Be Water…

of34October 2019

By CrazyFox


Boots on the ground (BOTG) was always the fun part for me.  I don’t know how many searches I’ve been on and it never really mattered if I was even close to the treasure or even in the right state.  It was all just an excuse to get out in the wilderness and hike around and explore new areas and have some fun pretending I was going to find the treasure.  But eventually I had to stop doing that because it got to be an expensive hobby and I couldn’t afford to just keep driving around the Rocky Mountains on a wild goose chase looking for gold, no matter how much fun I was having.  But the poem had become stuck in my mind, playing over and over in an endless loop, even when I was hiking outside the Rockies.  Somehow I had become obsessed.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was a crazy idea that Forrest even hid a treasure valued that high somewhere out there.  I mean what if someone accidentally stumbled across it and found it without even having any knowledge of the poem.  Or what if a park ranger in Yellowstone found it and then what…the government takes it?  I would think that would be the last thing that Forrest would want to happen.  So, at some point I had a shift in my thinking.  I began to think that maybe the treasure chest wasn’t actually hidden out there in the mountains and that maybe the poem was just a riddle to be solved mentally.  Does that sound crazy?  Anyhow, this solve is a mental solve only, using imagination.  All I ask is that you read my solution with an open mind because my solve is pretty far out there.  After almost a decade, still no one has found the chest with traditional thinking…with BOTG mentality.  So, I’m thinking outside the box.  Way outside the box.

Forrest used the word “good” in the poem, instead of using the more grammatically correct “well”.  Is there some reason we have to be good?  Forrest spent a long time writing the poem and I’m sure he chose every word carefully, and if he used the word good instead of well, then I’m sure it must have meaning in the poem.  The treasure chest is said to have possibly once contained a bible, so maybe there is a connection to the word good and maybe morality plays a role in the poem.  In The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC), Forrest mentions Catcher in the Rye in the chapter titled “Important Literature”.   Forrest thinks the book is about him and says that it was “my very own story line”.  The title Catcher in the Rye comes from a song that the main character hears and misinterprets.  Holden (the main character) wants to “catch” children in their uncorrupted innocence before they “fall” into adulthood, or in other words to protect innocence from the corrupting influence of experience.  So is there a “fall” in Forrest’s poem?  A fall from grace and Forrest wants to be the “catcher”?  “And take it in the canyon down”…that canyon leads to hell!  In Forrest’s poem we have the line, “There’ll be no paddle up your creek”, which to me, sounds like we may be in trouble…we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle (because of our sinful ways…we have fallen).  

In Important Literature, Forrest doesn’t really care for The Great Gatsby, a cautionary tale with themes of decadence and excess.  And when Forrest talks about For Whom the Bell Tolls, he’s describing a completely different book.  Death is the primary theme in For Whom the Bell Tolls and is the primary theme of Forrest’s poem in my opinion.  In Forrest’s poem he writes “the end is ever drawing nigh”.  That line always sounded a little ominous to me.  I think he’s talking about the end of life.  We have the double omega at the end of the book.  Omega means the end so the double omega would mean the end of the end…or a new beginning.  In my solution, the first omega (or the first end) represents a spiritual death and the second omega represents a physical death.  On page 15 in TTOTC, forrest says “that before too long I’ll make my last flight to where even memory itself will never have been”…the last flight, meaning death and his spirit flying up to heaven.  On page 142 he writes, “Today I looked up in the sky and saw that I shall never die”, meaning that the physical body may die but the spirit lives on in the afterlife.                 

The quote that Forrest mentions from the T.S. Eliot poem says, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.  Basically the quote is saying that we are going to end where we start.  But how can that be?  Are we going in a circle?  Yes, two circles.  Two cycles.  Two omegas.

I started out by looking for the blaze first because that’s the trail marker.  That puts you on the correct path.  “Begin it where warm waters halt” is not the beginning of the poem.  We need to start at the beginning of the poem where the keyword is located in the first stanza.  He tells you that he’s giving you a hint, in the line…And hint of treasures new and old.  The keyword is old.  Start out by looking for the blaze…just heavy loads and water high…that’s the blaze.  It’s not a waterfall, that’s the wrong direction…your arrowhead should be pointing up!  When Forrest fell from the sky after being shot down, he was saved by being pulled up.  That’s the direction you want to go after you die…up, not down to hell! 

