Trying To Read Between The Lines…

bbyt
October 2019

By James Collier

 

Trying To Read Between The Lines

For this solve, I tried to keep things relatively simple. One day, about a month or so ago I was reading some replies on Dal’s blog. The discussion was in reference to some of the things Forrest Fenn has said in the past, as well as the 200ft and 500ft quote. I began to wonder why people were able to get within 200ft and 500ft of the TC, but not realize they were so close. How!? In almost 10 years, and the countless amount of searching, on top of the amount of people who have had very intellectual ideas, why has it not been found? So, I began to think. I sat around for an entire afternoon and asked myself the following questions:

 

1.How did people get so close and not realize it?
2.Why did FF tell people if you didn’t read anything else in the book, read “My War For Me.”
3.Why did ff tell a kid when asked if he thought a kid could solve it, “Yes, quite possibly one of the “smart” ones.”
4.Why did he say that “telling people when he found the location” would be too revealing of a clue?
5.Why did ff say there were clues “sprinkled” throughout the book but they weren’t deliberately placed to aid the seeker?
To answer these questions, I wanted to approach my next solve by simply sticking to the notion that all you needed was the book, the poem, a map, and an extensive knowledge of Geography. That’s it. Nothing else. I began this solve by taking Fenn’s advice and re-reading “My War For Me.” I went back to this chapter and tried to focus on what he was saying. I tried to find something that would punch me in the face. I tried to put myself in his shoes, and when I did, something stood out to me. After all of the narrow misses, the war, getting shot down, finding the soldiers grave site, what would I look forward to most? If it was me? I would look forward to nothing more than coming home to my family. Being done with it all and in the arms of the people I love the most. That day was December 22nd for him, and when he walked into his home it was Christmas Eve. This is what hit me in the face…the punch so to speak. “So what?” you might be asking. Well, let me explain as to why this was important to me.

 

This goes deep into question #3 & #4 above. Why would it have to be one of the “smart” ones? Why would the time he found the location be too revealing? I was wondering if there was place in the book he specifically mentions an age. I knew of one for sure, but I wanted to go back to the chapter it was in and read what was being said. This chapter in TTOTC is “Looking for Lewis & Clark.” Fenn states “I was thrilled and wished I could have been part of those great adventures. Sixteen-year-old kids are like that I guess.” Could this be the age he was when he found the spot? A specific age that would be too revealing? It was also in this chapter where question #3 came right back around to slap me in the face. On page 63, ff states “ A few days later with the luxury of hot chocolate, I made some notes that might be helpful to any future “SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD GENIUSES” who think looking for Lewis and Clark might be fun. “One of the smart ones,” “Sixteen-year-old geniuses.” There is no way this was a coincidence in my mind. It is because of this chapter I believe the “map” you need to have is very specific. The map you need is a map of the Gallatin National Forest. A map that will “come in handy later on.”

 

From here I went on a google search for a Gallatin National Forest map from the late 1800s-1940s. A map he might have used. It was then I found this map:
image1
When I found this map, my jaw dropped. Could he really have laid everything out for us? Is this the idea he said to his recollection no one has come up with for the possible solution? With this solve, the clues in the book tell you about the location, tell you about a specific time period, but they are separate from the poem. The poem is to guide you from a directional standpoint. The sprinkled clues are literally there to tell you about where you need to be once you follow the poem…IMO. He stated you could find the location by the clues in the book if you could “recognize them.” I also believe this is why he wanted the cover of TFTW to be very specific. I think the cover of OUAW tells something very specific as well.

 

Let me start with the Poem and bring everything full circle so it makes sense to everyone. Now for the explanation:
Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt: Madison Junction

 

Take it in the canyon down: Madison Canyon

 

NFBTFTW: The 10 river miles where he put the rubber dinghy into the Madison River and fished “downstream” towards Baker’s Hole.

 

PIBTHOB: I believe the home of Brown is Bakers Hole. But, we don’t put in there. We put in BELOW the home of Brown. This would be Barns Hole.

 

From there it’s no place for the meek: The meek will inherit the earth, so we are talking about water.

 

The end is ever drawing nigh: FF has stated if you follow the clues and can’t find it, go back to the beginning. I believe this is the meaning of Nigh (One definition states: Draw the covers nigh towards you). Pulling them up towards you before you go to sleep, so we are going back towards the beginning. Back towards Madison Junction.

 

No paddle up your creek: There will be no paddle because we are walking, and you are not allowed to have a boat/rubber dinghy in this section of river.

