A Work of Art…



Since 2013, I have devoted a large portion of my mind and soul to finding Forrest Fenn’s secret cache, many of my brain cells have given their life in the effort to extrapolate the end of WWWH.  I have followed so many paths since my first trip to Montana, I do not really remember all the details, it has changed and evolved so much since then.

My first attempt at the poem took me to Montana and to a little mountain lake with no name in the Lee Metcalfe Wilderness.  One thing I did when following the poem, was to use the poem’s punctuation marks to identify physical clues, and or instructions.

      1. Begin it where warm waters halt
      and take it in the canyon down,

    There is no punctuation at the end of halt, so using my rationale, these two lines represent one location, two rivers join two-make one body of water and flow into a canyon down. Hebgen Lake.

      2. Not far, but too far to walk.

    Here we have a comma and a period.  Physical clue and instructions, I did not recognize both at first, and I went too far to walk.  At first I interpreted this to simple mean, I am not walking for this stage of the poem.

      3. Put in below the home of Brown.

    This line has a period, so it is instructional, and combined with TFTW, I believe it gives instructions to follow the water.  Brown is capitalized, a proper noun, a cabin is a home brown in color, Cabin creek.  However, I believe it tells me to not to go up Cabin creek, but past it, below, downstream.

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

    From Cabin creek, we are looking for our next spot on the map, and I believe that is ghost village.  Ghost Village, no place for the meek.

      5. The end is ever drawing nigh;
      There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

    Here we have a semicolon, the semicolon means that this line from the poem and the next share a strong bond.  Next to Ghost village is a draw, in a draw, the ground slopes upward in three directions and downward in the other direction. This draw is the mouth of Beaver creek, and it is ever drawing nigh.  From Ghost village we follow Beaver creek and go left each time it forks.

      6. Just heavy loads and water high.

    Means we are looking for a lake high in the mountains. Following these instructions took me to an un-named lake.  You can use Google Earth or go to


    And type in earthquake lake, it will bring up a map to view, and you can see the lake.

    Also, with Google Earth, use the time function and look at images taken at different dates.


    Also, page 99 of TTOTC, I believe is the map to this location, right below JF, is this lake.

    This is where it really starts to get interesting.  I know many of you are thinking this place is too difficult for Forrest to reach and make two trips in one afternoon.  True, but I have some interesting things to show you.

      7. If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

    Here is a view of the area in Google Earth.


    Do you see the Dragon and his tail?


      8. Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
      But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

    The tail is an arrow pointing to the un-named lake.  This is something a pilot might see.

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

    A person must be brave to fight a dragon, and climb the mountain to get to the wood.

    Now let me show you more, this is where I really started to get excited and run out the door to Montana, in search of a chest of gold.

    There are other programs out there like Google Earth, one of them is Zoom Earth, and this program I will use to show you some other things about this spot.


    This is where imagination comes in handy.  There are images on the ground!


    Red circle lower right, do you see the lower case f?  How about the dancing gypsy in the upper left or what appears to be a person’s face in the next image?

    I know for some of you this may be a stretch, but this is not the end, there is more, this was just the beginning for me.  After several trips to this location and coming back empty handed, I had to reevaluate my solution, I had missed something, and I believe I had gone too far to walk.  Therefore, I went back to Hebgen lake.

    While researching the area, I found that the name of the road you take to get to the peninsula in the middle of Hebgen lake is Rainbow point. Seeing that made me think about what Forrest wrote, the part right before the poem, follow the nine clues and they will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.  In other words, where the rainbow points, and this place was not far.


    Now this part is where it gets interesting.


    From right to left, see a boy setting on a stool, a rear view of a cow with her tail and milk pail up in the air, and a boy falling into a fresh cow pie.

    Forrest served in the military, I served in the military, and people in the military use MGRS, military grid referencing system to plot points on a map.  I discovered eight-digit grid coordinates hidden in the stories from TTOTC and plotted them in this area of Horse Butte Peninsula and adjoining edards, I mean Edwards peninsula.  Within the stories, I group together items of relevance, like time, length, people, nouns, and added them together, to create grid coordinates.  One of the spots that I discovered by this method, I searched last year, and found a W blazed into a tree.