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold

I can keep my secret where

And hint of riches new and old

The keyword is old.  He’s talking about Old Faithful in this first stanza.  Don’t think of “I” as meaning Forrest speaking to you, think of “I” as Old Faithful speaking to you.

As I (Old Faithful) have gone (erupted-the water is gone, it has left the chamber) alone in there

And with my treasures bold (This is the blaze, the water in full display-the eruption).

I can keep my secret where warm waters halt (which is in the clouds, or in heaven).

New and old…new eruptions, old eruptions. 

Okay, I guess I need to explain WWWH (where warm waters halt).  Hot water comes out of Old Faithful and most of the water falls back down, except for the finite particles (the steam or the mist) which rises due to temperature.  The mist is the warm waters, which rise until they reach the colder air high up in the sky.  That’s where warm waters halt and clouds are formed.  The clouds represent heaven and the mist represents a spirit that reconnected spiritually with God.  More on that later.  We need to start at the beginning of the path.  So we begin it WWWH, or in other words, in heaven.  We start in heaven and God gives us life to begin. 

And take it in the canyon down (ATIITCD).  Those of you who are familiar with the searcher who goes by the name Seeker, may remember Him talking about “take it in” to mean view.  So we take in the view.  We have to view the path, that is, we have to visualize the path in our mind’s eye only (imagination) since the path takes us underground.  And we’re going to take it (the water cycle of Old Faithful) into the canyon down.  Water is a symbol of life across many different cultures.  So in the poem, life is symbolized by the water which I’ve already pointed out by saying that the mist is symbolic of a spirit going to heaven.  So as the rain (or snow) comes down, this is the “fall”.  As we go through life, we fall into sin, because let’s face it, we’re all sinners.  

Not far, but too far to walk.  Hell is too far to walk, and we won’t be walking at all since this is a mental solve, no BOTG needed.

Put in below the home of Brown.  The home of Brown is Earth.  Earth is not capitalized when preceded by “the” – for example, everything on the earth, as opposed to everything on Earth (with no “the”).  The poem doesn’t say put in below the home of the brown.  That’s why he capitalized Brown.  So the canyon down, is below Earth.  In TTOTC on page 48, Forrest says after washing dishes all day… “My hands turned white and had deep canyons in them”.  So the canyon is small, or starts off small, just a little crevice where the water seeps down underground.

I’ve made a rudimentary drawing to help you visualize my solve.


So what I’m saying is that the poem takes us through two water cycles of Old Faithful.  These two cycles are the double omegas.  From there it’s no place for the meek.  So the water seeps down the crevice (the canyon down) and into the chest.  So, we’re at the gates of Hell (the magma chamber) now, and that’s just too far to walk!!!

The end is ever drawing nigh.  So it’s a cycle that repeats itself over and over and we continue to sin and put ourselves in Hell.  We need to break the cycle!!!  That’s why Forrest used the word “good” in the poem instead of using “well”.  We have to be good unless we want to end up in Hell!!!

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  That’s the constrictor that the water is forced through.  So basically we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle if we don’t change our evil ways!!!

Just heavy loads and water high.  This is the eruption of Old Faithful.  Water is spewing everywhere like the tears we’ll be crying from a life of sin.  We hit rock bottom because of our immoral ways and there’s only one way to go from here…UP!  Water high…meaning WWWH…we’ve had a spiritual death and now we reconnect with God.  

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.  Wise, because we need to see the error of our ways before we die and end up in Hell.  Look quickly down your quest to cease.  This is the start of the water cycle again for the second omega, or the rest of our lives, hopefully by now, living a more spiritual life.  I think the second omega represents our physical death.

But tarry scant.  So now we are in between eruptions.  We’re down in the water chamber (the chest) and we have to wait a while but not too long, for the water to fill up the chest again and for the eruption to happen.  We don’t want to tarry down in Hell.

