One Final Solve For The Road…

A quick note from Dal-
Now that the chest has been found, this is the final searcher solution to be published on this blog until the REAL solution is announced by Forrest …which we expect in a few days

June 2020

By Desert Dan


A parting solve that I really, really, really hope is wrong!


*Each of the nine lines in poem between WWWH (1st) & the Blaze (9th) are clues
*Each sentence indicates a different mode of transportation

Sentence 1: Driving (Clues 1-3)
Sentence 2: Walking (from car to river put-in) (Clue 4)
Sentence 3: Wading (across river, then up creek to FF’s secret fishing hole) (Clues 5-8)
Sentence 4: Back on land at TC (Clue 9)

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CLUE 1 (WWWH): Begin the 191 highway at Stinking Springs (thermal spring) in Grand Tetons (Jackson, WY area)

image 2CLUE 2 (CD): Take the 191 highway into Hoback Canyon
CLUE 3 (NTFBTFTW): Continue driving down the 191 highway in Hoback Canyon
CLUE 4 (HOB): Put-in to Hoback River below FF’s secret Brown trout fishing hole where I think the TC was locatedimage 3CLUE 5 (NPFTM): Wade across the Hoback River to Buck Creek at the edge of the forest
CLUE 6 (TEIEDN): Wade up Buck Creek which jogs to the left (roughly parallel with Hoback River)
CLUE 7 (NPUYC): Continue wading up Buck Creek which straightens out again (roughly perpendicular to Hoback River)
CLUE 8 (HLAWH): Continue wading up Buck Creek to FF’s secret fishing spot which is a boulder (heavy loads) plunge pool where the water deepens (waters high)
CLUE 9 (WAFTB): Exit creek at FF’s secret fishing hole where you see so type of location mark on tall pine tree where FF sat to fish

*My guess is that the TC was under the tall pine tree where he sat to fish; secret location is in a small clearing in the wood that has view of Grand Tetons.

-Desert Dan






Another Colorado Search…

May 2020

By Richard McKeever


This was an extraordinary search. It had an amazing conclusion to it. Let’s start with Forrest and a few of his Scrap Books. One to start with for me was SB 214 and the sketch that was drawn in it of a leg.


I found it to be odd for some reason I cannot name, but there was something about it that made it stand out in my mind and why Forrest would comment on it. I think it was the added lines to show muscular shape reminded me of rail roads.

The second SB was 226 about Frankie and Johnny. In this story Forrest said something very strange, he mentions the word ” Pandoroma,”. I know there is no such word, but I remembered how Forrest said he sometimes creates words to express a thought. So I looked up the word Pando and found it was the name of a particular aspen that grows only in SW Colorado, and eastern Utah. I also looked up the word, ” Roma”, turns out that was a word used for an indian pueblo, small village or town. I looked this up on Google earth and found an old little ghost town in Colorado named Pando located on US 24 north of Leadville.

The first thing I noticed was the shape of the valley.

TMD 538 Media 2

I also found an abandoned military base was there, Camp Hale where the 10th, Mountain Division was trained during WW2.

0120Camp20HaleScreen Shot 2020 05 25 at 2 35 53 PM

While researching Camp Hale I found out about a scandalous affair there between a WAC, and a German POW. That made me think more about the song Frankie and Johnny. I also discovered that there was a tie in to SB 217 there. There were warning signs of un exploded military ammo in the area, linking to his Verdun story.

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100 1047It was here I decided to tie the poem to what I was seeing.  First was WWWH, I thought about this and thought maybe Forrest was referring to the warm feelings of friendship stopping in a war, or at the end of a town or in this case a military base. Take it in the canyon down, head to the south end of the base. NFBTFTW, I equated with a short distance past the base.PIBTHOB I theorized could either mean it was an Army base as the soldiers wore Brown uniforms, or even the Nazi POW camp as they were known as Brown Shirts. The road leading south was into the wilderness, I took as FTINPFTM. The road continued on until it ended up further on that was my TEIEDN. Off to the side was a creek I believe it was the East Fork of the Eagle, which flowed from an uphill direction, NPUYC. In that direction was a Dam and a lake, HLAWH.

While traveling in a SE direction I noticed a rock out cropping on the North side of the canyon with what appeared to be 4 alcoves in it.

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After taking out my binoculars I saw that above the alcoves were large black dots with a smaller white dot in the center. This struct me as a blaze so I investigated them. Three of the alcoves were very shallow and could not conceal the treasure chest. But the fourth hole was a small shallow cave. Large enough to conceal not only the treasure but Forrest too, if that was his choice for a tomb.

It was in this fourth cave I discovered a great find. In the corner I discovered a folded piece of paper. There was a note on it and it said, ” Congratulations You are the first person after me to search this cave after me. I did not find Forrest Fenns treasure here, but you have found mine. Good Luck and keep searching. July 7 2014.” No name on it but wrapped inside was a 2005 St Gaudens 1/4 ounce $10.00 Gold Piece.

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One Quarter oz American Gold Eagle 10 00 front

Sorry the actual coin photo is blurry but best I could get, last picture is added for clarity from the internet.

This to date has been one of my most interesting BOTG’s.

-Richard McKeever          







May 2020

By voxpops


Circle Subaru

Going round in circles on Table Mountain near Dubois, WY

Okay, I admit it, for a few years I’d been going round in circles. Although, come to think of it, they were definitely more like rectangles with corners that elbowed into some of the Rocky Mountains’ most intriguing landscapes.


Bog Lake north of Dubois, WY

There was the isolated splendor around Bog Lake, where we gained the much-coveted accolade of getting stuck in the snow at the highest elevation the local tow-truck team had ever attempted a recovery.

Now Its Worse

Fools rush in!

Then I’d shared a bath with a moose amid the majestic Tetons, and danced with a bear on a hillside near the Custer Gallatin National Forest .

Male Moose CU

Swamp buddy in the Tetons

And if that were not enough, there were encounters of a spooky kind where mysterious geometric patterns embellished the bluffs near Big Piney.

Big Piney Markings 2

Road to nowhere?

But in the summer of 2018 things changed. Blindly groping my way through a miasma of numbers (oh yes, I’ve long been a digit-diva [divo???]) and grasping at phantoms that put in fleeting appearances before my mind’s eye, I was gradually drawn back to a trajectory that I’d all but abandoned in favor of tangents and mental chasms a couple of years before. Here was a line that stretched far into unknown territory, but one that cried out for a closer look. And within sight of my flight path was the oddest place I’d encountered so far. There within a few hundred feet lay my heaven and hell. One spot seemed suffused with peace, and the other filled me with abject terror. To either side a supporting cast of characters kept watch. The horseman urged his steed up the slope while Frosty tilted an icy top hat northwards. A youthful sentry gazed up toward the Google satellite, and a patriarchal signature was etched into the hilltop. And all bore witness to J C Penney’s bold seal, stamped in high relief among the rocks.

I think most searchers have been affected to a greater or lesser degree by pareidolia, but this was beyond anything I’d experienced before. And as it all wormed its way into my subconscious, it rekindled the paranoia that had afflicted me so brutally earlier that year, especially in relation to one very specific spot. I won’t dwell on the effects, suffice to say that they were severe and unpleasant, but as I had already developed some coping strategies I was able to gradually claw my way back to a reasonable equilibrium – although I was to notice that by now the world around me had shifted in some subtle and indefinable way.

By now I was certain that I’d found a place that was very special. But compared to previous occasions when coordinates had led directly to curious finds, here it was like building a house in a field of Jell-O. I tried combinations within the core of the hillside and I looked beyond, but I couldn’t quite nail anything definitive. In spite of this I felt it was important to at least try to visit this unique place, if at all possible. Early in the summer of 2019 the opportunity arose. I was able to book tickets via Denver to Oregon, where we have family, with the added bonus of being able to visit the Da Vinci exhibition as well as take in some new sights.


The changing faces of the Mona Lisa

By this time, after more than five years and around a score of BOTG searches, many from my current home in the UK, I had become as much invested in the spiritual side of the Chase as the treasure hunt itself, noting the strange congruity between deep thought and physical or mental discoveries and manifestations. And although my desire to successfully conclude the search was still strong (despite deep and understandable reservations among family members), the metaphysical strand was becoming ever more intriguing. That said, I wasn’t beyond using this to my advantage when it suited, and it was becoming increasingly necessary to provide “valid” reasons to my beloved for yet another Fenn folly – and this wasn’t to be the last time I had to make the BS edible in 2019!

As ever, the virtual didn’t quite tally with the real. A quick inspection of the area showed it to be unremarkable up close, and it was more difficult to navigate than Google had promised, even to the extent that I couldn’t even definitively locate the spot that had caused me such angst. Still, it rooted out a few demons, and I spent a pleasant and peaceful half-hour sitting and gazing out over the creek, swollen with snow-melt, that had required me to don makeshift waders made from garbage bags to help with the thigh-deep flow

MV village med

Lost civilisation on Mesa Verde

Bear Cinnamon

A beautiful cinnamon bear whose lunchtime we disturbed in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

With a mixture of mild deflation and inevitability I hiked back to meet my wife, who was en route to the pickup point, choosing to walk a few miles extra to enjoy the warmth of the afternoon and imbibe a sense of the locality. Little did I suspect that I was also walking towards a future encounter that was to prove far more significant.But right then we headed out for a magical few days exploring Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and sun-drenched canyons where echoes of the past could still be heard.

Here, if you’ll forgive me, I’d like to digress for a moment. I’ve titled this piece “Understanding” for a number of reasons, and the following story is completely unrelated except for how it has impacted my thoughts on where the Chase might be leading us in a metaphorical sense.

A couple of years ago I recall that someone put out a video of a guy dancing on top of a mountain in high heels, and I thought it was very funny and quite sweet. It had something to do with the “lead searcher,” although the details have slipped my mind now. Maybe you remember it. Well, back in the early “noughties,” before I moved to the US, I got to know a couple of kids who had been adopted. They were siblings who had been born to a prostitute in Guatemala, later abandoned, and brought up in an orphanage there. The American couple who wanted to adopt them visited them in Guatemala so that they would know who were to be their step-parents. The trouble was that the adoption process took two years to complete. By the time the kids arrived in the States they had been living in limbo, unsure of their future and with little idea of how their new home would impact them.

At the same time, the man of the house was becoming increasingly unsure that he wanted to be a surrogate father.The children were introduced to their new way of life, already on the cusp of becoming teens, with little knowledge of English and with a background that was one of almost total insecurity. Within the first couple of years in the US the stepdad had moved out, leaving the children to the care of their new stepmom who is fortunately one of the most loving and selfless people I know. The stepdaughter struggled in school and while the stepson did better, he seemed uncomfortable in his own skin.

By the time the boy turned eighteen he had made up his mind that he didn’t want to remain male. Meanwhile, his older sister seemed attracted to men who were themselves outcasts, usually on the wrong side of the law. She ended up having an intermittent relationship with a guy who was in and out of jail and gave birth to two children as a consequence. Needless to say, he disappeared.

I was stunned when the stepson decided to journey to Thailand for a gender-change operation shortly after his eighteenth birthday. I worried that someone so young could end up regretting such a decision for the rest of their life. But fast-forward the best part of two decades and she (formerly he) is now a successful professional and has weathered the storms of learning how to cope with a new identity and the sometimes aggressive reaction of those with whom she has sought a closer bond. The sister is also doing fairly well although it has been a long and uphill struggle for her and her kids.

What is interesting is how prejudice and a lack of understanding can color one’s perception of people who have had to struggle all their lives and who have chosen a different path from one’s own. The rush to judgment rarely involves stepping back to consider the colossal hurdles that have had to be overcome, and the need to seek either the company of those who are also “different” or the irresistible urge to remake oneself and begin again. And it can take tremendous courage. I have also known a youngster who decided to make the change from female to male. I couldn’t begin to fathom the reasons for it beyond knowing that here there was also childhood trauma, but I have been amazed at this person’s courageous decision to leave home before turning twenty and journey to one of the most macho states as a fledgling “male” with little experience of either the outside world or of relationships.

So what am I trying to say? I suppose it could be summed up as acceptance, tolerance, and respect -as well as a little support – for another’s choices and situation. And I must say that I can’t recall Forrest condemning anyone for their lifestyle in his Scrapbooks (and there have been a few “interesting ” characters parading through them), but more to the point it was a lesson that I needed to take to heart too, as I was soon to discover.

IMG 20191027 102908597

View from the slopes of Snowdon in Wales

Back in Wales I was left feeling that, although I’d discovered an important place, I’d not been able to link it definitively. I kept trying to squeeze the final drops out of the poem to pinpoint a precise spot. At the same time I became a little too caught up in the cascade of cryptic messages issuing forth from a website that was now featuring a bare-assed leprechaun. I found myself in danger of reverting to paranoia.

Having had many strange and unexplained experiences in the last few years, I’d become both hyper-aware of, and susceptible to, perceived messages – after all, aren’t we supposed to listen good? But separating the wheat from the chaff was not always straightforward. And however selfish the notion of continuing to search was, I couldn’t let go of the idea that the place I’d discovered had not yet done with me. I had yet another spot to check, and I was also ruminating on the possibility of some kind of tunnel or underground repository.

A domestic pact was negotiated. Based on the notion and importance of a spiritual quest, a return to the States would be tolerated – just. For my part, I promised not to break the family finances. So in late September 2019 I packed my well-worn rucksack for the umpteenth time and boarded another Denver-bound flight.

But one thing I hadn’t paid enough attention to was attitude. For some reason I just couldn’t summon up genuine positivity. Almost as soon as the plane touched down I began to question why I was still doing this. Twenty-four hours of travel and a seven-hour time difference didn’t help. Neither did running into a massive tailback on the freeway well before 6:00 am on a Saturday morning. I have to confess to little empathy for the drivers whose fender-bender had only added to the roadwork chaos. I’ve still a long way to go with tolerance!

Things didn’t improve by the end of the day. After saying “howdy” to my canyon and its denizens I stood and stared at the long “blade of stone” I’d studied so minutely on Google. It was actually a gigantic mudbank! I thought about the next eleven days I had to fill, and the cost, but determined to make the best of it. As for the poem I was out of ideas. The situation wasn’t helped by two small incidents the next day. First, I saw that Dal had published Scrapbook 206 – all about failure. Talk about rubbing salt in the wound! And Michael Houle’s video where he balanced enjoyment against some of the more negative aspects of the Chase really spoke to me. I was also intrigued by the final segment which featured a hypothetical approach to finding the hidey spot in relation to the blaze, based on distance. It was something I’d been thinking about quite a bit over the preceding months.

Second, as I considered what to do with myself, I joined the Sunday tourists at a well-known recreational area and drove around rather aimlessly until a canyon overlook caught my attention.


Beautiful sight – shame about the glasses!

I dug out my camera, which had seen so much Chase action, and started to take snaps of the impressive scenery. It was something to do on a lovely, bright afternoon at the beginning of autumn. Half-an-hour later I was back in the car and driving away when I realized something wasn’t quite right. The speedometer was blurred and the rest of the world seemed slightly fuzzy. I stopped the car and put my hand to my face. My glasses were no longer there. Somehow they’d disappeared and I hadn’t even noticed, not even while I was taking photos! I retraced my steps and scoured the area, as well as the car, multiple times. Other kind souls joined the hunt, but it was a fruitless endeavor. Fortunately, I’d been particularly careful to pack an old backup pair, and so I drove back carefully to the hotel, grateful for the sunshine, and dug out the spare. They were almost useless for reading but would suffice for driving. This was not going to be a 20/20 trip!

Monday morning dawned with a decision. I’d never seen Santa Fe and thought that the home city of the author of this wild enterprise had to be worth a visit. I set off happy to have a destination and a purpose.

The Colorado mountains are breathtaking. The disappointment of the past couple of days was replaced by a sense of wonder. The contrast with much of Wyoming, a region I’m so much more familiar with, is marked, and each of the four search states definitely has its own identity. I should have stopped to take some snaps of rust-red peaks and craggy gorges, but I tend to be relentless when I have a destination in mind, and push on until I’m too tired to continue. But I did at least pause to pick up a hitchhiker.

Back at some small town gas station, while I was on my way over to the search area from Denver, I’d been approached at the pump by a guy asking politely whether I could spare some change. He seemed clean and neatly turned out and he’d caught me unawares, so I’d given him the brush-off. This wasn’t the first time that I’d “passed by on the other side” and it had played on my mind. A little while later I’d been struck by something. This was America. I’d spent many hours mediating contractual disputes at the courthouse where I lived in Oregon for a decade. A recurring theme was financial hardship and misery resulting from medical expenses which were being chased by debt collection agencies. Bankruptcy or near- crippling repayment regimes were frequent outcomes. Living for the past three years in the UK where, despite the system creaking and groaning under the burden, healthcare is paid for through taxation and is provided free at the point of delivery, it was too easy for me to forget that a regular guy might be forced into seeking handouts through bad luck. I don’t know if that was this man’s circumstances, but I wished I could go back in time and act more compassionately, but I couldn’t, so I thought at least I could help out a guy who needed a ride. He turned out to be an international long-distance runner who trained near his home at an elevation around 10,000 feet. I was in awe and could hardly imagine the stamina and fitness required for that!