    If you are Brave and in the wood…

    Some other areas of note,


    Miss Ford was 40


    A possible sock with a hole, and a big toe sticking out.

    Double Omegas

    For the next part, the answer lays in Temple, Texas.

    Hillcrest cemetery, tombstones, head stones, is a reoccurring theme in TTOTC, and needed some investigation.  While researching Hillcrest, I found, within Hillcrest cemetery, is buried a person by the name of, I Brown.  Because of the importance of “I” and “Brown” in the poem, this appeared interesting to me, and I dug a little deeper.  Looking at the online cemetery record I found the burial section for I Brown.

    I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old.

    Looking on Google Earth at this section of the cemetery, I found this,


    Looks like a number 9.  Is this the ninth clue?  If you are using Google Earth to look this up, you will need to use the historical imagery function and look at images from different dates.  What I did next, and found, was beyond coincidence.

    Almost like Indian Jones and the map room from Raiders of the lost Ark.  I used the measurement tool in Google Earth, plotted the distance and radius from the front porch of Forrest’s old house to this spot, and then took that measurement and overlaid it on the W in Montana. This is what I found.



    A square, that looks just like a burial plot.

    Think of the double omegas, the secret location of the hidden treasure kept by the location of “some dead guy’s grave marker”.  Two people can keep a secret, if one is dead.

    Just take the chest and go in peace.

    Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Seven…


    NOVEMBER 2015



    That’s what I don’t understand. If a man really loves art, why would he pay $2,500 for an oil painting by a local artist when he could have the greatest art ever painted for $1,500? It’s a foggy question I know, but I’m thinking about a life-size print on canvas by Velasquez, Botticelli, or maybe Ilya Repin.

    Ilya Repin - Religious Procession Kursk Province

    Ilya Repin – Religious Procession Kursk Province

    Does it seem reasonable to you that a $50,000,000 value should separate an original by one of those guys from a print of the same painting, when, from five feet away, they look exactly alike? And if the original and the reproduction were hanging side by side, and you didn’t know, I’ll bet you’d choose the one in the best frame. (Of course I never expressed those sentiments when I was trying to sell one of my really great $2,500 paintings to my best client.)

    Years ago, Stanley Marcus and I enjoyed excavating together at San Lazaro Pueblo. He collected prehistoric pottery. I usually did most of the work and he did most of the talking.


    Uncovering a 500 year-old Glaze Period D olla at San Lazaro

    Stanley Marcus and crew at San Lazaro

    Stanley Marcus and crew at San Lazaro

    He was probably the world’s greatest merchandizer. (Okay, maybe second to Joe Duveen.)

    Once he said, “Forrest, two ladies are walking down the street together wearing identical looking full-length fur coats. One lady bought hers from my Neiman Marcus store in Dallas for $10,000, and the other received her’s as a Christmas present from her husband. He got it on sale at JC Penney for $1,995. Do you think you could tell which lady was wearing my coat?” “No,” I said, tolerantly, and that got him started. In his quiet and unobtrusive manner he explained that he built his businesses on the premise that one could tell the difference. “The woman wearing my label carries herself better. She just knows – and pride sets her mood. She’s not afraid to make eye contact with anyone on the street.”

    I’ve been thinking about what Stanley told me so maybe I’ll have to rethink my art emotions. Is there some middle ground, or a good place to compromise? Recently, I saw a really nice painting by John Moyers in Nedra Matteucci Gallery. It was about $7,500 or so. Maybe I’ll go back and take another look.

    John Moyers - Chief's Blanket - oil on board - 18" x 12"

