Poem, Map, Geography and Imagination…

May, 2019

By Troy


First, consider Fenn’s words.

“Your treasure hunt has inspired people worldwide to discover history, culture and nature, but many people, (even in the US) might be deterred because they don’t live near the Rockies or can’t afford to travel. Should they be deterred? Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is? And would she be confident as she solves each clue, or only confident when she has solved them all?”

“I wish I had another treasure to hide in the Appalachians. The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues. There are many disabled people who are deeply into maps and geography, and they are having a lot of fun.”

Given Fenn’s intentional vagueness, I am making a huge assumption that “having a lot of fun” means they have a chance to solve more than the first 2 clues and maybe figure it out.

I could be wrong, but it’s just too time-consuming to start everywhere, so I need to start somewhere.

“Children have the greatest imagination because their thoughts run free”

My approach: Poem, map, extensive knowledge of geography and imagination.

Most people on the search sites appear to conduct their searches by poem, map, imagination, geography, ecology, history, riddles, codes, Fenn’s real or imagined hints, and anything and everything else.  They appear to look at anything and everything and hope their mind clicks onto the connection. Doing it this way adds a crazy high number of variables and introduces a very strong cognitive bias that is based on their own experiences instead of reason.  I need to set parameters and continually follow them, so I don’t also waste time and go off the rails.

I only need the poem, a map, an extensive knowledge of geography, and my imagination to find the treasure.  Nothing else. Get back in the box.

  • The poem vs a treasure map:  my approach will be this.  Fenn created a treasure map that is primarily geographic in nature, but he put it in a poem. Imagination will be needed to turn the poem into geographic terms. My first search will be based on this approach. I could be wrong, but it’s just too time-consuming to start everywhere, and I need to start somewhere.
  • Ignore the book: Fenn thinks the book would help, but I think it wouldn’t because it’s a vast sea of words and phrases to analyze and potentially get wrong, vs. a small poem.
    • For example, take one sentence out of the book, idk, if he said, “I picked up a stick and threw it into my favorite lake.”…does this mean he hid the treasure at his favorite lake? Or should I pick up “stick creek” at a lake and go about as far as he could throw the stick into the lake????  Maybe, hmmm”.  Now multiply that by the number of sentences in the book. I think the book will only make sense after I find the treasure and then it will be like, oh yeah, I can see that.  Before that, it’s a massive waste of time.

Search area:

  • Treasure is in the Rocky Mountains, clues may be outside. Include areas bordering 4 states & Rocky Mountains

The first clue:

  • I only need a map for the first 2 clues, per little girl in India.
  • Map: Why has no one ever asked Fenn what kind of map we need to use? His poem shows a Benchmark map, but they only produce state maps. They also product Atlases, but he didn’t say all you need is an atlas. I have a strong feeling that Fenn owns very many detailed maps of many, many areas in the Rocky Mountains. Because I don’t want to invest in a bunch of detailed maps, I’m going to make a bad assumption that all I need is google earth and google maps. Someone needs to ask him about maps, although maybe they have, and I didn’t read it.
  • WW and WWWH:  WW is a name on a map, per little girl in India. I need to say this to myself 5,000 times. WW is a name on a map. WWWH may also be a name on a map, or it may be where the WW obviously halts visibly on a map. Don’t forget imagination – for example, Agua Fria peak makes for a nice potential WWWH.
  • Go through google earth and map out everywhere in the Rocky Mountains that has a name related to WW or WWWH.  It may help to go to the hot springs website & mark all hot springs (https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hot_springs/)
  • Google earth and google maps are a pain to use because it’s easy to miss areas when mapping out everything. I’ll use a benchmark state map to note where I’ve covered area on google.

Rest of the clues/poem:

