Not At 40.41025N/105.5555W . . . Black Canyon, CO……




Last spring, on this site, I asserted that I had a unique solution to the poem.  And I promised to post it if it failed in the field.  Today, I am making good on that promise.  

Given the time delay, some of you may be wondering, “So why did you wait so long to send it in?”  

Fair question; in short, because I needed to assure myself that I wasn’t giving away information of extreme value too hastily, or for the wrong reasons.  As I have ridded myself of those concerns, I have chosen to give others the benefits of my thoughts and methods.

What follows is a complex solve. It is stunning and hideous at the same time. It is also incorrect! Please let me reiterate that:  IT IS INCORRECT!  This is not Mr. Fenn’s solution.  Whether he deliberately wrote this solution into the poem or not, I cannot say for certain.  All I can say is that I did not know what I was doing in advance.  I simply followed the directions in the poem in a certain way, and this is the result.  Hopefully, neither one of us will be disparaged too greatly for creating the intersection of creative thought described herein.


Many searchers believe that the poem cannot be solved using anything other than imaginative word associations and maps.  While I cannot prove that this perspective is incorrect, I do not subscribe to it myself.  I believe that the successful searcher will have a coordinate in hand before heading out to the mountains.  

For my assertion to be true, letters must be converted to numbers in some way.  And for letters to be successfully converted to numbers, very precise validations must be provided such that the possibility of miscommunication between the searcher and the author are minimized.  My methodology provides context for both parts of this information exchange.  I identify a potential validation structure, select inputs of interest, and compare output results to expected outcomes.  Obviously for this case, my inputs are incorrect relative to the validation structure I’ve identified and chosen to use.  

Of the two components necessary, I see most searchers completely engrossed on the input side of the house.  People are racking their brains trying to decide whether this warm spring, that hot creek, that warm-to-cold water fishing regulation rule change spot, etc. is the right one and why.  While I cannot prove that this approach cannot work, I do know that it is not for me. 


Because I find it illogical, and I know that I cannot solve an illogical puzzle nearly as well as many, many other people.  Now a logical, math-driven solution, with that structure, I like my chances. So for clearly personally-motivated reasons, I’ve spent my time trying to use puzzle solving strategies to crack the code and decipher the winning location. What follows is only one of hundreds of solution attempts that I’ve made, and because it is a statistical outlier across several fields of possible inquiry, I am happy to show it to you. Hopefully you glean some insight into how the poem can be approached from perspectives beyond those of imaginative place name association techniques.


I see a lot of discussion on the site regarding the distinction between hints and clues.  Frankly the whole subject bores me.  The poem is a puzzle, there waiting to be solved.  Now I’m sure that Mr. Fenn has a very distinct line in mind when he defines these words, but I do not know what that line is at all.  Therefore, I’ve chosen to ignore those distinctions completely in favor of my own personal terms:  Observations, Inputs, Solution Steps, Outputs, Validations, After-The-Fact-Observations.  A solution such as the one I am about to present cannot come from a vacuum.  Initial observations are needed.  Initial assumptions that define inputs to test are needed.  I believe it is critical to apply the scientific method to the solution process in order to have the best chance for success.  That this particular effort proved unsuccessful means nothing to the process needed.  But I digress a bit.  Let’s get it on!

There are many points about the poem that lead me to believe that a mathematical solution is involved.  But the most important ones are the following:

The four corners of the poem contain the following letters:

Line 1: A(s) (ther)E

Line 24: I (gol)D

Read from lower left around CCW yields:  IDEA!

The four corners of Lines 2/23 contain the following letters:

Line 2: A(nd) (bol)D

Line 23: I(f) (woo)D

Read from lower left around CW yields:  I ADD!

Using simple substitution, where A=1, B=2, C=3 . . . J=1, K=2, . . . Z=8

I = 9

A+D+D = 1+4+4 = 9

I = ADD!

The 5th letters in from the right and left Lines 2/23 contain the following letters:

Line 2: (w)I(th) (treasure)S

Line 23: (yo)U (th)E

From upper left around CW yields:  I SEU! = I SE(e) (yo)U! = I USE!

I = 9

S+E+U = 1+5+3 = 9

This information seems to validate the use of summative reduction numerology and the selected use of anagrams and puzzle-type extrapolations as possible solution techniques. 

So the question is:  Are these important observations, or random hits?  

Fair question, so I’ll weigh in with my personal opinion.  Yours may differ.  

My experience with working on the poem for a long time indicates that there is something here.  Some will trot out confirmation bias as a reason to ignore my opinion, and honestly, I cannot fully refute that.  All I can say is that, for me, I see enough here to persevere and keep trying. I see a math puzzle that can be solved, and hopefully, before I’m through, you will be inspired to tinker with my techniques, too.

My next major observation is that a lot of math is possible across “To Be.”  Candidly, I owe Brock Swenson for pointing this out to me via his seminal primer, “Not Just Another Solution.” His work paved the way for me to get started.  Everything you see here is built upon his foundation.  “Not Just Another Solution” can be viewed on Dal’s site, and I recommend it wholeheartedly for anyone who wants to come over to the dark side after reading this in its entirety!

“To Be” is used conventionally in 8 lines.  

Line 9:  From there it’s no place for the meek  (present tense: IS)

Line 10:  The end is ever drawing nigh  (present tense:  IS)

Line 11:  There’ll be no paddle up your creek  (future tense:  WILL BE)

Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze  (past tense:  HAVE BEEN) 

Line 17:  So why is it that I must go  (present to future tense question transition:  IS)

Line 20:  I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak  (past to present tense:  AM)

Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold  (future tense:  WILL BE)

Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood  (future tense:  ARE)

There are also several unconventional uses of “To Be” where forms are embedded in other words. For purposes of this solution, I focused my math pre-work on these eight conventional uses first, leaving the others for review later.  But just for clarity and completeness, I will list them here.  Also note that the embedded AR’s seem to be useful for letter swaps more than math, IMO. Letter swaps are not involved in this solve, by the way.

Line 5:  Begin it where wARm waters halt  (present tense:  AR(e))

Line 7:  Not fAR, but too fAR to walk  (present tense twice:  AR(e))

Line 13:  If you’ve been wISe and found the blaze  (present tense:  IS)

Line 15:  But tARry scant with mARvel gaze  (present tense twice: AR(e))

Line 21:  So heAR me all and lISten good  (present tense:  AR(e) & IS)

Line 23:  If you ARe brave and in the wood  (present tense:  AR(e))

Simple substitution math key will be used for this HINT-LEVEL math:










Beginning math checks on Line 9:  From there it’s no place for the meek . . . 

From = 6+9+6+4 = 25

There = 2+8+5+9+5 = 29

It = 9+2 = 11

No = 5+6 = 11

Place = 7+3+1+3+5 = 19

For = 6+6+9 = 21

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Meek = 4+5+5+2 = 16


It = No = 11

Words directly across IS are equal.

There + It = 29 + 11 = 40

Place + For = 19 + 21 = 40

There It = Place For = 40 = 4+0 = 4

Place FOR is 4!

The rest looks random. Full left never equals full right.

Next, Line 10:  The end is ever drawing nigh . . . 

The = 2+8+5 = 15

End = 5+5+4 = 14 = 1+4 = 5

Ever = 5+4+5+9 = 23 = 2+3 = 5

Drawing = 4+9+1+5+9+5+7 = 40

Nigh = 5+9+7+8 = 29


End = Ever = 5

Words directly across IS are equal yet again!

Note:  The odds that any two letters, word or phrase sums are equal using this method are 1 in 9. So the fact that both pairs of words are equal is nice, but not yet persuasive.

The + End = 15+14 = 29

Nigh = 29

The End = Nigh = 29

Note that the full left could equal the full right if unreduced letter values were used initially in place of the reduced ones listed above:

The + End = 20+8+5+5+14+4 = 56 = 11

Ever + Drawing + Nigh = 5+22+5+18+4+18+1+23+9+14+7+14+9+7+8 = 164 = 1+6+4 = 11

This might be a tip to use unreduced letter values instead of reduced ones. In most cases, letter state is irrelevant, but occasionally a total gets affected. Thus it pays to understand the nuances and pitfalls of this type of analysis!

As this is HINT-LEVEL math only, I’m not concerned about this outcome at all, as my primary focus is on the words directly across “To Be” right now.

Next, Line 11:  There’ll be no paddle up your creek . . .

There = 2+8+5+9+5 = 29 = 2+9 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

No = 5+6 = 11

Paddle = 7+1+4+4+3+5 = 28 = 2+8 = 10

Up = 3+7 = 10

Your = 7+6+3+9 = 25

Creek = 3+9+5+5+2 = 24


There = No = 11

For a third time, the words directly across TO BE are equal. 

There = 11 = 1+1 = 2

Paddle + Up = 10 + 10 = 20 = 2+0 = 2

Once again, full left does not equal full right. 

Line 13 has two significant structural differences relative to the lines examined so far. 

  1. Past tense structure likely indicates that the sentence will behave differently!
  2. “You” presented as first term on the left indicates likely structural change if solver action is required to create equality, rather than equality being provided initially!

So, skipping ahead to the similar usage found in Line 17!

Line 17:  So why is it that I must go . . .

So = 1+6 = 7

Why = 5+8+7 = 20 = 2+0 = 2

It = 9+2 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

That = 2+8+1+2 = 13

I = 9

Must = 4+3+1+2 = 10

Go = 7+6 = 13


Why = It = 2

For a fourth time, the words directly across “To Be” are equal. 

Let me reiterate that! There are exactly four lines with similar construction across “To Be” and all four lines have words of equal value directly across from each other. 

Odds on any pair being equal are 1 in 9. Yet it happened four times in a row! Statistically this means:

1/9 x 1/9 x 1/9 x 1/9 = 1/6561 =.0001524

This equates to a .01524 percent chance of this arrangement happening randomly. So I’m saying that there’s a chance that Mr. Fenn did this unintentionally, but I’m more than willing to take the HINT that there is something going on across “To Be” and I need to understand what that is!

Now the other four lines act differently because they relate to future work. The fact that they do not solve now is a hint that it’s up to the searcher to find the letter values needed to make the equations work properly. 

But before we try to solve anything, let’s continue reviewing these initial lines!

Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze . . . 

If = 9+6 = 15

You = 7+6+3 = 16

Wise = 5+9+1+5 = 20

And = 1+5+4 = 10

Found = 6+6+3+5+4 = 24

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Blaze = 2+3+1+8+5 = 19


Note that You (16) not equal to Wise (20)!

BUT:   W = E = 5 (from wISe!)

Observe that the structurally similar application of my words directly across “To Be” still works here for the present tense case, even though there are no words, only single letters in play! This is very sneaky and it lends credence to my theory! 

So, technically, I did not have to skip Line 13 at all! It works as it should, and it informs me that I need to do some work to make the other part of the equation correct later!

Everything else here, at this point, is irrelevant IMO. Next up, Line 21!

Since Line 13, with embedded IS in WISE worked, I want to check up on the IS in LISTEN, Line 21!

Line 21:  So hear me all and listen good . . . 

So = 1+6 = 7

Hear = 8+5+1+9 = 23

Me = 4+5 = 9

All = 1+3+3 = 7

And = 1+5+4 = 10

L = 3

Ten = 2+5+5 = 12

Good = 7+6+6+4 = 23


L = 12 unreduced and 3 reduced.

Ten = 12 = 1+2 = 3.

For a sixth time, the structure works as it did the first time through! That is truly stunning!

1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9 = 1/531441 = .0000018816

That’s .00018816 percent chance for those of you keeping track at home! 

Deny this all you want, but recognize that your denial matters not to whether there is math involved, but it certainly may diminish your chances of succeeding should these concepts be involved with the winning solution!

