Imagine That!…

November 2018

By Voxpops


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Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales. An entire village was submerged here in the late 19th century when this valley was flooded to provide drinking water for Liverpool

There’s a book I read recently for our local book group: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. It’s a tale centered in the Indian Wars and the American Civil War. At times it’s funny, at others horrific, and with its stream-of-consciousness delivery, you might say it’s more of a tone poem than a novel. How historically accurate it is I can’t say; certainly, with its references to cross-dressing and interracial exploits, it feels a touch implausible and anachronistic in places, and yet it is an imaginative tour de force, carrying the reader deep into the blood-soaked landscape and vomit-inducing stench of war.


For me, the past year has been a lesson in the power of imagination. There have been periods of terror offset by flashes of enlightenment – all brought about through intense introspection as a result of my involvement in the Chase. It’s only now that I’ve concluded my search that I’m able to look back with a sense of perspective, and begin to understand how imagination has played a critical role in forging a path that I could follow both physically and metaphorically.

We all know that Forrest Fenn ranks imagination above knowledge, but it might be worth asking ourselves why that is. What is it about imagination that will propel us forward to the hiding place, while knowledge leaves us scratching our heads in confusion? To answer that I want to start by examining the reasons given for the treasure hunt: “…to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines…” and: “…in a terrible recession… I wanted to give hope to those who had a sense of adventure and were willing to go searching.”

As someone pointed out recently, given the decision to write the poem and hide the treasure preceded the economic downturn by more than a decade, we can pretty much discount the second reason as a prime mover for the Chase, unless we’re prepared to grant Forrest clairvoyance. It may well have been something that gave added impetus to the timing, but even then it seems unlikely that a family deeply affected by the recession would have the spare resources to gamble on the one-in-a-billion chance of finding the chest. But before we dismiss it entirely, the word “hope” is interesting. Whether or not we’re in an upcycle or downswing, the human condition is one that needs – is almost desperate for – hope: hope that there is something better in the future; hope that our lives are not lived in vain. Hope springs eternal according to Alexander Pope in his poem An Essay On Man, in which he castigates mankind for believing that he can use his knowledge of science to “scan God.” So by Fenn saying that he wanted to give hope, maybe he was talking about the power of imagination over that of knowledge, where the latter speaks to man’s desire to measure and classify everything, and the former grants access to a cosmos of fresh ideas. Perhaps there are some things that transcend the known, and yet remain vital to our wellbeing.

As for the first-mentioned reason, we probably spend about 90% or more of our “search” time online, with a tiny proportion given over to BOTG. Families searching together certainly give their kids wonderful and real experiences that they couldn’t possibly match with their “texting machines,” but overall, even though there’s probably been a huge upswing in searchers’ exposure to the wilderness, the Chase has probably also been instrumental in increasing our slavish devotion to gadgets!

So we’re left with two given reasons that are not altogether satisfactory. And if we accept that, then is there a hidden or underlying reason? I would contend that there is, and that it is partly to do with imagination – to help us develop that faculty and to open our minds to whatever influences may be present. In my own search that has meant using imagination to bridge the “gaps” between clues, and developing a kind of sixth sense for recognizing “aberrations that live out on the edge.” It’s more of an art than a science, and if, like me, you’re not used to that way of thinking it can be a lengthy – and at times frightening – learning curve.

Merriam Webster defines imagination firstly as: “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before perceived in reality.” That’s an interesting definition because it allows for truly “blue-sky” or visionary thinking, not necessarily grounded in reality. In the context of the Chase, my contention is that the only way to successfully complete the challenge is to delve as deep into your imagination as it’s possible to go, until you develop the technique of mirroring Fenn’s thinking. The problem is knowing when you’re beginning to succeed, especially if there’s apparently so little to help you confirm your progress (ignoring for a moment the books and ATFs, which have the tendency to confirm everyone’s solves!). But I would suggest that if you can develop this technique you will have flashes of insight that help you plot a way forward. The mirror may be very cloudy at first, and progress will be stumbling, but with time and persistence things should become clearer.

Of course without knowing where to begin and without understanding how the numerical framework comes into play, imagination alone won’t be sufficient, but it can certainly help with both these elements. However, here’s the rub. There’s no way to know in advance whether your poem interpretations and mirror-imaging are correct without testing the ideas on the ground – possibly many times. I seriously doubt whether this depth of “vision” can be obtained by fireside cogitation alone. Even though I believe the answer we’re all seeking is fairly simple in one sense, the possible permutations are almost endless. We’re talking about a slow and dogged development of this faculty, which requires getting off the couch and out into the wilds.


Castle Rock and Green River during a storm

My last trip to Wyoming was not a particularly happy event – and nearly didn’t happen at all. It came after what my doctor diagnosed as an acute psychotic disorder. I was recovering from a bout of flu when I began to have serious concerns about the Chase, and these rapidly morphed into terrifying thoughts and delusions. Basically, I had spent so long making connections at a profound level that I’d forged pathways into my own darkest mental recesses. In short, I’d let the demons out of the cage. It was an intensely unpleasant experience that was also very distressing for those around me. So the trip, which had almost been canceled, was foreshortened and took place alongside a wife who had come to, quite understandably, detest everything about the Chase.

But before you dismiss what I’m about to say as the ravings of a diagnosed lunatic, I’d ask you to consider what Fenn really had in mind for the most ardent searchers. This is “The Thrill of the Chase.” We might normally define this as the excitement of the hunt. But what if we adjust the emphasis a little?

Fenn has a way with words – to the point of exasperating the reader. Take SB 178 as an example. The first line is: “Pony Ault was the only important client our gallery had in Santa Fe, and she seemed to know everyone.” Does that mean that Pony Ault was the only person living in Santa Fe who was an important client? Or does it mean that she was the only important client… period? Well, the latter seems unlikely since Forrest could boast of some of the biggest names around as clients. But now read the entire SB slowly and carefully, and pay particular attention to the final paragraph; does that alter your perspective at all? A quick Google search for Pony Ault will reward you with very little. But you will find the name given as a founding member of the Santa Fe Art Institute, along with William Lumpkins, a member of the Transcendental Painting Group, which aimed to convey spiritual truths through abstract art. Interesting.

Now try, “It doesn’t help to stretch a tangent.” Back in 2016, if I’d read that sentence with the emphasis on “tangent” instead of “stretch,” I might have saved myself a couple more years of searching, and perhaps some heartache too.

So to return to TTOTC, the word “thrill” originally meant “to pierce.” If we read the line with the emphasis on “Thrill” instead of “Chase,” we might conjure an image of a searcher being pierced by something. So could the phrase really be referring to searchers being hunted down and pierced? And if so, by whom and with what?

We all know from the fishing stories and the cover of OUAW that Fenn is angling for something. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he’s looking for someone for a reason. What that reason is remains known only to the poem’s author. I honestly don’t believe he’s looking for the cleverest searcher; after all, there are some pretty amazing brains working on this, but cleverness doesn’t seem to be what’s required to solve the poem. Could it be, instead, that he wants someone with the necessary imaginative skills to complete the journey? And if so, why?

I believe the answer to these questions is a spiritual one. An abiding image for me is from an interview during one of the earlier bookshop appearances, in which Forrest breaks his vocal stride to deliver a line which goes something like, “nothing is as it seems.” When you watch the video it seems like a non-sequitur, and that draws attention to it. What is not what it seems? From my own experiences this year I would suggest that we’re not talking about a regular treasure hunt, but about a vision quest where outward appearances may be deceptive. I’m not the first to suggest this as a plausible scenario, but I would like to support that viewpoint and relate it to the concept of imaginative solving as I try to make sense of what’s been happening in and beyond my own chase.

I will say upfront that the search is over for me. Interpret that as you will, but it certainly tallies with my current predicament. I am stuck in Britain, unwilling to risk my marriage any further for a box of gold. Unless the domestic situation changes, there will be no more trips to the Rockies. Besides, the Welsh countryside is equally impressive, just on a smaller scale!


LLynnau Cregennen near Cadair Idris in North Wales

In the past, the various artefacts I’ve found and spoken about as being Chase-related have caused some controversy and hilarity. That’s completely understandable, particularly if you don’t know the reason why a particular spot has meaning, or how a specific find can help spark the imagination sufficiently to be able to move forward in a solution. On the other hand, my own interpretation has developed over the course of time as I tried to make sense of the simple practicalities involved in placing strategic “pointers,” or generating distinctive symbols that appear on Google searches.

