Part 2 – The Books and the Poem
Forrest Fenn University: Clues Found in Important Literature:
After reading TTOTC a few times, it becomes quite clear to me that Forrest’s soul has been bruised by not attending college. He mentions both he and his own father thinking he’s not smart enough to attend. He comments about praying for mediocre grades and not even getting those. He mentions the pain of having to abruptly leave Texas A & M and crying under a tree in a pasture of cattle, a life altering moment. Even though he prevails and is very successful in later life, with his father on the banco, complimenting him on his sale of an expensive art piece that is worth more than his father’s house, Forrest still seems to be hurt by, and tries to make up for, those lost college years by reading old literature in college curriculums. Forrest sites numerous books he purchased at Borders under the chapter “Important Literature.” He’s gently telling us there’s important works to be read as well as some clues perhaps. This is kind of cool as you don’t need a bunch of money to find clues just head to the library and read the classics.
One big huge hint in the TTOTC book: In one of his interviews, Forrest said there are clues in the “chapters” of his book. Chapters??? The first chapter of TTOTC is “Important Literature”. It is these individual books he mentions where I gained the most clues to back up my poem solve. In addition, in one interview with school aged children, a student asks how many clues are in the book (meaning a generic book, any book, and not specifically TTOTC, I think the generic word “book” means all the books mentioned in Important literature). Forrest respond with something like “one, or no maybe two”. This makes sense after you read all the books he mentions. There may be one or two clues in each of the books he mentions in TTOTC.
Forrest says, TTOTC p133, “There are also other subtle clues sprinkled in the stories.” I believe Mr. Fenn is referring to the “stories” such as For Whom The Bells Toll, and The Great Gatsby, as mentioned in his TTOTC book and other books. A definition of the word story is “history”. I believe he would like us to go out and research on our own and find out about the past to educate us (without us having to go to college), to learn about the present. I believe there are also other books with clues, Journal of a Trapper, Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Eric Sloane’s Eighty (which actually also refers to Robert Redford’s book).
Fenn wants to remember the history behind the heritage. He doesn’t want the history to go meaningless and soon forgotten as time passes on, just like the soldiers tombstones by the waterfall in TTOTC. As soon as I felt this from reading TTOTC, I searched for and thought I found my first clue with Robert Redford. TOTC p11: “If Robert Redford had ever written anything he probably could have done it better than the guy who wrote that Gatsby book”.
Well actually, Robert Redford did indeed write one book titled The Outlaw Trail; A Journey Through Time and it’s right up Fenn’s alley with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, their routes, get-a-ways, hide outs, etc. I think I found 2 hints in that book. The book front panel reads “the key to the future may well lie in the past”. Forrest says “there are only a few in tight focus with a word that is “key”. To me, that is another well said hint. They Key or the Quest to the future may well lie in the past Vision Quests.
Robert Redford’s The Outlaw Trail Book Clue #1:
TTOTC p131-132, “So I wrote a poem containing 9 clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure:”
In Robert Redford’s Outlaw Trail book on p 152, “…we passed through Sheep Creek Canyon, a paradise that appears suddenly and looks like what one expects to find at the end of the rainbow.”
After reading Redford’s book, it’s clear that he has a vested interest in the history of the past, just like Fenn. Redford speaks of knowledge going extinct as the people who once knew the information grow old and pass away. Redford’s way of keeping this knowledge alive is his Outlaw Trail book. Forrest’s way is through his treasure hunt. Kindred spirits I feel, the two of them.
In these quotes, both Fenn and Redford are referring to the end of a rainbow. Redford pairs the end of the rainbow with “Sheep Creek Canyon.” My interpretation of his Sheep Creek Canyon that Fenn is possibly revealing in this clue, is the largest concentration of bighorn sheep in the US resides in Whiskey Basin, along Torrey Creek, in Dubois, WY.