With marvel gaze.  So is the marvel gaze hell?  From TFTW (Too Far To Walk)  I believe the last chapter is about the marvel gaze.  He’s looking into the mirror at a younger version of himself and in the mirror poem on page 259 he’s not happy with the looks of his old age (hell) and he asks the mirror to change his looks to twenty-three, his ideal age (heaven).  Then in the mirror poem he says “Maybe we can compromise, If you’ll just make me forty-four” (the middle…between heaven and hell).  So the marvel gaze would be the eruption itself (the blaze).  So we’re down in hell again because we’re all prone to making mistakes.  But this time we just tell the devil to go squat in a cactus patch and get the hell out of there!  

Just take the chest and go in peace.  This is the second eruption or the second omega (our physical death).  The double omega means the end of the end…or a new beginning.  We die a physical death but our spirit travels up to heaven!  Hallelujah!

So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?  The answer/s I already know I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.  So we know why Old Faithful erupts and after every eruption it is “weak” until it fills with water again and the cycle continues.  Plus, Old Faithful is slowing down…it’s not quite as faithful as it used to be.  Is that what’s happening in today’s world…we’re not quite as faithful as we used to be?  I’m not a religious person ( I don’t use the Bible to connect with God) but I am a spiritual person and I connect with a higher power through meditation.

We all know that war is hell.  And it’s possible that Forrest views war as a sin.  In “My War For Me” (in TTOTC), on pages 81 and 82, Forrest writes about a mission where he comes across a large group of people and he has to decide if it’s a legitimate target or not.  He describes the utter chaos, the panic, the terrible fear of the people below him.  Forrest said he felt ashamed and started crying in his oxygen mask.  He says, “Suddenly, I hated Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara and all of the other politicians who were sitting in their fat offices at home, totally oblivious to what war was really like.  I think war was a spiritual death to Forrest.  

So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.  Of course we can all hear when Old Faithful erupts and you already understand now why he used the word good instead of well in the poem.  And worth the cold, of course, is where warm waters halt…up in Heaven. 

If you are brave and in the wood…well, I have to be brave to write something as outrages as this!  And this seems to be the place to post it.  Home of Dal is in the wood because that’s where Forrest’s posts all his Scrapbooks.  

I give you title to the gold…this of course…To the Gold… is the title of Forrest’s poem.  What do you all think?








35 thoughts on “Be Water…

  1. I think that it’s fine to draw another interpretation out of the poem in addition to locating the treasure chest, however I do not agree with throwing out the idea that the poem leads to a physical location where a physical treasure chest is buried.

  2. Interesting. In your rendition i guess u could even say warm waters halt during childbirth too. Your water breaks and u leave the mothers womb being born. I don’t know maybe it was written to be both a spiritual and physical journey.

  3. I was listening to the CBC last week and they were talking about artificial intelligence. The expert interviewee helped the listeners by defining intelligence. He said intelligence is the ability to discover and determine the rules and apply them to resolve a task.

    I think imagination is a great way to brainstorm the rules, but in the end, the rules need to be discovered and applied systematically.

    • Muset, that’s perfect! Would you mind if I plagiarize this for something I’m thinking about writing? Something akin to Forrest Fenn Treasure Search for Dummies. Perhaps we can work together and come up with just that for publication.

      • It’s not mine to give and I’m already a pirate so go for it.

        I’m already self-convinced on a spot and just waiting for July to test the latest iteration of my own story already half-written. Chances are it won’t be the last attempt and that story will continue to be continued.

    • Muset, I concur. The searcher’s first task is to discover the rules of the Chase. Only then do they have any chance at all of finding the treasure. IMO that is.

  4. You asked for an opinion so here’s mine. I can’t possibly comment on everything you said. I’ll just pick the omegas that people seem to believe is a hint. The name of his publishing company is One Horse Land and Cattle Co. Back in the day, printing was done with physical type. The character that looks closest to a horseshoe is the Greek letter for an upper case “o” or omega. There are additional reasons I won’t bore you with for why Forrest may have used two omegas. The fun reason is the opening credits for the show “Mr. Ed”. Just go on YouTube and start watching an episode. You’ll see the double horseshoes. By the way, Mr. Ed was a product of George Burns’ production company.

    There’s little more I can do to convince you other than pointing to the poem itself. “nigh”, “blaze” and “halt” are all words associated with horses (halt is a maneuver for trained horses). On a side note, I’d like to point out that Forrest is aware of the way people have interpreted the omegas and may have adjusted by using only one with his last book of memoirs. This may be because there just happens to be one figure eight on the route from clue one to the treasure.