Over the years I’ve found that although I occasionally have insights during searches, I need time to process them. This normally happens when I’m back home and can no longer test the theories. It’s endlessly frustrating! Sometimes though, a solo lengthy drive (providing there are not too many heart-in-mouth moments!) can induce a similar semi-meditative state. Having dropped my hitchhiker near his destination and as the miles sped away I returned to contemplation and mulled something that had bothered me for a while. The way I had got to my spot was long and convoluted. I could look back and, with the benefit of hindsight, refashion it into a simple trajectory, and yet it always seemed like there was something missing, something that would unequivocally confirm the place. But now, as I drove, I was reminded of words that the pipe-smoking, shamrock-toting little fellow had pointed to. Going from memory, it suggested that although someone had not been wise they’d found the blaze and the effort still counted. A thought occurred to me and I wanted to check it out online.

At Pagosa Springs I checked into a rather shabby motel, trying to save a few bucks in a touristy town. Munching on some snacks leftover from the journey, I squinted at my little netbook screen through inadequate lenses and pulled up a few websites and, of course, Google Maps (I think, collectively, we searchers must have brought their servers to near breaking-point!). I also emailed Forrest to let him know I would soon be in his area and asked if I could buy him coffee or lunch.

The next morning, following overnight rain, the whole region was shrouded in fog. It was not pleasant driving, but it was an apt metaphor for my search. But eventually the clouds lifted, revealing the sunlit beauty of the San Juans. After a brief detour around the base of Sierra Negra and another to a pueblo, I soon found myself in Santa Fe. I’d received no response to my email, and none would be forthcoming, so I only spent a short while in the city, not least because it was overloaded with tourists and uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight. Apart from a brief visit to Collected Works and the cathedral, I just took a few photos of the quaint old downtown and satisfied my curiosity as to the whereabouts of Mr. Fenn’s modest mansion before heading back to my casino hotel to pore over maps again.

SF colonnade

Downtown Santa Fe in late September

SF cathedral int

St.Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe

That “measure distance” function in Google is so useful. Using my new ideas I even managed to draw a sort of “X” although it kind of resembled one of those old-fashioned egg timers. But my crude artwork was not what made me do a double-take. Peering through the weak bifocals, I could see that the center of my hourglass was, believe it or not, right back where I’d been just a few days ago. But it had shifted the focus to the other side of the canyon. And there wasn’t a coordinate involved in finding this place. The setbacks of the last few days were forgotten as I prepared to point the trusty little Nissan Kicks that Enterprise had bestowed on me back up the highway so recently traversed.

Two days later I stood below the point marking the middle of my “X.” As I stood and stared at an object I’d literally said “hello” to a few days before, something gradually came into focus in my mind and … well … I laughed. This wasn’t what I expected at all! It seemed to be telling me that this was all one huge joke – a very clever one, but nonetheless a joke. I’d stood on practically the same spot a few times previously and never made the connection. But beyond this rather rueful mirth, it prompted me to confront something uncomfortable. I began to sense that Forrest was not just yanking our chain, but holding up our addiction and letting us look it full in the face. It was like, “What didn’t you understand about the word ‘contentment’?”

Forgive me for not elucidating further on what it was that I’d seen, but as that was not the end of the story, I’d rather leave it unidentified. I can’t remember whether it was then or a little later that the phrase “Look quickly down” took on new meaning. I had always interpreted that phrase in a specific directional sense, but as it floated into my consciousness I simply looked down at my feet and thought about what was there. The ground. My feet standing on the ground. Under. Stand. The instruction appeared to be to understand something. And I thought I knew what it was. Where was all this chasing leading? It was a journey back to where we started, but with a new understanding of the place that contentment needed to occupy in our hearts.


Please don’t be sarcastic about my sarcophagus!

Not quite prepared to relinquish the hunt completely, I took bearings on a number of local points and over the next twenty-four hours tried half-heartedly to make them fit, sending Forrest a few rather grudging updates along the way. I even found a “coffin in the wood” that was just large enough to crawl into, yet remained partially open to the elements. But in the end I just sat on a rock and contemplated love, stupidity, addiction and responsibility. I had received some worrying news from home and knew I should be there rather than indulging myself out in the Rockies. I felt stranded, lonely and selfish, and just wanted to be back with my wife, but the flight was still a few days hence and I had a ticket without the option to make changes.

Then, as I prepared to head back to Denver, Forrest popped up with a new scrapbook. One paragraph caught my eye in particular: ‘My friends complained that the story had consumed me. Maybe so, because a note written to myself at the time, reads “I am drawn to Mr. Sharp like smell is drawn to a daffodil.” (that unfortunate comment is the by-product of too much wine, and working too late at night).’

Was Forrest implying that we shouldn’t worry too much about things that consume us? And what about the “too much wine” for a guy who says he doesn’t drink? As for “by-product,” I imagined it with an extra “e.” But the word that struck me most forcibly was “daffodil.” It was not the first time that Forrest has used that word, and I had already thought about its oblique connection to narcissism.
Searching for answers I came across this:
And one answer seemed to leap off the virtual page at me:
Ramon Verhoeven, repaired codependent, learning to live with a narcissistic abused adult/child
Answered Feb 5, 2019 · Author has 1.3k answers and 550.6k answer views

I think about that in this way:
A narcissist is born with true selves. During childhood , enduring abuse, the fake EGO takes over and pretends to be the true selves. The true selves are still around , but without the narcissist able to get in touch with them. Somehow that is leading to a permanent combat of the two. I read once a psychologist say: the two I’s in a narcissist hate each other, being one I the true selves and the other I the fake one. Must be hell living this way. And in hell you try to find relief: addiction.

Another thing I noticed is that people, who have a narcissistic partner, can easily become addicted. Living in the constant pressure of the partner, they also look for a way out.

Some of you may remember a few months back a university professor seeking searchers prepared to answer a psychological profile questionnaire. Like many, I took part and was a little taken aback by both the extent of the survey and some of the questions, particularly those investigating possible childhood abuse. Ramon Verhoeven’s Quora submission seems to speak directly to that same issue, and having had a “difficult” childhood I recognized the profile he described. It struck a chord in relation to the internal struggle the past few years of searching had required. So, returning to the theme of this piece, I would argue that the Chase asks us not just to try to understand the needs of others, but also to understand our own inner selves. Of course we’re all different, with a great variety of life experiences, but a big part of my personal Chase has been the concept of repairing – or at least bridging – the divide: recognizing the two divorced parts within me and attempting to cross the void between them. I hope it’s not too much of a stretch to use the allegory of Apollo 11 journeying across the cosmic vacuum to the moon. It’s a long, painful and arduous mission but one that some of us need to take before we can be content in and with ourselves. And even though this “marriage” can be tough on our loved ones, maybe in the end it will be “worth the cold” – more on that later.
I was halfway to Denver when something occurred to me, but, as ever, it would require a Google search. For twenty minutes I fought the urge to turn around, but the idea proved too strong and I swung through 180 degrees, heading back to the last major town I’d passed so I could find a motel room. While my less-than-fragrant clothes jumbled and tumbled in the motel’s laundry, I fired up my netbook. By making a small adjustment to one of the legs of my “X” the center point shifted a short distance north. Then, through the magic of the internet, I was able to spot a potential alcove – a significant find that dovetailed with the latest scrapbook. However, although this was encouraging, I wasn’t taking into account my mental state, which wasn’t conducive to making logical leaps.

Concentration was lacking and my thoughts were divided between home and the search. I collected my clean clothes and consumed a rather lackluster meal in a local restaurant.

Later that evening, tucked away in my modest room, I was musing about Fenn’s description of how, “As I was closing the chest for the last time, I felt part of me slip inside and become part of the treasure, or at least I thought I did.” I wondered how literally that statement was intended to be taken as I flipped idly through the motel’s satellite TV channels. I put the remote down as one of the Harry Potter movies flashed on the screen. Initially happy to have a little innocuous and diversionary entertainment, within seconds I was shaking my head in disbelief. I had entered the film at the precise moment the characters were discussing how a soul can be made to inhabit a physical object, allowing a person who has killed another human being to save their soul from destruction. To use a British colloquialism, I was gobsmacked! This was yet another of the hundred and one strange “coincidences” and unexplained events that had occurred in my hunt. Another was shortly to follow. But before I turned in for the night I pondered the long-term effect on Fenn of having to kill so many people in Vietnam. There was a reason he called his treasure chest “Indulgence.”

Following my usual pattern when searching, I awoke very early the next morning and switched on the computer to check emails and try to come to a decision as to whether to return one last time to my spot. The old Acer netbook still runs Windows XP, which usually means it’s reliable but wouldn’t be much of a loss if I dropped it off a mountain or left it behind in the rental car. It has never had a problem booting up, yet today was different. As I watched the little boot-up progress window it suddenly froze, leaving just one little square block at the very end of the progress bar. I didn’t know what to make of it other than to think that I had one final task to perform. I needed to check the “alcove.”

Now before you think I’m completely crazy paying attention to a minor computer anomaly, this was only one of a number of such odd instances. There was, for example, the time the BBC site morphed into a succession of graphic analog clocks all displaying 4 o’clock. And later an online company logo would drop part of the name leaving “OR” prominently displayed. But whether insanity was at work here, or something more mystical, combined with the previous evening’s experience it was a double-whammy that left me feeling disturbed. What was in the “alcove?” What might happen if I went there? Like Shrödinger’s cat, there was no way of knowing without going. Forrest Fenn’s kitty was simultaneously both alive and dead up until the moment the box was opened.

To cut a long story short the journey was a washout, and I just didn’t have the mental stamina left to try to rectify the situation. In a kind of blind frenzy I dashed about, ruining a new pair of shoes in the mud and nearly getting caught going where I shouldn’t. It was as I was hurrying back to the car that a thought catapulted to mind. “Worth the cold – a word that is key – cold turkey.” Become addicted and then suffer the consequence as you try to extricate yourself from the obsession. That’s what this seemed to be about. Miserable and dejected, I started up the Nissan Kicks and cruised back towards the big city. “Kicks:” I thought about that name. Kick the habit, do it just for kicks, plus a couple other derivations that suited the situation. With less than 100 miles to go, I broke down and howled, an uncontrollable, deep throated baying that erupted from the depths of my being.

Fortunately traffic was light. By the time I’d recovered composure I was hoarse and emotionally spent. Six years of being in the Chase had taken its toll.

At the Econolodge near Denver airport I was booked for two nights and wondered what to do to kill the time. Eating fast food is not really a time spinner, although sitting in a traffic jam for half-an-hour as you try to weave your way past yet another accident to reach a Chinese take-out establishment helps. What is it with Denver drivers? That night I was restless. At 3:00 am I awoke and felt the need to look out of the window. Across the parking lot I could see two large trucks sporting two large logos. The nearest declared “Xtra” in bold letters, and the further one responded with “Serta.” My mind immediately started to analyze the names. It didn’t take long: “X-art” and “Se-art.” With the Chase chock-full of art references it made sense to me. Maybe I needed to go look at some art.

Maybe that would put the mystery to bed at last – preferably on a brand new Serta mattress!

P1000818 2

Morning after the night before: taking inspiration from the art of trucking

Not wanting to get stuck in downtown traffic or pay exorbitant parking fees I grabbed a spot more than 20 blocks from the middle of the city and walked into town. The early October morning was cool and there was a hint of winter on the way, but setting a brisk pace soon had my circulation going. I reached the art museum a good half-hour before opening time and looked for a spot to sit down and rest a back that complains mightily if actually asked to do the job it applied for.

In front of the library there were some concrete benches, but the area was also clearly a gathering place for the homeless and other mavericks. Trying to keep myself to myself didn’t work; a guy started talking to me in a rapid-fire verbal torrent. I responded as politely as I could, although my hearing’s so bad these days that I find it difficult to interpret unfamiliar speech patterns. At first, my inclination was to find my own space to wait, secure in my familiar small bubble of solitude. But then the bubble burst. I suddenly felt it was ridiculous to avoid another human being simply because they were down on their luck, with their “difference” prompting me to feel anxious, or suspicious, or protective. I asked the man, probably in his forties with damaged teeth and a rather gaunt expression, whether he’d mind my sharing his bench. Avoiding a small pool of water, I sat down and started chatting with the guy, although he did most of the talking and I just listened to his story.

Hearing how he had to share the streets and shelters with drug addicts, survive on food bank handouts that sometimes made everyone sick, and yet manage to remain positive and optimistic left me feeling very small. I asked him what his secret was, and he told me that it was faith. He spoke of how we all have to undergo trials, and this was his. When I left him I felt that he’d given me something very valuable. The art museum itself was interesting but a little bit of an anticlimax, if I’m honest.

Back home, I tried to avoid the Chase blogs and suffer the cold turkey. I set myself the target of one month of abstinence. What I hadn’t reckoned with was my ever-active mind. At night, especially, the cogs would grind, and early in the morning of my wife’s birthday another piece of the puzzle slotted into place. I managed to hold out a couple more weeks before giving in and checking Dal’s. I hadn’t quite made the full month, but I figured there were extenuating circumstances! I was amazed at the plethora of Scrapbooks. The promise to myself of cold turkey was soon forgotten as I devoured Forrest’s offerings, and gradually a chink became a chasm, and the turkey morphed into cheese with an attitude! Was understanding at last beginning to dawn?

-by voxpops






Hobble Creek Solve…

February 2020

By garnum


I would like to layout the one and only Forrest Fenn treasure solution I came up with over the past few years. Even though my one BOTG found nothing, this solve is an example of just how “straight forward” the correct solve could be. I shared this solve on a call to A Gypsies Kiss several months back but have participated very little in online forums.


The entire solve is based on a very different interpretation of WWWH. Warm I interpreted as comfortable/pleasing and halt (my key word) I interpreted as Hobble. I had pulled my biased hints in TTOC, videos, and scrapbooks which included Lincoln, Poker, Alice/crocodiles, forgotten graves, asterisk, omegas, brown gravy, white canyons, porcupine, and marry the map with the poem.


So, if you haven’t given up on me already let’s begin at WWWH:
Find Hobble Creek on a map. It is the only Hobble creek located in the search area. It is a pleasant, relatively short trout stream which Forrest is likely familiar with. The only way to access it via car is to start in Cokeville, Wyoming located in the southwest corner of Lincoln county (remember the folded Lincoln five dollar bill in scrapebook). If you look at the poem/map in TFTW, Cokeville lines up exactly with the line in the poem Begin it where warm waters halt (marry map with poem).


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 Now where on Hobble Creek do you start? Put in below the home of Brown. There is a lonely single grave marker on Hobble Creek which is the resting place of Estella Brown. Estella means star which could be the asterisk reference. The grave stone is right where the Lander Cut-off of the Oregon Trail crosses Hobble Creek.


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The only put in below this gravesite is Hobble Creek campground. Much of the canyon walls between the gravesite and campground appear white on Google Earth and the ridge along that route is Porcupine Ridge. The put in is approximately 6 miles below the gravesite. It is about a 30 mile drive from Cokeville to the campground.


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Starting the search at that point on Hobble creek. You follow a trail that leads to Lake Alice. If you look at “the big picture” on Google Earth Lake Alice (with a little imagination) could look like a crocodile.


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Forrest mentions picking Huckleberries in a scrapbook. Lake Alice has a Huckleberry Cove.


Lake Alice was formed a couple of thousand years ago by a collapse from Lake Mountain. That landslide formed a natural dam of Poker Creek (we all know the Poker reference), resulting in the lake.
Screenshot 20190821 215101 Maps
If you backtrack from Lake Alice back towards the campground, Poker Creek then flows under the landslide (there will be no paddle up your creek just heavy loads and water high) for about a mile before surfacing at the end of the landslide and it becomes Spring Lake Creek.


While during my BOTG I hiked the 1.5 miles to Lake Alice, but I was almost certain Forrest would not of carried the treasure that far.


When I first started my hike at the put in I was struck by how “alone in there” I felt. I did not see another person during the entire search. About 10 minutes into the hike from the campground the trail splits between a human trail and a horse trail.


The double omegas in TTOTC look like horseshoes. The horsetrail (the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail) starts off steep (no place for the meek) and runs in close proximity to Spring Lake creek. If one “listens good” you can notice that the sound of the creek stops when you reach the bottom end ( the END is ever drawing nigh) of the landslide because it is all underground from that point all the way up to Lake Alice. If you depart the horsetrail when you no longer hear water it is a short hike (50 ft.) to the End and what could be the blaze, the exposed rock slide forming the end of the mile long natural dam. If you stand on top of the END and look straight down it is about 30 feet down to where the water springs forth at the bottom.
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I had little time and have never been back, but somewhere in that area I was hopeful I would find the chest. I did not.


