A Straight Forward Colorado Solve……

leadville train

September 2019

By Aaron R.

 

A little preface before I get into my solution.  I based my solve primarily on the poem, giving it as straight-forward a reading as I possibly could—no hidden meanings or code-type solutions.  I don’t know whether this is the correct approach, its just the only one I was smart enough to attempt.  I ended up with no Indulgence, but perhaps some of my thoughts will aid my fellow searchers.  In any event, I was able to take my first ever trip to the Rocky Mountains which was a beautiful and spiritual experience beyond my ability to put into words.  Also, I didn’t take as many pictures of the clues as I would have liked, sorry.  In any event, here it what I came up with:

“Begin it where warm waters halt”— I chose Leadville Colorado. Just above Leadville is a point where three major watersheds halt (waters). All of these watersheds eventually end up in the Gulf of Mexico (warm). There is also a major molybdenum mine at this point (riches new) and this was a popular area for gold mining during the Colorado gold rush (riches old). Also, as other searchers have noted, Leadville is the highest incorporated town in the US– 10,200 feet. There is an airstrip and a hertz rental so Forrest could have hidden the treasure in a single day if he flew himself up. Finally, Forrest said he followed the clues when he hid the treasure. Any way you drive from Leadville you will, by necessity, have followed the clues.

“And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk.”–  For the longest time I was thinking that the canyon started right at WWWH and that you took it in the canyon not far, but too far to walk.  After reading for the 1,000th or so time, I saw a different possibility.  “Not far, but too far to walk” refers to “down”, as in the canyon itself is located some distance away from WWWH.  I choose the canyon just below Red Cliff, Colorado.  

20190830 115412

Its about 21 miles from Leadville, too far to walk, but a fairly short drive.  One feature I liked about this canyon is that a road runs along its rim—about 500 feet up from the bottom.  Plus, its easily accessible via abandoned railroad tracks.  Another bonus that I didn’t realize until I was walking the tracks is that red raspberries grow along the entire canyon, and they were ripe as I made the hike.  Perfect Snacking!

20190830 114300

“Put in below the home of Brown.”—This is one I’m really upset that I didn’t take a picture of, but I’ll show the satellite photo that attracted me to the feature:

20190903 170458

I noticed that the cliff side had a very particular shade of brown coming down from the top.  In person it is even more dramatic.  To me it appeared to be as close to a “true” brown as you can get.  I did some research and the color is emanating from an abandoned mine called the Champion mine.  The primary mineral mined from Champion was siderite.  Siderite’s primary use is as pigment for brown paint.  To me, this sounded like the mine is the “home” of “Brown”—literally the color brown.  As for the capitalization, I’m not sure.  Maybe its because he was personifying Brown by giving it a home, maybe it’s a poet’s way of saying “brown” itself—the color.  In any event, it’s the best “home of Brown” I had come across that wasn’t related to a person.

“From there it’s no place for the meek,

The end is ever drawing nigh;”–  I’m not sure if there are two clues here, or just one.  I had identified Petersen creek from satellite photos as the place I wanted to go.  I had no idea if I could get up there safely from the canyon.  Luckily, it turns out that I could.  I believe that “no place for the meek” means that its time to leave the comfortable path—in this case the railroad tracks.  Just below the Champion mine, the side of the canyon gave way and I was able to head up into the trees.  It was off to the left, but I’m not sure if nigh is a clue for turning left or not, but a left turn into the brush is what I made.

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek”–  Petersen creek drops steeply down the canyon wall.  No paddling or even wading up this creek.

“Just heavy loads and water high.”—As I made my way up towards the creek, I could hear rushing water before I even arrived.  There were several smaller waterfalls and huge boulders on either side of the creek.  

20190830 122155

The picture doesn’t do it justice.  You can barely see it, but the waterfall continues above, through the branches.  This is about 200 feet up from the railroad tracks.

At this point I was pretty jacked.  I can honestly see how people get hurt looking for the treasure given how I was acting at this spot.  All though of personal safety was out the window.  Although it wasn’t life threatening, I could have easily broken a leg scrambling over rocks and criss-crossing the stream looking for a blaze.  Full. On. Treasure Mode.

Then I saw it.  I looked up and saw this large rock looked EXACTLY like a face.  I jumped because it was so startling.  Of course, I took a picture of it, and of course the picture was nowhere on my phone when I had left the area.  Sorry.  I climbed up– not too difficult—and looked all around.  Over, under, sideways, standing on top looking down, sitting on top looking down, sitting underneath . . . and on and on.  Nothing.  

I only spent about an hour looking over the area, but it wasn’t too large of a spot.  No other signs of a blaze (maybe I’m not wise enough) and no chest.  There were remains of mining structures in the area and signs of recent rock falls.  If the chest had been hidden at this spot, there’s no way one could be comfortable that it would remain intact for 10 years, let alone 100.  Plus I couldn’t see any mountains given how narrow the canyon was.  Still, it was pretty exciting.  I felt like I found things that could have represented 8 clues, but close doesn’t count in the chase.

Maybe someone will read something here that helps them find the treasure.  As for me, I might be done.  My only goal in this was to find a spot where the treasure could be located and go on an adventure to try and find it.  Mission accomplished!  

Aaron R.

 

 

 

 

 

Below the Trout Line…

bbfmca

August 2019

By FMC

 

Title reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcMx7o2_L7I

Disclaimer: If you’ve read my previous two solves, “Going to See the Elephant” and “Crouching Flyer, Hidden Canyon”, you should know by now that this is going to be long. Get comfy.

2nd Disclaimer:  The majority of this was written in between my 2nd and 3rd BOTG in this area.  Where I have updated based on additional research during this interim, I will note so as to try and keep the evolution of the solve understandable/consistent.

“Eddie Dean blew breath into the key-hole of his memory. And this time the tumblers turned.”

– Stephen King, Wizard and Glass

How I Came to This Solve

For those that have been around the Chase for awhile, you may or may not remember my attempt to catalog and share potential specific WWWH. I had a website to submit them, but it didn’t get much traction and consisted mainly of those I culled from solves posted here on Dal’s and from my own ideas. Shortly before I gave up on it, the map looked like this:

1 Warm Waters Found Map

I also had a picture where I overlaid the TFTW map and it looked pretty sweet, IMO, but I couldn’t find that image so… sorry.

One of the last ideas I added to the list was all of the ski areas in the search area, thinking that melting snow/spring runoff halting the skiing season allowed for some poetic interpretation to WWWH, but wasn’t too far out there (like tears, blood, etc.) At the time (late 2017), I couldn’t find any ways to make the rest of the clues fit and I wrote off the idea. After my 2018 solve, which relied on “canyons” formed by the boundaries of wilderness areas, national parks, etc., I came back to the ski area idea to see if there were any fits with this new “canyon” interpretation.  One of the ski areas I looked at… was Red River Ski and Summer Area in Red River, NM.

The Red River area and in particular, the Red River Fish Hatchery as home of Brown, have been considered as potential clue solutions since the early days of the Chase. Cynthia referenced her first BOTG trip to the hatchery 4 years prior to this post from 2017: https://dalneitzel.com/2017/02/11/method_madness/

Dal looked in this area as well: https://dalneitzel.com/2013/03/23/looking-in-new-mexico/#comment-27093

The Wolf covered this area along with Taos in his book/posts and who could forget the infamous Goose Lake “photo of the Treasure Chest”: https://www.abqjournal.com/499766/man-says-he-found-then-lost-fenn-treasure.html

But my canyon down and home of Brown interpretation are different from anything online… could one of these early searchers in the area be the one “within 200 feet”?

A Few More Things on Red River, NM

Before we get into the rest of the poem, a few items (warning: possible confirmation bias) that point to Red River as a possible location. Some/most of these are not “new” revelations, but I’m not hunting down who/where they were first discussed to give credit… claim it as you see fit.

  1. 1)Red River and environs are in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. Sangre de Cristo is Spanish for “Blood of Christ” which has ties to the “My church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms…” quote.
  1. 2)Also, using the map in TFTW and the latitude lines, Red River is more directly “North” than a lot of the rest of the search area.

1a Map Lines

  1. 3)Where it’s located in the mountains, Red River is one of the two closest getaways for Texans to escape the summer heat (this was born out by my BOTG trips and confirmed by multiple people I talked to). This ties to the target audience for TTOTC per FF: “Every redneck in Texas who has lost his job, has a wife and 12 kids, a pickup truck and a sense for adventure.”
  1. 4)There’s the obvious tie of Red River to “so we laughed and drank red tea” from Tea with Olga, but just south of Red River is Black Mountain – “so we sipped black tea and nibbled on Oreos”. Two of the three colors referenced in the story tie clearly to features in this area (we’ll come to “green” shortly).

2 Black Mountain

  1. 5)Ties to “treasures bold” and “hint of riches new and old” in the names of the Chairlifts at Red River Ski Area. As you can see, we’ve also got our third tea color.

3 Chairlifts

I would argue that gold, silver, and copper would be “riches old” while platinum, which, while discovered long ago, only recently became a popular option for jewelry (source: https://eragem.com/news/the-history-of-platinum-jewelry/) would be “riches new”.

  1. 6)The Ski Area in general as WWWH and the “nearly all are north of Santa Fe” comment from FF.  Obviously, most ski areas are north of Santa Fe, but there are a few that are south of Santa Fe (Sandia Peak and Ski Apache, for example).
  1. 7)This one’s admittedly a bit more tenuous, but in my last solve, I discussed the potential image hidden in the picture on page 28 of TTOTC in the story, Bessie and Me.

4 Shadowsv

And in the following, Flag Mountain (Flag) and Red River (Car/Truck) seem to match up pretty well, including the gap under the car/truck and the gap in the road just south/east of Red River. The man fishing is a less clear, but could be the end of the designated special trout waters (at the border of the Carson National Forest as per: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/publications/rib/2019/fishing/2019_20-New-Mexico-Fishing-Rules-and-Info.pdf) or, though the distances don’t match up well, the popular fishing area around Eagle Nest Lake.

5 Shadows Interpreted

Post-BOTG #2/Pre-BOTG #3 Interim Update #1

In looking more closely at the New Mexico Fishing Rules linked above, and the “Warm Waters” section more specifically, I noticed the Red River City Ponds listed, with one of the ponds “open only to anglers 12 years of age and younger and anglers/individuals with disabilities” which has some ties to the FF quote “I think kids have an advantage”.  Looking at the map, the city ponds are located right next to the Ski Area and the start of the Pioneer Creek Trail.

5a RR City Ponds

It’s possible that these city ponds are WWWH (people stop to fish in the warm water ponds) and the rest of the solve proceeds from here instead of the Ski Area.  Assuming the same general warm water definition (ponds, lakes, etc.) it would still hold true for the “nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe” comment.

Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt

With our general WWWH identified, there are various interpretations for “Begin it” and “take it in the canyon down”. These are as follows:

6 Begin It WWWH

  1. 1)“It” as the Pioneer Creek Trail down (South) from Red River Ski and Summer Area (primary focus).
  2. 2)“It” as the beginning of NM-578 (splits off from NM-38 which runs through town) and runs down (South) through the “canyon” formed by the borders of the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness (left) and the Carson National Forest (right). I will touch briefly on this route later.
  3. 3)“It” as the chase starting from Red River in a more general sense and down as lower in elevation to the West along NM-38 (I will come back to this in more detail later as an interesting backup solve).

Note: I’m sure everyone is familiar with FF’s “gut feeling” comment (link: http://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-double-charmed/) from the 2018 edition of “Six Questions” and the update from June 28, 2018 where his “gut feeling is wavering” (link: http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-question-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-gut-feeling/). Potentially related to this is a partial forest closure for Carson National Forest, including the Questa district, of which this entire search area is part of. The closure was announced on June 25, 2018 and became effective on June 27, 2018 (link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/carson/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD584852). The closures were lifted in early July and lesser restrictions (no fires of any kind) were put in place.

