Armchair Thoughts From the UK……

SUBMITTED june 2018
by NICOUK

 

Armchair thoughts from the UK

I first came across Forrest Fenn in the news following an unfortunate tragedy for one treasure seeker.  A google search later and I was hooked on the mystery and challenge, the map and poem both being readily available.  I love a good mystery and love the great outdoors.  Being in the UK I can’t get my boots on the ground so to speak due to health issues.  Thank heavens for the internet!   Like anyone, I may be way off the mark with my theories and interpretations.  However near or far I am from the real location I hope that whoever eventually finds the treasure lets us all know the location, anonymously or not.  

In my search I’ve read a lot of different theories and snippets in addition to the poem and map, but those things have just reaffirmed my chosen location, correct or not, to me. I’m sure others may have already thought of it.

Having read through the poem several times I finally settled on the nine clues being between ‘begin’ and ‘cease’, which might seem obvious in some ways. I think most of the rest of the poem is a very personal narrative from FF.

‘Begin it where warm waters halt’
Within about an hour I decided to centre my search on Colorado, based on a combination of maps and feeling. I then came upon the town of Poncha Springs. The town was founded in 1880 because of the hot springs. The springs were capped in 1935. The town calls itself the ‘gateway to the Rockies’. It is also on Highway 285 north of Santa Fe, NM (possible take on 8.25?).

‘And take it in the canyon down’
You never go up into a canyon, so I didn’t think this so much as a navigational pointer, more of an instruction to head to a canyon.

‘Not far, but too far to walk’
My guess is this refers to the fact that Browns Creek is too far to walk from Poncha Springs, but head up Highway 285 and then on county road 271 and you can get to parking for Browns Creek Trailhead. (You could also start in the Gunnison direction and follow the trail from higher elevations where there is also parking, but that didn’t work for the clues for me).

‘Put in below the home of Brown’
Browns Creek trail/waterfall (not Little Browns Creek)

‘From there it’s no place for the meek’
You have to head off the trail to Browns Creek waterfall and then I believe you have to head off track to the treasure site.

‘The end is ever drawing nigh’
The waterfall is on the left if you approach following my route and a waterfall is a termination of sorts.

‘There’ll be no paddle up your creek’
If you see the creek and trail this is not cryptic at all.

‘Just heavy loads and water high’
I’ve taken this literally as the waterfall and impending treasure.

‘If you’ve been wise and found the blaze’
I believe that this is the waterfall; a beautiful cascading waterfall which creates quite a large blaze.

‘Look quickly down your quest to cease’
There are several possible rock shelters on the falls where the water has eroded behind the waterfall. They are generally easy to explore areas and can be quite large in waterfalls of this type and size. There are also a few possibilities alongside the waterfall, but my belief is behind.

I then cross checked my chosen solve with other comments and potential clues;

It’s a natural formation that’s existed for thousands of years and will for thousands more, although not in the same form.

It fits the elevation.
It’s not dangerous if your wear the right gear.
It’s behind, not under water.
It’s reasonable to get to for young and old.
There is car parking not too far.
Plus others that have just sought to affirm my choice.

The main web sources, aside from Google Maps and Wikipeadia were;

http://www.rainingfaith.com/10-days-on-the-colorado-trail-south-cottonwood-creek-to-browns-creek/

https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7010626/browns-creek-trail-1429

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n7dLm2NINlQ

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FhACkk4hGFs

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8U3huT6ZpTo

http://www.hikingwalking.com/index.php/destinations/co/co_cent/buena_vista/browns_lake/browns_lake_detail

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267&V=10

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267&ZIP=587105

https://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=587099

https://mtprinceton.com/colorado/browns-creek-water-fall-trail/

https://www.benchmarkmaps.com/

http://fennclues.com/m.hints-and-clues-fenn-treasure.html

https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/the-thrill-resource-page

https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/

https://www.npr.org/2016/03/13/469852983/seeking-adventure-and-gold-crack-this-poem-and-head-outdoors

Like with any possible seeker I would love to know how near or far my possible solve is. Hopefully if and when the treasure is found the finder will let us all know.

Happy hunting!

NicoUK

Homestead Meadows Solve……

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by TIM O

 

I wanted to share my thoughts on a possible solve in the Homestead Meadows area of Colorado- there are a few things that jump out at me right away-

  • As I have gone alone in there= Hermit Park-See map below
  • Begin it where warm waters halt/Your effort will  be worth the cold= not an actual body of water- Possibly an old ice chest
  • From there it’s no place for the meek=Lion Gulch Trail/Lion Head peak- see map
  • Not far, but too far to walk= drove past Hermit park and down into Kruger Rock Trail-see map
  • Home of Brown= the old Brown Homestead
  • No Paddle up your creek=no actual body of water and/or dried up creek
  • If you have been wise and have found the blaze= actual fire in 2002 here
  • If you are brave and in the wood= possibly in/under one of the other homesteads or old ice chest..
  • Elevation fits within the parameters mentioned previously
  • Forrest could certainly walk 1 ½ miles to 2 miles x 2 in one day

I think some of the other solves I have seen are just far to complex- this may be some out of the box thinking but this is what it will take for somebody to find the chest..

Please keep me in mind if somebody does find the treasure and please feel free to email me at timothyponeil@gmail.com if you would like to discuss further..

-Tim O

Fishin’ Part 1……

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by SPARROW

 

It’s been almost two years now and I still have no idea where Forrest Fenn hid his Treasure. I have decided that I will search no more, but I did want to share a few things that have intrigued me during my search, before I let go and return to reality (lol).  Often, when fishing, someone may ask you “Have you caught anything?” One answer that can be given to help assuage the feeling of being “skunked” is to say “No, but I have had a few nibbles” (or “bites”). 

So what I am sharing in the rest of this article are just “nibbles”, because the truth is I haven’t caught anything. I am not a very good writer, so I would ask that you bear with me as I share these little trinkets with you. I often visit the Blogs, so very early on in my search I began to see things in the writings of Forrest Fenn, especially in the “questions and answers” pieces that he has shared with us. Here are a few of the things I have seen that just might be “hints” from Forrest in regards to HOW we should be investigating his poem.  Hopefully one of these little discoveries might help another searcher along the way, and possibly lead them to the correct solution to this amazing treasure hunt.

Jesse, I am a fan of Georgia O’Keefe. But not her work, and my opinion was no mystery to her. She said I was a LOW BROW. I countered with a comment something like, “who says you have to be a SNOB to enjoy art?”—from “Featured Question with Forrest Fenn, Georgia O’Keefe,”(September 1, 2015), Mysterious Writings Blog.

When I first began the search at the end of July, 2016 I began to regularly visit the blogs. I began digging into some of the older articles on the Mysterious Writings blog (hosted by Jenny Kile), and the writings and Scrapbooks on blog hosted by Dal Neitzel.  When I read the above question/answer between a writer named Jesse and Forrest I immediately remembered something I had seen in the poem itself. Why was Forrest using the words “snob” and “lowbrow” in the discussion? Somehow I didn’t think the words themselves were hints, but possibly how they were arranged in the poem was a hint of importance.

When I recalled that the words were in the poem (see above) I wondered whether Forrest was hinting that part of the puzzle might be solved using acrostics, and not necessarily orthodox ones either. The word SNOB would be considered orthodox, as it is exactly (5) letters in from the right on all lines. But the word LOWBROW combined two types of acrostics: a diagonal one counting in 2-3-4-5 from the right, and then meeting with another acrostic, BROW, which is part of a word flowing from left to right. This acrostic was in an “L” shape which greatly intrigued me, as Forrest had mentioned “ells” in some of his stories. Was the “L” shape significant in some way? This put me on a path of looking for acrostics in the poem which I do believe is ONE aspect used to hide hints and clues in the poem. It did lead to seeing some interesting things. Unfortunately I can only consider these “nibbles” as the elusive fish (solution) remained aloof.

As I continued my search I found in the same sentences shown above another “L” shaped acrostic that also intrigued me due to what it ultimately spells. It involves aligning the 17th letter from the left on three lines meeting with three letters in a line flowing from left to right:

                                17th letter from left

Andtakeitinthecanyondown

    Notfarbuttoofartowalk

 Putinbelowthehomeofbrown

What makes this intriguing is that the N-O-E letters are all exactly on the 17th letter from the left and then down. When combined with the C-A, from the sentence flowing left to right we have an “L” shaped “CANOE”. And it is interesting that the word “canoe” appears right where the poem says “take it in the canyon down”. Could “canoe” be something we take in the canyon down? What do you think? Is it purely coincidental, or is it a hint? It certainly left me wondering.

In another “Featured Question with Forrest”, called ‘Early Morning Ideas” (October23, 2014), someone named “Thrill” asks a question of Forrest to which he replies: “Especially burned into my memory Thrill, was the idea to arrange a cultural exchange program with the Russian Government. A few art scholars jazzed me pretty good and I was the butt of some funny jokes, because it was 1975 and the Cold War was in full blast.

