Gauging Value…

val

August 2019

By MA

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-MA 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Creek Solve…

bbn 

August 2019

By Desert Cloak

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CLUE #3 
Put in below the home of Brown 

 

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


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

 

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

 

Regarding “structures”:

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

CLUE #5 
The end is drawing ever nigh 

 

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

 

Petrified Wood from Lost Lake area
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Petrified Tree at parking lot
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CLUE #6 
There’ll be no paddle up your creek 

 

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

 

CLUE #7 
just heavy loads and water high 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Unknown until at location

 

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

 

CLUE #9 
Look quickly down, your quest to cease 

 

Unknown until at location

 

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

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

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

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

 

BLOG COINCIDENCES:

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

 

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

 

Question posted July 2, 2014 to Forrest Fenn:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

-Desert Cloak

 

 

 

REFERENCES TO QUOTES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Forrest

August 2019

By Casey

 

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“As I have gone alone in there

And with my treasures bold,

I can keep my secret where,

And hint of riches new and old.”

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

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt

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

Clue 2: And take it in the canyon down

Downie Mine. Up by Central City. 

Clue 3: Not far, but too far to walk

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

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

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

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

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

Clue 6: If you’ve been wise

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

Clue 7: and found the blaze

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

Clue 8: Look quickly down

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

Clue 9: Go in Peace

Pease Mine. Also pretty straightforward. 

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

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

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

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt

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

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

  Zooming in on the search area: 

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

Confirmation Bias:

Mildew

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

Mines – 

Nevada

Toledo

Philadelphia

Boss

Grizzly

Tomahawk (SB126)

Mammoth

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

Glory (is where you find it) Hole

Tucker

Sketchy confirmation bias:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spot #2:

Fireman’s Mine to Scandia/ Thirty Second to Downie

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

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

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

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

Spots #3 & #4:

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

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

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In conclusion:

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

-Casey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Trips To Pebble Creek…

Pebble Creek Trail Yellowstone IMG 9217

July 2019

By llll

 

 

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

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

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

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

four trips to pebble creek copy

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

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

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

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

-llll

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poem Married to a Map….

July 2019

By CharlieM

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are good examples that I found through research;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image 1

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE IT LARGER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-CharlieM

 

 

 

 

Missing the Mountains Already…

June 2019

By Veronica and Izzy

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We looked all over in the places not very meek,

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

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

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So, get in your car and aim it out West

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Bathing is Best Solve, Clue 1-5

June 2019

By Jake Faulker

 

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

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

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

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

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

*Omega shape on this part of the Firehole River

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

*He went alone in there

**My secret bathing spot

**Always worth the effort

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

firehole swim

ojo

2 – And take it in the canyon down, 

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

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

firehole canyon

canyon down

Not far, but too far to walk.

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

3 – Put in below the home of Brown. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

put in

put in madison

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

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

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

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

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

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

meek place

5 – The end is ever drawing nigh; 

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

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

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

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

The end is ever drawing North Intrastate Gallatin Highway;

Hop on the bridge and head north to your creek.

Gallatin County below.

gallatin county

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

gallatin nigh

The Gallatin River where you can paddle.

ode joe

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

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

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

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

-Jake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diggin Gypsy Signs Off…

JANUARY 2019

By Diggin Gypsy

 

I’ve finally  come to the end of my chase  I’ve had a good run. When I started in the summer of 2013 I never knew I would have visited West Yellowstone so many times in my life. I’ve done things I never thought I would do. One was hiking thru huge snow drifts beside the Madison at ghost village, climbing up mountains and sliding back down them on my butt. Dodging grizzlies around Hebgan lake and running from the moose at refuge point.

When me and my sister began the chase my mom and dad had just died it was a way to move on and try not to let death overcome us with sadness . We thrived and became strong adventurers bringing along family members to join in on the fun .

I’ve had the best times of my life searching and have met wonderful friends along the way The chase does take a toll on you though, years of racking your brain. I’ve flooded the ole coot with many emails, especially after a good margarita night. How does he deal with everyone after all the years? I have no clue.  I’m surprised he hasn’t said good riddance to us all.