The Wind River is rich in history. Butch Cassidy owned a horse ranch in Dubois (pronounced dewboyce) and went to Welty’s general goods store, a historic building which is still open to this day. Bridger passed through here. There were mountain men rendezvous in this Wind River area, Russell Osborne also passed through here, and more.
Getting specific to my location now:
Near Dubois, there are 2 “warm” creeks that “halt” or slow down and change direction as they flow into the Wind River, hence warm waters, plural.
1. Warm Springs Creek, near DuNoir
2. Little Warm Springs Creek, in Dubois, across from the KOA
Remember the chapter No Place for Biddies? On page 20 it reads: “the tall one was the best excuse I can think of for zero population growth.” So too, was Dubois, as in ten years the population climbed a remarkable 9 people! Population 971 at 2010 census and just a mere 962 at the 2000 census. Wyoming as a state hasn’t grown much either. Is Forrest hinting to a place where there is zero population growth? Perhaps…
Catcher in the Rye Clue: p 12 of TTOC Fenn says, “I found the area I was looking for and pulled out “Catcher in the Rye.” Beginning of Chapter 2, p10 which is in the beginning of the book Salinger writes…”he showed us this beat-up old Navajo blanket…bought off some Indian in Yellowstone Park.” This totally stood out to me, and upon first impression I thought he was directing you to Yellowstone Park, but no, he isn’t. He’s saying “some Indian in Yellowstone Park.” The Shoshone Tukudeka were known to be the majority inhabitants of Yellowstone, not the Navajo. That was just a red herring using that tribe. The Crow were in Yellowstone too, but not like the Tukudeka. In the book “Journal of a Trapper”, Russel Osborn refers to seeing the Sheepeaters in Yellowstone and they were well dressed and had beautifully crafted bows made of sheep horn. So the Sheepeaters specifically, were the primary inhabitants of the park.
Fenn took this book out of the trash and back on his shelf. I thought that Fenn was telling us that book was important.
Hopalong Cassidy is mentioned in TTOTC. Hopalong Cassidy is also mentioned at the end of the Great Gatsby. Coincidence? No not when it’s mentioned twice. That’s a clue! He wants us to look up something about Hopalong Cassidy! I looked up the episodes that aired on TV and there’s one called Hills of Old Wyoming that was made April 16, 1937. The stamp on the chapter that mentions Hopalong Cassidy is April 15, 1936. Exactly a year and a day apart. In the Hills of Old Wyoming film it mentions, an Indian Reservation in Wyoming. There is only one reservation in Wyoming for the Shoshone Tukudeka, The Wind River Indian Reservation.
More importantly, In the first thick, Hopalong Cassidy book by Clarence Mulford, there are a couple references to the Wind River, ‘Ol Wind River Country, one of the mountain ranges in Dubois, WY. In Journal of a trapper, the Wind River is referred to on numerous occasions. In Lewis and Clark, they also mention Dubois, it’s in another state, not Wyoming, but hey, it’s mentioned, and you have to know your locations in further detail to figure that out.
In the For Whom the Bell Tolls book, on page 3, “I would like to have it hidden in utmost security at a distance no greater than half an hour from the bridge, if that is possible.” There is a bridge on Torrey Creek to get to Ring Lake Ranch. There’s actually a couple bridges. “That is simple, the old man said. But now we must climb a little to get there” in other words, up the mountain. “He leaned over and put the pack onto his shoulders.” and “How do we go?” “We climb”…bending under the weight of the packs, sweating, they climbed steadily in the pine forest that covered the mountainside.” This sounds like Fenn climbing with his backpack full of treasure and box. There’s also on page 2 “You cannot see the bridge from here”, “No, said the old man”. So maybe you can’t see the bridge from the treasure location.
Ok, I believe I found one more huge clue that I only found after BOTG. It is in A Farewell to Arms which Forrest mentions in TTOTC as a description, but incorrectly labels the description of the story with the title For Whom The Bell Tolls. He describes For Whom The Bell Tolls as an ambulance driver in love with a nurse, but this is not that book, it’s A Farewell to Arms.