Post-BOTG #2/Pre-BOTG #3 Interim Update #2

After returning from BOTG#2 and after deciding I needed to make one more trip for BOTG#3, I ordered Cynthia Meachum’s book, Chasing Fenn’s Treasure, which you can read more about and order here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/Chasing-Fenns-Treasure.  I have long respected Cynthia’s efforts in the Chase and have said more than once that of all the other searchers, she’s the one I think most likely to find the chest. Her blog is well worth reading as well: http://www.chasingfennstreasure.com/.  

I referenced before her visit to the Red River Fish Hatchery in early 2017 and in Chapter 9 of her book, she details her Boston Acres/Middle Fork Lake Solve from later in the Spring of 2017 (similar to a solve area I looked at as part of my 2nd interpretation of “it”).  Towards the end of the Chapter, however, she outlines a series of connections she makes from FF Scrapbooks, Vignettes, etc. to this general area and also along Highway 38 west of Red River, all of which were made from early March 2017 to the end of April 2017, while she was looking in this area.  I’m not listing them here – buy her book if you want to see the details. She even provides a picture of her thumb tacks/tags on her map in the book.

6a Cynthia Map

Included with the permission of Cynthia Meachum.

Prior to reading her book, I couldn’t connect her Red River Hatchery post to FF’s “gut feeling” comment as the post was from early 2017 and his “gut feeling” comment was made in February of 2018.  After reading her book and the connections I touched on above, I looked at the book as the link between the two and realized it became available in December of 2017, after the 2017 search season, and just before FF made his “gut feeling” comment.  It’s entirely possible he thought someone buying the book would continue on the path that Cynthia began.

“It” as the Pioneer Creek Trail

I liked the Pioneer Creek Trail the most as it starts directly at Red River Ski and Summer Area. Even more, it starts behind Arrowhead Lodge and we all are aware of FF’s story of finding his first arrowhead and of references to arrowheads in general. Also:

7 Pioneer

If you consider the definition, it’s easy to see a hint to this Trail in “As I have gone alone in there” (unlike some other hints, I don’t think I’ve seen this interpretation anywhere). Additional hints to “Pioneer” include the story in TFTW, the world lost its darling, on Amelia Earhart, who he calls a “pioneer aviator.” If you squint a bit, the story of blotting out Philadelphia with his thumb could be a callback to Jim Lovell, who did a similar thing in blotting out the Earth with his thumb on the first (Pioneer) trip around the moon (source: https://www.newsweek.com/earth-behind-mans-thumb-96783).

Not far, but too far to walk.

Here you can see another view (looking South) of the Canyon and the distance (just under 3 miles) to the parking area at the top of the trail.

8 Canyon and TFTW

Three miles is far shorter than the typical estimate of ~10 miles for NFBTFTW, but there is an elevation gain from 8,670 feet to 10,020 feet.

Disclaimer: This is a 4WD off-road trail, though not an overly technical one. I did it with no off-roading experience twice in a Jeep and once in a large 4WD Dodge Ram (though all were stock rentals) and wouldn’t attempt it in anything smaller/less suited to this type of trail. I’m not going to get into the definition of “sedan” and whether or not this trail is excluded based on that comment. I will note that, based on Youtube videos of people going on this trail from years back and compared with my experience, the trail has deteriorated a fair amount since 2010.

Note: While it’s a hiking/off-road trail in the summer, it is also a snow-mobile trail in the winter which potentially speaks to the “probably retrieve it in any weather” quote from FF.

Put in below the home of Brown

I touched on the Fish Hatchery as a popular early HOB. For reference, in the following image, the Fish Hatchery is on the far left side, Red River is on the far right side, and Pioneer Creek Trail is marked in red:

9 Hatchery Latitude

How do we get below the Fish Hatchery along the Pioneer Creek Trail? Well, we’ve already started the process above, by looking at the big picture. 

The links between the latitude at the Fish Hatchery (36 degrees, 41 minutes, 0 seconds North) and FF’s father selling his ‘36 Chevy for a ‘41 Plymouth have been noted many times, but I like the clarity of Del Shannon in his piece (link: http://mysteriouswritings.com/where-warm-waters-halt-in-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-by-del-shannon/):

“One evening, while re-reading the In Love With Yellowstone chapter I stopped after Forrest described his dismay after his father sold the families 36 Chevy for a 41 Plymouth. Why on earth was this such an important part of his life? And why didnt he use the numbers 19in front of these dates. Every other reference to a year in The Thrill of the Chase uses all four digits 1926 for example, the year his parents were married.

Forrests attempt at alarm over this car sale seemed insincere. After chewing on 36 and 41, which were details that seemed misplaced, and while using Google Earth to snoop around the Questa area, I noticed the latitude in the lower right hand corner. If I hovered the little electronic hand directly over the center of the village and it read 36 degrees, 42 minutes north. HmmmThen I moved it to the fish hatchery and it read exactly 36 degrees, 41 minutes, 0 seconds north. Holy crap!

10 Hatchery Latitude

Using a new interpretation of “below” (the word that is key?) with the Fish Hatchery’s latitude, you get this:

11 36 Degrees 41 Mins

And zoomed into the Pioneer Creek Trail, it crosses just above the “put in” – the parking lot/turnaround point near the end of the trail (circled).

12 Pioneer Creek Lat Line

Around where the latitude line crosses is also a section of the trail where the creek follows the trail and you basically drive into (alternative possible “put in”) and along the creek.

13 Jeep in Creek

It’s probably confirmation bias, but I see similarities to the cover of TFTW in the rocks/creek (it’s probably just how thousands of creeks in the search area look).

From there it’s no place for the meek

I maintain my simple interpretation of this clue – this is where we exit our vehicle and go into the wild (specifically at the parking area referenced above).

The end is ever drawing nigh

There are two possible interpretations for this line:

14 Drawing Nigh

  1. 1)Search the draw (geographical feature) on the left as you head further along the trail.
  1. 2)Continuing up the trail, you are getting closer (drawing nigh) to the end of the trail, which is gated off.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek

Obviously, there’s continuing along Pioneer Creek from the search area (both upstream and downstream as “no paddle up” could refer to the shallowness of the creek or which direction to take), but looking at a topo map of the area, there’s also a creek coming down from the draw.

15 Creeks

Just heavy loads and water high

For the Pioneer Creek route, this is easy – Pioneer Creek goes past a field of rocks dug out from when this area was mined extensively and goes up to Pioneer Lake.

16 Pioneer HLAWH

It’s less clear interpreting HLAWH up the draw’s creek.  There is the Bunker Hill Mine shown on the topo map, but “waters high” is a mystery… perhaps there’s a waterfall somewhere up the creek.  

17 Draw Creek HL

It’s also possible to interpret NPUYC and HLAWH as still being related to Pioneer Creek and the “no” being not to go that way and to go towards the “end” that’s “drawing nigh”.

200 Foot/500 Foot Searcher Test

For the “along Pioneer Creek” interpretation, I considered the 500 foot test to be anywhere along the actual trail, though most likely originating at the Parking area.  The closer 200 foot test would be if someone decided to go look at the creek or went further up the road to where the gate is.

18 PC 500 and 200

For the “searching up the draw” interpretation, the 500 foot line starts higher up the road closer to the gate. There’s a hiking trail on the other side of the ridge and the 200 foot line intersects would be for someone that went up that trail (possibly not searching).

19 Draw 500 and 200

BOTG for this Solve (Trips 1-3)

In and around the Red River area, I took 3 BOTG this past summer, and searched this area each time, approximately as follows:

20 PC BOTG

There were not too many “blazes” – this is probably the best one (from BOTG #1):

20a PC Blaze

I hoped to be done with this area after my second trip, but I was concerned on trip #1 that we (my wife and I) were above the draw and not in the draw and that we could potentially have missed something. I also considered the possibility that the gate could be the “end” that’s “drawing nigh” and that “no paddle up your creek” could be to not go further up Pioneer Creek and that a pile of rocks  on the east end of the parking area could be the blaze.  I would then apply my “look quickly down” interpretation of “quickly” = one second (of latitude), which is approximately 100 feet (for this location). “Down” could either be south or lower in elevation.

Once I got to the parking area on BOTG#3, I knew my memory of the rock pile had fooled me and that it was not the Blaze.  I searched up the draw again as outlined above, but did not look perpendicular to the rock pile.

End poem interpretation where “It” is the Pioneer Creek Trail

“It” as the beginning of NM-578 (#2)

6 Begin It WWWH

NM-578 starts towards the Southeast end of town and winds down through the Valley of the Pines.  There were three main areas I was interested in using this “it” – Goose Creek Trail (note: the hiking trail, not the off-road trail), the Middle Fork Lake Trail/Bull of the Woods Creek, and Sawmill Creek off of the East Fork Red River Trail.

These were less developed solves with more tenuous interpretations so I’m going to go over them a bit more briefly…

Goose Creek Hiking Trail

This used the same HOB methodology, with the latitude of the Fish Hatchery.  The Goose Creek Trailhead and parking area are the first “put in” below that latitude.

21 Goose Creek Overview

The trail crosses the creek in multiple places without any bridges (“worth the cold”) and the creek is shallow (“no paddle”).  It leads to Goose Lake (“waters high”) and is in the general direction of Gold Hill (“heavy loads”?)  On BOTG #1, I searched up the closest (“nigh”) draw and planned to search up the first draw with a mapped creek on the left side of the Goose Creek (“drawing nigh”) on BOTG #3, but I ran out of time (and also no longer thought it a likely hiding place for the chest).

22 Goose Creek BOTG

Note: There is a bridge that crosses Red River from the Goose Creek parking area to the actual trail that is Private Property. Historically, the land owner had granted hikers use of the bridge, but the property was sold in 2018, and while the new owners initially did the same, something changed in early 2019 that made them stop granting that access (Ranger theory was that there was some kind of altercation with a hiker).  Accordingly, the owners put up a sign that the bridge was Private Property and to contact the Questa Ranger District, effectively making the trail legally inaccessible (barring a sketchy water crossing of the Red River).  The Ranger District plans to get a legal right of way for the bridge based on historical use or build a new bridge further upstream, but the timing of either of those events is unknown.

Post BOTG#3 Note: The sign has since been removed.

Goose Creek Jeep Trail

Though it didn’t work for my HOB interpretation as the entrance is north of the fish hatchery’s latitude, I did consider this trail briefly, primarily because of the Goose Lake “photo” and, per the reporter who wrote the story, FF’s insistence that there wasn’t anything to it (which seemed out of character for him).  While  I never searched up this trail, this spot seemed the most likely, though it was approximately 1.6 miles up the trail (and with 1,000 feet of elevation gain) and I questioned whether it was further than FF would have gone.

22a Goose Creek Jeep

While this is technically a Jeep trail, I wouldn’t recommend going up it for safety reasons (see Travel Tips for Red River #3 at the end of this write-up).

Middle Fork Lake Trail

I tried to search this trail on BOTG #1, but it was still snowed in so I went on BOTG #2. HOB for this interpretation was Beaver Ponds (where marked below) on a map (that I can’t seem to find again). “Waters high” would be Middle Fork Lake.  I considered Bull of the Woods Creek as a potential “blaze” and wanted to get over to the base of it, but I couldn’t find an acceptable way across the river (and didn’t worry too much about it – if Doug Scott couldn’t get there, it probably can’t be done: http://www.dougscottart.com/hobbies/waterfalls/bullwoods.htm).

23 MFL Overview

I also went along the Elizabethtown Ditch for awhile.  Found a blaze or two and some tarry scant and even some marvel gazes, but no treasure.

24 MFL Collage

East Fork Red River/Sawmill Creek

This trail starts east of the Middle Fork Lake Trail with a lot of the same interpretations…  Creek in a draw going to the left, waterfall as “HLAWH” (source: http://www.dougscottart.com/hobbies/waterfalls/sawmill.htm), plus sawmill links to “in the wood.”  For my BOTG trip here, I misread where the actual falls were so I actually went past them without seeing them. I trust that since Dal was here, it’s been well-searched.