If I can tell all the new chasers one thing it would be to make the chase not about always finding the treasure.  When you’re searching and it isn’t where you think,  look at your adventure as a treasure. Don’t let the chase consume your life. That isn’t what Forrest wanted.

And let’s all remember this man kindly hid a treasure for us all to have a chance to find. Let’s don’t join chat sites that bash Forrest. Let’s keep the chase without drama and the way Forrest wanted it to be, for families to enjoy being together outdoors.

Happy trails y’all I’m off to new adventures. Luv you guys.

-Diggin Gypsy

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Imagine That!…

November 2018

By Voxpops

 

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Lake Vyrnwy in North Wales. An entire village was submerged here in the late 19th century when this valley was flooded to provide drinking water for Liverpool

There’s a book I read recently for our local book group: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. It’s a tale centered in the Indian Wars and the American Civil War. At times it’s funny, at others horrific, and with its stream-of-consciousness delivery, you might say it’s more of a tone poem than a novel. How historically accurate it is I can’t say; certainly, with its references to cross-dressing and interracial exploits, it feels a touch implausible and anachronistic in places, and yet it is an imaginative tour de force, carrying the reader deep into the blood-soaked landscape and vomit-inducing stench of war.

Days

For me, the past year has been a lesson in the power of imagination. There have been periods of terror offset by flashes of enlightenment – all brought about through intense introspection as a result of my involvement in the Chase. It’s only now that I’ve concluded my search that I’m able to look back with a sense of perspective, and begin to understand how imagination has played a critical role in forging a path that I could follow both physically and metaphorically.

We all know that Forrest Fenn ranks imagination above knowledge, but it might be worth asking ourselves why that is. What is it about imagination that will propel us forward to the hiding place, while knowledge leaves us scratching our heads in confusion? To answer that I want to start by examining the reasons given for the treasure hunt: “…to get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines…” and: “…in a terrible recession… I wanted to give hope to those who had a sense of adventure and were willing to go searching.”

As someone pointed out recently, given the decision to write the poem and hide the treasure preceded the economic downturn by more than a decade, we can pretty much discount the second reason as a prime mover for the Chase, unless we’re prepared to grant Forrest clairvoyance. It may well have been something that gave added impetus to the timing, but even then it seems unlikely that a family deeply affected by the recession would have the spare resources to gamble on the one-in-a-billion chance of finding the chest. But before we dismiss it entirely, the word “hope” is interesting. Whether or not we’re in an upcycle or downswing, the human condition is one that needs – is almost desperate for – hope: hope that there is something better in the future; hope that our lives are not lived in vain. Hope springs eternal according to Alexander Pope in his poem An Essay On Man, in which he castigates mankind for believing that he can use his knowledge of science to “scan God.” So by Fenn saying that he wanted to give hope, maybe he was talking about the power of imagination over that of knowledge, where the latter speaks to man’s desire to measure and classify everything, and the former grants access to a cosmos of fresh ideas. Perhaps there are some things that transcend the known, and yet remain vital to our wellbeing.

As for the first-mentioned reason, we probably spend about 90% or more of our “search” time online, with a tiny proportion given over to BOTG. Families searching together certainly give their kids wonderful and real experiences that they couldn’t possibly match with their “texting machines,” but overall, even though there’s probably been a huge upswing in searchers’ exposure to the wilderness, the Chase has probably also been instrumental in increasing our slavish devotion to gadgets!

So we’re left with two given reasons that are not altogether satisfactory. And if we accept that, then is there a hidden or underlying reason? I would contend that there is, and that it is partly to do with imagination – to help us develop that faculty and to open our minds to whatever influences may be present. In my own search that has meant using imagination to bridge the “gaps” between clues, and developing a kind of sixth sense for recognizing “aberrations that live out on the edge.” It’s more of an art than a science, and if, like me, you’re not used to that way of thinking it can be a lengthy – and at times frightening – learning curve.