In the book there are several references to posts. Weird?! Fenn it too sharp for this to be a mistake. It’s a hint. On page 14, “That day I visited the posts in the mountains and was back in town late in the afternoon”. Didn’t Forrest hide the treasure in an afternoon? Posts? There are several mentions of “parking below the posts” in this book. Did you know that there are posts on the mountainside denoting the location of most of the petroglyphs as markers to their location? What?! Yep! The only way you would know that is if you had boots on the ground. I snapped a picture of a post near Torrey Creek that marks a petroglyph area. There are also a few telephone posts. On page 2 of For Whom the Bell Tolls “Where is the next post? Below the bridge.” OMG coincidence?! I tended to think Fenn pointed us to this book on purpose.
Flywater book, the old version refers to Warm Springs Creek several times, one that’s in Idaho. The new version of the book mentions the Wind River. Put the two together and there is a Warm Springs Creek on the Wind River.
Now Let’s get to THE POEM!
Begin it where warm waters halt (#1)
There are two Warm Spring Creeks that empty into the Wind River in Dubois. Where they enter the Wind River their warm waters “halt” or slow down and change course or direction. The Warm Springs Creek that is the most DOWNRIVER empties into the Wind River by the KOA in Dubois. That is my starting spot, the KOA in Dubois. Mile zero.
And take it in the canyon down, (#2)
Go down the Wind River canyon, downstream, literally which is East slightly South.
Not far, but too far to walk. (#3) (drive)
In his book TFTW, Forrest says 10 miles is too far to walk. The distance where the Little Warm Spring Creek at the KOA in Dubois meets the Wind River until you drive to the HOB on government owned land (Fish and Game), which is directly in the middle of Ring and Trail Lakes (south) on Torrey Creek at the location of the petroglyphs is about 9.6 miles, so just under 10 miles.
Put in below the home of Brown.
“Put in”, reminds me of putting in boat. Right at this location at the middle of Ring Lake on the flat road, there is indeed a boat launch! There’s actually about 3 boat launches. So park your car there and “put in” time and effort!
I believe the HOB to be the brown skinned Sheepeaters. The word Brown is capitalized which means it could be a personal, proper noun. In the book, For Whom the Bells Toll, JD Salinger refers to a brown skinned character numerous times in the same paragraph, so many times in such a small area on the page, that it stood out to me like beacon. Page 10, top.
There was a large ancient Sheepeater camp recently discovered by Rich Adams somewhere upstream on Torrey Creek at elevation 11,000 feet called High Rise Village. This might be the “home of Brown”. Or maybe the petroglyph site is HOB. I went with the petroglyphs as it fits my Quest theme.
From here it’s no place for the meek, (#5)
In the Hopalong Cassidy book, there is reference to Mary Meeker. She was Hopalong’s love interest. She was caught during a cowboy fight and twice it mentioned that “it was no place for her” up on the mountain side. Coincidence? Not sure, but it goes with my theory that you have to leave the creek after you put in and go up the mountain side. In addition, Page 128 of TTOTC “I faced an uphill battle”….”looking for answers”.
The end is ever drawing nigh; (#6)
The boundary/end of the Fish and Game land is right here. There’s a fence at the head of Ring Lake, traveling west from the road, that marks the boundary. Start here, near the boat ramp and travel up the hillside. The glyphs are also on rocks that are not feasible to move and many are about 500’ from the road AND they have lasted for more than 3000 years! Perfect for a blaze! The end is ever drawing nigh! Woot woot!
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,(#7)
Don’t go up the creek.
Just heavy loads and water high.
Previously dismissed in Part 1: Heavy loads could refer to the big boulders deposited along the moraine and creek as the ancient glacier melted and/or his heavy treasure. Water high either just refers to water upstream that’s at a higher elevation or it also has spiritual connotation. Some of the Tukudeka spirits are water spirits or deities.
Go to Part Three