Again, when I read this I immediately thought of the poem and something I had seen in it. Because not only had I looked for acrostics, I had experimented in other ways also, such as typing the poems sentences with no spaces between the words. One sentence in particular caused me to laugh, as crude as the humor was, because the words “butt” and “fart” were in the same sentence.

“NOTFARBUTTOFARTOWALK”

Again, as crude as this is it does appear to match the story’s words of “butt” and “full blast”. As I laughed under my breath I remembered another possible explanation which used another “L” shaped acrostic, this time appearing on exactly the 12th letter from the left combined with a word in a sentence flowing from left to right.  This time also the word read upwards and to the right.

                            12th letter from left

NOTFARBUTTOOFARTOWALK

PUTINBELOWTHEHOMEOFBROWN

 FROMTHEREITSNOPLACEFORTHEMEEK

The S-H-O is exactly 12 letters from the left—again very intriguing.  But why “Shofar” you ask? Well, first, if you read the answer from Forrest above he says that the art scholars “jazzed” him. When I think of jazz I think of horns.  Incidentally, in the first stanza of the poem are two different acrostics which both spell HORN.  And here, with the word “shofar” is another HORN.

If you google the word Shofar you will see it defined as having a “blasting” sound. They use the word frequently when describing the shofar with long “blasts” or short “blasts”. In Forrest’s answer he states that the Cold War was in FULL BLAST, which is an interesting choice of words. Another interesting thing about the sentence itself is the fact that Forrest said that he was the “butt” of Art Scholars jokes.

NORFARBUTTOOF ARTOWALK      The sentence seems to confirm this.

Now, I realize some of you may be calling me “nuts” by now or deluded, and actually that’s fine with me. I realize that stating that “full blast” may refer to a shofar or a fart is a bit silly, but the placing of the words in the poem seems to be a bit more than coincidence in my opinion.  What do you think?  The shape of the acrostic as an “L” for both CANOE and SHOFAR on the exact letters that they fall on is quite interesting to say the least.  But then again, above in the sentences we can see the words FORT BROWN quite clearly too. I thought this might be a hint, but Forrest has since stated that HOB is not a man-made structure. Fort Washakie in Wyoming was called Fort Brown first. So it is obvious that coincidences can happen.

One other interesting acrostic found in the poem is the word GAIT (“Gone Alone In There”). This word has been hinted at many times by Forrest. Even in SB146, when he mentions the duck named ‘Tail End Charlie”, he states that it was born with a strange “gait”. Near the very end of the poem there is another acrostic, BAIT (Brave And In The wood). I had noticed these two acrostics right away as I read the poem, along with WAFT (Wise And Found The blaze) and the two examples of HORN in the first stanza also. However, I did also realize that these acrostics, being only (4) letters long per word, could easily have happened by chance also. But the more I read the more I felt that at least GAIT was a real hint.

One thing that confirmed this a bit for me was another exchange in a question/answer between Forrest and Carolyn. This is found in another “Featured Question with Forrest” titled “Inside Indulgence” dated 12-14-14.  Carolyn asks: “Are there any bronze animals in the chest, indulgence, or anything bronze?” To which Forrest answers: “Nothing bronze at all Carolyn, or even silver. I wanted more expensive metals in Indulgence. That’s why I chose gold. There is a gold frog that’s very old”.

I found the question and the answer both to be very odd. Forrest is asks whether there are any bronze animals in the chest?  Why bronze animals? Why? It just appeared to be a strange question.  And then Forrest answers with a couple of strange replies also.  He states there is nothing bronze in the chest, or silver also. But we all know that Forrest wants the SILVER BRACELET back if anyone finds the chest. So why does he say there is nothing silver in it?  Then he ends his answer with: “There is a gold frog that’s very old”. What I noticed is that the question and answer both begin and end with same acrostics that are in the poem—except they are reversed:

Are there any Bronze Animals In The chest  (BAIT)

There Is A Gold frog…” (TIAG = GAIT)

Again, this may be entirely coincidental. But the number of hints I have seen mentioned regarding the word “gait” leads me to believe otherwise. Because the poem begins and ends with these acrostics, is Forrest purposefully beginning and ending the question/answer with these two acrostics to hint to us that they are important?  I really have no idea. I am just fishing, and getting “nibbles”. I haven’t really caught any fish. By that I am basically saying that I see these things, but don’t really know how to apply them in order to get the big fish.

I might add though: In a recent post on Dal’s blog a gentleman mentioned a game he put together for his wife. He hid envelopes around the house for her to find. He actually went into quite some detail—and even added a bit more after Forrest responded to him

However, Forrest gave only this short reply: “That Is A Good story.f’  (TIAG = GAIT). He added nothing more.

Of course there are many coincidental things that we can find in the poem. Here are a couple of examples. In the past someone shared how they believed the sub-conscious mind might have something to do with the poem. They mentioned ID and EGO. Naturally I had to check it out, and here is what I found almost immediately (lol):

As I havegone alone in there

AnD with my treasures bold

And another person mentioned an esoteric meaning being part of the solution. They mentioned TAROT cards—especially the WANDS cards.  Surprisingly, if you arrange the poem in an up and down manner the following appears  and there are many other coincidental things that appear just like this. Or are they coincidental?

HBHDHDW

TSWNSNO

NETAROT

 IREWEYR

It’s kind of strange how WAND appears all on 4 letters in from the left. Just coincidence I guess.

END OF PART 1.

-Sparrow

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Spawning a Solution……

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by The Geezer Team

 

We (the Geezer Team) believe that the best way to find the treasure is to take Forrest Fenn’s poem at face value and temper that with information provided by Fenn since the poem’s publication. Our approach will also include establishing segments such as A-B wherein A is WWWH and B is the HOB, the HOB and the blaze make up segment B-C, and the blaze and the treasure is segment C-D. We don’t know if our approach is any bettter than other approaches, we just like it.

The first stanza, we believe, is an introduction wherein Fenn is telling us the treasure is hidden in some kind of rock shelter at least as big as himself plus the treasure box, “As I have gone alone in there,”. We’re guessing to get in there, he may have walked in upright, stuped, crawled, or wiggled in. He is also telling us that knowledge of the hiding spot is his alone and safe. Fenn said when he decided to hide a treasure he knew exactly where to do it but how would he know about such a location? We believe it was discovered during approximately 12 summer trips to and from Yellowstone when he was a youth. If you study a highway map from the 1930s you’ll see a major route from Texas to Denver. That route passes right along three of the four major river systems for that part of the Rockies. The three river systems are the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, and the Platte. (Fenn has ruled out the Rio Grande, however). On those long trips away from and back to their Texas home, we believe the Fenn family stopped along the rivers to rest, to camp over night, and to fish for trout. And, there was probably enough leisure time for two exuberant boys to explore, discover, collect artifacts, etc.

In the second stanza, we got started right away on segment A-B. We believe that “Begin it where warm waters halt” is a tributary water way, which flows into a river, and that we have found that tributary. Finding A, of course, is the key to the whole enchilada. The tributary has numerous hot springs making it a warm water source. Then we have: “And take it in the canyon down,” which means the searcher is in a water craft of some kind (canoe, kayak, raft) going with the current and into a canyon. We believe the use of a water craft is confirmed by “put in” (2nd stanza, 4th line) which is a nautical term meaning to land, esp. put in to a port. Alternatively, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance might be able to be used when this river’s water is low, typically, early spring and late autum. But we don’t know if that’s legal. Now, what about “Not far, but too far to walk.”? How can a destination be both “not far” but also “too far” at the same time? Since the searcher has to go down through a canyon he/she might think why not just walk up on top the river bank. We believe Fenn is telling us (and we observed) that the canyon has sides that are riddled with deep gulches making that kind of endeavour a long hike – up and down, up and down, up and down, etc. thus adding many more miles, and tough ones at that.

“Put in below the home of Brown.” tells us where to stop, where to “Put in”, thus determining segment A-B. It seems like there are two ways to interpret “… home of Brown.”, both require Brown to be capitalized, but for different reasons. The first is that Brown is a proper name wherein the searcher must find a person, place or thing named Brown along the river, in the river, or on top of a bank overlooking the river, etc. We call this the “proper name” scenario The second interpretation is that Brown refers to an animal species; e.g., Brown Bear, Brown Trout. I can hear many folks screaming right now; ” … but, but, but, but the rules of capitalzation …”! And, early on in our quest, we would have been screaming right along with you. However, the capitalization of common species names is now becoming a regular practice. But, this is also a special case allowing Brown to be capitalized to distinguish a common species name from a feature like color. For example, we are saying these are not just trout that are colored brown but are a species with many distiguishing features. We call this the “Brown Trout” scenario, which we will pursue if the “proper name” scenario does not produce the treasure. More discussion on this later.

