The Calypso Solve…

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January 2020

By Blex

 

2019 was a pretty mild year in terms of searching for me. I really only had one solve that I was eager to get out into the mountains to try out this past summer, and it obviously didn’t pan out. However, I thought I could at least finally make a contribution to the growing volume of information regarding where the treasure is not, while also providing some entertainment as we all wait for yet another search season to arrive. This wasn’t my first solve & BOTG trip, however this one pretty much stands on its own and doesn’t relate to any of my previous search areas, so I feel fine about sharing most of my thoughts for this one. So grab a drink, settle in, and I hope you find this to be an entertaining read.

Over the previous Winter, I found myself pretty much stuck and back at square-one trying to marry the poem to a location in the Rocky Mountains. However this time there was a new piece of information that surfaced (new to me, at least): It was the anecdote that Cynthia wrote in her book about her conversation with Forrest Fenn about the elusive “home of Brown”. What it amounted to was that Forrest seemed to strongly indicate to Cynthia that the home of Brown was not a man-made structure. This was told secondhand through Cynthia, and Forrest never followed up with a formal announcement confirming that this was true (like he did when he realized he accidentally gave one searcher a special hint that “Where Warm Waters Halt” was not a dam), so there was some speculation among the Chasers if this was truly a reliable hint from Forrest. I decided to take Cynthia’s story at face value and started to think about what the home of Brown could be if not a man-made structure. Perhaps a geographic feature with a name that relates to either “home” or “Brown”? It was a head-scratcher for me.

For inspiration, I found myself revisiting the old scrapbook entries on Dal’s site. To my knowledge, Forrest has never outright said that he has hidden hints in these scrapbook entries, but there are plenty of people who believe that this is true, and I could not see a reason why not. One day, my attention was drawn to one of the earlier scrapbook entries #17 CLICK HERE if you’d like to give it a quick look over.

At the end of scrapbook #17, Forrest shares an excerpt from his hard-to-find book “The Secrets of the San Lazaro Pueblo” in which he shares a poem that his father sent to him a few years before he died. The poem “A Flint Arrowhead” spoke of the wonder and excitement of discovering an arrowhead and linking the past with the present. Forrest ties this poem with a very special memory of discovering his first arrowhead as a child with his father. Forrest recalls this as ranking “among my fondest memories”. The fact that this was one of the earliest scrapbooks, the fact that Forrest decided it was an excerpt from one of his earlier books worth sharing again, and the fact that it seemed to be an especially important moment with his father (his father being very prominently mentioned in the book “The Thrill of the Chase”) all seemed to point to some significance in this poem greater than what it appeared to be at face value. It was a rabbit hole I deemed worthy of jumping down to see where it led.

A simple “copy & paste” of the poem’s words into Google led me to several interesting references. It shows up in Boy Scout Handbooks, Archaeological Society newsletters, and into the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song. Eventually I came upon the name of the poem’s author: Enos B. Comstock. Looking for information about Enos B. Comstock and who the man was yielded very little information on Google, however he was noted as an author and a prominent illustrator. Forrest did seem to know and respect a good few book illustrators himself (Eric Sloane not the least of them). Then I remembered another internet resource that Forrest had specifically recommended people use (though not for treasure-searching purposes): Abebooks.com.

Entering Enos B. Comstock into the Abebooks.com search resulted in a surprising amount of titles for which Comstock was an illustrator. The first title that caught my attention was “A Mountain Boyhood” by Joe Mills. I had remembered hiking up the Flattop Mountain Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2018 and noting that one mountain peak viewed to the north was called Joe Mills Mountain.

image 1 Joe Mills Mountain

Joe Mills Mountain (small, partially tree-covered peak in foreground center left) as seen from the Flattop Mountain Trail

It seemed like an odd name for a peak, but I did not think much of it until this book title came up. Looking into THAT name in more detail, I learned that Joe Mills was the younger brother of Enos Mills, who was one of the strongest advocates for the original creation of Rocky Mountain National Park. Enos Mills was a John Muir-like character (and was actually good friends with Muir himself) who moved West from Kansas and homesteaded in the Estes Park area and was quite the local celebrity. His younger brother Joe moved out West in his older brother’s footsteps and also homesteaded in the area. They both wrote nature books and they both advocated towards the formation of Rocky Mountain National Park, but eventually butted heads when it came to exactly HOW the new park should be run, and they ended up in a bit of a bitter sibling rivalry.

Image 2 Enos Mills

Image 3 Joe MillsOlder Brother Enos Mills and Younger Brother Joe Mills; Two of the founding fathers of Rocky Mountain National Park

 

 

 

 

Ok, so anyway now I had discovered a book I had never heard of written by the younger brother Joe Mills, and illustrated by Enos B. Comstock (the man who had written Forrest’s father’s poem). It was also an especially cold Winter 2018-2019 and I wanted some new reading material that I can enjoy inside the warmth of my home, so I ordered myself a copy off of Abebooks.com.

Image 4 Inside Cover

Inside cover of the First Edition of “A Mountain Boyhood” with an Enos B. Comstock illustration

After I got the book in the mail I had a very enjoyable time reading through it. It wasn’t very long, but the descriptions of the time Joe Mills had spent exploring the Rocky Mountains were wonderful. I can certainly recommend  this book (as well as many of the titles written by Joe’s older brother Enos Mills) to all as a good read.

Image 5 Intro Text

First page of “A Mountain Boyhood”

The Comstock illustrations throughout were a joy to look at and I could not help but remember Forrest’s commentary on fine literature at the beginning of “The Thrill of the Chase”. Perhaps the adventurous spirit of young Joe Mills was in the same spirit of the character Holden Caulfield in “Catcher in the Rye”?

Image 6 Comstock Ilustration

Image 7 Comstock IlustrationImage 8 Comstock IlustrationSome examples of Comstock’s illustrations throughout the book

Anyways, as related to thinking about the Chase, there were two specific general items that piqued my interest:

1.) Joe Mills wrote almost exclusively about the wonders of a particular area of Rocky Mountain National Park called “Wild Basin”, which was a less-visited part of the park’s southern end that I had never visited myself; and

2.) The book included an early map of Rocky Mountain National Park that I found a bit fascinating to study.

Image 9 Overall Map

The inside cover map included in the book

(Note: This map was not included in the first edition of the book; only later printings)

The map was not illustrated by Enos B. Comstock and was not made for the purpose of being included in Joe Mills’ book. The map is known as the Cooper-Babcock map and was the first comprehensive map drawn up of the southern portion of what is now Rocky Mountain National Park. In researching the history of the map, I was surprised to have found that its creation was not part of a formal survey operation; William Cooper and Dean Babcock happened to be in the area and took it upon themselves to map the Wild Basin area for fun! How wonderful that must have been to decide to map an unknown area of land in detail for the first time!

Looking at the map, one can see many familiar names of geographic features presently in Rocky Mountain National Park such as Longs Peak or Thunder Lake, however there are other features that are labeled differently than their present names. One name is certainly prominent and ties into the Joe Mills book: Wild Basin! There the name is stretched across the entire lower half of the map.

Image 10 Wild Basin Map Portion

A closer look at the lower half of the map which is dominated by Wild Basin.

I realize I haven’t even mentioned bringing Forrest’s poem into consideration so far, so at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you are questioning where I’m going with this as a solve. To make a long story short, I had  seemed to have followed a twisting rabbit hole that started with scrapbook #17 and it spat me out the other side with the Wild Basin area apparently being waved in front of my face. Could this area be part of a new solve? It depended on if there was anything in this region that could be married up to Forrest’s poem.

Where to begin? Well, I started with the basic things first. There were certainly canyons and creeks aplenty, and if WWWH was the source of a stream (as I have often considered to be a possibility), there were plenty of those in the area too.