At one time, I was convinced that Forrest or someone he trusted had somehow gone around secreting these little “aberrations.” Take the smashed pottery as an example. See the “Garden City” name here? Now look at the picture of the book cover in SB 172 – and note the publisher’s address.


Smashed pot courtesy of the Garden City Pottery Company and found near Daniel, WY

It’s these tiny coincidences that I kept discovering that had me believing these were plants. Now, after being able to see more clearly the role imagination plays, my understanding has both shifted direction and deepened. Now I believe that if you can open those mental channels sufficiently, your subconscious will “notice” things (aberrations out on the edge) that can assist your conscious mind in its deliberations. They are not necessarily things that have any direct relevance to the Chase, but they are things that help reinforce the connections you are making. And that also means that they are likely to be different for every searcher.


Stone “triangle” in the Big Piney area

The two quartz-filled stones forming a triangular window are another example. These were so important to my developing trajectory in terms of confirmation that without discovering them I could easily have floundered. They would probably mean little or nothing to another searcher who happened upon them while on a different trajectory. And that’s another thing that I’ve changed my view on. There are many possible routes to the chest. It was only after discovering my end point that I realised I’d taken a particularly convoluted path. If I’d understood things better earlier on, the path would have been much simpler. So why did I find these stones that could have been placed there by anyone? Because my imagination needed them as a spur. A bit like, “…seek, and ye shall find.”

The “frog” offers another small insight. This was how I found it when first searching at this spot. It gave me a heck of a boost.

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Stone “frog” discovered near Marbleton, Wy in 2017

When we returned to the place this year, it never quite looked right. I tried to get the same angle and effect, but to a certain extent it eluded me. It’s not that there’s anything particularly different about it twelve months later – maybe just the lighting – but I’m not sure I would have even noticed it if I didn’t already know it was there. In other words, it had already given up its meaning to me, and because I no longer needed it to give my imagination fresh impetus, my subconscious now ignored it.

So my conclusion from all my “finds” (of which there are many), is that whether FF placed any, all or none of these, it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you have created the conditions necessary for your imagination to assist you. But as I discovered to my family’s deep concern, there may be a price to pay for diving so far into the deep. Beware!


And this might be an appropriate point to mention another book that passed my way from our book group: The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall. This is a fascinating account of Crowhurst’s attempt at sailing singlehanded and nonstop around the world as part of a competition in the late ’60s. The work involved old-fashioned investigative journalism of a kind rarely seen these days, and uncovered a tale of hubris, fraud, resilience, shame, and (inferred) suicide. What is particularly intriguing towards the end is the state of mind of Captain Crowhurst as he tries to formulate a theory of man’s forthcoming evolution while drifting in the Atlantic, but descends into incoherence and madness. And although it’s tempting to ridicule the man for his vain attempts to set himself up as some kind of new prophet, his long, lonely days at sea had given him the opportunity to use similar techniques of “imaginative penetration” to those that I believe are required in the Chase. Unfortunately, he paid the price for straying off course (both literally and metaphorically) after being pierced by something from deep within.



Petroglyph near Torrey Lake, Dubois, WY

One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten when considering the importance of imagination is that Forrest has said he would never tell anyone his secret spot. If that is literally true, then the poem, on its own, does not reveal the spot. If it did, that would contradict his statement, and he would have, by inference – even if only obliquely – told the whole world his hiding place. So although the poem contains all the ingredients necessary to discover the spot, the method of cooking is missing some vital instructions. In order to measure and mix all the ingredients in the right order, we’re going to need directions from the subconscious. Without them, the task is hopeless in my opinion. And specialized knowledge, beyond a comprehensive knowledge of geography, will yield nothing useful. To bake the cake according to Forrest’s recipe, we need to be able to navigate precisely, and rely on a level of imagination that approaches divination.

In support of that, and to suggest that logic, while important, can really only take you so far, I want to touch on a couple of things that have occurred to me since returning to the UK from my last search. Because I had left Wyoming with the job unfinished, I continued to ponder my finishing moves. This was around the time of the Dizzy Dean SB. A major breakthrough was forthcoming relatively quickly, and with the aid of Google I was able to home in on a spot which contained a symbol that echoed what I’d found at my start point. A helpful arrow was also visible nearby. I had been checking my progress against the website that someone had referenced around that time. After congratulating myself for finding what I assumed was “the spot,” I was irritated to find the website continued to make insistent “noises.” At the same time I had the nagging suspicion that, despite what looked to me like a perfectly acceptable hiding place, I hadn’t quite finished. There were loose ends. During this time I was sending my “moves” to Forrest in somewhat coded form, and what seemed to be coming back via the website dovetailed neatly with my situation. (I have no idea who is actually behind that site.)

Suddenly, as I went over and over the data I had amassed, the penny dropped. I used a technique that I’d honed on previous excursions to pinpoint a spot – in a totally unexpected area – and noticed something in a Fenn drawing that seemed to offer support. But still the WWW-H website shouted its orders. I wasn’t done yet! This time, rather than use the website for confirmation, I allowed it to lead me to a spot about a mile distant that I should have noticed before but didn’t. The place had meaning for me via its distinctive rock formation. The website went quiet, and I breathed a sigh of relief, tinged with slight annoyance that I’d succumbed to being led rather than working it all out for myself. But my relative peace of mind didn’t last long. The combination of what I’d discovered at the spot, what I picked up from a few rather odd blog posters, and my own still rather fragile psyche’s promptings sent me into a downward spiral. Once more I endured terrifying thoughts and deep paranoid suspicions that lasted for days. It was very difficult trying to keep this from spilling over into my daily life and rekindling my wife’s angst.

But as I wrestled with these demons, a thought occurred to me. What would happen if I spun these thoughts 180 degrees? What if reinterpreting them as positive rather than negative symbols might be the way to go – and avoid a real crisis? So then began a slow but steady period of recuperation. Even though I’ve never been a very successful meditator, I tried to recall some of the techniques I had encountered briefly in the past. Things improved, and I continued with trying to use imagination in a wholly positive way. And that was when I began to discover its real power.

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Rainbow on the horizon near Fontenelle, WY

When you open up your imagination as a direct consequence of delving deep into the subconscious – in this case attempting to get on the same wavelength as Forrest Fenn – I believe that your subconscious will attempt to help you. This concept was brought into sharp relief for me during late summer as I tried my best to practise a form of mindfulness.


The beautiful countryside of Montgomeryshire


River Vyrnwy near Dolanog North Wales – a spot for tranquil contemplation

Here I was, back in Wales, not really thinking about the Chase anymore, when out of the blue I discovered that the coordinates of my home in Montgomeryshire, which we’d moved to from Oregon two years prior, added up to 166 – a really odd coincidence. I was jolted back into search mode, and tried to see if my subconscious was attempting to tell me something. For some reason I felt I had to visit the Rainbow horse riding trails in Dyfnant Forest, just a short distance away from where we live. Specifically, I felt directed towards the spot where a lookout tower used to be sited at the top of a hill to help protect the surrounding forest. There, my trusty GPS refused to function, and so I had to rely on intuition and what I remembered from the map to guide me to the exact location.


One of four metal posts from the old Lookout Tower in Dyfnant Forest North Wales

I found the metal posts indicating where the tower had once stood in the middle of brambles and undergrowth. The trees had been felled in the immediate vicinity and on one stump just below the summit I spotted something rather bizarre. Three identical small pegs had been inserted into carefully drilled holes surrounding the center point of the tree rings.


An odd, knotty find in the middle of nowhere


The leaping hare

A beer bottle cap with the image of a leaping hare lay to one side. Why anyone would take the trouble to make this with such care and in such an awkward-to-access spot was beyond me. I spent hours pondering it, and then came across this whimsical piece of craftwork adorning a tree in our village a couple of days later.


3 and a knot


I did as I was asked

There appeared to be distinct correlations to many of the things that had featured in my Chase (the three-sided fire pit, the three-cornered stone, the three-coordinate rectangle, even the chalk graffiti at the Museum of the Mountain Man where “Fenn” looks like “Fe3 – with the “3″ twisted 90 degrees CCW.”)