In searching for point B of segement A-B, we actually found a location with an interesting proper name. The proper name we found is Brownsville! But don’t try to find it on a map because it hasn’t existed for a long time. The town of Brownsville was a ghost town when the Fenn’s visited the area and there is now a different name for that location! That Fenn sure is a sly old fox, but don’t try to baffle the old Geezer Team, buddy boy! Actually, we stumbled into that information, serendipitiously, and went to the old Brownsville cemetary but couldn’t find “any body” named Brown (ha, ha, ha). We discovered later that the Brown in question is in a different cemetary. The old Brownsville town wasn’t quite on the river, but the slope of the land from the town down to the river canyon was sufficient for us to believe that that part of the river is “below the home of Brown.” Further, if a searcher “puts in” on the opposite river bank there is a gulch that kind of fits the next part of the poem.

For segment B-C, Fenn cautions that the going will be tough (“From there it’s no place for the meek,”) and searchers will be in a non-navigable creek (“there’ll be no paddle up your creek,”). We are puzzled, however, by the words “your creek”, why not just say “the creek”. One reason we could think of was that maybe we should be looking for a creek with a name like “Treasure Creek” or “Gold Creek” or “Searchers Creek”, etc. But there are no creeks with names that fit that category in our search area. We are more puzzled by the next line, however: “Just heavy loads and water high.”! Some searchers say the heavy loads could be big boulders and rocks but I hope no one is trying to carry them around! Some searchers say the heavy loads are the treasure box contents, but it hasn’t been found yet since we’re following the poem sequently, as Fenn suggests. Does “water high” mean there’s water further up the gulch, does it mean the water found will be deep, or is it a water feature like a water fall? We know for a fact that this gulch has a wet lands seven miles up from the river and has some small springs along the way but for the most part the gulch is seasonal – intermittent wet and dry. Like a tree that’s been cut down, we’re stumped, so we will move on to the next stanza.

Discovering point C requires finding the blaze, a major element to finding the treasure. Fenn offers little help in the poem simply saying “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,” which tells us nothing because we already know that the Geezer Team is wise! He has told us, however, that the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail and that searchers have been within 500 feet! So at .5 miles we got out of the gulch and went 500 feet left and right. Some searchers believe “nigh” means left, so why not just do the left side? Well, we’re having a hard time finding that definition. No matter, if you go one side and don’t find the treasure, you’ll be wise and go on the other side, or go home empty handed. But, when a searcher leaves the gulch what should he/she be looking for as a location? Look for a place that satisfies Fenn’s sensory experience as if he were standing near the treasure hiding spot. Fenn wants to able to see his beloved Rocky Mountains, a river valley, the river, pine trees, and indiginous animals (deer, elk, prong horn, big horn sheep). He wants to smell sage brush, pines, and most of all Pinon Pine, especially when the sap runs thick! To date, we have searched an area approximately .5 mile from the river and 1 mile up, on both sides of the gulch, with no results. Winter is coming on so we will wait until spring 2018 to do the next mile up.

Since the blaze must last 10,000 plus years it can’t be a tree notch, a carving, a cairn, or any thing like that. It can’t rot, rust, or be prone to erosion or being moved in any way. So we are left with something like a natural rock formation or discoloration. But we don’t buy that either. As mentined earlier, Fenn said he knew exactly where to hide the treasure. It is highly improbable, though, that a natural blaze would be in exactly the right place too. We’re guessing that the blaze is something he made, brought in and placed himself. Something meaningful to show the way. Something like, like … Well, figure it out yourself, we can’t have all the fun. The meaning of “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.” is that since the blaze is man-made, you will know it when you see it, else you are not wise! So now we have a way ahead for segment B-C.

Segment C-D is from the blaze to the treasure and Fenn gives searchers instructions. He says “Look quickly down, your quest to cease.” We believe he means, when a searcher sees the blaze, stop! Moving forward toward the blaze (a natural tendency) will put the searcher out of position to see the chest! Looking down has several interpretations such as look down at your feet, or look south, or look down the trail, or if the blaze is high, just bring your gaze down. We believe it doesn’t matter at this point. When we find the blaze we’ll try anything and everything to find the treasure, even bring in bull dozers, back hoes, construction cranes, jack hammers, etc.!

In the final stanza first line, Fenn urges searchers to listen up with: “So hear me all and listen good,” then: “Your effort will be worth the cold.” and “If you are brave and in the wood”. We believe that the “cold” means that the hiding place is on the north side of some feature, a cliff, rock out-cropping, boulder pile, etc., where the sun never shines. And/or the river and creek waters are always cold! The last sentence of the poem is puzzling. Why does one have to be brave, unless its just a general trait expected of searchers? For “in the wood” we’re guessing Fenn means in the chest, which is lined with Lebanon cedar! For the rest of that sentence and the last line of the poem, “I give you title to the gold.” Fenn has gone weird on us. If we have the chest and its contents we don’t need title from him or anyone else. Unless, unless, … unless all the intended treasure is not in the chest and we have to collect the rest from him or his estate!

A bit about the “Broun Trout” scenario, which we believe is actually a “Brown Trout spawning” scenario. First we have to find a new WWWH for segment A-B, either on this river or another. Next we go down a canyon as before but this time we’re looking for a Brown Trout spawning tributary to begin segment B-C. Once we find the tributary, we are “… below the home of Brown.” and can head up that creek and then explore 500 feet on either side to find the blaze. The phrase “… no place for the meek.” now takes on a new meaning as it refers to the trout swimming up stream to spawn! Females carry approximately 10,000 – 20,000 eggs (Just heavy loads …) which are laid and fertilized in the autum but don’t hatch until the spring when the waters start warming up. The hatch becomes thosands of fry and those that survive become fingerlings which stay in the creek at least a year. Thus, although still non-navigable, the creek must have water all year and be deep enough for spawning (… water high.).

We imagined spawning to go something like this: After swimming up stream, a male trout approaches a female and she says “Wow, you look buff, what’s up big boy!” He says “Yeah, been working out for the spawn. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a little romance?.” ”I am! I just laid a few thousand eggs over by those rocks in a nest I made. Go knock yourself out, then come back for a cigy-pooh! (Jack Kerouac beatnik slang for cigarette). After which I’ll cover the fertilized eggs with sand and gravel, then we’ll get back to the river. You won’t tell any body about this, will you? I mean, we just met and now we’re having all these kids! A girl has to worry about her reputation.” “Nah, what happens in this creek, stays in this creek.”

The Geezer Team-

The Poem as Nine Sentences……

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2017
by Bowmarc

 

 

I am sure that this theory or process has been brought to light before; none-the-less, I am putting it out there with my own insight and reasoning.

This entire post is IMO and I will endeavor to back up any FF quotes, assertions, etc. where/when possible.

As the title line states, I will be breaking FF’s poem down into 9 sentences based solely upon the punctuation that FF himself has provided us with.

That being said, this is how the poem looks as 9 sentences:

As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold, I can keep it where, and hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek, the end is ever drawing nigh; there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?

The answers I already know I’ve done it tired and now I am weak.

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

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

*I must add that with the exception of the word “Brown”, which FF himself capitalized in his poem, I have only capitalized the first word in each of the sentences derived from FF’s poem.

For those who are new to TTOTC, I will be using abbreviations and terms that have evolved within this treasure hunting community (and, in hindsight, I have already used some above) and will attempt to define those for you below or when such are first used within my post. This list is not exhaustive and so far includes the following:

FF = Forrest Fenn (the master wordsmith who has set us all to the task of finding his hidden treasure)

TTOTC = The Thrill of the Chase (a book by FF in which he includes an untitled poem which leads to a treasure he hid somewhere) (Also the “feelings” which we searches experience while looking for the treasure)

Indulgence = the name given to the treasure hidden by FF

BOTG = Boots on the Ground (the act of physically going to a location and actively searching for Indulgence)

Stanza = a group of lines forming the basic recurring metrical unit in a poem (FF’s poem is said to have 6 stanzas consisting of 4 lines per stanza)

IMO = In My Opinion

ATF = Unknown to this writer so including it more as a question (I think it means After the Fact)

Sometimes as I am breaking down FF’s poem, I will be referencing lines in his stanzas by capitalizing the first letter of each word in said line. For example, if the line I am about to reference/dissect reads “begin it where warm waters halt” I will refer to it as BIWWWH, and further refer to subsections by similar means (for example, WWWH is simply Where Warm Waters Halt, a subsection of the line currently being discussed).