In the back of my mind I was still trying to puzzle out a natural feature that could be considered a home of Brown. Studying the Cooper-Babcock Map, I noticed in very small text right between “Wild” and “Basin” the words “Tent Rocks”.

Image 11 Tent Rocks Map

See the Tent Rocks just under the “B” in “Basin”?

Rocks that looks like tents? Could tents be considered a home? Sure, why not? But what about the “Brown”? Well, if the rocks were brown in color, that could be something. I looked at the satellite images in Google Earth and was pleasantly surprised to see that the Tent Rocks were actually labeled there as well.

Image 12 Tent Rocks GE

Tent Rocks as shown on Google Earth topographic view
(image courtesy Google Earth)

Image 13 Tent Rocks GE Satellite

Tent Rocks as shown on Google Earth satellite view (zoomed in a little closer)
(image courtesy Google Earth)

The area looked like a smudge of rocky terrain, but did appear to be brown in color. So…. maybe? Searching for any further information or even photos of the Tent Rocks on the internet came up empty, with all queries pointing me to the much more prominent Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rock National Monument in New Mexico (which is south of Santa Fe and thus not in consideration with respect to the Chase). Were there any possible tie-in’s of tents to some sort of a historical home of Brown? The best thing I could find was a very obscure reference to how the abolitionist John Brown lived in a tent during his anti-slavery campaigns which was referred to as “Brown’s Tent”. It seemed like a pretty shaky connection to me, but it was something. Perhaps it was just as simple as being a brown-colored feature that resembled a type of home? At any rate, it was a non-man-made geographic feature that could at least maybe…. possibly qualify as a home of Brown.

I decided to assume for the moment that the Tent Rocks were the home of Brown and see if I could identify a convincing WWWH. I remember Forrest had once responded to a Chaser’s question if they knew where the home of Brown was, then why are they bothering with WWWH? (I’m paraphrasing a bit here; the actual quote can be found HERE.

Well the answer to Forrest’s counter-question is that by finding a convincing WWWH to go along with a hoB, it adds supporting confidence to the entire solve and would not seem to me to be a wasted effort.

The Tent Rocks are located along the north shore of the North St. Vrain Creek, so I followed it upstream. The creek forks a few times as it rises in elevation towards the glaciers and snowfields. There’s a “Moomaw Glacier”; could a glacier be WWWH? Maybe? Ice could certainly be thought of as halted water in a sense.

There were also plenty of named mountain peaks along the divide. My eyes gravitated towards Isolation Peak (labeled as Mt. Hewes on the Cooper-Babcock Map). Could that be a reference to the first line in the poem “As I have gone alone in there”? Perhaps. Looking to the east of Isolation Peak was a smaller peak that Cooper and Babcock did not feel worthy of a label: Mahana Peak. It was only after I looked up the meaning behind the name “Mahana” that my attention suddenly sharpened a good deal: Mahana is a Hawaiian or Maori word meaning “heat” or “warmth”! The snowmelt that drains off of this mountain either to its northern or southern canyons will eventually converge into the same North St. Vrain Creek that flows to the immediate south of the Tent Rocks. Well that suddenly looked to me like a great match between the first half of the poem to the Wild Basin area!

Image 14 Mahana WWWH

Isolation Peak on the Continental Divide with Mahana Peak just to the southeast. Note how the waters draining off of Mahana Peak would drain either north into the North Saint Vrain Creek or south into Ouzel Creek, but both of these drainages converge further east into North Saint Vrain Creek.
(image courtesy Google Earth)

This gave me some confidence at least about being able to marry the first part of the poem to a place on the map. Now to see if the remainder of the poem could be followed using the Tent Rocks as the home of Brown:

“From there it’s no place for the meek”: Longs Peak’s little brother Mt. Meeker, and its long southeastern Meeker Ridge was almost immediately to the north. I guess I should go in the opposite direction south then?

Image 15 Mt Meeker Meeker Ridge 1

Mt. Meeker and Meeker Ridge to the north of the Tent Rocks. Mt. Meeker is not labeled, but is the prominent peak directly southeast of Longs Peak, and Meeker Ridge is the long ridge that extends southeast.
(image courtesy Google Earth)

“The end is drawing ever nigh”: If I (and Forrest before me) parked at the Wild Basin Trailhead and hiked the short distance west towards the Tent Rocks, I would have to hang a left in order to travel south (using the old-fashioned interpretation of “nigh” meaning “left”).

Image 16 TH to Tent Rocks 1

The Wild Basin Trailhead to Tent Rocks
(image courtesy Google Earth)

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek”: Heading south from Tent Rocks points me towards Cony Creek and its “Calypso Cascades”, which can certainly not be paddled up.

“Just heavy loads and waters high”: Waters high referencing the Calypso Cascades (or Calypso Falls as Cooper & Babcock called them), and heavy loads referencing the numerous massive glacial boulders lining both sides of the Cascades (that could be clearly seen on the internet from other hiker photos, as well as my own photos from when I hiked there several years ago).

Image 17 Calypso Cascades

A photo I took at the bottom of the Calypso Cascades from a hike in 2016.

Well now the poem seemed to be pointing me towards somewhere along Cony Creek (labeled Caroline Creek on the Cooper & Babcock map), but I still needed to nail down a more specific location. Calypso Cascades is a fairly popular hiking destination for the area, so I felt like I could dismiss the portion of Cony Creek between North St. Vrain Creek and the Cascades, as this stretch was pretty consistently visible along the trail leading from the Wild Basin Trailhead. When the hiking trail arrives at Calypso Cascades, one can follow trails further westwards or eastwards, but no trails went southwards uphill following Cony Creek (and the Cascades) further upstream. If there had been people and searchers within 200-500 feet of the treasure (presumably at the bridge at the bottom of the Cascades), then it seemed to indicate that it might be worth a try bushwhacking a short distance above the Cascades from the trail. From the photos I had, it seemed that the terrain on either side above Calypso Cascades did not appear to be too forbidding for an 80-year-old man, and was well forested to help conceal from views along the trail below.

Image 18 Calypso Cascades

Another person’s photo of Calypso Cascades that I found online. Note that the off-trail terrain to the left doesn’t appear to be a difficult grade at all.

Thinking about waterfalls also naturally reminded me of the grave of the French soldier in the TOTC chapter “My War for Me”. While describing his investigation of the tombstone, Forrest mentioned that the pilot was sitting on the edge of the top of the waterfall (I assumed the pilot to be the helicopter pilot at first read, but Forrest was a pilot too….). The terrain I was looking at now at Calypso seemed to evoke a similar image in my mind. There is a fork in Cony Creek immediately above the Calypso Cascades that appeared to be the very top of the falls before the main branch of Coney Creek traveled across flatter terrain towards Finch Lake. Reading the topographic lines, I painted a picture in my imagination where a “marvel gaze” may be possible. If one stood right at that fork in the creek at the top of the Cascades and there was a good break in the trees, one could have an absolutely marvelous gaze across the valley towards Longs and Meeker Peaks. Maybe!

Image 19 GC Marvel Gaze

Marvel gaze?
(image courtesy Google Earth)

A few other bits of information I stumbled upon added further to my confidence:

First, the name Calypso comes from the Greek word meaning “to hide”, “to conceal”, or “to deceive”, which seemed to fit in with the whole theme of the Chase (The internet revealed that the Calypso Cascades actually got their name due to a variety of Calypso orchid that apparently grew along its banks).