It is interesting to note that if you draw a line on Google earth through the entire search area starting at Santa Fe and ending in the very corner of NW Montana, that line crosses straight through my search area and my blaze is exactly at the halfway point on that line. Try it yourself.


Again, this is just an interpretation of how straight forward the clues could be. An isolated area but where many hikers/fishermen have hiked within 500 ft of the treasure on their way to Lake Alice. Begin it where Hobble creek takes the white walled canyon down not far but too far to walk. Put in below the grave of Brown and take the steep horsetrail up to where the End of the landslide is drwing near. There will be no paddle up this creek because it runs underground through heavy debris ending at the high Lake Alice. If you listen good and find the blaze of rocks ending the debris field, look straight down that blaze and somewhere at the bottom the treasure is concealed. Your effort will be worth the cold because you may have to wade across the little creek.





My TTOTC Solution…by Christian

January 2020

By Christian


Hello Searchers, 

My name is Christian and I’m going to share my solution with you. I’m a relative newbie and many of you know the chase better than I do. Although I wrote this with the best of my knowledge and conscience, I can’t exclude content errors for sure and thus everything I wrote is without guarantee. Also my native language isn’t English, so maybe my use and understanding of words and grammar isn’t always the best. And of course, all that follows is just in my opinion. Anyway, I don’t claim that even one single part of my solution is correct at all.

First I wrote the following section at the end of my story, but it became much longer than I had expected and since I don’t want to expect anyone to read everything, I decided to put it at the beginning.

!!! This solution is incorrect !!!
We have searched my final location very carefully for hours. 
I can tell you with the highest probability that there is no treasure chest hidden at this place.
So please don’t do anything stupid and destroy something, it’s pointless!
By the way, digging inside the Yellowstone National Park is illegal anyway!

Before we get started, I thought about making a small thought experiment. For this it’s essential that you have no idea of my final location. If you want to try this, only read my solution when you are done with this. If you know my final location, this won’t work anymore.

So let’s consider that the home of Brown is the Bison Peak, east of the Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone National Park. Now look at Google Maps/Earth and ask yourself: “Where would I search for the treasure chest?” Remember this location for later. This comes into play when I respond to the 500ft respectively 200ft searcher.

As I have said, this is a really long article. But don’t worry, if you are just interested which words of the poem I interpreted as clues and what I had thought that they are telling us, you only have to read the fat printed, underlined lines. This should take you not much more than one minute. If you want further information about a clue, just read the section below. Everything that comes after the 9th clue is just further explanation and my opinion about how my solution and my final location are fitting with the stuff Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase, you miss nothing important about my solution if you don’t read it. It’s also possible to read the different sections crisscross as you like, except the nine clues, no section is built on another. At the end I have put some pictures of my final location, so you can see how it looks like.

Ok, let’s get started with a question. What is a clue? I don’t know, but I guess it’s something that brings you from one location to the next and thus step by step closer to the chest. Except the first one, every clue is built on the previous clue. So you are only able to solve a clue if you have solved the previous clue/s. Of course, you could get an approximate idea of a clue in advance, but probably you won’t find the right location if you have no idea of the previous location. Only the first clue is exempted of this scheme, so you have to nail it down first. (01)

Well, I don’t know what Forrest Fenn really means with this phrase. I just used it because it fits quite well in here and I guess that’s funny. So my solution is built according to this scheme.

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt, = Up in the sky

Since this is written in plural, I guess he means all waters on earth, not for example a single hot spring or river. Now the water molecules are tending to leave the liquid water as long as the 100% saturation degree of humidity of the air isn’t reached. The temperature of the water and the air are two decisive factors for this. As the temperature is increasing, the vapor pressure of the water and the saturation amount for the humidity of the air rises. If the sun comes out and warms up the water and the air (strictly speaking, the environment warmed up by the sun gives off some energy to the air), more water evaporates and the air can absorb more water vapor. The air temperature is not the same everywhere and usually decreases with the altitude. Since warm air has a lower density than cooler air, the warm air packages detach from the ground and ascend. During the ascent, the warm air bubbles cool down and when the dew point is reached, a cloud appears. The condensation process releases energy which delays the halt of the warm air bubbles and so the halt of some of the warm water. The rising air masses end their ascent when they reach the same temperature as the surrounding air. At the edge of the rising air masses, the cooled air and a part of the humidity descend again. Normal cumulus clouds disappear in the evening when the sun goes down. No warm air is moving up anymore and the tiny water drops are sinking down to the ground again. If raindrop formation occurs, the water falls back to earth in form of rain. Meteorology is a complex topic for itself, but this simple explanation should be enough for our purposes here. And by the way, you don’t need an exact explanation for my first clue anyway, I guess nearly everybody knows that the waters on earth which are warmed up by the sun, halt up in the sky mostly in form of clouds before falling down on earth’s surface. There are also blue thermals existing, but this only means that the warm waters, which halt up in the sky, are not visible for us because the ascending air-masses halt before the dew point is reached. With calm air and few condensation cores, it can also happen that the humidity is significantly more than 100% and there is still no cloud formation. But the warm waters still halts up in the sky bevor falling down to earth’s surface, only invisible. Clouds can also develop due to cold fronts, warm fronts, influx of moister air masses or winds, but there is no need for warming up the water.

Of course, now you could say it doesn’t really halt because the small drops are moving around in the cloud and the cloud itself is moving when it’s windy. But think about it this way: A school class is making an excursion. They drive from A to B with a bus. In the bus, the teacher is quite busy to keep control over the children which are making lots of funny stuff. It’s a long ride and after one hour, the bus driver stops for a toilet break. He opens the door and all children rush out to the toilet.

So what would you say, did they halt there or not? If you look at one single child, it never halts at all, but the bus including the whole class does.

Now you could see one child as a small water drop and the bus as the air package that’s moving up when the sun has given it enough energy. And then the warm waters halt for sure up in the sky in their movement up, before falling down on earth again.

By the way, also in the quietest lake there are always currents and no single water molecule is really halting at all ever. If you look precisely, it would presuppose to take all energy out of a closed system to make anything really halt, and that’s as impossible as putting infinite energy into a closed system. The funny thing is, when there’s no energy left in a system, this system doesn`t exist anymore and so the question of a halt inside it is pointless anyway. 

Also if you look at a seemingly simple Proton, it is built of appearing and disappearing quarks and just in the average it is build out of three of them. By the way, the simplicity is just an illusion. There is no simplicity or normality in this universe anywhere. Our brain has just become accustomed to the world around us.

Look at a little child, it points at everything and thinks everything around is great, also a small gray stone is fascinating.

We look at this little child and think it’s a dreamer and it’s ridiculous and silly to be fascinated from this normal small grey stone. And we guess the child will become more rational as it gets older, as we are rational already. But the reality is, that this child is yet realistic and we are dreamers and it’s ridiculous and silly if you don’t think this small gray stone is fascinating.

The brain of this little child hasn’t yet got used to the world around and so it sees the world how it is, crazy, interesting and fascinating. When it grows up, it gets more and more used to everything and soon it thinks most stuff is normal and not worth being admired. 

But we don’t really have unlearned wondering, it’s only because of oneself being numb to the world around. When we notice something which we are not used to, we are still able to wonder. But this leads also sometimes to curiosities like for example on the one hand, we would be fascinated from a flying drone which is similar to a fly, and on the other hand, we kill sometimes a fly just because we think it’s funny or because we are bored, and I am not talking about a fly which is annoying us.

Now you could say: I am always amazed when I’m out in the nature. But what are you wondering about out there? Legitimately about a formidable glacier, an awesome tree, a beautiful flower, a roaring waterfall, an imposing moose, a romantic sunset or a breathtaking big night sky. But what about the small gray stone you’re standing on?

In our life, it wouldn’t work if we run around the whole day stunning (with the mouth open), pointing at everything and because of wondering, we forget managing our life. But I guess, at least once a day, we should throw down this everyday-life-backpack for at least ten minutes and see the world how it really is, fascinating, admirable and anything but normal. But nature is as terrible as it’s awesome and we shouldn’t lose track of reality. Anyway, I guess everybody who reads this has probably won a multiple jackpot in the big lottery. But now I lost track if the issue, sorry.

Even in the best ultra-high vacuum that you can imagine, there are always quantum fluctuation. And if we consider that an elementary particle only takes either a certain velocity or a certain position when it is observed (interacts with something) and otherwise blurs in the blur, the question of halting or stopping in our universe is pointless anyway.

So we can summarize that there is not really a halt or stop in our universe, only on average.

A quote from Forrest Fenn: “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.”(02)

In my opinion, there are many places in the Rocky Mountains where clouds develop and of course nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe because almost the whole Rocky Mountains are north of Santa Fe.

Clue 2: And take it in the canyon down, not far but too far to walk. = Concerning conception of time, the short distance until night

What’s too far to walk? I mean, even from Deadhorse to Punta Arenas it’s not too far to walk. If you have enough time, you can do it, even though it might not be easy due to some border crossings, especially from Panama to Colombia. So there I see three possibilities:

1: The distance is so long, that your life is too short to reach the goal. So let’s say for example about 500.000 miles. But first, the earth circumference is only approximately 24.850 miles, and second, this distance isn’t “not far” anymore, at least on earthly scale.

2: The distance is not walkable because of geological or political reasons. For example, if your goal is on an island or up or down a steep cliff. Or you have to follow a geological canyon down on a map, which is impassable due to terrain conditions.

Or you have to cross a border like North Korea, where getting a passing permission is very unlikely.

3: The time is next to the three obvious space dimensions the fourth dimension. In this dimension, every distance is too far to walk and it’s like a canyon. No left, right or back, just one direction, down (even if this is maybe just an illusion of our memories, we just feel it this way). 

As we know that sun made clouds appear from dawn till dusk, a short and logical distance would be the distance till night.

By the way, later I found two quotes from Forrest Fenn about “too far to walk“, which in my opinion corroborate the third possibility.

First, although I have never read the book “too far to walk“, I know that he is writing there about a river experience where he once fished 10 miles downstream to Bakers Hole, which is now too far to walk for him. I guess, he is saying, that because time had passed he can`t repeat this experience – it’s now too far to walk for him.

Second, this conversation with Forrest Fenn: Forrest, “I enjoyed my recent trip through southern Montana! Some part of me wants to get lost in the woods where just maybe, I can find myself spiritually. My question for you now is, if you got another chance to enjoy Yellowstone in your youth, is there anything there that you wanted to do but never got the chance to?  -The Count”

The answer of Forrest Fenn: “Count, There are many things I want to do now that I didn’t do then. I want to fish every stream, catch every fish, sit under every tree, and hike the mountains I didn’t hike. And I would like to get lost in the Gallatins again. That was the best, but for me now, it’s too far to walk. f”  (03)

Clue 3: Put in below the home of Brown. = Below Big Sky in Montana

In my opinion there exists only one Brown because this is written in singular. Let’s just for example assume that Brown is the brown trout, then this sentence should be written like “Put in below the home of the Brown(s)”. And then I guess this home could only be something generally like the water or the earth for example, but not a specific river or lake.

But now we are in the night and provided you have a clear sky, you can see the stars. They form constellations and one of the biggest and famous is called in the Latin technical terminology Ursa Major. It’s also known as the big bear, and the big dipper, which isn’t really a constellation for itself, is a part of it. Now you can say that bears have from black to white many colors. But we know eight different types of bears (the extinct ones not included). The Kodiak bear and the Kamchatka bear, which belong to brown bears, are the biggest and heaviest of them. Only a few polar bears reach a larger body size, nevertheless they are not as heavy. Despite its white color, the polar bear is the closest relative of the brown bear. The biggest known bear that has ever populated our planet and is also closely related to the brown bear is the cave bear. And although brown bears can be besides brown also be black, gray or even white, it’s still called a brown bear. So the big bear should be a brown bear and its home is the big sky.

Now there we have a place called Big Sky in Montana. So let’s put in below this place. By the way, one nickname of Montana is Big Sky country. I also found a conversation which fits my interpretation of home of Brown.

The question: Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is?

Forrest Fenn answered: “The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues.” (04)

To find my third clue, you have to know the big bear. The 88 star constellations are well-defined and accepted worldwide since 1928. However, it hasn’t enforced in all cultures, and in India other constellations are popular. The big bear doesn’t exist, only the bright stars of the big dipper are known as Saptarishi. It means something like “the seven seers” (or the seven prophets or wise men). So if you don’t know the constellation big bear, you can’t get closer than the second clue.

Now you could say with the world-wide-web you can figure out everything. But the question was very specific, the little girl in India has only the poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains. 

Clue 4: From there it’s no place for the meek, The end is ever drawing nigh; There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high. = Buffalo Creek near the Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone National Park

So what is or are the meek? Meek doesn’t mean fearful or afraid as many believe. It rather means gentle or mild. To my knowledge it’s also not a common noun, mainly I found this word used as a noun in the sermon on the mount of the Matthew’s gospel. Also to my knowledge, meek can be used in singular or plural as well. If this is true, we don’t know exactly if Forrest Fenn is talking about one meek or multiple meek or maybe both.

When I think about the meek, the first that comes to my mind are elephants. Shortly, I thought of a Native American tribe. But that doesn’t fit well because they aren’t really meek, or because their tribal area was or is somewhere else. And a Native American can go wherever he wants to. So I went on to the next meek that came to my mind, the buffaloes.

Nearly all of the wild buffaloes are in Yellowstone NP, so the question is why? In wintertime, they often wander out of the park to places with less altitude, to find food. But outside of the park they get killed or at least chased back to the park because the farmers are afraid that the buffaloes infect their cows with Brucellosis. So it’s no place for the buffaloes below Big Sky and if they go there, their end is ever drawing nigh. 

Now we know what the meek are, but this doesn’t bring us further. Next question is, what can be “your creek”? I guess, it can mean your way of life, a creek that belongs to you, or a creek that is referring to you.

And why is there a semicolon after the first two lines? A semicolon differentiates parts of a sentence more than a comma.

So since we have this semicolon, I guess the creek has not really something to do with the buffaloes. But what if we only need their name? Is there a Buffaloes Creek somewhere near? No, but a Buffalo Creek, and I think we can interpret “the meek” as singular and plural. This Buffalo Creek is near Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone NP and flows from the high mountains to the park. It’s full of rocks and wood that dames the water (Heavy loads and waters high).

Clue 5: Look quickly down, = Look a bit south with bird’s-eye view

Why is there a comma after down? This only makes sense if you want to separate this from the rest of the line.

Without the comma, this sentence could maybe mean to end your quest quickly. But there is a comma! So I guess, it does not refer to “your quest to cease”.

Quickly could also mean not so far. And down could mean south or/and bird’s-eye view. So let’s look a short distance approximately to the south with bird’s-eye view.

Clue 6: But tarry scant with marvel gaze, = Small lake about 1,3 miles southeast from the mouth of the Buffalo Creek

Tar is a really slow moving substance and the tar drop experiment is known as the longest lasting laboratory experiment in human history. It’s a long-term trial to observe the dripping behavior of pitch. It started 1930 and the first drop dropped 1938. Until today, nine drops have “fallen”. 

So tarry for itself stands for a very very slow movement, almost a halt, but not quite. And scant means few. Now we could think this means wait for a short time and then leave this spot.

But if we see tarry as a really slow movement, and then we imagine this movement is scant, we have a extremely slow movement. Everything in the universe is moving, and so do continents, mountains and landscapes. And at least for us (humans), this geological movement is extremely slow.

And what’s up with marvel gaze? A lake could look like an eye, that looks “with marvel gaze” into the world and by the way, it moves tarry scant. Now if we look a bit southeast from the mouth of Buffalo Creek with bird’s-eye view, we find a small lake that looks like an eye. 

Clue 7: So hear me all and listen good, = Mirrored stone basin 500 feet west of the lake

“So hear me all” could mean “all people who read the poem”, but it could also mean both ears you have. And for listening good, you need both ears for sure. They are at least more or less mirrored and so is the stone basin to the lake, 500 feet west of it.

By the way, also following interpretation came to my mind: If the words “So hear me all” refer to both ears, and the rest of the line “and listen good” also refer to both ears, then this would be double mirrored. If you mirror something two times, first horizontal and then vertical, it’s the same as turning it around 180°. This could mean you have to turn the map upside down for the 7th clue. But then the next line of the poem has to be part of the 7th clue too because only turning the map 180° around doesn’t bring you to a further location.

Honestly, I have no idea how to continue from there. With some imagination: if the lake is an eye and the fen (which is mirrored to it) is an ear and the rock (which is ~0,2 miles southeast from the east bank of the lake) is a nose, then it looks like the head of a dog or wolf. And there is also a fen ~0,6 miles west of the lake. But I have no single idea how to merge this with the poem.