25 Sawmill Creek

End poem interpretation where “It” is the Beginning of NM-578

“It” as the Chase and “down” being in elevation along NM-38 to the West (#3)

26 NM38 West Overview

This interpretation started with the Columbine Creek Trail as an emergency backup for BOTG #2 using primarily the Fish Hatchery latitude idea for “below the home of Brown” and not much else in the way of solved clues once heading down the trail (this was born out by my hiking along it for awhile and not finding much else of note…)  I also wanted to re-check The Wolf’s foray up into Bear Canyon as he posted some interesting pictures and I just wanted to poke around/confirm he didn’t miss anything (details of his trips can be found on Chase Chat or by using the WayBack Machine or you can buy his book). As I understand it from his writing, he crossed via a fallen tree approximately across from Bear Canyon and then searched up into the canyon. 

27 The Wolf BC

I forget exactly how he came to this point, but I think I re-interpreted it as Bear Canyon being “home of Brown” with the canyon (on the left coming from Red River) as “drawing nigh”, the power lines as “heavy loads”, and the creek/waterfalls he found as “waters high”.  It wouldn’t matter, however, as I couldn’t find an acceptable way across the Red River.  This was the best option and even in the Dodge Ram, I wasn’t the least bit interested:

28 Hard Pass

Put in below the home of Brown

While I distinctly remember having this thought about FF’s potential playfulness while looking at Columbine Creek ahead of BOTG #2, I didn’t consider it a real possibility until after re-looking at the map ahead of BOTG #3…

Could the Chevron Moly Mine be “home of Brown”?

FF did say in an interview once that “you’re gonna have to solve the riddle that’s in my poem.” (Source: www.tarryscant.com; https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/isaac-cole/on-the-road-with-charlie/e/50089487)

Could this be a play on another popular “home of Brown” choice – the Molly Brown house in Denver (or associated Molly Brown-related places)?  I wouldn’t put it past FF to have it be just that.

It’s been pointed out before, but there are also possible hints to the Moly mine in the image of the Man with the Axe and Cutdown Trees on page 146 of TTOTC as there are no trees on the mine.

28a Moly Mine

With the connection (the Moly Mine as HOB) better established in my mind, I looked again at the area, and the road crossing the Red River from the image above (the closest “official” crossing) is just past (and below/lower in elevation) the entrance to the Moly Mine and is 8.8 miles from Red River (closer to the generally accepted TFTW distance of ~10 miles).

29 River Crossing Overview

30 8 8 Miles

Crossing the river, there are a number of possible clue interpretations, primarily with Bear Canyon as “no place for the meek” both in the not being afraid sense (bears) and also not being quiet (making noise to alert bears to your presence).  There is a small creek that goes up Bear Canyon (“no paddle up your creek”) as well as fallen boulders and waterfalls (“heavy loads and water high”) as identified by The Wolf.

However, there are also draws to the left (south/southeast of the “put in”) and on the left side of the river as you go towards Bear Canyon and Red River itself could potentially be “your creek” and there exist then the same “no paddle up” possibilities for the river being too swift to paddle against or meaning to go downstream.  There are power lines and rock piles/rocky outcroppings (“heavy loads”) all along this side of the river and a creek back towards Red River as potential “waters high”.

31 Options

And the 500 Foot/200 Foot quotes are only marginal help as the road and/or Red River (people fishing) provides cover for people being within 500 feet, while The Wolf’s search up Bear Canyon and searchers potentially staying at Goat Hill Campground/fishing the Red River south of the campground provide explanations for potential 200 footers. (Personally, I thought something up Bear Canyon was more likely.)

32 BC 500 and 200

BOTG #3 to Bear Canyon

In late August, the Red River flowrate was approximately half of what it was for BOTG #2 and I was able to cross without any difficulty.

33 Lower Water

I found the creek and proceeded up Bear Canyon along a trail (I couldn’t tell for sure if it was a human trail or a game trail):

34 Trail

And soon found The Wolf’s spot (and the Iron Bar from his adventure):

35 Iron Bar

(If that’s actually a piece of an old Spanish sword or something, well, you know where to find it…)

I continued up past the waterfalls and soon noticed that, despite going up the only possible canyon, the sound of running water had diminished and eventually disappeared.  As I’d previously considered a natural spring/something with water tables to be the reason behind the FF quote “physics tells me the treasure is wet,” I made a mental note to investigate further on my way back down.

A little further on, I came to a large rock with an overhang/gap on one side. Inside, the gap was filled with sticks (“in the wood”) and dead grass, which, as the gap was well above the creek and on the downside of the rock, seemed unlikely. 

36 Sticks in Gap

I cleared out the sticks and debris, but found no chest.

Continuing up the canyon, I happened to look up and see this:

37 Rock W

I’ve too young to have seen It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, but I’m aware of the “Palm Tree W” from the movie.  Could this be a “Rock W” and be the Blaze?  Given the angle, it’s certainly something that you couldn’t see from Google Earth (FF: “Google Earth cannot help with the last clue”).  I also estimated that it was approximately 200 feet from the trail I was on to the base of the cliff below the “W” – could that be why someone was able to get within 200 feet?

I hiked over/up to the base of the cliff, though I did notice there was still a faint trail to follow.  At the base of the cliff was an overhang with a decent enough view, some blackened (“tarry”) rocks, and some fragrant pine trees.

38 Decent View

But I soon noticed something else… the presence of climbers…

39 Climbers

Okay, I thought to myself, maybe the Climbers were the ones who were within 200 feet.  So I continued along base of the cliff, looking around larger rocks and at the base of pine trees.  I noticed a weirdly colored rock uphill a bit and went to check it out.  It was just a rock, but a little bit beyond that rock was a mine entrance, and in that mine entrance was a plastic bin with rocks on top of it.

40 Bin

 I doubted the treasure chest was inside, but maybe some gold from the mine? Something else interesting (and valuable)?  Not really… it was just climbing equipment that the climbers didn’t want to carry back and forth every time they came to climb.

I looked further around and saw more climbing equipment (carabiners and rock bolts) in the cliff face of the only other way to go and decided to head back.

I went further up the main trail a little bit, before deciding that I’d gone further than FF could have done to hide the treasure twice in an afternoon.  I regret not going a bit further as I think my side trips could have impacted my tiredness estimate relative to FF who would have known right where he was going.  One way, I estimate I hiked a little less than a mile with approximately 500 feet of elevation gain so there’s some potential still for anyone that wants to check further up into Bear Canyon.

On my way back down, I did locate the expected spring, which was just above the 2nd, approximately 3-4 foot, waterfall.  

41 Spring

I considered finding the spring possibly being related to “if you’ve been wise” with that waterfall as the Blaze, but couldn’t find a way to get to the area just below the waterfall.  I did look all around and below the spring itself, but didn’t find anything.

I did also search the dry creek/area southeast of the “Put in” and found a few potential “blazes” but not much else. This area seems like it gets more campers/visitors/high school kids drinking.  Exhausting that area, I called it quits and headed back to town for a beer.

Travel Tips for Red River

Should you find yourself in the area (hunting for the chest or otherwise), a few tips.

  1. 1)The bar at the Red River Lodge has some excellent musicians playing live music most nights from 6-9 (at least during the summer). I also splurged on a steak here one night and it was excellent.
  1. 2)Explore around for dinner as you like, but until you get tired of eating there, I’ll recommend the Major Bean Sandwich and Coffee Co. for breakfast and lunch. 
  1. 3)Unless you’re a very experienced off-roader, don’t go anywhere near the Goose Lake Off-Road trail.  Trail repair in the last several years has faced some serious budget constraints and it is currently unsafe (based on my research).  If you look for them, there are articles outlining approximately 1 death/year on this trail (from vehicles sliding off the road down steep embankments). A lot of the Jeep/off-road rental places in town don’t let you take their equipment on this trail at all.

Conclusion

After eight BOTG trips, zero injuries, and zero bears seen, I’m going to call my TTOTC a success, despite not finding the treasure.  Never say never, but I expect this to be my last solve attempt.  Frankly, I’m out of new ideas.  But in sharing my solves, maybe someone will use some of my ideas in their own solve (I have not applied my “latitude of Red River Fish Hatchery” and interpretation of “below” to the Lamar Ranger Station) or build upon my ideas with their own additions.

Good luck to everyone and please find it (closure would be nice) and thanks to Forrest for creating the Chase. I’ve had some good trips with family, some solid adventures, and a healthy dose of nature and I’m glad for the time I’ve spent in the Chase.

Cheers.

-FMC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Square Feet…

August 2019

By Coach Doug

 

What if BIWWWH is the first 3 clues ?

This solve gives you a search area of about 6 square feet, 500 feet from the nearest human trail and just under 4000 feet from the nearest parking lot. 2 trips is 16,000 feet, just over 3 miles, not too far to walk in an afternoon.
Waters is plural in the poem, but if we use it singular twice, Waters becomes the word that is key and the solve comes together.

Begin It where Warm Water -> Water Halt

IT – Forrest is a bit of pirate(April 27, 2015 – KOAT ; Tarryscant ID #9117) FF: “Oh sure, Sure. I would have been a great pirate.” . This is a Treasure Hunt. Start putting an X on a map. You need a good ‘pirates treasure’ map.

Ok, Forrest, but Where? From Warm Water to Water Halt. (FF says in Scrapbook 179 – “Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key”, and Imagery has the same root) So using imagery, Warm here is warm colors Red, Orange & Yellow of the Grand Prismatic to Water Halt at the mouth of the Sentinel (a sentinel says “halt who goes there”) Creek into Firehole River. When you do that on Google Earth you get this (which I did on April 13th):

image1

Which looks a lot like:

image2

From Forrest around May 1st.
Let Confirmation Bias take hold.
And then what if Canyon has Valley as a synonym and Valley has Basin as a synonym and what if Lower is a synonym of Down. Suddenly, we simply take IT (our X on our map) in the Lower Basin.
But where?

Well, what if the HOB is as easy as the Nez Peirce Creek where Brown Trout were first introduced to Yellowstone in 1889 and the “Put In” means park your car and start walking at the parking lot for Fountain Flats just south of the mouth of the Nez Peirce. But walking where?

The Poem tells us THE END is ever drawing nigh, and Fairy Tales end with Happily ever after NOT The End . A child could have helped with this. It is literally THE END that is ever drawing nigh. So we are looking to the Fairy Creek Area in the Lower Basin. Fairy Creek is quite small and would not require a paddle.

But Forrest, we still need the second line of the X on our map.

Then, what if Heavy Loads were Freight Road and Water High is Fairy Falls (the highest water fall in the Lower Basin). Bikes can be ridden on Freight Rd, but not all the way to Fairy Falls, (FF said 10/2/2012 Forrest Gets Mail ) “…What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it?” It should be pointed out that the trail head marker here says bikes and hikers ONLY. It also is not possible to ride your bike all the way to Fairy Falls. By omission horseback riding is not allow. So No Place for the Meek(tame horses) would apply as they are not allowed. There is also bike parking area on Freight Road past which you can only hike, you can’t ride your bike to “waters high”.

Connect those dots on the map and we suddenly have an X on our Google Earth map.

image3

ZOOM in and just to the North and West of the X on the map, just south of the bend in Fairy Creek, you will see the Blaze. 2 trees on the banks of fairy creek lined up nearly parallel to the lines on the map

image4

What’s that, you want a double Omega?

image5

Since X marks the spot, this would be the primary target you need to look quickly down….under.

image6

BOTG August 10, 2019.

image7

What a disappointed with the amount of decomposition of the blaze. The log is only roughly 6 inches in diameter and the cross sections 2-3 inches. The bigger log is broken in 2 pieces. Of course I hand dug in the center and under the roots (quickly down the tree), but to no avail. The trees are too small to contain the chest in a hollow section.

