SUBMITTED JULY 2018
I started my search for the treasure in July of 2017, after a pastor was found dead along the Rio Grande River. I did do a physical search in the very first part of August 2017, which turned out to be unsuccessful. I did leave the poem at the “home of Brown” only because Forrest Fenn had set the elevation limit at 10,200 feet, Also, at the time I went I was searching through remains of structures that could be considered wood. However Forrest said the treasure was not associated to a structure, which I learned after I had returned from my first search. As it turns out that I had what I believe was the correct, “where warm waters halt,” and the correct, “home of Brown.” From that point on I was way off base with “below”, preceding the home of Brown and the rest of the poem.
I tried to visit the area where I thought that the treasure was hidden, June 11, 2018. The road in was closed because of the closure into the wilderness due to the 416 fire north of Durango. This resulted in the closure of the San Juan National Forest the same day that I would have liked to search with my wife along. We stayed at the Grand View Hotel in Silverton, Colorado that evening and toured the town. For those that have been following Dal’s blog, I said I couldn’t get into the search area because a culvert in the road had been washed out. I said that only to misdirect and not give away where I wanted to search, just call me paranoid.
One week later my close friend and I had planned a second attempt to go, but the road between Silverton and Ouray had a mud slide and damaged part of the road, which was later one lane was opened. So we planned another trip a week later, then we found out two days before we were to go that the road outside of Fairplay was closed because of a flash flood, fortunately we could make a small detour around.
It surely seemed that the cards were stacked against me and trying to prevent me from getting to the area I wanted to search. Finally I and my friend were able to go to the area where I believed the treasure was hidden on June 18, 2018 with beautiful weather for the full trip and back.
The following marriage of the poem to a map and my reasoning for finding what I considered a good location of the treasure. The tools that I used to find the treasure is; the book, The Thrill of the Chase, because it contained the Poem and for the life of me I couldn’t find subtle hints. I also used Google Maps along with Google Maps, just to check the elevation and to obtain the grid coordinates. I am a poem purist and did not look for hidden meanings, as I believe Forrest at his word when he said something to the effect; the poem is straight forward and in plain English.
So here I go through the poem to explain how my path became to be. I believe my path would be hard to dispute and because the poem fits very easily to a map, without being forced. The path I took was using a map until where parked to go on foot.
As I have gone alone in there (I is to mean Forrest Fenn and in there is the Rocky Mountains)
And with my treasures bold, (the chest and its contents being mostly of gold)
I can keep a secret where,
And hint of riches new and old. (Forrest is saying there are hints throughout the poem. The riches new and old, is the very old and newer contents of the Chest, including the chest.)
Begin it, where warm waters halt, (I believe, Begin it, to mean the Chase, the search or start. I have heard over the years the references to the warm waters of the Rio Grande River. The river truly does halt at the headwaters after the snow melts off of the mountains during the summer. Also one could consider following the river up to its end where it halts at the headwaters. The Rio Grande River was put out of bounds for searching by Forrest because of the loss of lives. The rest of the Poem is not near nor follows the river.)
And take it in the canyon down, (take it, to me means the search or your search. From the headwaters there is basically one way to go and that’s because the river is off limits and the other is because there is really no place to go. So I took the canyon down toward Howardsville. At the headwaters down to the road, there is no road or path to take, but you can use Google Maps.
Not far, but too far to walk. (In the era that we live in 5 to 20 miles is not far and for me 7 miles is too far to walk. It just so happens that from the headwaters to put in is approximately 10 miles, which is not far, but it is too far to walk.)
Put in below the home of Brown. (If I had not been to Silverton, I would have not known that the elevation continues to drop through the town to the put in spot, which is where you would meet Hwy 550. If you were to take the canyon up to Brown Mountain, the home of Brown, just outside of town you would be immediately beyond 10,200 feet, so the Silverton area is truly below Brown Mountain. You merely passed through Silverton to the put in spot. So far nothing is associated to a structure.
From there it’s no place for the meek, (This is where I struggled, if I had not gone through from Silverton to Ouray, I would have not known it was no place for the meek. From the put in spot you head north on highway 550 from Silverton is the Million Dollar Highway, which ends in Ouray. When you view the hwy from Google Maps it shows the road to be the Million Dollar Hwy. I thought what a subtle hint, at the time when Forrest hid the treasure, it was valued at a million dollars. The route between Silverton and Ouray the road has many steep hairpin turns with very little to no shoulders and follows a very steep rocky canyon. This area is definitely no place for the meek whether driving or on foot. In talking with people that have visited the area, they say they preferred not to drive the highway which has less than a handful of guard rails. To fully appreciate this area as no place for the meek, one needs to visit the area. I need to note that when viewing the road from Google Maps doesn’t help in determining the road and area as no place for the meek.
The 2 images below show part of the canyon that the Million Dollar Highway goes through. The image on the left, in the middle is the Million Dollar Highway. The image on the right shows the steep the canyon.
The end is ever drawing nigh; (Just out of Silverton, going north slightly west, approximately. 2 miles towards “no place for the meek”, there is the dirt road 558. Viewing the entire length of the road from Google Maps, the road continues slowly drawing to the left from highway 550 to the very end of the dirt road 558. Down the road about 4 miles in is the search area. Road 558 has campgrounds along the way by the South Fork of Mineral Creek.)