 

Just Heavy Loads and Water High: FF stated he liked to fish in the bends of the Madison where the water turned green and deep. He also stated he could throw a bike into water high. This is where we start to bring the clues from the book into the solve. Heading up stream from Barns Hole you meet an area considered “Riverside.” This is one area where stagecoaches use to bring people down to the water. Due to this, and the deep water in the bends of the Madison, this was my “heavy loads and waters high.”

 

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze: I believe what we are supposed to be looking for is some kind of “Star.” On a rock, on a tree, something. My reason for thinking this is because of the 3 Wise Men (More on that in a little). Also, because of the cover of OUAW. I thought he was telling us what we are fishing for is a STAR.

 

Now that we are here at this location, let me explain as to why I believe the clues in the book tell us about a specific time, a STAR, and the location.

 

Clue 1: Green Olives
Clue 2: All the references to the color Green
Clue 3: All the references to the color Red
Clue 4: In the chapter Gypsy Magic he stated the Gypsies came through town several times a year
Clue 5: All the references to food and baking
Clue 6: All the references to fire
Clue 7: The references to dancing (gypsies and fairies)
Clue 8: The darkness behind the gypsies dancing
Clue 9: The darkness of him in the cemetery looking up
Clue 10: Page 146 in TTOTC shows a man with an ax, standing with his foot on a stump around cut down trees. Darkness around him. Looking up towards a bird that looks like a dove, and behind it the head of a turtle (More on this in a minute).

 

I think these clues are telling us about a specific time. I then believe he created the cover of TFTW for the same reason, as well as the cover of OUAW. This brings in some of his scrapbooks as well. The Cloves (Scrapbook 49) His Peppermint and Spearmint plants in his yard (Scrapbook 146).  Imagination is more important than knowledge quote.

 

“Come on already!” you’re probably saying. There are some people speculating throughout the blogs that we need to be at a specific place, at a specific time, to see a shadow cast across something. I believe a specific time is correct, but not for that reason.
I believe, he is referring to the Winter Solstice and Christmas Time. The time he left the war was on December 22nd. He walked into his house on Christmas Eve and for the next month “the flourish of activities related to homecoming and reuniting with family and friends put my jungle thoughts on hold.

 

1.Green Olives and Green Olive Wreaths are associated with Christmas
2.Imagination is more important than knowledge (Kids have the most imagination around Christmas time).
3.Green and Red are the colors of Christmas
4.Gypsies celebrate the summer solstice and the winter solstice. They celebrate with fire and dancing just like in the book when they came to down several times a year.
5.The winter solstice is known for: celebrations of festivals, spending time with loved ones, feasting, singing, dancing and fires. It more often than not falls on the 21st or the 22nd of December
6.The bird with the turtle head behind it I considered to be a reference to “Turtle Dove.”
7.The dark night sky in the pictures: The winter solstice is the time when the day is the shortest and when your shadow is the longest (Back to the cover of TFTW (Cast a lonesome shadow across the Madison)
8.In TTOTC he talked about being in the middle: The winter solstice is also referred to as “Midwinter.”
9.The moon during the winter solstice is called the “Cold Moon.” Effort will be worth the cold.
10. Cloves are considered the Christmas Spice
11. Peppermint and Spearmint are candy cane flavors
12. I believe the Blaze is a star due to the three wise men following the north star to baby Jesus when he was born on Christmas. Also, why the stick figure is hooked on a star on the cover of OUAW.

 

This brings back the map above and “Christmas Tree Park.” Christmas Tree Park is entered right across the street from the Dude Motel. Referred to now as “Riverside Trail.” It takes you down to a gated off area that, if you go beyond the gate, leads you down to the area considered “Riverside.” You can also get there from Barns Hole, but the walk is a lot longer walking upstream.

image2aimage3

image4

This is what it looks like today

image5

The Entrance to the trail

image6
image7
I hiked around here for a good 4 hours. I did a total of around 9.4 miles and took some amazing pictures. I kept and eye out for grizzly bears while trying to find anything that resembled a STAR and came up empty. The only thing I fo und I considered “Interesting” was this:
image8
I didn’t want to mess with it because I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. There were rocks all around it, and my gut instinct was to leave it intact. It wasn’t a STAR so I left it alone. I came up empty handed, but the scenery and the sounds of the Madison River are something I will never forget. I still believe my theory make sense, but if it wasn’t for this theory, I would not have been able to see this amazing place. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:
image9
image10
image11

Heading towards Earthquake Lake once my searching was complete

image12

Horses near Red Canyon Rd. I wanted to check that road out due to FF stating they made their way up Red Canyon. Maybe on my next trip I’ll make the hike at the end of the road.

image13

This was around one of the deep bends of the Madison River, the guy was fishing into water that looked to be at least 15 feet deep.

image14

Another area between Barns Hole and Bakers Hole

image15

The Madison River before sunrise

-James Collier

 

 

 

 

43 thoughts on “Trying To Read Between The Lines…

    • awesome thinking glad you got up to that beautiful country i don’t believe the person that finds the TC will ever think to deep stay safe everyone remember the weather has no mercy. go prepared again be safe

    • Have you found it? Has anyone? I never said it was correct. It was IMO. I didn’t find it, but I do believe I’m close. Check out the star on chaos’ jacket in one of the last scrapbooks. ??? Coincidence?