Merriam Webster defines imagination firstly as: “the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before perceived in reality.” That’s an interesting definition because it allows for truly “blue-sky” or visionary thinking, not necessarily grounded in reality. In the context of the Chase, my contention is that the only way to successfully complete the challenge is to delve as deep into your imagination as it’s possible to go, until you develop the technique of mirroring Fenn’s thinking. The problem is knowing when you’re beginning to succeed, especially if there’s apparently so little to help you confirm your progress (ignoring for a moment the books and ATFs, which have the tendency to confirm everyone’s solves!). But I would suggest that if you can develop this technique you will have flashes of insight that help you plot a way forward. The mirror may be very cloudy at first, and progress will be stumbling, but with time and persistence things should become clearer.

Of course without knowing where to begin and without understanding how the numerical framework comes into play, imagination alone won’t be sufficient, but it can certainly help with both these elements. However, here’s the rub. There’s no way to know in advance whether your poem interpretations and mirror-imaging are correct without testing the ideas on the ground – possibly many times. I seriously doubt whether this depth of “vision” can be obtained by fireside cogitation alone. Even though I believe the answer we’re all seeking is fairly simple in one sense, the possible permutations are almost endless. We’re talking about a slow and dogged development of this faculty, which requires getting off the couch and out into the wilds.

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Castle Rock and Green River during a storm

My last trip to Wyoming was not a particularly happy event – and nearly didn’t happen at all. It came after what my doctor diagnosed as an acute psychotic disorder. I was recovering from a bout of flu when I began to have serious concerns about the Chase, and these rapidly morphed into terrifying thoughts and delusions. Basically, I had spent so long making connections at a profound level that I’d forged pathways into my own darkest mental recesses. In short, I’d let the demons out of the cage. It was an intensely unpleasant experience that was also very distressing for those around me. So the trip, which had almost been canceled, was foreshortened and took place alongside a wife who had come to, quite understandably, detest everything about the Chase.

But before you dismiss what I’m about to say as the ravings of a diagnosed lunatic, I’d ask you to consider what Fenn really had in mind for the most ardent searchers. This is “The Thrill of the Chase.” We might normally define this as the excitement of the hunt. But what if we adjust the emphasis a little?

Fenn has a way with words – to the point of exasperating the reader. Take SB 178 as an example. The first line is: “Pony Ault was the only important client our gallery had in Santa Fe, and she seemed to know everyone.” Does that mean that Pony Ault was the only person living in Santa Fe who was an important client? Or does it mean that she was the only important client… period? Well, the latter seems unlikely since Forrest could boast of some of the biggest names around as clients. But now read the entire SB slowly and carefully, and pay particular attention to the final paragraph; does that alter your perspective at all? A quick Google search for Pony Ault will reward you with very little. But you will find the name given as a founding member of the Santa Fe Art Institute, along with William Lumpkins, a member of the Transcendental Painting Group, which aimed to convey spiritual truths through abstract art. Interesting.

Now try, “It doesn’t help to stretch a tangent.” Back in 2016, if I’d read that sentence with the emphasis on “tangent” instead of “stretch,” I might have saved myself a couple more years of searching, and perhaps some heartache too.

So to return to TTOTC, the word “thrill” originally meant “to pierce.” If we read the line with the emphasis on “Thrill” instead of “Chase,” we might conjure an image of a searcher being pierced by something. So could the phrase really be referring to searchers being hunted down and pierced? And if so, by whom and with what?

We all know from the fishing stories and the cover of OUAW that Fenn is angling for something. It’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that he’s looking for someone for a reason. What that reason is remains known only to the poem’s author. I honestly don’t believe he’s looking for the cleverest searcher; after all, there are some pretty amazing brains working on this, but cleverness doesn’t seem to be what’s required to solve the poem. Could it be, instead, that he wants someone with the necessary imaginative skills to complete the journey? And if so, why?

I believe the answer to these questions is a spiritual one. An abiding image for me is from an interview during one of the earlier bookshop appearances, in which Forrest breaks his vocal stride to deliver a line which goes something like, “nothing is as it seems.” When you watch the video it seems like a non-sequitur, and that draws attention to it. What is not what it seems? From my own experiences this year I would suggest that we’re not talking about a regular treasure hunt, but about a vision quest where outward appearances may be deceptive. I’m not the first to suggest this as a plausible scenario, but I would like to support that viewpoint and relate it to the concept of imaginative solving as I try to make sense of what’s been happening in and beyond my own chase.

