Seven Falls Theory…


by E.C. Waters

Write or wrong, I am of the opinion that Fenn mixes and matches words and letters to fit his need of the moment.  I am of the opinion that Fenn draws upon many different sources of information to make things work, and that he is consistent in giving out information in just about everything he says and writes.  For example, when he uses the words “straight forward” in a verbal instruction about the poem, I believe this is a clue.  When he uses the word “ambivalent” in answer to a reporter’s question of if he hopes someone finds it… sadly, I believe this is also a hint.  I am of the opinion that he absolutely wants someone to figure this out, and as such, has been sprinkling hints everywhere.  One treasure seeker here on this blog called the results of this kind of correlation-hunting process a nice fluffy cake.  Yes, I am guilty of this.  I’m a word-nerd, and I’m wordy.  I am an unusual thinker, and so I apologize in advance to those who may be annoyed to read what follows.

First, here is a map of the area of Seven Falls, an attraction in Colorado Springs, CO.


I am of the opinion that Seven Falls is closely related to TTOTC, Scrapbook posts, and the poem based on word elements I have attempted to correlate, but also things I found while visiting this private property.  The attraction is great, the people there were amazing, and the food and wine at the restaurant was worth the experience.  I highly recommend going if you’ve never been, if not to discover correlations and maybe the treasure for yourself, then just to enjoy the environment.  The Broadmoor and Mr. Anschutz have invested quite a bit of cash into this “clou” (point of interest) after the 2013 floods (“I know the treasure chest is wet”) where the property was damaged, changed hands from the Hill family, and re-opened in late 2015.

I have a bad habit of seeing correlations where they should not be.  At the same time, I quickly pick up on correlations that might be.  Decide for yourself whether the feature names in the map correlate to TTOTC stories.  I found many, including the stairs (rusted fire escape), “Washington Profile” (facing left, doller), “Mexican Saddle” (Lightning pics), “Alligator’s Head” (don’t make the alligator mad), “Three Amigos” (Skippy, Forrest, June), “Trout Pond” (of course), “Aspen Grove Picnic Area” (take a sandwich, wood = grove, and it’s quickly down from my wise blaze), and “Pillars of Hercules” which, in my opinion, has several correlations including the clues being “strait forward” (Strait of Gibraltar), John Charles and green olives (Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, owns Gibraltar, Ceuta means “seven”), Cody being one of the 12 Labors, a blog post titled “1/Lt. Aide de Camp” where he describes one of his labors was flying about 12 different fighters and bombers, for a General who oversaw 9 bases.

But the most compelling correlation to me is Helen Hunt Jackson’s grave marker (but not her burial location), who wrote many poetic and literary works, but most notably “Century of Dishonor” and “Ramona”.  These are two important works of the time about the mistreatment of Native Americans.  One is factual, the other is fiction with many facts woven in.  More on HHJ later.

Pirates and WWWH:
Lately I have been looking at homophones, words that sound alike but are maybe spelled a bit differently, or combinations of words that can mean something else.  A fun example is “chair resign felt” = Jerry Seinfeld.  In Scrapbook One-Hundred Seven, Fenn pretty much laid it out for us that this is how he wants us to think.  He includes even a couple of big clues like this with “doller” and “knowlege”.  For example, “a really big deal” might actually be a hint for a “dele”, or “deele”.  For another example, in the poem, Fenn uses “hint” which also means “clue”.  He says there nine clues, and that a few of us have found the first two without knowing it, but also went right on by the other seven (more on “seven” later).  In TTOTC, he describes a stolen ball of string (a “clew”), a deep narrow stream (a “cluse”), and nails (“clous”) he used for clankers in his bells.  In Scrapbook Forty-Nine, he asks why his wife has three bottles of cloves… or “clowe”, a split, like a cloven hoof.  If these are to be thought of as hints, perhaps a homophone of WWWH could be one reason it is so elusive, the reason he has pretty much laid it out for us, and why we should solve that one first.