Secondly, the search location was within the boundaries of a National Park. That seemed to reinforce a notion I had regarding this CBS interview video with Forrest: Found HERE

 In the video, Forrest is asked about legal ownership of the treasure depending on where it is found. He only gives specific direction regarding if the treasure is found in a National Park (turn over to the park’s superintendent), and is rather vague and nonspecific about other possible locations such as private property or Indian reservation land. There could be different reasons for why he answered the question in this manner, but what if Forrest only bothered to be specific about National Park lands because that’s really the only instance that matters? It’s nothing solid that I could hang my hat on, but it did make me feel better that I was looking in an area within National Park boundaries.

And thirdly, the route to the location seemed to be reasonably 80-year-old-man friendly. The walk to Calypso Cascades is only about 1.8 miles from the Wild Basin Trailhead Parking Lot. Tack on only a few hundred feet of uphill bushwhacking, and it seemed reasonable that Forrest could have handled two out-an-back trips in an afternoon. Altogether, that adds up to about 7.2 miles of hiking which would certainly be enough to make him tired after all that. The entire route and final location also appeared to be completely within the elevation limits between 5,000 and 10,200 feet above sea level, with the hidey spot being pretty close to that range’s upper limit.

Anyways, I had spent a good deal of time looking over this area and thinking about it while waiting for the snows to melt. An especially late Spring did not help, but finally by early July I had drummed up enough confidence to make a go on a BOTG trip to see if my ideas might lead me to the location of Indulgence.

Some major late-season snowstorms ensured that the snows in the high country would remain stubbornly unmelted until well into the summer, but in July of 2019 I was finally able to put my little Calypso Cascades solve to the test. For the first time, I visited the Wild Basin Entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which was tucked away well south of Estes Park, Colorado by the small town of Allenspark.

Image 20 WB Entrance

The less-developed Wild Basin Entrance into RMNP

Image 21 Start of Trail

As I had anticipated, the trail leading from the Wild Basin Trailhead was gently graded and pleasant.

Image 22 N St Vrain Creek

The trail followed along North St. Vrain Creek, which was obviously still surging with an abundance of late-season snowmelt, and no one with good sense would attempt to cross such a stream at this time. Fortunately there were footbridges further on along the trail.

Image 23 Trail Junction

At this trail junction, I had hoped to catch a glimpse of the mysterious Tent Rocks, but could see nothing but forested canyon sides rising above me. Try as I might, I would not be able to see any sign of the Tent Rocks at all during this outing. Perhaps they were nestled in the forest close to the various campsites along the other trail branch that I did not take? My confidence in this particular home of Brown was waning a bit.

Image 24 Base of Cascades

Heading over the bridge to the south side of North St. Vrain Creek, the trail gradually ascended following the southern stretch of Cony Creek until the footbridge at the base of Calypso Cascades came into view. This was a popular destination, so there were a good number of other hikers passing along through the area with me.

Image 25 Sign

This sign at the base of the Cascades gave special notice to fishermen along the upper Cony Creek. So fishermen liked this area? That made me wonder if Forrest perhaps had fished along this creek himself.

Image 26 Striaght up Cascades

Here is a view from the footbridge looking straight up the Cascades. Somewhere further up there was my little point of land where the creek forked. Not really the same as Forrest’s waterfall in Vietnam that dropped off of a high precipice and turned into mist, but certainly a water high with heavy loads along its banks.

Image 27 Base of Cascades

From the base of the Cascades, I could see that the terrain along the left (east) side was solid and actually looked pretty easy to hike up. The land of opposite side was broken and steeper, with some additional streams running down it, so the east (nigh?) side seemed to obvious way for me to ascend the Cascades.

Image 28 Starting up

I took a nice break at the base of the Cascades while I waited for a quiet point when there were no other hikers in the immediate vicinity who would see me dash off the trail up along the Cascades. Once I had a good window of opportunity, I was able to quickly head up the bank into the cover of the trees. I don’t know why I decided to be so covert about the whole thing; I suppose I was concerned that a ranger might see me and shout me back to stay on the designated trails.

Image 29 up more

Once I had a good screen of trees between me and the main trail, I could take my time in continuing to follow the Cascades uphill. The roar of the water blocked out all outside noise and was very pleasant.

Image 30 sawn log

The land got steeper the higher up I went, but I still did not feel that the terrain was anything that an 80-year-old man couldn’t handle. There was remarkably little undergrowth to bushwhack through. Then I noticed the sawn log in this picture. I began to wonder if I was actually following a very rough human trail? That might sink my whole solve, but I kept going upwards.

Image 31 Longs Meeker

I was pleased as I looked behind me and could catch some wonderful glimpses of the summit of Longs & Meeker Peaks through the break in the forest canopy caused by the Cascades. At least my idea of a “marvel gaze” seemed to be playing out well.

Image 32 Boulders

There was no shortage of massive boulders along the edge of the Cascades and I keep my eyes open for blazes and checked a few crevices here and there as I continued upwards.

Image 33 Orchids

A lovely surprise was that the Calypso Orchids, which gave the Cascades their name, were already in bloom along the bank and provided a beautiful splash of color. I made sure to give these a wide berth so as not to accidentally trample them.

Image 34 Topping off

All in all, the hike up along the Cascades did not take very much time at all. Soon I found myself at top of the steepest portion of the terrain and could look back at the view across the valley behind me.

Image 35 Point of land

And sure enough, right where the grade mellowed out again at the top of the Cascades, was that special point of land I was interested in. Here, Cony Creek continues off to the right, while its unnamed tributary heads off to the left. I would need to find a place to safely cross the unnamed stream, and this definitely wasn’t the place!

Image 36 log bridge

I knew from my map that the unnamed stream was not especially long from the point where it emptied into Cony Creek, so I simply followed it upstream to find a safe spot to cross. Sure enough, the stream quickly became narrower and its flow less intense, but then I got another surprise: I found myself facing an obviously human-built log bridge. There was no uncertainty in my mind now: Even though it was not marked on any maps, even though it was not signed, and even though it was quite rough the whole way, I had clearly been following a human trail. And as we all know, the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail. I felt this was pretty close proximity to where I was hoping the treasure would be. Dang.

Image 37 Point

Well, I had come this far anyway, so I crossed the log bridge anyway and headed back out to my point of land at the fork to see if there was anything worth seeing. Really there wasn’t. I checked all the rocks and bases of trees just to be sure, but nothing that stuck out like a blaze. Also, those great views of Longs & Meeker I was hoping to see had been once again blocked from view. All I could do was stare back down Cony Creek as it rushed towards the top of Calypso Cascades. It was at least a beautiful spot to stop and have a snack.

Image 38 Further back

Just to be sure, I headed just a bit further upstream to see if there might be any aberrations worth taking a look at. Nothing really other than more trees, stumps, and rocks. Just as I was about to admit defeat and head back down, I had another surprise: A group of about a dozen teenaged backpackers walked by me! They had apparently been camping up at Finch Lake and were following the unmarked “connector trail” that I had come up. Well that was just the icing on the cake! I could only laugh and shake my head as I let the group pass by and then headed back down myself.

Image 39 Ouzel Falls

Once I got back down to the trail at the base of Calypso Cascades, I decided to enjoy myself and hike further up to Ouzel Lake. I had also been considering a few areas further up the trail earlier on, but my hike at least confirmed that some of these locations were too far for an 80-year-old man to make two trips to in a single afternoon. Ouzel Falls was another pretty area a short distance further up the trail, but both its banks and its top were swarming with other hikers milling about.

Image 40 to Ouzel Lake

Past Ouzel Falls, the crowds thinned along with the forest and my hike became a lot more pleasant. It was really refreshing not to have to worry about looking for a treasure for the remainder of this day and I could just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Image 41 To Ouzel Lake Further

Ouzel Lake was about as far as a hiker without snow gear could get. I talked to a couple of hikers who had tried to go further up but turned back due to the still heavy snowpack.