  • Canyon down: For the first search, assume a canyon is a canyon.  This is probably the second clue, so will be a name on a map, or a canyon on an elevation map. Small chance it’s not a canyon, but don’t go off the rails on the first search. Down is either down a canyon wall, or it’s following the canyon floor as it goes lower in elevation.
  • Far but not too far to walk:  For the first search, assume 20 miles, which is a 5 hour walk at 4 miles an hour. It could be a higher number of miles, but it exponentially increases the search criteria. If first search fails, this is the first variable to increase and redo the search, to 30 miles, then 40 miles, etc.
  • Home of Brown: Start thinking geographically.
    • Most likely Not a name on a map, unless this is the second clue.
    • Geography: when most people think of geography, they think of physical geography, but it can also include human civilization & how animals play into it. Physical geography takes priority, but don’t discount the others.
      • Physical geography: There are so many brown things in the wild that it’s meaningless to limit by “thinking of brown things”. We know that Fenn knows about the paint color brown (ocher, sienna, etc.), per his writings. It could literally mean an outcropping or a current or past quarry/mine for the main minerals used to create artist’s brown paint. Limonite or an oxide or something. It’s unclear to me whether it’s just the treasure that isn’t in a structure, or if it’s all the clues. Outcroppings are probably more likely, but don’t discount quarries/mines.
      • People geography: the only thing I can think of are pueblos or pueblo ruins.
      • Animal geography: beaver dam, brown trout, maybe bison, etc.
  • End is ever drawing nigh: think geographically, use imagination
    • A draw can be defined geographically in terms of water, but to me, it makes more sense to use the definition as a sort of mini-canyon with 2 sides.
    • Nigh could be left, either go left or on left side of draw, or nigh could mean nothing
    • End could be end of draw, or nothing
  • No paddle up creek:
    • I can’t see this any way other than going upstream on a river/stream/creek. “No paddle” could limit search to places “too shallow to paddle” but if it’s not, I don’t want to limit my search. In nature, if you’re up a creek without a paddle, you find a pole and pole down.
  • Heavy loads and water high:
    • Physical geography load: I think it’s most likely a stream load. Either a heavy load bed (big rocks in it), or it’s a stream with heavy load capacity (like a braided stream).
    • Physical geography water high: High water mark doesn’t really make sense for fresh-water. Imagination: maybe a waterfall or a perch lake. My money is on waterfall.
    • Human geography load and high: Train tracks or past train tracks, maybe a heavy bridge. Maybe a water tower or similar. Could be others, but I’m thinking that Fenn likes wilderness, so I like physical geography better.
  • If you’ve been wise and found:
    • No idea what this means. Requires imagination.  I suspect this is Fenn’s “nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve”
    • Past tense probably means the treasure is somewhere on your journey — meaning, you determine where he’s talking about by the clues, but the blaze can be anywhere on the route after and including the first clue
    • Could be something complicated like you can only see the blaze when/where “fill in the blank” (looking down from a lookout point – being wise and all-seeing, when the sun is at zenith, etc.). I mean, maybe on the draw, you can see the blaze from far, far away, and the treasure is under the blaze. Find all possible places where other clues exist, and then use imagination to deduce wise/blaze.
  • The blaze:
    • Based on what he’s said about the blaze, and the within 500’/200′ comments, I’m guessing that the blaze is an unusual 4-sided outcropping of some sort, or maybe (doubtful) water. Trees and vegetation don’t last long enough, and really, what else is out there but mountains, rocks and water?
  • The treasure:
    • Don’t worry about the treasure, just find and identify the blaze. Per Fenn’s comment: “How far is the chest located from the blaze? Casey, I did not take the measurement, but logic tells me that if you don’t know where the blaze is it really doesn’t matter. If you can find the blaze though, the answer to your question will be obvious.”

Other Fenn hints about pine, sage, from the car in an afternoon, secluded enough area to let bones rest in peace:  Fenn is tricky, so don’t trust these during the above search. Only look at these filters when you have a short list of solves. Look at the closest roads and ranger roads to the treasure site.  This is Very helpful afterwards. For example, a lot of areas with glaciers are too many miles away from any road.







99 thoughts on “Poem, Map, Geography and Imagination…

  1. my take of Home of Brown is trees, wood.. Fenn keeps slipping and talking about pine trees and woods…

  2. This is great! Well thought out. Don’t forget imagination though. I noticed that imagination came last on the list of how you would be approaching this. After all, imagination is more important than knowlege….or knowledge.

  3. Hi Troy;

    Thanks fort the write-up. You have put in a lot of thought. Hope that you are rewarded for your efforts – JDA

    • As I wrote a couple years ago about HOB. I think HOB refers to aviation maps . The airports are encircled in brown. American Indians use a. 6 point navigation system. NORTH, SOUTH,EAST,WEST, UP,FOR SKY WHICH IS CALLED BROWN AND DOWN WHICH IS “BELOW SKY..OR EARTH. So, “Put in below Brown..is to land aircraft.
      Figure out what airport FF landed. He did say he felt most at home when he’d take off and fly 700 miles, radio silent. I found 700 miles due North of Santa Fe to an airport. Could be his HOB

  4. ANALYZING (mentioned twice in this blog post, but no other Bloom’s terms used in this post)

    A lowly Programmer Analyst II wants to know

      • Wow, that was a quickly delivered promotion, congrats! 🙂

        Fenn would probably give a cagey grandpa answer to your question.

        …and I was using “analyze” in the broader everyday sense of the word, as opposed to Bloom’s ISO-9000-like “let’s define everything to death” way. 🙂

          • yw, yeah, all of that ISO, TQM & CMM stuff…it’s still around in places, but imho back in the day it was for business process consultants to scam I mean help companies.

            I have nothing but respect for programmer analysts, married one in fact. lol. I’m a bus systems analyst/PO, and spent a long time before that in automated QA (“programmer lite”).

            …Realizing from the feedback that my approach is full of BSA cognitive bias: let’s decide on an approach, identify the unknowns and clarify the assumptions — gotta nail down the requirements, dammit. 🙂

  5. Nice write up, I think you’re on to something by simplifying terminology and letting your solve lead the way. I do think that disregarding the book may be a fatal flaw for anyone who truly plans to find the treasure. I absolutely believe that the book and the poem work together. It’s true that Forrest states that the clues in the book aren’t that organized but he constantly eludes to the importance of the book, of not just reading it but rereading it. Just in scrapbook 200, he seems to imply that if there isn’t an obvious treasure map directly in the book that at the very least the book is a map of sorts in itself. I think your entry level clues are contained in the poem but once you have an area I believe that all of the books have a major role to play. And not just with their words but equally the same with their visuals. I just happen to believe that things are placed so vaguely that you must have the correct starting point in order for the references in the book to ring any bells. But as I said, nice write up and thank you for sharing your thought train.