Also in TTOTC, Fenn talks about pirates in various ways.  The obvious ones are Captain Kidd, Gardiner’s Island, and a hidden treasure.  Most pirates didn’t bury their take.  They spent it.  Only a few are known for hiding their loot.  Movies lie to us.  In my opinion, I believe he also subtly refers to pirates when he talks about “square knots” in his “clew”.  Sailors on ships used a “thief knot” as a potential indicator to know when someone had messed with their personal effects.  Most people wouldn’t look or have time to check if a thief knot was used while raiding a bag tied like this, and would retie using a square knot, tipping the owner that someone dipped.  A synonym for thief is pirate.  Fenn’s clew turned up missing.  A scrapbook post about a “Black-Crested Buzzard-Eagle” is about birds, including the buzzard-eagle, and a parrot named Sinbad.  A parrot is typically seen in cartoons and Disney characters with pirates.  The buzzard is actually the nickname of a real pirate, La Buse (French for buzzard, it sounds like “booze”, which I need right now while writing this).  When Fenn uses “folly”, did you know that the name “Foley” is synonymous with pirate?

In Scrapbook Sixty-One, Fenn used the phrase “It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper.”  Whether what I’m doing is fluffy cake or not is arguable, but Errol Flynn is attributed with saying “It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.”  An Errol Flynn pirate movie, “Captain Blood”, featured Basil Rathbone playing La Buse, or Olivier Lavasseur.

Lavasseur was an interesting character about which I knew nothing, even with my love of Starz “Black Sails” and my hunger for Robert Louis Stevenson material.  I still know only a very small amount, but I plan on having a deeper look in the future because his story is extremely curious.  I don’t speak French and most of what is freely available is in French (or Malagasy).  What’s available on Wikipedia is simple.  Apparently, he tossed a necklace containing a pigpen cipher (a Freemason code at the time) out into the audience at his hanging and yelled (paraphrasing) “My treasure to the one who can understand it!”  That theme sounds a little familiar to me.  Two hundred years later, Rose Savy found some rock markings on land that is dubiously attributed as owned by “la Buse”.  Fenn says in TTOTC he is a valedictorian of “Savvy 101”.

La Buse’s last days of freedom were in Madagascar, where he was captured near Fort Dauphin.  There are hot springs in Madagascar.  One area is named specifically for this, called Ranomafana, Haute Matsiatra.  Ranomafana is Malagasy for “warm waters”.  Could this be a clever homophone for “Ramona Falls Halt”, and the fitting but unusual reason for the choice of the word “halt”?  Ramona Falls is the first in the series of Seven Falls.  Nearby Ranomafana is a district named “Ambalavao”.

There are lots of mentions of the word “seven” in TTOTC.  Not including hyphenated numbers such as of his “seventy-nine” years (79 is Au, gold), the “fifty-seven” he’s been married, he tends to use “seven” (or the ordinal “seventh”) with enough frequency that it is significant to be a pattern.  There is a photo of him starting “seventh” grade, where he was the Grand Marble Champion (Cris “I-hate-the-letter-H” Campion was an actor in a Pirates movie; his name was “Frog”).  It was seventh grade Spanish when Fenn realized his name means bogwood… both “Morta” (death) and “Abonos” (fertile ground)… he claims he had a primeval moment… an Unripe Windfall… a critical Lord Byron winking if you will.  Google that.

Fenn also found Cody “seven” miles west of town.  Fenn graduated from pilot school in September (sept = 7, even though it’s the ninth month because there were 10 months prior to their being 12, similar to how there were 10 Labors before becoming 12 Labors).  Fenn talks about the “seven” seconds needed to prepare to eject, and how Lt. Swisher was “seven” miles away when telling Fenn he was on fire.  And Fenn received a note from a father of a “seven”-year-old girl.  Fenn mentioned 7UP, but he called out Grapette and specifically mentioned the bottle, which came in seven ounces.

There are seven problems in the “Millienium” Prize Problems (of which the prize is $1M for each winning solution).  In his poem, there are seven days in a “weak”.

Wise Blaze:
In “Glimpses of California”, HHJ writes about an older woman in a chapter titled “Echoes in the City of Angels”.  The woman is described as having a chest of her treasures, things she values, and is surrounded with printed ads on the walls, including an ad for “Toledo Swords”.  Her pillowcase is filled with her hair that she has collected over the years.  This is incidental.

More importantly, Ramona = wise, Helen = torch / light, Hunt = chase, Jackson = son of Jack, as in life is a game of poker… The Spanish word for “frog” is “rana”.