Clue 8: Your effort will be worth the cold. = Go into the stone basin

What do we think is cold or warm? We have only two different sensory cells for our heat or cold sensation. These points are very unevenly distributed. For example, per square inch of skin we have in our palms ~2,5 heat points (react in the range of ~86°f to ~104°f) and ~23 cold points (react in the range of ~41°f to ~104°f) and in our lips ~14 heat points and ~120 cold points. Our temperature sensation is very subjective because the heat and cold receptors are genetically different from human to human in number and distribution on the body surface. Numerous other factors come into play, such as gender, body height or weight, age or physical fitness as example. Sweating cools our body as it is depriving energy by the evaporation process. The wind breaks up the thin insulating layer of air around our body, causing us to perceive temperatures as hotter or colder. Therefore, cooler or hotter air reaches our body to which we release energy or which adds energy to us. The more warm or cold air reaches our body, the faster we cool off or get heated. As a consequence, our sensitivity of cold or hot temperature increases with the wind speed. The same effect also occurs during swimming, having water instead of air. By the way, if you feel that for example a liquid is too hot or too cold, it’s not the temperature receptors, but our pain receptors that react to it. That means, we don’t really feel the temperature of an object we touch (or the air or what surrounds us otherwise). Because our heat and cold sensory cells don’t measure this temperature directly. They only measure how fast or/and how much something withdraws or adds energy to our body. For example, if we touch a block of steel and a block of wood with the same temperature, the steel seems to be colder. This is because it has a much better thermal conductivity. Furthermore, we especially register changes of temperature.

To show you an example: The tiles from the space shuttles had a horrible thermal conductivity, although they were glowing hot, they could have been touched without burnt fingers. On the other hand, carbon stuff, like diamonds or carbon nanotubes, has a very high thermal conductivity. But they are only rarely or not at all present in nature, although carbon occurs in many things and all living beings.

Another characteristic of matter is the thermal capacity. If you touch something for a long time, a matter with a high thermal capacity and a low thermal conductivity can extract much more energy from your body than something with a low thermal capacity and a high thermal conductivity. Normally we don’t feel this because our body generates heat faster than it is extracted.

Hydrogen has an enormous thermal capacity and it’s the most common chemical element in the universe, but not on earth’s surface. (I am talking of hydrogen in pure form, not of the hydrogen which builds the water molecule with oxygen)

Also Helium has a huge thermal capacity. It’s after Hydrogen, the most common chemical element in the universe, but on earth’s surface you rarely find it (again, I am not talking about Helium that occurs in natural gas or mineral oil).

So water has the highest thermal capacity of all common matter on earth’s surface. Being exposed for longer duration (depends on the mass of the object) water withdraws significantly more energy of our body (and we feel cold) than every other matter.

By the way, water has a good thermal conductivity too. Because air has a worse thermal conductivity, it’s easy for us to sit in a sauna with more than 200°f, but on the other hand, jumping in a pool with 200°f hot water is a pretty bad idea. That’s the reason why it seems to get hotter with a sauna infusion, although the temperature isn’t changing much. The sauna infusion increases the humidity which supplies more energy to our body and at the same time, our body can’t release excess energy due to the reduced evaporation process of sweating. The funny point is, because of the evaporation process, which deprives energy, it should get a little bit cooler. But on the other hand, the condensation process releases energy. So I don’t know how much the temperature is changing, but the increase is certainly not high. 

Now that we have a stone basin, we can assume that water accumulates there. So “your effort will be worth the cold” could mean, go into the stone basin.

Clue 9: brave and in the wood = Stone in the tall grass that grows in the basin

Now we can ask, what is a wood? Most people would say it’s a place where trees are growing next to each other. But it’s not fix that wood means a wood of trees. So imagine you are an ant, a maggot or a small spider. Then also a meadow could be a wood to you, a wood of grass. Of course, wood could also mean the matter, but that doesn’t count for my solution.

And what’s brave? Somebody who is brave always stands out or up against something. Somebody or something that excels. A stone could be meant that stands out or up against the wood of the tall grass in the stone basin.

And there is a stone in the north of the basin which would fit pretty well for this last clue. You can’t see it on Google Earth, you have to be on site. And when you are at the stone basin, you also can’t see it because it’s hidden in the tall grass, although it’s not a small stone. You have to go into the basin to see it, or at least go around to the north side where many bushes and small birches are growing. And then you have to go into the fen, being brave and in the wood to find the treasure chest which could be hidden around the stone.

In the Moby Dickens Book Shop video Forrest Fenn got the following question: 

Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?

First he answered “no it isn’t”. But after a short overthinking he said: “Did I really say that? … There is not a picture of the treasure chest on Google Earth. … Was that your question? … Because Google Earth doesn’t go down far enough.” (05)

He also wrote: “Rocking chair ideas can lead one to the first few clues, but a physical presence is needed to complete the solve. Google Earth cannot help with the last clue.” (06)

According to this, perhaps it is possible to solve most or even eight of the clues from home. Maybe also the last one, because he only said that Google Earth doesn’t help. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible to get an idea at home about the 9th clue. Only for completing the solution it’s necessary to be on site.

In fact, he only said, that Rocking chair ideas can lead one to the first few clues, but he also didn’t exclude this to the remaining clues, except the last one. For this one, physical presence is needed to complete the solution for sure.

In my solution you could also get an idea at home about the last clue. But to get certainty about it, it’s necessary to be on site because you can’t see the stone on Google Earth. On the other hand, maybe it simply means that Google Earth doesn’t help with the last clue and nothing else, who knows?

But also maybe following conversation supports this theory. The question: How much progress can be made by someone just thinking and searching the Internet from home? (Another way of saying this: How many clues can only be decoded in situ?) The answer: “All of them, in theory, but not likely in practice. A searcher must go to the site to find the treasure.” (07) Of course, for finding the chest, you have to be on site. I guess the treasure chest isn’t at home under the desk where your computer stands.”

By the way, the resolution of images is physically limited by the interference between the light waves emanating from the individual points. This factor always comes into play when the magnification factor approaches the maximum reasonable magnification, which is limited by the mirror or lens diameter. You can calculate the maximal resolution of a satellite image if you know the diameter of the mirror and the altitude of the orbit:

resolution = 1,22 * (~ 2,17 * 10 ^ -5 inch (visible light)) * distance / mirror diameter

So until today, a resolution with 0,5-1 feet is a high resolution satellite image. Those satellites have an orbit of over 370 miles. Only spy satellites have a better resolution of approximately 2 inch. But that’s only the theoretical specification. You will not reach that specification because of atmospheric disturbances which depends on the area and the weather. Every astronomer can tell you something about the seeing problem. Atmospheric disturbances are the reasons why professional telescopes are build in high altitude and dry areas. It’s possible to calculate those disturbances out by interferometry, but not arbitrarily.  And the diffraction of the mirror is also a problem (imagine a water wave which hits the surface of a parabolic mirror, when it is reflected, it has a different shape and direction). The value which is calculated with the formula is only valid for a 100% perfectly polished mirror in zero gravity, which is impossible.

And those spy satellites only reach this high resolution because they fly (or better fall) around the earth in a strong elliptical orbit. So they can come up to 100 miles close to earth’s surface. The satellites then move far away from the earth again, so that the deceleration in the high atmosphere layer is less significant. But those very high resolution satellite images are not available for public us anyway. In addition, Google doesn’t buy the best high-resolution satellite images for all areas of our planet because those are really expensive. Mostly they only buy the best available satellite images for populated areas. So considering this, every speculation about seeing the treasure chest on Google Earth/Maps is pointless. I mean, you can’t even see the stone of my last clue on Google Earth, and this one is much bigger than the treasure chest.

But what about the blaze?

The blaze is in my solution the Buffalo Creek, and I thought maybe Forrest has chosen the word blaze because it rhymes with gaze. And blaze fits quite well in this context because if you see the thrill of the chase as a path to the chest, and the nine clues as markings on this way, then the Buffalo Creek would be a blaze which points the way to the goal. This would also explain why this sentence is written in past. 

To the question: which direction the blaze faces (N, S, E or W) he answered: “I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions.” (08)

In my opinion an object that doesn’t face any cardinal direction should be flat on the ground. Also a rock doesn’t comply this requirement as long as it stands out of the ground. Because if it stands out, it faces at least one direction, or up to all 4 directions. 

The Buffalo Creek would fit this answer very well because it doesn’t face any cardinal direction. Of course every other creek, river or lake (and also every object that doesn’t stand out of the ground) would match. 

But someone asked: What Is Blaze? And he has answered: “Anything that stands out.” (09) 

In my opinion this doesn’t necessarily mean something that stands out physically, it’s more a metaphor for a marking. And in my opinion, a creek is a marking in the landscape, and the Buffalo creek as the 4th clue is a marking in the poem for sure. Every clue could be a marking and standing out, metaphorically speaking.

To the question, how far the chest is located from the blaze, he answered: “Casey, I did not take the measurement, but logic tells me that if you don’t know where the blaze is it really doesn’t matter. If you can find the blaze though, the answer to your question will be obvious. Does that help?” (10)

Of course, if you don’t have a point from where you can take the measurement, every question about a distance from there is pointless. But what about the second sentence? Why is the answer about the distance to the chest obvious if you find the blaze? Keep in mind that Forrest Fenn hasn’t said that the answer to the question has to be a precise distance. He only said that the answer will be obvious, and that includes a negative answer as well.

You could think, that it’s obvious, because the blaze is the last clue and so close to the chest, that the distance is insignificant. But let’s make a thought experiment: We are going to assume that Forrest Fenn is answering the questions as good as possible without divulge a hint. If he answers just at random as it comes to his mind, this won’t work!

So let’s say the blaze is the 9th clue, then why would he care about concealing the distance from there to the chest? If you have found the 9th clue, you are able to find the chest most likely, whether you know the distance or not. So if the exact distance from the 9th clue to the chest isn’t a hint at all, why doesn’t he at least estimate it approximately? One possibility, I guess, is because the blaze isn’t the last clue.

By the way, we know the approximate distance from the 9th clue to the chest anyway. Forrest Fenn has said that the poem leads within several steps to the treasure chest. (11)

But maybe the blaze isn’t even the 8th clue. Because if we assume that “look quickly down” is a clue for a direction and consider that the 9th clue is within several steps to the treasure chest, this simple direction specification without information of how far you have to go is too inaccurate to comply this requirement. To comply this requirement, the line that you can follow along the direction specification should end somewhere, for example at the ground, at a steep cliff or even at the chest. But in the last case, the solution leads precisely to the treasure and not within several steps. Also in this case, the knowledge about the distance from the blaze to the chest is no advantage at all, because if you follow the line until it ends, you will find the chest whether you know the exact distance or not. So he could have estimated at least the distance approximately.

And I guess that “look quickly down” is very likely a clue, because there, the poem tells very explicit to do something and so it brings you physically closer to the chest. If there would be no comma after the word down, it could maybe mean to end your quest quickly. But as we can see, there is a comma.

And in my opinion this conversation supports this assumption: Mr. Forest, I was just wondering. If I can find the blase, why should I worry about where warm waters halt? All I need to do is look “quickly down” like the poem says, and there is the treasure, right? ~ Philadelphia Franklin

The answer: “That’s correct Philly, but that’s not a plausible scenario. If you can find a fish already on your hook you needn’t go fishing, right? Don’t force those kinds of aberrational thoughts on yourself or you’ll likely walk back to your car with a very light back pack. f” (12)

By the way, this only tells us that if you look quickly down from the blaze, there is the treasure. But this doesn’t imply that you know already where the exact location is. This would also fit for my solution. If you look quickly down from my blaze, there is my final spot and so the treasure. Nevertheless, you still have to solve the remaining four clues to get confident about where it is exactly. 

In my opinion, the last clue is something more specific than a simple direction specification. And the blaze is neither the 9th clue nor the 8th clue, maybe the 7th clue. According to my solution, I favor the 4th clue as the blaze. Of course “look quickly down” could also mean something else that doesn’t come to my mind right now. But that wouldn’t change the fact, that the blaze most likely isn’t the last clue.

In this case the answer is indeed obvious. Because there are still one or some more clues to solve, a specific distance would be a too big hint. If he would have just said, that it’s far, you would know immediately that the blaze can’t be the last clue and maybe also not the penultimate clue. And maybe Forrest Fenn didn’t want to reveal that.

There is also another possibility why he hasn’t answered this question. If the blaze is huge, in proportion to the distance to the chest, an exact distance specification is difficult because from where do you take the measurement? From the midpoint of the blaze or from the point which is closest to the chest? 

How far away is New York City from the ocean? Now you could say 0 miles because it is located directly on the ocean. But is this really true for whole New York City? A preferably precise indication that fits best for all points of the city, should start from the midpoint of New York to get an average distance to the ocean, as precise as possible. 

If you have a circle, this point is easy to find, but that does not apply to New York. And by the way, that’s still only the average distance for whole New York City.

And from where do you take the measurement if the blaze is an object like a river? From the spring, from the middle, from the mouth of the river or from the closest point? But the closest point represents maybe not the whole river. So if you look precisely, this seemingly simple question is more difficult to answer, as it looks like. It’s easy to make a serious statement about a distance, from one object to another, if the distance between these two objects is in proportion to the size of the objects huge. Because then each object looks like a single point. But as the distance decreases, the more difficult it becomes. Especially, when the distance is shorter than the size of minimum one of these two objects. In this case, a serious answer should contain besides the distance, the two exact points between which it extends. For example, from the mouth of the creek it’s ~1,3 miles to the chest.

And also in this case the answer is obvious. The question about the distance is pointless, because on one hand there are so many points from where he could have taken the measurement and on the other hand, the searcher doesn’t know from which point he should take the measurement. Of course, he could have said just any distance which would fit, but in my opinion that’s not a serious answer.

In my solution the blaze would fit both, it’s huge in proportion to the distance to the chest and it’s just the 4th clue. But by the way, this is just an example. I don’t want to claim that I have found the right blaze!

Nevertheless, Forrest Fenn made several comments which one could easily conclude that the blaze is the last clue.

For example, to the question: Has anyone determined the nine clues and what they represent? He answered: “Well there’s about 250.000 people that think they have. I don’t know that anybody has told me the clues in the right order. I think part of the problem is, they don’t, they don’t focus on the first clue. If you don’t know where the first clue is, you might as well stay home because you’re not going to find the treasure chest. You can’t go out looking for the blaze and expect to find the treasure chest. There’s 10 billion blazes out there. So you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze.” (13)

Or this quote: “The clues will lead you to the treasure and whether it’s buried or not, you can find it if you can find the blaze as a result of starting with the first clue.” (14)

Because of the 10 billion blazes comment, I guess the blaze is simply a marking and because you can use everything as a marking, there are countless blazes out there. In my opinion, every clue is a marking in the poem. Which, if you can determine them, will lead you to the chest. But there I assume we are talking about the blaze which is literally mentioned in the poem. The conclusion that this blaze is the last clue, is not what it looks like at the first glance. If we look precisely, in the first example he only says that you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze. Of course, because this is one of the nine clues. That also applies to the second example. But below the bottom line, he never said that this is the last clue and there are no other clues left after this blaze. This is just our own interpretation.

Another quote: “While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try, and I am certain it’s still there.” (15)

So theoretically you could remove my blaze by renaming the creek or building a dam for example, but this isn’t feasible to try.

About the blaze I found also this question: Is the Blaze one single object? ~ Scout Around 

The answer of Forrest Fenn: “In a word – Yes” (01)

So why did he say “In a word – Yes”? He could have simply said yes or no. Because maybe it’s not so easy to answer. For example, how do you answer this question if the blaze is a gravel chute on a mountain? If you look at the whole gravel chute it’s indeed one single object, but on the other hand with all those single stones, it’s not. And without those stones, it’s no gravel chute at all.

In my opinion, this would also support “my” blaze. The whole creek is one single object, but if you look precisely, what is a creek?  We can say, a creek is a groove in earth’s surface where mainly water and gravel flow or move through and it’s smaller than a river. I would say, gravel is no single object, but what about water? In my opinion it’s not. Water is part of the creek for a short time and on its way to the sea it’s part of different creeks and rivers or even lakes. And what if a creek dries out during a hot and dry summer? It’s still called a creek even though the water is gone. And all the stones and gravel are also gone, sooner or later, and new ones come. So in my opinion, a creek or river is indeed one single object, but if you look precisely, it’s made of many single parts. Strictly speaking, this applies to everything anyway. But I don’t know if below a certain size of an object, the formulation “single object“ is still appropriate?