Hear = Good = 23 = 2+3 = 5

Hear + Me = 23 + 9 = 32 = 3+2 = 5

All + L = 7+3 = 10

Ten is 10 linguistically!

There are meaningful equalities all over the place here! I respectfully suggest that you listen up and take the HINT!

Returning to Line 20:  I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak . . . 

I = 9

Ve = 4+5 = 9 

Have = 8+1+4+5 = 9

Done = 4+6+5+5 = 20

It = 9+2 = 11

Tired = 2+9+9+5+4 = 29

And = 1+5+4 = 10

Now = 5+6+5 = 16

I = 9

I’m = 9+4 = 13

Weak = 5+5+1+2 = 13


Note that I=9 not equal to Weak = 13 = 1+3 = 4

But I’m = Weak = 13

While this is technically incorrect as I believe that the contraction should not count, one can make a case that this structure works. Whether Mr. Fenn intended this equality be a positive hit or not, I don’t know. But I can take a HINT when I see one. 

Done + Tired = 20 + 29 = 49 = 4+9 = 13

Done +  It + Tired + Now = 20+11+29+16 = 76 = 7+6 = 13

Weak = 13

Last I checked, “done tired” and “done it tired now” both equal “weak” linguistically, too!

Moving on to Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold . . . 

Your = 7+6+3+9 = 25 = 2+5 = 7

Effort = 5+6+6+6+9+2 = 34 = 3+4 = 7

Worth = 5+6+9+2+8 = 30

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Cold = 3+6+3+4 = 16

F = 6

EF = 5+6 = 11

EFF = 5+6+6 = 17

T = 2

W = 5

TH = 2+8 = 10


Note that Effort not equal to Worth

Note that neither F, EF, EFF or T equal W or TH! This implies that a logic problem across “To Be” is NOT in play! (At least not this time! LOL!)

Note that Worth+The+Cold = 30+15+16 = 61 = 7

Your = Effort = Worth + The + Cold = 7!

Note that Your + Effort not equal to Worth + The + Cold!!

This, for me, is the MOST CRITICAL observation so far! YOUR EFFORT does not equal WORTH THE COLD! I think that these terms need to match! I think everything rides on making these terms match!


Fair question!

At some point in this chase we all must reach inside ourselves and make a determination about what is incontrovertibly right, what is incontrovertibly wrong and what is open for interpretation and/or negotiation.  The Engineer in me says, this Line, right here, this one must solve properly, in full, or the answer is going to be WRONG! So if my gut is incorrect about this, then I have no chance to win. End of story for me. 

Finishing OLD MATH with Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood . . . 

If = 9+6 = 15

You = 7+6+3 = 16 = 1+6 = 7

Brave = 2+9+1+4+5 = 21

And = 1+5+4 = 10

In = 9+5 = 14

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Wood = 5+6+6+4 = 21


Note that You not equal to Brave 

Brave+And+Wood = 21+10+21 = 52 = 5+2 = 7

You = Brave+And+Wood = 7

Once again, a significant equality, but full left not equal to full right. So the structure of the You/I equations are similar to, but never identical to each other. I believe that it is my job to make all of these equations solve properly. That’s my theory, so let’s try to make it happen!


There are, of course, myriad ways to create solutions from a blank slate. At first I tried permutation after permutation using the directions in the poem, making rectangles all over the place. Some of them seemed to work out, most did not. 

These failures got me to thinking outside the follow the directions mode of solving. A tip from a friend put me on a track to simplify the process. What follows is a direct result of that tip. 

Mr. Fenn has said that there are nine clues in the poem. I decided to try to find nine inputs and then see what kind of a solution might be possible from there. 

Before making my choices, though, I noticed that Canyon and Brown both totaled 72 (unreduced letter totals) as follows:

Canyon = 3+1+14+25+15+14 = 72

Brown = 2+18+15+23+14 = 72

Given that both these key words had the same raw total, I decided to select 7 alphanumeric key change point inputs one way and 2 inputs by another way. 

For the larger set of 7, I decided to use letters directly across “To Be”, last on left = first on right.

The letters I chose for this subset were:

Line 9:  iT=No . . . T becomes N

Line 10:  enD=Ever . . . D becomes E

Line 11:  therE=No . . . E becomes N

Line 13:  yoU=Wise . . . U becomes W

Line 13:  W=E . . . W becomes E

Line 17:  whY=It . . . Y becomes I

Line 21:  L=Ten . . . L remains L, but value changes to 10! (note that this alternate usage probably doomed this entire solve, but I did not figure that out until after the fact)

For the other two inputs I used “I” loops:

Lines 1/24, 7th letters in:

Line 1(hav)EI(n)

Line 24 (y)O(u)T(he)

Reading from upper right CW yields:  I TO E . . . I becomes E

Lines 2/23, 5th letters in, already discussed:  I SE U . . . S becomes E

Ok. I now have nine alphanumeric answers that I want to see become active in my final answer key . . . 

Can it be done??

I already know that I have to begin my trek on Line 5 because this is where the first CLUE is housed. Let’s put up a grid and see what happens next!

A s I h a v e g o n e a l o n e I n t h e r e 

A n d w I t h m y t r e a s u r e s b o l d 

I c a n k e e p m y s e c r e t w h e r e 

A n d h I n t o f r I c h e s n e w a n d o l d 

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

S o w h y I s I t t h a t I  m u s t g o 

A n d l e a v e m y t r o v e f o r a l l t o s e e k 

T h e a n s w e r s I a l r e a d y k n o w 

I v e d o n e I t t I r e d a n d n o w I m w e a k 

S o h e a r m e a l l a n d l I s t e n g o o d 

Y o u r e f f o r t w I l l b e w o r t h t h e c o l d 

I f y o u a r e b r a v e a n d I n t h e w o o d 

I g I v e y o u t I t l e t o t h e g o l d 


Line 5:  Begin it:  W here!

Answer:  W At!

Validation:  Where+Warm+Waters+Halt = 5+8+5+9+5+5+1+9+4+5+1+2+5+9+1+8+1+3+2 = 88 = 8+8 = 16

The 17th letter in Line 5 is the “W” in “Waters!” 

The first instruction is to accept the first three letters in WAT ers and do nothing else. Visually, I have:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

Line 6:  And take it:  “IN” the canyon down!

Answer:  homophone “EN” where second “N” on “canyoN” is directly below the “E” in “WATErs”

Validation:  In+The = 9+5+2+8+5 = 29 = 2+9 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

Line 7:  Not far, but “TOO” far to walk!

Answer:  “TOO” is the only pure number in the poem. For all military codes, “TOO” means the number “2”! So extend the line from the current stop on the “L” and extend it down two more letters as shown:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

Validation:  “Put in below” signifies a change of direction underneath Brown.

“From there” doubles down on this change of direction concept, especially since the “F” is in this Line already.

Line 9:  From there it’s (k)no(w) place!

Answer:  Move left through PLACE, stopping before reaching NO/(k)NO(w) homophone combination!

Validation:  The end is drawing nigh = means keep left as you move “From there!”

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

Line 11:  There’ll be (k)NO(w) paddle “UP” . . . 

Answer:  Currently on “P” with half a “Paddle” directly below, so use what’s available going Down!

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

W A T E N L B F E C A L P A D X X X X X X X X X X X X 

Half the alphabet down, and four for four on my hypothesized input/output exchanges! Wow! What’s next?

Status report: 

I have half of a blaze, I need exactly 12 more letters, but I lack instructions at this point! Perhaps I can draw my way to a complete nine for nine solution?

Line 14 hints:  “your quest to cease”

Answer:  2 C’s!

Using this idea, I added to my letter string as follows: 

My first “C”:  Down from “D” in “padDle” to “A” in “And”, left to “S” in “loadS”, down to “SE” in “wiSE”

My second “C”: Down from “E” in “wisE” to “N” in “dowN”, left to “W” in “doWN”, down through “W” in “With” to “ES” in “chESt”. 

These two moves add 10 letters to the blaze. 

I chose to finish the blaze by moving upwards and finishing with “IN” per Line 16, “go IN peace!”

Note 1:  In retrospect, I should have realized that moving upwards violated the instruction of Line 11, but alas, I did not!

Note 2:  The completed blaze, when seen, will be a shock to some. For that, I apologize in advance! But, it is what it is, and I can’t do anything about it now!

So here it is, the full blaze, in all it’s glory:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

So what is this a picture of?  Rotate the grid 90 degrees CW and I see a scrotum and an erect penis!

Yes, people! I have “WOOD” on your screen. Linguistically-, mathematically-, artistically-derived “WOOD”! For that, I apologize, but then again, it is pretty funny, too! 

Drawing Validation: all 9 of my input/output combinations hit!

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

W A T E N L B F E C A L P A D A S S E N W W E S I N 

The blaze, when written out, has a hidden message, too!


Holy cow! That is so weird, that I still don’t know what to make of it! But, given the drawing on the screen, the message seemed to really fit, so I ignored the weirdness and got down to finishing my solution pronto!


New alphanumeric key courtesy of the WOOD!

A B C D E F G H I J K  L M N O P Q  R   S T U V  W  X Y Z 

5 1 2 5 5 3 2  6 5 3 1 1 7  1  4 1 10 10 5 5 5  5 5 10 9 5 

Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold . . . 

Your = 9+4+5+10 = 28

Effort = 5+3+3+4+10+5 = 30

Worth = 5+4+10+5+6 = 30

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Cold = 2+4+1+5 = 12


Effort = Worth = 30 (Exactly!)

Your+Effort = 28+30 = 58

Worth+The+Cold = 30+16+12 = 58 

Your+Effort = Worth + The + Cold = 58 (Exactly!)

These are exact totals! No reductions! These are pure equalities, and EXACTLY how I want this line to operate!

Note:  These outputs are more than enough for me to continue looking at this very hard all the way to the end of the line! Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood . . .

Technically, I’ve already got this line covered, but let’s check the math, anyway!

If = 5+3 = 8

You = 9+4+5 = 18

Brave = 1+10+5+5+5 = 26

And = 5+1+5 = 11

In = 5+1 = 6

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Wood = 5+4+4+5 = 18


If + You = 8+18 = 26 = Brave (Exactly!)

Brave + And + The + Wood = 8+2+7+9 = 26 (By reduction!)

Wow!  Exact equalities involving Brave and Wood! 

Thanks to a picture of WOOD!

Even now, I’m still stupefied at how this all came together!

If this isn’t an engineered solution, it a statistical anomaly of extreme proportions!

Continuing with Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze . . . 

If = 5+3 = 8

You = 9+4+5 = 18

You’ve = 9+4+5+5+5 = 28

Been = 1+5+5+1 = 12

Wise = 5+5+5+5 = 20

And = 5+1+5 = 11

Found = 3+4+5+1+5 = 18

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Blaze = 1+1+5+5+5 = 17

If + You = 8+18 = 26 = 2+6 = 8

Wise + Found + The + Blaze = 20+18+16+17 = 71 = 7+1 = 8

If + You’ve + Been + W = 8+28+12+5 = 53 = 8

And + Found + The + Blaze = 2+9+7+8 = 26 = 8 (Note: E cannot be used here. Another RED FLAG missed!)

As this is getting very long, I’ll simply summarize the other equalities:

So+Why = It+Must+Go = 2  (Note:  Neither “That” nor “I” can be used here)

From+It = No+Place+For+The+Meek = 7  (Note: “There” cannot be used here)

The + End = Ever + Drawing + Nigh = 9  (Full left = Full right)

There = No+Paddle+Up+Your+Creek = 4  (Full left = Full right)

Done+It+Tired+Now+I = Weak = 7  (“I’ve” and “And” cannot be used here)

So+Hear+Me+All+L = Ten+Good = 8  (Full left = Full right)

While there are some imperfections, the correlations here are extremely strong! I must admit being blown away by the totality of the fit, and yet, IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Oh, the lessons we learn the hard way! LOL!