Image 42 Ouzel Mahana

At the wonderful shores of Ouzel Lake with the rocky slopes of Mahana Peak rising above.

Image 43 Ouzel Lake Break

A pleasant spot on Ouzel Lake to take another relaxing break before turning around and hiking back.

Image 44 heading back

The long walk back to the Wild Basin Trailhead lies before me. At least it’s all downhill from here!

Well, that about wraps up my rundown of this failed solve for me. Many others have shared theirs on this site, so I was long overdue to share one of mine. In retrospect, there were a lot of problems with this one. My home of Brown was pretty weak and amounted little more to a weird label on some maps. I kind of liked my WWWH, but there’s nothing else I can figure out to do with it. The biggest lesson I took away from this trip was that human trails aren’t always signed or marked on maps – even in a National Park.

If anyone feels like exploring any of these areas in more detail, by all means feel free to use any of this if it helps. It really is a beautiful area of the park to visit for its own sake, and I have no regrets about my own visit here. I’m also still happy about being introduced to the literary works of both Joe and Enos Mills by way of this solve, and encourage anyone to give them a read for the fun of it. It was time well spent!

Thanks for reading!

Blex

  

 

 

 

 

 

101 thoughts on “The Calypso Solve…

  1. I have always loved that area. As a boy I had gone to the YMCA camp in Estes Park. We drove over the pass before it was paved.
    As for your solve, It takes the long way around. But it is well worth the journey.

    • Thanks, Michael! I’ve always loved RMNP and it’s a big reason why I moved out to Colorado. And yes, I definitely took the long way around on this one for sure; not my usual technique! 🙂

  2. Thank you Blex. Well done!
    I am convinced that the discovery of his first arrow head is strongly related to the treasure. If I were Forrest, I would had hid the treasure in the same spot he found the first arrowhead. Unfortunately that was in Texas so it cannot be. Can it?
    For me that would be the perfect spot since all his fortune began there. That would connect the begin with the end and close the circle of life.
    I suggest to the treasure hunters that live near Temple, TX to search in tgat area just in case there is a twist in the chase and all the North of Santa Fe thing is a distraction. Just saying….

    • Pablo, the chase has never not been in the Rockies and it has been since the very beginning someplace north of Santa Fe. From there it was narrowed down to on the Rockies, still north of Santa Fe but he reduced the small section of Idaho that could be enclosed and the entirety of Canada after a few years on the chase. Since that point the boundaries have been clearly reduced to being one of four states, Montana, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming and the only areas applicable in those states being areas that are classified as in the Rockies. You should really take a gander at the map he’s included in too far to walk that also clearly states the area included in these pretty specific boundaries, before you suggest to others to waste time and money in Texas.

      • Wasting time and money in Texas???
        This is about exploring the outdoors. Forrest is a proud Texan. He told me. Santa Fe is home, that’s it.
        So, don’t lecture me. I read Forrest’s books including one he personally gifted to me in Santa Fe.
        I am suggesting other venues since NOBODY including yourself has found ANYTHING so far.
        What if Forrest has buried one of the jars he mentions often, in the spot where he found his arrowhead in TEXAS (I can find that State on a map, thank you) and put a note inside pointing at the treasure location.
        I try to think out of the box. I am not narrow minded like you seem to be.

        • Recalling better what Forrest told me in person:
          “Texas is my home, Santa Fe is where I live.”
          Sounds to me like a proud Texan. Good for him. I lived in Texas. GREAT State. People, go visit Texas, you will not be wasting your time and money.

          • So turning this into a tourism add for Texas is great and I’m sure it’s a wonderful place with great folks. That was no lecture tho, that was things that Forrest has said and how he’s narrowed it down more. But if you can’t hear Forrest clearly telling everyone it’s in the Rockies , best of luck to you Siri hearing anything that poem has to offer.

    • Pablo – RMNP has an Arrowhead Lake that’s shaped just like an arrowhead. It would be really interesting to check out if not for the fact that it is a LONG hike to get out to. You can catch a really good view of it though from the top of Mt. Ida.

    • Thanks, Pablo! Like the others have said, I don’t think that searching in Texas will help with finding Indulgence, however you do bring up a good point that there may be locations there that Forrest selected to hide his bells and jars.

      I don’t think you should hang onto the hope that the jars might contain new information regarding the treasure location though; that would negate everything else that Forrest has set up in the Chase, I don’t believe he would short-circuit his own treasure hunt in a manner like that.

  3. Thank you, Blex!

    That is a wonderful write-up. And your maps and photos are spectacular.
    I am from that area with a lot of family members still there. RMNP is always a place we go when I visit them. Fishing the St.Vrain leads to some beautiful vistas.

    I really enjoyed how you explain your logic of how you thought the pieces fit together.
    But I think the one thing this solve is missing, and it may be the one thing that FF indicates many searchers miss, is my “qualifier question”: The question that always pops into my mind when reading any solve, or potential solve.

    Is there anything to indicate that this area was special to FF?
    If I can’t point to something in TTOTC or a quote from FF to indicate an area was special to him, then I think it fails. And as I have opined before, I have yet to see any evidence that FF has any special places in Colorado.

    Just the same, again thank you for this great write-up. I think you have some great ideas about how to solve the puzzle.

    Good luck in 2020!

    • I have a question for you and others – if you have a “secret” and a “special place,” you don’t talk about it do you? Once you share where your special place is, then it may not be solely yours any longer. Sooooo – just because there is lack of mention with regard to certain locations, such as Colorado – couldn’t that possibly have significant meaning?

      • I totally understand what you are saying. If I did not want anyone to know about a place, I would not discuss it at all.

        But in my mind, FF is not trying to keep this place secret; he is intentionally directing tens of thousands of people to go there and find the chest, and possibly his bones. Food for thought.

    • Lori – wwwamericana explained my reasoning pretty much exactly. Looking in areas that Forrest doesn’t specifically talk about may be as important as the places he does mention. RMNP would be along one of the driving routes that Forrest’s family could have taken between Temple and Yellowstone, so I like to think that maybe they could have taken a detour there at some point. But I could just as easily be wrong about that too.

      • Hi Blex,

        It wasn’t meant as a criticism, just my own methodology. As you and JDA indicate, there is certainly nothing wrong with looking into what was not said. Like reading between the lines, so to speak.

        I don’t have the chest yet either, so I am in no position to judge. The write-up was very thorough and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

        • No problem, Lori. I’m not against criticism, and it’s exactly as you said. I’m in no position to judge either. There are plenty of Chasers looking in Yellowstone N.P. (for example) specifically because Forrest has said how dear the area is to him. Until the treasure is found, either side of the argument is perfectly valid, IMO. 🙂

    • Lori;

      I think that you are making a mistake by thinking that Forrest will have indicated, in some way, that a place is special to him. My belief is the exact opposite. IF I were to find evidence in an SB or one of Forrest’s books that a particular spot was special to him – I would leave that area and seek out another area that Forrest has NOT mentioned.

      I know that Forrest has visited my search area, BUT he has NEVER advertised that fact. It is not mentioned in ANY SB’s, nor in ANY of his books, and yet I can see why my search area COULD be special to Forrest. JMO – JDA

      • JDA,
        I agree that there is no harm in looking at what FF has not said to figure out a secret place. And no one will know the correct method until they have the chest in hand.

        My thinking is that the whole purpose of the book is to introduce seekers to the Chase. The poem has the actual clues and the book has the hints, and we are to marry these to a map. That is a HUGE search area to find a small 10″ x 10″ box. I just find it hard to believe that we would be guided by the “unsaid” rather than the “said”. But that is just my thinking.

        • Lori;

          I understand your point of view, but to me it is like playing “Hide and go seek”, but first you have to tell me all of your favorite hiding places. That is just not the way the game is played.

