. I know there are the detractors who don’t think there is ANYTHING in the poem that could be an acrostic or anagram, or anything dealing with science or Physics—and there are also those who seem to go way overboard concerning Mathematics and other codes that could be hidden in the poem.

    So I must admit that I am torn. Is the poem just a simplistic set of metaphors or double-entendres, or is it a complex piece of architecture?

    Let me put it this way: I see Forrest walk up to his door in his cowboy hat, jeans and turquoise belt buckle, and slide the key into the door. But then I also see Forrest close that door, quickly remove the cowboy hat, and hit a secret button that opens his wall. On a giant sceen appears the head of the CIA or the President. Then Forrest says “I’ve got those numbers for you sir. This one was tough to crack but I finally did it. America is safe now, so don’t worry sir”

    You know what I mean?

    • In portuguese: he can “assobiar e chupar cana” at the same time.

      “whistle and suck sugar cane”, maybe

    • Sparrow;

      I fall on the side that says that Forrest used simple language, but one must know the many definitions of words that are available. So, I guess that leaves an educated redneck, who might say Whar instead of where, but is smart enough to know Whar to look.

      Numbers? – Nope – It just doesn’t add up for me. (Pun intended) Not to say that numbers are not used though. Forrest has said things like – people have been within 500′ and 200′. He has said that it was a 1600 mile trip that took them across 5 states at 35 mph. Numbers like these might be helpful, but using letters to equal numbers to figure out coordinates – Sorry not for me. I MAY be proven wrong, but I kinda’ doubt it.

      For me, the poem allows the searcher to draw a map. A map that starts at wwwh, and ends at Indulgence, if one does not allow him/her self to get distracted and take a couple of side trips – like I have taken – JMO – JDA

    • It is both simple and difficult IMO. Only changing the way we see or think about poem can allow for seeing the simplicity of it. It is like not seeing the obvious in an ink blot IMO.

      • It’s funny that I am in a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt class today, and we saw a video on paradigm shifts. This really applies to this discussion. It has been found that Scientist that are looking at data they did not match the theory they were looking to prove just dismissed this data and continued looking for what they want to see. They are stuck in their own paradigm.

        Seeing the key word requires a paradigm shift.

        • And do you recall what a pair of dimes gets you?

          Or rather, doesn’t get you depending on your perspective.


          • Forrest was a pair of dimes short if a bus ticket.

            The ticket Master let him on the bus from Eunice to Biloxi anyway so that he could get back to Radar Operators Mechanics school as a PFC after hitting a Bingo, which he achieved on an initial bet f a quarter, if I have all that right.


        • Sometimes my cpk is way too high, and my process is way out of wack. Then when I enter my spc data I find my charts aren’t so bad and the millions of data points comes down to maybe 5 ideas per million, and my cpk is right where it needs to be. Wait, what was the question…Lol, you quality guys, making the rest of us work so much harder.:) I guess with so much “anarchy” within the chase, the black and green belts would be coming out of the wood works. (lol, wood works, ooohhh my, thank god it’s Friday).

          • Glad your cpk is lining up. One thing this chase needs more of is lean processes. Happy Friday!

          • CPK = Chippy punching kangaroo? 🙂

            Sorry, without a reference point, I have no idea what a CPK is.

          • I think cpk stands for “Capability index” or something like that. Think I heard that an eon ago – JDA

          • lol, capable people know, or,
            crazy people know. aaaahhh, quality before knowlege?

          • Lol nice, I hadn’t Seen this but we have the same thoughts clearly. I like the point “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you might keep getting what you’ve been getting“. The same thoughts produce the same results for sure.

    • You can complicate the poem or keep it simple.

      You can say:

      I’m with infectious disease, viral, contagious, and often epidemic, characterized by a general abatement state and the presence of varied symptoms (fever, congestion of the airways, headaches and throat).

      Or you can say:

      I’m flu, grippe.

      The opposite may also happen:

      The doctor says:

      Hydration, rest and an aspirin.

      That is:

      Influenza is primarily treated with resting and fluid intake to allow the body to fight the infection on its own. Anti-inflammatory analgesics sold over the counter may help with the symptoms. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.

      So it may be the poem:

      Sometimes a simple word says many things.
      A whole stanza comes down to three word or four.

    • Sparrow, based on some previous posts, on other threads, I keep thinking that you believe you know the key word and that it identifies the blaze. Am I right or just way off in left field?

      • JBL—-

        No I don’t know “a word that is key” or a “key word” in the poem. I really don’t know what the Blaze is either–I have just “speculated” that it had something to do with the sun.

        When I was a kid I often won playing”Risk”—-but very rarely won when we were playing “Clue”.

        • I never played Risk, but kicked butt in clue. If my blaze happens to be correct, you will do a face palm.

        • Sparrow, I’m with you on what you are saying.(don’t know if that is bad or good). Anyway, just keep repeating to yourself the line you wrote above:
          “a word that is key”, slower, faster, choppy, word by slow word, then ask yourself which word is key. Then, find it in the poem. There is no ‘key word”. I’m in the “RISK” camp. Axis and Allies, same thing.

          • Very clever, charlie, how you smuggled and hinted at the word that is key. But seriously, what do we do with it once parked at the site? Or how does it “unlock” the poem?

    • Sparrow –

      The problem is with YOUR perception of rednecks. If you think Forrest, a redneck, is using the term in a pejorative way you should rethink that.

      To me Texas redneck in a pickup with kids is just the opposite of a California city slicker in a BMW with a poodle.


      • Lug—

        No— I don’t mean redneck like that comedian ( forgot his name) means it. No— I just meant common people, doing common jobs, with average intelligence vs. physicists or code-breakers.

        There is a difference between Intelligence and wisdom. An intelligent person can do some very unwise things. And the black slaves, with little intelligence were some of the wisest people on Earth due to their suffering.

        What I’m asking is if bwise person will solve it, or an intelligent person? Or do hey need to be a combination of both?

        • Sparrow;

          An intelligent person can figure out a code that tells him to jump off of a bridge.

          The wise person will not jump – Just sayin’ JDA

        • 🙂 Don’t forget about creativity. I think perhaps the solution calls for multiple ingredients, IMO.

          “Imagination is more important than knowlege. If I had spelled that last word correctly it would not have had the profundity of meaning I wanted. To misspell the word emphasized my point that having knowledge is, in fact, not as important as being resourceful.”

      • Redneck is self explanatory. I heard a story about a guy who accidentally dropped a five dollar bill into an outhouse. He thought about for a minute and then threw a twenty in just so it would be worth going in after it. He wasn’t a redneck. Almost everything Mr. Fenn says is straight forward.

        • Come to think about it, I once accidentally dropped a one ounce gold nugget down the toilet. It was in a popular restaurant from the second story dining room men’s room on a busy Saturday night. The nugget was big, fat and shaped like a K. I learned a lesson that night about specific gravity.

    • This isn’t one of those hen weigh jokes is it? You know, someone says “I could sure use a henweigh”. So you ask “what’s a henweigh?” And they say “about 3 pounds”. OK I’ll bite. What is,a Soul Stone?

    Retracing your footsteps 0.7 mile from the Irvin homestead will bring you back to the beginning of the Meadow Loop Trail that passes the Brown homestead. Turn right here and walk north on Road 120. After 15 minutes you will arrive at a junction where you must turn left onto Road 120A. The Brown homestead is a 5-minute walk from the junction.

    The 320-acre Brown homestead was first deeded to brothers Harry and Cloyd Brown in 1917 and 1919, and Harry raised cattle and sold timber from the property until the 1930s. Today the property still has one cabin standing on it. The old cabin contains a number of interesting artifacts including an old-fashion stove.

    Road 120A enters private property just south of Brown’s Cabin, but 200 feet beyond the cabin the Meadow Loop Trail departs from the road and heads out through the trees for 0.6 mile back to the Irvin sawmill logging road. When you reach the road you must turn right to retrace your steps back past the Griffith and Walker homesteads and down Lion Gulch to the trailhead.

    • …and back down Lion Gulch is three miles to the trailhead. FF did not hide the treasure anywhere near Lion Gulch. I know…I have hiked that trail many times. No 80 year old person could hike the 14 miles you describe in one afternoon. Nope…

    • Well, that narrows it down a bit – Let’s see 166 words in the poem – If we remove all of the duplicate words – 6 “I’s” (7 with 6 dupes), 8 and’s, 3 it’s, 3 in’s, 7 the’s and 1 is – You get the point, that only leaves about 135 possible words – We are getting closer 🙂 JDA

    • I believe the same, Carolyn.

      To add onto what JDA said about eliminating the repeated common words, if there are FEW people who are in tight focus on the word that is key, perhaps we could also further eliminate all of the words that appear as discussion topics on the directory for “Searcher’s Discussions” on this website. My rationale is that there is plenty of focus/discussion on all of these pieces of the poem under their respective discussion sections. This would reduce the list of possible words down much further.

  17. One note, it’s… a few are in tight focus with “a” word that is key. Not the same meaning as with ‘the’ word that is key.

    From my memory, F has mentioned that many lines in the poem have a word that is key.

    • FD – I don’t remember any such statement – can you refresh my memory – Thanks – JDA

      • JDA, Cynthia has posted the story of how she asked f about his word that is key statement soon after it hit on Feb. 4, 2014. What I wrote is what I recall Cynthia telling us. I don’t remember which blog it was posted on but shouldn’t be to hard to research.

        • I believe it was mentioned here…maybe around the time of her(Cindy) ‘splaining Fenn’s conversation about the “structure” thing.

        • Probably not worth diggin’ up but thanks – I m,ay be at the Function in the Junction with Cynthia in a few weeks, so may ask her – Thanks JDA

          • The poem doesn’t have to be analyzed in enough detail
            to identify which words are “key” in order to be correctly
            solved. But FF’s comment about “a word that is key” did
            help confirm some correct solving. IMO.

    • I use to also believe key was what he was referring to. If you think it is a word that is key, I can see how you come to that conclusion. But read more into it: “a word that is key”. I know, replace ‘key” with any other word and then what would you think the word is:
      Car, boat, lake, creek, river, step, etc…etc…etc…It would be that word. But, since he says “key”, everyone starts guessing at some magic word, when all along, it’s “key”. I get it Trac, but, “a word that is key”, is the other word that it could be. It does have something to do with the “key”. And yes, you could still get by with “key”, but the other word solves what the key is. And I believe you know what the other word is. And yes, it is in the poem.
      Glad to see someone is actually paying attention, and hearing what f is saying. I say, stay with your thought, you’re on the right ‘Trac”.

  18. Key word is: GO

    GO to the water

    GO to the jungle

    GO to the woods

    GO to the mountain

    GO to the adventure

    GO to the air

    GO to the cânyons

    GO to the life.

      • “g” on “e”
        “al” on “e”
        As I have the GrALe. “G” on the first “e”,
        “al” on the second “e”.

        Just a thought, “r” is also an instruction,
        As I have the ale.
        The preface, the beginning of it all. Sitting in his room when fate has hit rock bottom, when he was sick, he got an idea.
        As I have the ale. (ale spelled wrong for a reason). How else would somebody start the whole thing off with. Did the idea for the chase come to f when he went alone somewhere, or, when f was in bed sick?
        To “go” NE, alone in there would be a clue. It’s defining a direction, and getting a searcher closer to the chest. In that respect, As I have, “go” NE, alone in there, would have to be considered a clue. There are no clues in the first stanza. So, even though it is a good thought on your part, (and it is), it doesn’t quite jive. But if it does for you, you may be right. Just can’t count it as a clue. (which it would seem it would have to be, and be the first clue)

  19. Hey John R – you stole MY key word! How dare you? 🙂

    Actually, you didn’t. Just kidding.

    Thanx for sharing as it helps all of us see things in a bit of a different light now.

    Honestly, I don’t have one key word yet, still fiddling around trying to get one to unlock the poem.

    Where’s a locksmith when you need one?

      • Lug, you are right, the poem doesn’t have a title. F said as much in a Q & A. He said the poem has no title, the ATF is out there, I just don’t have it handy right now.
        Michael, Lug is correct, but to answer your question, the word you are talking about is in the poem, it would have to be. If it is important, then you would need to have it in the poem. For a word in the title to be the word, it could only be:
        The word “the” or the word “of”. Both words are used multiple times, far to general to be. So, to answer your question, yes, word is in the poem, no, word is not in the title of the book.
        (If you need the ATF where f says there was no title to the poem, I will supply if need).

        • The word “TITLE” is in the poem.
          and the word “Chase” is in the title.
          this led some of the searchers to
          the Chase Ranch near Cimarron, NM.
          …to no avail…

          • He didn’t ask me what I thought of his plan, before he set about trying to lasso me. Someone said Forrest Fenn thought of everything. I’m not a sheeple.

  20. Thanks for sharing, John R… You asked for our thoughts regarding “hearth” being “the word that is key.” But you also referred to it as the “key word”. Part of the exact quote is “Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.” I think those are two different “things.” This particular line in Fenn’s quote says “a word that is key” and if you look at the context of the entire sentence, in the words prior, he said “…clues in my poem…” so don’t you think the implication is that the word that is key is also in the poem. Well, that’s my take on it… but I’m not holding the chest either. Just my opinion. I like to think that this “word that is key” works like a key to unlock the poem. On CC years ago a fellow commented that he had emailed Forrest and told him he had a combination to unlock the poem and Forrest replied to him “It takes a key not a combination.” So I think the word will be used like a “key”, and the word is one of them in the poem. And Forrest said in the ABC Nightline interview that aired in Jan… SIMPLIFY iT!

    • has anybody else seen this quote written “…ON in tight focus…” as well as it written/archived “…ARE in tight focus…”
      i am confident that i first read and noted it as “ON”. then i began to question it as a typo, however, in a
      MW review of facts or compilation of quotes (posted during a lull of fenn activity) it appeared again or carried over “ON in tight focus”
      i cant imagine a typo making it thru to a ” year in review ” posting.
      do we have to go to the source on this one?

      i know “on in tight focus” no sense makes but it makes a huge difference in determining a word that is key especially considering the opening to the poem…
      as i have gONe alONe IN there…which may yield eagle as the word that is key

      • BadgeR: irrespective of “are in” vs. “on in” (which I’ve actually never seen) you are SO close, IMHO!

      • Badge—
        Stephen Hawking thought it might be eagle too. Sadly, he passed away.

      • BadgeR,

        Check tarryscant. It was a mysterious writings question on 2/4/14

        He said “only a few are IN tight focus”.

        Hope that helps

          • * * * * * * re the link to MW posted (where Jenny did write ” . . . few on in tight focus . . . “), BadgeR asks “thoughts?” * * * * * *

            If you click the “Six Questions more” link two lines above where you found ” . . . few on in tight focus . . . “, it will take you right to the full original quote containing “. . . few are in tight focus . . . . ”

            Seems most likely she simply introduced an accidental typo when she pulled part of the original quote into the fenn-treasure-facts list she was compiling.



    • No key word to poem.

      “I wrote this someplace a few years ago and maybe you’ll think it’s worth remembering, Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. f”

      The key to what:

      “Fenn: I didn’t want to give it away. I didn’t want it to be a door prize or win a lotto. I wanted people to go out and have some adventure, uh, some imagination, some common senses to try to solve the clues in the poem and if you can, if you can do that and go to the treasure chest you can have it.

      “Complacency is the misuse of imagination.” (Posted Dec. 18th, 2015) MW

      “Craig, there is no substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps, unless it’s the desire to keep it simple.f ” (Question posted 7/6/2014) MW

      “I crafted a poem that’s in my book. It has nine clues in it, and I changed that poem over a 15 year period. People read that poem and it’s there, “He sat down and wrote that poem in 15 minutes.” It took me 15 years. The poem is not so much written as it is an architectural plan. It’s been crafted. It reads very simple. Here, hand me that book.”

      “My wife says they’re weeds, and I don’t understand why. Who gets to decide what’s a weed and what’s a flower? Some things that seem simple to me can be so complicated for others. I think we should take another look at our definitions. If it’s pretty, why would anyone call it a weed?”