To the keyword, I have to say that I didn’t even know there is one until I finished my solution. After finishing, I checked facts Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase and how this fits with my solution, and so I stumbled over the quote with the keyword.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.” (16)

It came to my mind that it could be imagination. So, “in a tight focus with a word that is key” means maybe not that you have to find a word that will unlock the poem. But if this “keyword” would be imagination, maybe you can solve it. So, if you are in tight focus with imagination, maybe you can solve the poem. Now for my solution I guess, some imagination is of advantage.

Maybe this quote supports my assumption: “I wrote this someplace a few years ago and maybe you’ll think it’s worth remembering, Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. f” (17) I guess there he means a key to write books, but at least we can see here that for him, imagination is a key.

Forrest Fenn also said: “Contentment is the key word. If you can go through this life being contented, then there’s nothing better than that.” (18) 

Now we could ask from where comes contentment? In my opinion, imagination is very important to be really contented and also knowledge is of advantage. At least for humans, but I don’t know if other living beings can be uncontended too. 

I have read once, that you can’t be contented, if you have a big knowledge about all those shitty things happening on our planet. But I guess that’s not true, maybe even it is exactly reversed. You have to put the knowledge of those awful things somewhere in your life-backpack, where you don’t see it the whole time, otherwise you make your last knot in a rope for sure, sooner or later. If you look at those things from time to time, and you have some imagination, you get really content because you realize how big the jackpot is, you have won in the big lottery. And that applies probably to everybody who will read this. However, this great contentment with your own life doesn’t mean you have to put up with these terrible situations on earth. Everybody can, at least, attempt to improve these situations. And if you think this is pointless because your attempts would be just a drop in the ocean, consider, that also a huge thunderstorm can’t extinguish a forest fire if every small, single water drop would think, due to its little impact, falling is pointless and not worth anyway. 

Also if you imagine, the unimaginable fascinating surrounding universe, and that you are just an almost insignificant but yet important living being in the middle of all this (unimaginably tiny and at the same time unimaginably huge in space and time) all unnecessary concerns and wishes disintegrate, and only a limitless contentment will remain. But of course, every word is a keyword as long as there is a lock which fits and I don’t claim that imagination is the keyword Forrest Fenn is talking about, that’s just an idea on the edge.

Forrest Fenn quote about the big picture: “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.” (02)

Maybe the big picture is the space-time? It is the biggest picture I can imagine, it’s absolute and there are no shortcuts for sure. And if it is the space-time, it would be a big hint to my second clue. In my opinion following quotes supports my assumption:

1: “Nature frequently takes away, and in doing so she always looks at the big picture. Five-hundred years from now no one will remember the fires. But I’ll still be thinking about that great little Viveash cabin that disappeared.” (19)

2: “I’m looking at somebody could find it tomorrow and it may not be found for a thousand years. I’m looking at the big picture. A lot of people who are searching for the treasure don’t see it the same way I do. I would love if somebody found it tomorrow, but if nobody found it for a hundred years, that’s okay with me too.” (20)

I don’t know if Forrest Fenn has thought about preventing to find the chest with a metal detector before all clues are solved. But if I would hide a chest, I would keep this possibility in mind and try to make this as difficult as possible. So how could you prevent this? Could you hide it somewhere where digging and the use of metal detectors is illegal, for example in the Yellowstone NP?  I mean of course you could count on that, but I don’t think that all people comply with these prohibitions.

So in my opinion there are three possibilities to make this as unlikely as possible:

1: The second closest clue to the chest is so far away from the last clue, that it’s very unlikely that someone could manage to search the whole area up to the chest.

2: The chest is so deeply buried that no metal detector can find it. But because there are metal detectors existing which can find a metal object the size of the chest in more than 4 feet depth, it should be buried very deep.

Ten years ago, the detection depth was certainly even lower, but that this will change, was of course predictable.

3: If the chest isn’t buried deep and the 9th clue is relatively close to a previous clue(s), at least the 9th clue should be easy to misinterpreted and the chest should be in an area where you are not going just for fun, for example a swampy fen. If only the first requirement is complied, you can find it if you have time to search, and if only the second requirement is complied, it’s more likely that the person goes into the “not funny area” because he/she has no idea where to search. But if the person thinks that for example “the wood” refers to something like a forest or the matter wood, which is around a fen, probably he/she will not step into the swamp because he/she is focused on the wood around.

And I guess when Forrest Fenn hid the treasure chest, he probably didn’t assume that he would say once that the treasure chest is wet. (21) I mean you can’t avoid it for sure, but at least you could lower the possibility of finding the chest with a metal detector before all clues are solved. 

Concerning the mildew problem, Forrest Fenn’s quote: “You will find no mildew in the treasure chest.” (22)

Mildew grows best between 68° and 77° Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, it can also grow from 32-140° Fahrenheit, on food even until 14°f. It depends on the species of the mildew. Due to condensation moisture in countryside, the humidity of the air might only reach a constant value (for a long time range) in places like the Sahara where it doesn`t come to mildew growing. Also in the Antarctica, but there it’s too cold anyway. And we know also that the chest was not sealed airtight under protective atmosphere because he made two hikes when hiding the chest, one with the chest and one with the contents. (23) So I assume that he filled and closed the chest at the hiding spot. 

But we have a bronze chest, and bronze contains at least 60% copper. Copper has a germicidal effect, which makes a microbial growth difficult or even impossible. Nevertheless, there exists also a copper-tolerant, wood-destroying mildew. And as you can see on pictures from the chest, it’s lined with wood. If we wouldn’t have a picture, we would also know that the chest isn’t a full made bronze chest, because if it would be, it would weigh at least 42Ibs for itself. And we know that the full chest weights only approximately 42Ibs. (24)

Therefore I assume, that there is only one possibility why no mildew grows in the chest: it is no oxygen inside. And that’s only possible, if inside the chest is a vacuum, it’s full of gas like nitrogen or it’s full of water. It could theoretically also be filled with other liquids, gases or even matter that replace the oxygen, but in my opinion only the “full of water” theory is rather probable. 

We know the chest is wet, but not under water. (21/25) If you bury (or better sink) a chest in a fen, soon it will fill up with water for sure, provided it’s not sealed waterproof. But if it is sealed, you have the mildew growing problem again, unless you have sealed it in a protective atmosphere. In a rain fen there is almost no water exchange, so there is less oxygen in the water then in a lake or of course in a river. This, and the acidic environment support the preservation of wood, inter alia.

By the way, a big part of Venice is built on wooden piles. Those had outlasted unscathed for centuries. But since large cruise ships approach Venice which produces big waves, oxygen reaches the wooden piles and they start to rot. Because of this and some other troubles, maybe the big ships have to detour the old town of Venice, in near future.

One point about this “full of water“ theory seems questionable at the first glance.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “If you know precisely where it is you can probably retrieve it in any weather.” (26)

So how can that be, if everything is bone hard frozen? First we should keep in mind, that he hasn’t said it can be done for sure, he has said “probably“. But the word “probably“ for itself is not evident. He never specified, how likely you can retrieve it. If we hear a phrase in which the word “probably“ occurs, we imply it is highly probable, but that´s not for sure.

Normally, in wintertime, if you have enough snow, the ground isn’t frozen bone hard because the snow has a good thermal insulating effect.  And if it’s frozen, because the snow came much later than the first frost, the whole ground is most likely not frozen through. Only the top layer is frozen, how deep, depends on when the first snow comes, on the moisture of the soil and of course on the temperature. Only in the worst case this can be more than three feet.

By the way, the gravediggers from the past as well as from today, are creating a covered ember bed over the frozen ground. Some hours later, the well-heated soil can easily be dug out. Of course, they could use a jackhammer to. But normally they try to avoid loud noise at this quiet place, at least in the place where I live. And although often an excavator is used today, many graves are still duged with shovels, spades and pickaxes.

And keep in mind, that he has never said that it can be retrieved in any weather for sure, he has said “probably“ and he also did not announce that this can be done in any season, only in any weather. And further did he not mention that this would be easy. 

In my opinion it shouldn’t be deep in the soft mud anyway. I guess, it should be possible to retrieve the chest with your hands, and digging inside the Yellowstone NP is illegal anyway. I don’t think that you have to do something illegal.

Now we know from Forrest Fenn that searchers have been within 500 feet and even 200 feet of the treasure. (27)

Interview excerpt; Forrest Fenn: “People have been within 200 feet. And I know that because they send me emails and they tell me exactly where they are. The people that have been at 200 feet from the treasure didn’t know that they were there. Laura Thoren: They weren’t searching. Forrest Fenn: They were searching for the treasure but they didn’t know that they were within 200 feet”. (20) Monday, 27 April 2015

Another quote: “There have been some who have been within 500 feet because they have told me where they have been. Others have figured the first two clues and went right past the treasure and didn’t know it.” (28) Friday, 8 March 2013

Also this quote: “I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure puttputt, but there is no indication that they knew it. No one has given me the correct solve past the first two clues. f” (29) Tuesday, 30 December 2014

So we know that people have been within 500ft of the treasure and no one has given him the correct solve past the first two clues until 2013. If we consider, that since then the number of searchers has increased massively and that the number of people which have solved the first two clues and those which have been within 500ft is equivalent to this, we should wonder why nobody has made it to the treasure chest yet, or at least much closer than 200ft. Especially if we consider that the clues get progressively easier after the first one. (30) And it’s possible to find this spot even without knowing the poem because Forrest Fenn has found this place once too. Is there maybe something that distracts the seekers from the right location? Later Forrest Fenn also mentioned that searchers maybe have solved the first four clues, but he isn’t certain about that. (31) But now my 4th clue is just the Buffalo creek, and that’s at least 1,3 miles away from my final location. And worse, my second clue is the night and that’s not more helpful than the knowledge that the chest is somewhere hidden in the Rocky Mountains.

We should consider that he has never said that those persons who have been so close, came there because they have solved all the clues that lead you so close to the chest. Not even that those persons have at least solved one clue correctly, only that they have been that close to the chest. So how can that be? One possibility that works with my solution would be as follows: 

The summit above the lake is called Bison peak and I bet some people have interpreted this as the home of Brown and have searched already there. But they are unable to solve the remaining clues or finding the chest because they are looking probably for “no place for the meek”, the blaze, searching in the woods or because they know that the chest is wet, they search around the beautiful lake. (21)

From my last clue it’s ~500 feet to the lake and ~200 feet to the next wood of pine trees. So if those people have searched around the lake or in the small woods all around, they would have been within 500ft and even within 200ft without knowing that the treasure is so close and if they write Forrest Fenn about this or send him pictures, he would know the approximate distance to the treasure.

Now you could ask, if they know that the chest is wet, why they don’t search in the fen too? Have you made the though experiment at the beginning? Honestly, where would you have searched for the treasure? 

You can also ask a person who knows nothing about my solution where he/she would search for the treasure considering that the home of Brown is the Bison peak and the chest beeing wet. I can tell you that probably they don’t see the fen on the satellite image because they are too much focused on the lake. You probably only see it if you search for it and the funny thing is if you have found it, it catches the eye whenever you look at the satellite image. When on site, it’s even more difficult to stumble over the fen, especially if you are focused on the lake again, or the woods of spruce or pine trees all around.

The easiest route you can take from the street to the lake doesn’t lead past the fen, you have to make a small detour and there are many dense bushes and small birches close to it. So if you don’t search for it, it’s unlikely to stumble over it. The funny thing is, that a person who knows nothing about the poem has a higher possibility to stumble over the fen because he/she isn’t focused on hints to look for and so he/she is free to just hike around.

Still, there is a possibility that a searcher stumbles over the fen. But it doesn’t look like anything that you would expect as a great hiding place and certainly not as the last resting spot of Forrest Fenn. So I guess the chance that someone searches in the fen even if he knows that the chest is wet is pretty small. And if so, it’s a huge project to search the whole fen. I know this from our own experience and I guess that’s funny, I mean not because of searching in the swamp but because of finding nothing anyway. 

Maybe this quote supports a place like this: “People will be surprised when they find out where it is. (32) And maybe also this conversation: Dear Forrest, You say there was only ever one place you wanted to hide your treasure chest because of how special the spot was to you. When a searcher arrives to this location, will they understand why it was so special to you? And did you include that reason in your autobiography in the chest? ~jenny Forrest Fenn’s answer: Jenny, maybe they will, but probably not. Their mind may be on other things. It was in my autobiography until I removed it for personal reasons. f” (33)

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the whole place around this lake is very beautiful and to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never specified how big his special place is. So theoretically the whole place up there could be special to him and so he could have hidden the treasure chest in a spot at this place where he thought it would work best. But beauty is relative anyway, and exists only in our head. Of course, you never know how close you really are until you find the chest, but this theory could generally explain this problem for the correct final location.

Maybe those people being near the chest, could have been hikers with no idea of the thrill of the chase at all. But then, there should be something like a trail at least 200ft away from the chest, so that it’s likely that human beings were so close. 

But he said very explicit that searchers have been there, and we also know that Forrest Fenn has said that there is no human trail in very close proximity to the chest. (34) Of course “in very close proximity to the chest” is relative, but I guess 200ft is a bit too close to comply this requirement. Maybe 500ft comply this requirement, but not in my opinion.

I also found a video, made by Julius Brighton where Forrest Fenn says: “There have been a few people within 500 feet. I think there have been people within a couple hundred feet. They figure the first two clues, but they don’t get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest.” (35). We could assume, that people which were within 500ft respectively 200ft, have solved the first two clues correctly for sure. But I am not sure how much this quote is worth because maybe it isn’t what it looks like at the first glance. Between the first two sentences there is no break and so he probably said this successively. But after the second sentence, there is a break and so maybe a video cut. Due to this uncertainty, we can’t be sure that Forrest Fenn has said all three sentences really successively. I assume, that Julius Brighton asked him many questions, maybe he misinterpreted some stuff Forrest Fenn has said and has cut it together like we hear it now. This would make sense because to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never made a connection otherwise, between the 500ft respectively 200ft searchers and the people which had mentioned to him the first two clues correctly. And he made many comments about those. I asked Julius Brighton if there is a video cut and got following answer: Hi Christian, This was a long time ago and I didn’t do the edit. I’m sorry to say I can’t help you. Julius Brighton So who knows?

Forrest Fenn also wrote: “Several months ago some folks correctly mentioned the first two clues to me in an email and then they went right past the other seven, not knowing that they had been so close.” (36) Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In my opinion, those people weren’t physically close to the chest, because he doesn’t really say that those people went out for a search, he only said, that those people went right past the other seven clues. But this can also be easily a metaphor for not finding the remaining clues. He also doesn’t specify what they had been close to, so he simply could have meant “close to the third clue”. But if we consider that he has answered to the question of who is Brown: “Well, that’s for you to find, if I told you that you’d go right to the chest.” (37) and assume that this is the third clue and that they get progressively easier after the first one, he could also have meant that those people were close to solve the poem. (30) I assume, also there Forrest Fenn doesn’t talk about the same people who were within 500ft and 200ft to the chest. But all this is just my opinion.

The total quote where Forrest Fenn denied a human trail in very close proximity to the chest is this: “Generally speaking, there are places where one should stay on established trails; Yellowstone is one. However, it reminds me of the worn-out axiom, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” When I am in the mountains or in the desert, the last place I want to be is on a trail. Ain’t no adventure in that for me. There isn’t a human trail in very close proximaty to where I hid the treasure. f” (34)

The conclusion is possible, that Forrest Fenn has excluded the Yellowstone NP from the search area. But we can ask why we should stay in Yellowstone NP on established trails? Is it because of bears or other dangers? But there are dangers everywhere, so you should probably stay on established trails everywhere else. By the way, this doesn’t really protect you from bears or other dangers. So, unless you have no wilderness experience and the danger of getting lost is considerable, off trail hiking isn’t more dangerous than staying on established trails.

But Yellowstone has millions of visitors each year and many of those have no wilderness experience at all. So the Park Rangers will tell you to stay on established trails and although off trail hiking isn’t prohibited there, they don’t see it with pleasure. And due to those crowds, this also makes sense for protecting the nature, of course.

But in fact, Forrest Fenn has only said that the Yellowstone NP is a place where you should stay on established trails, not that you have to, nor did he exclude this area. We should also consider that he has hidden his treasure chest off trail, so he had to justify himself to the questioner. If we consider this, the fact, that he mentioned the Yellowstone NP could as well as be a hint. Because maybe he means, if you stay on established trails in the Yellowstone NP, you will never find the chest. And because of following conversation we can assume that Forrest Fenn often hiked off trail in the Yellowstone National Park: What was your favorite Hike/Trail Yellowstone.? Forrest Fenn: “Trails are not favorites of mine. I always hiked off trails. Why go where everyone else had gone. The rangers didn’t like that, but I did and I was the one doing it. Do you see my logic?” (09)

But for my solution this is inconsequential anyway. The poem leads me from nowhere into the Yellowstone NP. And if the treasure isn’t hidden in Yellowstone, the majority of my solution is wrong anyway.