Fenn emphasizes a grave marker and waterfalls quite a bit.  So much so that he had to come out with a new clue to say it’s not in a graveyard.  Also, the falls used to be lit up in different colors, like a rainbow.

Other incidental clous at and around Seven Falls are as follows:
– An Indian statue is at a gift shop near elevator to Eagle’s Nest.
– A photo of Babe Ruth on a mule named “Rags” exists inside the cave to Eagle’s Nest.
– A photo of Time Magazine is underneath a “Ford Times” inside the cave to Eagle’s Nest.
– A sign near Inspiration Point (marvel gaze) that points to “Covered Wagon”, another feature, not sure if it’s on the land of Seven Falls, but the sign also uses words like “Far Ridge” and “Gateway to Heaven”.
– A 450+ year old Ponderosa tree… Fenn mentions ponderosa and aspen groves in Tea with Olga.
– Santa’s Workshop isn’t too far.  Neither is the “workshop” school where Fenn mentions.
– There’s an Academy Road close by.
– There’s an actual AFB close by.
– There’s a Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Highway close by.
– There’s a road named “Old Stage Rd.” really close by, as in “all the world’s a stage”.  I drove several miles along this dirt road.  Exceptional views.  Took it into a national park without knowing exactly where I was.  Cell service was poor.
– Also not too far away is “Helen Hunt Falls” (the same HHJ), on public land, with a rock sign just outside (built into a rock retaining wall) that says “Bruin Inn” (home of Brown).  I looked around here, but I couldn’t make the clues stick.
– Each of the fall names can feasibly fit into the clues with some creativity and imagination, like Bridal Veil (secret, pass this vail), Feather (canyon down), Hill (Capitol Hill in Denver), etc.
– HHJ responds to Einstein with this attributed quote:  “When the solution is simple, God is answering.”

I didn’t find it where I was looking, but the path to the grave marker was closed until July or so.  They’re installing more zip lines for recreation.  Then you can take “it” in the canyons anywhere.  No idea if “quickly down” leads to “High Trees” with George Washington forever staring nigh at it.  Or if Midnight Trail is “nigh” and Fenn in the Middle.  I did have a look around the Aspen Grove Picnic Area, near an old light, up a hill near a man-made rock retainer area that looked like it may have staged some equipment at one point.  But I found no chest.  I should have probably panned a bit to see if a Double Eagle would have turned up after the floods.  But the exit looks like a rainbow and has the word “portal” on it, so maybe the Bifrost is supposed to land 42 degrees elsewhere.

Of course, there’s more (in my opinion) about architecture, frieze groups, Schoenflies notation (flutterby), Hans (like Eric?) Sloane and the British Museum, Poetic Edda (Edard?), Reynard the Fox, and other fun stuff, but once again I’ve worded readers to morta here.

One final thought…

I theorize “a really big deal” actually is a really big “dele”… like a backwards P… taking the path up and heading to the left, the path one would take to “High Trees” because George Washington is facing it (brave = to face), and (in the wood = High Trees).  He’s right, no one will just stumble across that.  They’ll have go right to it.

But there is that little problem that it’s on private property.  Going in peace, well, not sure what CO law says about taking stuff off of someone else’s property.

Good luck.

E.C. Waters

The Case for Yellowstone…


by E.C. Waters

Please keep in mind I have made a living in the IT space of text mining.  Each of my search areas have started this way, using logic and probabilities to get me excited about a search area.  Probabilities are now significant enough to me that Mammoth Hot Springs is my targeted search area.  The following are my proposed word correlations.

In the preface, F includes an Ernest Tubb lyric as a poem comparing life to a game of poker… potentially alluding to the Little Joker spring.

Little Joker spring was named by Albert C. Peale.  There is a Peale Island in Yellowstone Lake named after Albert Peale.  F suggests we read the poem over and over and read the book looking for nuances.  One such nuance has hit me.  The word “peel” is another word for “paddle”.  The word “peal” is a term used in bell-ringing.  F has a whole chapter on bronze bells he created, “Dancing With The Millennium”.  The word “peal” is also used to describe laughter.  F has said (paraphrasing) he envisions the finder of the chest to laugh out loud when they see the contents.  F uses the word “appeal” at least 3 times throughout his book, including “the history appealed to me” after describing the bracelet he wants back… he describes the twenty-two turquoise disc beads set side-by-side in a row… in a row, like rowing?… A Peale?