    Here’s the obligatory IMO though that should be obvious.

  5. Standing ovation. You nailed it. I was going down a similar mental solve just the other day with Old Faithful. Yours is way better.

    • Home of Dal ? Interesting, though you did use your imagination and that’s what Forrest wants us to do rather than knowledge.
      I do love your wwwh.
      And your imagination.

  6. I had a thought that as I have gone alone in there meant into his attorney’s office or some trusted place like a church. And you had to do a good deed like make a donation in Forrest’s name. Like Prof Marvel aka the Wizard of Oz says to the Tin Man “Good deed doers” because he can’t pronounce philanthropists.

  7. Very interesting, I like it. I don’t know if that’s exactly what Forrest meant, but it’s a fun use of imagination. This does help illustrate maybe what Forrest means by looking at the big picture.

    I don’t know and maybe that’s the best approach of all, ‘not knowing’ and being OK with that. to dare explore life as it actually is. Be nice to find the material treasure, But maybe that’s just a means to a greater end.

  8. The beginning, the middle, the end, or as it is viewed in many cultures, the circle of creation. The poem also speaks in vague gesture to the nine virtues, hence, another reason for nine clues. There is great lesson in the poem.

  9. Crazy Fox, your absolutely crazy!!! I love it.
    Good job. Very interesting. You win. 🙂

  10. CrazyFox
    are you outrages,,,I think not
    I see you as brave
    many will think ,,,,,,I know where the chest is,
    and someday soon I hope will find it.
    seems like brave searchers hang in there.
    never giving up.
    thats who will find the treasure.


  11. Dance your own dance, sing your own song, Crazy Fox.
    “He who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints.”

  12. That’s exactly how you should look at his poem.Let me give you an example .Forrest says “Why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek”. “That eye” is not his eye! Maybe it’s a eye on a rock or canyon wall.

    • Now let’s take it a step further,The eye on the pyramid of the Washington dollar bill is God’s eye , now we might not be looking for the I but the pyramid on which it sits! Doesn’t an eye have a blaze.Just food for thought

  13. I believe that the poem is meant to be a physical AND a mental journey to enlightenment or the ultimate serenity. I also believe you won’t find this until you arrive at you destination and SEE IT! Not just with your eyes, but your mind, body, and soul! This is why I choose to go to put my BOTG alone, with no distractions. I hope to find what I seek, but I don’t expect it. Spiritually it can only happen, when it happens! And that my friends, will be the Ultimate Serenity!!

  14. A lot of good ideas here. I think it might be simple as men are alpha (his generation) and women are omegas (his 2 daughters and his wife).

    I only think this because my stepfather who is Forrest’s age (87) had some panicked conversation with me a couple of years ago telling me he wasn’t ready to let go of alpha status. Imagine how confused I was…generational lenses. I think I told him he doesn’t have to let go until he is ready but honestly I will always wonder why it mattered so much to him.

  15. CrazyFox, that was quite a long, detailed message. For those of us who are not into “religion”
    or “spirituality”, we may not have been as “moved” by your posting as you would have liked.
    But thank you anyway. I hope you were not trying to tell us that there is no real physical chest
    of goodies (gold, jewelry, etc.) to find after successfully solving the poem. As always, IMO.

  16. Dear Crazy Fox, I will give you an opinion of your analogy, and before I do I would like you to know that you are obviously an intellect.

    What I see is thinking outside our normal Geographic Sphere, not that the conclusion of your thoughts isn’t Geographical, it is and is a Marvel Gaze, how that relates to the morality or message in the poem is how you vision certain expressions, and it is easy to see and how you arrived at the conclusion ….Old Faithful.

    Just a small problem exists though, and here is the nickle version; IDIOMS, they are all over this poem, and each one has many frames of reference to each one of us, if a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (example: raining cats and dogs. or see the light ) also and most important is the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings. example:
    “she accepted his expressions of sympathy” That is not an idion, but it expresses a feeling, right?