St. Melangell’s church at Pennant Melangell, North Wales

I had a look on GE and traced a line north through the two locations. Some miles distant, a third and related tri-pole symbol appeared in a village that I’d never heard of. Looking it up on Google, I found that Pennant Melangell hosts a church and shrine dedicated to Saint Melangell, a sixth century hermit and now the patron saint of hares. The coincidence was remarkable, if a little spooky.


The shrine to St. Melangell, where pictures and postcards of hares have been placed by pilgrims

My wife and I visited the shrine, adorned with pilgrims’ images of hares, and took in the beautiful surroundings, including a rock shelf where the virgin hermit used to sleep out of the reach of wild animals.


The rocks where the hermit St. Melangell slept during her life around the sixth century

I was perplexed. It was quite clear that Forrest had zero to do with the placing of the “symbols” that led me to the shrine. But they definitely had resonance for me in the Chase, and came amid a cascade of odd incidents, chance meetings, book readings, and online “contacts” that I couldn’t explain. A few seemed quite otherworldly. What I suspect is that Forrest knew he was setting up a “spiritual” challenge when he launched the Chase, but he probably had no personal knowledge of how this would affect each individual searcher with their unique insight and experiences. For me, it was a major process of spiritual discovery that has profoundly affected my worldview.

By the time we visited Pennant Melangell I’d stopped communicating directly with Forrest. But it seemed that he hadn’t quite finished with all of us. As autumn arrived, it came with a series of public communications from Fenn, which sent me wearily back to GE. I really didn’t want to be doing this anymore. Each of Forrest’s posts contained pointers. I used them to tie in with what I knew of the area of the Rockies I’d “landed” in. They helped me navigate to the blaze, and then (after a couple of false starts) to the final location, strangely only some 200 ft. from where I’d “spent” the previous couple of months, never noticing what was so close by. And at last things became clear. Here was the symbol that mirrored those at the two “ends.” Here was where you’d at last find J.C. Penney. Here was the place that finally brought the poem to a close – and for once I had no doubt in my mind.

But I could no longer claim that it was “my” doing. It was a question of making the effort over five years, yes, but then it was the recognition that not only had I made use of prompts from Forrest through his public utterances, and occasional searchers’ pointers, but also that whatever was at work deep below the conscious ego was far more in tune with events than “I” ever could be.

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Looking westward wistfully from Wales (actually it’s south, but I like the W’s!)

But despite all this the chest remains out there for anyone to find and retrieve. I don’t know whether circumstances will ever be right for me to return to the Rockies, and that’s hard to live with, admittedly, but I try to be content with things as they are. I stay off the blogs as much as possible in order to concentrate on “real” life, but as you can see I’m not always successful! (It may be that Forrest has also now withdrawn from public interaction, but only time will tell.) The Chase has taken me to the darkest places, but also to radiant uplands. I have made discoveries that go far beyond anything I could have imagined – and for that I’m eternally grateful. I certainly feel more “integrated” than I ever have done in my 65 years.

To wrap up these musings on imagination, I have a sneaking suspicion that the chest will only be recovered when it is ready to be recovered. Yes, that sounds fanciful and a bit “woo-woo,” but if you believe, as I do, that this a vision quest as much as it is a treasure hunt, it may require a certain state of mind and personal readiness. I know that all of this will send some searchers into fits of giggles, and others will just sigh and shake their heads, but that’s OK; there will be a few who will be curious and willing to keep an open mind, particularly when they return to some of the Scrapbooks and other Fenn writings with this in mind. Remember that there’s a reason the Little Girl from India can get no closer than the first two clues with her map and poem. Anyway, I apologize to those looking for concrete pointers that none of the places pictured here are anywhere near my final spot (nor even the places the first two clues lead), but I sincerely believe that those willing to delve deep can find the same haunting hillside that both beckons and bars me (for now). And lastly, to return to books, if any of you are into motor racing, and particularly Formula 1 (sorry, Nascar fans!), Damon Hill’s autobiography, Watching The Wheels, makes for a fascinating read, as well as touching tangentially on the theme of this post.





139 thoughts on “Imagine That!…

  1. Wales gives the Rockies a bit of a run for the vistas! I head through Wyoming Monday, not for Boots On The Ground but on way to Turkey dinner with family. We pay Thanks for our lives and the ones we get to share it with. Cheers!

    • During my 10 years in America, I came to appreciate Thanksgiving very much. It is definitely something we Brits should borrow from you guys!

  2. way to go Vox…. the journey is never really over, the players change and a new story is revealed…

  3. Dear Mr. Vox:

    I want to thank you for your insightful posts you have posted over the past two years since Deputy Katie and I have been with “the Chase”. You sir are indeed a gentleman of the highest caliper. I have always enjoyed your responses directed back towards a quirky and a bit nutty Sherif (with one f) and his Deputy (daughter). It takes incredible courage to expose one’s personal trials, as you have so eloquently done with this post. I sir, commend you.

    I would like to share with you a bit of knowledge which may be important to you in the future. For the past two months, my other adult daughter (the deputy’s sister) has been suffering from a life threatening illness.

    My daughter Jennifer, developed autoimmune encephalitis (AE), manifesting itself over a period of a few days. Now as you may know, I am only a Sherif in my own mind, and in real life I am a practicing pathologist. The presenting signs of AE are insomnia and acute psychosis which you yourself have described. The problem is that AE is a disease which has only recently (2007) been discovered and therefore most physicians know nothing thereof.

    Patients manifesting with this disease, develop symptoms over a period of a few days, whereas schizophrenia develops over years and rarely manifests itself after 30 years in age. The disease is more prevalent in young women, but has been reported in children as well as old men like us. It is caused by an auto-antibody your body produces, which attacks certain neural receptors in your brain.

    Since your brain controls everything, from thinking to bodily functions, it can be a devastating life threatening illness. My daughter Jennifer has only recently graduated from the hospital, after spending six weeks there, two of which were in the ICU.

    I mention this to you, for it would be quite unusual for a gentleman of your age, with presumably no family history, to develop a psychosis. It may be that you also may be suffering from a mild case of this disease.(AE) If so, it may return, so have your wife (you won’t be able) ask the physicians to test for it.

    The second thing that I would like to offer you, is a rather bold claim. I am willing to share with you the solution to Fenn’s poem. That claim, I am sure will put everyone in a tizzy.

    You see, I have known the location of the chest for about four months now, just before I sustained a severe life changing fracture of my right tibial plateau. Now, not only am I handicapped by my injury, but also impeded by the severe illness of my daughter. As I speak, I am with her and her husband, as she continues receiving outpatient treatment at Mayo Clinic. Let it be known to all men, my children are my true treasure of my life.

    Mr. Vox, if you are so intrigued, please give Dal your phone number to forward to me and I’ll call you. The solution is incredibly challenging. Maybe we could go get it together? I know you believe me. However for those that don’t….

    The word GOOD is derived from the word GOD. For everything good was thought to be a gift from God. So…f is really saying…”hear me God”. Now from your church school I’m sure you know “Samuel” means “God has heard”.
    Getting out your bible, you can now see how f “hid” the chest. and…..

    SB32 refers to super bowl 32. The Denver Broncos won. John Elway was the Broncos quarterback. Elway can be divided into El Way. “He is the light of the world and THE WAY”. Likeways India is also divided into in dia. (with God).

    Mr. Vox give Dal your number for me to call and I’ll treat your insomnia.

    Now where’s my deputy?(and maybe I am just full of it);

    1f Billy

    • Billy, many thanks for your reply.

      Firstly, I hope your daughter is well on the way to recovery – and that she remains free of this problem in the future. Also, sorry to hear of your own injury, which sounds very painful.

      Your offer to assist is warmly appreciated. As phone calls about either Chase-related matters or potential medical issues would only serve to upset my wife (the “wounds” are still very raw), would you mind if I asked you to email, initially? If you send a quick message to Dal, I hope he wouldn’t mind passing on my contact address to you, or forwarding your email to me. If necessary, I’ll confirm with Dal separately.

      As for the latter part of your post, some of the things you mention are of relevance to my own solution. Please don’t tell me your spot, but if you wish to include a couple of references that only someone in the same place would know, that would confirm whether our thinking is similar.

      Good luck to you and yours.

      • As I (Tracy) have gone alone in there
        And with my (Tracy) treasures bold,
        I (Tracy) can keep my secret where (everyone one has those secrets that you take to your grave),
        And hint of riches new (with age one gets wiser with old) and old.