  1. 1.How did people get so close and not realize it?

    — I believe that would be the case if a path were 500′ away, most likely a somewhat normal trail, and forrest knows that ‘x’ number of people use that path during the year.. and that searchers tell him that they went to go see such and such place… and the way to do that is by going along that “path” of some sort.

    — also take note, that in this scenario, one does not have to solve the first clue… the people who solved the first clue don’t necessarily have to be within 500′ for this scenario… and this is the most likely scenario…

    — the “person” that was 200′ away , i believe, only happened one time. (there may have been “other” people with this person) so “one time” means this group of two or slightly more people.. and I believe this happened as Cynthia related: the person knew ff and went to this place as a back story to knowing ff. and again coincidentally.. in this scenario.. the person(s) do not need to of solved any of the clues to do it… (if this was the case, and it most likely is, judging from Cynthia’s description of the telling of the story)

    2.Why did FF tell people if you didn’t read anything else in the book, read “My War For Me.”

    — I believe that he said this because he was very proud of that story..as he said so, and that saying that an observer should read it, only means that it is a very good story…. (remember the other quote, there are some hints in the book, but they are not deliberate hints.. that means all the stories, including this one)

    3.Why did ff tell a kid when asked if he thought a kid could solve it, “Yes, quite possibly one of the “smart” ones.”

    — I believe that he said this because it is possible for anyone to come up with the correct solution as long as they simply have the right thought. (by luck, or smarts or some other means).

    he is basically saying that you don’t need to research the history of the plow, or the printing press etc…, you just have to have the right thought(s), kids being less likely to “research” the color of tea for instance.

    4.Why did he say that “telling people when he found the location” would be too revealing of a clue?

    — This one is fairly obvious so I don’t need to say: “i believe”, if he told someone when he found the location, it is telling people which state the chest is in, because people know ff’s history and the dates that go along with that history.

    5.Why did ff say there were clues “sprinkled” throughout the book but they weren’t deliberately placed to aid the seeker?

    — This one is fairly obvious too, I believe he is saying there are no codes in the book, there are no clues in the book, and importantly what I think searchers miss is, there really are no “hints” in the book, because literally any “story” can be made into a hint by stretching one’s imagination… (although the hints would be obvious after the fact, guessing at a hint is like opening a map with your eyes blind folded, placing your finger on that map) and searchers sure stretch their imagination.

    — It could even be argued that reading the book may mess up one’s “thinking the right thoughts”, however there is at least a 50% chance of it also being better to read the book, then accidentally “thinking the right thoughts”… 🙂

    • These are some very good insights. I was trying to come up with a solve that no one might have thought about. He kept saying “if one is trying to keep it simple.” I was going with the notion that he laid everything out for us.

      I believe I found some information upon returning from my trip which helps with my search area. This area could be wrong, but only time will tell.

      I wish everyone the best and can’t wait to find out what the correct solve is if not mine. I have two more I can’t wait to share, but haven’t done BOTG for them yet. One is between Cody, Wyoming and YNP, and the other is near Gallatin National Forest.

    • I think EVERYONE who says the clues were not deliberate has totally misinterpreted the ATF. He was asked if there was a clue per chapter, and he replied they were not deliberately placed. They are not “accidental clues”.

      Dear Mr. Fenn, We are a group of avid elderly bridge players in San Diego who after reading your book hope to find your treasure. We are not into poetry as much as the memoir. We realize the clues are in the poem, but were wondering if there isn’t at least one clue in each chapter. Thank you for a great book. Sincerely, Emily.
      Emily, All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search. F https://dalneitzel.com/2012/01/26/is-the-book-important/

      I mean, come on, he says in the book that there are subtle clues sprinkled in the stories. (page 133)

      mBG

  2. James,

    Nicely done. I do believe Forrest has said in the past that it might take a couple of trips to your spot before you figure it out so tenacity could well be the deciding factor. Keep up the good work and lucky you for finding the beauty of the Chase.