    John Moyers – Chief’s Blanket – oil on board – 18″ x 12″


    The Art Angle Part Two…



    Following the art angle a bit further, a member of the team located what seemed to be significance in Moran’s watercolor “Great Springs of the Firehole River”.
    Warm waters have also halted in time in this painting.  Closely looking at this watercolor, (which coincidentally is said to be housed at the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody where Fenn sat on the board and graciously donated all kinds of money and things, including a whole cabin of significance) …
    … the capitalized word “Brown” is written by Moran at the top of the painting where he has made notes on the gradations of the Excelsior Geyser.
    We were very excited to also learn that the promontory on the left side of the painting was previously named Bluff Point and is now named Midway Bluff.  It seemed to us to suggest the first page in f’s book, the “Life is a game of poker” poem, might now be a key to his clues poem, as in maybe canyon down could be bluff up.  It also conveniently fit the “Me in the Middle” chapter as a hint, Excellsior is a brand of playing cards, and f has used “Canasta” and “folly” in his sound bites.  We took the path less traveled up the bluff.
    Marvel gaze was easy.
    I didn’t want to put my West Thumb over this, because it was too pretty.
    But we found this at the top of Midway Bluff…
    … and THIS…
    … a bronze blaze… and became super excited!  The chest wasn’t under or in the owl tree. We KNEW we were close.  But quickly down was over the cliff’s ledge. If this was the solution, it had to be at the bottom of the cliff, maybe where the steep slope meets the cliff wall.
    I looked for ways down the cliff to its base.

    Nothing looked easy.  We retreated back down the footpath to the bottom of the slope, back to the street. I then approached the cliff’s base and the spot below the blaze by climbing directly up the slope.  This was completely stupid.  The ground is very soft.  Not only did I have to worry about maintaining my balance all the way up, but I also had to worry about not rolling rocks onto the cars and people below.  That was super tricky.  PLEASE do not try this.
    Once at the cliff’s base, I started to look around for hiding places. The base seemed to be dry and flaking lava rock, a terrible climbing material. Anywhere I touched, chunks came off in my hands and were splintering.
    But then I saw this hole to the left, under the cliff and the bronze bench mark…
    2E16A064-F6E1-4ECD-88D1-54D495DA16AD… and my heart jumped.  The crevice was unnaturally packed with sticks and stones and broken animal bones. Someone and something did this intentionally.  It wasn’t deep, but it was big enough to fit a small person and a 10×10 chest. And it faced the marvel gaze.  After climbing up onto the ledge (which was difficult and also super stupid) and looking into the hole, I guessed it was probably packed this way by a ranger to discourage wildlife from living there.  There certainly isn’t a chest under the wood or the rocks or the bones. Following the base of the cliff to the left revealed a much easier way back to the footpath.  I’d missed this approach during my retreat to the street.
    We spent more time searching the rest of the cliff base and found nothing but nests, an old rusted Bic ballpoint pen, and lots of smelly animal dung.  I kept looking to see if I’d soiled my own pants from the stupid risks I was taking.
    We then followed the joker / bluffing concept a bit more around the park. Harlequin Lake, behind the burnt hill of trees, had nothing but lily pads, not even a bronze frog bell that we could notice.
    Angler’s Bluff on West Thumb seemed a curious fit.
    Nope.  Nothing.
    We didn’t make it to Bluff Point on West Thumb because it was raining buckets.  I was also reminded by Dal and other searchers that f said the poem is straight forward with no trickery, so no bluffing.  I now imagine f to be very annoyed with my sending him update pics and using the word “dude” like a kid.  Time to rethink.


    The Art Angle Part One…



    I’ve been out 3 times in 3 states, twice this year to Wyoming.  I link things I probably shouldn’t.  F might consider me someone who has over-complicated the approach. You might, too. You might be right. I’ve started looking for reasons to think outside the box, the big picture, and the big picture to me, at the moment, might be a painting.