    Now the particulars of this poem say to you one thing and to me another, for example, I am 72 years old and have live in New Mexico for most of those years, and long before this poem was written I was well aware of the term “Where warm waters halt”, Forrest did not invent it, but he probably has re-defined it in a unique way, as a (new) idiomatic expression which if we are to believe ff, is probably a known geographic/geologic expression like a Basin, say the San Juan Basin or Madison River Basin …perhaps knowing or seeing in 1972 that fishing term written in the Game and Fish Proclamation, which when I was very young, long before ff used it, but Forrest, who fished NM had to learn it too, it said those specific words to denote when the regulations changed from Warm to Cold water Species and this exact wording was on each river at an exact place in New Mexico’s mountains: “Where Warm (Regulations) Water Halt, Cold Water (Regulations) Begin. So in order to HALT, something new has to begin, a canyon down. Does a Basin have a drain?

    How many IDIOMS are there in this poem, and how did Forrest re define them? Know the man and know the plan.

    From there it’s no place for the meek, idiom, meaning? Wilderness? What did he mean FROM THERE? From where? Below the home of Brown…put in.

    The end is ever drawing nigh …idiom Final Destination like a train ride.

    Here is another, No paddle up your creek? Is it dry, like the village in NM Arroyo Seco?

    At this point ff is creating idioms, can you spot them and define their meanings?

    Just look at “Not far but too far to walk”, did he create this as a new idiom or just re define to fit his purpose? What say ye, the jury on this evidence? Now Hear me all and listen good….will your findings?

    That is the challenge before us and Geography will help if you can spot them.

    Know the person of Forrest Fenn and see what he illustrates ie the Scrapbooks, the Thrill, Too Far and just the life experiences and adventures is our best clue to solve this puzzle.

    Crazy, you have completed a good work and thought provoking article, no one has found the chest yet and yours is as good as any in my book, thanks for insight on the CHASE.


  17. Look at the content of his character and how many years he spent on writing the chase . What for , a joke to deceive everyone or teach everyone some twisted message of greed .No it’s there!

  18. “Be Water”
    I was expecting a commentary from the Tao Te Ching. But this works too.
    Water is a very commonly used metaphor for one’s “path in life”. Water, in flowing downhill, adapts to the turns and twists and declivities it encounters, often taking odd paths or being momentarily interrupted, but always proceeding.
    “The highest good resembles water
    Water greatly benefits all things without contention
    It stays in places that people dislike
    Therefore it is similar to the Tao” (8.1-4)

    Like the Tao, it makes no judgments and gives to all without expectation of return…

    “Nothing in the world is softer or weaker than water
    Yet nothing is better at overcoming the hard and strong.”

    Like heavy loads and water high.

    The great Tao is like the sea
    It flows to the left or to the right
    All things depend on it for life, but it never stops
    It achieves its work, but does not take credit
    It clothes and feeds all things, but does not rule over them

    And Wood:
    “The Chinese word “Pu” is often translated as “the uncarved block,” and refers to a state of pure potential which is the primordial condition of the mind before the arising of experience. The Taoist concept of Pu points to perception without prejudice, i.e. beyond dualistic distinctions such as right/wrong, good/bad, black/white, beautiful/ugly. It is a state of mental unity which places the practitioner into alignment with the ​Tao”

    You must be brave to be in such “Pu”. Being purely spontaneous, without a man made path, using imagination, no paddle of force or contrivance.

    Why would f say good, instead of well? There is a golden frog in the chest that may hold the answer to that question.

  19. Interesting take. I’ve actually had another solve that took me to Old Faithful. I searched on the hill above it not far from the overlook trail with views of Old Faithful. I also searched along the Firehole near it, and a few other spots in trees near there. I could have missed it of course, but there is nowhere near it that I didn’t search.

  20. Crazy,
    I agree that the title to the poem is – “To the gold.” The poem says so. The poem is straight forward in all ways; you found the title, but then strayed from the poem to justify your clues. I have read that looking for the blaze before nailing down where warm waters halt can be costly.

  21. CrazyFox,

    I think youre on the right track with the imaginative process. It might just take that kind of thinking to pull this off. Nice job


  22. Reading your thoughts and I’m reminded of “Between subtle shading & the absence of light lies the nuance of illusion.” from Kryptos part K1.

    X marks the spot, depending upon your POV.

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