    Great pictures! I have my fair share as well and that’s something that nobody can ever take from me….my memories!

    Once again, well done and thank you for your insights. God bless! Good luck! And stay safe!

    ByGeorge

  3. James, I believe you are closer than anyone has come to locating indulgence.
    One thing that caught my eye is the sign with the hiker. For some reason I can not put my finger on it resonates with me, perhaps my mind is reflecting on TFTW cover.
    Kudos to you for a well-documented search.

    Best wishes to all
    HDD

    • Thanks for the kind words. Something I just noticed on the map which I didn’t pay close attention to before…FF stared he could go “right straight to it.” Look wha this below WINTER on the map. An area just called “STRAIGHT.”

      Hmmm

      • James Collier – Thank you!!!! Such a great solve, with that amazing map and beautiful pictures, too! Wow!

        I am confused about the location of Christmas Tree Park, though. On this Brown 1895 state map, it doesn’t look to be in the area of the Riverside Trail and the Barns Holes, near the West Entrance:

        https://www.mapsofthepast.com/yellowstone-national-park-wyoming-map-brown-1895.html

        Hey! Dal! – Isn’t that the same Brown, who made the 1912 map you found with Brown’s Camp at today’s Baker’s Hole location on it???

        Thanks for helping me find that map, James! We are planning another BOTG trip soon, to catch the Fall run of Big Browns on the Madison.

        And I am really curious if there is an Inscription on the bottom ‘scant’ in that rock Cairn you found. Was that next to the Madison at the end of the Riverside Trail???

        Possible hint for you:

        The STAR is always placed at the tippy top of the Christmas Tree.

        • James Collier – Great YNP archaeological article, which mentions there was, in fact, a Riverside Military Station:

          https://www.nps.gov/articles/archeology-historical-archeology.htm

          So, I am thinking that Christmas Tree Park “reserve”, mentioned on your postcard pic, was HUGE! And the access to it, as stated, was on what is now the Riverside Trail in your pictures and on your maps.

          My 1895 Brown map shows a clearer picture of where that ‘Straight’ Creek or River is located. I want to investigate that ‘Wagon Trail to Beaver Cabin’ in my general search area, which I have never seen before. My fly fishing librarian friend may have started up that road, back in early Spring.

          • James Collier – I mentioned that I have a vertical rectangular grown over blaze on my Ponder•O•S•A pine, marking my hidey spot at Baker’S Hole. In trail speak, that symbol means, ‘continue straight’.

            So, maybe, Forrest meant:

            Go right….straight…to ‘IT’?

            That would take me across the Madison, then from that tree blaze, straight forward, toward my ‘IT’; the Madison River. Cool.

            I have considered that blaze might be an old property boundary marker, though:

            https://northernwoodlands.org/articles/article/reading_your_boundaries

            And your Cairn you found might be one, also, apparently.

          • Lisa,

            I was told by three different rangers at the station west entrance that it was Riverside Trail entrance across from Dude motel. It goes all the way down to where Riverside is shown near the water on the Madison. See picture that shows the gate. You can get to that gate by taking the first left after entering the park from west Yellowstone. The road that leads to Barns hole. You don’t HAVE to enter through WY across from the Dude.

            I was looking up and down and didn’t see a star anywhere. In (scrapbook 209 I think it was) with Chaos, look at the left breast of the jacket. Seems out of place to me. IMO.

            This might be giving up too much information, but those dolls remind me of a play. In TTOTC Mr Fenn talks about Shakespeare and “All the worlds a stage.” That specific work is laid out EXACTLY like FF book TTOTC.

            I think I missed a really specific clue and needed to cross the river.

          • I didn’t touch it at all. I kind of wish I did now. Oh well.

            Yes, if you park at Barns hole and start heading upstream, following the path people created by walking, you will run right into it.

          • James Collier – We had a picnic at Barns Hole #1 at that bench, but didn’t walk upstream to that Riverside Trail end, along Cable Car Run (where Cable Cars were used to cross the Madison River, btw). That is where we proposed that Forrest ‘put in’ with his dinghy, in the TFTW preface. We will walk down/up between those spots this trip, and look for your Cairn to investigate.

            And about that Star blaze… Sheriff Longmire makes ‘Order’ out of ‘Chaos’:

            http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/longmire/images/38993238/title/longmire-poster-photo

            So did the YNP military, at the former Riverside Military Station. I think that Star on Chaos is original.