        Begin it (quest) where warm waters (comfortable) halt (go beyond and “outside” your comfort zone so you may grow. Go up North of Santa Fe to the Rockies and find yourself. Go alone find that spot that you will find for the very first time.)

        And take it (you) in the canyon down. (Pause and reflect upon the waters. Decisions in thought as where is the home you seek.)

        Not far, but to far too walk. (Road less traveled).

        Put in (you) below the home of Brown. ( Good Brown Earth given to all of us to seeking the blaze of actualization.)

        From there (where you are sitting or standing) it’s no place for the meek, ( Not for the timid it takes courage to go alone in there in thought; Everyone has dysfunctional behavior. One would not be human if not.)

        The end is ever drawing nigh; (Your thoughts are drawing in slowly; what do you think? Is it coming towards you yet?)

        There’ll be no paddle up your creek, ( Your own hardship. There shall be no paddle up you creek means it’s related to the way one feels emotionally. Something hard or frustrating to face. There is no creek or paddle or up. Now I move on to

        Just heavy loads and water high (“Just” can mean “just” will happen or maybe “just” won’t happen or you continue on your quest for eternity). Just heavy loads (tears) and water high (fluid emotions.) (If one realizes what they have done on their quest written above. The true meaning of the frustrations which is all normal in the human emotional characteristics. The quest will be difficult but no impossible to understand.)

        If you’ve been wise and found the blaze (You are already there if you found the path of the “in” seeking the blaze. Come to realization of the strength of tough tangle. The deepest maze. Till out of youth comes straight to adulthood’s splendid and high estate!) Every other part of the poem will be self explanatory if you had followed the poem precisely in order.

        I am at peace and so many others can be.

        • I had bought this little book called Perfect English Grammar by Grant Barret. I use the book to study the poem. It has put things into perspective related to the poem’s understanding. Nouns, pronouns, verbs, and so forth.

          Also there is a kind of noun, called a gerund phrase which is made from a verb but behaves like a noun. There are two of these that I can see in the poem.

          For example: “no paddle up”. Paddle can be a noun or a verb. Verb usage would mean an action like paddle with you hands. Noun would be the wooden object with a flat end. We have to decide if it’s a noun or verb usage.

          IMO I believe this line in the poem means hardship. There shall be no paddle up you creek (IMO) means it’s related to the way one feels emotionally. Something hard or frustrating to face. IMO (and toying with the idea) there is no creek or paddle or up. Now I move on to “Just heavy loads and water high”. “Just” IMO can mean “just” will happen or maybe “just” won’t happen.

          So your heavy loads and water high can be again heavy loads of hardship water high of fluids (you) your feeling about figuring out how to solve the puzzle. Like being in school learning something hard and new taking way to much time and effort to solve the problem.

          “drawing nigh” meaning first and second clue above stanzas “no place for the meek” because your mental state is already timid and weak.

          The “blaze” means you found it. Like saying with feeling you have entered the blaze – a spark in your brain has been triggered. A ha moment the light bulb was turn on in your head.

          There’s no real physical chest of gold. You are the chest full of gold. Your body is the chest that holds the gold.

          You need the map to find your own quest. Just drive go north of Santa Fe and find yourself.

          It like that qoute: “Where ever you go, there you are.” So, why do I feel so at peace with the idea that this is the true quest we all our seeking? I feel like I just freed myself from the trap of the chase.

          I am going to do a write up and then re-edit my post to make it clearer. So I can listen good and what the possibilities holds true.

          • If you don’t believe there’s a chest of gold for
            us to find, maybe you should’t be posting that idea on this blog (you could read the rules). Good luck to you, in whatever it is that you seek.

            As always, part of my opinion.

    Your sojurn along the Green & New Fork Rivers in the glacial till filled valleys in
    the piedmont of the W. side of the Winds, harkens directly back to the paths of Fremont,
    Sublette, Carson and many other resolute individuals. Could you hear them calling?
    Did the Green beckon you to Rendezvous?
    I’ll wager you felt it all.

    • Thanks, Batty. I did hear someone whistling at me. Every time I stopped, it stopped, too. Weird. It took me ten minutes to discover that my walking stick was acting like a flute as the wind blew across the height-adjustment holes!

      I did learn to listen, though.

  5. Billy, that is mighty nice of you and I hope vox takes you up on it and hope the treatment for your daughter and possibly vox will cure both. Prayers for y’all.

  6. Hello Voxpops. Thank you for sharing your personal story. Your homeland has the beauty of a peaceful retreat. I enjoyed the photos. I hope your life’s journey brings you much happiness.

    Hello 1f Billy. I wish your daughter a full and speedy recovery. Your offer to reach out to Voxpops is commendable.

    • You know, pdenver, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have ended up here. Without this “retreat,” as you so aptly put it, things would have been a lot tougher.

      Thanks for your good wishes, and the same to you.

  7. Voxpops,
    I enjoyed reading your contribution. You have a way with words and your eloquent writing style. That makes two of us for Vision Quests.

    • Thanks for the kind words, thrillseeker.

      I think Forrest once said he was the most spiritual person he knew (or words to that effect), and so it’s a little surprising that more people haven’t explored this avenue. His love of Native American culture only adds to this as a possible explanation for the way the Chase has been constructed, and might also account for some of the odd posts he has penned.

  8. Vox;

    Welcome back! Welcome back to the blog, and welcome back from the brink of the unknown. The Chase takes each of us on unexpected journies -yours was a bit more harrowing than most.

    Imagination may well be that element that is needed to find Indulgence – or it may be what takes a child to the magical world of make-believe… or are they the same? My “Inner Child” loves living in the magical world of make-believe, and it adores the chase. Reading the poem, and conjuring up visions of what the words mean is my greatest delight.

    Thanks for sharing a small portion of your visions – magical, yet frightful at times.

    What is the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Similar, yet so different.
    One brings bliss, the other horror. Can we control or “manage” one from the next? Not sure.

    May life continue to be a magical dream – you have had enough nightmares my friend.

    With loving thoughts for you and your wife – JDA

  9. Vox,
    Well written! It truly is all about “The Thrill of The Chase.”
    Pam (awhisperer)

      • Voxpox, I can only say, I hope you and your daughter recover physically.
        I enjoyed your post and pictures.
        I know now, I’m not alone, I really, really loved your post!
        Happy Thanksgiving ,
        Best regards, Martha

        • Martha, it’s Sherif Billy and his daughter who have had physical traumas, and we all wish them a speedy recovery. But thank you also for your encouraging words.

  10. Very Intriguing I Must Read This At Least Three Times. I Must Open Up My Spirit To Higher Levels And Cast Out My “Fishing” Line Into The Realms Of f.’s Frequency ⚡️ This Is Going To Be A Growth Of Magick And Insight Into My Deepest Imagination. I Must Act As If Being Pierced By An Arrow And Chased By The White Man. Where Will This Inner Journey Bring Me At My Quests “End” Only To The Beginning ⚡️⛈⛈⛈

  11. Hello Voxpops,

    I enjoyed reading your thought provoking and well written post though I’m very sad to see you leave the Chase and so sorry to hear of your illness. Dementia is different from it sounds like you are suffering, but it consumed my mother and something I’m trying hard to avoid by keeping my mind busy solving the riddle of a lifetime,

    I’m sure Forrest never intended for the Chase to come between families, especially you and your wife, a woman you obviously love very much and demonstrated by stepping away from something that means so very much to you. It’s easy to become so immersed, bordering on obsessed, that we don’t recognize the harm we’re causing others.

    There are times when I become so ‘focused’ on the Chase that it easily consumes 8-10 hours a day. Eventually I become so mentally drained that I must force myself to stop for a while and read a book or two, though I do sneak a peek into the HoD occasionally and I’m glad I looked today.

    Please take care and may you and your wife have fair winds and following seas.


    • Thank you for your kind thoughts, Pinatubocharlie.

      It really is very easy to become obsessed with the Chase as the riddle insinuates itself into your brain. I hope you and all searchers manage to keep the Chase in perspective.

  12. Thank you for this post. F says his motivation is to simply encourage families to encounter and enjoy the wilderness we are blessed to have. It’s interesting to learn of searches conducted by those from distant countries. Hundreds of millions of US citizens will never see the ‘frog head’ (I’d call it ‘lizard head’) that you observed. Frankly, many Americans will go into our wilderness and not observe what you have observed, it’s so sad.

    It’s curious to me what inspires our species to spend their limited funds to visit distant lands. When I travel on business in US, I can stay in rooms charging several hundreds of dollars each night. But when I travel in Europe on pleasure (usually backpacking trips), I prefer to stay in hostels charging peanuts. I could never contemplate undertaking a treasure search in a foreign land as you have. When I visit foreign lands, I want to appreciate what they are. I do hope if you return to US, you take the time to appreciate the many other areas of the Rockies and other wilderness that may have nothing to do with a purported hidden treasure. What a shame if your only experience with the US wilderness is based solely upon your interpretation of where a man may or may not have placed a box of stuff.

    • aardvarkbaark, thanks for your comments.

      I was making my way across Canada back in the mid ’90s (delivering a car as my “ticket”) when I decided to trek out into the wilderness for a couple of days near Jasper. Although I’d always been attracted to nature, that was my first experience of being out among mountain lions, Moose, and other wild creatures. It was a really intense experience, particularly as the ground was still snow-covered and I was trekking solo. Later in that trip I met my wife-to-be on Vancouver Island. So, all-in-all it was pretty unforgettable!

      Later on I lived in the States for over ten years, and enjoyed many trips to explore Oregon and beyond.

  13. Thank you Vox, I appreciate the experiences you tell so nakedly and well. I know you’ve touched a deep recognition with others who wrestle with love and anguish.
    My respects to you & your wife… and maybe read some happy books for a while. I look forward to reading future posts from you. OS2

    PS: If I were to find the TC (which will never happen of course) and unable to return the turquoise bracelet to Mr. Fenn, I think I would send it on to you. It’s fun to imagine those Navajo beads swinging on an arm in Wales, and hoping that in some future century they find their way back around the globe and down another canyon back to where they belong.

    • OS2, maybe I should just turn into a disreputable old hippy, ready to wear that Navajo bracelet! Actually, there are plenty of people here who have opted for an alternative lifestyle (although I would bet that there’s an iPad or two hidden behind their packets of tofu and rice 😉 )

      • Are you calling FF a disreputable old hippy? Or you would be one if you wore that bracelet? Strange, I never would have expected that rigid stereotype from one with such keen insight. As for a broader view of an alternative lifestyle, I recommend a book by David Rice, Desert Soliloquy. Winking backache.

        • I’m already disreputable, and am teetering on the edge of “alternative.” Having never been particularly mainstream myself, I don’t like to stereotype anyone. But I do like to have a little fun at PC’s expense from time to time.

          Looks like a great book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. Vox,
    I feel for ya! I think you’re pretty much spot-on… just not in the right spot.

    Take care

  15. Great read, already read it more than once. I feel like there is something for everyone in this and lessons that many learn the hard way. Like me, you already found your treasure and were wise enough to keep her. Of course I love how you met your wife as my story is a bit more unusual on that front. I too have gone down some of the same roads you have (or at least they seem that way as no one knows another’s road, but one can only hope to walk it).

    As for Billy, lucky, I have always enjoyed his post and a phone call would be fun. Billy I wish your family the best. Plus I wish you and Vox the best!

    Tracy, love your solve and look forward to reading it. Would love to meet your husband someday.

    Hare, glad to see you are still all ears.

    There was other comment I was going to remark upon but the name is new to me and it escapes my mind’s grasp (been making a lot of muffins today).

    To seek the spiritual is a noble pursuit, congratulations.

    • What exactly was it shouting, “But still the WWW-H website shouted its orders” as that site seems to be a facade only.

      • It wasn’t always thus. Before the current page (as you say, just a facade), there were a series of pages (usually no more than three or four at a time) which contained cryptic information. One example was an overhead shot of an octagonal or similar multi-sided ranch appurtenance with the caption, “Slide 1.” For me, that confirmed an adjustment of one minute that I had made to my trajectory, and which brought me close to a similarly shaped object.

        Once I came to my final area, the page changed to an image of the world from space, with a sports car “orbiting” the planet, manned by a driver in a spacesuit. The numbers 42 and 88 were featured, and the page title changed from something like “The answer to the first clue” to “Out.” The word “THOUGHT” was pasted at the base of the page, and “Don’t Panic” was emblazoned around the car’s front wheel. All this had relevance to me, but like I say, I have no idea who is behind that site.

        It’s not the first time that odd events or items outside the Chase have impacted my thought processes. Usually they just attract my attention and cause me to ponder more deeply, but occasionally, as with this site, they have had a more direct impact. For example, you may remember the funny story of Cathay Pacific managing to screw up their own name on a plane this summer. They repainted it with the word, “PACIIC”. Because it was so unlikely that they could get that wrong by accident (apparently they use stencils) I was intrigued. It tied in with two discoveries that I had just made – one concerning Pennsylvania. The fact that the “F” was missing was relevant, but it took me a while to make a connection there. Now although this had nothing to do with the Chase, I regard this as a classic example of how aberrations can feed into your deliberations and help you connect the dots – or at least prompt a line of thinking.

    • Thanks, Idle Dreamer. The story of how I met my wife goes much deeper, but that would be too much for here! Would love to hear your stories – maybe you could send Dal a post???

      • Solve stories or life stories? I don’t have your grasp of the eloquence of the written word so I can’t say it will be spectacular. I definitely feel like I could have put a lot more on my last solve that is on the blog.

        • Solve stories can be interesting, but often people’s life stories are much more revealing. I find myself drawn to autobiographies much more than novels these days.

  16. Thanks for sharing Voxpops. I really enjoyed this story of your authentic thinking self. I’ll add a “woo woo” thing too: it’s all about frequency portal. 🙂
    I imagine you understand what that means.


    IMO .

    • Had to look that one up! I like the notion of portals in the context of the Chase. As for frequencies, I remember listening for the first time to the Yes song, “Awaken” from the album “Going For The One.” The idea of frequencies being associated with spiritual levels intrigued me, particularly being a (rather poor) musician.

  17. Imagine this.
    “If I only had imagination, I would have knowledge”

    Great writing Pops!
    I’m glad you’re past the eBay poop tire thing and moved on.

  18. Thank you, for everything that you have shared with the world here in this post, Voxpops. I have enjoyed your insight into imagination. For all that it’s worth, I think that you are making the good decision here in giving up the Chase and focusing on things more important than a metal box lying in the woods somewhere.

    Imagination, adventure, and nature’s beauty are all things to be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone and everyone; no treasure chest required! I need to visit Wales sometime in my life; the land looks gorgeous!

    Take care and best wishes,

    • Many thanks. Blex. Given the state of the world, we feel so lucky to be here. There’s just a flicker of guilt at being insulated from harsh reality – but not enough to make us mend our ways!

  19. an idea planted in the mind,mirrored from forrest to me and it real or not.plan executed,we,you,me,picks it up .he says its real,so we take his word,and say its we all are mirroring each other from forrests idea.all coming up with different solutions ,some the same ideas.our imaginations we play,like we did as a kid.used our imagination to play ,oh the things you can do with your imagination,anything you want.I see many characters in the clouds.we imagine a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow,which really isn’t there,we know that.why do we know? we heard it before in the past,so we play along,why,its pure fun,didn’t you have fun pretending as a child while you played.tag your it?what,tag,touched me now I am i got to go find someone to tag,touch,where i won’t be it anymore. same as hide and seek.your either one or the pete and repeat.pete and repeat sat on the fence,pete fell off,whos left.repeat.others before us has done the same.pretend is using our mind .we blaze our own life from I believe even when we are in the womb,as we hear while we are there,learning,setting away of life.I know this sounds crazy,i’m trying to put into words something even I don’t understand ,but yet I do.a role,a play,a story,a tale,you are the author of your life.god made you,but he lets you make your own passes quickly,so short.enjoy the beauty outside,find things that make you happy and gives you peace and let nobody take that away from you.

    • Wonderful words, virginia. I’m beginning to doubt there’s much of a border between real and imagined.

      • never forget vox,you are a truly wonderful human being,loved by many ,hope all goes well ,and may god bless you with good health and your family teaches us many lessons,good and bad.there is always light at the end of the tunnel.embrace your life to the fullest my friend.