I have primarily used the 1828 online version of Webster’s Dictionary to identify each word’s part of speech and associated definition, as well as other various internet dictionaries to further identify and define words as needed (for example, some words were not defined in the 1828 version so I had to look elsewhere). I have not further researched word origins and/or translated them to/from any other language as to do such may be, IMO, going against the spirit of FF’s quote that “…Knowing about head pressures, foot pounds, …” (Tarry Scant website ID# 2775) et al. Also, to do such is an undertaking I am not yet prepared to embark upon at this time as my current work (this document) consumes a lot of my time & mental resources. 🙂

At the end of each breakdown I will have a TRANSLATION from “Fenn-ese” (Fenn-ese = The written and/or expressed word or words as used and understood by Forrest Fenn) to “Bowmarc-ese” (Bowmarc-ese = Bowmarc’s interpretation(s) of Fenn-ese). 🙂

Before I begin, I wanted to state that I am not an English professor, and confess that the subject was one I was loath to conform to (perhaps much like FF?) and one of my worst subjects throughout my entire educational endeavors. That being said, my use of grammar, punctuation, spelling, terminology, etc. are just to the best of my ability and understanding and not intended to flaunt my education level (or lack thereof) and are intended to convey meaning, provide food for thought, articulate a point, beat a dead horse, etc. and not intended as a platform to belittle or talk down to anyone and I hereby apologize to anyone who takes offense to anything I have written and/or to how it is written. In other words, I am just trying to be thorough, logical, etc. and apologize if any reader takes offense for how I am doing so.

With all that being said, here goes:

Sentence #1 is “As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold, I can keep it where, and hint of riches new and old.” = All hints and an opening statement about what is being done and what must be done. FF has to provide his reader with an introduction to his poem as well as giving his reader some information regarding the poem’s purpose, which sentence #1 does.

As = an adverb meaning that or while.

I = a pronoun for myself. NOTES: marks a distinction between the speaker (or writer in this case) and another person

Have = transitive verb meaning to possess/Marry/regard/maintain (maintain meaning affirm). NOTES: is this the past tense and does that really matter?

Gone = passive participle meaning departed/advanced/ruined; (abstractly) departed from life. NOTES: As FF is currently not deceased, I don’t feel the abstract definition is applicable.

Alone = adjective meaning single/without company/only NOTES: FF as affirmed on several occasions that he was by himself when he hid the treasure and that he is the only one who knows where it is hidden so I won’t reference a specific quote at this time, but perhaps a little ATF. 🙂

In = preposition meaning surrounded by limits.

There = adverb meaning in that place/thither/to that point or ends.

And = conjunction meaning further.

With = preposition meaning in connection.

My = pronoun and/or adjective meaning belonging to me.

Treasures = noun meaning wealth accumulated/particularly a stock or store of money in reserve/a great quantity of anything collected for future use; transitive verb meaning to hoard/collect/reposit. NOTES: an “s” is added to either make plural nouns or to form the 3rd person singular of the present simple tense (I work, you work, he works)—treasures, IMO, is not a 3rd person singular therefore the noun definition/usage is more favorable than the transitive verb definition/usage, therefore the “s” makes the noun treasure plural.

Bold = adjective meaning forward/prominent/daring/executed with spirit/without fear; transitive verb meaning to make daring. NOTES: the transitive verb definition is archaic. As an adjective we need to determine what noun bold is referring to—since there is a conjunction (and) earlier in this sentence, everything before the “and” is a separate clause from everything after the “and”, therefore bold has to refer to something in the second clause, leaving treasures as the subject of the adjective bold. (*However, see translation #2 later on)

, (Comma) = punctuation mark that indicates a pause in a sentence, denotes a slight break between different parts of a sentence, or separates items in a list. Used properly, commas make the meaning of a sentence clear by grouping and separating words, phrases, and clauses.

I = pronoun meaning myself.

Can = noun meaning cup or vessel; transitive verb meaning to be able to / to have means. NOTES: pretty sure it is not meaning a cup or vessel.

Keep = transitive verb meaning to hold / to have in custody for security / to preserve (from falling or damage) / to tend / to maintain

My = pronoun and/or adjective meaning belonging to me.

Secret = an adjective meaning properly, separate, hence hid/concealed from notice or knowledge of all persons except the individual(s) concerned/removed from sight/not proper, hence ought to be kept from observation; a noun meaning something studiously concealed/a mystery; a verb meaning to keep private. NOTES: KMSW could mean I, FF, am going to keep my private place to myself (more loosely “translated” FF is saying I can keep my secret place secret)(While I dislike defining a word/phrase using a word that is to be defined, I feel “I can keep my secret place secret” translates FF’s line fairly well and may be the first time I have translated said line thusly and/or read of it being translated thusly). In other words, “secret where” is a thing (his secret someplace), not a reference to the treasure being someplace. In more other words, the line can be read “I can keep my secret where.” as in I have the resolve to not reveal my private spot under any circumstances (well, except I can and did hint of it).

Where = an adverb meaning at which place or places/whither (whither = absolutely/to what point or degree); a pronoun meaning what place/the place in which; a noun meaning a place.

, (Comma) = punctuation mark that indicates a pause in a sentence, denotes a slight break between different parts of a sentence, or separates items in a list. Used properly, commas make the meaning of a sentence clear by grouping and separating words, phrases, and clauses.

And = conjunction meaning further.

Hint = a transitive verb meaning to bring to mind by slight mention or remote allusion/to allude to; intransitive verb meaning to mention slightly; a noun meaning a word or two intended to give notice, or remind one of something without a full declaration or explanation.

Of = a preposition meaning proceeding from (proceeding = participle present tense meaning moving forward/passing on/issuing/transacting/carrying on).

Riches = a noun meaning wealth/possession of land, good, or money in abundance/a splendid, sumptuous appearance; a plural noun meaning abundant and valuable possessions

New = adjective meaning lately made/modern, not ancient; not familiar with

And = conjunction meaning further.

Old = adjective meaning having been long made/ancient; in vulgar language, crafty or cunning

. (Period) = punctuation mark indication a full stop/expresses the finality of what is being said (written).

TRANSLATION 1 = While I (FF) affirm that I once departed into a place with limits in no one’s company but indeed with a prominent collection of items of value belonging to me, I myself am able to maintain private knowledge of a place known as such to me, while also (herein) being able to make slight mention of an abundance of valuable possessions that are lately made or ancient.

NOTES REGARDING TRANSLATION 1 = FF has been quoted as responding to a question about the rules of capitalization being properly followed in his poem with “Whose Rules, ChicagoDave?” (Tarry Scant website ID #3216) so one may also assume that the proper rules of punctuation, etc. are equally questioned by FF in whole or in part. That being said, and for that reason, I give you Translation #2 below.

TRANSLATION 2 = While I (FF) affirm that I once departed with strength of resolve and purpose into a place with limits in no one’s company but indeed with a prominent collection of items of value belonging to me, I myself am able to maintain private knowledge of a place known as such to me, while also (herein) being able to make slight mention of an abundance of valuable possessions that are lately made or ancient.

NOTES REGARDING TRANSLATION 2 = In this version I allude to FF possibly using bold to refer back to himself in the clause before the “and” as well as, in the interest of space, also still alluding to the treasure as bold (prominent). A lot of chatter online about double meanings and this is an example of such (albeit obscurely) i.e. using the word bold to describe himself and the treasure with one usage of the word.

That’s about the end of my current line of thinking regarding line one of FF’s poem when such is broken down into 9 sentences. My plans are to post my thoughts on each of the 9 sentences at a pace of about 1 sentence a week, give or take a few days. I am well into completing my take on BIWWWH so it may be forthcoming sooner than later.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

-Bowmarc

Among the Weeds & Roots…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2017
by OS2

 