            And my friends at the local Overland store have a Longmire poster on their wall. Because they provided that coat he always wears in the series. Apparently, they are now doing some of the costumes for “Yellowstone” with Kevin Costner. All the world’s a stage…

            Thanks for the tip about the structure of Shakespeare’s play and TTOTC. “Life is like a walking shadow…” there’s another Shakespeare reference for you. The book, “The Sound and the Fury” has a shadow on the cover with that Shakespeare quote inside. Made me think of the TFTW cover. Maybe my backwardS bike ‘S-curve’ blaZe/blaSe at Baker’S Hole is a tacit ‘Ode’ to the ‘S’ in ‘Shakespeare’?

            Maybe we should all “listen good”?

          • James Collier – I saw some parallels to “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” in Forrest’s stories. Like when the Jolly Green Giant helicopter rescued him. And there is an axe and a Green Chapel in that story (brave and in the wood?). I believe December was important, also:

            The pentagram plays an important symbolic role in the 14th-century English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in which the symbol decorates the shield of the hero, Gawain. The unnamed poet credits the symbol’s origin to King Solomon, and explains that each of the five interconnected points represents a virtue tied to a group of five: Gawain is perfect in his five senses and five fingers, faithful to the Five Wounds of Christ, takes courage from the five joys that Mary had of Jesus, and exemplifies the five virtues of knighthood.

            A STAR blaze?

  4. The first question I was curious about, that a limited number of people found the right area to start. If we knew that, we’d be able to find it without a long complex process.

    If a kid could find it, smart or wise – I’m guessing wise, since I gather it’s a logical step by step process to finding the treasure by way of the poetic clues, not because the child would have an extensive knowledge of geography. My guess is it’s basic understanding of geography needed, instead of some complex understanding of geography.

    Another question I have is why between 5,000 to 10,200 feet in altitude, if it’s a given that it is not 5,000 feet in altitude, I wonder if that means the treasure is closer to 10,000 feet in altitude if coming out of the cold is a literal clue? I also wonder why look in the Yellowstone area, since it’s the most obvious place to look and most people are looking there anyway?

    The number 2 question intrigues me, I didn’t know about that one.

    Number 4 is a good question, but not sure how that helps since till one figures out the clue one may never be able to figure that out. I wondered exactly when the treasure was hidden, if it was hidden after Brown’s Canyon Colorado was made a national monument. I have often wondered about that place and name, yet it’s a vast area.

    I have a lot more questions, but not yet sure how they all fit together, or if I am even asking the right questions. I have a possible solve for the first clue, but a lot of research may be needed to make it a solid solve. FTF

  5. Great thoughts and the best answers to many questions. Beautiful photos. I’ve always liked this area of the Madison because I think Forrest thought it to be his own. Bravo best wishes.

  6. That’s the 1886 Powell map, and its western edge is just after grasshopper bend and long riffle around the bend downstream from the 7 mile hole.
    Look at my link to see it compared to a USGS topo map.

    Christmas tree park as marked on that map is north and a little east of Madison Junction at Mt Holmes. It is WAY into the park and North of West Yellowstone. (Look at where Mt. Holmes is on a USGS map)

    mBG

    • I went to the park ranger station and talked to a couple of lake rangers as well as the man in charge of backwoods hiking. All of them told me the entrance to where Christmas Tree park used to be was across from The Dude motel. So if I was wrong about location, they sent me there.

      Compared to the postcard, it looked pretty identical. Idk.

  7. **** **** **** ****
    3.Why did ff tell a kid when asked if he thought a kid could solve it, “Yes, quite possibly one of the “smart” ones.”
    **** **** **** ****

    I know it’s nitpicky, James, but given that the treasure “map” is made of words, then words matter.

    Here’s the actual Q&A

    Q – 1)Do you really think that kids can solve your poem?

    A – “I think the smart ones have a good shot at solving it.” ff

    https://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-questions-and-answers-on-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-with-forrest-fenn-%EF%BB%BF/

    Don’t think it changes how you used it, but why risk someone else then paraphrasing your paraphrase and putting new quotes around it until it morphs into something like “smart kids might not be able to solve it” or “probably only smart kids can solve it.”

    (And sincere apologies if there’s actually a different context where ff said it just the way you quoted it; I couldn’t find one, but that don’t mean it ain’t out there somewhere.)

    • Appreciate the correction on the quote. You’re right, need to make sure it’s not altered as the message can get lost in translation

  8. James so well done! great pics too.
    I am not sure if I would swap my solve for yours, but it is so convincing.
    My concern is , you went back to the begining before you used up the clues!
    Maybe straight plays a part and you arrive or see something else.
    Also it is a road well travelled, so you may need to find the point at which; if it is so, 200ft became 12ft, and make it 0ft.
    Good luck and if any one uses this I hope they remember the hard word and honesty you have put in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *