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.
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.