I will say upfront that the search is over for me. Interpret that as you will, but it certainly tallies with my current predicament. I am stuck in Britain, unwilling to risk my marriage any further for a box of gold. Unless the domestic situation changes, there will be no more trips to the Rockies. Besides, the Welsh countryside is equally impressive, just on a smaller scale!

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LLynnau Cregennen near Cadair Idris in North Wales

In the past, the various artefacts I’ve found and spoken about as being Chase-related have caused some controversy and hilarity. That’s completely understandable, particularly if you don’t know the reason why a particular spot has meaning, or how a specific find can help spark the imagination sufficiently to be able to move forward in a solution. On the other hand, my own interpretation has developed over the course of time as I tried to make sense of the simple practicalities involved in placing strategic “pointers,” or generating distinctive symbols that appear on Google searches.

At one time, I was convinced that Forrest or someone he trusted had somehow gone around secreting these little “aberrations.” Take the smashed pottery as an example. See the “Garden City” name here? Now look at the picture of the book cover in SB 172 – and note the publisher’s address.

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Smashed pot courtesy of the Garden City Pottery Company and found near Daniel, WY

It’s these tiny coincidences that I kept discovering that had me believing these were plants. Now, after being able to see more clearly the role imagination plays, my understanding has both shifted direction and deepened. Now I believe that if you can open those mental channels sufficiently, your subconscious will “notice” things (aberrations out on the edge) that can assist your conscious mind in its deliberations. They are not necessarily things that have any direct relevance to the Chase, but they are things that help reinforce the connections you are making. And that also means that they are likely to be different for every searcher.

06

Stone “triangle” in the Big Piney area

The two quartz-filled stones forming a triangular window are another example. These were so important to my developing trajectory in terms of confirmation that without discovering them I could easily have floundered. They would probably mean little or nothing to another searcher who happened upon them while on a different trajectory. And that’s another thing that I’ve changed my view on. There are many possible routes to the chest. It was only after discovering my end point that I realised I’d taken a particularly convoluted path. If I’d understood things better earlier on, the path would have been much simpler. So why did I find these stones that could have been placed there by anyone? Because my imagination needed them as a spur. A bit like, “…seek, and ye shall find.”

The “frog” offers another small insight. This was how I found it when first searching at this spot. It gave me a heck of a boost.

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Stone “frog” discovered near Marbleton, Wy in 2017

When we returned to the place this year, it never quite looked right. I tried to get the same angle and effect, but to a certain extent it eluded me. It’s not that there’s anything particularly different about it twelve months later – maybe just the lighting – but I’m not sure I would have even noticed it if I didn’t already know it was there. In other words, it had already given up its meaning to me, and because I no longer needed it to give my imagination fresh impetus, my subconscious now ignored it.

So my conclusion from all my “finds” (of which there are many), is that whether FF placed any, all or none of these, it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether you have created the conditions necessary for your imagination to assist you. But as I discovered to my family’s deep concern, there may be a price to pay for diving so far into the deep. Beware!

Crowhurst

And this might be an appropriate point to mention another book that passed my way from our book group: The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall. This is a fascinating account of Crowhurst’s attempt at sailing singlehanded and nonstop around the world as part of a competition in the late ’60s. The work involved old-fashioned investigative journalism of a kind rarely seen these days, and uncovered a tale of hubris, fraud, resilience, shame, and (inferred) suicide. What is particularly intriguing towards the end is the state of mind of Captain Crowhurst as he tries to formulate a theory of man’s forthcoming evolution while drifting in the Atlantic, but descends into incoherence and madness. And although it’s tempting to ridicule the man for his vain attempts to set himself up as some kind of new prophet, his long, lonely days at sea had given him the opportunity to use similar techniques of “imaginative penetration” to those that I believe are required in the Chase. Unfortunately, he paid the price for straying off course (both literally and metaphorically) after being pierced by something from deep within.