Tarryscant ID# 2698 5/8/2015 FF “ If I were standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see tress, I’d see mountains, I’d see animaIs, I’d smell the wonderful smells of pine needles or pinion nuts, sagebrush”

Mountains, there is sage everywhere, pine trees, ample bison dung as well.
Did I mention that power and phone lines cross Fairy Creek here as well. Tarryscant ID 5176 2/9/2017 FF “ The treasure is out there waiting for the person who can make all the lines cross in the right spot”

Coach Doug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gauging Value…

val

August 2019

By MA

 

What’s the true value of the Forrest Fenn treasure hunt? Ask this to a handful of people and you’re likely to get a handful of different answers. The truth is that there are several different motivations for pursuing the chase, the chase not limited to just the promise of sudden wealth and fame. 

I, for one, fall into this other group of searchers, the chase being less about fortune and fame and more about the mystery and the adventures associated with the chase. While many others are chasing the gold I want to know what’s inside the olive jar? I want to know how he did it and I want to know why he felt the need to include a biography in the chest when there is already so much known about him? This is where my personal curiosity resides, the gold and precious stones, etc., just being a pleasing sidebar. But then again, my personal involvement with the chase was originally motivated by different factors.

February, 13th, 2015, a Friday no less, and in just a few minutes I suddenly had one foot squarely planted on the other side of life. They call them “widow-makers” because they generally happen without any advanced symptoms or warnings and they are usually fatal. I was one of those lucky survivors because my widow-maker took place at a residence where there was experienced medical help, forty-four minutes later a waiting surgical team was cutting my cloths off of me on a stainless steel table at a hospital seventy miles away. They saved my life but not before permanent heart damage had set in. 

I only have three walls of my heart functioning now, at the time of my release from the hospital my injection fraction rate was only 30%, the normal being roughly 60-70%. What this meant was that I had a significantly reduced blood flow, any type of activity wearing me down quickly and causing me to struggle for breaths. This condition wasn’t expected to change and the prognosis for my future wasn’t good. Suddenly my entire life had changed, my typical active lifestyle no longer a possibility, or so they said. 

Now there were a couple of things that came into play that helped inspire my road to recovery, the first being the gift of a DSLR camera from my best friend because he knew that I desperately needed that distraction in my life. He reasoned that if I could no longer run and climb around in the wilds then at least I could photography those wilds, this then offering me something to help me refocus my future. I cannot explain to you just how big of a roll this simple gift ended up playing in my recovery other then to say that it was absolutely HUGE. 

A glass of water, I’ll never forget that first glass of water after my surgery. It was the absolute best glass of water I ever tasted. That first flower I saw after that surgery, it was absolutely the most beautiful flower I had ever seen in my life, and so on and so on. All of these things that I had previously taken for granted I was no longer taking for granted, that camera helping me to see what I had been missing all of those prior years. Suddenly the little things meant so much and I was finding great appreciation in all manner of new things, even in the simplest of things. Trust me when I say that near death can certainly show you what’s truly important in life. I know first hand. 

So first came the gift of the camera, the required distraction that allowed me to slowly let go of all the Post Traumatic Stress Disorders and those related fears. Through the lens of that camera I was slowly strolling further and further away from the house, then further and further away from the truck, then further and further away from the phone, then further and further away from all of them. My injection fraction rate was suddenly up to 50% so the next year it was bicycles, trekking poles, backpacks, kayaks, etc., and slow but sure my injection fraction rate was nearing 60% with only three walls of my heart working. But what inspired the trekking poles, backpacks, bicycles, kayaks, etc.? 

a1aaa border 50 per

In mid-2016 I came across the Forrest Fenn treasure chase, still weak at that point from the widow-maker but making slow progress. How awesome it would be if I could recover enough to finish something I had previously started with younger brother who had suddenly passed away in the fall of 2014 of the same illness, just a few months prior to my widow-maker. How awesome that would be! And so this is where the trekking poles and backpacks and bicycles and kayaks, etc., started coming into play. I had promised my brother that I would spread his ashes at one of his favorite locations in the Rocky Mountains and Fenn’s treasure hunt was that one grand adventure that I never got to take with my younger brother when he was alive. It was one of those 1+1 moments, something that’s hard to explain, but the moment I arrived at 2 it was, “game on!” 

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My first Forrest Fenn BOTG adventure took place in the fall of 2018, my brother’s ashes finally reaching their promised destination on that trip. It was a real triumph and success even without a chest full of gold or an olive jar full of information. It took me three years to make the trip, four years to conclude my promise to my younger brother which I was in route to do when I had my widow-maker. This summer, 2019, I stood at the top of the Continental Divide, my “M A 19” now carved in a tree. Do you believe it, I was running around up there without a single issue or care in the world. I was finally standing at the top of the world at over 13’000 feet in the sky. 

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People ask me if I’m ever concerned about being off the beaten track, no cell phone signal or help should I experience heart problems? I smile, chuckle, and reply, “Are you kidding me!” Hell, I’m fearless again, fear being the one thing that would have prevented my having ever gotten as far as I have. Now the Grand Tetons are on my radar, as are other places of natural beauty in the Rocky Mountains. I know that I’ll never see it all but I’m going to do all I can to see and to photograph as much of it as possible.  

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Gold, the contents of an olive jar, these are now sidebars in the chase, my winter theories just serving to create new paths of discovery for my summer adventures. Treasure? Heck, it’s everywhere in the Rocky Mountains if one only takes the time to look for it. It is a national treasure, for sure. I think this is Fenn’s point, my avenue of pursuit just being one of many different avenues. Heck, if were to ever be so fortunate to find Fenn’s treasure chest I’d be tempted to give it back to him just so he could hide it again. This is a chase that should truly never end. 

I’ve been a treasure hunter most of my adult life but this chase isn’t about monetary gain, it’s about life and the simple things. If this article helps to inspire others to take up the chase then I feel that I’ve already found and shared Fenn’s treasure. Gold and the promise of sudden wealth, it can’t buy life, but it can sure inspire you to live it! I think this is Fenn’s message…

-MA 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Creek Solve…

bbn 

August 2019

By Desert Cloak

 

 

CLUE #1 
Begin it where warm waters halt 
When considering where in the Rocky Mountains warm water would most likely occur statistically, Yellowstone National Park is the first choice simply because it has the highest concentration of geothermal activity.
ImageExtract 001
Forrest Fenn has said to “look at the big picture” when considering the clues.
If by “big picture” he means to look
 at a single map (a literal big picture)
of the entire search area (the Rocky Mountains), the first clue, at least, must be large enough to be seen on that map. Could this be why the “little girl in India” can’t get closer than the first two clues if all she has is the poem and a single map of the entire Rockies?
ImageExtract 002
In school, every child learns about the water cycle, in which water flows downhill into ponds, lakes, and oceans where it collects until evaporated. Is this why Fenn said “kids may have an advantage in the search.”?

 

Fenn said “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.” This indicates that WWWH may be a fairly common geographical feature, like a lake, and nearly all lakes in the Rockies are north of Santa Fe.

 

Yellowstone Lake
ImageExtract 003
With many incoming tributaries, the most obvious place that water flows into in that region is Yellowstone Lake… a place where warm waters ‘halt’, in a general sense.

 

Consider these quotes by Forrest Fenn:
•“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.” 
Does this mean WWWH is a large feature, but most searchers are mistakenly looking for something smaller like a hot spring?
•“People tend to over-complicate. Try to simplify if you can. That’s good advice.”
•“Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.”
•“Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem.” 
Think of how many searchers have driven right past Yellowstone Lake on the way to their solves.
•“The solve is difficult for many searchers because their minds think the clues are tougher to decrypt than they really are. Some say they are trying to think outside the box, as if the solution lies somewhere out there. Until now I have resisted telling them to get back in the box where their thoughts are comfortable and flow more easily.”

 

Sound Phenomenon: 
Yellowstone Lake is the source of a long documented natural audio phenomenon called “lake music” or “lake whispers.” It is documented
via recordings and interviews on the National Park Service website. It is described as a widespread low sound that grows louder and more intense until it seemed to be coming from right overhead, then rapidly fade away.
It seems likely that Forrest Fenn may have heard this sound phenomenon given the amount of time he spent in this region.
Fenn has said “It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper.”
Is the line in the poem “So hear me all and listen good” a hint about the Yellowstone Lake whispers?
Hear me all = A widespread sound covering a large area

Listen good = A low sound you need to listen closely to, like a whisper

 

Elephant Back Mountain 
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 12 48 54 PM
Other considerations:
•Forrest Fenn spent every summer in Yellowstone as a child.
•He visited Yellowstone nearly every year of his life.
•He has stated that his heart is in Yellowstone.
•A chapter in his book is titled “In Love with Yellowstone”.
•He said he has an almost “umbilical” attachment to the hiding place. 
Does this mean he discovered the special place in his youth?
•“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.” 
Elephant Back Mountain overlooks Yellowstone Lake.
•Yellowstone Lake is also the only lake in the Rockies with a “thumb.” 
Does this have relevance to the Philadelphia story in the book The Thrill of the Chase where he has a profound experience covering all of Philadelphia with his left thumb while flying? The thumb of Yellowstone Lake is known as “West Thumb.”

 

CLUE #2 
And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk. 

 

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone 
ImageExtract 006
An obvious and massive natural feature of the landscape. Probably the most recognizable landmark in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone lake drains directly into this canyon.
Again, Forrest Fenn has said to “look at the big picture” when considering the clues. If this is the correct canyon, it may be why the Little Girl in India is able to see it on her map of the Rockies.
ImageExtract 007
Walking along the bottom of the canyon is not possible or practical, but there is a road that travels down the north side of the canyon and continues the length of the canyon, approximately 20 miles.
Does “I’ve done it tired” in the poem refer to driving a wheeled vehicle with tires?

 

Considerations:
•20-30 miles is too far to walk in a day’s hike, so you must drive.
•Going down the canyon, you pass Calcite Springs. He mentions “chalk” in TTOTC. Chalk is composed of calcite.
•“Marvel gaze” might be a reference to “Grand View” near the Yellowstone Falls in the canyon. Is this a hint from the poem indicating that you’re on the right track?

 

CLUE #3 
Put in below the home of Brown 

 

Roosevelt Lodge
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 12 56 54 PM ImageExtract 010
Emerging from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, one of the first landmarks reached is Roosevelt Lodge at Tower Junction.
•An official name of a shade of brown is “Beaver”
ImageExtract 014
ImageExtract 016
•The home of a beaver is a “lodge”


•The word origin of the word beaver means brown, both words share the same etymology
ImageExtract 015•A beaver lodge is entered from below. The poem says to “put in below the home of Brown”
ImageExtract 013
•Forrest has mentioned castor oil several times. The North American Beaver’s scientific name is Castor canadensis 
The B in Brown may be capitalized in the poem because this is the “word that is key” that needs to be focused on. It requires some abstract thinking and may be why some searchers figured out the first two clues but went right past the third.

 

Considerations: 
•From the blogs: In reference to Roosevelt Lodge, Diggin gypsy said: “…Forrest did tell my sister once make sure you check out the lodge” (hearsay)
•The man that had the first lodge there, before Roosevelt Lodge was built over it, Yancey, was rumored to have buried treasure around the Roosevelt lodge area just before his death. From the poem… “And hint of riches new and old.” Is the “old” treasure Yancey’s and the “new” treasure Forrest’s? Forrest Fenn often says “Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”
•In TTOTC, right after the poem he mentions “Gardiner’s Island.” Gardiner, MT is the closest town to the search area.

 

Regarding “structures”:

“The treasure is not associated with any structure” – Forrest Fenn

“Mr. Fenn, when you said not associated with any structure did that mean all 9 clues or just where the chest sits? Thanks, d”

“Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.” – FF
This seems to indicate that the clues themselves can be associated with structures, but the physical treasure chest itself is not hidden in or about a structure.