When describing the bracelet he wants returned, he refers to winning it in 1965 from Byron Harvey, the son of Fred Harvey, the hotel magnate.  Fred Harvey’s business has evolved into (was acquired by) Xanterra, the company that manages various concessions and hotels in various locations, including inside Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs.  Byron’s brother’s name was Ford, potentially an allusion from F’s Spanish teacher, Miss Ford.  Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Two has both the words “Byron” and “Ford” in the same post.

F has said (seemingly in third person) an architect wrote the poem.  In “A Ride Through Wonderland” by Georgina M. Synge, printed in 1892, she describes the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs as “No human architect ever designed such intricate fountains as these. The water trickles over the edges from one to another, blending them together with the effect of a frozen waterfall.”  Could this be where warm waters halt?

In “Dancing With The Millennium”, F suggests “I could have just as easily been watching a smithy in the 7th Cavalry shoe a horse. Those things are important and I’m richer for it.” … potentially alluding to the first military residents of Mammoth Hot Springs at Fort Yellowstone.  “Halt” is a word associated with marching.

In “Surviving Myself”, F suggests listening to “Your Hit Parade”… potentially alluding to the nearby Parade Ground.

Liberty Cap is a nearby attraction as a now extinct hot spring cone.  Could the term “cap” also imply “stop” or “halt”?  Liberty Caps were the hats worn by French Revolutionaries, and F alludes to French military soldiers in “My War For Me” when coming across a grave marker with the epitaph including the words “wink at a homely girl”.  This epitaph, specifically, would also seem to have a couple of word correlations to Mammoth Hot Springs.  The words “homely girl” may allude to nearby Rustic Falls, where rustic is a synonym for homely… “please my ghost” may allude to nearby Phantom Lake.

In “Bessie and Me”, F talks about his pet cow, named Bessie… potentially alluding to nearby Mt. Everts.  The mountain was named after the famous Truman Everts who became lost in the wilderness for 37 days and miraculously survived.  Truman Everts’ had a daughter who answered to the name “Bessie”.

In “Gypsy Magic”, F suggests he could hear the steam engines… potentially alluding to Narrow Gauge Terrace/Spring.  In the same chapter, a photo of the Main Street Cowboys may allude to Main Springs/Terrace.

In “Looking For Lewis and Clark”, F describes his food rations, referencing “Babe Ruth candy bars”.  The actual candy bar brand name is “Baby Ruth”… this possible hint potentially alludes to nearby Baby Terrace.

In “My War For Me”, F includes a poem which describes gray-gowned patience weaving some cloth… potentially alluding to Minerva, the goddess of weaving.  Minerva is also the goddess of wisdom, and her symbol is the owl.  F posted a pic of a blaze in a tree, the letter “F”.  Upon zooming in further, it is possible to make out the shape of an owl inside the F.  F also posted a Vignette about a bird figurine he named Minerva.

In “My War For Me”, F suggests putting his thumb over Philadelphia… potentially alluding to nearby Devil’s Thumb.

In “Ode to Peggy Jean”, F refers to his wife, saying “No saint could match her faith.”… with the word saint potentially alluding to nearby Angel Terrace.

In “Ode to Peggy Jean”, F includes a poem regarding a sparrow with an ancient secret.  The sparrow is also the symbol of the goddess Aphrodite… potentially alluding to the nearby Aphrodite Terrace.

In “Tea With Olga”, F describes Olga’s bathtub… potentially alluding to nearby Bath Lake.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze… the blaze potentially alludes to Hymen Terrace, where Hymen is the god of marriage and his symbol is the torch.

F speaks about Skippy’s washing machine fan blades, and the car engine fan after Cody ripped it apart… potentially alluding to Fan Spring.

Fenn states in a New Mexico Department of Tourism video that if he were standing near the treasure, he’d “smell wonderful smells, of pine needles or piñon nuts or sagebrush.”  There has been a lot of debate related to pinyon nuts because of where edible pinyon nuts grow in the Rockies.  Perhaps pinyon nuts could have been an allusion to the nearby Pinyon Terrace.