Caution, I don’t doggedly follow the poem’s path so much as I immerse myself in a holistic pool of its words and images.  Paths come later, for those with boots. 
There are several possible WWWHs and HOBs which can be placed as needed, but they’re back at camp and I’m headed for a named trail now. Come along and see it bold.
Its not a loop trail, it has two trailheads.  If you use Rene’s scheme, imagine the two intersecting roads on the map as pole -X and floor-Y.   Attach one TH to each and voila!, you’ve got a brave triangular loop.  (Brave means tall)   Ever hear of an ancient named, Hero of Alexandria?  Bright guy. Studied waterwheels & pneumatics.  Worked them cold. Zero. No predecessors.  He devised a neat measure for triangle areas using only perimeters.   Yeh, no height needed!   We called him ‘No pole Leon’.    … thanks for laughing. 
More recently, another old man took his own measure on this very trail.   Told me he laughed when he got back to his car just because he’d done it!   I’m guessing what he really laughed at were some memorable experiences that he won’t tell, and maybe a 13 year old’s name for this place.   Silent P’s & G’s  are kind of funny.  
There’s a few creeks up here, fordable but be careful, a wrong step and quick slip will chill your nips. The great glory of this place is in Mom’s long-sightedness over her fields of wild flowers. Sometimes I come just to watch summer’s sun pillow down in them at end of day.  
Its a great place to take your girl.  Maybe blaze a stone or tree with a heart and a pair of initials for her.   Who knows?  Years later, sitting under an osprey on the Madison, you might remember it to her with a note.  Here’s a hint, if your girl’s too meek to bait a hook, Cougar Creek is a clever boy’s chance to put an arm around her.  City boys have to rely on horror films in darkened theaters for those opportunities.  That’s a heavy load.  
This creek here quits soon, but a little Duck will paddle it down to the setting sun … ain’t that Rich?  Oh come on, look at your map and laugh at that.  I’m no linguist, but a nearby bell peals off too.  Google ‘bells peals’ please.   Now see that dandy Sandy Butte over there?   Its just the cup to hide a young lady’s face or for what boys are oft attributed to.   (A cup is a small hill.)
So now that you’re wise to the Gneiss Trail, have fun imagining on Yellowstone’s Sunset-strip.  Go in peace Traveler.
———
Well , those are the short highlights, if that’s not a contradiction.  The must-have 9’s are too complex for writing out, but they’re here if you’re dyslexic & good looking.   
My first trigger was “Listen Good” which has nothing to do with that “Hear ye all” toll.  A LIST is a line, a strip, a stripe, an edge, a border or perimeter.  FF puts his rules ON a list.  To tailors, the list is the selvage of a bolt of fabric.  (I’ve heard it called a bold of fabric, but I think that was colloquial.)   If you’re an environmentalist more that most, you’ll know the RED LIST of endangered species.  DO NOT TOUCH them.  A jouster’s shield or kings crest may be encircled or sectioned by lists.  Sometimes a ribbony one arches across a scant announcing some profound literary nonsense in Latin, or just a cold R.I.P. Charlie Brown. 
Trailhead #1 is at 7 Mile Bridge.   My NatGo map shows Cougar Patrol Cabin above it, but I don’t find it on GE.   
If you’re sliding down the north pole,  Grayling Creek might be your threshold moment.  (Stout Hearts were in Texas, but the photo said Grayling.)  From there, TH #2 is nigh, look quickly down for a grove of aspens.  For some, it’s a permanent put-in, but the parking’s good.  Nice pics  of it on Find-a-Grave Fir Ridge.  
OS2-

Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by FMC

 

 

Last night at about 3 am, I had a new thought for my current, in-process solve.  And in thinking it through, it’s sufficiently general enough to share – it doesn’t apply to just my solve, but to a number of different end of the poem possibilities.  So here we are.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze

The two schools of thought related to this line and the blaze generally seem to be as follows:

1 – “If you’ve been wise” refers to an owl and viewing the blaze from above, most often via Google Earth, but also potentially from an elevated vantage point.  I’d also add GE/map “wise” based place names (Owl Creek or whatever) to this school.

2 – You need BOTG to find the blaze and “If you’ve been wise” refers to you having solved the clues leading up to this point where you are looking for the blaze.  You may be keeping an eye out for owl-shaped rocks, but you are reliant on BOTG prior to this line starting.

I’d generally put myself in School 1 as I think having an explanation for “if you’ve been wise” is an important part to being able to go with confidence to your search area.  I’ve also been of the opinion that the School 2 people are taking this part of the line for granted.  If you’re just going to find the blaze when you’re BOTG, why do you need to have been wise?

But it occurred to me that maybe there’s a third interpretation.  Most people tend to think of “if you’ve been wise and found the blaze” as one clue.  What if it’s two clues?

Under my new way of thinking, you still have to find the blaze with BOTG, but “if you’ve been wise” is a separate clue with an interpretation unrelated to the blaze itself.  Enter: King Solomon.

Whether a person is religious or not, I think the “Wisdom of Solomon” is a commonly known phrase/saying.

Per Wikipedia (which matched my own limited knowledge on the subject):

Perhaps the best known story of his wisdom is the Judgment of Solomon; two women each lay claim to being the mother of the same child. Solomon easily resolved the dispute by commanding the child to be cut in half and shared between the two. One woman promptly renounced her claim, proving that she would rather give up the child than see it killed. Solomon declared the woman who showed compassion to be the true mother, entitled to the whole child. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon#Wisdom)

Okay… but how does this relate to finding the treasure?

Picture the following scenario, one which I expect is fairly common among searchers (either armchair or BOTG).  You’ve solved the clues and you’re hiking up alongside your creek with heavy loads and water high up ahead (or maybe you’ve passed them already).  Maybe you’re on a trail or maybe you’re already off the trail.  You’re looking for a blaze, but at this point, you’re basically flying blind outside of that.  Simplified, maybe it looks something like this:

You think you’re looking for the blaze, but maybe you first need to be looking for something else; something that splits from your creek.  Maybe it’s another creek.  Maybe it’s a side-trail (if you’re on a trail).  But we aren’t taking that side-trail/creek because what would be “wise” about that?  We need to split the creeks in two:

And then we find the blaze, find the treasure, pop some champagne, revel in our brilliant solve, and go about arranging to give FF his bracelet and buying a new car.  Easy game.

Obviously, I have no idea if this interpretation is correct, but it’s something I haven’t seen before and it doesn’t materially impact my 2nd solve (because you have to figure out the rest of the poem first) so I figured it may be something that could benefit someone else.  Do with it as you will – I’m going to bed.

 

FMC-

Wind River Canyon…

July 2017
by Tbug-

 

Hi fellow Fennatics, I’ve been lurking off/on for a few years, the search for me has not involved botg and this is NOT a complete solve, rather I wanted to see the community’s thoughts on a few things (especially in light of all the recent SBs/posts from FF – writing this as of 4/20/2017). The following is a theory, not confirmed and will definitely NOT sway any of the Blog-erati (looking at you Seeker!). The following is just my opinion, guaranteed or your money back:

My backstory: First heard the Fenn story in 2013 from a co-worker who was very enthusiastic, we discussed for several weeks and then it fell the wayside, I would occasionally hear of an article or interview and then I found Dal’s site last year and have been reading a lot and coming up with some ideas. I’m a longtime CO/WY kid (I’m 40), between the ages of 6-16 I spent summers in Wyoming, often spending several weeks with family (Grandpa and cousins in Worland, other grandparents in Sheridan WY). Those visits included the 6+ hour drive from Laramie to get there, anyone who has driven in/around the state of WY can attest, the joy is NOT in the journey, most assuredly it is that you finally got there after so many grueling hours in the car. In my younger years these trips were fun only because of the ways my dad would entertain me, often involving ‘breaking records’ like total trip time, how long he could keep the speedo over triple digits, how far could we go without stopping for food or pee breaks, etc. The route we would take would sometimes change slightly, but was basically I-80 over to Rawlins, up 287 to Sweetwater or Lander, up to Riverton and Shoshoni and up the Wind River Canyon through Thermopolis and onto Worland. The scenery of this drive was…let’s just agree to describe it as ‘98% brown’. The stretch between Rawlins to Shoshoni is my own living hell, any scientists out there working on teleportation owe it to themselves to drive that route and re-invigorate their mission. However, once you got to Shoshoni there was hope, a light at the end of the tunnel and finally something to hold your attention besides antelope and tumbleweeds.

The Wind River Canyon has always held a special place in my heart…a lighthouse along the way signifying the drive was almost over and a beautiful canyon drive with lots of twists, tunnels, pre-cambrian rock, a train and of course the river. In my pre-teen years I marvel gazed at the tall cliffs and the uplifted and tilted layers and wondered what it would have been like to live 10000 years earlier. As my engineering mind was forming I wondered how long it took to construct that road, dealing with the river and weather, building the tunnels, etc.

Thermopolis – similar to the canyon this was another milestone on the journey, it signified we were less than an hour from our destination and to a 7 year old kid the hot springs park pool had the coolest damn water slide I had ever seen. My last drive up north was in 2008 heading to Cody for a cousins wedding, and we turned nigh at Thermop heading to Meeteetse so I didn’t get to see the true landmark of the town (IMO)…there is a small ‘geyser’ (air quotes here because it was probably a pipe carrying the water nearly 100 yards from the real source) near the chamber of commerce. In my youth it spouted water and steam 5-10’ in the air, halting, then returning to the earth, another curious site and a milestone telling me we were that much closer.

I thoroughly enjoyed SB 145 about the Bullet (I’m a car guy) and to me the Fenn summer trips from Texas to YNP sparked my first real theory: with such a long drive through much of the prairie west, surely the family made stops at various places along the way over those 17 years, and surely after Forrest was on his own he made additional road trips to his Valhalla. I looked up some historical Wyoming state highway maps from the late 30s…all the way until 1939, the various highways between Cheyenne/Laramie to Cody or Jackson involved many stretches of non-asphalt roads. I wondered how slow they would have driven and what the jalopies they drove, where they stopped for food, if they camped at night or stayed in motels, etc. I find it an easy reach that the family probably chose different, less strenuous/dusty/awful roads, at least after a few years of making the trip they probably figured out a ‘preferred’ route. Looking at the historical maps it is pretty clear that going up I-25 through Casper, over to Shoshone and up the Wind River to Cody was likely the preferred path. I have deduced this because hwy 287 by way of Rawlins and Dubois is 1) awful scenery (at least until South Pass) and 2) weather (wind anyone?) and 3) Togwotee pass north of Dubois was not paved until the early 40s, so at least in the first 5-10 years the Fenns made that trip, Cody was likely the best/least terrible way to YNP. EDIT: after a little more research, my route was indeed called the ‘Road to Yellowstone’ and Thermopolis was marketed as ‘The Gateway to Yellowstone’.