There’ll be no paddle up your creek, (The no paddle creek is Clear Creek, just above the last campground, which it is very narrow and starts up high at a natural lake which is Clear Lake. There is no trail up the creek and it is steep).
Just heavy loads and water high, (The only way up the creek is “just” using a vehicle which is “heavy loads”. “Just” up the creek is Clear Lake, which is “water high”.)
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, (There is a trailhead just above the last campground it is the Ice Lake Trail which quickly goes above the altitude limit of 10,200 feet. The blaze for the trail is not the blaze, because, looking quickly down, is the upper campground. If you look at the road up to Clear Lake from Google Maps, the zigzagging of the road makes a mark on the mountain side. I believe the road is the Blaze. One cannot see the entire blaze (Clear Lake Road), from the base or from the top, while being physically on site. To go up the four wheel road it quickly is above the elevation limit)
Look quickly down, (this is from the base of Clear Lake Road, the blaze, looking quickly down from Google Maps, is the South fork of Mineral Creek. One cannot see the creek below from the blaze while on site because of tall Booth’s Willows all along the valley. You however can see all from the “big picture”, Google Maps. Google Maps is created by snapshots from the satellite and all those are combined to make a big continuous picture.)
your quest to cease, (Now you can see the area by looking quickly down this is the area that may contain the treasure in the wood.)
But tarry scant with marvel gaze, (For me, means to not dawdle and don’t be late gazing at the marvelous find.)
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? (I believe the reason why Forrest Fenn is primarily trying to get people off of their duffs and enjoy what nature and the mountains have to offer. Secondly there was the recession where people where struggling financially and he was hoping to share his fortune to help someone out, especially those with families.)
The answer I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. (This sentence is just what it says, he did it tired and now he is weak from hiding the treasure.)
So hear me all and listen good, (Pay close attention to the following)
Your effort will be worth the cold. (I believe this is reference to cold water, (South Fork of Mineral Creek), the water you may be in to retrieve the chest.)
If you are brave and in the wood, (There is a pile of washed down tree trunks that is partially blocking the water flow. You would need to be brave and careful while searching through the wood. In the effort to search the wood you will be in water, hence your efforts will be worth the cold. On one end of the pile of wood is what could be considered an island covered with willows, this could also be considered wood. I thought of Gardner’s island when I saw the island.)
I give you title to the gold.
I may be wrong, but who knows I might be right. I may have missed something, but I feel this is a very good solution. Another thing came to my mind, its ten miles down the canyon to put in, its two miles towards no place for the meek and approximately miles four miles to the search area. Remember Dr Pepper, 10-2-4, what a coincident, just saying.
Below is a image of the search area which is tied to stanza six of the poem.
Below are two images of the route taken that the poem is referencing. I followed the directions given in the poem to find the treasure. However I did physically drive to the parking spot and then I walked to what I believed the immediate area of the chest. I did not drive the entire path of the Poem to the treasure, but I did follow the poem married to a map in effort to retrieve the treasure.
It was a good thing that I took my best friend along to help me search. I am a below the knee amputee and going through the willows with a walking stick was a good thing to help maintain balance. The willows were very hard to navigate through for me as well as my friend. Our feet kept getting tangled at times. My friend went down and had a hard time getting up because there really wasn’t anything sturdy to hang onto except for the walking sticks. An 80 year old could walk from his car and through the willows. Don’t let the two images above fool you, as they dated back to 2007 and the area has changed since then.
You couldn’t see the area where I believed the treasure was hidden from the road because of the tall willows. No one could see us working through the wood to find the treasure. We went through the logs from the upstream side as the water was more shallow compared to the downstream side. We removed branches and silt that were mixed in while searching, from the topside of the wood, down to the water was very damp. We searched in every nook and cranny from end to end and even used a flashlight to see under the wood in the water, just by the mere chance the treasure was dislodged. We were wet all the way up to our shoulders and at times covered with debris. A large majority of the wood is above water, keep in mind Forrest said that the treasure wasn’t underwater and that it was wet. We didn’t take pictures of the wood and the immediate surroundings as we were trying to maintain balance and not to step into deep holes in the water, along with the excitement. We worked through the wood for about three and a half hours. We also did a very thorough search of the island with all its willows and along the banks on the other side. We also search through more wood upstream and downstream from the wood we initially searched.
Where I believed the treasure was hidden one could clearly see that this location would not be stumbled upon, nor would anyone have an interest in going through the willows. If I were to die in the location I would not be found for a very long time. Who in their right mind would want to fight through the willows even to go fishing? We did see bear scat and deer tracks and absolutely no one was around even though the campgrounds and the parking areas were busy. The biggest aggravation was those tiny flies that bite; it’s like flies all over a carcass. No treasure was found, but I and my friend enjoyed every minute of the excursion.
For those that are interested, the grid coordinates are 37 degrees, 48’19.28”N Longitude, 107 degrees 45’48.95”W Latitude, at an elevation of 9800 feet.
Below is a photo taken from the tailgate of the truck looking over the willows where we parked. The entire area is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect place to hide the treasure and rest forever.
by CharlieM –