        • look at whats around you,feel touch smell,taste.we have a beautiful world like your home land .thats real.imagination ,is a fantasy,some people say if you imagine it ,it can come true for you,I think thats hooey.a desire may come true if you have the money to go where you want to go travel,etc.I to have walked looking for arrowheads,I know they are real,but I have never found one cause I don’t know what I’m looking brother on the other hand ,can find them so easy.I question,why would forrest really put all that gold and stuff back in the mountains.if he didn’t get rid of it ,would his house get raided again by the government.forrest don’t like what the government does and I don’t blame him.they double dip on your money taxes.if he wanted someone to find it ,why did he make the poem so hard,he couldn’t make it real easy ,I know that,but as time goes by ,I think its a puzzle part missing and its you and I and all of us.all for one and one for all.

  20. we indulgene each other,amuse each other view ,study each other,like each one of us under a microscope..sometimes act like the person we like.there has been people own this blog that has made my day,sent me a beautiful poster,one a forrest fenn book,even forrest made my day,by getting to meet him and make me laugh.we are here for each other,make life better for each other,smile,say hello,do something nice,open the door for someone,you will feel better inside your spirit,soul, one another ,don’t hate.if you love god,you don’t hate nobody.we are all treasures,i love you all.

    • Ahh, the old “do a good deed” trick. It works every time. It changes an entire day from blah to good in just a few seconds of kindness.
      Thank you, Virginia Diane.

  21. Voxpops—-
    You are an excellent writer. Thank you for the wonderful article. And the pictures of Wyoming and Wales are beautiful also! I think the fact you actually came to the U.S.and searched is quite a feat.

    It’s great to see you post this, and truly appreciate the obvious fact that you truly love your wife with all of your heart. All the best to you in all you pursue in the future!

    • Thanks, and glad you liked it, Sparrow. There are so many good people on this Chase that they inspire me to try a little harder.

  22. Vox, thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m sure many can relate to one degree or another, myself included.

    Once upon a while, I made up a treasure hunt for an office party at the boss’s house. I sent two teams out about town, and the last clue was something like, “As Dorothy discovered in the Land of Oz, the treasure you seek is in your own backyard.” You might say that at the end of their exploring, they found themselves back at the beginning and knew the place for the first time. They all had a blast, including one of the boss’s daughters, a remarkably insightful 9-year-old, who “got it” in more ways than one.

    You mentioned that you are kind of “stuck” in the UK. I’m kind of “stuck” in the US for now, but someday I might get to see Wales, from where some of my ancestors sailed to the US back in the 1600s. In the meantime, thank you for the beautiful photos of your own backyard.

    May peace be with you and your family,

    • Thanks, SeeN! I like what you said about your forebears. I wonder whether thinking a little more about our ancestors and how their lives were shaped (and helped to shape ours) gives us more of a sense of connection to the world. We do tend to live in isolationist bubbles these days, and I’m only now learning that’s not a healthy way to be.

  23. Never contradict your doctor or your wife.

    That essay and Little Ronnie and most of my nightmares all have the same insane ability to continue rambling and get nowhere but further from the point.

  24. Thanks for sharing your experiences Voxpops, your posts always intrigue me.

    Wow, Crowhurst – are you familiar with OSI’s “Radiolog”? Youtube it.

      • Thanks, Argillite, and particularly for the introduction to OSI – not a band I’m familiar with. I didn’t know anyone had written a song about Donald Crowhurst! I really like Radiologue.

  25. One more thought. Remember the ATF about if you have a searching partner, best to leave them in the car? Ally that to “As I have gone alone in there…” And then think about the solo aspect of a vision quest. It is not something you can share, and you will need to brave – there is no telling what you may witness.

    • Mr. Vox-

      I believe when Mr. f says to “leave them in the car” he is in fact referring to a natural wetland referred to as a car. IMO

      Best regards to all;

    • Voxpops. Nice! I looked at this in a similar way. This ATF and the first line of the poem as relative to the same words later on in the poem you focused on. Interesting! “As I” is doing as he did IMO . Definately need to be brave to go in there. For safety, it’s best to go with someone but they don’t have to be in there with you. Together it may be missed but alone you may see it.

      IMO .

  26. Billy,

    That works as well. The mossy wetland is down in the valley, and your destination is a little higher in my solve.

    Nice find that car or carr means wetland. I think we have a dual meaning here. Fens have been a recurring theme in my search.

  27. Vox-the first image has an entombed mummy reflecting in the lake. Sometimes a restful winter and the comforts of home are just what is needed before you head outdoors again. Thank you for sharing your story.

  28. Voxpops, thanks for sharing such a sincere and personal part of your journey. As I read it, several of your observations and experiences really struck a chord with me.

    “At the same time I had the nagging suspicion that, despite what looked to me like a perfectly acceptable hiding place, I hadn’t quite finished. There were loose ends.” I bet many of us have experienced that sinking realization that loose ends remain (especially while botg). Keep at it until there are no loose ends.

    Funny how the subconscious mind and imagination can help guide- I’ve come across a few “stone triangles” and “frogs “ in my searches along the way, though still have not reached my final destination.

    I also identify with the struggle of not allowing the Chase to become too consuming. I know times my wife has been upset at my continued time involvement in the Chase, but it’s hard to give it up when you feel you are getting close. Don’t stop drilling three feet from the gold, so to speak. However, be willing to step away for a little while if that is what is needed.

  29. Great write up Vox. I enjoyed reading that and seeing the pics as well….thank you
    Your story has also got me to thinking…

    “Contentment is the lock,

    Imagination is the key.

    When both come together,

    Oh, glorious sights you’ll see.”

    Have a great day my friend…. until next time.. see ya

  30. Vox,
    I looked at that site and cracked much of it including the instruction to post on 99.5 or whatever on the original puzzle.

    The second set is the Tesla recently launched into space that had the words “Don’t Panic” which is taken from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That matches the number 42 you noticed because in the book that is the answer to the ultimate question of life, universe and everything. The word “THOUGHT” is the name of the computer that gave this answer or actually it is “Deep Thought” similar to Fenn’s Deep Thinker concept.

    Interesting how we all see things differently or how we want to see them.

      • Thanks, 9equals9. Yes, I was aware of the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy connections. Someone also mentioned that the current page is a play on lines from the WarGames movie of 1983. When the website was “active” there was also a track from Pink Floyd accessible via a button. These cultural connections don’t invalidate the relevance for me of certain elements from some of the pages – particularly the earlier sub-pages from the active site. It is potentially just another means of communication. Fenn seems to make a habit of using cultural references (books, comics, films etc.), but, like I say, I’ve no idea whose site it is.

        • It’s a little like Leeroy. Whoever puts in the effort to make the cartoons is, from my perspective, much more “knowing” than a regular searcher or interested third party. It is extremely doubtful that Fenn is directly involved in creating the Leeroy episodes, but I believe that it is possible that a degree of “channeling” is taking place. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Leeroy!

  31. I would like to share my thoughts here. This is all my own opinion and I could be wrong but it is what I believe and there seems to be a lot of factual evidence that has brought me to this conclusion. Again, this is my own opinion and that is all.

    I’ve spend a good 8 years searching for Fenn’s chest. I have determined that this is something that cannot be found. Let’s look at a few things. Fenn has told me personally in an email and out for all to hear that the poem was written vague on purpose. Well why? It is the only way he could know 100% that the chest would never be found. There is more than 350K people searching for this chest. 350K interpretations of WWWH. How could it have not been found?

    The funny thing, is imagination is endless. It will never halt (No pun intended). There will always be another thought to peal back another layer of a new solve. We could make this poem and its clues or the words it contains fit anywhere within our globe, even matching all the no sense clues told by Fenn like, the chest is more than 300′ west of Toledo.

    Forrest said, it was vital that he never share the knowledge of the location of the chest with anyone, but that would be a lie because supposedly he did so within the poem by exposing the location to whoever would read it. If Forrest did not share the location of the chest with anyone that would mean the poem does not share the location either.

    I think the nice guy sales approach was, Hey! I want kids off the couch! I want families enjoying the mountains and having experiences! I know he made no money off the sales of his TTOTC book. But the second book, the third and what about the previous 8 books he wrote before TTOTC? I am sure hundreds of thousands have been sold and bought by searchers looking for every detail they could find on Fenn. He made millions off this and one day he will forever be remembered, someone will stumble upon that chest one day and he will end up in the place in history he always wanted to be in.