So to re-cap: I have driven a lot in WY on a similar path that the Fenn’s could have travelled each year on their family trips to YNP. Much of that drive is awful (IMO) and has some significant landmarks along the way that could be ‘special’. There are warm waters halting in Thermopolis (for me it’s that cheesy chamber of commerce fountain). You can take a canyon south that is too far to walk, that is home to many a large brown trout (I know, I know). The Boysen Reservoir and dam were completed in 1952, so the Fenn’s would have seen a semi-natural river in their early trips, but the road through the canyon was there prior. I find it unlikely that the fishing Fenn’s would not have stopped at some point to fish that river. So, given Forrest’s love of fishing and fondness of his family and trips, I think it is at least plausible that this area may be special. I recall that Forrest (or was it his dad?) said that catching huge fish, while fun, the smaller ones could be more rewarding…I’m calling BS on that, because anyone who has ever landed a huge trout that takes 2 hands and all your strength to handle will tell you so…the Wind/Big Horn have always been prime habitat for large trout, catching a big ‘un is a likely scenario for an experienced fisherman especially if you learned the river over several years. My theory on the ‘special’ aspect is that Forrest and his dad may have caught some of the biggest brown trout they had ever seen on a specific section of the wind river canyon.
OK, the following is my official ‘arm chair’ solve, enjoy!

WWWH – check. We all agree YNP is a special place, to me the signature feature is Old Faithful, the water literally shoots up and halts, if but for a moment, before falling to earth. In Forrest’s writings it is clear to me that he chooses Form over Function, a pretty thing is so much more than just a thing. By the nature of the poem, interpreting WWWH is fraught with pitfalls and rabbit holes, so much so that it seems probable that was the intent…many want to say that ‘warm’ means this that or the other, but looking at the poem from just the poetry perspective, ‘Where Hot Water Halts’ is just not as pretty sounding as WWWH…also alliteration…3 is clearly better than 2. Now I’m not saying it is DEFINITIVELY a geyser, I like the idea of a hot springs pool on a river, where rocks are piled up to create a mixing area that you can adjust because usually the water is too hot to just have a singular pool, you need the colder river water. I also like a water fall, but more for water high than warm. Anyway, in my mind a geyser is both a simple way to view it because of the poem and very difficult because there are so many of them north of Santa Fe. The town of Thermopolis is a significant landmark on the long dusty trip from Texas, it offers food/lodging and a public hot springs park. Additionally the area has petroglyphs, notable dinosaur archeology, the Shoshone/Arapahoe reservation to the south and a colorful outlaw cowboy history; arrowhead and other treasure searches could easily kickoff in the area around Thermopolis.

Canyon down – check. Wind River Canyon contains exposed pre-cambrian layers and is many a rockhound’s outdoor classroom. One issue with the canyon itself: it is on the reservation and a rock climbing related search suggests the tribes view the canyon as sacred, (possibly burial grounds), route climbing is off limits and many have asked. Interestingly, game and fish have overseen the reservoir/rec areas (also on the reservation) since inception, a bit of paradox in my mind, publically accessible areas and roads, but on reservation land such that many activities are off limits. I stated earlier that I think it was likely the Fenn’s fished this river there are two areas just north of the dam that are managed by the state that include camping and river access, unclear when that access may have been established, likely after the dam was finished, I’m guessing back in the ‘40s/’50s things were likely less regulated.

TFTW – check. From Thermop to the canyon mouth is about 3 miles, the canyon is about 13 miles total length from the northern mouth to the dam, certainly too far to walk with 42 lbs. This clue/hint has always bothered me, if the poem is a map and the directions lead you there, why start from a point where you move on? I know many will claim they understand, yet no chest, so hard to buy into those claims. There must be a purpose to start in a place that you will eventually leave. Is it to help confirm you’re on the right first clue? Is it to make sure you see the entire path that FF took at one time? This just seems to be an oddity, include the fact that it is the one line that doesn’t rhyme and it seems to raise more questions than it answers.

Put in below home of Brown – flimsy, thin, questionable, let’s agree ‘plausible’ check. I have been catching trout since I was 4, fishing is most certainly important to FF. I grew up with the outdoors playing a large role; camping, fishing, hunting etc. I think older generations likely did similar activities, because, yeah, no internet back then. I would also argue that Wyoming is a pretty boring place, if you didn’t do outdoorsy stuff you likely didn’t stay long, as they say, ‘there are 2 things to do in Wyoming: shoot guns and drink beer’, I would add go fishing, which should technically include beer, IMO. Anyway, the point is fishing is indeed a popular hobby in Wyoming, for me it is one of only a handful of reasons I even go back nowadays. So what of the capital ‘B’? As seen throughout the history of the west someone named Brown can be found just about everywhere. Maybe that was FF’s intention, but I’m taking the easy way out and saying it is the Brown trout due to FFs fondness for fishing (boom alliteration x5!). The entrance to the canyon from the reservoir side (but before it was built, note the river flows north, so ‘down’ here is downstream, but my canyon down is south) is another possibility for HoB given that the fishing would have likely been best just inside the canyon not on the plains, any fisherman can tell you the big fish live in the canyons with the big rocks.

WARNING: ENTERING CONFIRMATION BIAS WORK ZONE
So let’s say a 10 year old Forrest is with the family fishing the canyon on their way to YNP, but lo the fish are not biting. Well, we know Forrest began searching for arrowheads and other historical/cultural areas at a young age. The canyon walls command your gaze, anyone familiar with archeology would be intrigued by the area. At the entrance to the canyon (moving north from the reservoir, with the flow) you quickly encounter the tunnels, bored through the rock at the narrowest spot in the canyon and another significant landmark on the way north. Nearby is a popular picnic/camping area and fishing spot: Upper Wind River CG. Between the first 2 tunnels, and a short walk from that popular camping/fishing spot is a small creek/gully… Gold Creek drains into the Wind here. It is extremely steep, indeed NO PLACE FOR THE MEEK – check. Also it is only intermittent flow (NO PADDLE), there are back roads that go above from the east, on BLM land, so it COULD be accessed by an old man, not likely from below (but also too visible to a fairly busy highway, IMO). Also, the top of the mesa here is over 5000’, part of the gulch is as well, so 2 more possible checks.

The end is ever drawing nigh – In my solve you go ‘down’ the canyon heading south, Gold Creek is to the east (or left) of the roadway. I spent a little time on GE to see if something else to the ‘left’ fit in here and nothing definitive. There is very interesting geology all around Gold Creek, there is an interesting white band in a couple areas near the top, but they appear to be both on the reservation land and just below 5000’. To the east of the top of the gulch is Birdeye peak (the bird in the moon sketch?) and on the leeward sides is a wood, a small area with real pine trees (most of the canyon and surrounding hills are dotted with small bushes, but very few trees), also near this wood is a fairly large rock outcropping and would be my number 1 spot if I wanted to hide something valuable there.
The remaining clues: heavy loads and water high and the blaze: I will take the easy way out, the train and the reservoir will be my heavy loads and water high, as they would be visible/audible from my spot. As for the blaze, again, I will take the easy way out and say it is the sun, this is where botg may be necessary, the point on the end of birdeye peak looks W-SW and sunset could easily play a role, but time of year would change the location on the horizon so not really.

Some other shortcomings: last stanza I can’t find anything about my spot that might fit ‘worth the cold’. Also, FF’s comment that when we learn the real solve, we will exclaim ‘why didn’t I think of that!’, nothing with my spot seems to jump out other than it is a ‘simple’ solution that uses only the Poem clues, good maps and my knowledge of the geography.

So, as I go alone on this quest (my family, friends and random strangers all think I’m insane), I’m left to answer some questions (besides the poem clues):
Is the area special to Forrest? I think it is plausible, the fishing would have been amazing back when, the canyon and town of Thermopolis break up a long, boring journey, and the area would have been ripe for exploring; world’s largest mineral hot springs, petroglyphs, dinosaur digs, indian reservation nearby, and rich cowboy history.

Access? The top of Gold Creek is just outside the reservation boundary (note: there are no fences or obvious markings for this boundary – on satellite views at least) and is indeed private land, however, there is a patchwork of BLM land (see game and fish interactive map) that can be reached by low clearance dirt roads with a near zero likelihood that someone would see you. The area is hilly, but more mesa like, once on top the walk to the rock outcrop or gulch would not be very difficult, even for FF and his 42lbs. Also, there are few manmade trails (but definitely cattle and big horn sheep frequent the area), but the roads nearby would allow a walk of about 2 miles with only a few hundred vertical. At this point I take no responsibility if someone goes and checks it out and it is private or otherwise inaccessible, as you can see below the route and parking can be done from BLM land only, assuming you can get up Birdseye road. So for me this area is plausible and maybe worth a look for a brave soul.