 

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Petroglyph near Torrey Lake, Dubois, WY

One thing that shouldn’t be forgotten when considering the importance of imagination is that Forrest has said he would never tell anyone his secret spot. If that is literally true, then the poem, on its own, does not reveal the spot. If it did, that would contradict his statement, and he would have, by inference – even if only obliquely – told the whole world his hiding place. So although the poem contains all the ingredients necessary to discover the spot, the method of cooking is missing some vital instructions. In order to measure and mix all the ingredients in the right order, we’re going to need directions from the subconscious. Without them, the task is hopeless in my opinion. And specialized knowledge, beyond a comprehensive knowledge of geography, will yield nothing useful. To bake the cake according to Forrest’s recipe, we need to be able to navigate precisely, and rely on a level of imagination that approaches divination.

In support of that, and to suggest that logic, while important, can really only take you so far, I want to touch on a couple of things that have occurred to me since returning to the UK from my last search. Because I had left Wyoming with the job unfinished, I continued to ponder my finishing moves. This was around the time of the Dizzy Dean SB. A major breakthrough was forthcoming relatively quickly, and with the aid of Google I was able to home in on a spot which contained a symbol that echoed what I’d found at my start point. A helpful arrow was also visible nearby. I had been checking my progress against the website wherewarmwaters-halt.com that someone had referenced around that time. After congratulating myself for finding what I assumed was “the spot,” I was irritated to find the website continued to make insistent “noises.” At the same time I had the nagging suspicion that, despite what looked to me like a perfectly acceptable hiding place, I hadn’t quite finished. There were loose ends. During this time I was sending my “moves” to Forrest in somewhat coded form, and what seemed to be coming back via the website dovetailed neatly with my situation. (I have no idea who is actually behind that site.)

Suddenly, as I went over and over the data I had amassed, the penny dropped. I used a technique that I’d honed on previous excursions to pinpoint a spot – in a totally unexpected area – and noticed something in a Fenn drawing that seemed to offer support. But still the WWW-H website shouted its orders. I wasn’t done yet! This time, rather than use the website for confirmation, I allowed it to lead me to a spot about a mile distant that I should have noticed before but didn’t. The place had meaning for me via its distinctive rock formation. The website went quiet, and I breathed a sigh of relief, tinged with slight annoyance that I’d succumbed to being led rather than working it all out for myself. But my relative peace of mind didn’t last long. The combination of what I’d discovered at the spot, what I picked up from a few rather odd blog posters, and my own still rather fragile psyche’s promptings sent me into a downward spiral. Once more I endured terrifying thoughts and deep paranoid suspicions that lasted for days. It was very difficult trying to keep this from spilling over into my daily life and rekindling my wife’s angst.

But as I wrestled with these demons, a thought occurred to me. What would happen if I spun these thoughts 180 degrees? What if reinterpreting them as positive rather than negative symbols might be the way to go – and avoid a real crisis? So then began a slow but steady period of recuperation. Even though I’ve never been a very successful meditator, I tried to recall some of the techniques I had encountered briefly in the past. Things improved, and I continued with trying to use imagination in a wholly positive way. And that was when I began to discover its real power.

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Rainbow on the horizon near Fontenelle, WY

When you open up your imagination as a direct consequence of delving deep into the subconscious – in this case attempting to get on the same wavelength as Forrest Fenn – I believe that your subconscious will attempt to help you. This concept was brought into sharp relief for me during late summer as I tried my best to practise a form of mindfulness.

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The beautiful countryside of Montgomeryshire

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River Vyrnwy near Dolanog North Wales – a spot for tranquil contemplation

Here I was, back in Wales, not really thinking about the Chase anymore, when out of the blue I discovered that the coordinates of my home in Montgomeryshire, which we’d moved to from Oregon two years prior, added up to 166 – a really odd coincidence. I was jolted back into search mode, and tried to see if my subconscious was attempting to tell me something. For some reason I felt I had to visit the Rainbow horse riding trails in Dyfnant Forest, just a short distance away from where we live. Specifically, I felt directed towards the spot where a lookout tower used to be sited at the top of a hill to help protect the surrounding forest. There, my trusty GPS refused to function, and so I had to rely on intuition and what I remembered from the map to guide me to the exact location.