    I googled “famous artwork” and “Yellowstone”. Of course, Thomas Moran returned major results.  For those new to this line of thought, Moran is credited with helping to influence Congress and Ulysses S. Grant to preserve Yellowstone.  His paintings of the area were more compelling than the artist that was hired to be there, Henry Wood Elliott. I thought this might be significant.
    Moran attended a famous expedition with Ferdinand Hayden in 1871 and sketched what he observed. The most famous work is “Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone”.
    The following describes my exuberance and then disappointment as I ended up empty handed.
    First, I believed the clues were the nine sentences:
    – in there – go into the painting like Alice in Wonderland.
    treasures new and old – Yellowstone is a national treasure, so is the painting.
    – wwwh – the warm waters of Yellowstone halt in time in this painting.
    – canyon down – Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.
    – too far to walk – the figures in the painting rode in on horses.
    – home of Brown – tawny colored horse in the painting now lives there permanently, also matches color description of Bessie the Guernsey calf, and fits quickly down later.
    – no place for the meek – Fielding B. Meek was good friends with Hayden (Hayden started his expedition career working with Meek), but Meek did not attend this expedition.
    – ever drawing nigh – Moran painted himself sketching on the left.  This seemed significant.
    – no paddle up your creek – can’t paddle up the falls.
    – heavy loads – 42 lbs of treasure
    – water high – falls
    – found the blaze – on the tawny horse
    – quickly down – under the horse (ties with below the home of Brown)
    – tarry scant with marvel gaze – I believed Moran Point was a significant place. From research, I was able to find it was not Artist Point, but instead in between Lookout Point and Grand View, two popular pullouts on the North Rim.  Moran himself even wrote an X on a sketch to mark where he sketched the lower falls. This HAD to be it. Tarry scant became a fancy way to say “Look out!” and marvel gaze a fancy way to say “grand view”.  This seemed significant.
    – brave and in the wood – Moran Point is a closed off promontory. No one in their right mind would walk out onto it.  I had to check the trees.  Seemingly no one would just stumble onto it out there.
    We’re brave treasure hunters. PLEASE do not try this. An almost 80 yr old dude would never consider this, especially in Nike running shoes.  The ground is very loose and drops into the canyon on either side. This was very very stupid indeed.
    – worth the cold – all I could come up with on this was cold cash. Lame.
    Instead of leaving immediately, we went in search of Moran’s aggregated perspectives hoping to find where the horses would have been in his painting.  Moran sort of combined his sketches to create his masterpieces, also to much criticism.  Paraphrasing, he wasn’t painting a photograph; that’s why Jackson was there.
    Our only consideration was Red Rock Point.  This photo is off trail, just beneath the Rock.
    Again, very stupid.  Slopes into the canyon are on either side.  Do NOT do this.  We came back empty handed.
    In summary, it’s not at accessible locations at Red Rock Point nor Moran Point where any almost 80 yr old Indiana Jones would go.




    Scrapbook One Hundred Five…


    NOVEMBER 2014


    My Art For Me

    None of my friends know I’m an artist and I hope they don’t find out. That’s why I haven’t shown in galleries. My art is nature-specific and reflective of what freedom of expression means to me.

    All raw materials used in my sculpture are free. They must be something I’ve picked up in the mountains or around lakes and river bottoms. Those are the rules and I’ve named each piece in my portfolio.

    Loonie Bird

    Loonie Bird

    I made Loonie Bird over at Vermejo Park one Sunday afternoon after catching a 20” brown trout and two 16” rainbows. It was a good day.

    My favorite art supplies are cattails, animal bones, tree knots, water iris, pine needles, wild flowers (especially dandelions), and a host of other such materials. I don’t use lily pads because they usually have yucky insect eggs on their underneath.

    I’ve learned to anticipate color changes. When a green plant dries and turns brown it can ruin the composition of my work, so I freshen selected masterworks from time to time.

    Loonie Bird with Hackles

    Loonie Bird with Hackles

    It’s alright if I use man-made objects but only if I find them out in the wild, like barbed wire, beer cans and pop bottle tops. But no tires, dishwashers or refrigerators. I have to draw the line somewhere.

    Rustie and Her Friend

    Rustie and Her Friend

    Sometimes my work reminds me of incidents from youth and I title them appropriately.

    Miss Ford

    Miss Ford

    I really like sculpting because it gets me out where the air blows fresh and my imagination can roam free. That’s when I’m most creative and easy to please. Eat your heart out Andy Warhol.

    Early Necklace…

    by forrest fenn

    Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 



    basketThis may be the first necklace in North America, or at least one of the first. It was made by a Basketmaker I Indian whose people lived in the Southwest about 1200 BC. Their name came from the large number of baskets that were found in their dwellings, mostly caves and rock shelters. They didn’t learn to make pottery until much later. Can you believe these people were wearing turquoise jewelry 2,500 years before they acquired the bow and arrow?


    In the summer they ran around mostly aur paur but when the temperature got low they wore clothing made from hides and vegetal materials. It’s not that they were frugal life-style enthusiasts because hard was all they knew. The odds of a baby living the first year were one in ten.