          I know that if I had been rich, and hid a treasure the last thing I would do is write a book and point searchers to where it is. – Obscure hints, yes, but coming right out and saying, “Look here” – No

          I would do the opposite. I might mention several possible places that it might be (But is no where near) just to throw the searchers off – Places like Santa Fe and Yellowstone National Park and surrounding area. JMO – JDA

          • Hi JDA,
            May I ask why you strongly think that Santa Fe and Yellowstone National Park is not one of the possible places?
            — MajinKing

          • MJ;

            ANYTHING, and ANYWHERE is possible. I just think that Forrest made it TOO obvious that these places SHOULD be considered – I therefore chose not to consider them. Many have considered them as likely search places, and I bet that every nook and cranny has been explored. Hope all had great vacations – JMO – JDA

      • Hi JDA: perhaps I’m missing something, but you say “I know that Forrest has visited my search area, BUT he has NEVER advertised that fact. It is not mentioned in ANY SB’s, nor in ANY of his books, and yet I can see why my search area COULD be special to Forrest. JMO”

        If Forrest has never advertised that fact, then how could you “know” he has visited your search area? I realize you added JMO at the end, but I think that’s a little bit of a slippery way to caveat your “I know,” wouldn’t you say?

        • Zap;

          We KNOW that Forrest has visited Cody, WY because he was / is on the Board of directors of the Cody Museum, but he has not advertised this fact, nor included it in SB’s or in his books – As far as I am aware. I am sure that there are other areas that fall into the same type of situation. Maybe in Colorado, Montana, or other areas in Wyoming – Who knows? – JDA

          • Hi JDA,
            this information (about Board of directors of the Cody Museum) was well advertised in Forrest interview in Cody (not sure but maybe 2006).
            Of course, Forrest visited numerous places in all 4 states. He had different reasons for visiting: archaeology, fly fishing, visiting friends etc.
            Why some specific place become special for him? We will never know it because he removed this information from his bio in TC. IMO, but searching for “special place” is useless.

  4. Blex – What a wonderful write up of a glorious adventure and amazing pictures.
    There seems to be so many places within the Rockies that appear to match up with where Forrest’s treasure might lie. Correlations abound. It makes me wonder if we all missing something with regard to these like-kind places. I am surprised you didn’t FIND some small token on your trip that made you think he had been there before you. I have made several trips and came home with such things that made me wonder how HE could have ventured to so many places to stash these little treasures. Anyone else have that experience? Are we all going crazy?

    And Pablo, I agree with your comment to a certain extent. This treasure hunt starts with that little arrowhead and it’s maker. It makes me smile to think that perhaps the treasure is just lying there for “someone” to come along, at the right place, at the right time. Hop it’s me.

    • Thanks, wwwamericana! Unfortunately, I did not find any special tokens along the way, however the area was absolutely beautiful and there was certainly a treasure in simply hiking that area and enjoying the day. One of the things I especially love about the Rocky Mountains in general is that I never seem to run out of incredible new locations to explore. 🙂

    • Thanks, pdenver! The mountains did all the work! 😉
      Have you ever been to the Wild Basin area of RMNP? I loved how tucked away it is from the usual RMNP crowds going through Estes Park.

      • Hello Blex. I’m not sure if I have. It looks like a beautiful area and certainly a place to draw in and enjoy. To get away from the crowds sounds wonderful, although I know they are there for the same reasons why we go. One of my sons is planning to get married in Rocky Mountain National Park next year.

        • Congratulations on your son’s upcoming wedding! A RMNP wedding sounds really cool!

          You reminded me of another fun fact I stumbled upon while looking at this area: along the road that leads to the Wild Basin Trailhead, there is a place called the “Wild Basin Lodge and Event Center” that hosts weddings. The building has gone through several owners, but the original lodge building used to be across the street in the present dirt parking lot before it burned down. The original building was there in the 1930’s during Forrest’s childhood and was another possible hoB I considered for a little while.

          • Thank you, Blex! The area you described in regards to the Event Center sounds interesting. Several years ago when my oldest kids were young, we camped in the area between Allenspark and Estes Park. We took up the mountain in our area and found where there was once a home; just a foundation. In the sunken area, we found very old cans and bottles that were probably from the late 1800’s-early 1900’s. It makes you wonder what the history was during that time. It may not be like finding an arrowhead, which I would love to do, it’s still interesting. Many areas I’ve searched, I would pause and wonder what life was like. The journey has been fun.

  5. Blex, I thoroughly enjoyed the read, photos and reminiscent memories it brought to mind. Thank you. Almost time to arrowhead hunt.

  6. Very well researched and written. I too have searched this area. Perhaps we should combine out ideas. First, I think that the Diamond, a prominent feature on longs peak could be the missing component. The teachers with ropes and Catcher in the Rye themes play nicely with the Diamond. The Diamond itself is shaped like an arrowhead and would tie directly into the importance of the arrowhead. Just below the lake is Chasm Lake. Forrest mentions being in the middle on a number of occasions.
    Forrest has said his church is in the mountains. St. Catherines Chapel on the Rock is a prominent feature on Highway 7 as you head up to Estes Park. And just below that spot on Highway 7 is the Meeker overlook. One of the first schools built in the area has been restored and preserved as well. This is the Doyle school. Then there are all the connections to a number of creeks that feed into St. Vrain. If you throw in Mt. Lady Washington and the connection to the children touching Washingtons face, the solve gains more momentum.
    Wait, I just about convince myself. I better stop now.

    • Colorado Coolaid – LOL! I did spend some time looking over the areas you mentioned too during this time, but I just couldn’t get anything to stick out other than the solve I posted. I’ve hiked up Longs Peak (just the Keyhole Route; that’s about my upper limit of mountaineering!) and to Chasm Lake before, and it is another truly stunningly beautiful area of the park (although increasingly crowded every year!). Mt. Lady Washington is still a peak on my to-do list that I hope I can get to one of these summers.

      I agree that the Diamond Face on Longs is an impressively striking feature to view in person up close, and I see the arrowhead connection. For another possible arrowhead connection on Longs, one of the more technical routes between the summits of Longs and Meeker I believe had a painted arrow known as “Clark’s Arrow”. A climber back in the day painted it along the route (similar to the bullseye marks along the Keyhole Route) to make sure climbers veered in the right direction around a particular rock outcropping. However, I believe I remember reading that sometime over the past few years, Clark’s Arrow mysteriously disappeared.

      There’s truly a lot of cool stuff in this area of the park to explore for the sake of enjoying the outdoors! Any BOTG trip to this area is well spent, no matter if the treasure is found or not. I wish you well in your future searches! 🙂

  7. Blex, you are a very special writer Kudos on this solve, it was a wonderful Back Packin trip and brings back a lot of memories like the Columbines in Colorado Meadows, I commend you that you connoted in detail why a “Basin” might be in the poem, you get the point of what Warm Waters Halt may be in a similar way to my solve, if that basin was a spiritual place and named from or by some Spanish Conquistador you may be exactly right, see SC Book Hint https://dalneitzel.com/2019/11/19/scrapbook-two_hundred-thirty-seven/ …ff called this a Spanish Bowl, but it is actually an antique Wash Basin, and I believe you are correct about a basin, but I want you to understand that Forrest has probably given so many hints about how he re-invented the old Game and Fish term use forever in places along the rivers and lakes where regulations changed from cold water spices to warm. In Forrest’s re purpose of the term even the little girl in India can see it for what makes up the word that may be key, IMO it is Basin AKA Halt, that word, but I think after careful examination we might both see this Basin Idea and Halt along with Warm Waters are key to the poem, it will reveal the spiritual nature of this poem before we put in below the Home of Brown, thank you Ardi for for showing us the light in your new book SC 247 for the home of a cute little, no paddle Brown metaphor like a beavers tale.