    Do I think the chest is real? Absolutely! Do I think he hid it out in the Rocky Mountains? Yes! Do I think it can be found? It is possible but only a thousand years from now. Forrest wrote a autobiography and placed it in the chest. He didn’t want this found anytime soon. He knew he had to place that scripture of who he was in that chest because he also knew no one would find this chest for many many years and needed to explain who he was. Forrest was upset after googling his fathers name and only finding what cemetery and row he was buried at, even after all the lives his father changed and the impact his father made on so many people. Forrest was disappointed and did not think that was fair. He also was upset knowing no one remembered or cried for that french soldier anymore. This is why he is doing this. He wants to be remembered.

    I don’t know for sure but I have uncovered so many solves, I’ve heard so many as well. How will we ever know we have the right one? Here’s a thought. Forrest said, you wont even realize you discovered WWWH until you have the chest… Why? Because you will need to go to each solve and check to see if the chest is there. If it is there you will now know WWWH and have your confidence… but… Is there a block within 200′ of that chest? will you ever get any closer? how can several people solve the first 2 clues and not ever know it. How do searchers get 200′ of that chest and not find it or become lost? logic tells me you can’t.

    Maybe I am wrong…IDK. I hope I am but for now I must put the book away and forget about this poem and the chest. Maybe one day when I am retired I will take out the book again and make a few trips but not until then. I also hope someone finds it before then! Good luck searching but you should really consider what I am saying.

    • Mr. Pete:

      I am sorry that you are discouraged and don’t think the cache can be found. Unfortunately, that is indeed true for a majority of searchers. It appears to me that all most searchers are willing to do, is to follow the same line of thinking as all the previous searchers have but just put more effort into it. (“I know I can get this square peg into this round hole….I just need to push harder.”) and yet although they repeatedly fail, that doesn’t deter them from applying an ever increasing force to make their solution “fit” the problem. i.e. (“I know this square peg fits in this round hole, but I’m not strong enough to get it in. In fact none of the other searchers before me have been either. Aha! That’s it! I’ll use a 2 ton hydraulic press and then I’ll get it in. I’ve solved the problem!”)

      No Pete, you are correct. That type of thinking will never find the chest. For the many, completely fail to observe the obvious.

      Please consider the number one requirement when considering any potential solve: Could 80 y/lo Fenn get up one morning, take the chest and travel to your location, hide the treasure, and make it back for dinner without ANYONE discovering what he had done?

      If you can’t figure any way he could do it in a single day, no need to go any further. Why oh why do you think he told us he did it in a single brag? BUT even that…..doesn’t stop the majority from working ever harder on their implausible solution.

      For me personally….I consider it problemsome to think he hid it near Yellowstone. Can ANYONE give me a reasonable (detailed) timeline starting at sunrise from Fenn’s house and travel to a yet unknown location anywhere near yellowstone, and book it back home to Santa Fe without missing dinner?……Anyone???

      Yet without even checking to see if their solution is travel plausible, the many continue to try to prove the square peg theory wrong.

      I’ll give $500 to the first person with a yellowstone theory, to show a detailed timeline, from sunrise at Fenn’s home in Sante Fe, to their location in or around Yellowstone and back before dinner, without ANYONE knowing that he was gone. (He could have chartered a Lear Jet, but as famous as the quest has become, the pilot would have now put 2 and 2 together and come forward, recalling when this old guy chartered a flight to Yellowstone only to stay a couple of hours and fly back.) Therefore, I believe if he had chartered a plane, that pilot would have let it be known by now.

      Wait…what was that Fenn said about 2 people can keep a secret…..Hummm……Does anyone know if any charter pilots have died unexpectedly???

      Dal…You be the judge…Anyone?? a detailed timeline?? Could you pass the stuffed crow please, I want a drumstick and gizzard.

      Happy Thanksgiving

      Billy and Katie

      • Billy,
        I’ll give you $500 if you have a quote where Fenn says he left his home in Santa Fe to go hide the treasure and was back in his Santa Fe home the same day to have dinner or supper.
        I don’t know why you hang your hat on hearsay.

        • My reply was superfluous, as you got the same point in first, Jake.

          Come to think of it, this post is superfluous too!

      • Billy, I remember FF said he made two trips from his car in one afternoon to hide the treasure, but I don’t recall him saying that he drove from his house in one day, and got back in time for dinner. I see your logic, and particularly as he claims that Peggy was unaware of his absence, but, as has been discussed, he may have been attending a conference or other business, visiting friends, or there could be 101 different scenarios including his wife being away for some purpose. I really think one needs to exercise caution in assuming anything about FF’s movements.

        • Vox-You are correct. I must have make that assumption it was completed in a single day.

          Thanks for keeping me honest


      • Billy and Katie;

        You say that Forrest needed to hide the chest and be back home for dinner. Can you please provide the quote (from Forrest) where Forrest ever said this? I can not find it anywhere.

        A question was asked: “… Not to be anal, but that would be one spinaroo of the giant ball we call Earth that constitutes a single 24-hour day to its humble inhabitants.
        Thanks so much.
        Kind Regards,
        And Forrest replied: “Joe, you make this thing so complicated. Reminds me of the reason I don’t like meetings. I hope you don’t belong to a PTA someplace. I made two trips from my car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon”.f

        “Two trips from his car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon.” Nothing said about having to drive home for dinner with Peggy or anyone – anywhere. Happy Thanksgiving
        1fBilly – JDA

      • Yo Pete… Fenn’s poem has done it’s job as he intended. Some folks are only interested in the treasure…some are interested in the mystery and the challenge… some love nature and see this as a great avenue to combine the challenge with getting out there to see places they ordinarily would not. Whatever the motivation… this is not something that every person is going to stick with forever. Heck… it would be interesting to know what the shelf life actually is for the average searcher!

        Your comment about Fenn not telling anyone the location of the treasure being a lie because the poem is supposed to tell us…or the poem does not in truth do that, is just a weak argument based on frustration. Personally… I believe the guy. I do not believe he divulged the location to anyone, and I believe that the poem will reveal the location when it is properly deciphered. Maybe just take a break and revisit things sometime

    • Pete – You sound frustrated in your efforts to solve TTOTC, and that is understandable.

      Please try to remember that FF made it difficult, but not impossible, to accomplish/solve, and vagueness and Poetic License are just a couple of the elements FF employed to make it so difficult.

      I’m not sure sharing his “secret where” with us via his cryptic poem is the same as outright verbally telling a living person the exact details about it, and opining that by doing so he lied is something frowned upon around here, but I’ll let Dal police the rest of your post for such negativity.

      Lastly, and I couldn’t find the quote, but I seem to recollect a FF comment to the effect of people/searchers who have been close to the chest failed to find it because they left the poem, so that would seemingly answer your query as to why they such people who were close did not find it.

      Enjoy your sabbatical.

      • Bowmarc, I am not frustrated at all. I just see this in a different way now. I’ve been faithfully doing this since almost the very beginning. I’ve had a million solves. Its just making sense to me now.

    • Pete ~ ‘Because you will need to go to each solve and check to see if the chest is there. If it is there you will now know WWWH and have your confidence…’

      Confidence is no finding the chest, that’s completing the challenge.
      You seem to think that this is nothing more than a process of elimination. You ave to chest every possible out come of a theory in many different places. The simple conclusion is, your reading he poem wrong.

      Something should click during a process that says; Ah! what took me so long.

      • I think you’re absolutely right, Seeker – and the “Ah! what took me so long” point hits the nail squarely on the head. The fog only clears when the sun comes out…

      • I dont think the challenge or the quest is finding the chest at all. The chest is what confirms you were right about WWWH. I believe IMO that the quest is and always was about finding WWWH. I never thought it was process of elimination until I examined it more thoroughly.

      • You cannot complete the challenge unless you find the chest. The quest is finding WWWH. Read one of my solves below to see what I mean.
        This is of course my own opinion

  32. Pete, you make some interesting points. However, it’s unsafe to assume that because a particular searcher hasn’t found the chest, it therefore cannot be found – only stumbled upon in a thousand years.

    I have a different opinion about the “vagueness.” He’s said the task is difficult but not impossible, and I believe the poem has been constructed in a way that ensures only a particular type of thinking can be successful. I don’t think there’d be much to be gained by making it literally impossible to solve – he doesn’t really need the money, and you might consider him rather shallow to simply be seeking posthumous fame. As for 350k searchers, I would doubt that’s active BOTG searchers, but even were that to be the case, most searchers gravitate to relatively well-defined and popular locations.