      “Some searchers overrate the complexity of the search. Knowing about head pressures, foot pounds, acre feet, bible verses, Latin, cubic inches, icons, fonts, charts, graphs, formulas, curved lines, magnetic variation, codes, depth meters, riddles, drones or ciphers, will not assist anyone to the treasure location, although those things have been offered as positive solutions. Excellent research materials are TTOTC, Google Earth, and/or a good map.f”

      Need more?

      • * * * * * * McB cited this quote – “Craig, there is no substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps, unless it’s the desire to keep it simple.f ” (Question posted 7/6/2014) MW * * * * * *

        Heh. That’s one of my very favorite bits of Forrest Zenn.

        Paraphrase it:

        ‘*’ The desire to keep it simple is the only possible substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps.’*’

        Could he really mean one or the other? Accept no substitutes? Most of us work at this as if he meant both at once.

        But that sure ain’t what he said. 🙂


        • To note also…his comment about “weeds”. He again states that what seems “simple” to him is often complicated by others.
          He then says “I think we should take another look at our definitions.”

          • Those who can “understand” the title of the TTOTC book and the first two lines of the poem will have their search area “much diminished”.

            Why do I say that? I researched, researched a lot. Until I find nothing new.

        • JAK,

          After I simplified the poem, and read, thought and studied, I went to a normal RM map.

          I found a place. But it’s not anywhere. It’s in what WWH.

          I downloaded the local map and … there it was: WWWH, CD, TFTW, HoB, no meek, the end, your creek, hl and wh. (it only needed to have subtitles on the map for each clue)

          The last and most time-consuming was Blaze, but it’s there, on an older map.

          Then ATFs to confirm.

          Simple, straight and with chest in hand – I hope.

          “Just my solution in my opinion.” McB

          • * * * * * * McB offered – “I downloaded the local map and … there it was: WWWH, CD, TFTW, HoB, no meek, the end, your creek, hl and wh. ” * * * * * *

            Reminds me of the song “Dixie Chicken” (Little Feat).
            Me and all the other boys and girls here at the bar each have a couple-few local maps just like that one.

            Someday one of ’em might turn out the True Chase Map. I enjoy your efforts, and hope you keep sharing ideas and questions (answers too).

            I can see a difference between your map and mine right off.

            Simple? – check.
            Straight? – hmmm, watch you don’t go right on by the chest.


          • JAK,

            How is your solution? Already have an idea to share with us?

            What do you think WWWH is?

            In my opinion WWWH is the meaning of the name of some place, not water.

            I’m not asking about places, just ideas.

            : ) McB

          • JAK: I *love* Little Feat! Dixie Chicken isn’t my favorite song, but the band itself is fantastic.

  21. The keyword is contentment. If you have that, everything else has fallen into place. IMO

  22. The word in the poem that’s key? The poem itself is sort of in the shape of a key or a footprint or a bottle. Look at the poem, how it’s rounded at the base, widens at the bottom third or so, then tapers upward. As if you pick up the bottom two stanzas in hand then you’re holding a key.

      • I heard an interesting tidbit on the radio the other day. “Coke” is the most “known” English word around the globe. Have a Coke and a smile 🙂

          • Here it is called “Caffeine Free Coke” and it is in a red can with gold writing. 🙂 Sad that I know that, as I am a Pepsi girl myself.

          • KK,

            Oh really?

            Here in Brazil we do not have decaffeinated coke. Just zero sugar.

            I can not consume caffeine or stimulants from the nervous system. The doctor said that I am very accelerated by nature. I take remedies to slow down my pace.

          • McB,

            Sorry about not being able to drink caffeine. You wouldn’t have much trouble here. Here we are over catered to, but they call it business. We have Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free, Diet Caffeine Free, Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, and Cherry Vanilla Coke……and I’m sure I’m missing a few and that’s x’s about every brand of soda out there.

    • ikes. daniel youre beginning to concern me.
      in which state do you search again?

  23. John,
    IMO Forrest is a very clever magician. He put that word in the book for all to see , you just need a magnifiing glass to see it.

  24. John,

    IMO, you are on the right track and it does mean something. Happy Hunting 🙂

    • Thanks KK. Happy hunting to you too. It may be a coincidence, but Forrests friend Donnie Joe’s surname was Heath.

  25. Some interesting trivia there John.

    I don’t think there is any point knowing what is the key word without know why there is a key word or how to use it. Bear with me while I provide what I think are the why and how of the key word (all this being IMO):

    The poem as presented is literal and should be interpreted that way, although references to places may be either modern or historic (new and old). It pays to learn the history of your search area.

    There are 24 anagrams that can be made from the 24 lines of the poem, and they provide things to find in the landscape to know you’re on the right path. Eventually the nine clues expose themselves as you pass them.

    There are constraints / rules that must be followed in order to find the correct anagrams. One of the rules is that the resulting anagrams must be double- or triple- entendres, with one of the contexts referring to the key word.

    If a person just tries to make the best (funniest while being polite) anagrams possible from all the lines in the poem, the key word actually starts floating to the surface. That’s how you find it. It’s the only way to find it. (I already qualified all this with IMO)

    There are many other rules that I won’t share. Also I won’t share the key word; not because I’m afraid of somebody trying out what I just gave away, only because I think that would make Forrest angry at me for over-sharing. I can’t know if Forrest is angry, but if he writes about wide-mouth frogs and ugly fish, then I make that assumption.

    • Interesting Muset. Does your solve give you the names of 5 places you need to find the location of the chest?

      • No. It provides twenty places you need to find (all this in my opinion).

        The first four lines and the very last line all describe the treasure location. You need to get all those five lines correct. You can get one or two wrong after that and still pick up the path.

        The nine clues in the poem refer to nine places that are all along the way.

        I see people stretching their solves to fit nine clues without any constraints at all. Try stretching a solve for 24 anagrams with strict rules and 20 places needed to be found on the ground– harder.

        • Muset, there are 48 anagrams, you need to dig deeper, and the key word is nine.

          • Thanks for that, but 48 is too complicated and redundant.

            I’m using a different key word. Mine provides a lexicon of new meanings for other words. Good luck with yours. It seems quite singular in its usefulness for describing things.

    • Muset—-

      Just curious. Why would you think Forrest would be angry with you for “over-sharing”? If the two of you were in cahoots and you “spilled the beans” I could see him being angry (lol). I personally think Forrest gets some pretty good laughs from what most of us share as “important”.

      To him in many ways we are blind-folded and trying to “pin the tail on the donkey”. I don’t think Forrest would hint so much if he was prone to getting angry. But then again, I do have to remember that old lady with the umbrella the other day. She clobbered me with it and then said “Im delivering a message, keep your mouth shut, will you?”

      It’s possible that Forrest sent her. I guess the answers I will never know. She had one heck of a swing though. It might have been Mark McGwire’s mom.

      • I’m not paranoid, but I think that over-sharing can ruin some of the fun for other people. There is a thrill to discovering a clue or a hint or a piece of the puzzle for yourself and over-sharing can be considered a form of selfish attention-seeking.

        • Muset,
          What does over-sharing mean?

          I agree with McB on this… share ideas.

          Most are using the stomping mode method only. Others are using coordinates only. Some use letter to number matching, and at least one repeats the clues 9 or 10 times etc etc etc.
          However all this unfolds in the end… I don’t see the harm in sharing thoughts and ideas of how to read the poem.

          LOL, I mean, before loco found a 2013 comment [ the only one comment known of ] from fenn saying wwwh was factually the first clue, some, self included, was looking for the first clues in stanza 1.
          Did it really help? What it did was same a lot of time for many to concentrate on that most important first clue fenn told us to do.
          Don’t get me wrong… wwwh was the most obvious choice, yet we have a six stanza poem, right? So many looked at the first stanza to hold an actual clue… the first clue. Was sharing that fact ‘oversharing’?

          I think you should, Muset, take into consideration that some can’t go searching or search more than once. Sharing their thoughts are all they can do to be a part of the blog community and the challenge… That is ‘their fun’, being part of it all. Are they being selfish?

          If anyone really want to go solo on this challenge… to enjoy the attempt to solve it all on their own…don’t read the blogs.

          • All,

            Attention: “These are only hypothetical examples.”

            An idea:

            “If you know your language well, you will see that the first two lines of the poem can say two different things” … this is an idea.

            An information: (your opinion)

            “The Blaze is a large, square, face-up object, and has written: Go 12 feet to the south …” this is information.

          • People can share anything they want. I was explaining how I regulate myself.

    • Interesting Muset, anagrams are a tough sell though, but I’m sure you know that. I think when most searchers talk about a “key word”, they should separate what they think it is to the word they come up with has nothing to do with the statement from f. It’s just a word that helped the searcher with something and not the key.
      If we are trying to interpret the ATF, the only possible answers are “that” and “key”. It’s what he is saying and only one of those words is in the poem.
      Any other word is just something that a searcher has found that helps with their solve, but has nothing to do with the ATF.
      Back to your solve, even though anagrams are iffy, the attempt at solving the poem is good, IMO. I see that you follow the thought that the clues cannot be solved, or at least some of them. BotG is needed to interpret some of the clues. While I think that some clues can be solved, the ATF’s seem to point to not all the clues being able to be solved correctly.

      ” It pays to learn the history of your search area.”

      • Yes, Forrest himself said that people can figure out the first two clues from home, as I did too for mine. For sure my “no place for the meek” would not have been found from home.

        I’m not trying to get people to make anagrams if they don’t want to.. I think the nine clues can be found without making anagrams, but I prefer to take the extra hints.

        Your opinion about the key word is valid. But as long as I continue to believe in the anagrams, then so must I believe what is the key word and how to employ it.

    • Hello, Muset.

      I, too, like anagrams. They were my first area of in depth analysis into the poem.

      I found that the longer the input stream, the more easily I could talk to myself.

      Using full line length strips gs allows for a lot of ambiguity.

      Line 1 example:


      Via jumbo scrambler technology: 5650 words of 2-14 letters on length.

      Generalisation and nonvegetarians were the longest possible.

      My questions to you (you do not have to answer these here):

      How do you select the initial word to begin string reduction? How do you know it is correct? How do you validate it? What parts of the original poem are you keeping in tact. If any? Why those parts and not others? If none. Why did FF create the surface layer at all?

      Don’t get me wrong. I like anagrams. I think FF used a few. I just think they are tight and very targeted.

      All my opinion only. Regards.

        • Thanks for the link. I agree with the general statements regarding what’s good and bad regarding anagrams. I’m more interested in your work than a software package. So how about a teaser? Wow me with something. I am positively certain that I will not be able to extrapolate much, if anything, beyond whatever you throw o the table.

          • OK. Let me wow you, then.

            Line 4:

            can lode hint: shofar wind . . . end

            See how easy it is to baffle others? Or how easy it might be to talk to yourself?

            Strongly suggest that you consider work output validation concerns. One can get quite lost otherwise.

            Just a word of caution from one who has traveled your roads pretty extensively already.


          • I agree with you Iowa. You need constraints to limit the possible output.

            Anyways, I’m all finished making anagrams now. Good luck on your next search.

          • Thanks and good luck to you, too. I really liked the deep anagram approach. I just failed to make it work. Hopefully you can do better than I could. And FWIW, I’d love to see your approach work. So, please wow us all with a complete solve once you’ve recovered Indulgence.

            Thx in advance.

      • I agree lowaengr…. I think there are a few anagrams hidden in the poem. The problem like I think you said is the combinations are endless. I once thought that we should anagram after the word “Hint” in the first stanza. But, all I got was “Land owned hi fresco” I thought for a while that maybe he owned a church or a shrine or something like that but could not find a place that worked with my other clues…

    • Didn’t Amy win the last “hat” contest? Or was that just Goofy’s vote? I forget.

  26. Well shoot! It looks to me like “down” is the word that is key (assuming my current apophenia is running correctly). I was hoping it was “home” because of the link with focus point. I guess “down” is also a key on the keyboard. And to me, all of this bird-brain research looks like it’s finally starting to hook me in with a nicely wound woolly. I guess emargination is somewhat more important than knowlege.

    There is word in Arabic that means “uncountable”, “halfa”, which is also a grass. Knowing a few Arabic words hasn’t helped me find the treasure. It just makes for a fun hooka moment. But as I weigh away emargination against the curds and whey another way… and I re-read Scrapbook Forty Two, well, let’s hope a translation appears.

    • EC

      When you were diagnosed with apophenia did the brain doctor give you any meds?

      My daughter was 6 and we were at Disney World eating in the Japanese restaurant when her tooth fell out. My wife asked her if she thought the tooth fairy would be aware of the loss and visit her at the resort. Without a pause my daughter replied that Tinker Bell works for the Tooth Fairy to cover these situations at WDW.

      This is how I see 90 percent f what we do here.


      • Isn’t it wonderful – the mind of a child who can find a “Magical” way to solve most any problem – YEA childhood – Thanks for sharing that precious story – JDA

        • Good morning, JDA. I would appreciate your feedback on my post from earlier this morning on the chest is here thread.

          Possible solution start. Covers lines 5-8 only. No codes, acrostics or shenanigans. Straight poem interpretation w just a touch of simple substitution level math thrown in just for spice.

          Is the solve alive and kicking or DOA? Please explain why you like it, or why you do not.

          Thx in advance.

          • Good Morning Iownengr;

            You asked for my input, so here we go – You may not like my critique though – sorry.

            Line 5: “It” = Blackfoot River, MT
            Why: “A river runs through it”

            To take the word “it” out of a movie or book title “A river runs through “it”. – and to then tie this to one of the “it’s” in the poem I view as a weak start. Is there anything about the Blackfoot River that relates to “Warm”? – Not that I am aware of. Is there anything else in the poem that leads you to this geographic area? “It” is pretty generic.

            You know the quote about there being many wwwh locations and most of the wwwh’s being north of Santa Fe. How does the Blackfoot river relate to this quote? What separates “IT” from many other rivers?

            Line 6: “Canyon” = Blackfoot Canyon
            Logical – IF the Blackfoot River is your wwwh.

            How: by car on Hwy 200

            Simple Substitution Validation: Where+Warm+Waters = 200
            I guess the “Simple Substitution Validation” explains the use of the conversion of WWW = 200
            But why eliminate “Halt” from the validation – other than if it were there, it would not be a validation?

            Second Simple Substitution Validation:
            As+Have+Gone+Alone+There = 200
            Again, you have eliminated words “I” and “IN” in order to get the validation you sought – Isn’t this conformation bias?

            Line 7: Not walking yet. Confirmed. – OK

            Line 8: “HoB” = Browns Lake – Logical

            Note: Browns Lake is South of 200 and North of the Blackfoot. Marker needed here to direct searcher to get off of 200 and onto smaller roads that follow the Blackfoot.

            For me, and that is only FOR ME – I had to find something within the poem that led me to my specific wwwh. When I first started I, like many, focused on thermal spouts, etc to get to “warm” waters – didn’t work. Only after I found my obscure definition of “the wood” – that led me to a specific geographical area in Wyoming was I able to find what I thiMk (That’s close to thiNking but not quite) is the correct wwwh.

            I could be wrong, and you very well could have figured it out – Who knows? Not I –

            You asked for it – hope you are not disappointed – JDA


          • Disappointed? Heck, no!

            I agree completely with your take.

            I am very impressed with your very thorough review.


            So now that we agree that the odds on this are low, let’s take it one step further.

            There is a tributary creek a bit downstream on the Blackfoot from the point we have arrived at so far.

            “Yourname Creek.”

            Does that geographic oddity influence your thinking at all?

            FYI this is the only creek in the entire 4-State search area that I could find with “Your” in the title.

            So a unique map play connection is theoretically possible for this inauspicious starter sequence.

            Or does the “No paddle” imply that this solution was considered and explicitly rejected by FF?

            ABTW, I appreciate the dialog. Perhaps we can both learn a few things from each other?

        • Disappointed? Absolutely not!

          I agree w all your points completely.

          So now that we agree that this is a very low odds starter sequence, let’s take it to the next level.

          We are on the Blackfoot River, SW of Browns Lake. Here “Yourname Creek” halts. This is the only creek that I could find with “Your” in the title over the entire 4 state search area.

          Map oddity, or something of interest?

          Does construction of Line 11, “no paddle” rule it out completely, anyway??

          Weak start getting better or worse??

          Thoughts appreciated.

          • Hi again – You say:
            “Yourname Creek” halts. This is the only creek that I could find with “Your” in the title over the entire 4 state search area.

            Map oddity, or something of interest?
            It COULD be something of interest – Good thinking – You are trying to put the words of the poem to use. YEA for you.

            Does construction of Line 11, “no paddle” rule it out completely, anyway??
            Question – Is “Yourname creek” and the “No paddle up your creek the same? They are not the same in my solve. They MAY be the same in yours.

            From “Yourname creek” – which flown into Blackfoot River – takes canyon down past hoB…
            where to from here? We pass through the meek place, The END is getting closer – Now we reach the “No paddle creek” – at LEAST a canyon away from “Yourname creek” – or so logic leads me.

            Weak start getting better or worse?? Getting better 🙂 JDA

          • I “assume” that “Yourname Creek” flown into Blackfoot River – I did NOT look it up. If these are two different approaches – your “Yourname Creek should flow into “A” bigger body of water – “Some River” or “Some Bigger stream” and then down the canyon etc.

            Sorry if I mixed two separate Solve beginnings – JDA

          • Looked it up, and “Yourname creek DOES flow into the Blackfoot River. This is good! – You “Tale it in the canyon down” – to Browns Lake. “Put in BELOW Browns Lake” (sic) “From there it’s no place for the meek.” HUMMM wonder what you can find to match these words? JDA

          • Good thoughts, but I have a slightly different take.

            A bit more detail needed.

            Backing up, Line 5

            Begin = instruction
            It = the place to start = BF R
            Where+Warm+Waters = math terms, fully used w sum of 200 = Hwy of same number
            Halt = military instruction, excluded as begin was excluded.

            Line 6: start point on 200 is upstream of Blackfoot Canyon, the primary feature that links River and Hwy.

            Line 7: K.I.S.S. line, drive.

            Line 8: one of 2 geographic markers, as explained. Searcher must get off of 200 and take smaller backroads in follow the river around the lake. Several choices available, some dirt. Might need a 4-wheel drive on some of them. Not sure, but backroads might suffice for “no place for the meek.”

            Line 10: The end is almost here.

            Line 11: “your” lowercase directly implies “Yournane Creek” is the end of the Blackfoot, and the beginning of the walk.

            The heavy loads are upstream, uphill from the mouth of the creek.

            McElwain Fire Rd, dirt, towards Elevation Mountain allows a drive on the west side of this creek.

            A BLM road, also dirt, takes one to within two miles of the headwaters of “Yourname Creek”.

            A short hike through the NF puts one on a V of land between and above the twin headwaters of Yourname Creek.

            That’s it. End of the line. Small area search possible this location w chest being on the slope beyond crest, creek side.

            Two true geographic inputs:

            Brown = Browns Lake
            your = Yourname Creek

            This is a simple solve. Almost certainly wrong, but I can’t totally junk it for some reason that I can’t quite rationally articulate.

            I may have to go look at this place just for grins some time. Especially since I have pages and pages of math that tell me that this place may have more behind it than a casual reader might understand.


          • So now that I’ve put it all out there, what is my real opinion of this place??

            I don’t like it much.

            The math is very good.

            The path is simple, relatively easy to follow. It fits the poem decently.

            So what’s my hang-up?

            I can’t relate this place to Forrest Fenn. It’s Norman McClean’s . . .

            I don’t see FF co-opting the BF.

            Further, I lack a true blaze. Maybe my letter key counts?? Maybe there is something in the field that I need to see??

            Not sure.

            Just know that the coordinate popped off my screen on the brow of land between the headwaters of Yourname Creek and my mind started racing a hundred mph. Funny what playing math games can do . . . Lol.

          • Iowaeng…I think your elevation at Yourname and Brown Lake may or may not be a problem.

          • I follow your reasoning – which mostly seems logical to me – up until: Line 11: “your” lowercase directly implies “Yournane Creek” is the end of the Blackfoot, and the beginning of the walk.” Although I can see a connection, it almost seems backwards.

            Had you used line 11 as a “Hint” in the beginning, that would lead you to “Yourname creek”, that would then lead you to Blackfoot River – (Hint – “If you are BRAVE – a Blackfoot indian perhaps?) that leads you to Browns lake to a meek place (your 4WD road perhaps etc. It would make more sense to me.

            I, and others have mentioned the circular architecture of the poem, but for the “answer” to be a circle that takes you from wherew Yourname creek merges with (halts) at the Blackfoot River, all of the way through the poem, back to the headwaters of Yourname Creek seems (to me) a bit “Iffy” – but it just might work – The logic is good as far as I can see from what you have disclosed. Good luck to Ya’ JDA

          • Just saw your post where you say you do not much like it – Who knows, until you take a “Look-see” – Good luck – JDA

          • My reticence for this solve is born out of my insatiable need for the solution to be unique and uniquely verifiable. It is unique, but not uniquely verifiable across all possible solution evaluation metrics. Not to worry, I’ve got one that satisfies my personal requirements. Lol.

          • Good luck with the solve you are happy with. Hope my solve works out before yours though 🙂 JDA

      • Couldn’t agree more, Lugnutz. There must be a secret cord that unlocks the vault. Do we just need to pick the right key? Or maybe we should be giving it more and deeper thoth? If we chase a rainbow, perhaps Dame Julie Andrews will help point the way?

        He did say there are some clews or somethings that live out on the edges, no? Emargination is definitely more important than knoyledge.

    • Some good hidden hints in first stanza. I like the word anthelion made from the last few words using letter skip. It’s the halo at the top of the poem. Also the line i can keep; or I “C” Ank, or ankh. The 2 are closely related, as well as others; the crook and flail. Imo

  27. I don’t believe that Mr Fenn purposefully included one word which, when discovered, would “unlock” the poem….
    I believe that he he is simply saying that there is a word (or two) within the poem which searchers have consistently misinterpreted and if the correct interpretation is found will lead to a successful solution….

    • I know that I am repeating myself – but it is my belief that “The word that is key” is not to be found within the 166 words of the poem. As you solve the riddles, you begin to get the “Big Picture”. This “Big Picture” gives you insight into that the word is. Once you KNOW what the word is, solving the riddles becomes SOOOO much easier. JMHO – JDA

      • I too have a “big picture” which explains my final destination, but I did not use it in arriving at my solution…. A small glimpse of it did give me hints to my solution, but it was really almost accidental…. It was only after I settled on the solution that I finally began to see the real significance of the ” bigger picture”…… And it became confirmation for me…
        Of course, the final and most convincing confirmation will only come with chest in hand…
        Good luck in your search next weekend JDA!
        I’ll be following shortly after, wether you beat me to it or not! ☺️

          • JDA wise old men like us never stop learning, although sitting down with a bronze box full of ‘Marvel Gaze’ on your lap always makes it a little bit easier imo 🙂

        • Lurker,

          Is your solve in WY too……if so I think JDA may just have the edge….lets see , good luck to you both 🙂

          • Thanks Butch. Hopefully one week from today 29+ months of “Learnin’ ” will come to a good end 🙂 – JDA

          • Montana actually, but JDA still has A huge edge over me, I’ve been aware of the chase since the beginning but only a part of it since last February….

          • Lurker – No edge – We all have the same opportunity. Someone could find out about the chase tomorrow, and put it all together – Who knows? Not me – JDA

      • JDA, why did you use quotation marks around the phrase “The word that is key”?

    • * * * * Lurker proposed – “I don’t believe that Mr Fenn purposefully included one word which, when discovered, would “unlock” the poem…. (etc)” * * * *

      I completely agree with that, Lurker – it was neither designed as, nor functions as, a Magic Word, or a hidden button that pops open a Secret Passage.

      As opposed to misinterpreted, though, I think he meant that searchers were missing the emphasis or clarification the word would add if readers focused on its place in the grammatical structure of the clues.


      • Depending on which word you speak of…I agree. The word I believe Fenn was referring to does clarify something *critical* in the search. It would be interesting to know what you think it is….

        • Ken;

          Forrest says that the poem is a map. Let’s say that we wanted to drive from Santa Fe to Denver. We would probably get ourselves a map (the poem) of NM and Colorado. But, would this be enough to get us there? Probably not.

          As we drive north on I-25 there are all kinds of signs that help point the way – Speed signs, distance signs, off-ramp signs, Road names and markers. I think that the “Word that is key” serves the same function as our road signs. An indicator or indicators that help mark where we are or help point the way to where we need to go.

          Since it is a single “Word that is key”, and yet it serves as a marker or something that helps point the way, ones imagination must be put in play in order to “imagine” what it might be. Good Luck to all and TRY to STAY SAFE – JDA

          • JDA, is this your opinion or has f said this?…Since it is a single “Word that is key”.

          • Here is as close as I can get: “Dear Forrest, What’s more important in solving the search, a greater knowledge (“knowlege”) of Toponymy or Geography? ~Chris
            I don’t know how Toponymy can help you at all Chris (I had to look that word up). But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure.” f I think that this pretty much says what I said it said??? JDA

      • Jake,

        Yes, this. I concur. But Ken and JDA have some valid points. Could it be like a “legend” on a map? Where it tells you how to use the map? It’s on the map – but not on the map, if you get my drift.

  28. I don’t know about a word that’s key. My starting point breakthrough came contemplating the first stanza. Fenn talks about going alone in THERE, and keeping his secret WHERE, etc. and it seemed to me he was simultaneously referring to his treasure place and his own heart or mind or memory, etc. and I settled on heart. Then I started thinking about yellowstone because over and over this place came up in discussions about Fenn. So I checked yellowstone sites, saw heart lake. After a week or so I saw flipping through comments on Fenn sites somebody posted a stanza of a poem I can’t remember how related to Fenn which had “heart spring” in it. That led to “heart spring” yellowstone. I was just going on intuition, free flowing, and this led me to home of brown being at daisy by biscuit basin, then iron springs creek for no place for the meek. End is drawing nigh is sunset lake which is up iron springs creek. I remember being struck by the Fenn posting of the picture of Eric which has the car with iron springs, “it twists like a snake”, and thinking iron springs creek. And so on. Who knows if any of it’s correct. I haven’t found the treasure yet. But heart as my key word, if any word is key, is sure close the word “hearth” which has started this whole key word thread here on Dal’s site.

  29. There are 3 things in the poem that is hard to determine.
    1. WWWH An actual place
    2. hoB An actual place
    3, blaze. The blaze could be many things, which is one that needs to be found to unlock the hiding place of the TC. As I have seen here on hoD most searchers have to stop to hunt for the blaze when they have what they see as a reasonable solve. Everyone is looking for what one thinks is a blaze and hopefully find that one thing whether it is small or large that is so elusive and much imagination is needed to find it.

    To me the blaze is the one thing that also creates a much tighter focus in order to locate the hiding place of the TC. The word that is key along with a tight focus is needed to find is the blaze.

    The blaze is the one thing that one needs to be careful not to use too much imagination. F has illustrated very well if you look hard enough one can see many things in tiles but those things are not real, just imaginary.

    The word that is key is most definitely the “blaze” IMO

    All IMHO

    • CharlieM,

      The poem tells you:

      Point A – Where You Go – Point B – Blaze – BOTG – Chest

      If you did not, do it now:

      Put the sentences of the poem as if it were a normal story. Keep the punctuation.

      Just put it all together in normal paragraphs.

      Ask a good reader, who knows nothing about hunting, to read this.

      Listen to the person read normally.

      Then ask her to read more slowly.

      Pay attention as if it was the first time you heard someone read a story.

      Imagine what she is reading.

      You will find it interesting to let the imagination go loose while the person reads.

      That will open some understandings, I’m sure.

    • I completely disagree CharlieM IMO the key word is ‘Alone’ however I think people are putting far to much enthuses on the word, to me even though its a key word you will still have to break the code to the poem.

    • I completely agree Charlie. You must be in tight focus with the blaze to solve the poem and find the treasure IMO.

  30. Hermit traill=i go in there alone
    Lions gulch=No place for the meek
    Home of brown-homestead meadows-colorado
    Blaze= actual fire that happened here
    This place holds the key

    Wwwh = not an actual body of water- could be ice chest or refridgerator o

  31. Maybe the key word is “in”?
    What can you go “in” to that’s not a structure or a cave?
    Water? A canyon? A crevice?
    Beats me, but in a few weeks I will be looking for any and all of the above .

    • Veronica S the first stanza to me is the most important you must know what you are looking for grasshopper !,!JMO

      • I am going to try to be funny – which most times fails – Clint, we ALL know WHAT we are looking for – Indulgence 🙂 JDA

        • JDA there is more to first stanza then just the end! There are things you must know to get you there.

          • That sir, is your opinion. Stanza one DOES have important info, I am not discounting that. I just call that information a HINT, not a clue – and I do not think that stanza 1 is an END – JMO – JDA

      • Just an observation that he used the word “in”
        Meaning that you have to actually go in something.
        I do indeed know what I am looking for , but thank you and good luck to all.

        • Something has to go in. What if the thing that begins, isn’t your following the clues, but something that starts… and that thing that started where warm waters halt follows the canyon down

          • Something doesnt have to go “in”. Its “have gone ” which implies already happened. That doesnt mean the searcher goes in. In fact, I dont think the searcher is going “in”. I think the searcher is seeking evidence of “I” having gone in. Its the evidence that matters now and not the going in. Remember the story of FF sliding down the fire escape at school? He said something to the effect that everyone knew where he had gone because of the rust stains on his britches. Where has “I” gone alone in? IMO of course.

  32. Hey, you all, how do you start a post here, a topic people can comment on like the topic here of what word is key? I’m not much on computers, so I don’t know this, If I can post I’d like to take some time and walk people through my reasoning for a failed yellowstone solve. Even if it was failed my reasoning is sort of different from other reasoning I’ve read here and it might help people with their own solves. Thanks.

    • I’m probably less informed than you Daniel, but I think you have to e-mailed it to Dal and he will post it…..?

    • Daniel. The blog is made up of many “Threads”. A list of these “Threads” can be found on the right side of the page where you found the most “Recent Posts” Above this is “Searchers Discussions”. Click on it, and you will see a list of Discussion items or “Threads”. Pick the one you like – Find the one that fits best.


      As other’s have said, email Dal (His email address is above his picture – as the last item on the right side of the top of every “Thread”)

      Tell Dal that what you are sending him is a failed “solve” and that you want it published. He will be happy to post it for you.

      Hope that this helps. I look forward to reading your Solve – JDA

        • I am not in charge of where you can leave a reply – that is a function of the software – I found your reply, and I replied – look below. JDA

      • Ok thanks JDA, I think the place to post solves is under searchers adventures on this site. I guess I’ll email Dal and leave a searchers adventures story for my yellowstone failed solve. I read a few of the other searcher adventures and see the bar for writing and thinking well is high. I’ll take my time describing my solve, how it relates to book and poem, etc. My reasoning process, etc.

  33. John R. – in support of your theory )and sorry if already mentioned) is Forrests little mention on MW regarding the fireplace pokers and melding ferrous and non ferrous metals. Which leads me to hearth –> hart (stag)–> heart–> Earhart??

  34. JDA I did not say they were clues and just for the record did you change your name to Veronica ?

  35. Well, that explains that. If you thought I was jumping in where I was not supposed to be, why did you reply to every one of my posts?

    I was not aware that when responding to a post – with a bit of attempted humor – that I was supposed to look upstream and see who you responded to – My bad – JDA

  36. Just letting you know, my focus has not been lost. It has only been sharpened. No worries, my nerves get the best of me at times. You understand. Soon, I will make camp. Then, I will go in there again.

  37. To much drama here for me!Here is a big Marine Corp OORAH best of luck JDA or Veronica ?CLINT

    • Thanks Clint for the good luck wish. And the same to you. Have fun wherever you are heading – JDA

  38. IMO, a word that is key (to the poem) is like the example Fenn gave us: Indecision is the key to flexibility.

    Indecision …dont cut, divide, sever, tear, etc.
    Flexibility… fold, bend curl, twist, etc.
    The key (indecision) limits/clarifies/defines the word flexibility.

    BTW, Clint/Veronica… “gone alone into” doesnt have to be a place of structure or substance. It can be a place consciousness, or as Feen frequently says, “another dimension” …. like being there with Gilbert as he paints George. You can go into a coma, a tizzy, a trance, a stupor, a mood of generosity, a fit of settling debts, a wash of tears of remorse or joy, analytical thoughts while sitting on a gravestone or love & gratitude while sitting under a tree watching an osprey, memories, etc. Oh, nevermind, just keep it simple. Good Luck. OS2

    • OS2 Thanks you nail it, I did’nt want to put much out there trying to keep it simple.let them solve it like I did by my self now I am done.OORAH

    • You make some good points, OS2.
      For instance, one could go “in”sane over analyzing the poem.
      Always keep an open mind and open eyes on this hunt!

  39. Hi Daniel

    Are you new at the Home of Dal?
    If so, welcome.

    I can’t speak for anyone but me, but I like to here new ideas.

    One thing you might want to think about. He wrote the clues about a spot that he always knew would be his special place. He didn’t look for a spot while writing.


  40. This will be a little long . . .
    When FF mentioned “a word that is key”, he was speaking in the context of a thought that
    the TC might be found relatively soon (i.e., less than hundreds of years from now). It’s likely
    that a particularly difficult-to-figure-out part of the poem had been solved by someone, and
    FF was aware of this. And if a particularly difficult-to-figure-out part has been solved, then
    the easier parts, before long, would be solved (if they haven’t already been).

    Many words in the poem are key to a good solve. For example, “blaze”. Without knowing
    what and where it is, you’ll never find the TC. But the poem also contains other words
    that are key to a good solve. Here are some (but not all) of them:


    I don’t want to bore you too much right now with details. The specific word that I think FF
    had in mind when he mentioned “a word that is key” isn’t in the poem — but is in one of the
    books he wrote. He was being clever when he said all this, and folks continually are
    underestimating him. How many stupid self-made millionaires do you know? I don’t know
    any. FF is very smart.

    Even so, it is not absolutely necessary to know of that “specific” word that is key in
    order to solve the poem, as the gusher of hints has been flowing for years.

    FF has urged us not to discount any of the words in the poem. And he has emphasized
    that the nouns are important. But you’re likely already aware of these things, and I don’t
    much like repeating myself.

    Now, the following probably WILL bore some of you: Have you looked up “halt” in a
    dictionary? Nobody has ever told me that they have. And this may help explain why
    the TC has not yet been found in the last few years.

    The above is my opinion. Yours may differ. Good luck to all searchers.

    • I have tighterfocus, a rope to lead a horse was a halt, later it became a halter. Are you saying halt means lead? Or there are more reverse words or meanings in the poem… like riding a backwards bike?

      • Nope. (But thank y’all for the response.) I’ve believed for a long time
        that in the poem, “halt” is a verb.

        I’m tired of seeing indications that someone apparently thinks that “halt” means “merge” or “change direction” or “cool off”. IMO.

  41. The big question about the word that’s key in the poem? That’s really not my central question about the poem. My central question is this: By Fenn’s own admission he conceived of the poem and treasure hunt when he was very sick and in an existential crisis mentally, and he was acutely concerned about somehow being remembered after his death, that he did not just want to be forgotten, left only a gravestone like his father, like the grave marker he found in Vietnam, and countless other human beings lost to the sands of time.

    In his Thrill of the Chase he makes bells of bronze and buries them deep, hoping they will be discovered only after a thousand or two years. And of course he has written the poem and hidden the treasure and it’s implied more than once by him and others that who knows when if ever the poem will be solved and the treasure found. Which means of course, and this will offend people who view Fenn as pretty faultless, that Fenn is invested in not having the poem ever solved and the treasure found. The longer this goes on the more Fenn is legend. Ideally for him would be the treasure never found and for it to go down through the centuries the legend of Fenn’s treasure. Which of course leads to the question of how fair the poem actually is and whether there is a treasure at all; how difficult it is to crack the poem or if it’s next to ambiguous, “read almost anything into it” subjectivity, perhaps even gibberish, something we’re supposed to toil over like toiling over so many other fragments of the past that have still to be understood.

    To put it as simply as possible, how likely is anyone to really solve the poem? And how dangerous really is it to physically retrieve the treasure? (Fenn was military, a fishing guide, so exactly what is dangerous to such a person?) Fenn in his Thrill of Chase by own admission made and buried bells, jars, tried hard to not have them found for at least a thousand years. How has this mentality affected his writing of the poem? Even if he wanted to make the treasure hunt reasonably fair, could his own psychology have been working against him and he made the poem pretty obscure, really quite impossible to solve? We know he put fifteen years into it and is only one man. We know thousands have been trying to crack it by every possible method and have failed.

    Worse, the treasure by precisely being gold and jewels works on people’s minds, makes them keep the dream alive even if it’s entirely nonsense. People are compelled in certain directions by this or that delusion and gold is one of them and many of the people we remember today are in one way or another connected with some impossible hope or legend. This applies to religious figures and strange, indecipherable manuscripts and objects, etc. One can imagine Fenn thinking the best way to be remembered is to appeal to people’s weakness, invent an idea about gold, write a poem about it and have them try for centuries to keep figuring it out. Fenn gets remembered the longer the chase goes on, which means the poem cannot be simple and the treasure easily found. In fact we can imagine Fenn aiming for the poem to be shockingly complex and the treasure difficult to retrieve, or worse for all of us, that the poem is next to gibberish and perhaps the treasure does not exist at all.

    In other words, the key thing for me is the relative difficulty of it all. Fenn does not appear to be an Einstein or a great poet or anything like that. Therefore it should not be too difficult to crack if indeed it’s fair, if it’s fairly comprehensible and able to be solved. But people have yet to crack it. I personally wonder how subjective it is, dependent on entering Fenn’s mind, his impressions. It does not seem to me code or cypher to be cracked, something with a clear embedded message. If it was code or cypher it seems it should be rather easy to crack with computer experts, massive pattern seeking operation. Therefore it’s subjective, which means vast ambiguity, people reading things into it. Which of course raises the question of how fair at all the poem is, if it’s fairly realistic like realism in painting or if it’s like one of those abstract paintings which are named after something but leave the viewer perplexed because it does not seem to resemble the thing named at all.

    In other words, what’s key for me is Fenn’s motivation and the relative difficulty of it all. If I can get a fix on that then I can decide whether to keep at the chase or whether to abandon it as folly. If I can have a reasonable chance of solving it I’ll keep pursuing it, but what kind of person would have people working on something, spending all their time and money, on something they really have little chance of solving? There are a lot of moral and philosophical questions which are raised by this treasure hunt. Probably these questions are more interesting and valuable than the treasure itself. And of course if the poem is fairly capable of being solved and the treasure exists, the knowledge of how Fenn made the poem, the process of reasoning, is more interesting and valuable than the gold itself.

    • Daniel,

      I find your post very interesting and to a point true, however I can assure you that IMO the treasure will be found within the next 2 months, the poem has been solved and the treasure does indeed exist…..and in my books Mr Fenn became a legend the very day he walked away from the treasure trove wether it was found straight away or in a thousand years time, I in my life although not at all wealthy have had the privilege in my profession to come across and share quality time with some very very wealthy people and some of them I regard as friends now, and I can tell you this with out doubt not one of them would ever dream of hiding their riches in the mountains for anyone to find let alone your ‘Average Joe’ which is what I classify myself as, trust me MR FENN’S legacy will live on a hundred if not a thousand years from now, only a genius could of constructed that poem and put his riches out there for all to claim.

    • Daniel;

      This is a question that only you can answer for yourself. I can tell you that it is real, and that Forrest is not a charlatan, but if you are a “Doubting Thomas”, my words will mean nothing. I personally believe that the treasure will be found very soon. I also believe that Forrest IS a genius in the way that he crafted the poem so that it COULD be solved, but only by someone who was moderately intelligent, very imaginative, and more stubborn and persistent than a Missouri mule – and also someone with a good sense of humor. An interesting mix of talents.

      Good luck in coming to your decision. What is that old saying about having the faith of a mustard seed? Have FUN, and TRY to STAY SAFE – JDA

      • I feel like I’m surrounded by robots.

        You don’t believe that post was worthy of consideration, right? That was a robot writing that.

    • Daniel: congratulations on one of the more cogent posts I’ve read here in a while. The good news is that the starting point can certainly be solved — many have done so since the early going. Where I think Forrest erred was in suggesting that the clues get easier as you go. Perhaps in a geographical sense this is true, since with the starting point deciphered a searcher will have eliminated 99% of the search area. But if the clues really did get easier the further one progressed, then the two-clue solvers of five years ago would have long since locked this thing up.

      Perhaps Forrest underestimated the difficulty of the third clue. Or perhaps the type of mind that solves WWWH is rather different from the one that can unravel the third clue. A would-be third clue solver might then be prevented from bringing his or her skills to bear because they don’t know the starting point.

      • Zap,

        The secret (trap) is in TFTW. Their thinking spoiled the solution.

        TFTW has nothing to do with walking. It only describes the distance that WWWH travels on the CD. This gives confirmation of the location.

        HoB is just after “where” the WWWH + CD begins.

        I’m using the literal reading of the poem.


      • Zap, maybe the third clue is much easier than what the first two clue solvers realized. One example, the third clue and wwwh tell of the same thing. Maybe they are thinking about everything but the same thing.

      • Hi McB – I’ve stated this for at least a couple years now: IMO, TFTW is not a distance. In the words of Yoda, “That is why you fail.”

        • Well, If it’s not a distance of viewing, travel or time related… what is it?
          “Not far” is a distance and could be any one of the above, “Too far” is a distance and related to any of the above.

          If we use multiple meanings of word usages… ‘far’ to mean; right [side] we could simply turn around… two rights [turns] don’t make a wrong, line of thinking. Yet even then, there is a distance to understand. If that where hoB comes into play?

          So what does NFBTFTW mean if a distance [ unknown or not, prior ] is not involved.

          Ha! what about “from there??” is NPFTM not a distance either -?- from any of the prior clue references?
          Kinda kills your driving point to point for some clues, doesn’t it?

          • The warm waters stop and take the canyon below, not far, but too far to walk.

            It is a phrase saying that the water goes not far, but too far inside the canyon to walk.

            The water runs about 10 miles inside the canyon, then the canyon is over.

            Why does it seem so simple?

          • Outside the box thought for you Seeker.

            Too = 2 military designation (the only pure use of any number in the poem unless homonym of for = 4 is allowed)

            F ar(e) T o’walk.


            T becomes F exactly twice at points TBD by solver elsewhere in the poem.

            Doing this correctly allows the solver to walk to chest once information from other points is assimilated.

            This usage does not imply viewing, distances, or time per se, as info are instructions outside those parameters.

            Thoughts on this unconventional permutation?


          • Seeker, your last post provides a very interesting hypothesis. I will cogitate on it thoroughly. Thx!

          • Seek- it could be something word.related like fall/falls or jump run or slide or something.

            Bad example but say no place for the meek=scary and NFBTFTW= to fall
            So your next spot would be Scary Falls , or Devils Slide or whatever.

          • *same thing with the end is ever drawing nigh…could be “circle” or “loop”….not direction, distance, or time related but place name related (?) If that makes any sense.

        • Zap…good to see you still vocal with your theories! It may be that you are correct in your idea of a non-distance…but, I think the dilemma is less complex in nature. Fenn has made clear inferences to the clues being places…whether they are close or far apart, there is still a “distance” involved…even if it is minimal in nature.

          • Hi Ken: agreed — most of the clues are places … including NF, BTFTW. Yes, the clue spans a distance, but IMO the gist of the clue is completely location-oriented, not distance-oriented.

          • Ken,


            That’s why I call NF, BTFTW for “trap.”

            FF did not say that researchers apparently found the first two clues and then “walked right through” the chest and the other seven clues?

            Do you know why? They “walked too far” following NF, BTFTW. Actually they could even be on the fourth lane but did not realize …and continued TFTW, coming out of the poem.

            Did I just think so?

          • Zap…could be. I have had a few possibilities that leaned in that direction…however, the natural flow of the path never seemed to fit. Ultimately…there is a beginning and an end. What transpires in the “middle” has to get the searcher from start to finish. There is a simple solution just waiting to be played out…some day.

          • McB….I agree with your concept and have said the same thing many times. And, no, I am not certain why.
            I have simple theory on why, and will try it out later this year. There is absolutely no rush as far as I am concerned…

          • Then again, If all the clues are at many different distances… do we need to walk then out?

            The poem tells us to begin it at WWWH, If all “take it in means is to view from that vantage point… distances of the other clues are not required. The only requirement is to be able to view them from the correct location…. having all the lines cross each other, line of thinking.

            In this case; “just” HL n WH would be WWWH, and retrospect … ‘Home’ of Brown [ home of the chest ] could be where WWH, Is where HLnWH is, and No place for the meek is actually in the canyon… where we don’t need to go… no paddle up your creek, line of thinking.

            “the end” would be the far end of the canyon “drawing” the waters from the water source [WWWH] right back to “nigh”. Near where you are standing.

            Why won’t you know WWWH until you find the chest? Because the correct WWWH is where the chest lays in wait.
            IF you knew hoB you’d go right to the chest.
            The clues are all in one.

            So… who has the dang correct WWWH? I’ll meet you there shortly. LOL.

            I find it funny that three little words “take it in” could have everyone running away.

            Seekers’ predictions; HoB is where the chest lays in wait @ WwwH which is the same place as HLnWH.

            Who needs a weemeemageemee mouse pad when ya got a magic eight-ball that tells all.

          • Seeker,

            I said one time and I repeat:

            1 – IMO FF describes a small place.

            2 – IMO it is possible to see “all” the clues from the top of the chest.

            3 – IMO all clues converge at “a single” point.

            4 – IMO The poem is simple, but the solution is not. It depends a lot on thinking / imagining.

          • Seeker…The whole problem may be even less complicated than appears. Your prediction sounds about right to me…at least very close to that. I’ve been staring at tea leaves lately and they just look like soggy tobacco to me.
            Today I started to look at the clouds and immediately thought of your “take it in” idea. I got a neck cramp and went and mowed the lawn. I still like the theory though…

          • Greetings Seeker.

            “Then again, If all the clues are at many different distances… do we need to walk then out?”

            Your sentence is meaningless because of a single typo. I don’t mean to be an arse about this, but if you aren’t willing to edit your own posts, then it comes off as being pompous. This is one of your milder examples; you have other posts that are complete gibberish because of typos. It’s as if you’re saying, “It’s my ideas that are important, not the pesky language details. The burden is on you, the poor reader, to decipher what I meant, not what I wrote.” That’s rude. It says, “My time is more valuable than your time.”

            “The poem tells us to begin it at WWWH, If all “take it in means is to view from that vantage point… distances of the other clues are not required. The only requirement is to be able to view them from the correct location…. having all the lines cross each other, line of thinking.”

            Again, you make my point. I must skip the following stream-of-consciousness because it is not by job to interpret horribly worded sentences. Skipping ahead to something more readable:

            “Why won’t you know WWWH until you find the chest? Because the correct WWWH is where the chest lays in wait.”

            NO. That’s your opinion. And an inaccurate one in my opinion. The essential word in Forrest’s quote is “know.” In this case, you can’t claim you “know” anything without proof … proof being recovery of the chest itself. By any practical definition, people who have solved the first two clues “know” it — I doubt any of them would ever consider another spot. But do they KNOW it’s right? Of course not. There is know and there is KNOW.

            “Seekers’ predictions; HoB is where the chest lays in wait @ WwwH which is the same place as HLnWH.”

            I’ll take the counter-bet. HoB and WWWH are not colocated, nor is “heavy loads and water high” colocated with either … unless your map scale is the entire Earth.

          • Zap – seriously? All that plus it’s not by job?

            Is it by jib? That’s a clue, by the way.

          • E.C.: job or jib, I have no idea what you’re alluding to. But yes, I was serious.

          • Zap – then please, allow me to detail it out for you.

            You said “because it is not by job” after your fecundity of words at making sure someone edits their importances.

            And if you don’t know that “no paddle” might imply “jib” and its correlation, I’m cool with that. It would seem you and I are in different allusions.

            Enjoy your seriousnesses! I sure do!

          • Zap – in case you or others are questioning the accuracy of my apophenia with jib being a clue, confirmation bias may also be found in Scrapbook 70.

            And then if I say “wait.. do what?” Those in the know will want to race me to the end. No? 😉

          • Zap – re: jib, then again in SB164. But hey, by job or by jib, cleverness is more important than emargination, or editing.

      • Zap,
        “Easy” is relative and perhaps f did not error. If the clues aren’t getting easier after solving the first clue, did you really solve the first clue?

        • Dejoka: Forrest in not an experienced puzzle-designer. So unfortunately, he is ill-equipped to judge what is hard and what is easy. I think he realized this unavoidable deficicency from the get-go and thus erred on the side of making the puzzle nearly impossible to solve based solely on the poem. Thanks to near real-time interaction with searchers, he could make the problem easier after-the-fact based on seachers’ progress. The one thing he could *not* do is make it harder.

          But yes, I’ve solved the first clue — in my opinion. Forrest has provided far too many hints for it, and it is frankly astonishing to me that more people haven’t figured it out based on his voluminous ATF remarks.

          • Zap.
            Maybe it’s just me but all that sounds like an excuse for when a failed search happens…
            ~’not an experienced puzzle-designer’
            ~’ill-equipped to judge what is hard and what is easy.’
            And yet you supposedly have solved the first clue, only to have rest of your solve fall apart when on an actual search.

            Could it be we just do see it the way he intended? We only want to see it they way we hope it should be?

            It’s getting rather thick in here when folks know they have it all figured out, say thing like; ‘and it is frankly astonishing to me that more people haven’t figured it out based on his voluminous ATF remarks.’
            Only to add, that clues later on get harder… completely opposite of what fenn claims. Could It be you might have it all wrong from the start?!

          • Seeker: “Maybe it’s just me but all that sounds like an excuse for when a failed search happens…”

            Yes, it’s just you.

            “~’not an experienced puzzle-designer’”

            He isn’t. Fact.

            “~’ill-equipped to judge what is hard and what is easy.’”

            Have you ever designed a puzzle? I’m guessing not, because the hardest thing about doing so is judging it’s difficulty. The puzzle-builder is the most biased person on the planet — uniquely unqualified to judge its difficulty.

            “And yet you supposedly have solved the first clue, only to have rest of your solve fall apart when on an actual search.”

            Not supposedly. I’m not even going to qualify that statement. If Dal wants to strike my post because I didn’t append an “in my opinion” to it, I accept that fate. In fact, if he strikes my post on those grounds, I won’t post here ever again. There are hundreds of hints and clues to the starting point.

            “It’s getting rather thick in here when folks know they have it all figured out, say thing like; ‘and it is frankly astonishing to me that more people haven’t figured it out based on his voluminous ATF remarks.’”

            I freely admit I don’t have it *all* figured out, otherwise I’d be on the road to Santa Fe with a bracelet to deliver.

            “Only to add, that clues later on get harder… completely opposite of what fenn claims.”

            Fenn is the WORST authority on the solvability of any of his clues. He is uniquely unqualified to judge.

          • Zap

            You only assume more people haven’t figured it out. You don’t know.


          • Zap ~’The puzzle-builder is the most biased person on the planet — uniquely unqualified to judge its difficulty.’

            What qualifies someone as an expert?
            By your standards even the experts don’t know what the heck there doing either. Your using an excuse only to make yourself feel better for screwing up… that’s as plain and simple as it gets.

            You refuse to admit you may have been wrong, right at WWWH to begin with.
            Virtually every post, since you returned from your search, has essence of giving up… yet, you still want to tell us you have wwwh nailed down. What is more reasonable… all the BS you’re tossing out, or the probability you are not in the right location to even start? Only to say the poem gets even more difficult because you couldn’t solve it.
            Fenn beat you… so what?! He’s kicked the snots out of all us brilliant wannabees… but it’s always a hoot to watch the melt downs, when some come back empty handed after their sure solution.

            You said; ‘and it is frankly astonishing to me that more people haven’t figured it out based on his voluminous ATF remarks.’
            If that ain’t a rub in our faces I don’t know what is… So please, O’Brilliant one, Tell us where we all went wrong.

          • Lugnutz: I draw conclusions from anecdotal evidence provided by posters here, so yes — I don’t “know” that more people haven’t figured out the starting point. It’s just clear that almost nobody who posts here has figured it out because no two posters seem to agree with one another.

          • Seeker: so you apparently disagree with my statement ’The puzzle-builder is the most biased person on the planet — uniquely unqualified to judge its difficulty.’ If that’s the case, you haven’t designed enough puzzles for others to solve. Construction an impossible puzzle is as trivial as designing an easy one. 7 1/2 years is not yet enough time to declare whether Forrest’s puzzle is solvable or not (how long did Fermat’s Last Theorem remain unsolved!), but it’s clear that it’s not trivial.

            “What qualifies someone as an expert?
            By your standards even the experts don’t know what the heck there doing either. Your using an excuse only to make yourself feel better for screwing up… that’s as plain and simple as it gets.”

            My success or failure has nothing to do with this. And who are the experts of whom you speak? I haven’t seen evidence of one. There is a fine line between a solvable puzzle and an insolvable one. That is the only pertinent observation. Fenn started by making his puzzle intentionally unsolvable, IMO … or at least as far as he was able to determine. With his ATF comments, he is “tickling the dragon’s tail” and trying to make it just barely solvable — that’s my take, right or wrong. It’s unusual for a puzzlemaker to continue to interact with the would-be puzzle-solvers, and for that we should be thankful.

            “You refuse to admit you may have been wrong, right at WWWH to begin with.”

            Yes, guilty as charged. My WWWH is 100% right. I will never change. If the treasure is in New Mexico, Colorado or Wyoming, I will never find it because I will never search in any of those states (relief to JDA 😉

            “Virtually every post, since you returned from your search, has essence of giving up…”

            No, not giving up. Just exasperation with the red herrings. There may not be intentional red herrings in the poem, but lordy the same cannot be said of his books. (Example: Gardiner’s Island. How many people have searched on islands SPECIFICALLY because Forrest brought this up in TTOTC at the end of the same chapter containing the poem!?)

            “… yet, you still want to tell us you have wwwh nailed down. What is more reasonable… all the BS you’re tossing out, or the probability you are not in the right location to even start?”

            The former.

            “Only to say the poem gets even more difficult because you couldn’t solve it.”

            Couldn’t solve it YET. Apparently neither can the people who solved the first two clues three years before I’d ever heard of Forrest Fenn. If anyone sucks, it’s them, not me. They had at least a 3-year head start. 😉

            “You said; ‘and it is frankly astonishing to me that more people haven’t figured it out based on his voluminous ATF remarks.’ If that ain’t a rub in our faces I don’t know what is… So please, O’Brilliant one, Tell us where we all went wrong.”

            Yes, you cantankerous old fool, I make no excuses for being a bit to the right side of the bell curve. And yet I was dim enough not to figure out WWWH until after more than a year working at it. But that was without the benefit of all the Scrapbooks and MW Q&A’s that have come out in the last 2 years. Those ATFs should have made it a LOT easier for people to figure out WWWH. That was what I was getting at. Forrest is trying to level the playing field by blasting us every which way with hints at the starting point.

          • Zap

            I will remind you that You have not mentioned the spot where warm waters halt.


          • Lugnutz: quite so. As I wrote you recently, I am considering telling you (privately) the answer. As a fierce critic, clearly if my solution to WWWH convinced you, others would probably take notice.

          • Zap –

            I did not receive an email with that remark so I apologise if you were expecting a response.

            If you you want to email me you should have my address because Dal once emailed us together to wish us a nice weekend.

            Critic is the correct word. That word doesn’t conote disrespect.

            Conote is not a word,

          • Hi Lugnutz: you may have me confused with a different searcher — I’ve never received an email from Dal that was addressed to both me and you. I know this because I file all of Dal’s private communications with me.

          • Hi Zap –

            Maybe you do not recall, he sent an email that said “you two, knock it off!” You might not have realized it was I as the word Lugnutz does not appear in the email address.

            If you keep all your Dal correspondence, search your email for the word Knock. I did not keep it.

            If you don’t have it, and you want to email me, just email Dal and he will make the connection.

            Usually when someone goes to Dal to get my email address I say to Dal, “ok, I hope this on isn’t nuts”. Since I am a fervent believer in superstition, I will reply in the same way in reference to you.

            Presumably you are on the less nutty side of the scale!


          • Hi Lugnutz: I guarantee you I never received such an email from Dal. I have all his messages to me dating back to August 2015.

            That said, at least one other searcher has the same WWWH as me and has expressed the wish that I not share it with anyone else until they’ve had their opportunity to get out and search this spring/summer. That request seems fair and reasonable, so I will hold off a little while longer.

          • Zap,
            Regardless of the fact that it’s f’s first attempt at puzzle making, with my understanding, he has very successfully married the degree of difficulty to the size of the prize.

            Your astonishment should give you pause about your first clue solved declaration.

          • Hi Dejoka: just to reiterate, it is EASY to make an unsolvable puzzle. It is also easy to design a trivial one. The hard part is designing one that is just barely solvable. I would theorize that Forrest’s poem could never have been solved in any of our lifetimes had he simply published TTOTC and then never said another word. But he didn’t do that. Quite the opposite. He’s firehosed us with additional data.

            My claim is simply that one of the purposes of this continued interaction is to gently tweak the difficulty downward based on what he perceives is the level of progress (or lack thereof).

            “Your astonishment should give you pause about your first clue solved declaration.”

            On the contrary, I think it should give those who haven’t solved the first clue mild concern about the prospect that Forrest may have been taking a little guilty pleasure in teasing us with hints all along.

          • Zap,
            f did not come close to making an unsolvable puzzle from the get-go.
            Like I said “he was very successful in marrying the degree of difficulty with the size of the prize”.

            “firehosed”? Your confirmation bias is in overdrive.

            f does not perceive progress, he knows exactly where every emailer and blogger stands. He knows your progress or lack thereof, merely by your responses to me.

          • Dejoka: just a side comment. Forrest rarely reads the blogs these days; an exception is when a searcher emails him directly with a link to a particular post.

            I stand by the fire hose comment. Perhaps you have another explanation for nearly 200 scrapbooks.

          • Zap,
            Welp, it appears you have this treasure hunt wrapped up.


          • Zap –

            Not that it matters, but I will assume you are referring to HMA. His what? Fourth time to the site.

            In the meantime how about sharing some of those other tidbits? Things not related to WWH?

            I would love to read something that makes me excited.


      • Zap, IMO the the clues get easier if you understand and solve the riddle in the poem. If that is the case then the two-clue solvers started correctly by happenstance and therefore got lost on the way. They left the poem. These two-clue solvers had the minds to find WWWH and not the minds to solve it.

        • Hi Aaron: no. The clues don’t get easier. Evidence? 2 clues solved at least as early as the summer of 2012. No evidence that any more than 4 had been solved as of November 2015. Less than 2 years to solve 2 clues; over 5 years to *maybe* solve 4. QED.

          • zap, maybe you don’t have the right one and that is why it has not become easier. How is that not probable?

          • Hi Oz10: I thought I made it clear that my argument wasn’t personal. Just examine the math: two clues solved in less than 2 years. At most 4 clues solved after 5 years. That is proof enough to me that the clues do NOT get easier, irrespective of how many clues I personally have solved.

          • Hey Zap, unfortunately that MATH can work the other way around too. Were they at the right starting location? Even after solving the first 2 clues?? Did they know it???

            If they knew it and were as sure as you are we can also ask, why they have not kept on trying at the same place for the last 5 years?

          • Hi Oz: “Were they at the right starting location?”

            Yes, I certainly believe so.

            “Even after solving the first 2 clues??”

            They wouldn’t have been there if they hadn’t.

            “Did they know it???”

            Many certainly didn’t. Hundreds of thousands of people pass the starting point every year, in my opinion. It’s just that there isn’t a big neon sign there saying, “This is Forrest’s WWWH.”

            “If they knew it and were as sure as you are we can also ask, why they have not kept on trying at the same place for the last 5 years?”

            I’m assuming some, perhaps most, have. I’ve been there for two years and I ain’t budging. EVER. And consider JDA: how long has he been using the same WWWH? Has to be at least 15 trips by now. Yes, he and I are at different spots in different states, but the point I’m trying to make is that people don’t give up on a spot they like after a year or 2 years or 5 years. I think it would be a mistake to assume that the people who figured out the correct WWWH would abandon it.

          • Forrest said ‘begin it where warm waters halt’ is the first clue. He also said that clue plus ‘somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe’ is not enough to point a searcher to the starting location with confidence. It seems logical to me that solving the first and second clue is not giving that much confidence either, after all these years. So there is a lot more to this puzzle…

            Regarding the amount of clues solved, it is possible that more than 4 have been solved. If Forrest knows, I don’t think he will ever publish that info so not to discourage anyone new in the search from trying.

          • Zap, you mentioned jda. Why are you so sure that he does not have the correct interpretation of wwwh? You have said it a million times but without giving proof or showing the chest, or having some secret confirmation from ff that you in fact have the correct one, why would you claim that?

          • Hi Oz10,

            “Zap, you mentioned jda.” I did, but only because he’s a tenacious searcher like I am (and DG, Cynthia, Dal, and more than a dozen others) and I was trying to point out that committed searchers aren’t quitters.

            “Why are you so sure that he does not have the correct interpretation of wwwh?”

            I’ll answer somewhat politically: for the same reasons that JDA doesn’t believe that I have the right WWWH. 😉

            I am guided by probability and statistics. If I have over 250 clues to the same location, I can conclude one of two things: that it’s the right starting location, or Forrest is deliberately planting red herrings. If it’s the latter, then nobody has a snowball’s chance of solving the poem, so I lean more toward the former.

          • Zap – I think I’m going to politely challenge you on probs and stats. I think your algorithm is probs overfitting a bit. 250 clues pointing to the same location suggests an error, and red herring might be considered misinterpreting the data set.

          • Zap, I believe our disagreement here is solved versus found. IMO the searchers found the first two clues only. If they would have solved them then they would have become progressively easier. My point is they did not understand the entire poem.

          • Hi Aaron: I think I can provide a few pieces of evidence in the form of ff ATF remarks that contradict this statement: “IMO the searchers found the first two clues only. If they would have solved them then they would have become progressively easier.”

            #1 Moby Dickens (11/2/2013): “There are several people that have deciphered the first two clues. I don’t think they knew it because they walked right on past the treasure chest.” Decipherment is more than simple identification of clues in the poem; decipherment means they figured out the meaning of those clues. Otherwise, how could they have *also* walked right on past the treasure chest? Clearly their decipherment was accurate enough to get them within walking distance of the chest.

            #2 According to a post by Goofy on 4/18/2013, Forrest said at the bookstore the prior night (4/17/2013) that two parties have solved the first two clues but missed the next seven. “Solved” to me is beyond mere identification of clues.

            #3 MW Featured Question (12/30/2014): “Dear Forrest, Now that the 2014 search season has ended, can you summarize the results? Ie: is anyone close to the treasure chest? Has anyone given you a solve? Thanks, puttputt.” Forrest replies: “I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure puttputt, but there is no indication that they knew it. No one has given me the correct solve past the first two clues. f” The final sentence from f suggests that at least someone *has* given him the correct solution to the first two clues.

            I know some searchers would prefer the situation where everyone who has been at the starting point was oblivious, but that doesn’t really stand up to statistical scrutiny. There’s just no getting around that something in the poem told all these people to show up there.

        • Aaron, you said “These two-clue solvers had the minds to find WWWH and not the minds to solve it.”

          Hence, there could be the need for a major paradigm shift in thinking to solve it.

          • That’s right CO. It is one thing to find the physical version of the the first two clues and quite another to understand what they mean.

          • Aaron, Seeker, Zap, JDA, Cinthya, KK, Lugnutz, All friends

            An idea for you to think:

            I think few people have until now realized what the first four clues have in common (and simple) between them. IMO: WWWH, CD, TFTW and HoB.

            Think about it.

            So FF said that “maybe” some had deciphered the first four clues.

            I will not do BOTG, so I’ve been looking for someone to partner with, but I think it’s important to help other researchers with my ideas.

        • Zap,

          The first stanza has a local hint and another hint of object. (not necessary to understand the poem)

          The second stanza gives you a specific location.

          Think of it as one.

          So FF said that “maybe” someone has deciphered (understood) up to clue 4.

          “Everyone” was in the “same place” but did not understand it.

          IMO of course ; )

      • Zap –

        Actually Fenn didn’t say the clues get easier to solve, that’s just how you heard it or how you read it.

        I don’t read it that way. To me he was so not referring to which lines or words in the poem are clues. That’s what he actually said.

        The quote would be from the EIS Radio interview October 2013.

        ~yiu you have to find out where the first clue is. They get progressively easier after you discover where the first clue is. (F)

        The first clue is in the fifth line.


        • Lug: the first clue is in the 5th line, yes, but it cannot be solved without the first stanza.

          What do YOU think “They get progressively easier after you discover where the first clue is” means?

          • Zap

            He was speaking about what the clues are in the poem at a time when we didn’t know.

            Knowing with certainty which was the first clue was the most difficult task. Figuring which line is the second clue is easier, figuring which is the final clue is easier still.

            Also he has mentioned the clues in ATF comments over time.

            Which lines has he mentioned and how many?

            Where warm waters halt

            Canyon down

            Too far to walk

            Home of Brown

            Paddle up your creek

            Heavy loads

            Water high

            The blaze

            That’s eight


          • Lugnutz: so you mean simply the “identity” of the clues, not their solution? If so, I could definitely get on board with that.

          • I think it means as you solve the clues the distance becomes “easier” or Less with most of the clues. An example is NFBTFTW – you really do not have to walk it and the distance becomes less.
            I do believe the Clues do not get “easier” to figure out – IMO.

          • Yes Zap

            And when he says there are hints that help you with the clues, again, he is referring to simply identifying the clues.

            He doesn’t mean that hints in the book help solve the clue, by which I mean, identify a place in the search area.

            We weren’t there yet.

            Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t additional clues in the book that will help identify those places, it just means these are two different pursuits. Identifying the clues. Figuring out what they refer to.

            Perhaps this will help you to think about clues in a new way.

            You may have an advantage over me in that I do not see what you see in the first stanza.

            On the other hand I may have an advantage in that I remain more open to changing direction.


      • Zap, and others,

        Or, as I have been suspecting all along, that some searcher, or searchers, found the correct WWWH – but don’t know WHY it is the correct one. It is my opinion that Mr. Fenn has designed the puzzle in such a way that if a searcher does not follow his line of thinking, you cannot get past the first two clues. (Enter the little girl from India. That’s why no map will get you closer.)

        It’s not so much about places, as it is about the thought/thinking/imagination process. This is what I have come to believe, right or wrong.

        I’m still plugging away for that “Aha!” moment.

        Be safe searchers,

    • Danial, I lived with a rocket scientist (mathematician/physicist) for 43 years in homes of 2,000-2,500 square feet, in which he never found the hamper, the scissors, or the aspirin bottle. I do not fear the TC will be found soon.

      I also think it’s futile to think a searcher can get into Fenn’s head or explain his motives. Such analyses tell me more about the searcher than the subject. Maybe just trust what Fenn has said or quit the game and move on. Good luck. OS2.

      • OS2,
        Haha, what if Fenn hid the treasure in Los Alamos just to troll all the physicists? I could see him rubbing it in that the treasure was under their noses the whole time and all of those geniuses couldn’t figure it out.

        You said “Fenn does not appear to be an Einstein or a great poet or anything like that”. I agree. I’m thinking that what makes the poem so difficult isn’t that Fenn is a genius, but that he’s unconventional and original.

    • Daniel,
      While I applaud you for looking at this from both perspectives… Just like anything in life, it’s a choice to take it on. Although, parts of your comment seem to imply you want it to be easier, found right away or why should we bother.
      I personally hold no emotions on when it will be discovered… it’s a challenge, not unlike finding the city of troy, for example. Not everyone is going to be able to accomplish this challenge, and maybe, even understand it when all is said and done.

      “difficult, but not impossible”
      “Some overrate the complexity…” ~out of the box thinking
      ” …the one who best adjust.” ~ get back in the box where you’re most comfortable.
      “…oversimplify the clues.”
      “…Try’ to simplify the clues”
      “… Looking down the road a hundred, a thousand, even ten-thousand years down the road…”
      Warns the path would not be direct for those who had no certainty of the location, ‘beforehand’
      “…many don’t see it the way I {fenn} do.”

      Legacy or not… he made the challenge difficult for a reason. He made the prize worth it, to attempt it.
      My only problem with your post, to be honest, is that you even mentions cost and personal time anyone invest in attempting to solve the challenge. Ya’ll should have known from the get go, this was not going to be a walk in the park. And “personally” I wish folks would stop whining about how much time or money or how it has affected their family and work life etc etc.
      Get over it or just get… If it’s become more than you can chew, it’s time to stop.

      Fenn also stated; “If you can find the treasure, it won’t be a big job for you to get it” and, “Don’t go where an 80yrs [ even in great shape ] can’t go carrying a heavy backpack…” and “a three year old little girl would need some assistance. …
      So as far as ‘danger’ goes… there are many comments I could post giving suggestion on what not to do. Folks put themselves into dangerous situations because of their personal obsessions of the lure, not the challenge itself. They are too end-goal fixated and not seeing what is needed to understand.

      Here’s a thought… maybe the simplest Idea for everyone to consider throughout the entire challenge is; to use common sense.

      “Everyone has the same opportunity.”
      Now it becomes our job to control what we do with that opportunity.

      End of commentary………

    • Daniel…Thanks for sharing. Apparently you have become another searcher that has come to the point where the road divides. So far…every searcher that actually searches and fails has come to that place(too bad that place isn’t the third clue). Continue….don’t continue? Folks who are in this for the “Lure”(treasure) I think are more apt to struggle and feel as you do, more than the folks who are invested in the personal challenge. Either way…”fair” has nothing to do with it. Fenn has openly said that this is a “difficult” challenge designed to get folks back into “nature” and to give struggling folks some “hope” in a world consumed by unease.
      You tried Daniel, and that in itself has helped to validate what Fenn envisions.
      Good luck to you and maybe you can regroup with a different mindset….

    • Daniel, You said “what’s key for me is Fenn’s motivation and the relative difficulty of it all. If I can get a fix on that then I can decide whether to keep at the chase or whether to abandon it as folly.” In my understanding of your post, you seem to think and state you know Mr. Fenn’s motivation behind this challenge. IMO you might consider first loosening your apparent mental restraints blocking you in regards to whether this challenge is REAL or not, before you can open your mind to interpreting Mr. Fenn’s Complex poem and challenge. Kindly JMO

    • Daniel,

      More or less of what you said is the frustrations that most of us feel at times. Is the Chase really real? It most certainly is. When people in general can’t get answers to questions they are not only frustrated, angered, retracted from life family and friends and become crass about everything in general and give up. But then again certain people that can’t get answers, they work harder to find one, fighting tooth and nail so to speak. Sometimes good answers come from those that are average in every way.

      All it takes is the effort, drive and stubbornness, ingenuity and common sense even if it takes most of ones life to do so. From you I see frustration only and hope you have the qualities that I just mentioned.

      We are all intelligent average people and I have seen those that have good imagination and think wisely without a higher education succeed in most of what they do. The answers are there.

      Good luck.

      p.s. I’m as stubborn as a mule and don’t have a lick of humor 🙂

      • CharlieM;

        Looking at your avatar, I can not believe that you “don’t have a lick of humor 🙂 JDA

      • No, no, nooooooooo you’ve got it wrong, its a figmentation of all your imaginations

    • Daniel, if the thought model you are using is frustrating you, abandon it and move to another. But be persistent if you are serious about it. There are many common models being used by searchers, including synonyms of geonames, straight-forward interpretations, anagrams, homophones, linguistics, external literature, art, and “others”. The winning thought model is out here, I’ve seen others discussing the one I’m currently reviewing, but closing the deal hasn’t been done. Completing it takes more than jibber jabber on some dude’s blog. Fenn has said he knew his spot and he was going to make it work, so that says to me it is more likely that, also given the amount of time passed, there is a combination of models to apply.

    • Yes Daniel…..there is a Santa Claus

      And yes you have underestimated Mr. f’s dedication and intelligence. Often intelligent children do poorly in school because they are quite frankly…… bored.

      And yes there is a key word in the poem and yes the poem can be solved IMO

      Now quit whining because you can’t figure it out

      Best regards;


  42. Hey John R.

    Cheers for spurring an interesting bunch of ideas to start the season.. !

  43. Albert Einstein quote. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

    Forrest has dangled this quote in front of us like a carrot for the horse, and when I read all our correspondence it comes back to me a particular line from above “imagination EMBRACES the entire world” so what actually does an embrace look like? First of all it probably represents a complete circle encompassing the world. How does that get us closer to solving the poem you ask? When you look at any map of quality one thing represents the embrace of the earth, that is Latitude and in a similar fashion Longitude, although its a curved line that encompasses/embraces the entire earth we see it as a border, as in Important Literature and Knowlege forgive the misspelling, but I want to put an emphasis on ledge for a reason, because if many have been within 500′ it would stand to reason that only a ledge, or a airport or the lack of a train stop could explain why we must walk a few miles to retrieve the TC.

    Now what if the word that is key is know the border as in the ledge or lege?

    Jenny Kyle : Forrest was asked about what the home of Brown was. He answered, ‘well that is for you to find out. If I told you that, you would go right to the chest.’

    Home of Brown is a Border and it may be that simple. Which Border is where we find the RUB my vote is 37 degrees since Molly know best where cold waters halt the Titanic.


    • That “go right to the chest” always gets me. Sometimes I think it implies you’d know right where the chest was if you had the HOB, but then I also wonder if he meant as in a turn. Like, if the chest weren’t to the right, he could have said if he told you where the HOB was you’d (next) go left to get to the chest….it may not be even close at all, just take a right turn after the HOB clue (?)

      • Jonsey—

        You are correct IMO…
        If you are standing in front of the turn right and walk about 100 yards to Mr. f’s special place….

        On another note….remember the 300 miles West of Toledo remark? Well I believe that within every prepared response, Mr. f tries to give us a clue. IMO…. But the 300 remark…I just couldn’t figure that one out.

        Yesterday, the Deputy and I rode up and back to Minneapolis, MN. We drove by Minnehaha and Hiawatha and all that there outside of downtown. Then I was day dreaming ….or maybe sleeping on the way home and I had a thought.

        We pulled in back home at 4AM (900 miles RT) and I fired up the puter….. Yep…Hiawatha, Mn is 298.22 degrees from Toledo. What a coincidence.

        Thanks to Mindy…she was the first to draw the Hiawatha connection to the solve.

        IMO …Stand at the house of Brown, turn right, walk 100 yards…..and what a sight!

        Best regards;

        Billy and the Deputy.

      • Yep Jonsey1,
        This “go right to the chest” has got me too. I’m leaning towards you could figure out where to go in advance with a little investigating. But maybe the HOB is a specific small area that you could search in an hour to find the treasure if you didn’t know much of anything before? It also makes it sound like the treasure isn’t secreted very hard. But I don’t agree with that. I think most people could just walk right by it’s location and not even have a clue it’s there.

        • The “go right” also seems to mesh well with the following “end is drawing nigh” as if the end is going nigh one is turning right.

    • * * * * Jenny Kyle : “Forrest was asked about what the home of Brown was. He answered, ‘well that is for you to find out. If I told you that, you would go right to the chest.’” * * * *

      This is a frequently discussed ATF comment. I think it’s very useful to go all the way back to the source on this one since the audio/visual is available, and (to me, anyway) watching it puts it in a different light than reading it.

      And even in reading, it’s a little different than the shorthand version quoted at the top of this post:

      Jennifer LONDON – IN the poem, which you say has these nine clues, there are references to water . . . there’s references to Brown’s house. Who’s Brown?

      FF – There’s references to wood . . .

      J LONDON – But you didn’t answer my question. Who’s Brown?

      FF – Well, that’s for you to find . . . if I told you that, you’d go right to the chest.

      The exchange is from about 10:40 to 11:02 on the vid:

      But banter-versus-calculated-response aside, I have little doubt that if ff revealed what home of Brown is, and its location, most serious searchers could leverage that certainty into unraveling the rest of the poem/map in both directions pretty quickly.

      That just doesn’t seem like very useful information, since ff is unlikely ever to provide the key element to its utility – the certainty.


        • Hey-O, McB

          At the end of the 2016 season, I backed out and reset, starting over to see if there was a different way of reading and mapping the evidence. The result of which was that I persuaded myself that all the clues mapped to a much smaller area than I had originally envisioned.

          A lot of ff’s comments seem to make more sense viewed as attempts to nudge searchers in this direction without coming right out and saying so.

          2014 – . . . tight focus . . . a word that is key (I think it’s “in”)
          2015 – . . . surprises me a little that nobody has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve
          2016 – . . . cannot get closer than the first two clues (compare to an earlier comment where searchers got the first two clues and got within 200′)



          • JA,

            My opinion base is just the poem.

            If each track were miles from each other, it would be “impossible” for the poem to lead to the chest.

            To be somewhat likely to be found, the poem would have to describe a small area, with “objectivity”.

            From the way some think (miles to the left, miles to the right) the poem loses “totally” objectivity.

            I can bet that “all” the poem boils down to one or two acres at most. More of this already makes the poem impossible to be understood.

            Even more:

            Stanza 2 indicates a specific location. One acre.
            Stanza 3 indicates a nearby adjoining location.
            Stanza 4 tells what to do at this location.


          • Hey, guys. If the first two clues set up the solution key, then everything that follows automatically leads to the coordinate, which is by definition the objective. One does not need anything more than that. The chest cannot be retrieved from India, but the poem can be solved from there. Your milage may differ.

            The exact solution methodology remains elusive, which is why no one has walked right straight to the chest.

            Those close were there without coordinate in hand and predictably failed.



          • Hey McB,
            My opinion base is also just the poem, however I see the poem as referring to a much larger area. The clues all follow a specific route but I believe that WWWH is a number of miles, 28 to be exact, from the TC.

    • Brown’s name was on the map in that part of the Arkansas River valley more than a decade before Molly’s J. J. Brown moved to Colorado.


  44. “Well, now that the annoying hub bub is dying down I can return to more important things. I must say I am so disappointed to find out that some of you who were so bloody sure where that chest was hidden are coming back empty-handed.

    I so wanted to share in the fame of having solved it. I was willing to trade a “knighting” for a cut into that joyous announcement of having discovered the solution to the puzzle. Hearing the press say ‘and her majesty provided the last piece of vital information’ was what I was living for, if I might be completely honest with you.

    I shan’t be posting for a couple of days as I am having a crown removed. No, not kind of crown, I am simply going to the dentist. But please, if one of you really does know where the chest is, consider my offer will you? If one of you would cut me in it would be absolutely brilliant. Cheers!”

    —Queen Elizabeth

  45. Hey Zap ! The above thread was 2 long…
    I applaud your passion for the Chase and believe that Fenn has partially succeeded in his quest to get folks out in nature to have adventures. Some are in it for the treasure and the possible glory…others are invested in the challenge of *solving* the poem. Maybe others are in it for both, and more. Who knows really?
    I won’t waste time trying to guess whether you have indeed solved wwwh…pointless in truth.
    As the blogs fill up with stories of busted searches and the various tales of where things went wrong…it becomes more obvious(to me at least) that the probable #1 reason is a failure to get the first clue correct. The *odds* that some folks repeatedly refer to, continue to support this. Sure….maybe one or two searchers this year(so far) *may* have broken the first clue/first two clue barrier…but that in itself is questionable. That right there brings up the 3rd clue barrier…which has presumably been the crux of the entire failure rate. All this said…where do you believe your current solve went wrong?

    • Ken ~’Sure….maybe one or two searchers this year(so far) *may* have broken the first clue/first two clue barrier…but that in itself is questionable. That right there brings up the 3rd clue barrier…which has presumably been the crux of the entire failure rate.

      I think the crux [ i’ll even call it a curse ] is failure to fully understand the first clue. fenn has been admit about nailing that one down. This has been a question that as been nipping at my heels for sometime now; How did searcher solve the first two clues and not know they did so?
      My guess is, solving the clue’s reference{s} is not enough… folks go to their correct wwwh ‘reference’ and all seeming “leave the poem”…

      That alone should make all ponder the method of “following” the clues. Just knowing what a clue refers to may not be enough to fully complete the challenge. IMO, our work has just begun in solving the solution properly on site.
      ~Clues solved at home? … Yes, in theory, but not in practice…

      The third clue or fourth or fifth clue needs clue one, just as much as, the blaze clue needs all the prior clues to be discovered. I think the biggest problem with searchers is, their search mode is a point to point stomping of clues like a ‘walking through’ a department store section by section, trying to get to a desired section.
      Where it might be more like, stairs. Without one step to ‘connect’ to the next step, ya fall through the crack.

      How are all the clues connected -?- might be the question we should be asking ourselves.

      • Yes Seeker…*the connection* of the entire set of clues may be a problem to look at. Also…that pesky first clue is likely the culprit…I agree. The problem may be that the entire “gist” of it(first clue) is THE major stumbling block. The full design of that first clue could be such that it allows for any number of failures. Even so…folks *continue* to figure the first two clues…and that should be enough to make folks look closer at their solve…
        I am curious to see if Zap wants to give a quick update on WHY/WHERE he thinks his solve fizzled… Just in terms of his idea of where in his sequence of clues.

        • WWWH + CD + TFTW + HoB = a specific place + a direction

          In Meek + The end = a move = a short distance

          In the paddle + HL + WH = a specific point

          Wise = one direction

          Blaze = a specific point

          Look quickly down+BTSWMG = a very small movement

          Brave + in wood = specific place

          IMO in my solution.

    • Morning, Ken. Certainly agree that Forrest probably exceeded his wildest expectations as far as getting people off the couch. Mission accomplished there!

      “Some are in it for the treasure and the possible glory…others are invested in the challenge of *solving* the poem. Maybe others are in it for both, and more. Who knows really?” I’m a problem-solver, so that’s my main motivation. And I don’t just want to solve it — I want to solve it first. Sure, there’s a nice prize for doing so (which would compensate the winner for the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of manhours invested), but the satisfaction of a successful solution is ultimately what drives me.

      “As the blogs fill up with stories of busted searches and the various tales of where things went wrong…it becomes more obvious(to me at least) that the probable #1 reason is a failure to get the first clue correct.”

      That certainly seems to be the conventional wisdom. After all, people are still searching in all four states, and I suspect more than 75% of them are searching the wrong one.

      “All this said…where do you believe your current solve went wrong?”

      Hah! That’s what I’m trying to figure out. 😉 I’m “happy” with my home of Brown, but it isn’t the only possibility — just the best one because it has been there since long before Forrest was born, and will continue to exist far into the foreseeable future. Another couple nearby can easily be made to work except for one thing: they are physical structures, thus ephemeral. So I discarded them. Based on Cynthia’s exchanges with Forrest, I don’t think man-made structures are involved with any of the clues. Where I think I’m coming up short is in the endgame.

      • So…Do you believe you were within 500 feet of the treasure chest?
        Just a curiosity really. I just ask because your answer to my previous Q (where things went wrong) seems unsure…

      • Hi Ken: I’m pretty sure I’ve come within 500 feet on every trip because I think it’s unavoidable if you’re in the correct canyon.

  46. Zap, I totally agree with the puzzle designing experience statements. Like I stated here before, it is possible to make it easier later if he found that it was too hard. His ATF statements are tailored to keep it hard enough to not give it away but still be helpful.

    I’ve designed a few puzzles for my kids that seemed easy enough if they focused on the words in the poems. In practice though, they had a much harder time than I thought. Without FF practicing ideas on other people in advance it would be hard for him to know how hard his poem would IMO.

  47. Seeker you said “What qualifies someone as an expert?” in regards to puzzle making.

    I’ve done an escape room challenge before and I would say that people that set these up might somewhat qualify as experts. Why? Because of the practice of setting up clues, seeing how people react, and making adjustments. FF did not have that same luxury with the chase. This is why he says it could be 1000 years for all he knows, paraphrased.

  48. my take on the key word appears twice on this blog.
    you should be.

  49. Seeker stated: “How are all the clues connected -?- might be the question we should be asking ourselves.”

    IMO that is the most important thing a searcher must do and it is what requires imagination.

    I agree with McB’s statement: “I think few people have until now realized what the first four clues have in common (and simple) between them. IMO: WWWH, CD, TFTW and HoB.”

    McB, I think you have come quite a ways in a short time, especially with the language barrier.

    • Aaron

      In the story of John and Mary, they left “crumbs” of bread to follow behind.

      What if … the clues are very small and simple things (crumbs) that we see every day?

      Common things that no one imagined were a clue?

      “People will be surprised,” FF said. Maybe for simplicity?

      The “special place” of the chest may be a ledge in a ravine covered by a common and ugly stone.

      The “blaze” may be the remains of a forgotten stone hut in the middle of a forest many years ago.

      HoB may simply be a trout pond.

      Perhaps the key word is “simplify.”

      • Aaron,

        In that picture where there is a dove on the moon, what is the name of the woodcutter’s trousers, which is used to enter the water of a river?

        • Dove on a moon sounds familiar but I’m cannot recall this picture. Is it in one of the SB’s?

        • Aaron: it’s at the end of TTOTC. The 23-stump chapter. I don’t think there is any Chase significance to the dove sitting in the crescent moon. In fact, I think there’s actually a quote out there somewhere from Forrest where he said/wrote that the intent of the illustration was purely an environmental statement.

          • Yes Zap,

            Qhat is the name of the woodcutter’s trousers, which is used to enter the water of a river?

          • Hipwaders? In the illustration, overalls would make more sense since there is no water about.

          • Hi, Zap – I have never heard of a ff quote where he mentioned the intent behind the illustration. Do you remember where you saw that quote? came up empty for me.

          • Blex: I’ve done some quick poking around, but haven’t found the reference. Might have been something Cynthia wrote (wouldn’t show up on tarryscant) or perhaps somewhere on Jenny Kile’s site. It was quite a while ago, so I’m just not remembering where I read or heard it. For now, I’d file it away as hearsay unless I can come up with something more concrete.

          • Zap – Thanks for double-checking. Like others, I’ve wondered if that particular illustration may have been one of Forrest’s subtle hints — it definitely struck me as at least an aberration. If you do find the quote/reference, that could save me some trouble regarding one loose end that has been mildly nagging me a bit.

          • Loco to the rescue! THAT was the reference! Many thanks … I’m not going senile yet. 🙂

          • Thanks, Loco! I would never have found that on my own! Good information! 🙂

          • Just a thought, the dove is a symbol of peace, and the poem says “go in peace”. JMO this may have been discussed elsewhere.


            Safety first always

        • If he is wearing trousers to enter the water then those would be waders. He could be wearing overalls though too.

  50. CPK is process capability index and measures how close you are to your target and how consistent you are to around your average performance

    • Aaron,

      I’ll throw out a hint:

      He is standing, wearing “waders,” where “there were trees” and looking at “what”?

      Where would he have to wear “waders”, that there were debris from trees?

      What was he doing there (of waders), and where was he looking?

      I’m sure I’m on the right path …

      • The end of our journey and the rewards, like to stay close to the water – lots of water.

        The treasure is wet. Many of these rewards, on the chest, will be home.

      • The moon is a feminine symbol, universally representing the rhythm of time as it embodies the cycle. The dove represents peace and love.

        So he cut down a bunch of trees in waders and is staring at feminine, peace, and love symbols.

        She will be happy when she sees it?

    • That picture is unique. If you copy it and fold it over on itself, you see a guy with an axe. Some have even drawn lines to get angles from the dove’s eyes to where he is pointing. The one thing I think you can take away from the pic is trees. Or lack there of.
      He has mentioned trees a bit, along with E. Sloane references, maybe an ends to a mean, or the ending . In which would be a reverence for wood. A “Seek-No-Further” tree.
      The cutting down or end of the trees, the dove symbolic of new beginnings, all manifest to one thought, the seek-no-further tree.
      A fallen tree that sprouts new trees around it. Probably covered with bushes of some kind. This would be the final resting spot, the end. Like the end of his typewriter.
      What type of typewriter did he use? Everything points to indulgence being under a seek-no-further tree. Hidden but not buried, but basically covered by foliage.

      • Charlie,

        Search, think of the photo as a hidden message, and it will give you interesting information. But consider that the woodcutter is FF and that he is using waders.

        From this start to think and imagine.

        : ) McB

        • McB;

          I was not aware that waders had pockets. Isn’t that a bit dangerous? Clearly, there is a big pocket on the “Overalls” that the wood-cutter is wearing. I would say that he is wearing “overalls” and high boots – NOT waders – JMO – JDA

          • JDA,

            Imagination … but, what if?

            Can be. It may not be.

            Oh, I’ve been looking for pockets. Some waders have.

            And that’s just a drawing. ; )

          • Yes, it’s just a drawing, but you are saying that there is something significant about the waders, and I am challenging that assertion, since waders do not have pockets. I could be wrong about the pockets on waders, but I do not think so – JDA

          • JDA,

            Unfortunately I will have to go through this, and let the imagination (and a little research) of the researchers flow.

            This image seems to show more than just an environmental idea.

            Because, if I’m right, I’ll be eliminating 3 states from the hunt.

            IMO watchful

          • Butch,

            The image, as I interpreted it, describes a “very” known place.

            And this interpretation also suggests the “home” (not the HoB) of an object that is inside the trunk.

            This leaves only “one” state as the correct state.

            “Just” my opinion

        • P.S. – How can you say he is wearing waders when you do not have TTOTC? Just curious. JDA

          • What happens when a forest is cut out so completly. And all you see around you is open sky. Tress just don’t get cut and removed by themselves. The end of Forrest’s Road has been Logged. Now I’ve contributed. Your Welcome Charlie.

          • TB,

            Not sure what you mean?

            Pictures in TTOTC only partially helpful. The stories are where you’ll edge out a detail or two. IMHO.

          • Just to remind everyone:

            My interpretation only works if the lumberjack is considered a fisherman.

            Because of this I said that he is wearing a wader.

            “And it’s only a interpretation. No facts.”

          • Lol, now see Travis, that was funny. Your spelling is still atrocious, but still funny.
            The end spot being “logged” is a stretch though. That would entail a lot of traffic at one point, and, not very many places to hide. Not saying it is wrong, just a stretch. I still think the pic has more to do with death and life. Or endings and beginnings. Some landscape possibilities when the pic is mirrored onto itself. Page 133 is a better pic in that scenario.

  51. “I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure puttputt, but there is no indication that they knew it. No one has given me the correct solve past the first two clues. f”

    Zap, IMO the solution to the poem will lead to the correct solve past the first two clues. Let me explain. While I think searchers can find the first two clues due to their physical features it will be difficult for them to find the rest if they have not solved the poem. I believe it is possible for searchers to solve the clues in a physical sense without solving them as part of a bigger picture solution to the poem.

    What would be really nice to know is if the two-clue searchers where also the ones that were in tight focus with a word that is key. I doubt that they were. You see the solution to the poem can fit in a few different locations and finding the right location and solving the poem is what it takes IMO. That is what makes this so hard. If the two-clue searchers conversed with the word that is key searchers this thing would have been over at least 4 years ago IMO.

  52. Are y’all referring to this image?

    I do think that there are clues scattered throughout TTOTC and I don’t think that they necessarily have to be textual clues. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the simplicity of the solve ends up being an “oh crap” moment for many.

    Good Luck Fenn’s Phenomenal Foragers!

  53. Brown might be the word that’s key if Fenn said in interview if people knew where that was they’d go right to the chest.

    • its a corner stone for sure Brown but the important key must mesh with every thing Im still stuck on warm water lots of those lots of browns lots of caynons so i should stay home and play a game i dont know how to play but this is way to much fun put put

      • jeff Burch, I’m with you what fun is canasta if you don’t know how tp play? I know you know how to play chase though, some legends never die.

        • “Chase” was a game played with marbles. I played this when I was about 12, about 1962. It was different than shooting marbles out of a circle. All IMO.

          • Tighterfocus –

            I haven’t heard of that either and that’s a great idea. Fenn didn’t mention it, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t playing back his school boy days.


    • I agree, but certainly not one where it is shown on the illustration – JMO – JDA

      • knowle(d)ge, flutterby, etc…

        Once I… I hated… I’m not a good writer and I struggle, and I’m inefficient. And, for that reason, I make up a lot of rules to protect myself. In each of my 10 books, I’ve made up words, and I look in the dictionary to make sure the word isn’t there. My argument is, that if the reader knows exactly what I mean than who cares what the word is? Where am I wrong? And so that idiosyncrasy of human nature manifests itself in myself very vividly in those respects. I corrupt words a lot.

        I think, I may not be very wrong.

    • Really … usually wader has no pocket below the waist.

      I found it with zipper pockets, and one with a small pocket.

      But, given the imagination of who designed the hunt, anything is possible, including a pocket common in a wader.

      And that one looks more like a wader than a jumpsuit.

      As FF said: “subtle tips” and “imagination is more … than knowledge”.

      What is the reason for this illustration? FF would not say, “Oh, it’s a tip!”

      So after watching, I realized that it can be a great tip.

      But for that I had to think about everything that is involved.

      So I can say: If she says what I think, she indicates the state where the chest is.

      Although we usually see only what we want.

      But I will follow my instincts and I will definitely eliminate three states from my research.

      Just my instincts. No chest, yet.

    • Aaron, the illustration suggest from the cut down stumps a lumber jack, however it could be a fireman? TT

  54. McB, do you know of FF’s story about working as a lumberjack as a teenager?

  55. Aaron on May 21, 2018 at 8:25 am said:

    “Zap, I believe our disagreement here is solved versus found. IMO the searchers found the first two clues only. If they would have solved them then they would have become progressively easier. My point is they did not understand the entire poem.”

    No reply in the above thread, so I moved it to the end.

    Yes – this, also!

    Opinion follows: I suspect some searchers have “an inkling” of what’s going on in the poem to come close, but not win the cigar. There’s more than meets the eye. I’ve said that before and I’ll probably say it again.

    I’m starting to wonder if WWWH is even a place that has water nearby. (And by nearby, I mean within 10 feet or less. 30 miles could be nearby in a desert.) For example, could a large battlefield be a place where “warm waters halted” because many hearts stopped beating there? (I’m not giving away too much, if anything, with this example.) I can see in my mind’s eye a place “like that”, that many searchers might end up near (200 to 500 feet) for other “reasons” but not be on the right train of thought, thus walking right by the rest of the clues.

    • or option C: waters being plural could mean several bodies of water, or a moving stream, or river. It could also mean a place where both WWH in a physical sense , meaning actual water, and a place that fits something else. Two meanings of WWWH both in the same locations = waters. Just a thought.

  56. zaphod73491 on May 21, 2018 at 2:35 pm said:

    “Hi Aaron: I think I can provide a few pieces of evidence in the form of ff ATF remarks that contradict this statement: “IMO the searchers found the first two clues only. If they would have solved them then they would have become progressively easier.”

    #1 Moby Dickens (11/2/2013): “There are several people that have deciphered the first two clues. I don’t think they knew it because they walked right on past the treasure chest.” Decipherment is more than simple identification of clues in the poem; decipherment means they figured out the meaning of those clues. Otherwise, how could they have *also* walked right on past the treasure chest? Clearly their decipherment was accurate enough to get them within walking distance of the chest.

    #2 According to a post by Goofy on 4/18/2013, Forrest said at the bookstore the prior night (4/17/2013) that two parties have solved the first two clues but missed the next seven. “Solved” to me is beyond mere identification of clues.

    #3 MW Featured Question (12/30/2014): “Dear Forrest, Now that the 2014 search season has ended, can you summarize the results? Ie: is anyone close to the treasure chest? Has anyone given you a solve? Thanks, puttputt.” Forrest replies: “I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure puttputt, but there is no indication that they knew it. No one has given me the correct solve past the first two clues. f” The final sentence from f suggests that at least someone *has* given him the correct solution to the first two clues.

    I know some searchers would prefer the situation where everyone who has been at the starting point was oblivious, but that doesn’t really stand up to statistical scrutiny. There’s just no getting around that something in the poem told all these people to show up there.”

    Zap, and others,

    It is my opinion that we all need to “think past” how some searchers ended up where the first two clues brought them. For example, is there some possible redundancy in the poem that “convinces” searchers to go there, so they do? But when they arrive, they expect something on site that is not there? And that is directly correlated to their incorrect solution to the poem.

    There has been a lot of talk about the first clue since it was reported to be WWWH. But talk about the second clue that Mr. Fenn reports as having been solved has been very minimal. One has to wonder if the folks that have solved the first two clues have reported that to Mr. Fenn and most of the folks on this board are not privy to that second clue solution. Or if a person on this board is privy, they are not sharing. At any rate, for some reason, the wheels fall off the wagon after only two clues – and maybe up to four.

    I come back to my suspicion that it is not about finding places as much as it is about thinking correctly, which will then lead you to Indulgence via places.

    • swoot said “I come back to my suspicion that it is not about finding places as much as it is about thinking correctly, which will then lead you to Indulgence via places.”

      I agree with this statement. Thinking correctly is the most important part of this. IMO, the people that found the first clues were just finding places. With as many searchers out there odds are they may find the first few places by shear happenstance. Especially if the TC is in a popular area.

    • Swwot;

      To me it is more fundamental than that. What is Clue #1? If it is only, “Begin it where warm waters halt.” then Clue #2 = And take it in the canyon down.” – This makes the stumbling block – “Not far, but too far to walk.”

      I have problems with this because there is no punctuation after “halt.”

      So, to me, Clue #1 = “Begin it where warm waters halt And take it in the canyon down.” So, Clue #2 = “Not far, but too far to walk.” and then the stumbling block = Clue #3 = “Put in below the home of Brown.”

      Why is this clue so hard? Is it because it is not “Obvious?” and people go too far down the canyon before they “put in”? I would think that this is the case. Does one have to use a bit of imagination in figuring out what hoB is – especially after it was revealed that hoB is NOT associated with a structure. Home = structure – but we now know that no structure is associated with hoB! Darn! This must have thrown a monkey wrench in a BUNCH of solves.

      All I can say is – use your imagination. Read TTOTC for a hint that will help lead you to what hoB is. JMO, and I could be full of doo-doo – JDA

      • JDA,

        Not sure I’m following your statement: “To me it’s more fundamental than that.” I say that, because you then go on to describe clues and punctuation, etc. That sounds tertiary to me – those things follow something that is fundamental, they come afterwards.

        I was trying to make the point that many of us, maybe you too, have “jumped the gun” by talking about places, when what we ought to be talking about is the imagination needed to solve the whole poem – so that we know before stepping into the wood, that we know where we are headed. I know that you have plans to search this coming weekend and I wish you well. Be safe.

        Currently, I am of the opinion that a searcher has to know the end game before you know for certain what the first clue is. (Even if we know what it is – we have to know why it is first.) I say that, because I think understanding what Mr. Fenn is trying to teach us is the more important lesson. He wants us to see his vantage point – perhaps even teach a lesson that he wants to pass on to the finder that he feels is infinitely more valuable than the chest full of gold and trinkets.

        The lesson is fundamental, the place where the trinkets lie in wait and how to find them in the wood are secondary. Without learning the lesson we are lost. (Parenthetical thought – and isn’t that a lot of what life is?)

        • Swwot;

          You may well be correct. I have stated that knowing the “WHY” of a place is as important as the “WHAT” of the place.

          I think that knowing what the “Big Picture” is,z is vital to solving all of the riddles.

          You appear to think that you need to know all of the “WHY’s” and what the “Big Picture” is before you can solve the clues. I agree and disagree.

          Without knowing WHAT wwwh is, you will NEVER solve the rest of the riddles correctly. Knowing the WHY this spot is important to Forrest adds value, but one could still move on to the next clue without it. Not knowing the WHY will diminish the chances of figuring out the “Big Picture”.

          Solving the “Big Picture” – to me – is like putting a Picture Puzzle together – without the box. Until that last piece is found and put into place, you do not have a completed puzzle, and can not see – completely- what the picture was intended to look like. Final piece in – final “Big Picture” disclosed – That is just how I see it – you may see it differently, and that is OK – JDA

          • The chicken or the egg is first? 🙂

            I suspect we are far closer in our thinking than divergent.

            Again I say, be safe this weekend.

          • I agree – probably just semantics – chicken or egg?

            I will be safe, and hope I do not wind up with the egg (or chicken) on my face – dribbling down the front of my shirt 🙂 – JDA

          • JDA, Just curious…
            When you return, possibly empty handed, on your 17th try in the same area? Are you going to share your story/method/theory or hold out again for another year?

            IF ya happen to actually find the chest… then it’s up to you how you want to proceed. I’m just wonder how many more time that poor horse can die.

        • All right swwot, join the, “know the end spot before the first clue” club.
          As far as the first two clues being solved, that has to be seen by how f sees it. He said that solving it is just being there. They didn’t know it.
          For us, that says they solved nothing. They, like a lot of searchers back then, just went to a place without really knowing anything. So to say that they can be solved, as our definition goes, is false. As we know it, no clues have been solved. Anybody could just end up at the starting spot, but to know what they are doing, that’s different. We tend to say that searchers have solved the first two clues, maybe four, but truthfully, nobody has “solved” anything. Not to “our” expectations. To us, saying you solved a clue means not only getting it right, but knowing the process required to solve for it. To f, it’s just a searcher showing up at the spot.
          I’m in the same camp as you are swwot. The final spot will be known before any of the clues. At least the ones to start at. From that spot, a searcher will then draw a path on how to get there, and start at the obvious starting point. That starting point will have many references to why it is what it is. That’s the way the poem was written. Wasn’t written to identify clues, but to identify a spot.

          • To think…imo, of course.

            It’s no good looking for the blaze or chest without understanding the beginning of the poem.

            Because Blaze is nothing special or different from other common things we know. I guarantee this to you.

            Just think: If HoB were something different, where the first searchers were, they would have noticed.

            It was something normal that was part of the landscape, as well as CD, HL, WH, Blaze.

            But as our mind has a tendency to maximize things, they have not seen the most obvious: they were in the right place.

            When I share private information, what I observe most is that people prefer the most rugged road, the most dangerous river, the most complicated interpretation.

            The other day I gave an authentic information to a friend, about a very, very difficult clue. (Information taken from official organs) Do you know what I heard? “I do not care. I have my own interpretation.”

            And it was so simple and obvious that even I was surprised by the simplicity of the clue.

            But simply is not interesting. It has to be the same in the movies. (Remember that FF said that the movies lie) The researcher thinks he has to have a 10-mile interval between one clue and another. That the sun has to be in the “X” position. And so it goes.

            Guys, read the poem … it describes a small place. It’s a small map, not a highway road guide.

            Most clues together can be summed up to a location of “one” acre.

            The logic that many follow is that it “has” to be a gigantic journey. But FF said: They were in the first clues and passed the other seven.

            How would it be possible for several researchers to do this by walking 100 miles?

            And yet, with so many different and bizarre interpretations?

            It would be nice to find the chest next to the Madison, beneath a gigantic poplar, or on a skull-shaped island in the Yellowstone. But I do not think it’s going to be like this.

            Because of this mentality the chest is still there, waiting for a simple and dreamy person to find it.

            The poem really is difficult. Difficult to simplify.

          • Charlie, thanx for the vote of confidence. We’re meager in number, those of us in this camp.

            I do suspect that some searchers have told Mr. Fenn that they solved the poem and ended up “some place identifiable”, either by name, coordinates or pictures, and he took them at their word. I am simply trying to disseminate all the things that have been said by whom, and try to keep them straight in my own head. I do not want to be a purveyor of misinformation.

            I have shared in other places here on hoD that I think the poem is multi-layered, and unless you wade through all the nuances put down, you’ll end up walking right past Indulgence.

            All in my opinion,

      • Swwot ~’…He wants us to see his vantage point .’

        I think that is where imagination come into effect. But maybe not so much prior to a search.
        When fenn seen what he saw from the hide, or from wwwh, we need to see the same, and not so much look for the next clue.

        “It’s not a matter of trying, it’s a matter of thinking. Sure, I mean, People figured the first couple of clues and unfortunately walked past the treasure”

        I agree that many are not using imagination, Or, at the very least not utilizing imagination at the correct times. I personally don’t think all are being stumped by the third clue… I think they all are in a rush to get to that clue reference.
        Should clue 3 be NFBTFTW and be something physical to go to or get us to another clue, It may never be known of until on site.
        For me it sound more like an idea or suggestion, rather than a physical point if unknown distance.

        In many of the suggestion and idea from searchers about what warm waters refer to, those places are all over the RM’s [as fenn said, there are many]. But not many discuss the reasoning of halt, other than stop/blocked or change in direction… Should ‘time’ be involved, what would warm waters look like in the past? Not far in the past but we can not go backwards. Are we to reflect what the location was, and not so much what it is?……………… Because, in a 3009 it may look totally different than today or in the yesteryears.

        “I’m not flippant about this…” “…I’m looking a hundred years down the road, maybe a thousand years down the road. People don’t understand that.”

        Well, there’s a bit of imagination from me, Swwot.
        LOL, but don’t expect a lot of chatter about it [ imagination’s examples ] most are already fixated and won’t budge on their already tried theories and will simply keep going in the same direction.

      • JDA wrote: „So, to me, Clue #1 = “Begin it where warm waters halt And take it in the canyon down.” So, Clue #2 = “Not far, but too far to walk.” and then the stumbling block = Clue #3 = “Put in below the home of Brown.”

        There are only two sentences in the second stanza, but still 3-4 clues… JMO

        • TLo,

          The interview where fenn said “…sounds like 3 or 4 to me”
          Is one of those that I have tried to wrap my head around. fenn has also repeated he doesn’t want to point out clue. So why would he give up how many clues are in any stanza?
          So, I have to go back to an old question that rings in my ear every now and then… How many clues gives up an answer [ I’ll rephrase and add, a location ]
          For the live of me, I just don’t understand why so many insist that ever “clue” holds a specific location, all of it’s own.

          Even In JDA example of wwwh and canyon … two location for a single interpretation of his single one clue. [ find wwwh and goes in or around the canyon ]

          Many think HL and WH as one clue with two locations. I have even heard a searcher interpret HL at the end of one section of a canyon and WH at the other.
          Whether right or wrong… in the end… a lot of ‘general solves’ have more than 9 individual locations compared to 9 clues. [ and if JDA is still working on the assumption the poem is 9 or 10 times repeated ~ That’s 9 wwh and canyon[s] 9 TFTW, 9 hoB 9 blazes… all in different spots.]

          I have to wonder if stanza 2, hold four clues to a single location? My reasoning falls to a different reading of “take it in” and “put in” as well as, fenn’s comment about searcher; not quitting, but leaving the poem… which they all seem to have done at the start.

          Does ‘left or leave’ the poem meant to be a metaphorical; as they simply didn’t have the third clue? or did they actual walk away; passing all the clues and the chest?

          • All in one.
            4 clues = 1 place
            2 clues = movement
            2 clues = 1 place
            1 clue = 1 movement + 1 place
            instructions = 1 movement + chest
            Clue 1 to clue 9 = 200 feets
            JMO – simple

          • Here is my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

            I think what Forrest has done is create a map that requires a specific combination to unlock with the 9 clues. You follow the clues in order #1 thru #9

            4 but when you get here, you may have to use clue info from clue number #1 to get help answer clue #4
            6 may have to use info from clue’s #4 and #5 to get to #7
            (And so on)

            So in the end, rather than have a combination
            you end up with a combination that looks like this:

            The clues are still congruent and consecutive, but this is how Forrest can say “sounds like 3 or 4 to me”.

            Of course, this could be all in my head- and sometimes (well, all the time), it’s a little crazy up here. 🙂

          • Hi McB,

            Nice to see that someone else has a similar sequence like this occuring in their solve. I am not using the sequence posted in my prior comment, I was just using it as an example. 🙂

            Happy Hunting!

          • KK,

            I thought we would have a very similar solution. At least ideas.

            When you are BOTG, consider my ideas in your search area.

            Suddenly I can help you through my thoughts.

            And you’re luckier than I am.

            : )

          • Seeker, the gear head in me having fun = 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (Chevy V-8 firing order) 🙂

            On a more serious note, once I have unlocked the poem, I do believe I will find something along these lines you have mentioned. That multiple clues describe fewer places in the wood or on a map. Just what the ratio of clues to places is, is part of the unraveling.

            In my opinion.

    • Swwot,

      I have said many times:

      You have to “understand” WWWH + CD + TFTW + HoB

      What they are and how they relate.

      I also said:

      WWWH + CD + TFTW + HoB = they have “one” thing in common = they are practically one thing only = they give you “one” single point and one direction to follow

      WWWH is not water – it’s a name

      TFTW = do not have to walk = you have to “think” = it’s a poem trap = it’s where researchers get lost

      I’ve been repeating this for a long time. And I hope I can prove it soon enough.

    • swwot-aaron, I like your reasoning. Maybe the clues will never answer the (where?) but instead the (why?) or something else. It is a way to obfuscate the solve…

      • Oz10,


        Human thought produces a different world in each individual.

        The same color that to me is greenish, for you can be bluish.

        In my thinking, WWWH is exactly the same as HoB, which is five hundred feet from an ancient rock, where it is written “El fuego.” One acre. Simple.

        Was not the FF said? “Some maybe deciphered the clue 4”?

        But many may say otherwise. Am I right? I do not have “yet” the chest.

        So as FF said, “read blogs for entertaining.”

        Because “what they whisper is important.”

        And whispers here, nobody wants to hear.

        Just think of everything, filter what matters, analyze facts (research these facts), use your imagination, and after doing BOTG, find out that you were wrong.

        And begin it “all” again …

  57. Ok John R., let’s say I am convinced hearth is the keyword. How does that help solve any clue, especially the first one?

  58. In my solve the word that is key is in the poem. It is key because it puts you in the only correct area to find the treasure. It leads to WWWH, TC, NFBTFTW , HOB and the blaze ,which can be seen on google earth. BOTG in July, can’t wait!

  59. IMO…the key word is “Your” becouse….There’ll be no paddle up “your” creek/ its my creek…. right? Throughout the book for example: when FF opened his gallery, looking for Luis and Clark, school and education there are many examples/hints in TTOTC. FF said things like… I had no idea of what I was doing or where I was going……. etc. The saying “no paddle up your creek” is well known. In our minds as we read the poem it’s hard to stay out of our solves and out of the woods looking for a “creek”. But “what if” we get back to the poem as FF has said too many times and away from the search. For me, what TBNPUYC is saying just that (lost, need to choose, etc.) Maybe not a creek we are looking for? I believe that FF is saying that there will be no paddle up your creek=you need to wise and make a choice on the path between or at heavy loads and water high. In one of my solves the Heavy loads and water high is a path that could easily lead to a blaze. My solve fits all perfectly excluding the above mentioned. Thoughts? Is the word Braided or something close to that mention in THOTC?

    • Paul;

      Let’s say that you are driving (although you COULD walk) down this canypn after leaving wwwh. You come to a place that could be hoB.
      Here, you see a new road, and you take it – you pass a place that the meek do not want to go. As you are driving, you notice a creek out your driver’s side window – it parallels the road you are on. As you continue up the road, in your mind, this creek becomes “YOUR” creek, because it is going the same place you are going. You reach the end of the road. You get out of your car. Where to go now? you read the poem again – “There’ll be no paddle up YOUR creek.” There are no other creeks around, so this creek MUST be YOUR creek – Just a thought. JDA

  60. JDA;

    I like your thinking….Possable. I will say though I figuerd it out. Finally!!!!

    Happy Hunting!

  61. Paul, you are all obviously old hands at this communicating without giving away your solves. I am still new enough to believe my solve is “The” solve and I am afraid of giving it all away. I have a trip scheduled for July and am very concerned someone will be there before me. 🙁 I will say I believe your choice of key word is correct although my reasoning , being close to yours, is down a different path.

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