So you’re probably wondering about the other clues/hints: heavy loads and water high, worth the cold, etc. For me I think throwing out any of the poem is a bad idea and the number one reason I haven’t gone to make this search. I do believe that FF’s statements about how simple it is and you just need the poem, a good map and knowledge of geography lend themselves to this as at least plausible, do I really believe this is FFs special spot, no, but then only one way to be sure! If anyone has been in the area please let us know and of course let the flaming arrows fly about what I missed, but please don’t give me some cryptic, arbitrary statement about stars or numerology or how I haven’t solved all the layers yet, you all are crazy.

Here is a 3D pic. My spot would be a few inches to the right of the Boysen Fault line, but the access road is just out of frame. Also, currently public fishing is allowed from the dam up to just below the fault line shown.

Tbug-

 

 

On Quitting the Chase…

by Ken S.

Warning – this is verbose and long winded.

I have only been at “The Chase” for a little over five months now starting in December, 2016.  I realize I am a late comer to the party.  I have not been out in the mountains yet because we still have snow down to the 5,000’ 6,000′ level here in Montana.  I was raised in south central MT and YNP has been in my backyard my whole life.  Many of you have been at this for years and it has changed your lives and, in some cases, how you now live your lives.

For me, and for most of you, all I can think of any more is “The Poem” of clues.  I think of it as soon as I wake up in the morning.  I recite the poem throughout the day.  Nearly every night I review different websites for new clues.  I stay up way too late looking at GE, the thesaurus, dictionary, and topo maps.  I have had several “solves”, most of which “work” to some degree or another.  For me, it is consuming and I want to/need to stop.  I have many other things I need to do and think about.  I hope in giving away what I have learned so far, I can maybe get this Chase out of my head.  Really, the best way for that to happen is for someone to find the chest!

In this monolog I am going to give most all of my solutions to clues I have found in the poem.  And, yes, I find more than nine clues in the poem.  As some have said, maybe each sentence counts as a clue, but within each sentence there may be several sub-clues (you can call them hints if you want, but I will refer to everything as clues for ease of typing).  I am not going to quote or cite blog posts or videos but will trust my memory of what I have read on different websites, primarily this one.  I know many of you will shoot holes in my logic and thoughts, that’s OK.  Some of you will discount me because I haven’t referenced ff quotes.  But, maybe some of my thoughts will nudge someone else into a different line of thinking, as do many of the blog posts I have read from others.  Btw: I am  a poem purist, I have not purchased the book(s).  Line by line, here goes:

As I have gone alone in there
Alone could mean Lone Wolf, Lone Star Geyser (ff is from TX), Lone Mtn near Big Sky, MT.  I only developed one solve based on this line.  Btw, there is a Fenn couple that own land at Big Sky, MT (public record).  I don’t know if they are related to ff.

And with my treasures bold,
Treasures Bold could be the creeks that flow into the Lamar River including the adjacent creeks called Jasper, Amethyst, Agate, Crystal, Opal, Chalcedony, and Flint.  All are treasured gems.  Their creek names are bold on a topo map in the area.  I have two solves that use this phrase as a clue.

I can keep my secret where,
I have found no clues in this phrase.

And hint of riches new and old.
The word old may refer to a historic mining district.

Begin it where warm waters halt
There are warm waters all over the west and in the Rocky Mtns.  I have considered mostly those only in my area of familiarity.  In YNP I considered both Soda Butte Cr. and less warm Rose Cr. in the Lamar Valley.  Neither are hot springs.  Soda Butte is warm and Rose does not freeze in winter.  I also considered the Firehole River, the Boiling River, Corwin Springs, the hot springs at Thermopolis, WY, and in the Shoshone River at Cody, WY.

WWWH could also refer to the geographic borders of YNP, but does it mean inside YNP or outside YNP?  Soda Butte and Lamar flow from the boundary inward, Firehole/Madison, Snake, and Gardiner/Yellowstone, flow outward.

Thermopolis, WY is well below the elevation of the chest hiding place but the poem doesn’t say you have to decrease in elevation.  I used Thermopolis as the start point for a solve that looks at the really “big picture”.

And take it in the canyon down,
Different canyons that I have thought of in my solves are Lamar River Canyon, Icebox Canyon, Gardner R canyon, Yankee Jim Canyon, Firehole/Madison R canyon, Yellowstone River canyon, Big Horn R canyon, Clear Cr. canyon in Colorado, and canyons that head south (down) on a map (only those which are associated with warm or hot springs).

Not far, but too far to walk.
This phrase is so very subjective.  Even though ff was 79 or 80 yo, I have hiked long hard miles with people that age.  It also depends on the altitude and terrain.  It is ten hard miles from Buffalo Ranch to Lamar R joining the Yellowstone R.  It is several miles from Boiling River to Yankee Jim Canyon.  My interpretation for this is that ff probably walked no more that six miles total on his two round trips to hide the treasure.  The higher the altitude the less the mileage would have been.  Similarly, if he was bucking brush versus walking through high park grass, the effort and distance would be much different.

Put in below the home of Brown.
I have a few different HOBs.  I borrowed from the blog for using the Lamar R. and Buffalo Ranch.

Along the Big Horn River just above Sheep Canyon there is a long-operating bentonite plant owned by the Brown Family.

Brown could also be Brown’s Lake east of Fort Collins for those looking in the Estes Park area.

I also thought of the sewage lagoons below Gardiner and the Grizzly Adventure in W. Yellowstone.

And, here is a doozy:  In one translation I found the word Brown has a Spanish translation as the verb “doarse” meaning ‘turn, turn about, turn around’.  But, in most Spanish dictionaries “doarse” means “to turn brown, or golden” such as for sauteed food.  So, doarse is a pretty weak interpretation of Brown, but . . .

From there it’s no place for the meek,
This one is also subjective depending on one’s personal fears – or maybe it refers to a place where the meek would not be found.  At first blush I thought this meant that “You are going to have to work for it.  It’s not easy”.  Or, it could be a scary place – bears, wolves, buffalo, rattlesnakes, guarded private property, nasty switch back roads, nasty park rangers?  Could meek be a religious reference (inherit the earth).  If so, could it be related to a church camp or mountain chapel?)  The Big Horn River cuts through both Sheep Mtn. and Little Sheep Mtn and sheep are referenced in literature to be meek animals.  Meek is associated with timid so maybe “no place for the meek” is associated with the antithesis such as Devil’s Slide, Hell Creek, wolf, etc.

The end is ever drawing nigh;
Some of the blog posts suggest this as meaning “to the left” so some of my solves used it that way.  Others did not.  For my Thermopolis, WY solve I interpreted it as the Shoshone River which enters the Big Horn R just below the Sheep Canyons after its run from the YNP west entrance down through Cody, WY

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
As with most I interpret this as a small stream or dry creek bed.  It could also mean a stream with heavy rapids that cannot be ascended even by kayak.  This could mean the Shoshone River through Cody, WY.  Also, paddling is not allowed in YNP, nor can Lamar R be paddled upstream in the canyon portion because of the close boulders.  This could also mean to bypass Slough Creek which is the only creek with substantial water flowing into Lamar R.  It could also mean Crystal Creek which is one of the “gems” streams with very little water that flows into the Lamar.

Just heavy loads and water high.  
This could mean the large boulders in the Shoshone R as it flows from below BB dam down through Cody, WY or the heavy silt load on the Shoshone R at the BB dam, the Willwood dam, and where it flows into the Big Horn Reservoir (all in the Thermopolis solve).  I also took this to mean heavy loads of huge boulders in the rapids in the Lamar Canyon.  Water high might mean the high water mark of the Lamar (or any) river.  Water high could be where Lamar joins the Yellowstone and becomes a river too deep to cross on foot.  It could also mean any alluvium, especially braided – can’t paddle that – , at a creek’s mouth such as where it spills into a larger river)  Heavy loads (lodes) might also be referencing the many prospects and mines such as in SW Montana and along Clear Cr in Colorado.  Heavy loads and water high could mean a glacier or perennial snowbank.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,   
For the Thermopolis solve:  you have gone past Sage Creek (wise) as you go upstream.  The blaze is the Firefighters Memorial on Shoshone River upstream of the dam, elevation:  6190’.  This falls apart at the end because of the ff comment about no human trails in close proximity.

On the Fort Collins/Estes Park solve I was looking at a B-29 crash site that I thought ff might visit and honor because he had been a military pilot.  The B-29 trail description is to look for an Arrow on the final leg to the B-17 crash site.  For this solve I ignored it being a place ff might want to be buried.