F suggests in his preface that his church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms… potentially alluding to Cathedral Rock, or perhaps Pulpit Terrace.

F suggests he traded for a painting of fairies dancing around a rock… potentially alluding to Rath Terrace/Spring.

F shows a photo of a bell with a mermaid… potentially alluding to nearby Naid (Naiad) Spring.  Dragonflies are also naiads, of which F seems compelled to form onto his bells and into his blog pics.  The word on the bell with the mermaid is “knowlege”, a slight misspelling of “knowledge”, similar to how “naiad” is sometimes misspelled as “naid”.

In “Important Literature”, F suggests reading Catcher in the Rye… potentially alluding to nearby Rye Pond.

In “No Place For Biddies”, F suggests overhearing two ladies talking… potentially alluding to nearby Ladies’ Lake.

In “My Spanish Toy Factory”, F suggests being the Grand Marble Champion of the seventh grade… potentially alluding to nearby Marble Terrace.  He also talks about “flutterbys” later in the book on things that are important.  Yellowstone butterflies contain several species with the name “Marble”.

F suggests delivering papers as a job… potentially alluding to nearby Paperpicker Spring.

F suggests he always remembered the saying about stepping on a sidewalk crack… potentially alluding to nearby Sidewalk Spring.

In July 2014, F sent a blog post to Dal titled The Dragon Bracelet. In this post he also describes a canary diamond… potentially alluding to nearby Canary Spring.

F suggests the loudmouth young man from the bookstore was on something and it probably wasn’t Ovaltine… potentially alluding to travertine, the substance making Mammoth Hot Springs terraces.

F names Orange Crush in his list of fizzy soda drinks… potentially alluding to Orange Spring Mound or Tangerine Spring.

F names Julep Lime in his list of fizzy soda drinks… potentially alluding to the limestone of Mammoth Hot Springs.

The use of the words “fizz” and “fizzy” may allude to nearby Fissure Terrace.

Golden Gate Canyon seems an easy one.

Sepulcher Loop Trail… well… yeah.  The obvious notwithstanding, it may also be interesting with Loop Trails that F quoted a TS Eliot poem, Little Gidding, the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

Loosely speaking, TS Eliot wrote the first draft or his Fourth Quartet, Little Gidding, while ill and recuperating in Shamley Green, Surrey.  Claygate, Surrey is about a half-hour drive to the NE.  Claygate may also be the origin of the name Clagett, potentially relating to a nearby feature name of Clagett Butte.
Just about each (and possibly all) of F’s section on “Vignettes” ( ) potentially relate to feature names found at Mammoth Hot Springs.  My interpretation:
– “Palettes …” = Palette Terrace
– “Well, Here’s Moses…” = Cheops Mound (I’m not a scholar, so please don’t ask me to prove the argument)
– “Osiris…King of Gods…” = Jupiter Terrace (Jupiter is the King of Gods in Roman mythology)
– “John Bullis…” = Bullis is a butterfly.  “Marble” butterflies are in Yellowstone, and hence the Marble Terrace.
– “Green Grass…” = may be Glen Springs or Highland Terrace, again, just my interpretation… but here he references another location called Marble Canyon in AZ.
– “The Knife That Growls…” = this one eludes me, unless he’s referring to approaching Poison Cave
– “Reliquary…” = the words he’s using would imply a stronger correlation to Angel Spring 1, 2, and 3, but my money is on Pulpit Terrace.
– “Ivory is the Flesh of Minerva…” = Minerva Terrace
– “Faience Protector of the Dead…” = Cleopatra Terrace

So, what do you think?  Time to go annoy the Yellowstone HQ?  They do hate us, don’t they?  Won’t they be surprised if it’s truly 200 feet from their front door?

E.C. Waters

Connecting the Dots…




Disclaimer: This is my hypothesis. It is “tl;dr”, but worth the invested time if you’re a serious seeker. There may or may not be a treasure chest after following and attempting to prove this hypothesis.


