I have used several BIWWWH locations in my prime search area. I’ve shared a couple of them. They seemed pretty good to me on first light but two of my often used WWWH locations have pretty big holes in them…
Namely Ojo Caliente and Madison Junction…
Let’s start with OC. Ojo Caliente is a thermal event near Fountain Flats in Yellowstone. It rises out of the ground about 30ft from the the north side of the Firehole River at the Freight Road bridge and forms a small, very hot pond that empties through a series of small channels into the river.
In his story, River Bathing is Best, Forrest tells of riding his bike from West Yellowstone out to this spot to take a warm bath before they had plumbing and hot water in his parents cabins. He wrote about how, by moving his body a bit in one direction or another in the river, either toward the hot spring water or away from it, he could find the perfect temperature for bathing.
I tried this myself and things haven’t changed much in the 80 or so years since Forrest rode his bike out there..
I wrote about the experience HERE.
Forrest’s story about river bathing appeared in the West Yellowstone newspaper and on Forrest’s website before he announced the treasure hunt. It was not a story that was included in The Thrill of the Chase but it was included in his second memoir, Too Far to Walk. So the story has been around since before the chase began and is still around on his website. You don’t have to buy a book to read River Bathing is Best. Does that say something about its importance in the hunt for Forrest’s chest?
Maybe…But here’s the thing..If Ojo Caliente is the starting point, then why is it not mentioned…or even alluded to in TTOTC? After all, Forrest has insisted that the way to figure out the clues in the poem is to read the poem, then read the book, then read the poem again..then think…then read the book again…etc…
So it stands to reason that the clues are in the poem and the book is where we go to find hints about what those places the clues represent actually are…He never mentioned anything about there being any hints to the clues on his website or in the West Yellowstone paper…
So how in the heck is there any kind of hint in TTOTC that would point us toward Ojo Caliente???
It’s not mentioned in the book. It’s not hinted at in the book…How would we know to begin at Ojo Caliente by reading the book and the poem?
I don’t think we would. I don’t think anyone would.
This appears to be a fatal flaw against Ojo Caliente being the starting point.
And there’s more….
Listen to the idea that the clues are “contiguous”
From the Moby Dickens video at 47:35 in-
“They’re contiguous. I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest so it was easy for me to put one foot down, and then step on it, to get to the next foot, that’s what I did.”
Moby Dickens video is HERE.
What does that word “contiguous” tell us about the clues?
Simply that they touch one another. Where one ends the next begins. There is no space between them. As in the 48 contiguous States. They touch…where one state ends the next begins. Neither Alaska nor Hawaii are one of the contiguous States because they don’t touch any of the others. There is space between Hawaii and the other States. They are not contiguous with any of the other States.
So…for instance, “the canyon down” must begin at the place “where warm waters halt” ends. They must touch one another. The canyon must be pretty long because we take it “not far but too far to walk” and right at the end of that canon must be the place where we put in…and logic tells me that the Home of Brown is inside the Canyon since we are putting in below it and the “put in” has to be touching the end of the canyon. There is wiggle room here though…as long as everything is touching.
How does this negate Ojo Caliente as the place to begin?
Because there is no canyon touching Ojo Caliente is there?
Ojo Caliente is 30 feet from the Firehole River and the nearest canyon down from that place on the Firehole is 7 miles downstream at Firehole Canyon. Firehole Canyon and Ojo Caliente are not contiguous…
The only canyons contiguous to Ojo Caliente are the little canyons that the hot water has carved through the 30feet of travertine on the way to the Firehole River…but a 30foot canyon is hardly too far to walk…isn’t it? Even an ant can walk 30ft effortlessly.
Ojo Caliente seems to be a “no go” right from the start because the very next clue is not contiguous…there is no canyon that is “too far to walk” contiguous to Ojo Caliente…
If there is a simple litmus test for the place that we should begin, our WWWH…it should be these two questions:
1. Is this place somehow referred to in TTOTC or the poem…even remotely…even off-handidly…even microscopically?
2. Is there a canyon contiguously adjacent to this place?
Let me apply that same litmus test against Madison Junction.
Madison Junction is the place where two warm rivers end and a new river begins.
1. Does Forrest ever mention Madison Junction in TTOTC or the poem?
Is it mentioned off-handidly or remotely or candidly or microscopically?
The answer, I am afraid, as far as I can tell, is no. Forrest does not write about that place in particular nor symbolically by mentioning a mixing of waters or a meeting of rivers or the headwaters of the Madison. The place seems to hold no memories worth writing about for him.
2. Is there a canyon “contiguous” to Madison Junction?
Yes. The Upper Madison Canyon begins at Madison Junction and the newly formed Madison River travels through it for some 14 miles…although, exactly where in geographic terms the Madison Canyon ends seems open to geographic interpretation.
So that failure tells me that I should not use MJ as my BIWWWH.
Additionally, there is well-founded speculation that the upper Madison Canyon is really a valley and not a canyon. It is marked as a canyon on only one map that I could find and is more often referred to by fishers and rangers as the Madison Valley.
What Madison Junction has going for it is that it is a place where two warm rivers (warm waters), HALT. They both end at exactly that spot.
I still feel that the upper Madison River is generally the right place to look…It has all the other elements that I need…I just have to find the key…and a new starting place…
Of course, this is not a fact…it is merely my opinion, and my opinions tend to change over time. Failure to find what one is looking for leads most to change perspective on where to look.
You may have better opinions if you think about it.