    By the way Blex, on SC Book 241 which shows the 3 SPANISH CROSSES, or Cruces we can glimpse the spiritual nature of a Spanish Basin that is a WILD idea for my new solve, which is actually an updated old solve of Winter Thoughts from March 7, 2017 several of my original ideas including WWWH are new after some recent Chaos starting at 209 See SC 241 and the center coin which you and I thought was Garfield, but Zap zapped it correctly as US Grant, however Garfield served under US Grant at the The Battle of Shiloh it is near bu below now and that is all about I have to say about that…stick figure TT out..

    SEE Winter Thoughts II, the scrapbook solve, comin soon..

    • Tom Terrific – Yes! I will definitely look forward to reading more from you in your part 2!

      I have thought about the idea of a basin factoring into WWWH often as well, which was one of the factors that added to my liking of the solve that I posted. I also remembered Forrest using the adjective “wild” before, when referring to imagination (something along the lines of that the finder would have a “wild imagination”) I think what inspired my thoughts along the line of basin the most significantly, was when Forrest was asked what word he initially associated with the word “warm” and he responded with “comfortable”. Doesn’t that just evoke the image of settling into a nice, warm bath or basin? I agree there may be something to it there.

      Now speaking of which, Forrest had mentioned before that a knowledge of geography would be especially helpful to finding the treasure. What do we know about basins as a geographical feature? My mind immediately thinks about the Amazon River Basin first. Do only rivers have basins? Can a creek have a basin? Wow, I just looked it up on wikipedia and there are a bunch of geographical interpretations of basins. Check it out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basin

      I like the way you think, Tom! 🙂

  8. I think you misinterpreted what the “Tent Rocks” notation on the map refers to. It’s not that they were rocks that looked like tents but rocks that were used to hold the bottoms of the tents down on the ground. If you don’t have tent stakes or if the ground is too rocky to drive a tent stake into the ground you would use rocks to anchor the tent down. It seems that the area was a popular camping location where there had been camps for many years. It could have even been where Indians camped before the white men came in to the area. Maybe HOB could relate to the Indian camps.

  9. Also, I think the Indians would use rocks all around their circular tepees behind each tepee pole in order to hold the poles in place. Many known Indian camp sites have remnants of these “tent rocks.”

    It would be interesting to know if the “Tent Rocks” on your map were in a circular pattern or a rectangular pattern. If circular, then they were probably put there by Indians. If rectangular, they were probably made by white men campers.

    • Landhigh – Wow, that is one interpretation that I did not consider, but makes sense to me; especially why I could not see any major rock formations when I was passing by the area.

      But if it was just a location full of small rocks for anchoring tents, why was that specific location given the name? There are plenty of locations all over the park and just along that trail. Maybe you have something about how it specifically related to being a favored campsite for the Utes perhaps?

      I tell you, I have a notion to head back to Wild Basin next season for the sole purpose of exploring the campsite areas along the other trail fork just to see if I can find any better sign of what those Tent Rocks actually are. My curiousity is piqued! 🙂

      • I would think that you could call or see a Park Ranger and ask him what the name “Tent Rocks” refers to at that location.

        • Landhigh – I actually did stop by the Wild Basin Ranger Station to ask that very question, but the ranger was not present at the time. I’ll make a point to do that if I can find a ranger the next time I’m visiting RMNP.

  10. Blex – wonderful write up! In my younger days I practically lived in RMNP every summer, traipsing every trail and climbing every mountain within its borders…. so I thank you for teaching me a few things I didnt know about the Park and bringing back happy memories!

    I was lucky enough to find “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo” on sale for 50% off at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody a few summers ago and love that little poem. I had no idea who the author was, I had falsely assumed it was Marvin Fenn so thank you very much for properly crediting the true author, Enos Comstock. In that book, Forrest speaks in a very “folksy” and amusing style – I think he wants the everyday person to be able to read and understand the importance of archeology and San Lazaro. Which brings me to literature.

    I think that “Important Literature” is key to the solution of the riddle that is the poem…and I also think we have to find out what literature Forrest thinks is *important*. I dont think he is just going to tell us…although a recent re-reading of Catcher was insightful. So, that being said, you followed an intriguing trail using literature (a poem) that Forrest feels is important enough to share with his readers to a possible solution! You discovered a good map, possibly the right map. You used a “big picture” (the map) and got into “tight focus”. I like how you are thinking about Brown, and your comment re Forrest and why you think from what he said that the treasure could be in a National Park. Our National Parks are our national treasures and part of our collective psyche. Forrest knows that IMO.

    Great job Blex…thank you.

      • Zaphod – Another interesting thing about the Johnny Cash version is that he deviates from the original poem lyrics in spots. I chalked it up some some artistic license on Cash’s part, but there are websites the dive into the differences between them that I had stumbled upon.

    • Sally Colorado – Thank you! I knew you must have had a strong tie to a love for Colorado (not to mention the fine literature of Douglas Preston) with a name like that! 🙂

      In this solve I definitely put a strong emphasis on the idea of “Fine Literature”. It always seemed like a strange way for Forrest to open up his TOTC book with that particular chapter, so I most definitely did put some strong importance on that idea.

      I also agree with you that Forrest holds certain ideas in particularly high importance and figuring out what those things are is part of the journey. He’s basically sharing with the world a lifetime’s worth of wisdom that he gained mostly through the prospective schools of “Trial & Error” and “Hard Knocks”, and just appreciating a portion of that is time well spent.

  11. take a closer look into the Calypso Lily reference- they sometimes can be found with or near the wood lily. If you are brave and in the wood…..

    • Tim O’Neil – That’s an interesting fact that I did not know. I found this link on the general nature of the Wood Lily: https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=LIPH

      I can say for certain along my whole walk during my BOTG trip, I did not see any of these flowers, but they might have had a different growing season than the Calypso Orchids. Honestly, it was really cool seeing those Calypso Orchids in full bloom alongside the cascades so early after the snows had just melted and I considered myself lucky for being there at just the right time.

  12. Hey there Blex… I liked your write-up. You have an easy way with words which made for an enjoyable story. Jumping headfirst into a rabbit hole can have really good returns as far as I’m concerned… you acted on your efforts and experienced another beautiful place set in the Rocky Mts. I grew up with a couple of Comstock’s youth books. Mr. McNibbletooth comes to mind from one of them… fun stuff. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Ken! I haven’t typically tried to come up with a solve through rabbit holes in the past, but this was a fun exception. Some rabbit holes are simply fun for the sake of going through them and that’s enough! 😉

  13. Hi Blex,
    I liked your solve very much, Thanks. But when I think about it based on my not-so-frequent hiking experiences, I don’t think an 80 year old man can walk more than a few miles of hiking trails, without carrying anything with him. A flat, well paved easy trails, less than a couple miles without any slopes may be OK. But don’t forget, he had more than 20 pounds of stuff on his back. You can try for yourself to walk 2 miles with 5 sugar bags of 4 pounds each in your backpack. He had to make two (not just one) separate trips from his car to the secret place. I would rather prefer a well-known trail (without worrying that you may be lost), only a few tenths of a mile long one-way.
    — MajinKing

    • Kelty and DeWalt tools make awesome bags for hauling goodies out of the mountains. Kelty doesn’t even feel like your carrying something.

    • MajinKing – You speak wisely. Compared to some of my earlier solves, this one has been one of the most 80-year-old-man-friendly routes that I’ve explored, and I’ll fully admit that it took a while for me to try and rein in my solve areas to something that would be reasonable for 80-year-old Forrest.

      You also remind me of my hike that day on the way back to the trailhead, I had just passed Calypso Cascades by maybe one-hundred yards, and there was an elderly couple hiking up the trail with what I assumed to be one of their young grandchildren. The elderly man was, I would guess, younger than Forrest but much more rotund in physique. He stopped me and asked how much farther it was to Calypso Cascades, to which I enthusiastically smiled and told him that he was almost there. The man immediately huffed and then went into a tirade about how that’s what everyone he had asked had been telling him for the last several minutes. He was angry and bitter and seemed to take all of his frustrations out on me at that moment. I think I responded with something sheepish along the lines of “well I don’t know what the others were thinking, but I can truly tell you that it’s just up there”. In retrospect, I feel like I would have felt better in the moment if I had huffed back to him and said something more along the lines of “You know what? You’re right! Turn around and go back after you came this far, sucker!” But I try to be nice when I can help it. I really do hope that guy pushed the last little bit so that he could enjoy the cascades, because he really WAS incredibly close in relation to the distance that he had come already from the trailhead, but when I continued walking he was still harrumphing to himself along the side of the trail.

  14. You got alot of nice pictures and a good hike in for the search. I might check this place out this year to see it. Gotta go to co for treasure hunting and vacation. Rocky mountain is much closer than Jellystone, or new Mexican. They have alien drones there now too(according to cnn).

    • Brian u – Haha, yeah I read that article about the phantom drones too. It got the local news sites some clicks at least!

      I hope you can make it up to RMNP this year. My main travel advice is that wow, it can get really crowded really fast! If you can stand an early rise, that’s your best bet to avoiding the traffic and the crowds. I know that I said that the Wild Basin area was less visited than the main entrances, but I’ve been seeing plenty of complaints about that parking area being too crowded at times. I can also offer the advice that there is an unofficial trailhead entrance into the park from the town of Allenspark. You can park along a dirt road and enter the park without having to go through an entrance station, and it will take you into Wild Basin at a higher elevation so that you can hike downhill to Calypso Cascades. The only catch is that you have to hike uphill to get out!

  15. Hi ya Dal,

    Love the story, I find it to be well documented with great photos.
    Now I hate to be a stick in the mud, I could not help notice you made a remark about ” heavy loads and waters high.” The actual sentence is ” Just heavy loads and water high. ”
    Please note the difference in your statement and Forrest’s. The use of ” waters ” is plural. and Forrest’s use of water is singular. Which leads me to believe there are a few sources of water feeding a lake or something between a lake and pond? One of the feeds may be a waterfall?

    Just some friendly observations.
    Respectfully
    HDD

    • HDD, you are so correct in MO.. you have made the very distinction that so many miss and I commend you for it. I hope you find the treasures you seek. Thanks for the nuggets. Blex, excellent write up and we’ll worth the cold.

        • I lived in Colorado and spent a lot of Time on the Flat-Tops, I love all the Humming-Birds, Blue-Birds, Magpies and wild flowers. Such a Pretty Place. We deserve another Turn as Forrest has said, Perhaps God will Grant us that!! Keep Searching!

    • HDD, that was my mistake and not Dal’s, but you are absolutely correct. Although there was a little fork at the spot I searched, the main drainage of Cony Creek remains pretty singular along that whole run and would be what I would consider to be the “water high” in this case.

  16. The hint in SB 17 is the Johnny Cash lyrics. You got that much right and that is all there usually is to the SB hints: subtle and not helpful except as confirmation of correct solve. Ty for the J. Cash find. It helps confirmation for.me and is not the first time he subtly hinted at Johnny Cash. When the solve is shared you will know I’m correct. Beautiful area you went to. I love RMNP.

    • Deepthnkr – You made me go back and take another look at the lyrics for the Johnny Cash version, and you might have something there. That added first stanza especially seems to jump out as a description of the hidey spot. I’ll look forward to reading your details on this!

  17. I can see you put a lot of work into your solve and write up which is appreciated.
    You really captured the beauty of your search area but most areas in the Rockies are.

    Fenn drove through CO on his way to places he loved otherwise he would have stayed in CO for the summers.
    I never read, seen or heard of Fenn talk about CO as “Dear” – “Special” – “Love”.

    I think it was just another place to drive through to get to the places he loved the most and get some gas.

    Thanks.

    • Well, Jake. Forrest might not have expressed “love” or talked about Colorado as “dear” but for SOME reason, per Doug (and you know those two are thick as thieves) the 10th and final clue “would be where they found his car”.. “at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science”. About an hour from RMNP. Something about that sounds “special” to me!

      • Fenn said:
        “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.” f.

        Fenn didn’t say:
        “Here is what I would do. Listen and read what Doug Preston says. Then read the poem over and over and over, slowly – thinking. Then listen to Doug again, this time looking for hints and clues from Doug that will help solve the clues.” jf.

        Just doesn’t seem right.

        • Jake,
          That’s a pretty condescending reduction of what sally proposed, but that seems like par for the course around here some days. I might be inclined to think you were absolutely correct, if this was just some random speculation by Doug. That’s simply not the case. Forrest went out of his way to bring in Doug specifically to document the process so that he could confirm the actual story is substantiated through truth, rather than things like blogger conjecture, in the event that Forrest wasn’t here to do it himself. Forrest told him, that if things had gone the way he had initially planned, after hiding the treasure and committing suicide he would have had one more and final clue for us posthumously. I have a hard time believing that the public finding his car at the Denver museum wasn’t by design, meaning it’s important to fenn and this story. There is clearly something important about that location to Forrest, important enough for him to consider it at one time, the last clue we would ever receive. Let’s not forget that Forrest just did a scrapbook about that very place and it’s grizzly statue not long ago, and as I recall that was all Forrest and had nothing at all to do with Doug.

          • Thank you Double a. I thought that the video clip was very interesting in 2 ways. First of all, Forrest seemingly confirmed the 10th clue information from the preface of OUAW, and told us that the University of Northern AZ info was irrelevant to the chase. I thought Forrest’s body language was VERY interesting. I dont recall seeing him with his arms crossed across his chest in an interview before. He was guarded…?? For those who havent seen the January 6 KPRO and COW video showing a clip of Forrest and Doug discussing the topic, you might want to. I wonder too if there is any connection here with Catcher in the Rye…Holden spends a good part of the story, the crisis point, at the Museum of Natural History as well and it is a pivotal part of the book.

    • Thanks, Jake. And yes, like the comment Lori made further up, there’s value in looking in the places we know for sure were dear to Forrest. I know I’ve criticized searchers who focus on Yellowstone NP in the past, simply because it seemed to me like low-hanging fruit, but that’s not to say that I haven’t given the Yellowstone area some hard looks myself. I actually really liked the Minnie Lake area west of Yellowstone as one promising spot and was planning a BOTG trip there when I was out visiting the park 2 summers ago, but then I found out another person on this blog posted a trip report where he searched that same spot already a few years prior and couldn’t find anything of note (Just reminded myself: It was DeCall Thomas’ post that’s titled “The Legend of Forrest Fenn” if you want to look it up).

      I’ve preferred looking in blank spots that Forrest doesn’t speak or write about more often than not, but I know I that could just as easily be the wrong path as the right one.

  18. Hi Blex … very nicely written, and an interesting solution. I don’t remember ever reading a solution within RMNP before, though I vaguely recall a solution years ago that someone proposed just north of RMNP, near the Cache La Poudre River.

    Your write-up had place names that were a pleasant change from place names like “Madison”, “Gibbon”, “Firehole”, etc. And I would encourage you to continue your exploration in that part of Colorado, with a couple of cautions, as listed below.

    If I had to critique your logic, it would be near the beginning. You said: “I decided to assume for the moment that the Tent Rocks were the home of Brown and see if I could identify a convincing WWWH”.