The only work left is to find the coordinates in the grid. 

Given that I have a picture of WOOD, I need to find “R” in a place where I can successfully enter the WOOD itself. 

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

RDSSWW = 105.5555 . . . This is a longitude in CO!

I paired this with O space ORGU coming down from the “O” in “Down”, Line 6!

This combination seemed to fit with the tone of the solution at hand!

O space ORGU = 40.41025 . . . This is a latitude in CO!

The location is in the Roosevelt NF near Black Canyon Trail. Black Canyon felt like a very fitting location for this solution. The hike proved to be 3.2 miles one way with all but the last little bit on trail. This distance is right at the outside limit of what I felt was theoretically possible for Mr. Fenn to undertake. The lack of extreme elevation changes worked as a mitigating factor, but honestly, given the totality of correlations I had on paper, I was game for almost anything. Needless to say, Indulgence was not at this spot. I had a friend and a metal detector. We looked around the area for a good while, but I knew going it that this was a long shot scenario because I did not have a set of points on a map to bolster the work presented here!


So what went wrong?  

A lot of things, actually.  But the biggest mistake I made was getting too excited about some very positive math! The math, after all, WASN’T PERFECT . . . it was only ALMOST PERFECT!

Then there was the hike thing. It was too long. I don’t think Mr. Fenn could do that 6.4 mile round trip twice in an afternoon. I know for a fact that I was done after doing it once and I’m still in decent shape. So from now on, my hike limit is a 2-mile radius from park point for anything but almost flat ground!

Then there is the lack of connection to Mr. Fenn thing. Frankly, I discounted this far too much! I got too excited about my wacky solution and forgot to cover the basics! Mea culpa on that one! Will certainly do better next time!

Then there is the whole WWWH/HoB matter. From Mr. Fenn’s comments, there has to be more to these clues than a path through the poem. I discounted this aspect to my own detriment. Again, I won’t do that again.


As this solve is very strong, I may have missed something related to the Latitude. I really like the derivation of the Longitude coordinate. But I admit that I had to guess a bit on the Latitude. It is possible that a different set of letters could emerge from this solution, as presented. If so, you are welcome to review my work, find another answer, and investigate at will. All I can say is that I took my best shot and came up dry with this solution. Your results, should you play with this further, may vary!


Even in defeat, I like this solution. It is certainly possible that another path through the poem might generate a positive result.  I hope that one will work out for you, should you dare to revise this one, or look for another possible answer; but, after working with these possible paths for over a year, I decided to scrap the blaze-inside-the-poem concept altogether. I have a new methodology and a new solution in hand. With any luck, I’ll be able to walk right to the chest later this summer.  If not, I’ll publish it and admit defeat once and for all!

You see, this chase is what we make it. For me, the chase has provided me with a chance to solve a difficult puzzle using my abilities to the fullest extent.  No matter what happens next, I’ve already  done that.  No matter where I go or what else I do to dream up another answer, I will never be able to top the place I plan to go next.  Thus, for me, the chase is already over . . . I’ve run my race.  There is only victory or defeat in the offing now, and only time will tell which of those it will be.

Either way, I will walk away proudly, knowing that I’ve given this opportunity everything I could muster. 


Making predictions about what will happen in the chase may be foolhardy, but I’m going to put a few things out there, anyway.

The complexity of this solution goes far beyond statistical randomness. I don’t believe it is random at all. I believe that I am looking at an intentionally-constructed outcome. I believe this is Mr. Fenn’s CRUDE solution! 

You see, I think that Mr. Fenn anticipated guys like me coming along and he wrote us a note beforehand. That note said, “Great thinking . . . but screw you, Dude! Keep trying! LOL!”

Based on this outcome, I am absolutely certain that an elegant, perfect-math solution is out there waiting to be found! It’s there, just waiting on someone else to come along and discover it for the very first time! 

The alternative, of course, is that the correct solution is NOT math-based at all. But if it isn’t, why go to the trouble to derive and provide a solution of this complexity at all? Think about that for a minute, please! If you do, I think you’ll realize the importance of what I just said!

I further predict that the math verifications will be predicated on more intricately devised arrangements than full left = full right on a single line, as I’ve postulated here.

I further predict that the final solution will use far more interesting puzzle construction techniques than the ones encountered here . . . and these are GREAT!

I further predict that the inputs will be exactly 2, not 9! Line 7 provides the number, and it is “TOO!”

The puzzle must be worked backwards, reverse engineered. While the inputs are few, the answers are all provided, and the most astute searcher will be able to put all the pieces together successfully. 

Essentially, Mr. Fenn has written a double-sided, but 90-degree rotated picture puzzle for us to solve. If you’ve never worked one of these before, take it from me, they are hard because there are pictures on both sides of every piece. When working them, one often puts together little sections, then those sections have to be disassembled and reassembled after flipping and rotating. I find myself doing the same things with my ideas here. And this is harder than any double-sided puzzle because we lack a box top of the picture itself. We must imagine the picture, and the only way that I’ve been able to make any headway at all is to play with the letters in the poem grid! I humbly suggest working with the grid until you begin to see some light and shadows through the forest of letters provided.


As for me, I want to thank Mr. Fenn for giving me the opportunity to stretch my mind and think about things in ways that I’ve never done before.  And, if I get nothing else beyond that out of this effort, then I will have been well-compensated, indeed. 

May all of you achieve the similar outcomes!


114 thoughts on “Not At 40.41025N/105.5555W . . . Black Canyon, CO……

  1. A lot of valuable info here. I will be sure to remember where I saw this. I will be back after a quick analysis. Very nice work.

  2. Thanks, not bad for an Iowa engineer. I lost you right after four corners.

  3. Many searchers believe that the poem cannot be solved using anything other than imaginative word associations and maps.

    Maybe because Forrest has repeatedly said that those are the only things you need to solve the clues? (Along with BOTG for clues 3-9, since the girl in India can’t get past the first two clues…)

  4. That was a lot of figuring! An I can tell You I would have to be Einstein, to do that, and sadly I’m not. LOL! I look at it like this. First, Mr. Fenn said it was to far to walk! So that means he didn’t walk, so that means he either used a 4 wheeler, or a horse, so yes I think Mr. Fenn could do that 6.4 mile round trip twice in an afternoon. The chest of gold is heavy, and a man at that age couldn’t carry it far without giving out, even if he made 2 trips, that gold is still heavy, even a young man would have problems, and if he didn’t use either for transportation, then he would have had to use a truck, or car, and if he did this, then where he hid it, was near a road. Or he said to put it in below the home of Brown. Did he put the gold in a boat, and go down the river? if so like I said where ever he stopped and grabbed his gold, he didn’t carry that gold far from the boat! I know I am babbling here, but think about it. Like I said, a chest of gold is heavy, and I don’t see him carrying it far! Then there is one last thing to think of. If someone already found the gold, he or she would be s fool to tell anyone. Because the Government would take a big chunk of it. An as we all know, everyone isn’t as honest as Mr. Lincoln! Even with the IOU Mr. Fenn put in the chest, it wouldn’t be worth it, the Government would Take more then that! Again, just saying.

  5. An here is another thought, Blaze Mountain, Montana! He speaks of where warm water halts! and if You can bare the cold! Water streaming from the mountain, will put a halt to warm waters quick!

  6. Interesting ideas, but this type of reasoning seems to imply Fenn is some sort of super genius and that only an extremely high intellect, puzzle solving mind can solve the poem. How does that square with Fenn essentially saying no special knowledge is required to solve the poem, except perhaps comprehensive geography and that almost anyone has a shot at the poem?

    Another problem: I respect deeply the idea that the poem is some sort of code, etc. that there is a deep and accurate embedded message–indeed it seems only logical to try to attempt this method of solution first–but if one is constantly failing to solve the poem according to this method yet finding statistical regularities, patterns, perhaps it would be best to analyze ALL of Fenn’s writing, or at least writing in the Thrill of Chase book, to see if some of the regularities in poem match up with his general writing style, thus explaining patterns even though they don’t seem to add up in poem to coordinate or location of treasure.

    In other words, and continuing with line of reasoning in last paragraph, obviously all over the Thrill of Chase patterns keep cropping up: Helicopters/water/waterfalls; Ropes/knots in various vertical and horizontal forms; biscuits/pies/cooking, etc. Are these patterns hints or just regularity of association of Fenn’s mind? I’d like this question answered at least: Are we faced with a super genius here in Fenn, that every little pattern points to an overall and extremely complex theme, or does the discovery of pattern in Fenn reveal something perhaps more dismaying, namely that the poem after all is a quite subjective impression, that Fenn’s patterns, repetitions are what we can expect from any person with his or her favorite themes, and that the poem after all is not particularly accurate, does not map onto necessarily one place only but can be superimposed with greater or lesser accuracy on any number of places, not to mention the many places Fenn himself could not possibly have visited in his lifetime.

    Another tremendous question for the math people that should be able to be answered and which is extremely valuable but which I have never seen attempted: Fenn stated that people have been within a certain distance of the treasure (200 to 500 feet). But he stated they solved maybe the two first clues, etc. So what exactly is the area are we looking at from first clue to last? How large a space? Please math people get working on that. That seems a clear and worthwhile and productive target of thought. So far it seems to me that we are talking about maybe ten miles or less area even though Fenn states “too far to walk”. I believe Fenn even stated something like “solved first two clues maybe but walked past the rest”. If we could get a fix on area size that it would help in mapping accurately, scale I believe is the word. Scale the thing for us math/geometry whizzes.

    At this point for me, after reading about so many ideas and methods for solving the poem, it’s obvious that even if I do manage to solve it it’s rather embarrassing because I’ve received so much help from other people, that a lot of high power thinking and searching has gone into this. It all seems to be turning into a process of collective zeroing/eliminating in thought and zeroing/eliminating in search area. The treasure at this point seems relatively valueless. What is valuable is the entire dataset by which thousands of people are interpreting a piece of information, Thrill/poem, toward objective. It’s incredibly valuable as knowledge, methodology which touches on so many branches of humanities/sciences.

    • “Are we faced with a super genius here in Fenn, that every little pattern points to an overall and extremely complex theme”

      Very smart, yes. Complex theme, maybe not, but complex enough to have stumped many who are trying. If you go back and reread the book to help provide hints on how to solve the poem, there are definitely clear patterns. Only a few have discovered that these patterns (in my view) closely allude to Egyptology terms. What to do with this discovery is the remainder of the formula. 🙂

  7. So you plotted all those mathematical points turned them 90 degrees and got the picture of a knob !!!! It was at this point I realised your solution was way too hard for me

    • Kingfish— from the article itself:

      “Note: These outputs are more than enough for me to continue looking at this very hard all the way to the end”

  8. IMO … the resulting longitude is in the immediate ball park of being correct … but, the longitude falls way short. Perhaps as a result of going up to In as you mentioned threw your numbers off. Also, I don’t understand why you chose O space ORGU for defining a co-ordinate. You weren’t clear as to why that was your choice. I follow what you have done, but I reached my co-ordinates by choosing points in my general area then drawing lines on a map and where they intersected defined my specific area, then from there I narrowed down to my location as precise as I could ascertain to be probable. I do appreciate the time spent on sharing your solve online and will definitely look at it closer when I have the time. Thanks for all of the mathematical work you completed for everyone.


    Safety First Always

    • IMO Fenn did say no codes and I have not used them in my solve, but one has to appreciate how Iowa Engineer has decided to solve the riddle and the mental effort he has put into his solve. His result did give him co-ordinates that are in the search area so maybe his method does have some merit in addition to the traditional poem purist solve. Numerology can be viewed as scientific as Iowa Engineer views it … or it can be mystical in nature. I enjoy learning how others are approaching their solve.