 

CLUE #4 
From there it’s no place for the meek 
Lost Creek 
ImageExtract 017
Lost creek flows down the mountain behind Roosevelt Lodge.
Being “lost” is definitely no place for a meek person. Strength and decisiveness are necessary when you’re lost.

 

Considerations:
•Forrest writes about getting LOST with Donnie in The Thrill of the Chase
•The famous MEEK Cutoff wagon train got LOST and many pioneers died
•Teddy Roosevelt was certainly not known for being a meek person.

 

CLUE #5 
The end is drawing ever nigh 

 

Lost Creek draw Considerations:
• Another definition of “nigh” means “on the left side.” Lost creek is on the left as you travel down the canyon.
“Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R”
“No Steve R, The only requirement is that
you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.” – FF
ImageExtract 019
A draw is a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between them. The area of low ground itself is the draw, and it
is defined by the spurs surrounding it. Draws are similar to valleys on a smaller scale; however,
while valleys are by nature parallel to a ridgeline,
a draw is perpendicular to the ridge, and rises with the surrounding ground, disappearing up-slope. A draw is usually etched in a hillside by water flow, is usually dry, but many contain an ephemeral stream or loose rocks from eroded rockfall.
ImageExtract 020
Lost Creek draw Considerations: 
•This entire ridgeline was once part of a large petrified tree forest that extends along the south side of Lamar Valley all the way to Specimen Ridge. Petrified wood can still be found on this ridge line and around Lost Lake.
ImageExtract 021
•Is “If you are brave and in the wood” in the poem a play on words referring to entering the petrified forest area?
ImageExtract 022
•Did Fenn park his car at the Petrified Tree parking lot and walk the short distance to the spot (easy hike approx. 1 mile)?

 

Petrified Wood from Lost Lake area
ImageExtract 024

 

Petrified Tree at parking lot
ImageExtract 025

 

CLUE #6 
There’ll be no paddle up your creek 

 

Lost Creek Falls 
ImageExtract 026
Lost Creek Falls is a physical barrier that you can’t travel past going upstream. The walls of the draw are high and not easily climbable. The only way to get past the falls is to take an alternate route around them.

 

CLUE #7 
just heavy loads and water high 

 

Portage around Lost Creek Falls
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 1 24 14 PM
A portage is a term for carrying all of your gear (heavy loads) to get to the upper river (water high) beyond the obstacle, typically when paddling a canoe or raft. Forrest mentions Lewis & Clark in TTOTC. The Great Falls Portage is the route taken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 to portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri River.
To portage around this waterfall, there is a trail that goes around by the Petrified Tree landmark and past Lost Lake.
There is a parking lot at the Petrified Tree where Forrest could have parked.

 

PORTAGE APPROX 1 MI.
ImageExtract 030
Also There is a huge out-of-place and prominent glacial boulder (heavy load) resting on the top edge of Lost Creek Falls. A definition of “load” is “the material carried along by a stream, glacier, ocean current, etc.”
Is the boulder an “aberration that lives out on the edge”?
There is also a small lake, Lost Lake, above the falls. Could this also be “water high”?

 

CLUE #8 
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze 

 

Unknown until at location

 

Considerations:
•Is the chest 200 feet upstream of the Lost Creek Falls, or 200 feet from the upper hiking trail?
•In a story in TTOTC, Forrest had a profound personal experience in a clearing above a waterfall in Vietnam
•Blaze is probably a permanent natural marker.
•Blaze possibly a discoloration or vein in a stone wall. This small canyon/draw is mostly comprised of basalt columns.
•Possibly a petrified log or wood (“If you are brave and in the wood”)?
•“While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try” – FF. Indicative of a large immobile feature. Geological?
•Does the blaze have a unique shape like a Y or an owl? (“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze”)
•Another word for ‘wise’ is sage. Along the tops of the draw along the creek are large sage fields.
•Forrest said you’d be able to smell sage and pine from the secret spot.
•He said if you’re standing where the chest is you’ll see animals. The ridge at the top of Lost Creek Falls overlooks Lamar Valley, known as the “Serengeti of Yellowstone” for it’s abundance of wildlife.

 

CLUE #9 
Look quickly down, your quest to cease 

 

Unknown until at location

 

Considerations:
• Chest is possibly located directly under the blaze
• Chest is possibly covered or slightly buried
• Is it in a wooden crate, or under some petrified wood? From the poem, “if you are brave and in the wood”?
• “I think the gold will again become alert to the tromp and vibrations of hiking boots.” – FF
• “Perhaps the artifacts are enjoying each other’s company as they patiently listen for the clomp of a boot.” – FF
• Possibly listen for a hollow sound underfoot

• “Physics tells me the treasure is wet.” – FF

• “I know the treasure chest is wet.” – FF

• Wetness could be due to condensation on the cool bronze chest
• Wetness could be due to proximity to year-long water source. Lost creek flows year-long.

 

BLOG COINCIDENCES:

Splitting the pot & gas money:
Bill on April 29, 2014 said:
Who can I trust? I learned of Mr. Fenn’s treasure late last night, and as crazy as I know it sounds, feel very strongly that I know exactly where it is. I believe fresh eyes can make the biggest difference sometimes. I would go out there myself to claim it if I could. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money or the time off work. I live in St. Louis. With a partner, I am willing to split the pot into thirds. One third for me, one third for my partner, and one third to hide in a new location, after making a new riddle, of course. So who can I trust that could go to Yellowstone after the snow melts (I’m assuming it’s still snow covered)? I need someone in good physical shape as there is a pretty good hike involved and also someone brave and not afraid of the dark.

 

Bill on June 6, 2014 said:
Still no one wants to partner with me? The northern part of yellowstone is where you would be travelling. And if the treasure was not there, I’d even split the cost of gas with you. You can walk there but you have to be in good shape and brave as you do go off trail a bit. The walk is probably three miles round trip.

 

Question posted July 2, 2014 to Forrest Fenn:

“Do you think that someone who is sure about the location of the home of Brown could reverse-engineer where warm waters halt?” ~Ben Raylor
“Thanks for the question Ben. If you are sure about the location of home of Brown why are you concerned about where warm waters halt? But to answer your question, sure you could and a few searchers might throw in some gas money for a percentage of the take. Good luck. f”

 

200 feet vs. 500 feet:
On June 21, 2014 Bill posted a full solve related to Lost Creek Falls. His solve used different solutions to the clues than this solve does, but they led him to Lost Creek Falls. He thought the chest was somewhere near the base of the waterfall. He didn’t search above the falls.
In his search he went all the way up to the actual base of the waterfall. Most people stop approximately 300 feet back where the official trail ends. In Bill’s solve he said “when you walk the trail and get to Lost Creek Falls you are 500 feet or less from the falls as Forrest said people have been.”
Then, two months later, Forrest makes what appears to be the first public mention of someone getting within 200 feet.
• “Searchers have been within 200 feet”. – FF Aug 2014

 

Most people stop hereImageExtract 033
Lost Creek Falls is aprox 300ft from end of trail

 

“How do you know searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure?”
“Well because people have told me exactly where they were. And that’s the only reason I know. That 200 feet is pretty accurate. But there weren’t
too many people within two hundred… lots of people within 500 feet of the treasure.” – FF

 

CONCLUSION:
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 1 40 30 PM
Searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure at the base of the waterfall.
• The chest is wet
• Special place above waterfall?

 

I believe Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest lies within 
a 200-500 foot radius upstream of Lost Creek Falls.
ImageExtract 036
“I knew exactly where to hide the chest so it would be difficult to find but not impossible. It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe. So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.”

 

-Desert Cloak

 

 

 

REFERENCES TO QUOTES

“Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-questions-with-forrest-warm-waters-and-geography/

Little girl from India
http://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-over-five-years-of-the-thrill-of-the-chase/

“kids may have an advantage in the search.”
Moby Dickens interview 12/2/13

“There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-questions-with-forrest-warm-waters-and-geography/

“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o1vXgBNso4

“People tend to over-complicate. Try to simplify if you can. That’s good advice.”
https://abcnews.go.com/US/people-continue-seek-reported-hidden-treasure-rocky-mountains/story?id=51766060

“Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase/

“The solve is difficult for many searchers because their minds think the clues are tougher to decrypt than they really are. Some say they are trying to think outside the box, as if the solution lies somewhere out there. Until now I have resisted telling them to get back in the box where their thoughts are comfortable and flow more easily.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-question-and-weekly-words-from-forrest-fenn-get-back-in-the-box/

“It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper.”
https://dalneitzel.com/2014/04/23/scrapbook-sixty_one-2/

“I am almost umbilically attached to the spot…”
https://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-seven-is-a-perfect-number/

“The treasure is not associated with any structure”
https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/

“Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase/

“No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-questions-with-forrest-warm-waters-and-geography/

While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try”
Dal’s Blog – The Nine Clues…Part Thirtyone / September 26, 2014

Seeing animals and smelling sage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJBakBqwQVs&t=8s

“I think the gold will again become alert to the tromp and vibrations of hiking boots.”
https://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-question-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-lost-treasure-thoughts/

“Perhaps the artifacts are enjoying each other’s company as they patiently listen for the clomp of a boot.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-seven-is-a-perfect-number/

“Physics tells me the treasure is wet.”
http://mysteriouswritings.com/featured-question-with-forrest-and-weekly-words-wet-physics/

“I know the treasure chest is wet.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJBakBqwQVs&t=8s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Forrest

August 2019

By Casey

 

Background

I hope that this post finds all you seekers well. I am sending this into the group with humility and hope. I hope to show a different way of riding a bicycle, even if the end result for me has been the same for all of you. I hope that this will lead to someone finding the chest by looking at a different, but not too outside-of-the-box, way of thinking about the solve. 

I come to you as a geography and travel enthusiast. I have been lucky enough to have been able to drive through all of the lower 48 states and have been able to witness the majestic views of our National Parks and true beauty of the United States. Up until spring of 2018 (yes, I know I am a newbie, but stick with me here), I had never heard of Mr. Fenn. Then, I came across an article published on CNBC on April 18, 2018. Little did I know that this little article would lead to a head scratching door of discovery and wonder. 

“Read the clues in my poem over and over and study maps of the Rocky Mountains,” Fenn recently told Business Insider. “Try to marry the two. The treasure is out there waiting for the person who can make all the lines cross in the right spot.”

With this little article I was off. As many people do, I immediately came up with different solves by looking at the poem systematically based on different geologic features and names of places. I looked at Yellowstone and the Hebgen Lake area, I looked around Lander, WY and Sinks Canyon. Many similar methods that have been worked over the last 8 years and I was afraid many similar results by going down that rabbit hole. 

So, I took a small step back. Forrest has stated (paraphrasing), that only a few people had a tight focus on a word that was key. So, to me, this is where the rubber meets the road. What key word would unlock the clues so that you could marry a map to specific locations to make the lines cross at the right spot? Forrest states that you need a good map and a comprehensive knowledge of geography. No specialized knowledge is needed. Google defines geography as “the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and resources, land use, and industries.”

So how do we unlock the keyword? The answer, I believe, is in the first stanza. Before I get there, let me give you a little background on myself. Like Forrest, I grew up in a small town in the rural US. Temple, Texas is actually quite a bit bigger than the town I grew up in a podunk town in Minnesota.  We had a K-12 school, with about 20 kids in each class. In analyzing the poem, I was reminded of a geography contest in 5th grade that I won. Honestly, it isn’t difficult to win contests in a small school when you only have about 20 competitors. The competition was cryptic lines in which you had to decipher and match to different geography features. If my mind serves me, it was rivers; but that is unimportant. What sparked my interest was that they were different clues about one type of feature. In a way, this is how ciphers worked with regards to Thomas Jefferson communicating with Lewis and Clark. However, no ciphers needed here. 

