By James Collier
This is going to be a pretty in-depth post. Like a lot of other searchers, I believed I knew the exact location and took off to Dinosaur National Monument area but came up empty handed. Upon return to my home in Rock Hill, SC, I decided to read TTOTC 5 more times and dissect every word. My approach this time was to read it slowly, to listen carefully, and make sure I had an imagination along with an open mind. To basically read it like a 10-15-year-old might. I went through every chapter and wrote down what I thought were clues. Although Fenn says the clues are “subtle,” I believe they ARE deliberate and direct you to within a 1.5 mile radius of the treasure. Come along on this journey through the book and try to see it like a child would. Open your eyes. Open your mind. Like John Lennon said…”Imagine.”
Clues to why I think it is where I say it is:
Important Literature Chapter
- Multiple references to “little girl.”
- Reference to “mud” when referencing the bell tolls book
- “I didn’t spend much time in the children’s section or cooking or travel. Finally, I found the area I was looking for.”
- When talking about the Kismet book, he makes sure to specify “the Pick-Pocket guy that is.” This comment should be obvious, so why put it? (I think he Is bringing notice to Pocket Basin (biggest mud pots in Yellowstone).
First Grade Chapter
- “My father always said she wouldn’t bite a hard biscuit if she was starving to death.” (First reference of many to biscuits)
No Place For Biddies Chapter
- References to “young.”
- Meek may mean crossing the street at the location…although I found a different reference which at this time I cannot share as it puts me in a very specific location.
Jump Starting The Learning Curve Chapter
- Reference to “Cross the River.”
- Reference to Fire
- Looked corroded (Could be reference to Rusty Geyser across the street)
- Second reference to Biscuits when talking about his dad
- Iron, slide-down fire escape (Could be reference to Iron Springs Creek down from Fire Hole River). He also references in another chapter the Spring Creek.
- He was proud to think of that idea and was the only one who knew about that trick. Old Iron thing marked the tail of his britches with a heavy brown color. (Another mention of Iron and brown as color).
- Everyone who was walking behind me knew what I done. People were beginning to notice me. (I think he is referencing he was on his way back from hiding the chest when people started to notice him as he walked back to his car; either the first time or second time).
Bessie And Me Chapter
- References to Milk multiple times which I think refers back to ingredients needed to make biscuits
My Spanish Toy Factory Chapter
- Unnecessary reference to being hungry and brown bag (Once again, referencing food and the color brown to food).
- Pie factory reference
- Pineapple pies
Me In The Middle Chapter
- Being in the middle again (I think this is a reference to being in the middle where those rivers meet.
Surviving Myself Chapter
- Kitchen reference with more baking
- Making own butter
- Another reference to biscuits
- When he is discussing what they wanted for dessert he states “I always said I wanted strawberry shortcake. His brother would want pineapple-upside-down cake. June, she “Liked something else.” He never referenced what exactly it is that she wanted. He then goes on to say she would trim the edges off of several slices of homemade bread and then cut the pieces into fourths. When they came BROWN out of the oven, she’d put butter and different homemade jams on each piece and serve them hot. They always made a big deal out of taking a bite and saying “umm, mom, great strawberry shortcake,” and “ummm, mom, great pineapple upside down cake.” I can still remember how much my dessert tasted JUST LIKE WHAT I ASKED FOR, AND IN MY FANTASY WAY IT WAS.”
This whole paragraph informs me that the food his sister June wanted was biscuits. When referencing biscuits in clue #2&3 in this chapter they talked about butter and putting homemade jams on them. He then references it here again once they came out of the oven BROWN and they put the jams on each piece. He then states he can still remember how much dessert tasted just like what he asked for and in his fantasy was it was…because it wasn’t what him and his brother wanted, it was biscuits.
Gypsy Magic Chapter
- Here he talks about how five or six girls of all ages built a large fire and danced around it. Keep this in mind for the later chapter talking about the painting he purchased
- Uses the word “firelight.”
- Use of the word “flames.”
In Love With Yellowstone Chapter
- Agate rocks along the rivers
- Rationed usage could be a reference to food again
Totem Café Caper Chapter
- Water and hiding behind a tree
- Brown gravy
- Another food reference to pies
- Hid behind a pine tree
My Brother Being Skippy Chapter
- Chinese Fire drill (I think this is the only clue in the chapter and just wants to drive home the fire reference).
The Long Ride Home Chapter
- “Greatest blossom” to me is a reference to a tree or flower blossoming as when he referenced the yellow and purple flowers.
Looking For Lewis And Clark Chapter & Buffalo Cowboy chapters
- The only thing I took from these chapters was the nod to Yellowstone, as well as multiple references to food again.
Stout Hearted Men Chapter
- Here I am taking the subtle hint to where my final spot is. Under a tree in the middle of a field has been my go-to final solve. “I slept under a tree with cows grazing all around. It was a threshold moment in my life, but I didn’t know it at the time.”
My War For Me Chapter
- A lot of talk about fire here which to me goes along with the gypsies
Blue Jeans And Hush Puppies Again
- Here I am taking the clue of him buying the French watercolor painting of the fairies dancing around a rock “if you believe I’d come to that.” I believe this is in reference to two clues.
- Butterfly is a Flutterby (kids toy “flutterbye fairy”)
- Fairy creek/Little Firehole river
- Believes a kid will find it as kids are the only ones who believe in fairies
There are other references in the final chapters but they are very small and would be a stretch.
So now let me put it all together and add the information to the poem.
Forest Fenn Poem & Clues
Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt
– Ojo Caliente Spring
Take It In the Canton Down,
Not far, but too far to walk
Put in below the home of Brown
–Biscuit Basin due to the multiple references of biscuits and them coming out of the oven “brown,” as biscuit basin from Ojo Caliente Springs is almost exactly 10 miles driving
From there it’s no place for the meek
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high
- Park the car at the entrance to the unmarked trail on the right-hand side of the road. Enter there and walk/wade across the Iron Springs Creek towards where Fairy Falls Creek/Little Firehole River, Mystic Falls and Summit Lake all meet. Heavy loads (falls), Water High (Summit Lake would literally translate to high water). The double Omega symbol in the back of the book can translate to Summit
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
- Will not know for sure until you are walking with boots on the ground. But recently I found a really good match to Meek and tarry scant. At this time I am not willing to share this as I am trying to get to Yellowstone first week of September.
So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
- He is now resting under a tree as he did when he was tired in the story
So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.
- You have to wade through water to get to the final spot
If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold.
- Once across the water you will be walking through the woods to the final spot. I believe the chest is inside a piece of wood at the base of a tree with the blaze marking either on the tree or next to it.
Let me know what y’all think. If someone thinks this is a great solve and heads out there before I can get there, and you just so happen to find it…just remember who directed you there. LOL! Good luck everyone!
– James Collier