      Safety First Always

  9. It does appear what you have here is correct. I do believe understanding codes is very important in order to understand how a poem could be a map.

    Your figures landed me 20 miles from my spot, not in CO.

  10. It depends upon the interpretation of what a code is? from a dictionary definition an anagram is not a code but converting letters to numbers most certainly is. We should listen to what Fenn tells us.

  11. Engineers like numbers and trains.

    If it were simple, it would have already been solved. Keep going!

  12. WOW…Some solves are like walking a tight rope across the Grand Canyon…it is all about balance, timing, guts, and a willingness to admit you may have over calculated. THANK YOU for sharing. I am sure you worked hard on that and I as well as others do not wish to discredit your effort. To me it seemed like an over thinking but I don’t have the treasure secreted away anywhere. One thing is for sure…the Rocky Mountains are one of our greatest national treasures and The Black Canyon of The Gunnison is a gem in that crown. The solves that have not produced Indulgence have exposed thousands to views, vistas, and glorious encounters with the natural world here-to-fore that would never have been realized had we not been dining on fish…not trout, but plates of Red Herring. Solves reveal the character of the solvers. To me you show an aptitude far exceding the common joe. Again, Thank You for sharing. -guy-

    First off, that was a very honest intro. I respect that.

    You’re hearing most saying this method is a bit out there in its complexity. I have to agree. My personal problem is; it’s completely subjective to random math guessing.
    I have to wonder what fenn may have thought when planning all this. He chose to present clues in a poem. Poems have structure, whether 3 or 4 line per stanza etc. So a lot of folks automatically want to use some math in the hope something pops… self included.
    What I don’t understand is why some feel the need to over do the math thinking. Have you ever tried simple counting-?-to be usable on a map, idea. Elevation points for example… In stanza 5… the word count is 8858 [ words per line of 4 line ], and the stanza states “leave my trove for all to seek” [ simple idea ] is the chest at this elevation? Is wwwh at stanzas 2 number counting of words? I hope you see where I’m going with this… the counting is simplistic yet hidden, and not a jumbling code of hit and miss guessing of which letters are assigned a value. [ purely an example ].

    Now, this brings me to my point of posting a response. WhatIF fenn gave us the math to work out the clues [ he said he thought of everything ]?
    The math folks here may like the idea, but others may say it over complicated in the theory that Tarry Scant might relate to a mathematical Um, ‘style’ of usage. It’s a leap of faith, i get it… but on a small scale at a location, it’s relatively simple to use. The idea is… “Tarry Point” [ some would say this is too complicated. But IF fenn tells us what we need to use, is a million plus of gold worth learning a bit of math?]

    Could fenn have given us the idea of a triangulation process we may needed to cross all the lines. We would still need to know; where to start [location] need to decipher 9 clues [ the path ] bring it all together using a triangular math method of observation of the deciphered points.

    Anyways… that’s my idea of looking at the poem using math to help solve “precisely” where to locate a 10″ spot. A note for thought; a searcher has found the blaze… from that spot the idea is, you can lay out each point and walk right to the chest. The down fall of this idea is we would need to be told [ in some manner “where to start” I’m not talking about wwwh, that’s part of the clues… I’m talking about the location of all the clues.
    So, none of the above is useful until in the correct location with the correct decipher references. Concluding; you can solve the references of a clue at home… but must utilize them in the field.
    That is… IF I was to think math is the way to go. For me… and for the poem to be usable by anyone, be they a rocket scientist or a redneck with a pickup truck, we should be told what is needed of us, to know about.

    food for thought…………

    • I fully agree with your triangulation idea Seeker. I even think that there are hints in TTOTC regarding distances. Some of these distances relate to the distances between clues. ATF comments by Forrest tell us how close searchers have been stc. Using these numbers certainly has helped me “Focus” in on that 10″ piece of ground – or at least I hope it has.

      As to your count the words in a line – lines in a stanza = elevation – I can get 4 of the 6 stanza’s to work – BUT your example 8858 does not work for me – so maybe I AM at the wrong location – I hope not. JDA

      • P.S. – I DO think that there is “A” treasure at 8858, but not “THE” treasure – JDA

  14. And…. I failed in math class!!!
    You should become a math teacher!!!

  15. Funny you should say if anyone “should play with this further”. I can’t tell you exactly the point in your solve where you lost me but I do know that some company has lost its engineer. There are three chances that this type of thinking is necessary to find the treasure…slim, fat, and none. And your three mile hike one way should have canned your solution from your drafting table but obviously you were so invested at that point you ignored this at your own peril. But on the bright side, you may win the award for the most creative solution. Still shaking my head at how your solution went from cerebral to sexual so quickly. Now I need to see a therapist…

  16. Hello Iowaengr. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. When Mr. Fenn had to change the poem, from the possible wording he had before, which I believe he mentioned was something like, “Take the chest, but leave my bones,” do you believe the count would have been the same as it is now, or different, and affected the outcome?

  17. i feel like I just read a Goldman Sachs options trading algorithm…mr f must have a PhD in mathestatistics…

  18. Your solution was every bit as good as all of the other solutions that also failed. Congratulations you tried! And it sounded like a nice hike. Did you take any pictures? I might like to hike that just for fun knowing I wouldn’t have to carry anything heavy back. That is the point isn’t it? Treasure is just the gravy.

    What makes me wonder on your solution approach is that if worked backwards, i.e. from the writer’s perspective, they would be more likely to end up with a less comprehensible poem. In other words poems engineered this way would seem more likely to end up with less logic and more awkward words/sentences. Given there are so many references between FF’s life experiences woven into the poem I would think the backward engineering of a poem would have struggled to work in these connections without more word jumble and even more obtuse sentence structure.

    • IMO,

      Reverse engineering works only if you know what WWWH is.

      Because you will already know “what” to look for in the previous clue.

      But then, for what use reverse engineering, if you already have the starting point?

      Only if it is to confirm your theories. ; )

  19. Iowaengr,

    I think I can follow along well enough to see what you are doing. As others have already pointed out in different ways, Mr. Fenn doesn’t appear to think this way. That’s not to say he hasn’t put a lot of thought into the puzzle, it’s just that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of evidence for this particular kind of thinking on his part. He was making marbles and sliding down fire escapes instead of listening to what was being taught in school. And the coup de resistance is his oft quoted statement about a “redneck with a bunch of kids” finding it. The implication seems to be that it’s not as difficult as you seem to be making it.

    I’m dubious that this kind of thinking will get you close to Indulgence. But I’ve been wrong before and it is just my opinion, after all.

  20. Iowaengr—-

    I am horrible at mathematics. And if one needs to be a mathematician to really solve this thing then I stand no chance. lol. But I do really appreciate your effort! And the strangest thing of all: when you revealed the BLAZE it came as a shock, but also really caused me to really wonder.

    I began searching in 7-2016 and ever since the beginning I have deeply wondered if the poem is a sort of “admission” or “confession”. I know that sounds strange—-but I really have had this feeling for quite some time. Is there a chance the poem is actually concealing something that isn’t really as clean and pristine as we think it is? Is there a hidden sarcasm in the poem that we never dreamed is really there? As you know I concentrate quite a bit on acrostics in my search. Very, very early in my search I wondered about what I’ve said above do to things I “saw” in the poem as far as acrostics go. I am just being totally honest.

    Does the autobiography contain something we would be completely amazed to hear? I have wondered at times—-then my mind gets back to the search at hand, and I file away that thought.

    But once again Iowaengr, the time and effort you have put into this is actually quite astounding—–and I really do hope you try again. As I said, I wish I understood math a lot better, and could really follow along closely with you. Thanks for sharing this with us—it truly is one of the most unusual and mysterious solves that I have ever read.

    • Now you are making some sense Sparrow. I totally agree that there is a meaning in the poem that is not directly related to the treasure. And the autobiography in the treasure chest will reveal that. I also think I know what it is, but I cannot say at this point because it may be giving away too much. But I will say it is related to many of the stories and could be important in the final solve. I will just leave everyone with this…when he says “my secret”, I think there is a good chance he is not talking about the treasure.

      • Toughshed–
        Thanks for that. I agree—“my secret” most likely is not where the treasure is hidden. In one of his stories he says that if you can figure out where he’s fishing he’ll “tell a secret he’s never revealed to anyone”(or words to that affect). So I do believe the poem shows where a treasure is hidden, but also leads to a “secret”– which may be related to a rainbow. Thanks for the input toughshed.

  21. “do to things” should be “due to things” and remove one “really” from my 4th sentence.

  22. Iowaengr –

    Are you skipping all the times you came up with coordinates that are not in the search area?

    I ask because I have pilled coordinates out of that poem that put me in Idaho, Utah an Asia.

    Of Course, I gave them up years ago because of this. It’s like I tell the searchers who think there are hidden words, if you are looking for something in the poem, Book(s) or ATF comments you will surely find them.


  23. Well, your blaze certainly is interesting – I have to give you that guy.

    I liked your last paragraph the best. Our approaches are COMPLETELY different, but the joy we receive from our approaches has more than compensated me for the time I have put in.

    Thanks for your willingness to “Put yourself out there.” Not an easy thing to do sometimes.

    Best of luck to Ya’ JDA

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  25. thanks for sharing all that thinking you did ive been to black canyon Colo cimarron the river is swift I dont know but beauty is there a simple thought might be the steps one must take to get there what you can or cant see in the creek that is in your solve
    example are you below your hob is there just heavy loads and water high is your blaze there can you see animals from your view point can you smell pine is it beautiful is it safe if not abandon your solve can you get there and back in one afternoon stuff like that did you move past the home of Brown on to no place for the meek TO FIND THE END have a good day all go in safely dont take risks he wanted to share value in life im off to Montana the weekend after next enjoying the adventure please remember what he said its in a safe place

  26. Hi there iowa…
    Pretty snazzy write-up…truly. There is a vast amount of detail in your concept and this must have taken a bit of time to compile. Certainly a lot of effort ! Kudos for that…
    I’ve worked in some capacity or other with quite a few Engineers(not trains) over the years. Many in the Aviation Industry…and quite a few in the Construction Industry. It has always been a wild ride for me as my role was/is always as part of the group responsible for making the design work…and in some cases help implement rework of a faulty design(it happens) so that folks stay safe and efficiency/quality is maintained. I DO appreciate the detail and look forward to the next chapter…it is interesting.
    As a side note…I do not believe the poem will be solved in this manner…but who knows for sure? Everyone finds their own niche in the Chase…and if it is fun, entertaining, and it get’s you out in the mountains…GO FOR IT !

  27. Apophenia. Had to search the recent posts to remember that little gem of a word that is given so much rich context in the chase. Thanks to Michael.

  28. Good evening, and thanks for all the positive comments. Clearly some of my ideas are finding traction in certain quarters, while being completely rejected by many others. Which easily segues into my primary reason for posting tonight.

    Admittedly, my approach is so different that many of you are probably thinking that I’m so far afield that anything I say is completely irrelevant. And, certainly, that may be true. So let me explain in a bit more detail why I believe that detailed scrutiny of my work is appropriate.

    Firstly, I respectfully request that you consider the structural components embedded in my work. Allow me to elaborate briefly.

    A) I identified 8 conventional uses of To Be in the poem. And I augmented those with 2 more unconventional uses wherever IS was used inside another word. Of the 10 uses cited, I grouped them into 2 subsets of similar use. In group impersonal present tense I identified exactly 6 usages. The remaining 4 uses were grouped into I/You/future work needed. Please note that in the impersonal present tense group all 6 were equal across To Be. In group future exactly 0 were equal across to be.