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One of four metal posts from the old Lookout Tower in Dyfnant Forest North Wales

I found the metal posts indicating where the tower had once stood in the middle of brambles and undergrowth. The trees had been felled in the immediate vicinity and on one stump just below the summit I spotted something rather bizarre. Three identical small pegs had been inserted into carefully drilled holes surrounding the center point of the tree rings.

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An odd, knotty find in the middle of nowhere

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The leaping hare

A beer bottle cap with the image of a leaping hare lay to one side. Why anyone would take the trouble to make this with such care and in such an awkward-to-access spot was beyond me. I spent hours pondering it, and then came across this whimsical piece of craftwork adorning a tree in our village a couple of days later.

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3 and a knot

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I did as I was asked

There appeared to be distinct correlations to many of the things that had featured in my Chase (the three-sided fire pit, the three-cornered stone, the three-coordinate rectangle, even the chalk graffiti at the Museum of the Mountain Man where “Fenn” looks like “Fe3 – with the “3″ twisted 90 degrees CCW.”)

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St. Melangell’s church at Pennant Melangell, North Wales

I had a look on GE and traced a line north through the two locations. Some miles distant, a third and related tri-pole symbol appeared in a village that I’d never heard of. Looking it up on Google, I found that Pennant Melangell hosts a church and shrine dedicated to Saint Melangell, a sixth century hermit and now the patron saint of hares. The coincidence was remarkable, if a little spooky.

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The shrine to St. Melangell, where pictures and postcards of hares have been placed by pilgrims

My wife and I visited the shrine, adorned with pilgrims’ images of hares, and took in the beautiful surroundings, including a rock shelf where the virgin hermit used to sleep out of the reach of wild animals.

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The rocks where the hermit St. Melangell slept during her life around the sixth century

I was perplexed. It was quite clear that Forrest had zero to do with the placing of the “symbols” that led me to the shrine. But they definitely had resonance for me in the Chase, and came amid a cascade of odd incidents, chance meetings, book readings, and online “contacts” that I couldn’t explain. A few seemed quite otherworldly. What I suspect is that Forrest knew he was setting up a “spiritual” challenge when he launched the Chase, but he probably had no personal knowledge of how this would affect each individual searcher with their unique insight and experiences. For me, it was a major process of spiritual discovery that has profoundly affected my worldview.

By the time we visited Pennant Melangell I’d stopped communicating directly with Forrest. But it seemed that he hadn’t quite finished with all of us. As autumn arrived, it came with a series of public communications from Fenn, which sent me wearily back to GE. I really didn’t want to be doing this anymore. Each of Forrest’s posts contained pointers. I used them to tie in with what I knew of the area of the Rockies I’d “landed” in. They helped me navigate to the blaze, and then (after a couple of false starts) to the final location, strangely only some 200 ft. from where I’d “spent” the previous couple of months, never noticing what was so close by. And at last things became clear. Here was the symbol that mirrored those at the two “ends.” Here was where you’d at last find J.C. Penney. Here was the place that finally brought the poem to a close – and for once I had no doubt in my mind.

But I could no longer claim that it was “my” doing. It was a question of making the effort over five years, yes, but then it was the recognition that not only had I made use of prompts from Forrest through his public utterances, and occasional searchers’ pointers, but also that whatever was at work deep below the conscious ego was far more in tune with events than “I” ever could be.

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Looking westward wistfully from Wales (actually it’s south, but I like the W’s!)

But despite all this the chest remains out there for anyone to find and retrieve. I don’t know whether circumstances will ever be right for me to return to the Rockies, and that’s hard to live with, admittedly, but I try to be content with things as they are. I stay off the blogs as much as possible in order to concentrate on “real” life, but as you can see I’m not always successful! (It may be that Forrest has also now withdrawn from public interaction, but only time will tell.) The Chase has taken me to the darkest places, but also to radiant uplands. I have made discoveries that go far beyond anything I could have imagined – and for that I’m eternally grateful. I certainly feel more “integrated” than I ever have done in my 65 years.