The quote where Forrest Fenn mentioned that maybe the first four clues have been solved is this: “Searchers have come within about 200 feet. Some may have solved the first four clues, but I am not certain.” (31)

This could fit with my solution, if some have emailed Forrest Fenn that they assume that the meek could be the buffaloes, but didn’t make the connection to the buffalo creek. But if you assume, that the meek may be the buffaloes, the idea is close, to search for a creek which is referring to those. This could be the reason why Forrest Fenn has said some may have solved the first four clues, because he knows that some assume that the meek are the buffaloes, but Forrest Fenn isn’t certain if they have made the connection to the buffalo creek yet and have found it. However, this would also work with other meek and a creek referring to it.

In a video Forrest Fenn said: “If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains, I’d see animals. I’d smell wonderful smells of pine needles, or pinyon nuts, sagebrush and I know the treasure chest is wet.”

“Well you’ve asked me a lot of questions and some of them, most of them I answered, a few I haven’t, but I’ve got to tell you there’s one thing I told you I wish I had not.” (21)

Now you could assume that the thing he wishes he hasn’t said is about the scent of pinyon nuts or the treasure chest being wet.

In my solution the chest is in a fen, so the chest is wet, nevertheless it isn´t under water. (25) Only in the middle of the fen the water is over the dirt. Although the water level might depend on the season and of course the weather. I proclaim, that the water level changes during the year. And because the fen is in the basin which is only the 7th clue, he could regret that he said the chest is wet, because it’s obvious to search in the fen if you have no idea about the remaining clues and you know this. However, in fact, the chest could be also wet simply because of condensation, how knows?

By the way, nobody knows if this statement refers to anything he has said in this video. It could also refer to something he has said in the rest of the interview with the producers, which was cut out.

Later he wrote that he wanted to say he smelled pine needles instead of smelling pinyon nuts. (38) But he didn’t write that there are no pinyon trees around the location of the chest. That does not necessarily mean anything. Maybe it was just an incorrect slip of the tongue, but who knows? Anyway, in my final location there are growing many sage bushes and pine trees, but no pinyon trees. You can see mountains and there are many buffaloes and deers around.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “The clues did not exist when I was a kid but most of the places the clues refer to did. I think they might still exist in 100 years but the geography probably will change before we reach the next millennia.” (39)

Of course, the 9 clues did not exist when he was a child because they only exist from the moment when he created them. But most of the places the clues refer to, did. In my solution, there is one place that didn’t exist when he was a kid, it’s “Big Sky” in Montana. I don’t know when this name occurred the first time, but to my knowledge, it was probably not before 1950. I guess, it got its name according to the Big Sky resort, which was opened in December 1973. Also the nickname of Montana “Big Sky Country” originated 1962. So if there is no place called Big Sky, there is also no “place below” there.

Another conversation with Forrest Fenn. 

The question: Forrest, You said you made two trips from your car to hide the treasure. Besides walking, did you use any other methods of transportation to get back and forth between the car and the hide? Thanks, Edgar 

The answer: “Edgar, your wording of the question prompts me to pause and wonder if I can answer it candidly, yet correctly. Were all the evidence truly known, and I answered in the positive, you might say I was prevaricating, by some definitions of the word. And if I answered in the negative, you may claim that I was quibbling. So I will stay quiet on that subject. Thanks for the question anyway. f” (40)

In my opinion this could mean that besides walking, he had also to wade, or something else which is quite similar to walking. If the chest is in a fen, that would fit too. If he doesn’t mean wading, nevertheless it should be very similar to walking. Because otherwise, it wouldn’t be on the one hand prevaricating, and on the other hand quibbling.

Another quote: “The chest is exposed to rain and snow, and could be scorched in a forest fire.” (41)

Now you could assume that the chest is above ground, but this quote isn’t from Forrest Fenn himself. 

The Columnist Tony Doukopil wrote this after an interview with Forrest Fenn. But since I know that people often misinterpret things Forrest Fenn has said, I am not sure how much this quote is worth. I would be more interested in the exact sentence Forrest Fenn has said. 

If this sentence in the article is built on a quote from Forrest Fenn like this: “I am guessing the clues will stand for centuries. That was one of my basic premises, but the treasure chest will fall victim to geological phenomena just like everything else. Who can predict earthquakes, floods, mudslides, fires, tornadoes and other factors?” (42) Then it’s worthless, because there he only says that especially on a longer time range, nobody can predict natural disasters. Afterwards, he listed a few examples, but making a conclusion of this basis, (of the place where the chest might be) is very questionable, 

in my opinion.

The only thing he has said, in fact is, that it’s difficult or even impossible to predict natural disasters. If this quote from Tony Doukopil is correct, I really don’t know how to solve the mildew problem. By the way, I also guess that all the clues in my solution will stand for centuries.

This quote is from Forrest Fenn for sure:” I would advise new searchers to look for the clues in my poem and try to marry them to a place on a map.” (43)

The first map that comes to our mind is probably a topographical map or a street map. But as “a map” could also be meant everything that’s like an illustration. There are many kinds of maps existing and astronomers use star maps for orientation in the big sky. And I could drew a treasure map from my solution as well. Most difficult would be the time, but a clock or sand glass would visualize that pretty well. But I know this part is a bit fishy. Nevertheless, in my opinion “not far but too far to walk” is most suitable for a distance in the time.

I have read, that in the book “Chasing Fenn’s Treasure” of Cynthia Meachum is following quote: “When I discussed the CCC cabin as being the home of Brown, he immediately said, ‘don’t you remember, I said it can’t be associated with any structure.’” (44)

According to this we could assume that none of the clues is associated with any structure. Or/And because we know that, the chest is also not associated with any structure, we could assume that the chest is at the home of Brown. (27) But in my opinion, the first assumption is more likely. I guess, that none of the clues is associated with any human structure anyway, because it would be to uncertain to stand for centuries. (42) 

This would fit my solution too. None of my clues is associated with a human structure, only with names human beings have given them.

The funny thing is, that to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never clarified, that he means a human structure in this response. So if we assume that his quotes are to 100% correct, he hid no treasure chest at all because if the chest isn’t associated with any structure, this includes chemical structures as well and without those, every question about a location is pointless anyway. Luckily, we know that Forrest Fenn reserves the right to be wrong once in a while. (45)

And another quote: “I have not said that a searcher was closer than 12’ from the treasure. It is not likely that anyone would get that close and not find it.” (45)

This could mean that you can see the chest if you are as close as 12 feet. But it could also mean that the person who comes that close, is pretty certain about what he has to look for (maybe it is visible from this distance) to find the chest. It could be visually hidden, though. The stone in the tall grass would fit pretty well for this theory, because it’s only visible if you are so close.

But it could also mean, that it is hidden in a terrain, where probably nobody goes to voluntarily. Only if somebody knows where the chest approximately is, he/she enters this terrain so he/she comes that close. That would in turn support a fen. I mean except children, there are only a very few human beings living on this planet which are stepping in a swampy area, just for fun.

By the way, I am pretty certain, that the chest is, for all that, visually hidden. I often walked off trail in very remote places, and yet found traces everywhere, that indicate the presence of other human beings. 

Forrest Fenn has also found the place where the chest is hidden once. So there is a possibility to find this place, despite not knowing the poem. If we consider, that today much much more people are hiking and doing outdoor stuff than a couple of decades ago, it could also be more likely that someone finds this place. I guess, it’s only a question of time until somebody would stumble over the chest if it’s not visually hidden.

In Moby Dickens Book Shop video, Forrest Fenn said “that I buried the tre… ah that I hide the treasure” (46) Maybe this was just an incorrect slip of the tongue again, but who knows?

To the question: Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R

He answered:” No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.” (02)

If you look at the satellite image of my final location and you have a comprehensive knowledge of geography, you will know, that this formation is very likely a stone basin. Knowing this, you can assume that water accumulates there. Concluding, that inside the basin is probably a fen, and in such a fen grows a tall grass. So for the last clues of my solution a comprehensive knowledge of geography helps for sure. But also for the other clues it is not of disadvantage.

Another conversation with Forrest Fenn; the question: Dear Forrest, What’s more important in solving the search, a greater knowledge (“knowlege”) of Toponymy or Geography?  ~Chris the answer: “I don’t know how Toponymy can help you at all Chris (I had to look that word up). But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure. f”  (39)

So what exactly is a geographic location? Geo means earth and graphy means describe. Therefore, it’s the description of our earth and this includes the atmosphere as well. And a location doesn’t necessarily have to be a point on earth’s surface.

In my opinion, every “clue location” of my solution is a geographic location, even the night is “earthly”. You could ask, where the geographic location of the night should be. The answer is simple, it’s were no sunlight reaches earth’s surface, and without a surface, any question about night is pointless, anyway. I mean there is no night in outer space. Of course, our moon or other planets and moons have nights too, but that’s not a GEOgraphic location anymore.

Quote of Forrest Fenn: “Not on a mountain top, maybe close “(15)

That’s a funny quote. In fact, this just tells us for sure, that it’s not on a mountain top. “Maybe close” fits for every point between the valley bottom and the mountain top because “close” is a description which is relative. He has also said “maybe”, means, that this is not for sure. If you look precisely, it could also be down in a valley bottom. Apart from these hair fissures, this quote fits perfectly well for my final spot. My final location is not in the valley bottom and there is a mountain top close by. But how close a mountain top has to be, to be close?

We also know the following things:

1: “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search.” (15)

2: “Excellent research materials are TTOTC, Google Earth, and/or a good map. f” (47)

3: A question: Is any specialized knowledge required to find the treasure? For instance, something learned during your time in the military, or from a lifetime of fly fishing? Or do you really expect any ordinary average person without your background to be able to correctly interpret the clues in the poem? ~mdavis19 The answer: “No specialized knowledge is required mdavis19, and I have no expectations. My Thrill of the Chase book is enough to lead an average person to the treasure. f” (34)

For my solution, you just need the poem and Google Earth and/or a good map. In my opinion, no special knowledge is needed for my solution, only general knowledge, and it’s not really difficult to figure out. Most people know:

that warm waters halt up in the sky, 

that there is only one direction in time and every distance “in time” is too far to walk, 

that in the night you can see the stars, which form constellations, 

that buffaloes are meek, and so the idea is close to search for a Buffalo Creek, 

that look quickly down could mean south and/or bird’s-eye view, 

that tar is a slow moving substance, that a lake can look like an eye that looks “with marvel gaze” into the world and that the geological movement is extremely slow,

that “for listening good”, you need both ears (which are mirrored), 

that water outdoors usually feels cold,

that a meadow is, to a small insect, like a wood and that something brave stands out. 

Of course, comprehensive knowledge of geography and some imagination might help.

Forrest Fenn said, that the clues get progressively easier after solving the first clue. (30) We can’t say this in general, because everybody interprets things differently. But for me, my solution complies this requirement.

I have never been a full time searcher and in the beginning, I thought that this is more a promotion for selling books or the begging for attention of a millionaire and setting a memorial for himself beyond his death. Maybe also some kind of spiritual exploration, but I didn’t think that there is really a chest hidden somewhere. I was also pretty sure, that in case it isn’t a hoax, I’m not smart enough to solve this riddle anyway. The funny thing is, that at least in this point I had a good nose. But because of my curiosity and the fact, that I always have plenty of time to dwell on my thoughts, I started brooding about this poem, from time to time. Although I had the first three clues in my mind from the start, funnily enough it took me a while to make the connection between them. But still, I thought that “put in below the home of Brown” would refer to the birth on earth or something like that.

I bought the book “The Thrill of the Chase” too, also because I was going to Alaska for some months and I wanted to buy some English books for refreshing this language, anyway. Except of learning some new words, it didn’t bring me further, but I must say, that I really enjoyed reading it. I only discovered some parts that made me suspicious because of it being only partially right or being totally wrong. I also found some mighty proves for my first three clues, there: For example, Eric Sloane, Albert Einstein and many allusions to stars. But I know very well that this is not significant. In case of having a result, it’s always easy to find some parameters that support this. So I guess, it doesn’t make sense to refer to this here further, also because this article has already become too long anyway. Well that`s funny, because I know at this point that it will get much longer because there are still so many thoughts in my head. 

After reading the book, I skipped thinking about the poem for a long time. Then I had a surgery on my leg and I ended up for five weeks just sitting around and reading. But soon, I had read many books twice as well as “The Thrill of the Chase”, and this brought the poem back to my mind. I thought maybe there is a place in the Rocky Mountains where big sky occurs in its name, like for example big sky mountain or big sky lake. Because I had nothing better to do anyway, I switched on my computer and googled for “big sky Rocky Mountains”, and from this point, I was back in the game again. The rest of my solution I figured out in two steps, each took me a couple of days. So I can say, at least for me, my solution got progressively easier after connecting the first three clues. The most difficult part was getting over the obstacle of searching for big sky in the Rockies. Afterwards, I have spent most time for checking facts Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase and how this fits my solution. To the question of who is Brown Forrest Fenn answered: “Well, that’s for you to find, if I told you that you’d go right to the chest.” (37) 

Now I can’t speak for everybody, but at least for me, this statement matches with my solution if there would have been a chest at the end. It could theoretically also mean that the chest is at the home of Brown, but in my opinion, this is unlikely because in this case, what would be the point of the remaining clues? By the way, this quote fits the one at the beginning of this section well.

But other people maybe won`t share my opinion, as well as I won`t share theirs. And this is what makes our world inter alia more colorful too, I guess.

I thought, if I would make a treasure hunt, I would construct the riddle like a hopper. At least the first clue should be easy to find. This doesn’t imply that it’s easy to solve nor that you will be confident about it. But if you have solved it, it should be easy to find, even if you are still not confident about the accuracy. Then this would be a good starting point from where you can solve the remaining clues in sequence. 

Forrest Fenn wrote once: “Several months ago some folks correctly mentioned the first two clues to me in an email and then they went right past the other seven, not knowing that they had been so close.” (36) This comment is from Wednesday, 26 September 2012. 

If we consider, that the number of searchers has increased massively since then, and that the number of people which have found the first two clues is equivalent to this, we can conclude that many people have found the first two clues until today, not knowing that they had been so close. And we know that many people have figured out at least the first clue until today because Forrest Fenn wrote: many people have found the first clue but they didn’t know it. (31) In my opinion, this supports my assumption that the first clue isn’t difficult to find.

To prevent anyone from skipping a clue, every clue should be built on the previous one. So it would only be solvable if you have figured out the first clue. Maybe the “nail it down” quote refers to this, who knows? (01)

Also maybe this quote of Forrest Fenn supports my assumption: “Your destination is small, but its location is huge.” (48) 

Referring to my first three clues, its location is huge, at least on earthly scale, and especially the first one is easy to find, at least in my opinion. Even if you really can be certain about the clues after you have found the treasure chest. (31) That`s funny, not because of only becoming certainty when you have found the treasure chest, but because of my not negligible uncertainty that I have yet by finding nothing. 

Of course this quote might also fit for other “easy to find solutions” of the first clue. But in my opinion, the first clue isn’t something like a tiny single hot spring somewhere hidden in the Rocky Mountains (you would have to have lots of luck finding it – it could only work if the solution of the first clue is the name of this hot spring and therefore easy to find). So I guess, it’s not the luck or coincidence that brings you to the chest. Maybe those three quotes support my assumption:

1: “And at the end, the one who finds the gold will not feel lucky, but instead, will ask himself, ‘what took me so long?'” (49)

2: “The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental.”(50)

3: “The person who finds the treasure will be the one who solved the clues in my poem and walked to it. No one will happen onto it. My hope is that whoever deserves it through his efforts will be the finder.” (51)

Quote of Forrest Fenn: “What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it?” (52) I don’t know exactly if he really means the same “water high” as in his poem, but to my solution of “water high” you can ride the bike for sure.

One last quote from Forrest Fenn:

“I will give you an important clue, no need to look for the treasure in a place where a 79 or 80 year old man couldn’t go with a 44 pound treasure chest full of gold and precious gems. Good luck. F” (52)

It’s difficult to say how far 80 year old men can walk. I know men in the thirties that are exhausted after a small hike, and on the other hand one who took each year part in a mountain marathon with 21 miles and 8200 altitude feet until he was 74.

A few years ago the mountain-rescue-service rescued a 90 year old man from a mountain very close to my home. Not because he was exhausted, but because he didn’t find the right ascent. And this happened to younger hikers before, which climbed this unmarked, very steep and difficult to find trail. By the way you have to make about 4000 altitude feet from the bottom to the top, so nothing for people in bad shape.

To my final location you have to walk 1,2 miles and about 650 altitude feet from the street. It’s an easy hike in easy terrain.

In the Austrian Alps, the trail descriptions are normally expecting around 1,9 miles and 1300 altitude feet per hour. This description considers that you carry an 11-22Ibs heavy backpack. If you are hiking off trail you are slower, of course, depending on the terrain.

So considering this, one should be able to do this hike in at least 45 minutes uphill and 30 minutes downhill. Let’s say, an 80 year old man who has hiked much in his life needs twice as long. This would make approximately 5 hours for two hikes, plus the time Forrest Fenn has needed to hide the treasure chest. I guess this should have been possible for him in one afternoon. And I also guess 5 hours is a generous estimation, also because he had no heavy backpack to carry downhill. So I don’t think that it would have taken him that long.

He also mentioned, that there is no human trail in very close proximity to the chest. (34) The closest trail to my final spot is 0,8 miles away. But who knows how far “in very close proximity” really is. By the way, it’s 0,8 miles to the Slough Creek Trail as the crow flies. We didn’t try this ascent because it looks quite steep on the map. I guess the 1,2 mile route from the street is the easiest way up there.

Since Forrest Fenn has said the chest isn’t in a dangerous place, some words to the safety of this spot. (53)

As I have said, the terrain is easy and even a small child can do it without a problem. Nevertheless, in Yellowstone NP there are living bears.

I have spent some months in bear countries and lots of this time in the wild nature, far away from any civilization or even streets and I had never ever a problem with a bear. I know that the experience of one single person is not very significant, and also that a bear which is used to humans is more dangerous than one that is not. But all people I know and I that have ever met, share in this regard the same experience.

Nevertheless, it sometimes comes to incidents. But there is no 100% safety in your whole life. From the beginning of your life, there is ever the possibility of death. It depends, for example, on where you live, or your way of life. You only can lower this probability by your actions, as you can raise it too, at least in cases you can influence by yourself. But you will never reach 100% of safety, that’s just an illusion.

In Alaska, for example, it is up to 50 times more likely that you die in a car accident than you get killed from a bear (I use this country, because I have been there and so the statistic is in my mind, but in every other bear country it’s quite similar, I guess). So if you have to throw a dice with 51 faces, fifty of them are black and one is white and you would die if you guess the right color, who would say black? Nevertheless, we are more scared of making a hike in bear country than driving the car. As I have said, 100% safety is just an illusion and we don’t see the danger in things or actions that our brain has become accustomed to. What we fear is sometimes only in our imagination, and that’s the point, our brain works more emotionally than rationally.

The media coverage boosts this fear unintentionally. We only hear about the one who got killed from a bear, but we don’t hear about the crowd of people which had no problems at all. Luckily, because otherwise 24 hours would be way too short for the daily news.

Then the main part comes into play, cognitive distortion through selective perception. This means we see the world like we expect it, because we remember stuff that we expect much better than other stuff. And our memories are not static because they are not stored in our brain like on a hard drive. They are recreated at each reminder process and they will change as time goes by. So they are maybe not similar with the past reality anymore. But normally, we don’t realize this because we don’t have a reference. If you want to be certain about something, it’s always good to have pen and paper in your pocket.

We should also consider, that our sense organs receive only a fraction of what our environment has to offer and from this, our brain filters out over 90%. From the remaining rest, our brain models the world, and this also doesn’t ever necessarily correspond with the reality. 

For example, look at our most important sensory organs, the eyes. We think, we are keen seeing living beings and the world around is exactly how we see it with our eyes, but is this really true?

First we have to know that our eyes normally don’t work the whole time both to 100%, it’s more work sharing. Seeing is a highly complex exhausting process for our body. So, one eye does ~90% of the work while the other one takes a rest and does only ~10%. Then they change and the other one rests and the second does most of the job, and so on. The raw material which the eyes send to our brain is approximately like the following:

The pictures are only sharp in a cone of ~1,5°. This is approximately as big as the fingernail of your thumb when you stick your hand out in front of your body and put the thumb up. Outside this area it quickly gets blurred, and this effect increases the further you get away from this spot. In these pictures is a spot where nothing is displayed. It’s the blind spot where the optic nerve leaves the eyeball. And the eyes don’t deliver a continuous sharp movie to our brain. With jerky movements they scan our environment and only the single and short sequences during the halt are usable for our brain. Additional to that, we have only three different kinds of sensory cells for colors to react to: ~red, ~green and ~blue. And for our brain not being bored, the whole picture is up side down. Furthermore, we are virtually blind at least a quarter of the time. Because we are blinking approximately every three seconds and during the jerky eye movements, we make three to four times per second, we see next to nothing. From this raw material, our brain forms an upright, sharp, colorful, continuous movie without a blind spot in 3D. A reflex, which works as an image stabilizer, links the information from the semicircular canals (sense of balance) to the eye muscles. For every body and head movement, it triggers an exact counter-movement of the eyes. Otherwise, we would only see a very blurry picture, like the shots of a poorly moved video camera. Below the bottom line we can say, that the impression that we can see all things in our field of vision at the same time, and the impression of a continuous and uninterrupted view, is just pure illusion. And our nose, which is in the middle of this picture, is also cut out. 

But our brain also cuts things in. It remembers things we have seen before and if at the edge of our visual field something appears which looks alike (and remember for our brain this area is very blurred), our brain cuts this stuff in because it expects that this would be the same.

Also immobile objects exert fewer stimuli on our eyes than moving objects. This makes sense because danger comes from moving objects mostly. This is called the Toxler-effect and there is a fascinating experiment existing.

Put two mirrors in an angle of 90° on a table (like a roof), so that the ridge of the mirrors is facing you when you look horizontal to the table.

Then put two toilet paper rolls parallel in front of the mirrors so that each roll faces a separate mirror and you can see through them as through binoculars (two paper rolls      =<      two mirrors ~90° to each other). Now put something (it doesn’t matter what, for example a meeple) on one side, so you can see it with the one eye in one mirror if you look through the paper rolls like through binoculars. Then put your fingers on the table so you can see it with the other eye in the other mirror. If you move your fingers now, the meeple disappears although it’s still there. The brain evaluates movements higher and cuts the meeple out by using only the information of the other eye. Even if you focus and concentrate on the meeple, it disappears. Only with the highest concentration you can still see the meeple very vaguely. But if you make a quick different movement with your fingers, nevertheless it disappears and you can do nothing against it. 

We could ask, do we really see through our eyes, or does the visible movie just exist in our brain? Considering all this, the answer to this question is obvious, I guess.

By the way, this is only a simple example to show that the world we experience is not always 100% of the reality. But what is reality anyway? Nothing is really like we perceive it. Everything around us is not really impenetrable and of closed surface. It’s only the elementary charge of the electrons, that safes us from falling through the ground. If you removed all the empty space out of a mountain, its altitude would shrink to perhaps an inch, although it looses no mass at all. 

The next time you have made yourself comfortable on an airplane seat, think about it in this way, there is mostly empty space under your ass. The surrounding, as long as it doesn`t emit light itself, doesn’t have really the colors we see, because color is just the characteristic of light, representing the energy of the light waves and the colors we see, arise and exist just in our head. The light that reaches our eyes has previously interacted with that stuff and a part of the wavelengths has been absorbed. So we see only the remaining wavelengths and by the way, we are only able to see a small spectrum of light waves anyway. When you sit on a park bench, enjoying the quiet and peace, you are not really sitting motionless on this bench. Depending on which degree of latitude the bench is, you move around the earth’s axis with up to 1.000mph. But that’s still not your actual speed. You also move around the sun with over 60.000mph and around the galactic center with ~490.000mph. And the speed of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is in relation to the cosmic microwave background radiation ~1.230.000mph. Knowing this, one could almost regret that he wasn`t born as a tree which is firmly rooted to the ground, not to be flung away. But at least, in our decisions we feel totally free, don’t we? Also this isn’t as it appears to us. Previous research results show, that there are neuronal activities in connection with subsequent actions before we deliberately decide to do so. At first, we can decide against it but there is a point off no return. But if we consider that the movement of time is probably just an illusion of our memories, every question about a free decision is maybe pointless anyway… I could continue on and on but this would go way beyond the scope, and I guess you know what I mean.

Resuming, our brain forms the world we experience, but this isn’t necessarily to 100% true. Our brain is a fascinating, ingenious high performance organ, but do not trust it blindly.

If you go to the spot where my solution leads to, the actual reality is that the most dangerous part of the search is over when you leave your car and make your first step into nature. Of course, you have to follow some rules when you are in a bear country, but that goes without saying and those rules are available everywhere in Yellowstone Park. But you have to follow some rules to minimize the risk of injury or even death everywhere. You should also not overtake another car in a tight corner or go outside when a thunderstorm is close.

An other way to think about could be that your life isn’t only teetering on a knife edge since your own birth, but at least since the big bang. How likely is it that life arises? Till today, nobody knows. But in fact, none of your ancestors died in his childhood, despite high birth mortality, natural disasters, wars or illnesses in sooner times, for example. With the huge number of ancestors, that’s quite impressive, I guess, isn’t it? And the final danger is, that your parents would have never met. But again, in case of the time flow illusion, these speculations are maybe pointless anyway.

The spot where the treasure is, is the same spot where Forrest Fenn wanted to die once. (27)

I would say, that a wet fen isn’t a cozy place for a nap. But if you know that you will be dead soon anyway, maybe you don’t care much about this trifle. At least, maybe this spot would fit if you want your body to rest where you died for a few millennia. (41) Everywhere else your dead body will soon be eaten up. Only some bones may remain, exploring the world for a while, until sooner or later somebody will find them. And in those days the forensic doctors are excellent in their jobs and I am confident they will find out pretty soon who probably lost those bones. The police are also very good at finding the remaining parts of the owner, especially if they have only to play “Hansel and Gretel” and follow the trace. So this would put a quick end to this chase and I am pretty sure that Forrest Fenn has thought about that. 

Considering this, I guess, every speculation about a place where a dead body could rest unharmed above the ground for years is pointless. And I don’t know if there are shovels in the happy hunting grounds so you can bury yourself and although I have been there once before my birth, I don’t remember this. But even if buried, your dead body doesn’t last long because worms, maggots and mildew are hungry too. And he has denied the possibility of a cave as a final location where he could have closed the entrance with stones when he was inside. (27)

By the way, in a closed cave your dead body doesn’t last long too. Worms and Insects are small and will find their way for sure and mildew spores are of course nearly everywhere at home.

In a rain moor, due to the lack of oxygen and the acidic environment, it comes to soft tissue preservation while the mineral parts of the bones often dissolve. Until today, the oldest known bog body with an age of ~10.000 years is the “Man from Koelbjerg”, found in Denmark. Nevertheless, I don’t know if you will sink fast enough into the dirt before someone comes for dinner.

One question that came to my mind is, is this the important possibility related to the winning solution? (54) There are only a very few places on earth where your dead body will last for a few millennia unless you are not professionally mummified, but then I guess it’s a bit tricky to take a hike to your final resting spot anyway. 

Excellent places would be an icy spot like the Antarctica or a hot and dry spot like the Sahara. However, we are searching in the Rockies and there are no such first-class places, but at least there are glaciers. The “Oetzi”, found on the Tisenjoch at the border from Italy to Austria, rested there for more than 5.000 years. But Oetzi only rested there for so long because he was sleeping in a rock pan close to the Tisenjoch, joch is German and means something like a pass. The Tisenjoch is very flat and the glacier there doesn’t get any new ice supplement, following that it’s not moving. Because of that, Oetzi was best protected in this rock pan bed with the blanket of immovable ice. So you should choose your final resting spot wisely, otherwise a glacier will spit you out sooner as you can make yourself comfortable there. But due to the fact that the earth is right now becoming hell for the ice and if we don’t change course soon, the ice comes probably premature to heaven, I doubt that you will stay fresh there for so long. Oetzi was found in the unusually hot summer of 1991 because of heavy defrosting. But he would have been found until today anyway. I have been at the finding location several times and it’s frightening how fast the glaciers disappear in those days. 

I don’t know if there are deserts in the area of the Rockies where the chest probably is, which would fit for a long rest too. But in those places there are growing no sage bushes and pine trees anyway. (21)

So the idea is close, if you know that Forrest Fenn wants his dead body to rest where he died for a few millennia, that he has chosen a fen as a goal on his last hike. (41) It’s a “lose to impossible” project to find the right fen if you search for it in the whole Rockies between Santa Fe and the Canadian border. But if you consider all known facts about the thrill of the chase too, this possibility rises considerably. 

Anyway, a fen would be in fact an ideal location if you want to rest on top of your treasure for years unharmed, and maybe this comment supports this: 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. (55) But that is just an idea on the edge, who knows? Well, I’m not saying that I am a deep thinking treasure searcher but probably a normal thinking treasure searcher.

The prerequisite for this is that the fen never dries out. Otherwise, the organic substances are decomposing to humus. I guess, my final location will stay wet the whole year and maybe build a moor in the future. But this depends of course on the climate development and the longer you want predicts that, the more difficult it gets. 

Here I have listed the remaining facts I still know. (27)    

The chest is located above 5,000 ft and below 10,200 ft. My final spot is at ~7,200 ft.

It’s in the Yellowstone National Park, so it’s more than 8,25 miles north of Santa Fe, the hometown of Forrest Fenn.

It’s not in a grave yard, not in an out house, not associated with a structure, not in a mine, tunnel, or cave.

“Begin it where warm waters halt” is my first clue and it’s not a dam.

The spot is on the map in his book “too far to walk”.

The treasure is in Wyoming.

My clues are in consecutive order.

And honestly, I must say, that I have no idea why it’s best, if you have a searching partner, to have them wait in the car. (56) This sentence is a bit odd anyway. Why he is talking about “a searching partner” and then he says “have them wait”? Does “them” mean something else than your searching partner or is it just mistyped?

Last but not least, we should also not forget that Forrest Fenn reserves the right to be wrong once in a while. (45)

Recently a few audio documents of Forrest Fenn have been released. Maybe this would fit much better somewhere else in my article, but I’m too lazy to rearrange my writing, and so I put my opinion about this here at the end.

Now there Forrest Fenn says: Tarry means wait around…And scant means…for a second or two. (57)

So in my opinion, those are the definitions of those words in fact. Tar is moving so slow, that tarry is similar to wait around. And it can be used in a writing for this meaning like linger. Nevertheless, if you look precisely, it’s just a hesitation. Also if you observe a tarry movement for a second or two, it’s like no motion at all or waiting around, but below the bottom line it’s a motion and we still have the implementation of a very slowly movement.

When Dal Neitzel told Forrest Fenn that he was surprised that he had answered the question about tarry scant, Forrest said “Why? What else could it mean?” Dal Neitzel responded that searchers had been talking about what those words meant from the very beginning of the search. Forrest Fenn just shook his head and said “It’s not complicated.” (57)

To see in “tarry scant” an extremely slow movement isn’t complicated, at least in my opinion. So this doesn’t change my opinion about my sixth clue and at least for me, “tarry scant” still means literally an extremely slow motion. 

Forrest Fenn also said: “You have to find out where the first clue is, where warm waters halt, that’s the first clue, and then take it from there … the clues are chronological after that, one leads to another, leads to another and … when you get to the ninth clue, look down, because that’s where the treasure chest is.” (58)

The conclusion is near, that the ninth clue is the blaze because after this, the poem says look quickly down. But then the poem would contain ten clues, with look quickly down as the last one because here the poem tells you to do something, and so it brings you from one location to the next. Even if this location might be not far away or even very close, it’s of course a description to get physically closer to the chest and so it should be designated as a clue. By the way, I have described the problem I see with “look quickly down” as the last clue further above. I guess “when you get to the ninth clue, look down” don’t refers to the “look quickly down” in the poem. In fact, he only says when you get to the ninth clue (and I guess he means on site), you have to look down because that’s where the treasure chest is. And by the way, this would fit my solution as well, because if you stand at the stone, the chest would be below you, hidden somewhere around this stone. Of course, this also fits for every other solution where, when you are physically at the ninth clue, the chest is below your horizontal facial field.

Below the bottom line, I guess, we should be very careful with our interpretations about the stuff Forrest Fenn says. Otherwise we end up immediately with totally wrong facts. The best example is following statement of him: Because I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950. (59) Now the seemingly obvious conclusion that he visited Yellowstone 1950 the last time, is wrong. In fact, he only said that the last time he spent a whole summer in Yellowstone was 1950. And by the way, we know for sure that Forrest Fenn has visited the Yellowstone NP many times since 1950.

And also this example: I doubt that a volcanic eruption under Yellowstone Lake would blow the treasure chest to bits, no matter the odds, but it might spread a lot of beautiful cutthroat and lake trout around the country side. f (60) Also because of this statement we could think that the chest isn’t hidden in Yellowstone. But if you look precisely, if the Yellowstone sneezes before the treasure was found, it doesn’t blow the chest into bits, but probably the chest will fly into the sky in one piece. And even though we don’t know exactly where and how big the next blow out will be, the probability that my final spot will fly into the sky is rather low. Maybe the shock wave blows the chest away, but it’s buried for sure after this impressive, worth seeing natural event.

I stumbled over something more. I read that in the foreword of “Once upon a while” Douglas Preston wrote: The final clue, he said, would be where they found his car: in the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. (61) Forrest Fenn said this before he hid the chest. 

This final clue hasn`t to be necessarily a clue connected to the clues in the poem. Forrest Fenn could have meant the final clue he gives to the world before he goes to his secret place and dies. The fact that his car would be found in the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science could have been a hint that the solution of the poem is built on nature and science.

In 2012 Tony Dokoupil says that Douglas Preston remembers Forrest telling him that he’s worried that people will find his car and the location of the car would be Northern Arizona University. (62)

If this is correct, we should wonder why Forrest Fenn is talking now of the Northern Arizona University instead of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Maybe he decided to give a more concrete hint to the winning solution. This university belongs to the Big Sky Conference and maybe this is a hint to Big Sky. But the second statement is just someone’s memory referring to someone’s memory, so who knows?

I have tried to respond to everything I have found about the thrill of the chase. But probably I have missed some stuff.

Finally, is the treasure somewhere hidden around this stone? At least you don’t have to worry about us finding the treasure. In my opinion, this solution fits very well, but who doesn’t think this about his solve? As I have said at the beginning, my girlfriend and I have searched this spot very carefully for hours with a five feet long stick like you search in an avalanche. First around the stones and later in the whole fen. I mean not really in the whole fen, only in the parts which are safe to reach. But in the other parts, I guess searching is pointless anyway because we know it’s not in a dangerous place. (53) Thereby I can tell you that there is most likely no treasure chest in the whole fen. So please don’t turn this fen over and destroy it, it’s pointless! By the way, digging inside the Yellowstone National Park is illegal anyway. There is always a possibility of having overlooked something, but I estimate this probability rather low.

It’s relatively easy to find a seemingly suitable solution and if you are convinced about it, you get blinkers and make everything else suitable. Sometimes it’s good to fail not to become arrogant. My solution joins now the long list of failed solves. And that’s funny, because we take many banalities for too important and serious, luckily failures teach us to see many things more humorous. Well, I don’t mean it’s funny because of seeing many things with more humor, but because I guess my live made me to a pretty humorous person. However, I would say we are not as perfect as we likely assume, often we don’t recognize our failure at the first glance and tomorrow we have forgotten it anyway. What we think is right today is maybe at all wrong tomorrow, or the other way round. And how this appears the day after tomorrow is written in the stars of course. But on the other hand, if we finally know all our failure in advance, we could probably stay two-thirds of the day in our beds, and permanently that’s bloody boring.

In the end I don’t know if my solution is partially right or wrong at all. After finding nothing, I thought that it’s simply wrong at all. But now after writing all this, I’m not that confident anymore. Somehow, some things are very conclusive, at least in my opinion. But otherwise, who doesn’t think this about his solution? 

But if I have the slight suspicion that there is maybe something affirmative in my solution, why do I give it out of my hands? Especially if there is the possibility that I could make my solution more suitable? Honestly, first I was skeptical if I should share my solution because I feared that some greedy idiots would turn the fen over although I have written that there is probably no treasure chest hidden in the dirt. And also if someone solves the poem and finds the chest, it sucks, if a partially correct solution has been published before. But then I came up with the conclusion that the major point why I thought I should share it, carries a greater weight than those concerns. The point is, even if I could improve my solution, I am not going to make a renewed search anyway. The reason is simply because I live in Europe and I have to make a long distance flight to get there. As we know, flying is one of the worst things to the human accelerated climate change, at least at the transportation sector. I found too many excuses to fly again and so I flew way too much in my life. Because of my guilty conscience and my responsibility towards all living beings on this earth, those who are, and those who will come after me, I will probably never fly again, at least with an airplane. Well, I mean for the Yellowstone fireworks I would fly again because I guess it’s worth seeing it.

I know that meanwhile many people from around the world are flying just for the treasure around the whole globe (and I know this because I was one of them), and because there is ever a possibility that something is correct in a solution, I thought maybe my solution helps to solve this riddle to prevent this.

I think it’s good, if people get their ass up and go out into the nature for new experience and adventures. And it would also be wrong if everybody cancels travelling from now on. The livelihood of many people depends on travelers. Also when you travel around the world, seeing other countries and get to know other cultures and attitudes, it expands our horizon and makes us more tolerant towards others. But there is a fine line between a reasonable and an unreasonable journey and last but not least, it’s up to oneself to decide this. But in fact, we shouldn’t live our life too much at the expense of our descendants and keep our debts as low as possible. For me, it’s yet not too far to walk to make a turn and I hope that we all together, as the population of this planet, don’t miss the point from where it’s too far to walk. Because I’m a limitless optimist, I think, that we haven’t passed this point already, but who knows? Nevertheless, it’s ever appropriate to leave our world in as good as possible conditions to those who come after us.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying if you have to make a long journey to your final spot, you shouldn’t go. I’m not in the position to tell you this anyway. I just want to say, if it’s a bigger project to get there, take as much time as you can and make out of your journey one of the biggest adventures of your life, so that the long way is worth it. And don’t be too much focused on finding the treasure chest, there are countless things out there which are just waiting to get recognition.

And to all naysayers, there is no doubt about the huge human influence to the climate in the whole scientific community around the whole globe. Only very, very few scientists are still skeptical about that, and funnily, most of them don’t work at weather nor climate research. And also not a single National Academy of Science around the world denies the huge human impact on the climate. It’s a mystery, that laity often think they would know better than numberless studied scientists who may have been involved in the topic for decades. And even more mysterious is, that some people still believe in those astray laities. If I have toothache, I also won’t trust somebody who has seen at best some toothpaste advertising on TV. This Dunning-Kruger-Effect is so funny. Well, I don’t mean because of its impact to the world but because of its irony. By the way, flying is also a big waste of resources and for 2019 we have already used up the annually available resources by the 29th of July. For the rest of the year we are living on tick.

Honestly, there is also one egoistic point about sharing my solution. I would love to know the right solution and due to the fact that there is still the possibility that every solution contains something right, I also thought it would be a good idea to share it.

Finally, I can say, it was yet an awesome and exciting time. I have seen the Yellowstone NP which was a great journey and without this chase, I probably wouldn’t have ever seen this place because I am really scared of human crowds. The thrill of the chase is over for me now and should my solution being partially correct, maybe someone else brings a fresh wind into it and can improve it. 

Sorry for pulling down the mood at the end, nevertheless, I wish all of you a nice day, many great imaginative ideas and upcoming awesome and save searches,


PS: A big thank you to Karin, who made my weird writing readable for everybody.

To raise the mood again, here are a few pictures of our search.


Parking lot where we started hiking (at the far left)


The summit at the very left is the Bison Peak


View back into the Lamar Valley, direction west


The Lamar Valley to the southeast



In the center is the elongated summit above the lake, the first wooded summit to the right is the Bison Peak


View towards Amethyst Mountain


In front you can see the small lake


My brave and in the wood


The fen how you see it from the east side



Reference list of comments:






























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(58) (part three)










The Calypso Solve…

January 2020

By Blex


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

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

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

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

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

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

image 1 Joe Mills Mountain

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

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

Image 2 Enos Mills

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





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

Image 4 Inside Cover

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

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

Image 5 Intro Text

First page of “A Mountain Boyhood”

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

Image 6 Comstock Ilustration

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

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

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

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

Image 9 Overall Map

The inside cover map included in the book

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

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

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

Image 10 Wild Basin Map Portion

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

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

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

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

Image 11 Tent Rocks Map

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

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

Image 12 Tent Rocks GE

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

Image 13 Tent Rocks GE Satellite

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image 14 Mahana WWWH

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

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

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

Image 15 Mt Meeker Meeker Ridge 1

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

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

Image 16 TH to Tent Rocks 1

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

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

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

Image 17 Calypso Cascades

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

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

Image 18 Calypso Cascades

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

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

Image 19 GC Marvel Gaze

Marvel gaze?
(image courtesy Google Earth)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image 20 WB Entrance

The less-developed Wild Basin Entrance into RMNP

Image 21 Start of Trail

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

Image 22 N St Vrain Creek

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

Image 23 Trail Junction

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

Image 24 Base of Cascades

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

Image 25 Sign

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

Image 26 Striaght up Cascades

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

Image 27 Base of Cascades

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

Image 28 Starting up

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

Image 29 up more

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

Image 30 sawn log

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

Image 31 Longs Meeker

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

Image 32 Boulders

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

Image 33 Orchids

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

Image 34 Topping off

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

Image 35 Point of land

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

Image 36 log bridge

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

Image 37 Point

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

Image 38 Further back

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

Image 39 Ouzel Falls

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

Image 40 to Ouzel Lake

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

Image 41 To Ouzel Lake Further

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

Image 42 Ouzel Mahana

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

Image 43 Ouzel Lake Break

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

Image 44 heading back

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!








Frosty’s Reflections Part 4-5…

December 2019

By Frosty


Part 4 – A Dash of Logic

Okay, we have an image of an airplane. But what do we do with that to get us closer to the treasure location?

Fenn has said that 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.” Lets apply a bit of logic. 

Fenn went alone both inside his cockpit and to the treasure location. Given the importance of each, logically it makes sense that the treasure would be located somewhere within the cockpit area. 

It also makes logical sense that the treasure would be on either public lands or private lands owned by Fenn. Fenn does not appear to own land within the cockpit area. 

If you overlay a map of public lands, the result is about 35 acres of BLM land that is within the cockpit. 


Click to enlarge map

And zoomed in:


Click to enlarge map


Part 5 – In Tight Focus

While 35 acres isn’t huge, the size of the chest and the landscape in which it is secreted still make it a  challenging search area. There must be a way to narrow it down. 

Fenn has informed that few “are in tight focus with a word that is key”. The word that is key can be found in the introduction to his poem. That reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.” 

The word that is key is “precisely”. A synonym for precisely is the phrase “to a t”. Substituting that into the poem’s introduction, it now reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed to a T, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure”.  

We want to follow the clues to a T. Using satellite imagery, if you zoom in to bring the southwest corner of the search area into tight focus you will notice the letter ‘T’. That puts us in tight focus with the word that is key.

In each of the images below the ‘T’ is in roughly the center of the image, below a single small tree, in a clearing. 

Google Maps:


Click to enlarge image

Apple Maps:

IMG 0012

If you scan to the right of the T a couple of inches you will see an X with a circle around it at the base of a solitary tree. That is easier to see in the Apple map image.

Between the X and T is the image of a snowman with its left hand pointing at the X and its right hand over its head waving. That is more evident in the Google map image. Due to the angle in the Apple map image you can only see its head and the beginning of its torso. 

A snowman is an apt metaphor for the transience of life. Further, “Frosty the Snowman” represents the lesson Fenn learned and wants to teach in “My War for Me”.

(Stay tuned for the Finale, Part 6 – The End of the Rainbow)







Frosty’s Reflections Parts 1-3…

November 2019

By Frosty


Part 1 – Marry the Clues to a Map

Fenn advised searchers “to look for the clues in my poem and try to marry them to a place on a map.”

Solving the nine clues yields nine named geographic locations around Sweetwater Creek in Colorado, all within 10 miles of one another. They are as follows:

where warm waters halt
“Sweetwater Creek”  – Sweet is a related word to warm, though not a direct synonym. It halts at the Colorado River.

the canyon down
“Hell’s Gate” – Down as in down into hell and where it forms a canyon.

the home of Brown
“Riland Creek” – Play on Rhode Island, where Brown University is located. 

it’s no place for the meek
“Lyon’s Gulch” – Play on Lion.

The end is ever drawing nigh
“Tucker Draw” – Tucker as in tuckered out (synonymous with exhausted or done) and draw as in ending in a tie.

heavy loads 
“Deep Creek” – Deep as in heavy, in 60s lingo. 

water high
“Turret Creek” – Turret is synonymous with tower, in other words, high.

the blaze
“Hack Creek” – Hack is a synonym of blaze.

your quest to cease
“Cease Creek”.


Part 2 – The Big Picture

Fenn suggested that searchers “look at the big picture”. A phrase synonymous with seeing the big picture is “connecting the dots”. 

The town nearest the nine locations identified in Part 1 is Dotsero, CO. 

So let’s try our hand at the much-loved children’s puzzle game, connect the dots. Start by taking the nine locations from Part 1 and put a dot on the map for each. For creeks, put the dot at the mouth of the creek. 

Now let’s create our drawing. We will ‘begin it’ at the Sweetwater Creek dot (where warm waters halt is dot 1) and ‘take it in’ to the Hell’s Gate dot (the canyon down is dot 2). With no further instructions, we will continue with this pattern. (“Put in” and “From there” apply to the on the ground phase of the quest.) Continue drawing lines to connect to each subsequent dot. When you reach Turret Creek connect that dot to Deep Creek as those two clues are the only which are connected in one line in the poem. Finish up by connecting to the last dot, dot 9 (Lyon’s Gulch). 

Here is the architected result (note that “Mason Creek” – mason and architect are synonymous – feeds Sweetwater Creek): 


Click to enlarge


Part 3 – Adjust the Blueprint

If you have a good imagination you may have seen an airplane in the connect the dots in Part 2. But clearly it is incomplete. Fenn did warn us that his “blueprint is challenging so the treasure may be located by the one who can best adjust.”

We are going to have to adjust to complete his blueprint which means we will be bending the rules for connect the dots. To justify doing so, lets look at some of the hints in the poem and see what they may relate to outside of the treasure hunt. 

And hint of riches new and old 
“Irrawaddy Creek” feeds Sweetwater Creek – The Irrawaddy River is located in the southeast Asian country of Myranmar. Irrawaddy translates to “abundance of riches”. The new name for the country is Myranmar. Of old, and when Fenn served in Vietnam, it was known as Burma. [Some of this hint had to be researched so you may choose to discount it.]

And with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where
“Treasures” hints at his bombs and “secret where” were his, at the time, secret bombing runs in Laos.

As I have gone alone in there
Hints at being in the cockpit.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak

“Trove” hints at bombs left on bombing runs. “All to seek” is the VietCong. “Tired” is short for attired which is synonymous with uniformed.

Outside of the poem, Fenn councils that if one is to read only a single chapter from “The Thrill of the Chase” it should be “My War for Me”. That chapter is about a slice of his time as a fighter pilot in Vietnam.

Taken as a whole, these hints point to Fenn’s time in southeast Asia as a pilot and how impactful and formative that time was for him. The hints give us confidence about how to appropriately adjust the blueprint.

First, lets connect dot 9 to dot 1 to form a complete outline of an airplane.


Click to enlarge

The hints also suggest adding a cockpit. We will create the largest one possible by connecting dot 3 to dot 7. 


Click to enlarge

Now that’s a plane!

(Stay tuned for Part 4 – A Dash of Logic)








Be Water…

of34October 2019

By CrazyFox


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

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

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

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

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

As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold

I can keep my secret where

And hint of riches new and old

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

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

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

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

New and old…new eruptions, old eruptions. 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








Visiting CWB…

October 2019

By Chris Wilson


October 22nd, 2019 2pm, Collected Works Bookstore

Today was an amazing day. Without going too much into background, one of my two young daughters has autism and cannot yet communicate properly. It is also very difficult to go out in public with her because of the frequent outbursts and other quirks. Yesterday I brought my family to Santa Fe from Kansas with my Dad for the first time.

When we arrived I emailed Forrest to see if we could meet and see if he would sign my book. He replied and suggested we meet at 2pm at Collectied Works Bookstore.


We arrived a few minutes early to scope the place out, but by this time we were having a really hard time with our daughter. We took her outside on the back patio area of the bookstore to calm her down but weren’t having any luck at all. I could see my wife really stressed out, and the situation just felt helpless in that moment because we knew Forrest was coming soon. Then only a moment later Forrest pulled up in his Jeep, walked straight over to us after confirming who I was, and took my daughter by the hand.

He could see that we were having a hard time, I briefly explained her condition and he said “she’s a beautiful girl I’ll hold her hand!” and continued to walk into the bookstore with her.

From there I was able to introduce Forrest to my wife, two children and Father. He grabbed a table just for us and asked everyone to sit down. We talked for nearly 30 minutes! He discussed all sorts of things with us! It was absolutely surreal I couldn’t stop smiling!


Before leaving he very kindly signed a few copies of our TTOTC books, and my copy of “Journal of a Trapper” which was signed “I love Osborne Russel”.
As we said our goodbyes he came back up to my daughter and gave her a high-five. I was so thankful his presence brought her the comfort we had been trying to achieve since earlier that morning.

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It made my whole trip to see Forrest Fenn in person telling stories, and playing with my daughters. Meeting him only confirmed what I already felt in my heart, which is that Forrest is as genuine as a man could possibly be. I’m richer just from the experience of meeting him face to face.

Forrest, thank you for making time for us and for being so kind to my family, we won’t forget it. 🙂


Chris’s videos can be found on YouTube under “Octopus Skcid”.