    The idea of imagination being endless (and therefore the task, too) is a good metaphor for the Chase. It’s a concept that has been in my mind for a long time. The poem even hints at that with the end “ever drawing nigh.” But that doesn’t mean the chest cannot be found, in my opinion, only that there is a circular element to the search – and to life after the Chase is officially over. Nothing really ends with the Chase – you just know the place for the first time!

    As far as people getting the first two clues correct, I believe that if you don’t understand the “big picture” you will not progress beyond the first two clues. A map, the poem and logic will get you that far. After that, you’re going to need to delve much deeper into both the poem and your imagination. I also believe that you could easily be 200′ away from the treasure and be blissfully unaware of it, if you don’t know why you’re there. According to Forrest, precision is required, as well as to go through the whole process (no starting in the middle!). You need that precise location, which will only come from realizing how the poem parts come together to create a whole. I am quite certain that many people – searchers and non-searchers will have passed within a few hundred feet of the spot in complete ignorance of what lies there.

    • This is all MY OPINION and may not be right or wrong as I do not know that.

      I’ve looked at this poem in so many ways. Always a dead end. For example one of my solves is. I used the word hint as a key word. What is a hint? Its a clue. What is a clue? It’s pieces of truthful information that the solver has to connect to make it a reality through imagination. Here is an example of how clues are used:

      You take 3 left turns, go home and see 2 men in masks. Most people gravitate to a home robbery. The answer is a baseball game. I gave 3 pieces of truthful information presented in sentence form but are really not. I left you to imagine and interpret what this could mean. Its hard! Many possible answers that fit and nothing to confirm you are actually right.

      Back to the poem. I know Fenn is using clues which are hints so it’s safe to say that hint would be my word that is key because without knowing that, you cannot solve the poem the way it needs to be solved and you will continue to become lost. Okay, so lets use this theory.

      Begin it where warm waters halt. If this is a hint or a clue than it may not be an actual part of a sentence. warm, waters and halt may just be bits of truthful information that are not connected the way we read them.

      Fenn has said, every word in the poem is important especially the nouns. Pay attention to the nouns. He also made a big stink about what words actually mean by definition. With that in mind, I decided that maybe some words seem to be verbs or adjectives that really are nouns. If these words are not connected in a sentence form and just pieces of truthful information then yes they could all be nouns so I changed every word I could by the dictionary into a noun and boy did the poem tell a different story.

      Warm as a noun means a warm place. Could this mean NM. It is the warmest place of the Rocky Mountain range and search area.
      Waters as a noun means an area of water such as a river, lake or sea.
      Halt as a noun means a temporary suspension of movement.
      Am I looking for a warm place that contains an area of water and something not necessarily the water but “something” there in nature has a temporary suspension of movement? Hmmm? But what? Let me keep going.

      Take as a noun means, an amount of something gained or acquired from one source or in one session. Does this mean my waters is a river since a river takes from a source and in particular is this a particular river that only takes from one source without any other confluences or creeks attached?
      Canyon as a noun means a deep gorge, typically one with a river flowing through it. Does this prove the water source in the first line is indeed a river of some sort?
      Down as a noun means gently rolling hills. We usually find these at the bottom of mountain ranges. Does this particular river with one source in a warm place extend from mountain top to the gently rolling hills at the bottom?
      More pieces of information that must be connected by imagination. These also have a much more different meaning than we thought when we see them as nouns. Is this confirming that we are looking for a particular river? Use your imagination to gap the bridge between the clues or hints. I’ll keep going.

      Walk is the next noun and it means used to indicate the time that it will take someone to reach a place on foot or the distance that they must travel. He left from his car. Drove part of the way and then walked 3/4 of a mile to the chest. He said he made 2 trips from the car to the chest and it took a total of about 3 miles. Thats there, back, there, back and that equals 3/4 of a mile. The distance from parking to the chest. No wonder people were 200″ from it. Also, no wonder Fenn has said once you figure out the first clue you are more than half way there.

      Home is next. it means as a noun a place where an object is kept. Brown means the color of a material. Is the HOB where the chest is kept? Its a place where an object is kept. The chest is an object. Its weathered bronze material is brown. Could the capital B mean it is the chest? Its important. Forrest did say if I told you what the HOB was you’d go strait to the chest. Was he saying that being funny and actually telling you that it is the chest? I also thought that this landscape is 3D. Could it be that the people who walked right past the chest were actually under it, that it was above them… two hundred feet above them and 3/4 of a mile walk? After all they were at the bottom of a canyon and we know the chest is close to the top of a mountain. Were we automatically “put in below” by default the HOB? That Forrest himself put us in below the HOB? It would be genius because if you had no idea you’d go there searching for the HOB and never find it. You would walk right past it never knowing. I liked where I was going.

      Place as a noun means a particular point on a larger surface or in a larger object or area.
      End means a final part of something, especially a period of time, an activity, or a story.
      Drawing means a picture or diagram made with a pencil, pen, or crayon rather than paint, especially one drawn in monochrome.
      Paddle as a noun means an act of walking with bare feet in shallow water.
      Creek as a noun narrow, sheltered waterway. a stream, brook, or minor tributary of a river.
      You can start to see a relationship between everything especially with natural resources within nature. This next line is very interesting.

      Heavy as a noun means large of its kind.
      Loads as a noun means you are about to carry something heavy.
      Water again means near, on or around water.
      High as a noun means you have a successful moment.
      Could this mean that up this shallow creek you are about to come across something heavy that you are about to carry… like the chest? That this is going to be a happy successful moment like finding the chest? Hmmmmm.

      If youve been wise and found the blaze… Well Since I believe that the quest has always been about finding WWWH and not the chest that If you were wise and figured this out and found the blaze which as a noun means something shinning, colorful…etc and I believe the blaze is the chest. Youve been wise and found it now look quickly down to discover WWWH for the very first time! Now just take the chest and leave that place in peace! He did say you could do every clue from home but the last one. The last one is discovering WWWH for the first and only time. Don’t forget, he said you needed to follow the clues in order. You did. but you needed each of the clues to confirm the one before and vice versa. You solved everything in order to find WWWH but again, if this is right you still wont know WWWH until you have the chest to confirm in. It has become process of elimination. He said in not so many words. Listen and hear him good.

      I have found a place through this method but you know what? I found another and another and another… It never ended. Id never know I was right unless I went there and found the chest. Its what confirms your correct with WWWH. The chase is about finding WWWH and not the chest. Its why others walked past it. They had no clue that they had the right WWWH and nothing to confirm it.

      I have other really interesting solves if youre interested in hearing them. This is only one of many! I don’t mind sharing them because like I said I have given up and honestly if and if this can be found which I believe it cant I’d like it to be found soon!

  33. Vox, your depth and intelligence will be missed in the chase.

    May you ultimately find what you seek.

  34. I love the frog rock! I can see animals in rocks, logs, etc. when I am out hiking. And I think I want to go to Wales. Beautiful pics!

  35. Voxpops, thank you for all the information. I found your first photo here —
    of Lake Vyrnwy — . . . (shall we say) interesting.

  36. thank you Voxpops. You’ve accurately described part of the human psyche that drives all of us. What happens when our way of thinking, the core of our decisions, is found to be inadequate to the task? We know no other way, and have no idea what to do next. Most humans cannot bear it; it is overwhelming. Most will reject the reality and continue as they always have. This is why the treasure has not been found. Others, like yourself, experience the mind-bending shock and can’t shake it. Your honesty is refreshing. A very few of us, given a little time coupled with confidence bordering on arrogance, will discover a new way of seeing. I seem to have done that, but confirmation needs to wait until spring in the mountains. Am I a little crazy?

    • Thank you Saun, and good luck for the spring.

      Are you a little crazy? Undoubtedly! But then I think that most of us here are – even the ones who like to accuse others of that!

      How deep is a hole? In this case very deep…

  37. Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream!
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are never what they seem.

    From A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, quoted by Forrest in the Moby Dickens Bookstore video. (The original has the word “not” in place of “never.”)

    The poem implores us to “act” in the moment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell us what to do if our actions hurt those dearest to us, Maybe all we can do then is “learn to labor and to wait” as the final stanza counsels.

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