    I found this necklace on a friend’s ranch in Arizona. The turquoise came from the Tiffany Mine in New Mexico, near San Lazaro Pueblo, and the cordage was made from a chewed yucca leaf. Notice that the pendants were tied on instead of strung, which allowed them to lay flat and show off their beauty. No matter how tough life was for primitive cultures around the world there was always time for religion and jewelry.



    Me and Little Beaver…

    by forrest fenn

    Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 


    rryderIn 1938 a new comic strip appeared in the newspapers. It was called Red Ryder. He was a crime-fighting cowboy who wore a white hat and rode a fast horse. Little Beaver was his young Indian sidekick and I dreamed of riding with them through the mountain passes as we chased bad guys who wore black hats. My name was Luke Revolver and every time I saw a man wearing a black hat I’d tell Little Beaver to watch out.

    Each panel in the cartoon had a taste for overstatement and seemed to bounce at me with six-gun bluster. It was great make-believe.


    That’s when I was eight. That same year my father bought me a Daisy air rifle. It had “Red Ryder” etched in big letters across the wooden stock. I liked it so much I kept it under my covers at night, loaded and ready or action.

    photo 3

    The gun could hold about 250 BBs and it fired without making much noise. That meant I could shoot again if I missed a meadow lark the first time. Meadow larks don’t like noise and I needed to get five on Saturdays so each member in my family could have meat for supper.

    About forty-years later I met Fred Harman who drew the Red Ryder cartoons. With 750 newspapers and 40 million readers, it was the largest syndicated comic strip in the country.

    photo 6

    In later years Fred became an important cowboy artist whose work sold for a lot of money. When our gallery advertised one of his paintings full-page color in Apollo, he came in to thank me, and I showed him my BB gun. He said he had one just like it but he had to pay for his. But he laughed when he told me that the Daisy Company gave him a 5-cent royalty for every gun they sold with his Red Ryder logo on the cheek plate. Sometimes success comes in small denominations.


    Fred Harman 1902-1982


    I related to Fred Harman. He was a link to my hunting days as a small boy in Texas and to Red Ryder with whom I rode vicariously across the prairie looking for rustlers.

    I have willed my BB gun to Shiloh, but he can’t shoot meadow larks now because it’s against the law. Little Beaver wouldn’t like it.

    photo 5


    Asphalt Art…

    by forrest fenn

    Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 



    truck2Not everyone is blessed with an eye for what’s good in modern art. Being one so chosen keeps me always in the hunt. I acquired “Coca” on a windy day in March, 1974, while crossing San Mateo Street in Santa Fe. There came a strange rattling sound and I quickly looked to see a truck tire add the final touches to Coca’s composition.




    At that instant I fully understood the seductive charm of abstract art, and realized the genius of how some of it was produced. Our gallery director thought my mind was circling the drain with what he rudely called “That road kill plein air sculpture.”

    My asphalt art collection is created in the tiny world of its immediate surroundings and has no loyalty to any maker. But it must adhere to certain architectural and aesthetic parameters related to a hanging loop and full body endowment.

    Since that initial acquisition, forty-years ago, my collection has expanded to four masterworks. The mayor wants to give me an award for cleaning “litter” from our city streets. He just doesn’t have the eye so I probably won’t display it at city hall. But who cares, the curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Washington thinks I’m a genius.


    “Libation”, “Nada” and “Awe”

    Treasures of New Mexico….

    August 2014

    From Elizabeth Schultze/Moonshadow


    One of the most incredible experiences I have had through the search for the treasure is discovering my inner artist again.  I painted when I was a child, but soon forgot that I ever was an artist.  When I started exploring all these dazzling treasure sites in my own back yard (New Mexico), I found myself desiring to share the joy and experience of these places by painting them.  Before I knew it I had created a series –  The Treasures of New Mexico.

    My series, in honor of all of us on the chase, will be displayed at Java Joe’s Coffee House during the month of September.  If you happen to be in Santa Fe during September, please stop by and have a cup of coffee, say hi to my friend Dave, and take a look at my work.

    Java Joe’s 2801 Rodeo Rd B8, Santa Fe, NM 87507

    Here’s a sampling of the work being displayed, all works are for sale:

    View looking South from the John Dunn Bridge, Taos, NM

    BattleShip Rock, Jemez Springs, NM

    Ojo Caliente, NM


    Elizabeth Schultze / Moonshadow