    • Wouldn’t one want to at least read MWFM chapter – maybe to understand the man?

  6. Thanks but that methodology is not imaginative enough for me.

    I want a puzzle that uses a key word and has lots of rules we need to learn and discover. The puzzle should be a word game that gives up secret messages out of the poem to help with the nine clues.

    The final solve should require multiple trips to the general area and lots and lots of hiking different sections along the way. The final solve should make a good story.

    I will be disappointed if the correct solution is just a matter of guessing spots on a map with no other contextual clues besides the poem and the guesser’s geographical genius and imaginative stretches. I’m pretty sure it is not but that’s just my opinion.

    Good luck with your quests everybody.

      • Guessing can help, as part of the trial-and-error process. It helped me.
        As always, IMO.

      • I think all theories require an hypothesis which can be tested and either accepted or rejected.

        You gotta start somewhere.

    • Muset,

      I am very much in tune with your initial comments, but why should multiple trips be necessary?

      My take away is that the correct solve should take one to a spot very close to the treasure box on the first trip, with that location solved for before leaving home. Once there, the final information needed to complete the solve will be evident on site.


      • Hi Astree,

        I think lots of hiking is required to produce lots of pictures and interesting things to comment about along the way for the story of the solve. If the winner is to write a good story, s/he needs a lot of material to distill out the best (interesting) bits and remove all those boring wrong turns and repeat trips.

        History will be an important factor because you cannot write an adventure story without setting the historic context of the place. I think people should be reading the history books of their general search areas.

        I disagree with your expectation for an evident ending because I believe there is additional secret information within the poem to guide the finder from the blaze to the chest. I think the chest could be 500 ft. or more from the blaze.

        Good luck this summer.

        • Hi Muset;

          Hate to disagree, but I am pretty certain that Indulgence is resting in a special place less than 50′ from the blaze. JMO – JDA

          • Hi JDA,

            I admire your tenacity and I think you must have enough material to make a great story. Now end it by finding that chest!

            But do start writing your story.. I found it helps to organize your thoughts. You may find yourself working a little harder to verify some of the small things that were mere assumptions beforehand.

        • Not every searcher has big plans to write an adventure story about
          the search for the treasure. But this may be important to FF. All

  7. It’s not imagination to think Brown means brown trout or “up your creek” means up your creek. No one will ever find the treasure reading the words of the poem literally. I am not going to help anyone solve the poem but IMO your approach is old and tired and been the dearth of many smart searchers who have thrown in the towel after wasting thousands of dollars. Don’t be like Dal…think differently…good luck.

    • Toughshed… I think you’re part wrong on that issue of “reading literally”. Just my opinion though. It’s a combination so to speak. Some words literally and others not so much.

  8. Troy, you speak of not using Mr. Fenns books and just the poem. That brings me to the question of how come you use and quote his comments as if they are only worthy of consideration. To me there one and the same and that makes your statement contadictive . It’s possible that you could just use the poem alone to find the spot, if so why read the book or buy it for that matter. He says to use the book for a reason. Geographically Yes alone maybe. But I wouldn’t put my bet on my solve alone.
    You may be surprised one day when you realize what’s in those books.

    Another question you may want to ask is. If Mr. Fenns treasure hunt inspires people worldwide to geography , culture, nature, what about history then why would he exclude those things from his poem.
    Without those things you have a whole bunch of nothing.
    This is MY opinion only IMO
    I wish you luck with your approach

  9. Thanks for sharing…
    You use the word “assume” a few times and “guess” once.
    I like educated guesses but “assume” and “assumption” may be more likely to be a mistake.
    “I am making a huge assumption”
    I think you need to refine.

    • I appreciate that word usage personally. Its honest. The only fact I have become sure of over the years is that my solve is buried under a countless pile of assumptions. My first assumption was that Mr. Fenn actually did what he said he did. Been trying to ride that one to the bank ever since.

      • There is no lack of honesty there and I respect that.
        I don’t think a “huge assumption” will help in any way but at least he knows it.

  10. I think the Book might be helpful if you reduce it down to say 6 or so words that capture most of what it is about.
    “down” could also mean south if you are looking at a map.

  11. Little Indy only had a map of the US Rocky Mountains. What if that is her problem?

  12. Troy-great site. Hot Springs County fits your ideas pretty nicely. I’m wondering if someone could flip a WW into an WM. Like WalMart or Montgomery Wards Or Wesley Merritt? Mirrors…to add to the difficulty.

      • Flip both of em – and you have M & M’s. They melt in your mouth and not in your hand…… And that’s a fact.

        This is interesting – so how come they don’t melt in your hand? “The crispy sugar coating itself has a much higher melting point than the temperature of the skin.” Remind you of anything?

  13. Yes Troy, very good write up. I always enjoy this level of thinking about the Chase. I thought I might add some reflection on some of the points you made.

    -You made a good point about this: There are many disabled people who are deeply into maps and geography, and they are having a lot of fun.”