So again, what single geographic term, place, location, etc. could reference all nine clues in which you were able to put 9 x’s on a map and make them cross to find a spot to search? The answer has to be specific, you aren’t able to put an ‘x’ on a map by using locations that can’t be to a single set of coordinates. For example, lakes, rivers, canyons, won’t work. Mountain peaks would, which was my first guess. So looking at lists of mountain peaks in the four states, and spending a few days analyzing the poem I came up with…. Nothing. Ghost towns? Nothing. Bridges. Nothing. Now, realize when I say nothing. I don’t mean that there aren’t any clues that match up. Some do. By coincidence, it is likely that some will. But to get nine in a relatively small area to match up. Nothing. 

“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.”

Then I came across something: Sante Fe mountain in Colorado. Back to mountain peaks. So I started diving into topographical maps of the Clear Creek and Gilpin county areas in Colorado. What I found wasn’t mountain peaks that sparked my interest, it was the names of a couple of mines in the area. Before I go further, yes, I know the chest is not in a mine. Please, just stick with me.  A few of the names were solid matches to mines in the area. But still, I know I needed to find the first clue. Mines fit the description of the first stanza and the heavy loads clue, so it could be it. 

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt

At first, I started with the mine at Indian Hot Springs in the town of Idaho Springs. Not a great match, but supposedly the hot springs stopped for a time because of the mining next to it. I didn’t like it as a solid match, but I will come back to that. 

Clue 2: And take it in the canyon down

Downie Mine. Up by Central City. 

Clue 3: Not far, but too far to walk

Four mile gulch mine. Four miles isn’t far, but it is a decent amount to walk. 

Clue 4: From there, it’s no place for the meek

Meeker Mine. Did I really just skip over home of Brown? Yes. However, home of brown in this case could mean the general area (Central City) is the home of Aunt Clara Brown in which a hill is named after her. It formerly had a different name that needed to change. See historical maps. Home of brown could also refer to a second layer that I don’t have unlocked.

Clue 5: There’ll be no paddle up your creek

Reider Mine. Who’s creek. Yours. The reader of the poem. Out of all the clues, I feel that this is the one that is the most sketchy. But it’s a kind of riddle within the riddle. 

Clue 6: If you’ve been wise

Druid Mine. A druid is a type of wise Celtic priest by definition. 

Clue 7: and found the blaze

Blazing Star Mine or Fireman and Conductors Mine. These two mines are in the same general vicinity, so I will use an X on each of them for my map for two different possibilities.

Clue 8: Look quickly down

Scandia Mine. Pretty straight forward, looking quickly means to scan. 

Clue 9: Go in Peace

Pease Mine. Also pretty straightforward. 

Some of the other lines in the poem also can be interpreted into mines in the area. This is what I believe Forrest made more difficult in his revisions. He added different words to add in more choices or options in the map. 

Before I map this out and show you what it looks like, let me fast-forward you to two searches and 6 months later. I hadn’t gotten my final WWWH yet, and I decided to go up and check the area out. Laugh now. Take the chest and go in peace. It must be around, but not in, the Pease mine, right? After days of searching at 9000+ feet, which for a flatlander who now lives in Texas, I was tired and disappointed. These two searches definitely helped me get a lay of the land and scope things out. It also made me realize I needed to be more precise. 

So I took a respite of a couple months to let the disappointment wear off. What did I do wrong? So back to clue #1. WWWH. You will never get the chest without knowing WWWH. In reviewing a list of all the historical mines in the counties, I finally found it. Something that I overlooked the first few months.

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt

Thirty second mine. Water freezes at 32 degrees, could this really be it? 

So this is where the magic happens. I did this without looking at every scrapbook. I hadn’t seen a lot of the confirmation bias areas that I mention below. I left Idaho Springs in as a potential second option, but when you map this out, you get this pattern:

  Zooming in on the search area: 

The red line signifies the main outline of drawing a line from Clue #1 through to Clue #9. When I first drew this, I had never seen Scrapbook 126 or Forrest’s hat, ‘mildew’. When I did see that, I saw some major confirmation bias. Speaking of confirmation bias: here are the references in which Forrest mentions names of mines that are in the Central City, Colorado area. 

Confirmation Bias:

Mildew

image5

Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Has a Colorado Mining history permanent exhibit. Also launches tours from the museum of the area. 

Mines – 

Nevada

Toledo

Philadelphia

Boss

Grizzly

Tomahawk (SB126)

Mammoth

Santa Fe (it’s the name of a mine too)

Glory (is where you find it) Hole

Tucker

Sketchy confirmation bias:

3 jars of Cloves – clovis. If you look at a historical topographical map of this area, you will see that the hill is called Quartz Hill. I believe that this is a reference to the 3 quartz clovis points of Fenn’s collection.

Prize Mine- He mentions prize so many times, could he be referring to Prize mine or is it just a coincidence? Probably a coincidence.

Dimensions – He mentions dimensions alot. Many dimensions that he mentions are also dimensions of boring equipment for mines. Coincidence? Maybe. 

Forrest never mentions this area in the book. But is definitely a potential pass by spot on the way to Yellowstone from Central Texas. The hole in the hat is about where the richest square mile on earth is. It would have been a good area to explore as a Principal of a school with kids

The two main search areas in focus are the two on the red line on the left. This is the line that runs from the Thirty Second Mine to the Downie Mine and intersects with Blazing Star/Firemans mines and Scandia Mine. These two areas are close to the top of Quartz Hill, but not at the top and about 200 feet or so off the main road, which if dry, you can drive.

Getting there. To get there, you start below the home of brown and drive through the old ghost  town of Nevadaville.  Not  only do you see the old run down buildings (see Google Earth), but you also see the Nevadaville gulch which has signs that the one below: “Impassable during high water”. 

image11

Quartz Hill is made up of a mix of private land mine claims, BLM Lands, and USFS lands. Some areas are posted and you could be convicted for trespassing, and some areas are open and you can travel across. I took a lot of time researching who owned what parcels so that I could be very cautious about where I traveled and what property I was on and when. At the end of Nevadaville road is the junction of Roy Smith Rd. This road goes over Quartz Hill and Alps Hill, splitting the two. I parked here and walked the short distance to both spots. There is a small elevation change of a couple hundred feet, and you could easily drive up if you wanted to. There is a horse stable that does tours on this road once or twice a day, but really that is the only traffic that I have seen in my multiple trips to the area. 

Spot 1: Blazing Star to Scandia/Thirty Second to Downie

This area is on BLM land, as you are walking up Roy Smith you are in a mix of Aspen and Pine trees. A little way up the road, I came across this: 

image9

When I got to the spot where I needed to enter the woods, I saw a series of markers on the ground, approximately 25-50’ apart leading into the woods towards my spot. 

image8

 My spot just happened to be located about 200’ off of the main road, and looked like this. 

image2

I looked around the area with a metal detector and searched in the nooks and crannies, however nothing was found. I wasn’t too keen on this area as this was an old mining area and I felt that it went against Forrest’s “not in a mine” quote, even if technically it wouldn’t have been in a mine. Too close. 

Spot #2:

Fireman’s Mine to Scandia/ Thirty Second to Downie

This area has a mix of BLM/USFS/Private Land, so you need to be very careful and intentional where you go. When I got to the GPS location of the spot, I started by searching in a 25 foot radius of the GPS location. I then found this:

image10s

Looks like an arrow pointing in a direction, right? Pretty neat, if you ask me, even if not by Forrest.  This ‘arrow’ pointed to a tree, and on the other side of the tree was this:

image7

 It is a marker of a cow (or similar) pelvis. It isn’t wildlife that is native to the area, so it’s definitely something that someone brought to the area and planted. I can also tell you that there is a great deal of decay of the bones so its been there for many years. It is next to a marker that looks like a gravestone. Obviously, it’s been marked with trail marking tape. This area, I extensively searched. I had my shovel with me along with my metal detector. As this is the forest floor, there are years of pine needles covering the ground.  Hold the pelvic bone up and you find that it looks like a particular symbol:

 Maybe it was here and someone found it? Maybe. Could it be a plant of someone who had the same idea? Possibly. Could it be just a coincidence. Of course. 

Spots #3 & #4:

Blazing Star to Scandia/Idaho Falls to Downie
Firemans to Scandia/Idaho Falls to Downie

These two spots weren’t fruitful, except for the views, which were remarkable. They are both relatively close to one another, a little more difficult of a walk to get to, but still accessible for someone in shape in their 70s. No signs of anything, but here are a couple pictures of the remarkable views; they don’t really do it justice.

image4

image6

In conclusion:

I am not a statistician, but I do know that it isn’t very likely (not impossible) that all of these spots line up as well as they do. While a couple of the mines may be a stretch to fit the clues, many fit well. I was able to access a mining database with all the historical mines in the Rockies. Through this, I can safely say that there is not another area within the Rockies that this methodology works. At least, none that I found. Does it mean its on the right path? Of course not, there is no way to know that unless I had the chest. And while I didn’t find a chest full of riches, I did find a way to exercise my brain and my legs. My heart is full of love for this area and my mind is full of imagination and wonder of the possibilities of things to come.

-Casey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Trips To Pebble Creek…

Pebble Creek Trail Yellowstone IMG 9217

July 2019

By llll

 

 

I first heard about the Chase in the news August 2017, read a couple of articles about the treasure hunt in New Mexico and didn’t think more about it. A few weeks later it bounced back via a childhood friend that also had heard about the treasure hunt. This time I learned that it might be hidden in the Yellowstone area and now it caught my attention. I started looking in to it and all of a sudden I got struck by gold fever!

The recap below is just a very condensed version of the events, maybe I’ll write something longer later on. Many fellow searchers can probably recognize themselves in the struggle; great confidence and high hopes, disappointment and frustration, giving up and going at it again -it has been a roller coaster!

four trips to pebble creekI first went to Pebble Creek in Yellowstone in September 2017. I did not have much time and didn’t find the treasure, I e-mailed Forrest my solution and put it aside. A couple of weeks later when I looked through my photos from the trip I realized that I had made a simple mistake.

I went back in mid June 2018. I found a very good hiding place that matched the last clue but found nothing. I sent an e-mail that described where I had been and that I was flying home on the 24th. Then I went to see the Black Hills, the Great Plains and other places.

four trips to pebble creek copy

Scrapbook 188 arrived on the 21st and made me go straight back to Pebble Creek. The scrapbook led me to a tall pine that was easy to climb. When I first visited I felt that this was the place but couldn’t connect it to the poem until I read the story in SB 188.
I found nothing and gave up once again.

Odd questions and answers started to appear on Featured Questions the following weeks. At the end of the summer I was convinced they were ”blinks” aimed for me (confirmation bias!). I arrived at Pebble Creek late on the 24th of August, searched everywhere for four days and went back home on the 29th.

four trips to pebble creek copy 3Even though I didn’t find the treasure I still believed the treasure to be at Pebble Creek. Scrapbooks and questions kept coming and in late September I believed the treasure to be high up in the pine, covered in pitch. I had seen the football-shaped pitch all the time but didn’t climb up to it because it was a bit difficult to reach and it looked all natural.

four trips to pebble creek copy 2On June 13th this year I was back, climbed the pine and the football turned out to be just a normal burl. I sent off an e-mail and then went on a ten day trip to the Bighorns, Great Plains and the Beartooths.
Before I flew home to Sweden I went back to Pebble Creek one last time to check and say goodbye.four trips to pebble creek copy 4It has really been a great adventure, Pebble Creek will be with me forever and I have visited places I have dreamt of since I was a kid.
Thank you Forrest and the Thrill of the Chase!

-llll

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poem Married to a Map….

July 2019

By CharlieM

 

Apologies with the length to ensure clarity and the process involved in finding the clues. I do ask for all to put all biases aside and not use comments that came from Forrest Fenn in the past.