So, yeah… There’s a news story out at the moment regarding a persistent seeker. The story focuses on everything he’s given up to be in the chase, and it basically impales him (and by inference all of us) in the public eye. It suggests we are all addicted to lunacy. While I too had come to the conclusion that I had solved the puzzle, I have concurrently come to the conclusion that I don’t want to continue with how the media and Yellowstone National Park officials depict us… as lunatics. I don’t believe I’m a lunatic, although this is likely to be what a lunatic thinks. For this purpose, I’m tapping out, but also publishing my lunatic solution with my recent experiences, which of course resulted in my returning empty-handed. For those who use Twitter, follow my random thoughts on @mikebibler. For those who like, I am organizing my thoughts in a way that is hopefully meaningful for this community. It is important to also know that I work in IT and have interests and experiences in the field of text mining. I use computer programs to quickly sift through information (structured and unstructured) and attempt to derive meaning and/or correlations. This is how I started my chase.

Like everyone, but computer software, I used readily available geo-referenced feature names above 5,000 feet and below 10,200 feet, and searched for synonym cluster hits within a reasonable proximity tolerance. I followed this path for about 8 months with no solid findings and only one trip out in April 2014. I stopped in Colorado, Montana, Yellowstone, and Cokeville, WY to look at the areas of my most favorable results. Next, I focused on specific angles of F’s interests: archaeology (“aguas tibia”), then art (“Thomas Moran”) for about 6 months and 2 more trips, and then finally literature. It wasn’t until I started focusing on story-telling (inclusive of movies) that everything snapped into place for me.

By my amateur and incomplete analysis, I speculate F conceived of his plan with a specific adult audience in mind, wrote a few things in the beginning, like My War For Me, and then began to augment as he found more correlations of his own life to that of “the hypothesis”. I speculate the idea of getting kids out into the woods and off their devices came just before writing or finalizing his poem. He said the book quickly wrote itself. As such, I speculate parallel paths to the chest developed: one for adults as in the original plan, and an augmented plan for children that also seems to fit. I’ll attempt to describe my translation of these paths, right or wrong. You can think about them now because I’m not going to think about them any longer. I believe the chest is out there. I now also believe F to be a genius, far smarter than I am, and far smarter than he lets on. There are some who would say I give him too much credit. To you I say “then go get the chest where you think it is, smarty”. There are a few who challenge my premise and say one could derive meaning from any literary source, such as Robin Hood. Ok, fine. I could not derive a motivating fraction of the volume of content from Robin Hood

that I can derive from “the hypothesis”. For those who insist the poem is all one needs to find the chest, I have this to say: yes technically yes I agree Yes. If that response seems silly to you, please download the free or paid version of James Joyce’s Ulysses somewhere on the Internet, get into the wood (paper) and read it. Lege totum si vis scire totum. Having this book may not be necessary, but it sure as blue hell makes everything F is saying so much easier to relate to and understand, even if (with irony) what he’s saying relates to content that is very difficult to understand. And for the kids, please find Disney’s digital movie Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure.

Path #1: For the Kids

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings.

Meaning 1, kids love Disney everything. The movie Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure has some very interesting coincidences that, if recognized, will actually lead the seeker to the solution I hypothesize is the winning solution. In this movie is a lyric sung by Lyria, a story-telling fairy. Other coincidental names of characters correlating with words in TTOTC include Fawn, Blaze, Clank, Rosetta, and Tinker Bell (bronze bells, For Whom the Bell Tolls). F also mentions a painting about fairies dancing around a rock in the chapter Blue Jeans and Hushpuppies Again. And F uses the words “sprinkled” for describing what he has done with clues in his chapters. “Sprinkled” is a very specific word in the context of Tinker Bell, and has sent many seekers to Fairy Falls in Yellowstone. In this movie, Tinker Bell is seeking the fabled Mirror of Incanta (F’s chest is said to contain mirrors) for a rumored single remaining wish to correct something that went wrong. Here is the lyric:

The Ancient Chant

Journey due north, past Never Land
‘Til a faraway island is close at hand
When you’re alone, but not alone
You will find help and an arch of stone There’s one way across the isle’s north ridge,
But a price must be paid at the old troll bridge
At journey’s end, you shall walk the plank
Of the ship that sunk but never sank
And in the hold, amidst gems and gold,
A wish come true awaits, we’re told
But beware and be warned; there’s a trick to this clue: Wish only good will, or no good will come you

For the treasure you seek you may yet come to rue!