    Given Fenn’s intentional vagueness, I am making a huge assumption that “having a lot of fun” means they have a chance to solve more than the first 2 clues and maybe figure it out.

    – – I would put it like this…given f’s apparent vagueness to some. It doesn’t seem vague to me. The group of people f chose to include in his answer are deeply into maps and geography. So, I think you’re right that they can solve more clues from where they live than “tlgfi” because they are using more detailed maps. Hence, them having lots of fun isn’t necessarily the highest height they can achieve but most likely just the start of things.

    -You said:

    Ignore the book: Fenn thinks the book would help, but I think it wouldn’t because it’s a vast sea of words and phrases to analyze and potentially get wrong, vs. a small poem.
    For example, take one sentence out of the book, idk, if he said, “I picked up a stick and threw it into my favorite lake.”…does this mean he hid the treasure at his favorite lake? Or should I pick up “stick creek” at a lake and go about as far as he could throw the stick into the lake???? Maybe, hmmm”. Now multiply that by the number of sentences in the book. I think the book will only make sense after I find the treasure and then it will be like, oh yeah, I can see that. Before that, it’s a massive waste of time.

    – – I also disagree with this math that some come up with to try and explain that they think it’s more efficient to just use the poem words (166) than the thousands of words in the book.

    Yes, there are more words and stuff to filter through. But, f has specifically told us that the hints in the book are aberrations…things that might trip up in your mind as you slowly reread the book. That cuts down significantly the amount of potential candidates for a hint. As such, your example of f writing “I picked up a stick and threw it onto my favorite lake” simply wouldn’t make the cut as a potential hint.

    The other side of the coin reveals that there are nearly billions of combinations of places that can be lined up while using the clues in the poem. There may be something in the poem (a hint) that leads one to the correct wwwh. I think it’s not a clue that will do that. It’s easy to reason with f’s persistence that the book hints can help with the clues that he feels the book hints are easier to figure out and use than whatever is available in the poem to do the same.

    – You said: But the blaze can be anywhere on the route after and including the first clue.

    – – I would take another option other than what you suggested. I think the blaze is revealed in the poem but that it can’t be revealed from the first clue or any other clue afterwards. Generally speaking, i think that because the clues can’t jump clues to give an answer for a later clue down the line. F gave us a couple of rules that the clues must follow: They are consecutive and help get a searcher closer to the tc. By combining those two thoughts, one can maybe see that the blaze can’t be revealed by any of the clues.

    I think blaze is revealed in the first stanza.

    • Hey Fundamental… some good ideas here…but Fenn never said the hints are aberrations. When asked how many hints are in TTOTC at the Moby Dickens book signing for TFTW he replied…”There are nine clues in the poem but if you read the book, uh, there are a couple. There are a couple of good hints, and then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edges.” This is a stark difference from what you are implying here. I also believe the blaze is in the poem…but not where and how you describe. That’s the great thing about this adventure… everyone sees and believes so many different things and I always marvel at that concept and how typical of life in general.
      I think you are spot on in describing the consecutive order and not jumping mishmash style. Have a good one…

    • Lets open the can of worms again, FD.
      Yep, we are told the book can help with the clues [ regardless of how each of us perceive exactly what that means ] And have been told; the clues must be followed in consecutive order, as well as, There’s no other way [ following the clues ] to fenn’s knowledge… Seemingly he [fenn] did the same when hiding the chest.

      Poem vs. Book;
      IF we are to truly move ahead and understand how those comments were meant… don’t we need to understand another comment; in part; “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem.” *Find* here is the magic word… I don’t see deciphered or solved clue references.

      Does this last above comment only mean the “information” in the poem will only “lead” one to the chest?
      Does it mean, every thing we need to *decipher clues* are in the poem?
      I know I keep jumping back to how searcher could “solve” “figure out” “indicate” ‘be at the first two clues’… but how did they really get there??? and still didn’t seem to know they did solve the first two clues.
      That sounds more like the book than the poem… Hint[s] that might have caught the eye of the reader, and/or aberrations that brought them to a place… never realizing exactly why this place, or why the first two clues are needed or to be understood to actually continue correctly?

      LOL I mean, fenn also stated some may have the first four clues solved… yet again, those folks don’t seem to know by fenn’s uncertain knowledge of what he read or heard about those folks with possibly 4 clues solved.

      Could it be, many rely on the book too much for answering/helping/hinting of clues and disregard the correct process of the poem as fenn might had intended?
      LOL four clues solved [ 1/2 way into the poem’s 9 clues ] and still, apparently, nobody knows it… when does it become easier?
      Better yet, *why* hasn’t it become *easier,* when some folks are correctly [ somehow ] indicated 1/2 the poem?
      I personally think…. the book confuses many of us, because we pay less attention to how the poem might play out… we are not “adjusting” well from the book to the poem… imo.

      • You are probably correct Seeker, many may rely too much on the book, and forget the poem.

        Not sure what the first four clues are, but my last two are:

        So hear me all and listen good,
        Your effort will be worth the cold.

        If you are brave and in the wood
        I give you title to the gold.

        The poem and the book may have gotten me to these last clues, but if one can not figure out these last four lines, IMO, success will evade the searcher – Including me.