    I think searchers need to begin at the beginning >>> namely, find a suitable WWWH. After you have found a satisfying WWWH, then and only then, would I search around for a HOB.

    Also, the first part of your writeup seemed unnecessarily indirect and circuitous, to me. Seems like you went through a lot of background information to get to a “Wild Basin” solution. Nevertheless, since you are there …

    I wouldn’t write off that general area. RMNP is surrounded by national forest land, I believe. Don’t hesitate to consider that surrounding area as well. Just try to conceive of a credible WWWH first, and see if you can attach it to a place on some map of that area. Good luck.

    Ken (in Texas) 🙂

    • Thanks, Ken (in Texas)! You’ll get no arguments from me regarding taking the scenic route to get to my solve area! I could have omitted that whole part and just started out with “I started looking in the Wild Basin area”, but I just love all the new & interesting stuff I learn along the way that I felt compelled to share all of it!

      There has been a lot of interesting conversation going on the “home of Brown” discussion thread page earlier this week about the possibility of using “home of Brown” as a starting point, and I think my solve here demonstrates a way that such a technique could work.

      I mean that, in this particular case, I feel that I could have possibly just as easily discovered the WWWH of Mahana Peak first and worked my way back to the Tent Rocks as hoB; I just happened not to. I don’t always look for hoB as a starting point; I just as often look for possible WWWH’s. But in either case, I’m really just doing the same thing: trying to look for a possible WWWH and a possible hoB connected by canyon all at the same time.

      Now who knows for sure if that’s the right technique? Not me, but I’ll still plug away at trying! 🙂

      • Ken – And just to add on, I’m surprised that there haven’t been more solves posted about the RMNP area too. I can only recall one person posting on this blog about a solve he was considering related to Lion Gulch as a “no place for the meek”, and another person mentioning that she was planning a BOTG trip along Fall River Road a year or two ago, but that’s about it. For searching “somewhere in the Rocky Mountains”, Rocky Mountain National Park seemed like an appropriate spot.

    • Blex – Really nice write up. I will get back to that in a sec after I make a comment on Ken’s comment here.

      Ken, you state: “Your write-up had place names that were a pleasant change from place names like “Madison”, “Gibbon”, “Firehole”, etc.” Please don’t take this the wrong way, it is with all due respect, but maybe there’s a reason those names keep coming up. I told myself that before I started reading any blogs on TTOTC, that I wanted to come up with my own conclusions first as to not be influenced by other thoughts from the get-go. I ended up at Madison Junction for my WWWW. That is still my starting point. Now that said, like everyone else, no chest in hand! LOL! So who knows. All those non believers of the Yellowstone area may be correct in THEIR thinking.

      Blex, what I love about your story and “solve” is how it illustrates the extreme simplicity, yet complexity of Fenn’s poem. So many things can fit perfectly, our heart rates go up thinking “that’s got to be it!” and yet here we are all sharing failed solves that look good on paper and not so good in the field. But that is “TTOTC” as we all know and love it.

      Thanks for sharing Blex and although it was not Indulgence in hand for you or any area I believe the chest will be found, I LOVE the thought, imagination and hard work you put into it. as I said above, nicely done.

      • Geysergirl – Thank you for your kind words! And I think you have summarized the entire Thrill of the Chase in a nutshell wonderfully!

    • Ken (in Texas) – You also reminded me that there were a few other bits and bobs related to this circuitous solve that I didn’t include in my write-up above.

      One that I just remembered was that I had wondered if Forrest may have had a special appreciation for Joe Mills. “A Mountain Boyhood” was originally published in 1932, so it could have been a book that crossed paths with a young Forrest Fenn at some point (wishful thinking on my part). I thought that Joe Mills and Forrest both shared the burden of being the second-oldest son, trying to build up an identity for themselves outside the shadow of their larger-than-life older brothers.

      In re-reading TTOTC just recently that idea seemed more apparent than I remembered, and it’s related to the whole “Me in the Middle” theme. He openly wrote than his Father always liked Skippy best (at least in Forrest’s mind), and that June had a tight relationship with his mother. I got the impression that out of his siblings, Forrest had the most pressure or inspiration (whatever you want to call it) to strike out on his own and think about defining his own identity and rules for life that made sense to him. But that was all just speculation on my part; I’m no psychologist.

  19. Thanks for sharing Blex. It was a fun read and great photos.

    I think it is helpful to post solves because it may spark a new idea or thought in others. This “Chase” is obviously very difficult so sharing ideas can only help.

    • Thanks, Kurt! If we keep posting bits of information on where in the Rocky Mountains the treasure isn’t, we’ll eventually narrow down the location in a few centuries! 😉

    • Mickey Strength 28.7 – Ouzel Lake is just above 10,000 feet in elevation, so the upper limit of 10,200 feet wasn’t too much further up!

  20. “Thank you Mr. Blex for a totally enjoyable and delightful post. (Takes a sip of tea and winks). I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it quite mesmerizing. Personally, I have never believed that the treasure chest was in Colorado, although it is a most persuading solve (sits down her tea cup on the table next to her).

    Colorado is indeed a lovely place though, and I enjoyed some of the best oysters I have ever consumed while visiting there. I was surprised that they would be serving oysters in Colorado, but the owners of the small restaurant I visited laughed jovially enough whilst continuing to fill my plate several times with those marvelous delectables.

    Please do indeed post more of your photographs when you have the chance my dear. They are quite lovely. Well, I must be going. Cheers!”

    —Queen Elizabeth

    • LOL! Wow, it is a pleasure and an honor and a surprise to receive commentary from such a highly esteemed monarch as you, Your Highness! I had no idea that YOU were secretly a lurker on this site!

      Thank you very much for your royal compliments! I shall make a point to stop by for an audience when next I pass through Buckingham Palace, and bring you a colossal 5-gallon bucket of our delicious signature oysters as a token of peace & goodwill between our two nations!

      Best wishes, and as always, God save yourself!

      Blex

      • Blex,

        God save yourself?
        LMFOOLHEADOFF!!!

        We all know the beauty that our little Sparrow brings us. Quite often I refer to his posts as “Sparrow Droppings”.

        I haven’t laughed this hard in 30+ years! Blex, I could feel the joy in your reply. It made it that much more enjoyable to read!

        God save yourself…HILARIOUS!!!

        But on a serious note, Blex, great job. I love the pictures. But we both know that not even pictures can do any BOTG …justice. It’s a snapshot for others to see, and for our future memories. But for the one whom took them, well, for me, they became spiritual.

        To stand there for the first time, alone, like a speck in nature’s vastness. IT makes ya think. IT’S POWERFUL.

        I always enjoy your thoughts, Blex. I enjoyed reading about your journey! Keep up the good work.

        ByGeorge

        • ByGeorge – Thank you for your kind words! And yes, you have hit that feeling right on the head of what a joy and a thrill it is to get out into the mountains on your own and get exploring. It’s never time wasted, and you’ll never run out of new spots to visit in a hundred lifetimes! Hope you can make it out to the Rockies this year to enjoy them for yourself! 🙂

    • Hello Queen E.

      Do you really need the money?

      Would love to see you hiking around in the Rocky Mountains. Just be sure to not wear your tiara; it might spook the elk. 🙂

    • Sparrow,
      You are by far my most favorite, searcher? You are absolutely a joy to read. This world needs more Sparrows! You definately might have some free-bird in your family tree!

      Keep-a-sippin, I think we all know it’s not tea…wink wink.

      Thanks for the laugh Sparrow. Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

      IMO Only…
      I got nuttin…

      ByGeorge

  21. When I see or hear the word -Calypso, I think of Jacque Cousteau.
    Blub blub…….
    Your effort will be worth the cold!

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