In my efforts for locating the treasure I have been looking for factual places, things and directions that I believe that pertain to the clues and hints within the poem. I base the style of searching of only matching the clues in the poem on a map. I have steered away from using the book “The Thrill of the Chase”, with its unintended hints sprinkled within the stories that may help. Basically I wanted to see if, just using only the poem and a map would work and not using most of the comments after the book came out from Forrest Fenn, including his later books and scrapbooks. However I did not ignore the comments from Forrest in regards to where not to search along with the high and low elevation limits. 

I took the first stanza of the poem, “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.”, as being stated by the man that hid a treasure by himself in the mountains; he’s going to keep the secret where the treasure is hidden and he is going to give hints to find the treasure chest full of new and old gold and jewels within the poem. The first stanza I took as and intro. This stanza has no clues and does not help in finding the treasure.

1st Clue –Begin it where warm waters halt” What does the word “warm waters halt” really mean?

Waters is plural; river water is made up of different water that merges together on its downhill course to become waters.

I looked at major rivers of the Madison, Jefferson, Yellowstone, Gallatin, Colorado, Arkansas, Animas and Rio Grande that would fit the words, “warm waters”. The Jefferson and the Gallatin rivers have a majority of cold waters, so I deleted those two from the search. All of the other rivers that I mentioned become warm in the majority length of each river naturally. 

With what I have wrote so far, the Madison, Yellowstone, Arkansas, Colorado, Animas and the Rio Grande have a majority of their waters are warm and has to originate in the Rocky Mountains. I feel those rivers can be considered as warm waters. Each of those rivers start out cold and become a “majority” of warm “waters”, the exception is the Madison River, as it starts out warm with the merging of very hot & cold water. Also the Madison waters do not halt in reality, (physics) and it is hard to consider where exactly it becomes fully warm. One may quibble about cold waters at the beginning of a river and later on becoming warm, the fact is, it contains the very same waters throughout its length, (physics).

In reading the poem we know there is a starting place and we all know there is a distance involved to be able to put in someplace below the home of Brown. So while taking a look at the rivers mentioned I also looked for a place named Brown and did not take into consideration for places that were named “Brown’s, Browns” or a name before Brown. I also felt the name Brown is of a geographical place in the mountains and found on a map. One can’t see on a geographical map in the mountains places of a person’s home that has a name Brown, fish and animals, nor did I consider towns named Brown, because there is no town with that name in places that I looked.

Melting snowpack causes the start of flowing water for each of those rivers. The water for rivers coming from the Rocky Mountains, do stop flowing, “halt”, at the same place from where they began. Sure, the rivers continue to flow because of other tributaries further down the line, but are farther from where the waters originally started and halted.

I discounted the Madison, Yellowstone, Arkansas, Colorado and the Animas rivers because they do not start and maintain the same name from where the waters start its actual flow, (physics). Each of those rivers start by “name” only, because they have two or more different named tributaries that merge together that make up the start of the “naming” of the river. It becomes a guessing game of which of the two or more starting tributaries are where warm waters halt. In order to be a halt of river waters it must be in one singular place where waters flow does halt, (physics), because of no snowpack and have no tributaries that merge together at its beginning. Also the rivers cannot be tributaries of any other river flow, because this creates and even bigger quagmire. 

Here are good examples that I found through research;

(a) The “named” Yellowstone River starts where two tributaries, the North Fork and the South Fork Yellowstone merge together. So which tributary is the right one where warm waters do halt? It becomes a guess, so the Yellowstone River is out with no place that is named Brown off in the distance.

(b) The “named” Madison River starts from two tributaries, where Gibbon and the Fire Hole Rivers merge. It becomes a guess as well. The Madison is out with no place that is named Brown off in the distance.

(c) The “named” Arkansas River starts where the tributaries of the Tennessee Creek and the East Fork Arkansas River merge together.  It becomes a guess as well. The Arkansas River is out with no place that is named Brown off in the distance. I did go one step further and went to the start of the East Fork Arkansas River to be fair and still no place that is named Brown.

(d) The “named” Colorado River starts where the tributaries of the Tonahutu Creek and the North Inlet Creek merge together before a dam. It becomes a guess also. The Colorado River is out with no place that is named Brown off in the distance.

(e) The “named” Animas River starts where the tributaries of the West Fork Animas River and the Burrows Creek merge together. The Animas River is out with no place that is named Brown off in the distance.

(f) The “named” Rio Grande is without any tributaries to form its beginning. It is a singular place where the river starts and has a true Headwaters. A majority of this river is warm, it has the same start and halt place (physics), it also has a place that is named Brown off in the distance. Also the Rio Grande is not a tributary of any river. I will also show later on, my concluded treasure location is nowhere near this river.

One other simplistic idea, “warm” could very well be in the southern Rockies which is usually warmer than the northern Rockies and could very well be considered to look at the rivers in the southern end of the Rockies. This simplistic idea does need more to substantiate this thought. Also, I did not consider any super heated water coming from any hot spring as being warm and that water is constantly moving and truly does not halt, even through seasonal changes. 

Reminder again; the melting snowpack is where the river waters start flowing (physics) and when the snowpack is gone the waters do “halt” (physics), which contains the very same river waters on its flow, for the entire length of the river. The majority length of the Rio Grande is of warm waters. 

So, the Rio Grande at its headwater, I have concluded this is the first clue’s answer to, “where warm waters halt”. By the way Forrest did say that the treasure is not “near” the Rio Grande. I believe I can show that the treasure is not anywhere near the river, the headwater is merely the starting point.

2nd Clue – “And take it in the canyon down,” But which canyon? There are three canyons in the immediate area using the map. So I chose the canyon and headed towards a place named Brown described in the radius area of search under the 3rd clue. I merely went to the canyon to go down from where the first clue is on the map.

 “Not far, but too far to walk” I believe this is a hint for a distance to arrive at the third clue. Too far to walk for me is about 7 miles, but I have to take into reasonable consideration that some folks may feel 5 miles is too far and for others it may be up to 15 or 20 miles. So, I cast a fifteen mile radius from the headwaters of the Rio Grande to help with the put in spot below the home of Brown. I’m not concerned about the distance at this point; it will become apparent when I know where, what or why, to “put in below the home of Brown.”

The 3rd clue is the end point of the distance from the first. (Note: This distance cannot be fully vetted until the location of below the home of Brown has been located. However a place named Brown was found in the general area. This does help somewhat in the direction to generally head towards.)

3rd Clue – “Put in below the home of Brown” Brown I took as a name otherwise it wouldn’t be capitalized at the end of the sentence. Brown I felt was a place or thing in nature, because normally one isn’t going to find a person or any other creature on a paper map or GE/GM in the Rocky Mountains. So, I’m looking for something named Brown in my radial search area. Again, the name Brown’s, Browns or has a name before Brown is not being taken into consideration. In my radial search I found Brown Mtn.

So below Brown Mtn. creates a problem, how far below is the “put in” place? Is it a foot, yard(s) or mile(s) below this mountain’s home? I physically went to Brown Mtn., above the town of Silverton, CO for the first time in my life and started looking for the clue as being “no place for the meek”. I didn’t find anything that represented as being meek, or causing one to be meek defined in a dictionary. Nor could I find anything else mentioned in the poem after “From there it’s no place for the meek”, directly below Brown Mtn. that fits, I returned home and went back to the map. (Note: With the first visit above Silverton, CO, of August 2017, I had not read “The Thrill of the Chase”, nor did I know of the blog sites. I became interested because of the pastor’s death through the news media. I started looking just for the challenge, and the treasure was a nice thing to have, I really don’t need it.)

It dawned on me while looking at the map that I had already been to an area that is “No place for the meek”, driving to and coming from Brown Mtn. The problem was, this area was not below Brown Mt. Studying the map from Brown Mtn., there is the canyon that starts at the base of the mountain that went directly all of the way to Silverton, which is below the mountain. It was then I found the “Put in” place below the home of Brown Mtn. and tied in with, “From there it’s no place for the meek.” It is the intersection after Taking it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk and highway 550, which is a “put in” place below Brown Mtn. that causes a momentary pause to head towards “no place for the meek”. (I did not consider the “put in” as a reference to water, because of Forrest parking his car.)

This I concluded is “too far to walk” from the headwater of the Rio Grande, (That distance now can be known, approximately 10 miles.) to the intersection of highway 550, and the “Put in below the home of Brown” Mountain. 

The image below shows the search Area. The red pins are clues and the Yellow pints are hints.

Image 1

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE IT LARGER

4th Clue- “From there it’s no place for the meek”. The first two words, “from there”, is somewhat vague in a way. It could mean to go to or through, or to head in the direction towards “it’s no place for the meek”. I did go through the “no place for the meek”, going to and from my first recon searching for what was the “Put in below the home of Brown”. I realized when I returned home looking at the map of the area that I had been there and felt very comfortable that the Hwy 550 from Ouray to Silverton, CO was “no place for the meek”.

My very first impression of the hwy was that it was unnerving to drive, because the hwy seemed narrower than other roads and there were little to no shoulders in many places with no guardrails. Driving along the road is cut out of shear steep rocks with shear steep drop offs and a long way to go to reach the rocky bottom. The road also had steep hairpin curves along the route. This is why I felt the route between Ouray and Silverton is “no place for the meek”. I did take into consideration that “some” folks wouldn’t be bothered driving this road, but not all folks would feel this way.

I felt I needed more to verify my thoughts and my word alone isn’t good enough. My wife and I needed some time away from home and went to Silverton for two days, just to explore the very old mining town. I did not do any searching as the San Juan National Forest was closed due to high fire danger.

My wife wouldn’t even look at the mountains or the deep chasms below along the route, because she would get sick because of the terrains height up and down, instead she read a book. Just for fun, I asked her if she wanted to drive on our return trip and it was a resounding NO. I also asked folks in Silverton and Ouray which were vacationers visiting shops, if they had driven the road from Ouray to Silverton and most of the comments where, spooky, scary, unnerving, being uneasy and did not want to drive the road again. I did ask the same question on my three other visits for my searches and the answers where basically the same. By the way, my close friend did drive to my following three searches, the first time up was uncomfortable for him driving the road and still was somewhat very attentive in driving the remaining search trips.

After I and my wife’s visit I went back to the map and started a search between Ouray and Silverton to see if the next two clues would fit in the area and have the need to go to or through “it’s no place for the meek.” Going through the route from Silverton it ends up at Ouray and from that town is all private property and out of the mountains. I also looked for a possible place that could be ever drawing near, “nigh” or something ever drawing to the left. This didn’t work out at all for either interpretation of, “the end is ever drawing nigh” because of the steep rocky canyon making it impossible to even search. 

So I now know what the phrase meant, “From there it’s no place for the meek”, from there is merely to head towards “no place for the meek”, which is the road along very steep solid rocks and hairpin turns, in the canyon between Ouray and Silverton. (Note: I feel if one discounts this without going to the area has no argument.)

5th Clue – “The end is ever drawing nigh” After searching through the “no place for the meek” as described above I found nothing that fit this interpretation of, “the end is ever drawing near”. I also thought that ever drawing near meant as never getting near the end. The other interpretation, “the end is ever drawing left”, I did find the road 558 on the map, it did slowly draw to the left all of the way to the end of the road. This Rd. 558 (gravel) starts approximately 2 miles just north of Silverton that is not in the canyon, it is well before, “no place for the meek”. So, the Rd. 558 is, “The end is ever drawing nigh”, (left).

6th Clue – “There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high” Looking at the map there is a creek that runs along the side of Rd. 558, the creek is deep enough for watercraft, (canoes, kayaks, small rafts), to pass through. This creek I did see on my prior two visits. There is a small creek, Clear Lake Creek, which is impossible to paddle up. The creek is very narrow, rocky and steep, flowing through steep and high rocky walls on both sides and contains small waterfalls.

“Just” to me does not indicate for a searcher to go to heavy loads or water high. “Just heavy loads” can go up along the creek. Heavy loads can only mean one or two things, its either vehicles or back packing. The other, “water high” I took as, there is water high up the creek.