        What does one need to listen for?
        What effort is needed?
        What is “cold”?
        Why or what is “brave”
        What is wood – (singular not woods plural)?
        What will be transferred from Forrest to the finder?

        Questions, questions, questions – JDA

        • Good point JDA, I have been headed down that path as well. Also, from Jump Starting the Learning Curve “So I decided to just do things my own way and to heck with what people thought. If they weren’t paying my bills, I didn’t have to listen to them, unless they were saying something I wanted to hear, of course, my father was paying my bills so I had to listen to him.”

          He is paying the searcher (with his chest) so we must listen IMO

  14. Troy,

    Get back in the box is one thing that Forrest and I agree on. I have really been out of the box when solving parts of the poem and for the most part I made things fit throughout my years of searching. Now I have figured out poem clues with help from something in the TTOTC book. The word that is “key”, and that hint helped with the first clue. Once I had that clue figured out the rest took some research of that area and I needed a botg recon trip to get 8 clues solved. ( what is the blaze?) For the most part these clue solves are pretty straight forward, but some searchers would not consider some as solves. In fact some searchers walked right by at least seven, why, because they did not understand the right possible clue solve answers. Their mindset had other solves for those clues. This chase is a process and hopefully you learn from mistakes made. Clue solves take you not only on the journey through the poem making a roadmap to the chest, but a journey through time and that adventure in it, this is the way I see it now.

    Yes, all you need is the poem, a “really” good map, knowledge of geography (you get that with research), and yes imagination (but in the sense of things you imagined when you were young, pre-teen, like Forrest has and has kept it with him throughout).
    So yes, the TTOTC book is helpful but you need to understand Forrest’s imagination and find it in the “word that is key”. To me this will put you on the right starting path IMO.

    Best of luck in your way of thinking.

    • Would you consider Google Earth to be a “really” good map?
      “Excellent research materials are TTOTC, Google Earth, and/or a good map”

      • Hi Jake;

        I have found that Google Earth is a really good map.
        I have found that Google Earth is a great foundation upon which other “really good map” information can be over-laid. So, Adding “Really Good Map information to a really good map (Google Earth) might be the secret combination, and why Forrest said “… Google Earth, and/or a good map”” – Who knows – JDA

        • Well, Fenn said “GE, AND/OR a GOOD map”
          “Really” doesn’t fit and I don’t see it in his premeditated comment.
          Fenn knows.

          Seems like we like to stretch things.

      • Jake, I tend to use itouchmap which is google I think. But with itouchmap it gives me a road map with place information spots, a satellite view with information spots, a topo map other types of place information. If that helps you.


          • Bur..itouch is great for a more comprehensive local use with more available info. Sometimes 2D is better than 3D…

        • I just think it’s “really” subjective to use the word “really” in this context when Fenn did not.
          At least I know your meaning of “really” now and it’s possible that any map is a really good map and is probably better than no map at all.

          To me from what Fenn said is that Google Earth is a good map to use as excellent research material.

        • “a map is a map. The more detailed maps are most useful if you have the right map, but I’m not sure I needed to tell you that.f”

          “if you have the right map”

          Could the right map be Google Earth?
          I would bet that many of these phone map apps use GE software if not all.

          • A good map would be a treasure map.

            If you are searching for a treasure.

          • The best map would be a map where Fenn hid his treasure and the closest thing to that is his poem.

          • Meadowlark – I agree. This one has a Map Legend or Key that reads:

            “A Scale of 3 English Miles”


            The map of Baker’s Hole Campground I just posted on the home of Brown thread notes that West Yellowstone is at a distance of 3 miles.

            And did I mention that a giant green thumb, pointing left, has its tip in the lower curve of my backwards bike S? Like the one Forrest used to cover Philadelphia, maybe?
            Maybe it covers the ‘National Treasure’, also. How many people can ‘keep’ a secret again, Ben Franklin? If how many are dead?

            I love good maps. Especially mytopo.com with Google Earth satellite view.
            Do we need special bifocals on The Chase, Ben Franklin?


          • Meadowlark – When they read the map with the combined Red and Green lenses of the Ocular Device, the hidden image on the document reverse turns Brown.

            Then there is;

            “Heere meets the Wall”

            Reminds me of;

            “So hear me all and listen good..”

            Here was the former name of Broadway, so:

            “Broadway meets the Wall”: the corner of two streets.

            Riverside > Boundary > West Yellowstone

            Brown’s Camp > Baker’s Hole

            Just wondering if Forrest used “National Treasure” ideas to write the Poem.


          • Correction: “Heere at the Wall”. And Heere was the former name of Broadway.

            After all, YNP was designed to be a National treasure, for the people, was it not?

          • Meadowlark – Forrest’s twist on Ben Franklin’s “secret” quote could be Ben’t to become:

            ‘Toucan keep a secret if one of them is dead.’

            Where is ‘Long John Silvers’ and his brother in “Treasure Island”?:


            Still thinking about Forrest and Skippy, and that Forrest said he should be buried standing up.

            How was Captain Kidd’s body displayed after his hanging?