My first solve along the Lamar R included an “owl face” along the river in the foothills between Tower Falls and Lamar Canyon.  The “eyes” are two small lakes, the beak is a small hillock south of the eyes.  The Blaze is an outcrop of white soil between and north of the eyes about 200 feet.

The Blaze could also be Tower Falls as seen from Specimen Ridge.  The Blaze could also be the Devil’s Slide above Yankee Jim Canyon.  Either type of “Blaze”, rapids or falls, could easily have a rainbow associated with the spray.  The rapids would show a rainbow most of the day with the sun to the south.  Tower Falls would only have a rainbow early in the morning with the sun to the east.  Devil’s Slide is also rainbow colored rock and soil.  Devil’s Slide is on private property but the very top end is on USFS, although quite a tough hike to access.

Blaze could also be a burned area but most of the YNP area burned up in 1988 and many subsequent years so that could mean just about anywhere in MT or WY.

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
This phrase tells me that I am very, very close to the chest.  It is either literally at my feet or just down hill from where I am standing.  If you imagine my “owl” of pond eyes, it could mean to look at the “downy legs” and talons of the “owl” which would put it at the high water mark of the Yellowstone River across from Tower Falls.

To Cease could mean two (2) C’s such as Crystal Cr. or Cache Cr.  Two C’s could also mean the continental divide where water flow splits between the Pacific Ocean (sea) and Atlantic Ocean (sea).  But, that is just about anywhere in the Rockies in MT, WY, CO, and NM.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
To me, this means “Get the heck out of there before getting caught”.  That could be a situation for both NP lands or private lands.

Just take the chest and go in peace. 
I think this means “Don’t whoop & holler”, don’t tell anyone you found it until you are safe at home.  Peace could be a reference to a church camp or travel through a cemetery even though the TC is not hidden in a cemetery.  Peace could mean respect for the dead killed in the B-29 crash.

So why is it that I must go And leave my trove for all to seek?
I don’t see anything here.

The answers I already know,
I don’t see anything here.

I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
I think this is telling the reader ff did the trip on rubber tires, probably by car or truck and that he was gone a week.  Of course, a week of travel could put him in any search state depending how many times he stopped and how fast he drove.

So hear me all and listen good,
Is there sound which could be a clue – water gurgling?  I liked the recent post from another Chaser of a natural amphitheater.  I thought that was a good interpretation.

Your effort will be worth the cold.
A synonym of cold is Icebox (canyon in YNP, another is Piercing such as water spray from a water falls.  It might be as simple as having to wait through the cold of winter before snow melts enough to search in the field.

If you are brave and in the wood
This could very well mean the TC is hidden in a hollow log thus easier for a child to retrieve.  Or, it could mean under a log thus easier for a child to see under.  Or, it could mean to duck under the water to get under a log jam.  In two interviews FF has said people should get out and kick over a log.  My favorite interpretation is that there is wood inside the chest that carries a “deed” to keep the findings.  Wood could also mean it is in the trees, if so, there are trees along the the high water mark at most rivers.  Brave might mean be careful of buffalo and grizzlies.  Brave could mean Warrior Mtn in the Idaho Springs, CO mining area.  Btw, there is a Santa Fe Mtn just south of I-70 near Idaho Springs and 8.25 miles north it leads one to a mountain called Fairburn.

I give you title to the gold.
A legal title for the finder could be inside the chest along with legal caveats and codicils.

Finally, I am saving two solves from you all because they are within a day’s drive from my home.  I plan to check them out if the snow ever melts.

Solve #1 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, cross the Lamar over to Crystal Creek.  Look around between the Lamar R bank and the top of the drainage.  Look for a hollow log or under a log near anything that could be a blaze.

Solve #2 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Buffalo Ranch, look on GE for the Owl Eyes and forehead blaze.  Walk downhill to the Lamar R bank and look through the trees near the high water line along the river.

Solve #3 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down to Yellowstone Picnic Area, hike up Specimen Ridge, break off from there and hike down to the Yellowstone R across from Tower Falls.  Look around the side of the draw on your way down as well as check out the high water area along the Yellowstone R.

Solve #4 – Begin at Soda Springs in YNP, travel down the Lamar R to its merging with the Yellowstone R.  Check out around the confluence area at the high water mark.  There could be a recognizable blaze in the area.

Solve #5 – Begin at Thermopolis, WY, travel down the Big Horn R and shallow BH canyon just below Thermopolis.  Travel down to where the Shoshone R flows into the Big Horn R (below the bentonite plant owned by the Brown family) at the upper end of Big Horn reservoir near Lovell, WY.  Follow Shoshone  R up through Cody, WY, up past Buffalo Bill dam and reservoir until you find the Firefighters Memorial (blaze).  It might be there but there definitely are human trails in the proximity.  Also, for some inexplicable reason, I doubt ff would use an industrial plant as HOB, then again . . .

Solve #6 – Begin at the Boiling R. south of Gardiner, MT, travel down the Yellowstone R canyon towards Yankee Jim Canyon.  Somewhere near there you will see the Devil’s Slide down the side of the mountain.  In this solve HOB is the sewer plant for Gardiner, MT – not very attractive.

Solve #7 – Start at Idaho Springs, CO.  I didn’t find a HOB here but I did find a Toledo Mine, Santa Fe Mtn, Warrior Mtn (brave), and Fairburn Mtn (blaze).  I didn’t work this one very hard.

Solve #8 – I didn’t develop this one very well.  Start at Brown’s Lake near Ft. Collins, search for a B-29 crash site in CO just west of FC.  There is one not far north of Estes Park but still outside of RMNP.  This one can be mostly driven to on FS roads but has to be walked to the last mile or so.

Solve #9 – Begin at Upper/Middle Geyser Basins, travel down the FH river canyon, turn around (Spanish verb for Brown) at the Firehole River Drive one-way sign, look around between the confluence of the FH river into the Madison and then up stream towards FH falls.

I admit all of my “solves” have holes in them.  This has been strictly arm chair stuff while I’ve been waiting for the snow to melt.  Remember, I only learned of the Chest Chase last December so have not had a chance to get out in the hills.  And, after a couple field trips, I hope I can get this out of my system.

And, finally, it has been nearly two weeks since I have read anything about Fenn’s treasure.  I think I have broken my addiction to the poem.  I think I’m back to my previous life again.

Ken S in Montana

A New Mexico Solution…

by Morrison James Tayn-

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.

(1.) “Begin it where warm waters halt”
Solve: Warm waters halt disease.
Location: “10,000 Waves” Spa Resort – Hot water Spa at 3451 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe.
Note: This spa has been there for 30 years using the traditional Japanese Hot water therapy.

(2.) “And take it in the canyon down,”
Location: Follow Hyde Park Road (Ski Basin Road #475) in a canyon, towards the mountains
Note: You enter the canyon “down” before Hyde Park road ascends.

“Not far, but too far to walk.”
Instruction: 8 miles up to Ski Sante Fe Mountain
Note: 8 miles walking up 3600 feet, takes over 6 hours

(3.) “Put in below the home of Brown.”
Solve: In spanish “Home” is “Casa” and “Brown” is “Cafe”.
Location: Take the Winsor trailhead (#254) below the “Casa Café” at Ski Santa Fe Mountain, off of the parking lot.
Head towards the Borrego (#150) / Bear Wallows (#182) trail loop via Winsor Trail (#254).
Note: The trailhead is 10200 feet. Fenn, as per Dal, has said the treasure is specifically below 10,200 feet.

(4.) “From there it’s no place for the meek,”
Solve: “Borrego” is Portuguese for a gentle or meek person.
Location: At the trail fork of Borrego Trail (#150) & Winsor Trail (#254) continue on Winsor Trail (#254)

(5.) “The end is ever drawing nigh;”
Location: Consider a left off of Winsor Trail (#254), Bear Wallows Trail (#182)
Note: “Nigh horse” is on the left. The “Nighest route” is the most direct route. Creeks are “ever drawing” water

(6.) “There’ll be no paddle up your creek,”
Location: Investigate the shallow creeks along and off Bear Wallows and possibly Winsor trail. Head “up” creek.

(7.) “Just heavy loads and water high.”
Solve: You “bear” heavy loads and a ship “wallows” or rolls from side to side in water high as per Oxford Dictionary.
Location: Search Bear Wallows Trail (#182) for the blaze, most likely located up a side creek.

(8.) “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,”
Instruction: Look for a possibly “white” marked boulder 200+ feet up a side creek.
Note: Fenn says seekers have been within 200 feet of the treasure and describes, in triplicate, blazes as being “white”.

(.9) “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”
Note: The chest is not buried but most likely covered or hidden in a hollow tree, root hollow, or rock crevice and it is “wet” as per Fenn, signifying it may be placed right in a shallow creek.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Map (Road in Black, Trails in Red)

(10.) Shortcut:
Bear Wallows Trail (#182) and Borrego (#150) are accessible from a small parking area, half way up Ski Basin Road #475.

-Morrison James Tayn