    1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9 = 1/531441 x 100 = .00018816 percent chance of happening randomly
    8/9×8/9×8/9×8/9 = 4096/6561 x 100 = 62.43 percent of happening randomly
    The chances that both are randomly true are even less than the 2 in 10000 chance from the first subset

    If you don’t think this needs to be investigated, fine, but please don’t disparage anyone who wants to look for answers as to why this anomaly exists at all.

    B) I intentionally selected 7 of 10 possible simple substitutions across To Be, and then I added 2 substitutions from my “I” loops observation. I selected these before doing any work. I did this specifically to see whether letters across To Be could be linked in the body of the poem at all. I certainly had no inkling of what the result would be. Hopefully that makes sense to everyone.

    C) Then without any preconceptions, I tried to use the directions in the poem to link my inputs perfectly. I was astounded that I could do that at all, let alone while following the instructions. This, my friends, is WHY my work is so important to YOU, the reader. Please consider the implications inherent with these details as I reiterate the process used:

    Line 5:
    Begin it W HERE
    My Answer: W AT (this W plus AT = Here)
    Line 6:
    Take it IN the CANYON Down
    My Answer: EN (En homophone of In, with N in Canyon, direction Down)
    Line 7:
    Not far but TOO to walk
    My Answer: L + BF (the next 2 going down)
    Line 8
    Put in below the home of Brown
    My Answer: F below B in Brown (Validates answer Line 7 and implies direction change next move).
    Line 9:
    From there it’s no place for the meek
    My Answer: left through ECALP (move creates FECAL= Brown and P=warm water)
    Line 10:
    The end is ever drawing nigh
    My Answer: validates leftward direction as applied
    Line 11:
    No paddle up your creek
    My Answer: PAD, use half paddle available going down instead
    Line 12:
    Just heavy loads and water high
    My Answer: FECAL and P(ee) in the creek already. Validates.
    Line 13:
    If you’ve been wise and found the blaze
    My Answer: I had 14 of 26 at this point. No instruction, so skipped.
    Line 14:
    Look quickly down your quest to cease
    My Answer: to cease = 2 C’s by homophones; both C’s constructed going downward. First of 4 letters with ASS being new. Second of 6 letters = ENWWES being new.
    Line 15:
    But tarry scant with marvel gaze
    My Answer: Don’t gawk, finish it! Continued w no action.
    Line 16:
    Go IN peace
    My Answer: IN going up while reusing N.
    This reuse of N is an incredible security device. Very secure construction of this blaze. It was not meant to be found easily.

    Anyone who wants to denigrate my solution needs to reconsider the string of information just presented.if you think that is random, I can’t help you any further. Please put me on ignore.

    For those of you still reading, I appreciate your interest.

    D) Blaze analysis, literally! A-Z reads:


    My inputs are all in place. 9 for 9.
    All other letters derived from actions taken as described.

    I was not looking for anal sex. I just found it on my screen. As off-putting as it is, I think it’s fantastic news for my approach. More on this soon.

    Then, the letters get coupled with the very clear design on the screen. Note: I had color graphics but they did not transfer into Dal’s site. For that disparity, I apologize.

    So here is the blaze, artistically:


    Rotate 90 degrees CW and I see WOOD. Corroboration of the verbiage all the way.

    E) Then, the math works 10 of 10 times versus expected outputs. Imperfectly, but statistically relevant correlations every time w many creating full left = full right for entire line. Are you kidding me?

    For my money this an ENGINEERED SOLUTION!
    It is NOT RANDOM!

    There is something going on across To Be, and I intend to find out what Fenn intended. I humbly suggest that you make this anomaly your business, too.

    I am convinced that this is a CRUDE solution pointing the way to an ELEGANT solution. It’s a sign post and a heavy defense around the chest location itself.

    I have no assurance that I am right. The preceding conclusion is my opinion only. But ask yourself, why Mr. Fenn would go to the extreme lengths necessary to put such a solution in his poem in the first place? Just to mock someone using my techniques? That seems excessive and illogical to me. I prefer Occam’s razor here. It’s here because it’s damn important to the successful solve. There’s info here that YOU need. And I just gave it away!



    • Looking at your “So here is the blaze, artistically:”, and without turning it 90 degrees CW, it looks like an “F” to me, as in Forrest—another allusion to wood without the sexual connotation.

  29. Congratulations for working out such a thorough and complex attempted solution to the poem! It must’ve taken enormous dedication. I admire your intellect. None of us know where the TC is, and I appreciate reading new ideas (so to speak) 🙂

    Human intelligence is fundamentally about seeking and finding patterns. It’s how we’ve survived all this time.

    • Waters

      Those are the words that my blaze line touches, in order. Does that look like a random fit to you?

      If you were to select words for a trip through the poem, which ones would you pick?

      My list, absent preconceived knowledge from other sources, would look something like this. Confirmation bias on my part? Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that there is something going on across To Be and it is not random. Ergo, it is by design, and that means it’s hugely important to understand.

      Magicians love to talk about everything BUT THE DETAILS of how they execute their tricks right before your very eyes. We, as the audience, have two choices. Sit back in amazement and wonder, thinking not about HOW did he do that at all . . . Or, we can really focus on the who, what, where, when, how questions needed to breakdown and understand the trick itself. Call me a skeptic, but a very appreciative skeptic. While I deeply admire the abilities needed to devise and execute magic tricks, I also want to understand them fully. Most of the time I cannot dig into them at all. But here, I can. I have the time and materials needed to analyze a magic trick of sorts. My post provides everyone reading these words access to my thoughts and work product. I’m an open book. Everything I have said about this solution is verifiable by anyone who wants to recreate it. How many solutions presented here can match that?



      • I o wowza, I think I’ve got it!

        You’re just trying to keep all of us occupied scratching our heads while holding tight to the easy peasy lemon squeezy solution in your pocket. Is the juice running down your leg (shout-out to Zoso:), or was that your pen bursting?

        I can’t help but calculate Forrest’s aim was towards those who can still take a sheet, add a fold or two, and enjoy watching as it flies through the air. Knowing “how or why” it does, does not ‘thrill’ me so much, at least not in this particular situation!

        There is a tidbit of your offerings to my liking, it’s just that I’m not accomplished at lip service. So I hope you don’t perceive this as a wilful attempt to ‘dis a homie’. Keep on pushin’ that pen though if you feel it will eventually write our wrongs. W that being said….who knows?? : )

  30. Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it.

    To everyone else:

    I see two primary paths ahead for each of you:

    1) Chalk my findings up to random chance, faulty logic/workmanship/insanity/anything else you want. No matter your reason, you like Toughshed, can choose to deny/ignore/castigate my posts as you see fit. We are all free people, blessed with the same opportunities to strive, seek wisdom, succeed and fail, no matter whether this is for you or not. Feel free to go in peace through the door behind me. Neither I nor the correct solution, should I be on to something important to the winning solve, care one bit.
    2) Anyone interested in my observation that there is something going on across To Be that needs to be understood is free to modify my solution in any way you see fit. I’ve given you plenty of background information, plenty of demonstrable potential that a PERFECT MATH solution might be possible. While this one is IMPERFECT, it is close enough to indicate that a different set of inputs would automatically generate completely different results. There is an entire galaxy of permutations waiting to be explored. The caveat: thinking about geography, word associations to maps, any of that cannot even begin until the math has been done and a coordinate derived! If this is not for you, please take door number one above.

    For anyone brave enough to follow me into the permutations wilderness, I welcome candid discussions about what would constitute a perfect math outcome! What would theoretically perfect math be? That subject, that conversation, would be very welcome, indeed.

    I have posted other possible solutions in the Comments Section of “I Think The Chest is Here”. Please feel free to check those out, too.

    Regards to all.


  31. iowaengr–
    Tried to post earlier but didn’t take. I understand your blaze drawing now—but still don’t understand how you are reading anyhting from that actual group of words. Are they coded and spelling something that has to do with sex? That part I don’t understand. Forgive me–I am not an engineer or mathematician.

    To put it more easily how does W ATE N LB FECAL PAD ASS EN WWE SIN = anal sex? I don’t understand–I see a couple of short words that could “refer” to that—but are you saying there is a code that spells it out officially? If you can answer, thanks

    • Sparrow,
      17033 is the code for hoB. Look for a dirt road before you arrive.

      Sorry! Ok, enough of this…. it’s only going to get messier from here. Good thing I don’t have anyone to kiss with this mouth.

    • Iowaengr—

      Never mind. I’m asking a stupid question. That’s why when I was born the doctor slapped my Mom.

    • IF, and this is a HUGE IF . . .
      IF there is something going on across TO BE, as I believe . . .
      AND IF, Mr. Fenn intentionally wrote this pathway into the poem to be found as a signal flag . . .
      THEN: then logical conclusion is that this is the incorrect CRUDE solution that’s points the way toward his final ELEGANT solution.

      There are two other alternatives, of course:

      1) There is nothing going on across To Be at all. Everything I’ve shown you is random, unintentional garbage. If you either feel this way, or don’t want to play in this sandbox for any other reason, please go in peace with the knowledge that I’ve helped you by eliminating some possibilities off to the side.
      2) This is not random, but the signal being waved is a STOP sign. I will freely admit that that interpretation makes some sense here. If you believe that what I’ve posted is either a WARNING or STOP sign, again, please feel free to ho in peace with the same perspective as Group 1.

      BUT if you, like me, find the existence of this solution as not a WARNING or STOP sign, but as a waypoint marker beckoning and encouraging further exploration, I urge you to begin playing with letter to number conversion alternatives.

      Anyone else out there interested in joining me on my quest for perfect math across To Be, I would welcome a discussion about what the OPTIMUM OUTPUTS should be. That is a discussion that I would welcome having, either here or off-line.


      • iowaengr—
        I do think you may have found something but I am not intelligent enough to completely understand it. Do you believe this may be the only path to a solution?

        • Great question, Sparrow.

          Simple answer is I don’t know. I can only answer for myself. I have no other way to solve it to my satisfaction. My satisfaction may not be the same thing as Mr. Fenn’s. And that’s perfectly fine by me. Win or lose, I will walk away self-satisfied.

          And given Mr. Fenn’s comments about word-associations to maps, it can likely be solved this way, too. But the box must be found through a general area search only down that road. My personal opinion is that one could get close that way, but finding it will take a coordinate. That means math is needed, and with that path, there can be only one answer.

          My two cents only.


      • Iowaenger,

        Although I do not use your solution method for the poem, I am obliged to say:

        Is there a way to solve in my solution, that confer with your words above, in a sentence :

        “Waters Canyon Walk Brown For Place Drawing Paddle And Loads Wise Down With Chest.”

        What if? It may be coincidence, it may be a fact, who knows. ☺☻

        • Please use any of my work in any way you see fit. I hope that I’ve helped you in some way.


  32. Although you think you know what my path is, you demonstrate your ignorance more clearly with every post, Toughshed.

    I do agree w you about several things, though, so for the benefit of anyone inclined towards a mathematical solution, I will summarize.

    In order to solve a problem, one must first define the problem. The information provided initially by Brock Swenson’s, “Not Just Another Solution” and furthered by my article here define the problem.

    Condensed summary:

    Brock identified initial equalities across “To Be.”

    Brock identified simple substitution as a workable starting point for what I call “Old Math.”

    Brock identified a potentially useful, very literal, method that Old Math could be applied to move around a letter grid comprised of the poem itself absent punctuation.

    I borrowed his concept, modified it, and used it to generate the Black Canyon solution posted.

    These are huge chunks of stone upon which an elegant solution can be erected.

    The work I have presented is important because it refines the mathematical challenge for anyone inclined to look for solutions down this path.

    Take aways should be:

    Concept that OLD math fails to solve the primary validation equations. Hence NEW math is needed.

    Concept that “I””s secret requires rotational thinking to understand.

    Concept that use of simple addition is central to the winning solve.

    Concept that the validation targets for the winning math solve involve large equalities across To Be ranging from full lines to full sentences.

    Concept that thinking small, i.e. single letters across To Be work well enough to positively reinforce problem solution methodology in the direction I’m describing here. They do not work well enough to anything more than generate a CRUDE solution, however.

    The methodology used here, path through the poem, is INCORRECT for this case. All linguistic information involved with it is USELESS on face!

    From here, my opinion is that another mathematical process is needed. Said process needs to be simpler and yet more secure at the same time. It needs to involve rotation, as well. I have thoughts on how these competing aims can be satisfied simultaneously, but I am not willing to discuss them here at this time.

    In short, the solution that I have provided should not exist at all. That it does proves nothing, but it is very suggestive that additional work along completely different lines of thought might provide the winning combination.

    The targets for perfect math must be determined by searcher. I do not believe that they are full left = full right for all Lines with conventional uses of To Be.

    I believe that military message authentication procedures involving a “NIT” are involved. Line 5, starts, “Begin it”. I read it this way, “BE GI NIT!” Instruction reads: “Message delivered across To Be, Soldier. Nit used.” Thus to properly authenticate the message, the solver must identify and apply the correct imperfection (nit) to the equations specified by instructions found in another part of the poem.

    So much for simplifying. LOL.

    But when it’s all said and done, I believe that the successful solution will satisfy Line 22 exactly, just as the Black Canyon solution provided here does.

    YOUR+EFFORT = X (unreduced)
    WORTH+THE+COLD = X (unreduced)

    Lines 22, 13, 10 will solve across To Be with proper Nit identification and use. The others will solve in their own ways, reasons TBD by solver.

    That’s my summary of where I’ve been, and a glimpse into where I’m headed. And an unplanned scatological hit has absolutely nothing to do with any of it.



    • Apologize for small error in prior post.

      Lines 23, 13. 10 . . . Not 22, 13 and 10. Misfire on 22 when intended 23.

  33. IIowaengr, Math is a language, few are fluent in and fewer still have the ability to use it well enough to be an Engineer, but from reading your expose I can see you’re adept in that language.

    Forrest has cautioned that we should not “over think” and even suggested how important it might be to “simplify” the expressions he posted. Even suggesting a child might have an advantage and giving hope that a Redneck with 5 kids in an old PU from Texas has a chance to find his Indulgence, but then I have to admire your work.

    I studied chemical engineering in my first years of college and later changed my major to business/econ and actuarial sciences for use in the insurance industry.

    What I “feel” about the interpretation of ff’s Poem is learned like lessons from my experience of using “Probability/Statistics” to form a predictable/probable and perhaps profitable outcomes. Notice I used the word feel, not the word think, cause Forrest Fenn, like all humankind is a not a thinking machine, no to the contrary, he and we are actually feeling creatures first and thinking creatures later.

    As I ponder all these heavy conclusion assembled by searchers, including myself, surely we are over thinking this….I wonder if a better outcome might be had if searching was on the basis of feelings alone, the odds seem better for me of success if we looked for a Marvel Gaze rather than a secret message or code, “my secret where” is a real place, right? Those searchers who were close and did not know it may have stumbled on the Marvel Gaze, right. Whatever the Blaze is, it has something to do IMO with the Marvel Gaze. Perhaps they are related or one in the same.


    • TT, I agree. It’s the marvel gaze that someone will see, not the blaze. So who’s Marvel and why would he gaze upon this thing in order to think it’s what he would say? (yes, he, it’s a hint).

  34. I do not want to imply that Latitude and Longitude are not represented in the final solution, to the contrary, I think somehow the architect has embedded co-ordinates very cleverly in the poem and there is one great big hint on Page 9 of the “Thrill Book” that confirms my suspicion , see chapter “Important Literature”.


  35. Iowaengr, you already basically know my thoughts on the whole thing, so I won’t bore you. It comes down to the letter values you use. (you know I like the attempt, it’s trying to solve the poem), but, it is a guess using the: a=1,b=2,c=3,d=4, etc…. system. I believe f would give the letter values his own values if he did indeed use letter values. Or, flat out tell us that a=1,b=2,c=3 etc… system would be used. And I mean tell us by referencing it into hints. He doesn’t, but he does give “his” letter values.
    We’ve discussed before, sometimes the conventional values work out, that’s the rabbit hole, because they don’t always work. The reason being, f gave the lettering system, no need to guess. Here are the letter values, I am totally positive on them. They are in the poem, and work for all. You will notice that some values are the same as the conventional way, that is why conventional system works out now and then, but that is not the values. Since yours didn’t work, try this:
    A=7, B=2, C=3, D=1, E=3, F=1, G=3, H=2, I=3, J=1, K=3, L=1, M=3, N=2, O=3, P=1, Q=3, R=1, S=3, T=2, U=7, V=1, W=7, X=9, Y=7, Z=1.
    Look at each value, you will notice that the values, when moved forward and backwards their value, will give two other letters that will equal each other. Example, A=7, so 7 spaces back equals “T”, 7 forward equals “H”. “T” and “H” equal each other. Check it out to each value. Also, add the primary values together, what do you get? When you add the secondary letter values, totals 57.

    Now, when you want to know why a butterfly is a flutterby, you know. Look at Forrest’s name, Forrest=14, Fenn=8. Pages in his book. Blaze= bl as e. With the conventional system, this would work, but not gaze. G as e. With f’s values, both work out. There are many, many more examples, but you get the jist. Why E.Sloane said his b-day was in 1910, check it out, last name first, first name last. It’s up to you, I’d write the values down just so you could try it out. If you need, I’ll show how following the instructions in the poem yield the values. Of course, with no “X” in the poem, there may be some pause, but “X” works itself out. Like I said, we have discussed before, your way didn’t work, so try this, it may work with your ideas, IDK, it might not, but I know, if there is a number system, this is it… Lol, if not, to come up with it is genius, so I don’t mind that title either. 🙂

    • Good morning, TT and Charlie.
      You both make very cogent points. And I cannot say with any certainty at all that either of you are absolutely incorrect. So all I can do is reiterate myself, albeit using slightly different words.

      TT, I believe the successful searcher will have a coordinate in hand. My method of deriving it may be completely incorrect. But as I believe that coordinate must be verifiable, too, I like my odds provided that I can find the key that produces perfect math. To date, I have not revealed that key. Nor would I until I’d exhausted it via field explorations.

      Charlie, I love your key. You know that already. I hope it helps you solve the puzzle and find the chest. You know that of all the searchers out there, I’m rooting for you more than anyone else. Unfortunately, your key does not validate against my 10 equations, therefore, for now, that makes it a no-go for me.

      I agree with you, Charlie, that your key should not exist, yet it does. Ergo, Charlie, you need to think about random outcomes. Is it so impossibly not random that it must be engineered? That is the question that you must answer for yourself.

      In closing, my take on the Black Canyon solve is that it points the way towards a solution. Nothing more. So, Charlie, I’ve joined you in the compiled key zone. My simple substitution, OLD MATH, only defines the problem, which is:

      Your + Effort = Worth + The + Cold (exactly)
      If + You = Brave + And +In + The + Wood – (Fenn’s nit TBD by solver; calling it NIT hereafter)
      If + You = Wise + And + Found + The + Blaze – nit
      The + End = Ever + Drawing + Nigh – nit

      The other 6 equations TBD by solver

      As OLD MATH does not work, simple substitution must go.

      Only FINAL MATH will solve these equations. And make no mistake, guys, a perfect solution to these equations is a bit of a mathematical magic trick. Unfortunately, Charlie, given this structure, your key does not work for me. So I leave it to you. But as I have a starter key, NEW MATH, and a mathematical process whereby the blaze is created as an output of following the directions in the poem after INTERMEDIATE NEW MATH level 4 is derived and applied, I have found the blaze as a mathematical output. This allows FINAL MATH to be derived and applied. And voila, the equations solve.

      The math goes like this:

      OLD MATH, simple substitution, results tabulated in Black Canyon above.
      STARTER MATH, compiled key, 2 inputs from poem. Verifications secret to me for now. But it is verifiable in my opinion.
      INTERMEDIATE MATH 1, output of changes directed by applying STARTER MATH to line 5. Outputs unverifiable.
      INTERMEDIATE MATH 2, output of changes directed by applying IM1 to line 6. Outputs unverifiable.
      INTERMEDIATE MATH 3, output of changes directed by applying IM2 to line 8. Outputs unverifiable.
      INTERMEDIATE MATH 4, output of changes directed by applying IM3 to line 11. Output creates the blaze, so verifiable in this way.
      FINAL MATH, output of changes directed by applying IM4 to line 14. Outputs solve all 10 validation equations to my satisfaction.

      If what I say is true, I don’t believe that can be a random output. Either of you care to weigh in on my assertion? Comments welcome.

      This describes what I have in hand. Sounds hard, right. It wasn’t. What was hard was thinking up the mathematical process change device. That is a creative exercise in itself. Then, of course, one needs the STARTER MATH key to crank the engine up. Where it takes me, only time will tell. But I may not be able to post this solution for a while. It’s too good, and it may take me to more than one place. We’ll see whether my first geographic output scores later this summer.

      Regards to you both.

      • If we are to indeed find ourselves where we began, may we also logically assert that where warm waters halt is also worth the cold, while going alone in there is the centerpoint of the circle?

        This, to me, might indicate a naming scheme instead of a coordinate set as the odds of having two very different lines decrypt numerically to the same point would seem improbable.

        • That is a very astute observation, E.C. Checked it against my final math, and I must say that I like the results! I’m adding that bit of flavor to my final solution write-up. Great idea!


        • He discusses being inside circles with Gypsy Magic, and again in My War for Me, so I’m inspired to consider this.

          • … and perhaps the the pie references are related to the area inside of a circle, pi?

          • E.C, he also mentions wheels. The “dame fortune” comment and such. Turning. With me, it’s a reference to the Bighorn Med. wheel. But I feel, no matter what, if f wanted this to last lifetimes in the beginning, some of his clues would need “backup”. In case something was to be destroyed, natural events, whatever, some kind of backup would need to be there. Only coordinates could do this. In trying to think of everything, if the treasure sight was say flooded, or burnt, the initial important clues or even the spot would need coordinates somewhere. It’s the only thing that can stand the test of time. In the book, my “coordinate” hint is when he says: “environmentalists to some degree”. As you can see with my letter/numbers above, that gives me 44+2, or 46 degrees. Could be 44+5, but other things tell me it’s 46.

            Iowaengr, I’m looking into your solve to see if I could get it to go, haven’t yet so I can see it might just be different solves, but still looking. If I find anything I will e-mail you.
            I like the solve though. It’s an attempt at solving the poem, and I believe that will come out in the end. Believe me, you may be right and the letter values may just be conventional, my solve has those values pop up now and then. Like 2442. Not only do I get this from my clue lines, but also in my coordinates, and, given that it equals 66, or FF, but the summer of the year he was this age is my “marvel gaze”, believe it or not, 97. (reference Andrew Marvell poem, Upon Appleton House). So I get the possibilities.

            Another note, to put a solve out there for all to see, to help, knowing the critics will pop up, is to be appreciated. Especially when it is an attempt to solve the poem and not just pick some random place that has things in common with the poem. And, I do believe that it is simple. Might look complicated with trying to word it all, but actually, the process is very simple, not difficult math at all. My critic you know, it is just slightly complicated, so did f really intend this, nobody knows for sure yet, so up in the air, what do any of us really know anyway. Now, the phallic symbols may be a stretch, but to tell you the truth, in old notes, I have seen the same. I’ve since discounted, but the references are there, as off the wall as it may seem, still, they are there. Maybe it’s just a guys mind getting in the way, IDK, but it is a stretch. I wouldn’t think f would do that knowing that this is a family oriented search. In fact, I totally discount it, just seems logical that a family out searching, would not be looking for some huge “unit” as a blaze. Especially since f has two daughters. I think that would truly “T-off” a lot of fathers out there if it was the case, trying to explain to his little girl that the chase is perverted, but clean at the same time. Would sure put a damper on any children’s books that f might want to write and sell.

            Lastly, to concur, it is those times, not the “ah-ha” moments but the moments that you just know something cannot be random. The odds are just to extreme. That the only outcome is to now it must be done by “design”. That I believe is the confidence builder. To know you tried something the poem told you, the first time, and to get a positive outcome is most likely the key. The thing is, we all have this thought so much, it’s hard to think that it is really just coincidence. I’m in the same boat, only time and a solve will tell, good luck, and be safe this Summer….

            Ohhhh, and E.C., I’ve also found “pi” as a possible, so who knows.

          • I have other thoughts tied to Egyptology when he references titles like dame, lady, mz, sir, etc. Using word associations, and circle theme, alone in there could also be connected to title using “monarch”. And reinforced using “ruler” and butterfly/flutterby There is a Monarch, CO that would fit this nicely.

          • Regarding “pie”, a pizza is sometimes called a pie. There
            is a pizza restaurant within a few miles of my search area.
            And when I picture a pizza on the table in front of me
            while I’m eating it, the pizza, I mean, I see some support
            for my solve. All IMO.

      • Math ? I am going to need more coffee… 🙂 What I hate about math is it makes my head hurt 🙂

  36. Hi, EC. I posted a solve on “I think the Chest is Here,” with solution at Arapahoe Creek near base of dam at Monarch Lake. You might want to look at it more closely.

    I liked the mon- prefix = me/alone combined w the arch = rainbow with complete whole being a butterfly. It’s yours to look at in field if you like the math.


    • Haven’t seen your post, but an intial view of surrounding features looks great! I love this hunt. So many clusters of interest! So many opportunities to learn.

  37. I was half expecting Zaphod to chime in, but I will go ahead. Iowaengr, I too am versed in the ways of the nerd (mechanical engr here)…I’m not going to disparage your work, I understand why you find it interesting. My one comment to you is this: Significant Figures…as you recall from Engr 101 (this example is more for the less sciency crowd), lets say your thermometer reads whole degrees (ie the lines) such that you can maybe accurately read 0.5 degrees, that is, you can clearly see the temperature is between 61 and 62 degrees, we would write that as 61.5 degrees. Then let’s say you used a different thermometer that has 1/10 degree lines, and you can accurately read between them…you can see 61.35 degrees. Here we have one additional sig fig…lets say you want the average of the two…so add together divide by two…we get 61.425 degrees…but HOLD ON…we cannot actually say we have a MORE accurate measure of the temperature…IN FACT we would back up to the SMALLEST sig figs and say that our average is 61.4 degrees. IN MY OPINION what you are doing with your ‘count’ reductions and your ‘assignments’ or ‘substitutions’ of hints is adding sig figs that may not be there. IMO – your ‘statistics’ that say 1/9 x 1/9 x 1/9 = x is not real, rather you have CHOSEN them to be significant. Again, not disparaging, I think the coincidences are neat, I just don’t subscribe. I know you’re looking for help/discussions, but I think you need to reconsider FFs comments about simplicity. That said I will leave you with this…WhatIF ‘simplify’ is telling you to not use/trust so many ‘sig figs’? Good luck and if you end up near Denver again and need help or just want to chat, I’m willing/able.

    Oh yeah, for those of you who didn’t actually go look up the coordinates…this Black Canyon is not the one that contains the Gunnison river…it actually ends up in Rocky Mountain National Park (this should have been your other big giant red flag…IMO IMO IMO…too many legal questions, IMO). Also, there are several interesting ‘word associations/map items’ near your chosen spot…’twin owls’ and ‘devils gulch’ were easily spotted…what if your ‘next steps’ were to have the starting coordinates and THEN move onto different methods…such as words/maps???? Good luck, look forward to doing more math while trying to read a solve!

    • Tbug. Completely concur w your comments. That is why I am looking for math that solves all equations perfectly. What I presented is a very close, but imperfect set.

      The correlations I used were:

      Initial simple substitution of form impersonal present tense 6 uses whereby words or letters directly across To Be are equal while 0 of 4 personal/future uses were equal.

      Next 7 individual letters immediately across To Be, plus two others of rotation al interest, put into a single line substitution where D becomes E (enD is Ever etc.). Then a single line was drawn through all 9 letters while following the instructions in the poem only.

      Next 10 of 10 equations produced significantly correlated equalities across To Be with many lines solving full left equals full right. That’s a lot of correlation across To Be, regardless of whether the instrument is crude.

      Granted, numerology is crude. But I did not choose this personally. My work just provides the facts of what I found using scientific method to investigate mathematical possibilities using this method.

      As for location, I only need a coordinate that mathematically validates. A coordinate that validates against the linguistic trip would be even better, of course. But this was the best, most interesting solution I had last summer, so I went and checked it in the field.

      BOTG OJT tells me to put more emphasis on geography, linguistics, more esoteric puzzle solution schemes, et al.

      Again, this is NOT THE ANSWER. Nor do I believe it embodies the process needed to achieve perfect math. But this is part and parcel of my quest for a definitive, verifiable solution.

      Hopefully that makes sense.

      Love the comments, so feel free to keep them coming.

      There is something going on across To Be. I want to understand what that is.

    • Follow-up.

      Numerology automatically produces outputs between 1 and 9 when fully reduced totals are used. Doesn’t matter how large or small the inputs are. Thus the odds of any two letters, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs being equal are 1 in 9. That’s it. They are either equal or they aren’t.

      Seems to me that there would be an inequality in the impersonal/present tense group unless Mr. Fenn planned for those words to be equal in this way.

      So, in closing, let me ask you a question. Supposing that someone produced a single mathematical process that would solve the 10 equations postulated, and several other linguistic oddities, as well, would you be impressed? . . . Crude system notwithstanding, of course. Think that such a solution might have a chance to be in the money? Or is my quest a wild math chase all the way around, regardless of outcome?

      Food for thought.

      • Simple substitution equalities list, immediate terms across To Be, by Lines:

        It = No = 2
        End = Ever = 5
        There = No = 2
        W = E = 5
        Why = It = 2
        L = Ten = 3

        6 for 6 equal. So what are the others and why shouldn’t they be equal, too?

        You not equal Wise
        I not equal Weak
        Effort not equal Worth
        You not equal Brave

        Reasons why the four inequalities should not be equal initially:

        Line 13 implies that action must have been taken by the searcher previously, only by taking said action can the searcher prove to be WISE in the future. Alphanumeric value change implied.

        Line 20 also implies searcher work required to make the math work differently. Action in past enables I to become Weak in the future. Present equality clearly disavowed. Yet I’m equal Weak, nevertheless.

        I’m = 9+4 =13
        Weak = 5+5+1+2 = 13

        For me, am is the equal sign, so I read it literally as an inequality.

        Line 22 is the place where an argument can be made that Effort should equal Worth, yet it does not. My take is that Effort is qualified by Your, and the tense is future, thus implying that alphanumeric revaluation is needed for equality to be created.

        Line 23 is structurally similar to Line 13. Both IF statements implying searcher work needed in past to make an equality in the future.

        But before passing by silently into the night, notice that U = 3 and Brave = 2+9+1+4+5 = 21 = 3.

        So even here, additional clues might be in play. Non-traditional reading might be needed to solve this puzzle. Not saying that this is necessarily true, just saying that it is something to keep in mind as things move forward.

        That to me makes 10 for 10 perfectly logical outcomes. Math works where it should and fails where it should.

        Thoughts, Tbug? Are you seeing my logic here? Any errors you’d like to point out so far?

        Regards, and thanks for your interest.

        • Iowa – I disagree that numerology reduces to only 1-9…where is that instruction? Why not 1-99? I’ll admit I have not gone and looked at the ‘to-be’ solve you referenced (I think I recall reading it at one time, but I was turned off pretty quickly), I just feel that FF told us he was bad in school (math included IMO) and a lot of ATFs just seem to say the math complexity is a reach at best. I agree this isn’t differential equations, but could you explain to a child what you’re doing and they would really understand? a redneck w 6 kids in a pickup? Not saying they wouldn’t understand 2 numbers are = (the math), rather could you explain the entire concept…guy hides chest, writes memoir about his life, writes a poem that contains clues and the poem words/letters need to be fiddled with to be equal across past/future/present tense use of the verb to be??? (never mind all the ATFs that seem to counter the concept). Back to the math, I can’t put it as eloquently as Zaphod did a few months back, but something along the lines of…reducing words and the alphabet to 9 numbers is statistically going to result in lots of ‘hits’. I get you’re ‘following instructions’ in the poem, it just doesn’t work for me. All that said, I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that skepticism has roots in reality, for me anyway.

          One argument I think has some plausibility with FF is his flight training/pilot skills, of course involves math/numbers, but I’ve never seen a convincing solve that incorporates anything there. I know friends and family who fly, not necessarily military, but radio/tower comms, nav, weather all require astute skills, but there are many ‘tricks’ that are taught that are used to reduce a complex math problem (like triangulation) to an approximate/easy to execute task that ANY pilot can learn. See FFs scrapbook about the goofy radio ‘tool’ they used to stay on long flights using fixed known radio locations as a ‘highway’, very cool story, but if you listen, he is telling you that despite the complex concept of triangulation, even a D student who didn’t go to college could learn the concept given the right tools/teacher. We know he is smart, could he have used math for the poem, I have to admit yes. So here is another WhatIF…given your dedication to numbers have you considered ‘reverse engineering’ a location back into your letter/number stuff? After all, as engineers we are taught to work backwards when appropriate…maybe that is what he meant by learning to ride the backwards bike?

          Here is an example of a location that FF could have seen on one of his flights, thought it interesting, later traveled to it on the ground, became special to him…IMO…this idea has merit when you consider his pre-vietnam air force years…training missions, moving aircraft from base to base (covering Philly with his thumb), and the possibility he used aircraft to find artifact sites (not saying he did, just that he easily could have…long time in phoenix/SW esp). I also find this location interesting/funny n the context of ‘making all the lines cross’ (I’m realizing now that I do in fact think humor will play a large role in the end…smart humor maybe, not di*k pics…oh man, loved the movie super bad!) **NOTE: this was a nice vacation, I didn’t really have all 9 clues figured out, heck it was just a cool blaze possibility…I know, I know, he told us no one would find it that way), but just take a look…satellite is the best…think about him flying from Santa Fe to Cody (I want to do a write up for it, but its more of a WY tourism pitch…seriously, very awesome area I’ve never visited yet grew up 42 yrs living within a 150 miles of).
          42.4070, -105.6256.

          OK, one other thought as soon as I wrote that, how do you reconcile the negative sign? Don’t recall reading an explanation above, to me your math had better be producing a negative value, that seems something FF would have definitely included (IMO!), he wouldn’t send you to mongolia would he? And if he did this elegant math solve but used absolute values, where is that instruction? Not trying to disparage, just thinking out loud. Here’s one more: how do you reconcile that someone ‘Told’ FF where they went on a search, got within 200/500 ft, solving SOME OF THE CLUES? yet no one is going to stumble onto it…my head hurts, will check back in a day or two.

          • hahahahaha – just went back to ‘not just another solution’, this got me in the funny bone:
            “Disclaimer 5: I am stubborn. Even though I know the final answer is wrong, I believe that most of this solution is correct and I refuse to believe otherwise. Call it the foibles of hubris or what have you, but I cannot turn a blind eye to the numerous “coincidences” throughout the poem from start to finish.”

            This was 2 and 1/2 years ago…just sayin…I too am no closer to the chest.

          • one more thing to consider: (from the comments, guess who!)
            I think good ideas, good job. You are right in some instances, imo. It’s easy to say your wrong after the fact but, if we didn’t know it was wrong, it’s a good sample. With that said, I have a different look on the letter values, if you like. I’m roughly 99.9999% sure they are right.

            comment also 2.5 yrs old

            Me = 4+ years with awareness, 2+ years searching (mostly playing Canasta)…no chest, so yeah.

          • Ahh, found it, this was the comment I was looking for (about 2/3 down the page, mdavis19 said:

            “You are reducing long strings of numbers (data) down to one member of a much smaller set of possible results each time you do it, with the loss of most of the original data. Think of it as an incredibly lossy and non-reversible compression algorithm. There are vastly fewer possible results than there are possible inputs, so the same results will often be seen over and over again with different inputs. My own back of the envelope calculations show that using your technique on words and phrases up to three words long will likely result in a final number between 1 and roughly 20. However, and this is a big however, the results are not all equally likely. The results follow more of a bell curve like distribution with the numbers near 1 and 20 far less likely to appear than numbers closer to the middle of the range. It is not at all surprising that so many words and short phrases reduce to the same few numbers. It could easily lead someone to believe there is some grand design in place when it is really just coincidence and the cold reality of statistics at work.”

          • Thanks for all the feedback and commentary. I truly appreciate your time and interest. I also respect your perspective that this is an unlikely solution methodology. On face, I have no particularly meaty counterpoints to offer. So I will simply give you my considered opinion.

            I’ve spent approximately a year and a half playing with combinations in an effort to simultaneously solve all 10 validation equations perfectly. That effort has left me convinced that it is possible with a singular, uniquely-derived process consisting of several discreet steps that build sequentially upon one another. I will summarize.

            1) OLD MATH observations. Everything I’ve presented using simple substitution can classified as OLD MATH. All observations, for all lines inclusive.

            Note: BLACK CANYON solution presented here simply supports concept that work across To Be is critical and that the concept of finding the true solution to the 10 validation equations is both possible and necessary.

            Note 2: Worth the cold, unreduced simple substitution, totals 151. I think this is a very important structural hint to process solution.
            OLD MATH observations is step 1. Five intermediate math processes to be followed step by step through lines 5-14 through the poem create the FINAL MATH output. That structure is 1/5/1.

            2) Searcher must imagine and create the mathematical process and starter key needed to execute the plan. The poem tells the searcher what to do/when. Instructions are simple, repeatable, and verifiable after step 5. The math here allows FINAL MATH to be derived via same methodology.

            3) FINAL MATH completes the process. It proves that the answers have been provided. Equations solve, coordinates appear, etc.

            Thus, if what I have in hand fails this summer, I may join you on the skeptic side of the fence. But for now, I remain a believer.


  38. EC, this is for you. Your question analyzed via OLD MATH.

    Simple substitution.

    Begin = 2+5+7+9+5 = 28 = 1
    It = 9+2 = 11 = 2
    Where = 5+8+5+9+5 = 32 = 5
    Warm = 5+1+9+4 = 19 = 1
    Waters = 5+1+2+5+9+1 = 23 = 5
    Halt = 8+1+3+2 = 14 = 5

    Worth = 5+6+9+2+8 = 30 = 3
    The = 2+8+5 = 15 = 6
    Cold = 3+6+3+4 = 16 = 7

    Where + Warm + Waters + Halt =
    5+1+5+5 = 16

    Worth + The + Cold =
    3+6+7 = 16

    There you go. It works, even in OLD MATH.

    Going further.

    It = No = 2
    End = Ever = 5
    There = No = 2
    W = E = 5
    Why = It = 2
    L = Ten = 3

    2+5+2+5+2+3 = 19

    Begin+It+Where+Warn+Warers+Halt =
    1+2+5+1+5+5 = 19


    I’m sure that many will think so, but what about you, EC?


    • Taking this yet another step for you, EC.

      As = 1+1 = 2
      I = 9
      Have = 8+1+4+5 = 18 = 9
      Gone = 7+6+5+5 = 23 = 5
      Alone = 1+3+6+5+5 = 20 = 2
      In = 9+5 =”14 = 5
      There = 2+8+5+9+5 = 29 = 2

      2+9+9+5+2+5+2 = 34 = 7

      As+Gone+Alone+In+There =
      2+5+2+5+2 = 16 = 7

      WWWH = WTC = 16 = 7

      So Line 1, checks vs your logic tests via simple substitution, as well. Two ways; one exact and full line by reduction.

      Coincidences, or planned outcomes?

      The number of coincidences is certainly rising quickly in my estimation. Your mileage may vary.


    • I’m not confident about this as an approach. But that’s just me. Have you considered applying Gardiner’s Sign List if you are seeking coords through a transformation algorithm of words to numbers?

      • No, I haven’t. I did look at ISO/IEC 646 once the coordinate was found, just to see what the numbers meant to International symbology. Those results were spot on and very interesting, BTW.

  39. Let’s spend just a minute thinking about WisE and LisTEN.

    These are the only words with IS embedded in them. Both are equal across TO BE using simple substitution.

    Question for the board: Why weren’t great words like RISK, LIST, MIST, FIST, GUISE, WHISTLE, WRIST, and countless others with embedded IS, but inequalities across To Be, used in the poem?

    Secondary question: Why were no words with BE embedded used? Note that no words like OBEY, ABET, etc., were used.

    Tertiary question: Why limit the embedded To Be equalities list to 2 words? Any of these could have been used to augment the list, if desired? BRISK, OBELISK, THISTLE, and many more, are equal across To Be, yet none of them were used, either.

    Sometimes one must step back and think about what ISN’T as well as what IS.

    Randomness cannot be excluded, I agree. But planning is very likely IMO.

    Thoughts welcomed.


  40. Adding yet another few bits to add to the growing pile of phrases totaling 7.

    You = 7+6+3 = 16 = 7
    Effort = 5+6+6+6+9+2 = 34 = 7

    Take = 2+1+2+5 = 10 = 1
    It = 9+2 = 11 =2
    In = 9+5 = 14 = 5
    The = 2+8+5 = 15 = 6
    Canyon = 3+1+5+7+6+5 = 27 = 9
    Down = 4+6+5+5 = 20 = 2

    1+2+5+6+9+2 = 25 = 7

    Put = 7+3+2 = 12 = 3
    In = 9+5 = 14 = 5
    Below = 2+5+3+6+5 = 21 = 3
    The = 2+8+5 = 15 = 6
    Home = 8+6+4+5 = 23 = 5
    Of =:6+6 = 12 = 3
    Brown = 2+9+6+5+5 = 27 = 9

    3+5+3+6+5+3+9 = 34 = 7

    Wise = 5+9+1+5 = 20 = 2
    And = 1+5+4 = 10 = 1
    Found = 6+6+3+5+4 = 24 = 6
    The = 2+8+5 = 15 = 6
    Blaze = 2+3+1+8+5 = 19 = 1

    2+1+6+6+1 = 16 = 7

    Hear = 8+5+1+9 = 23 = 5
    Me = 4+5 = 9
    All = 1+3+3 = 7
    And = 1+5+4 = 10 = 1
    Listen = 3+9+1+2+5+5 = 25 = 7
    Good = 7+6+6+4 = 23 = 5

    5+9+7+1+7+5 = 34 = 7

    So now, in summary,

    As I Have Gone Alone In There = 34 = 7
    WWWH = 16 = 7
    Take It In The Canyon Down = 25 = 7
    Put In Below The Home Of Brown = 34 = 7
    You = 7
    Wise And Found The Blaze = 16 = 7
    So Hear Me All And Listen Good = 34 = 7
    Effort = 34 = 7
    WTC = 16 = 7

    That seems like a pretty strong set of phrases to me. Now admittedly, this is cherry-picked, so it proves far less than the equalities I chose to provide as OLD MATH in the solution document. But I give them to anyone who wants to strike out this pathway as additional goodwill.


  41. Does anyone remember Blazin’ 7’s, an early slot machine that paid the jackpot when the 7’s aligned on the centerline? Well here is my version of OLD MATH Blazin’ 7’s, FF style.

    Be = 2+5 = 7
    As I have gone alone in there = 34 = 7
    WWWH = 16 = 7
    Take it in the canyon down = 25 = 7
    Put in below the home of Brown = 34 = 7
    You = 16 = 7
    Wise and found the blaze = 16 = 7
    Hear me all and listen good = 34 = 7
    Effort = 34 = 7
    Worth the cold = 16 = 7

    That’s a set of ten key words and phrases cherry-picked from the poem that all total 7. Random, or planned? Something here, or not? Each of us must decide for ourselves.


    • No, it’s not random. You cherry picked those words after you did the math.


      See how that works?

  42. Take it in the canyon down is a direction. Gorge

    I am in Colorado and keeping it simple.

  43. Since math doesn’t appeal to many here, going to try letter swaps out for size.

    Line 2: And . . . BolD
    Line 3 : I. . . WherE
    Line 4: And . . . OlD

    Criss-cross up and down . . .
    Start I, Line 3
    Diagonal up & down with D’s, Lines 2&4
    Move up & down to E, Line 3
    Diagonal up & down with A’s, Lines 2&4

    Draw a fake line vertically through the criss-cross, rotate 90 degrees

    M over W produced

    Reinforces letter swap concept provided in Line 5 . . .
    from W ar(e) M

    Some possibilities for useful conversions:

    My = Wy Treasures/Secret
    Home = How E
    Meek = Week

    Food for thought only. Use it, or not, as you see fit.


  44. More on letter swap concept.

    Line 7: F ar(e) T O!
    Line 7 Qualifier: Too = 2
    Interpretation: locate the two places where swapping T with F might be helpful.

    Potential swaps.

    iT becomes iF
    waTer becomes waFer
    halT becomes halF
    Take becomes Fake
    Tired becomes Fired
    lisTen good becomes L is Fen good
    secreT becomes secreF . . . Seconds are EF

    Feel free to use these concepts, or not, as you see fit.


  45. Acrostics lovers, an aperitif for you.

    Line 5: be GIN it where warm waters halt
    Line 10: ever drawing NIG h
    Line 11: no paddle up YOUR CREEK

    GIN (forward and backwards) . . . Your Creek??

    Line 9: it’s no place = it sno(w) place

    Reading up from same “S”, Line 9 yields:

    IT S NO (w)

    One singular location in the poem where warm waters (shot of your favorite liquor . . . may it ever be Brown), get hot and freeze simultaneously.

    SHOT(s) for everyone! Enjoy at your leisure, but be sure to drink responsibly. LOL.

    Information provided for your use, or not, as you see fit.


  46. Another letter swap comment.

    T ar(e) RY

    Possible swaps . . .

    There = RY here
    Treasures = RY reasures
    Trove = RY rove
    IT = I RY
    Too = RY oo (far to walk)

    RY sounds like RYE . . . Whiskey, grass, bread, a place with RY initials . . . Any, all? . . . you make the call

    Use this info, or not, as you see fit.


  47. Yet another letter swap concept.

    M ar(e) VEL

    First, note that VEL is a logic term, meaning “OR”. Thus VEL = OR which sounds like OAR, which provides the missing paddle needed to go up the creek.

    Potential swaps:

    My = VEL Y = VEL why
    hoMe = ho VEL E = ho oar E = follow water E from parking spot
    froM = fro VEL
    Meek = VEL eek
    Must = VEL us T=RY = oar us rye
    I’M = I VEL = I oar weak

    Remembering the CANOE acrostic found in Line 6 and down thru 8, the addition of OARS are significant. IMO.

    Use them, or not, as you see fit.


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