          • Meadowlark – Didn’t someone say the two arms of Hebgen Lake look like the can opener in a pic in Forrest’s book? And didn’t Andy Warhol’s mother make art out of fruit cans? Did Andy add lillies around the circumference of his Cambell’s Soup Cans to honor her? And did Forrest do that ‘Two Can’ art piece in his Scrapbook to honor his mother, Lillie?

            And did Forrest say he had a Toucan or Parrot at one time as a pet?

            Aaaarrrrgghhh! I can’t find it!


      • A combination of google earth and mapquest maps worked well for me.

        If you’re not willing to use both of them, you’ll be at a significant
        disadvantage. Please believe this. All IMO (rules is rules).

  15. First, I don’t think: “Having a lot of fun” automatically means anyone is going to solve the whole poem since, Fenn also stated they can only figure out the first two clues with just a map.

    Second, look for the most obvious places indicated by the first two clues. I think I may have solved the first one, which may easily solve the second, both require a map to find. If, as I feel the first one is obvious, at least once one uses that one as a solve, then the second one logically fits the first one and that part is obvious to me it is merely found on a detailed map. But the second solve area may be much farther than a lot of people think it is from the first solve.

    From what Fenn has stated, it sounds like all one needs is the poem and detailed Google maps and enough understanding of the general formations of geography. But that a person still has to have boots on the ground after the second clue. Then the visual clues on site and the names and types of geographical terrain is needed to be seen in person to identify what the rest of the clues indicate.

    I don’t know about lakes or rivers, if any of them would be crossed once one gets off the road or jeep trail by vehicle, since Fenn stated it’s only less than several miles walk and it’s safe enough to walk, so no obstruction or need for water craft is indicated at that point.

    I do feel it’s a lot of work, but the main job is to figure out the first clue since, as Fenn has stated, if you don’t figure out the first, and as indicated in another thread, you wont be in chronological order to possibly find the chest.

    I’m no longer sure there is any point where there is anything other than a natural formation of nature to follow, including home of Brown. It may just be a name of a place like Browns canyon. Unless there’s a name for some natural aspect to animal vegetable, or mineral. But the chances might be pretty good if the first two solves are clear, then that one might become clear too. Unless of course the sequence of clues don’t follow in the order in the poem.

    Try to be as clear, simple and logical as one can be, while using imagination as you go along, like imagining a water fall when the sun shines through at an angle that, like a blaze shines down to where the treasure is. It would naturally be that kind of natural phenomenon that would inspire a person like Fenn to use such a spot to hide treasure and one of the reasons to giving that location the kind of significance it has for him. And if it can be secluded enough to prevent most adventurers from stumbling on it. But that might not be logical since people are drawn to phenomenon like water falls. Feel free to use imagination but I strongly suspect all the clues when actually solved are simple and head slapping moments. Moments when we make discoveries, we wondered why we didn’t figure it out right away. The clues are either intentionally misleading or made in such a way as to be obvious while not seeming obvious when one looks at in relationship to other aspects to the search.

    – FTF

    It’s a well crafted poem, or it would not take this long to find, yet it has to be simple enough or no one but a master mind would be able to find it. That is not how Forest Fenn thinks.

  16. @ken,

    I don’t think there’s a stark difference between what you posted and what I posted about the hints and aberrations. You didn’t mention what I posted about where f described how the hints may grab one’s attention- (42:30 minute mark) Moby Dickens Bookshop 11/2/2013…

    “there are no clues in this book, but there are some hints. What I tell people to do, if you’re really serious about looking for the treasure, get the Thrill of The Chase and read it. And then go back and read the poem over and over and over again. And then go back and read the book again, but slowly looking at every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain. That might be a hint to help you with the clues. Any part of some, is better than no part of any.

    Also, you posted this quote…There are a couple of good hints, and then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edges.

    This quote to me doesn’t preclude the good hints from also being aberrations because they are suppose to catch up in searchers’ brains somehow. I’d call that a good aberration.

    • Fundamental… could be as you say…then again I guess it all boils down to what a good hint is and what an aberration out on the edge is. I would say there is a definitive difference. Then again…because of the 100% failure rate… one could safely say everything is an aberration of sorts. One fact is…Fenn did not say the hints were aberrations.

  17. Lots of great questions there, JDA. My answers for summer, 2019 search to come.

    What to listen for: homophones in poem.

    Example: gone=GON . . . A word bit . . .

    What effort is needed:

    A 2 kilometer walk from trail to search location .

    What is cold:

    The singularity that is described by wwwh, down, put in, hob, etc . . . And the cold water source associated w water high, a separate place.

    What is brave:

    If you are B . . . Rave! Good on you!

    What is in the wood:

    A casket . . . Tombstone is the B lays!

    What is transferred:

    If the solution is good, Indulgence.

    My solution consists of two identifiable locations, each with an intended line of direction from said point. Distance of one line known. Elevation of intersection confirmed by “So why is it.”

    Is this concept correct? Who knows. Going to find out in a few weeks.

    Best to you, JDA.

  18. @Seeker,

    The reply button doesn’t work any more for me on my phone so sorry to post my response down thread.

    I understand the gist of your write up. It’s a good thing to consider. You make good points for why the book hints may muddy the waters for a searcher while trying to correctly figure out some of the starting clues.