To wrap up these musings on imagination, I have a sneaking suspicion that the chest will only be recovered when it is ready to be recovered. Yes, that sounds fanciful and a bit “woo-woo,” but if you believe, as I do, that this a vision quest as much as it is a treasure hunt, it may require a certain state of mind and personal readiness. I know that all of this will send some searchers into fits of giggles, and others will just sigh and shake their heads, but that’s OK; there will be a few who will be curious and willing to keep an open mind, particularly when they return to some of the Scrapbooks and other Fenn writings with this in mind. Remember that there’s a reason the Little Girl from India can get no closer than the first two clues with her map and poem. Anyway, I apologize to those looking for concrete pointers that none of the places pictured here are anywhere near my final spot (nor even the places the first two clues lead), but I sincerely believe that those willing to delve deep can find the same haunting hillside that both beckons and bars me (for now). And lastly, to return to books, if any of you are into motor racing, and particularly Formula 1 (sorry, Nascar fans!), Damon Hill’s autobiography, Watching The Wheels, makes for a fascinating read, as well as touching tangentially on the theme of this post.

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-Voxpops

 

A Brown for the Times…

October, 2018

By Stephan

 

William Harvey Brown, b.1862, d.1913

A stout-hearted man if ever there was one!  I imagine that all three of his names will certainly ring a bell with searchers.  Born in South Africa to American parents and later educated at Cornell, he worked for the Smithsonian, and spent more than a few years roaming the Rockies and the American West.  A naturalist, he collected specimens of mammals for display in the museums of his day, rubbing shoulders with some of the 19th Century’s most accomplished taxidermists.  He ended his life in South Africa.

It could well be that museums such as the Denver Museum display to this day some of his specimens in their taxidermy collections.

On one of his expeditions, he helped establish a scientific camp high in the Rockies, which was dubbed “Camp Brown Bear Trail”, so named for the many grizzly trails which then criss-crossed that area.  He resided there for several weeks and hunted for grizzly.

The following is an actual account  from recollections of those days:

“I went up the side of a steep mountain following a small stream to its head.  I chose a large flat rock at the edge of a ledge for my camping place.  The view was marvelous.  On the rock I soon had a fine fire going.  Water was heated and venison toasted.  Though tired, I was much refreshed and cut a great stock of fir spruce boughs which were to serve for a bed that night.  A goodly quantity of wood was gathered for the fire,(which) was now removed nearer the edge of the rock and the spruce boughs spread down.  I stretched my weary bones out on that bed of Mexican feathers and really almost went to sleep and would have had not the fire burned low and a horrible dream about a grizzly roused me.”

Well, I figured this small stream he followed was the creek to paddle up and I figured that this ledge just had to be the blaze in Forrest Fenn’s poem, what with campfires blazing and bones and all..  And wouldn’t you know it, after some considerable effort (difficult but not impossible) and some years, I finally found the Ledge and stood upon it.  The view was truly marvelous.  And yes, I had already considered where warm waters halt: and it led me right to it.

But before I ever went to the Ledge, I figured I had better give the poem a once-over just in case I missed anything.  Good thing I did:

Scant (from Wiktionary)- a block of stone, sawn on two sides down to the bed level.

Marvel (from the Shorter Oxford)- see also marvil.  A child’s marble.

Tarry- of, like, or covered in tar; splattered with tar.

Clear as day, then:  I knew I needed to find a block of stone with black flecks and a marble-like marking of some kind on its face, probably white.

Since I knew Forrest Fenn was a marble champion in 7th grade, I knew I was onto something:

So I climbed to the Ledge at last. It was at an altitude of just barely under 10,200 feet.   I took my best friend with me.  Together we stood on that Ledge, and we keenly felt that we had found Forrest’s special spot.  To stand on the actual rock where a brave and wise naturalist had once camped in the late 19th Cenury, when the wilds were still wild.  He had  even carried a Sharps rifle, as if he wasn’t already wise enough.  And below us, a rare fisherman’s paradise, but virtually unknown, with two perfectly symmetrical horseshoe bends.

Then we turned and gasped as we saw the block of stone beneath us on the Ledge, so scant-like, with a marble on it.  We gazed on it in awe.  But evening drew nigh and so we resolved to return the next day.  And then that night it snowed and snowed.

-by Stephan