As it turns out there is a jeep trail that goes up to Clear Lake and there is a trail that hikers and backpackers use to go up to another lake, Ice Lake. So the hikers and backpackers and four wheelers going up the trail was strongly considered as “Heavy loads”. The “water high” up are the natural lakes.

The 7th clue, while looking at the map, the creek, high lakes and the trail does put one in a small location to search for the chest. I believe that was the intent of, “There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high”. If someone where to go up the jeep trail or the path, they are quickly beyond the high elevation limit set by Forrest, as not where the treasure is hidden.

 7th Clue – “If you been wise and found the blaze” Looking at the map, (Google Maps), I found only 3 things that could be a blaze, there is nothing else that could be considered as a blaze. The first thing that could be a blaze was the jeep trail going up the side of the mountain to Clear Lake. It stands out prominently on the map. The second thing that could be a blaze, is the hiking trail, because it too can be seen on the map. The third blaze can be seen as a white marking on the map, because of the creeks flow over the rocks and falls, which is Clear Creek.

On my next three visits to search, I was on time constraints because of my close friend’s obligations. I was not going by myself, as it is never wise to be on foot alone in the mountains. I and my friend, we are each other’s first responder. For each trip there was the driving and searching in one day, stay overnight in a hotel then drive back home.

The only way to verify each possible blaze was to find what could be considered as “in the wood”. For each of the blazes, one does need to be at the base in order to “look quickly down”. It didn’t make sense to look quickly down anywhere from the top of each of the probable blazes or anywhere in between. The problem was, there are four likely places that could be considered as “wood”.

I started with the least likely blaze, the jeep trail, because it was the farther of all from the small location. When one looks quickly down on the map for this blaze, there is an old log jam that can be considered as “in the wood”. The portions of the logs were not under water, which is where I first looked for the treasure, which by the way did not produce the chest. If standing at the base of this blaze, one clearly could not see the wood or this blaze.

My second least likely blaze trip to the area was to search below what I perceived as the white blaze being shown on the map. In looking quickly down, it also had some log jams just below the waterfalls of Clear Creek. This also proved to not contain the chest in the logs.

The third trip was because, there also was an old log jam on dry ground, below the true trailhead of the trail, the possible blaze, which could be seen from the map, but those logs, could not be seen while there. I did not much care for this log jam because it was in plain sight and near the campground and could be used and broken up for campfires. Never the less it had to be searched.

I and my friend did look in the first part of June this year 2019. This third trip was twofold; the primary reason for going up early was because there were many avalanches in the San Juan Mountains and the area I was searching was very near steep mountains, I wanted to know if the search area was effected by an avalanche. If the search area was not harmed, we were to search the old log jam. As it turns out there had been a very destructive avalanche in the area and that old log jam, which had been there before the Chase began, was gone because of the large surge of water, snow and downed trees, down the Ice Lake Creek and the Mineral Creek. 

While there I stood at the base of the Ice Lake Trail and looked quickly down, looking straight forward to about the quarter of the way to fully looking down. Sure enough my fourth in the wood stood out right away. The wood is an isolated group of three pine trees from the main forest trees. If one thinks about the trail as the blaze, it truly is in its self a blaze and needs no markers that guides one up to one of lakes and is a defined path to follow, unlike trails that are vague and needs markers (blazes) to aide someone to achieve their destination. I have determined the Ice Lake Trail to be the “blaze” it is tied to the 9th clue. By the way, “Tarry Scant”, I strongly feel means to, “not doddle with little time”, to stare at a marvelous find, for the place that contains the chest.

The fifth stanza of the poem, “So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answer I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.” This is merely a question as to why he hid the treasure; it does not have any clues or hints that will aide in finding the treasure. Forrest does know why he hid the treasure, before he hid the treasure he is stating he was tired before hiding the chest and was weak after the treasure was hidden. There also are no clues or hints in this line of this stanza that will aide one in finding the treasure.

8th Clue– “So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.” Some may think this line is included with the last clue; however it is not something to ignore. Standing at the base of the blaze, (trail), there is something in the way to get to the last clue and that is the “cold” creek, of the South Fork of Mineral Creek. One needs to take the “effort” to cross the rocky creek bottom with its “cold” water. On one side of the creek is shallow and the other side of the creek is deeper. For some it may not be that difficult and other’s it will take effort to cross.

9th Clue – “If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the cold.” If one is “brave” enough to go among the prickly needles and branches in the cluster of the three pine trees to get into the “wood”. (An area of land, smaller than a forest, which is a small group of growing trees) One should go in among the cluster of three pine trees to retrieve the treasure. I’m confident the cluster of the three pine trees contains the hidden treasure.

You may ask why I didn’t retrieve the treasure to complete the poem. At the time of my last visit this year, the creek was not safe to cross because of the melting snow runoff. Also I do not have the capability to cross the creek, even when the creek is at its normal level. I am a below the knee amputee and wear a prosthesis and I lose my balance while crossing rocks on dry land. I am not going to risk injury while trying to maintain my balance on slippery rocks and when I can’t fully see and feel what I am stepping on.

Can you imagine me going down with a heavy load on my back even at some 20 pounds on slippery rocks? If I did fall with a load of 20 lbs in this situation the likely hood of me not getting my feet under me is huge. My friend that I have and searched with has difficulty in this situation with a knee and hip replacements as well.

There is no other way to go down the other side of this creek as there are no bridges, roads or even trails, unless you wade across the creek.

I am very confident without an ego, that I have shown the clues within the poem are of actual places and things and the clues are continuous and solidly linked together. All that I ask is to study thoroughly with what I have presented and why. This I feel has nothing to do with coincidences.

The reality is, Forrest himself has not said a word about any clue’s answer or what the location is. Yes, he has given many hints, but has not pointed out its location references. Some of those hints that he does give out relate to a process that may help in finding the treasure. The subtle hints in his book, “The Thrill of the Chase”, I strongly believe those hints are a word or a combination of words and not so much about the stories themselves. I love his stories and scrapbooks about his life, family and friends and I am humbled that he has shared this with all. 

The person that does use what I have presented can go and possibly retrieve the treasure. I don’t know how Forrest would feel about this. I merely would like Forrest to know that his treasure has been found and he once again has his coveted silver bracelet with the turquoise stones. If not, I or anyone else will have to wait until the treasure has been found.

As for me the treasure is not a need to have, nor do I want to improve my lifestyle. I am comfortable were I am in life. (No I am not wealthy) It has been the challenge to solve the poem to see if I could fully fulfill the challenge. I also hope the one that does retrieve the chest, that they truly need the treasure for themselves and their family.

Here is my challenge to all of those that may respond to this post. Try very, very hard to not use what Forrest has commented on in the past as a means for a rebuttal except for those that are related to where not to search and the elevation limits and please don’t use a hypothetical as a basis for rebuttal. I am asking for sound facts related only to the Poem of actual places, things and directions it speaks of.

-CharlieM

 

 

 

 

Missing the Mountains Already…

June 2019

By Veronica and Izzy

 

I have been wracking my brain trying to think how I can share my search without giving away my location. So I wrote a poem…
Enjoy!

Izzy and I aimed our car at the Wild, Wild West,

image5

To search for treasure where we thought might fit the best .
So we drove all day and most of the night,

image3 1

Got some rest , then hit the road by first light.
Finally made it to where the warm waters stop,

image1 1

Then drove not too far with our canoe on the top.

image2

We searched all over for that home of Brown,
Don’t mind us…We’re just passing through town.

image3 2

We looked all over in the places not very meek,

image4

We even found a paddle up the paddle-less creek!

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No chest to be found , but there are riches galore,
So much to see, and so much to explore!

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So, get in your car and aim it out West

image7

And visit the Rockies where you’ll be put to the test.
For me and my boy , we count down the days,
Til we can search again and find that dang blaze!

image8

Now get off the couch and go smell the sunshine, Y’all!
– Veronica & Izzy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Bathing is Best Solve, Clue 1-5

June 2019

By Jake Faulker

 

The Thrill of the Chase has hints and subtle hints that will help you get the general area down and I think these are places considering we have to marry the clues in the poem to places on a map and the poem also has directions, places and things at places.

In Love With Yellowstone
West Yellowstone
Looking For Lewis And Clark
The Madison’s
The Gallatin’s
Yellowstone National Park
Flywater
Geography
Google Maps and/or a good map
The Poem
The Memoirs
Imagination

1 – Begin it where warm waters halt 
After reading his books and poem multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that chapter 5 “too far to walk” River Bathing Is Best, is where to begin. He tells a story of his bathing spot near Ojo Caliente spring on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. Note: He never mentions Ojo Caliente, but we now know that was his bathing spot in the Firehole near Ojo.

This spot should not be in a canyon and isn’t seeing we need to take it (The quest) in the canyon down next.

“when I decided it was time to leave I’d back a couple of feet downstream where the water was cold. That gave me instant incentive to climb out and sun dry…”

*Omega shape on this part of the Firehole River

*5th line in the poem and the 5th chapter in – too far to walk

*He went alone in there

**My secret bathing spot

**Always worth the effort

**https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/blog/river-bathing-is-best

firehole swim

ojo

2 – And take it in the canyon down, 

The only canyon down (In elevation) is the Firehole Canyon.

Maybe this explains why many have figured the 1st 2 clues correctly and fizzled out.

firehole canyon

canyon down

Not far, but too far to walk.

Not a clue here, just letting you know what you shouldn’t do and maybe just drive.

3 – Put in below the home of Brown. 

In the preface of his book “too far too walk”, he states “put a small rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. The river distance was about 10 miles”

“The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make the trip again. THAT DAY NEVER CAME FOR ME,…. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.”

Some have decided to figure out what the home of Brown is instead of knowing where it is before trying to figure out where warm waters halt. Big mistake!

I think Forrest is the only one who knows WHAT the home of Brown is and you will only find out after you find the treasure. I do not think this place is labeled on any map, new or old.

One way to figure out where this clue is, is to skip it and figure out the next few clues if you can do this. I was able to do this and the next few clues seem to work with what the poem says.

What’s more important? The “put in” spot? or where you are going to draw, take or get out of the waterway. Try that out on a river or lake and you will see what I mean. It’s more important where you get out.

put in

put in madison

4 – From there it’s no place for the meek, 

From there? The place you put in, then let the river flow take you down stream passing through Fenn’s favorite, special fishing spots to the border of Yellowstone National Park.

Joseph Meek was a trapper, trader & hunter back in the 1800’s when there was no park label and designation back then.

There is no hunting or trapping allowed in Yellowstone National Park now and the park is no place for him.

If you don’t like Joe Meek in the mix, then you could say it’s no place for Fenn now. Seeing that day never came for him, I would have to say he is meek in the park now with all the crowds and fisherman all over his special fishing spots.

This clue brings you just outside the park at the border in West Yellowstone.

meek place

5 – The end is ever drawing nigh; 

You’re at the border of the park and there’s a bridge close by.

You have to draw out of the Madison River there and head North on Gallatin Road.

NIGH = North Intrastate Gallatin Highway, is Intrastate Highway (191). It is also known as the “Gallatin Gateway” and reminds me of “The word that is key”. Gallatin County appears to be in the shape of a key.

You will need a key to unlock the “Gateway”.

The end is ever drawing North Intrastate Gallatin Highway;

Hop on the bridge and head north to your creek.

Gallatin County below.

gallatin county

There are over 30 creeks up the Gallatin Gateway and it’s been tough to pick out a few that fit the poem. All the areas in this solve are places that Fenn loved which makes sense to me where he hid the treasure.

gallatin nigh

The Gallatin River where you can paddle.

ode joe

Ode to Joe fishing spot from too far to walk on the Gallatin.

I think this is a basic simple straightforward solve by my design and guidance from Fenn’s comments.

All these clues do not have to be physically traveled. Just use your imagination to get from one place to another and don’t overcook or over think what is right in front of you.

Good luck to all of you and please simplify if you can.

-Jake