    But, I feel a compelling case can be made that shows the hints aren’t the root cause of a few searchers not understanding that they have correctly figured out a few clues or preventing a searcher from even getting the correct wwwh.

    The few that correctly figured out 2 clues or possibly 4 but didn’t know it…It can be reasoned that the reason those few searchers didn’t know they solved the first few clues is because it’s exactly as f has said. One won’t know that (s)he solved the first clue until (s)he finds the tc. Probably the same for most of the clues.

    That doesn’t mean they won’t know they solved one or a few book hints. F has never said that so it can’t be assumed not possible.

    With that in mind, it can be reasoned that it’s the hints that are the crucial part of the puzzle because they are the only part of the puzzle that are non-subjective. The clues are subjective and therefore hinge on the easier hints to shine the way.

    • FD,
      Lets take some comments such as; not knowing the first clue is correct until the TC is recovered, and if you don’t find the TC go back to the first clue. Then we have; we need to nail down the first clue, or you have nothing.
      The point is; did searcher just guess where to go by something from the book? or did they figure something from the poem only?
      We have been told the first clue is a do or die scenario, and logic says go back to the first clue if nothing pans out. However, when does the idea of nailing the first clue down come into play?
      Fenn warned us; I warned the path would not be direct for those who had no certainty of the location beforehand, but sure for the one …
      This answer, in part, seems to say we need the *location of all the clues* “beforehand” to have a direct path [ to following the clues ] Does WWsH produce this “location” or is the ‘knowledge of the location’ to be understood before going to any clue?
      The question still remain, where does the information come from for this “location”… the book or the poem? [regardless of maps] [ you can’t look at maps or GE if you don’t know where the location of the hunt is… right?]
      Another-words; are the hints and aberrations *only* helpful in finding all the clues in a “location,” then we start deciphering references… once done with deciphering the poem as intended.. we hit the ground running.. and follow a “direct” path? Path; a course of action or conduct: method or strategy,… rather than only a movement / stomping of clues, following through an area.
      IMO it is possible that at WWsH a searcher need to be in a fix spot to start with. So if for example, a lake is WWsH… a searcher needs something to tell them stand here… *here is your starting point, line of thinking* Just being on site doesn’t seem to help much… right?
      IF correct, we need to ask why would fenn want us at that nailed / fixed spot? My assumption is; the spot allows NF, BTFTW to be understood as an observation for a clue references Hence “take it in” the canyon down visually sees hoB, line of thinking.
      And IMO, this is where all had left the poem by going to what they thought / saw as hoB, to physically put in near there… then went on for other hopeful clues.

      I still think “put in” and “take it in” are the observational part of the challenge, {clues still the same, only no movement involved}
      And if so, stanza 3 is npftm and the end [below hoB] is pulling [drawing] back to you, near you, nigh to you… to just HLnWH. At which point you should now be able to “Discover” the blaze { wise and found =discover. Knowing then what you have been looking for } and possibly why fenn couldn’t directly answers Becky’s question.

      We need the location of the clues first and foremost,
      Nail down a spot at WWsH,
      Observe where hoB is [ which may only be seen from a specific fixed spot at WWsH, following the clues backwards / drawing to HLnWH. Which imo, could be the spot at WWsH or within 500 feet of it. Leaving the idea folks figured the first two clues and unfortunately walked right passed the chest, maybe even the blaze as well. They left the poem to go to what they hope the next clues was, because of a simple misunderstanding of word usage from a physical trek vs. an observational plan.

  19. Forgot to mention that I believe the few searchers that figured out the first few clues and mentioned them to f didn’t correctly figure out the hints.

  20. Hi all, thank you so much for your thoughts on my approach. You’ve definitely poked some good and valid holes in my approach that I didn’t see.

    …I actually didn’t think Dal would publish this, I just emailed him and said that:
    * I took up this hobby a few months ago, and recently realized that actually Solving the poem would take way more time than I have for a hobby. I’ll still work on it for fun, but I doubt I’ll solve it.
    * I included my own rough notes on my approach, and told him he could ignore/read/publish them, maybe they’ll help someone else. They were a very rough draft on a spreadsheet, so my apologies for being poorly written.


  21. I’ve got a question for everybody,
    Does anyone believe and/or know that there is rock solid confirmation from something Forrest Fenn has said or written that will lead directly to or near the treasure location?

    It could be anything, anything at all. A hint or clue within one of his books, a phrase or term or word usage of Forrest’s, a photograph, something or someone Forrest has spoken about, anything at all.

    And if you do have rock solid confirmation, is it something you believe or is it something you know?

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.

      • Only with much needed research will the “word that is key” help with the first clue only, it relates to nothing else in the poem. It does relate in the TTOTC book where it is found. If you figure out that “word” then you will notice a couple of other hints in two different chapters comments that help (for lack of a better word) confirm the word that is key.
        Then if you can figure most other clue solves, which are straight forward after the first, you will notice a couple other hints that relate to the surrounding area(s) the poem takes you, also in the book IMO.

        Is the TTOTC book important and helpful? Yep
        This is what I have come to find.

        Don’t get me wrong you can make a guess at WWWH and hopefully it’s the right one. Then the other poem clues will show themselves with proper research plus a botg recon- (because two are not identifiable with research or a good map).

        Am I right about this who knows? but any positive info is better then no info.

        Good luck,

  22. Hi Troy
    That was a vary nice wright up you did but there’s a few things I would like to say.kept it simple.Don’t do brain surgery for a headache.read the ttotc its
    all right there in front of us.Clint

  23. To clarify my position on my previous post, I submit this.
    On tarry scant. 7/8/2013
    Q. What tips do you have for those wanting to find the treasure.
    A. Here is what I would do. Read my book in a normal manner. Then read the poem over and over and over slowly -thinking. Then read my book again this time looking for subtle hints that will help solve the clues.

    Sounds to me like a wise idea.

    Q. If in 500 years all a person has is the poem, and no back story: they don’t know “In the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe” or that there are nine clothes etc. could a person reasonably just use the words and the poem and find your treasure chest ?
    A. Thank you. Nope. Nope

    Between those two comments it seems reasonable that the book would be your friend.
    Not saying that Mr Fenn may have something entirely different in mind when he answered. All questions and answers are subjective and either are what they seem or not.
    This leads me to the conclusion that only breaking our minds free of the influences of others besides the one may leads us to the spot.

    You chose. IMO

    • Grasshopper,
      In that second quote Forrest says to read the book again, but only after reading the poem a bunch of times. To me that implies that if you’re on the right track with the poem, the book will then have something to add. If you’re not on the right track the book will probably still seem like it has something to add, but just because there’s so much covered in the book that connections to almost anything can be made. So I can see Troy’s point that the book is more likely to lead us astray since we don’t have any way to know whether we’re confirming a correct or incorrect start we’ve got from the poem.

      For me the best thing the book provides is a view into how Forrest thinks and acts. While I’ve found two things that I think are hints in the book, they aren’t as useful as the stories that give me a sense of what he might think and do.

  24. Seeker, I pretty much understand your approach that you described.

    I just think it’ll be much simpler than that. That’s a lot of detail to be dealing with while utilizing not many stanza lines of clues. There’s only so much detail f can cram in each clue line (if one believes each line is a clue).

  25. Thanks for sharing your notes Troy. I like the framework for keeping things simple and in perspective.

  26. Outstanding breakdown; thanks!
    Best filtering to ease the confusion on the whole search/clue process.

  27. Ignore the book at your own peril.
    F told us to read the book not once but several times..Why?? Certainly not because it can’t help us…this is the holy grail of the chase, the treasure map is among the pages if you haven’t noticed. .
    IMO of course…

    • Not to give away the big secrets.
      But. Thank you
      Someone else shares my opinion.

  28. Struggling a little with something folks. Forrest says “As I have gone alone In there” Do you think the “in” is a hint to his ‘get back inside the box’ as in something with 4 walls/barriers or might the “in” just mean “in” the general site-specific area? Any thoughts?

    • Hi Joe;

      I have no idea – BUT – in my solve it is both. One must go INto a box canyon, and one must also go INto a very small space in order to retrieve Indulgence (I hope) – 🙂 JDA

    • The only thing that is a struggle is reading overconfidence and slight disrespect. You have obviously overlooked imo one of the most important words to the whole poem . Which would also mean you have misquoted the author. So I would have to decline on the suggestion of getting back in the box because like I once told a friend two squares don’t make a rectangle …….. one must always think outside the box because a square is always goin to be a square

        • On a different note one should never force there way into any place to crawl into a box made of 4 barrier wall for indulgence when propper methods can be exercised all imHo

      • Yes traveler, thanks for the decline. No longer struggling. Finding some peace, humility, flame, reverence. Hope all is well with you.

  29. joe- my take would be “in” is about a site specific area that isn’t subjective. I think that’s what this all hinges on. Just my take.

    There’s only one thing f has relayed to us during the years of the Chase as being his best advice for serious searchers. His best advice has never changed despite what a searcher might claim. So, I don’t think “in” relates to “get back inside the box”.

    • FD – you use the word “hinges” – great choice of wording.
      And Joe – how big is a box?
      Everything has boundaries – except one’s imagination.
      Now in my O-pinion, it’s back to the drawing board……

  30. today is a day to remember to live for what we have gained not for what we lost or will loose
    but to remember those that have come before us to give us this days opportunity lo live in peace and that’s the big picture. ty to all of them Jeff Burch and Titan and my WIFE OF COARSE he’s getting old like the rest of us but day by day is best OH i forgot to say be safe out there.

    • Yep, had to take a little time off myself to think. Just got back from the local Memorial day parade and ceremony at the cemetery. What we have gained indeed jeff. I was in it for the gold but no longer. I have learned a lot from this chase but don’t want to post here. I think we all must learn for ourselves. It is more fun and more meaningful that way.

  31. Not sure where to share this. I have read the whole poem out like this but will share just the first part in case its junk lol. Eyes I have gone alone in there – in my mind – And with my treasures bold, I can keep a secret where, And hint of riches new and old. Imagination
    Begin it where war waters salt
    And take it tin the canyon – tin can- down,
    Not to far but tougher to walk.
    Put tin below the home of Brown. I have more, good luck!

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