Journey due north, like somewhere north of Santa Fe? A faraway island, as in there are islands somewhere in the Rockies? Alone, like alone in there? An arch of stone, maybe like Natural Bridge at Yellowstone? What’s at the north ridge? A troll bridge, like maybe the (non)Fishing Bridge? A ship that sunk but never sank, in the Rockies, like maybe the E.C. Waters? Past Never Land? Here’s a screen cap of Tink’s homemade treasure map:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.42.59 PM

So, if the E.C. Waters is the ship that sunk but never sank and it’s on Stevenson Island, canyon down or south of there is Dot Island. But wait, Dot Island LOOKS LIKE AN ARROWHEAD! F has been alluding to finding an arrowhead when he was nine that started him on his adventures. I had to have a closer look at Neverland. I found this in reference to J.M Barrie’s Peter Pan:

“Of all the delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawl, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed.”

Ok, Dot Island, check. But I’m a bit of a scientist and this path seems crazy (journalism worthy). How can I actually validate that Tinker Bell has ANYTHING to do with any of this before I invest money I don’t have into a search? I sat through the other Tinker Bell movies looking for and noting any similarities I could find. There are a few, but enough to indicate significance? There’s one in the first Tinker Bell that is a bit more than coincidental to the Buffalo Cowboys chapter in TTOTC where Cody is replaced by thistles that seem to rampage the area, needing to be corralled, with Tinker Bell in tow. There’s a few more here and there that would seem to allude to similar stories or words F chose. But in Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, released after the book but before the range clue on NBC, this popped up unexpectedly:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.43.07 PM

So, above 5,000 feet and below the tallest peak in Yellowstone, 10,200. Ok, check. Tinker Bell is now strangely and somehow involved. E.C. Waters to Dot Island (Neverland).

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings. (It’s worth repeating like F did.)

Meaning 2, in the Preface of TTOTC, F gives us this poem to ponder:

“Life is a game of poker, Happiness is the pot.
Fate deals you four cards and a joker, And you play whether you like it or not.”

These (roughly) are also song lyrics from a song remade by Ernest Tubb, the Texas Troubadour. Ask a child where warm waters halt and they might reasonably tell you “a sink” or “a tub”. That would be useful to derive because this particular song from Ernest

Tubb is titled I’m Waiting On Ships That Never Come In. Now why in the world would F use that in his preface if not to signal where warm waters halt, back at the beginning of his book after reading his treasure poem? If he’s waiting on ships, that would indicate a lake higher than 5000 ft that can support a ship. At least one that would match this criteria in the search zone, as well as match the criteria of synonym allusion, is indeed the E.C. Waters, a steamship remnant on Stevenson Island.

“Ask a child where warm waters halt.” says F. I think this may have three meanings. (It’s worth repeating like F did.)

Meaning 3, E.C. Waters, the person, was replaced by Harry Child after the government became impatient with Waters’ obnoxious behavior, helped introduce competition and drove him out of business. Clever. This Child would definitely know where warm waters halt.

So yeah, there are several thoughts where a kid could assist (as it pertains to my hypothesis). I felt I was on the right track, but that my hypothetical solution was still incomplete.

Path #2: For the Adults

I speculate F wanted each of us to experience our own Odyssey. I speculate that F recognized the intriguing amount of correlations of his own life and experiences from Ulysses and to Odysseus. Perhaps he embellished enough to make the correlations fit, and perhaps that would be the reason he also released Too Far To Walk, to release his real story. James Joyce himself said the following which also seems to apply to F:

“If I gave it all up immediately, I’d lose my immortality. I’ve put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that’s the only way of insuring one’s immortality.” – Joyce’s reply for a request for a plan of Ulysses, as quoted in James Joyce (1959) by Richard Ellmann

With that said, I’m not capable of explicating all of what F meant or alluded. I can find a reasonably convincing enough amount of content in TTOTC, Scrapbook posts on, and in F’s public appearances with James Joyce’s Ulysses or other The Odyssey allusion material. This is super clever because Ulysses is one of the most difficult books to process as well as being the most important Modernist literature of F’s time. Why didn’t he mention it in his chapter Important Literature? Well, that should now become obvious. For purposes of organizing this material just to point to the sheer volume of it, I will do so in these three categories: 1) Ulysses references about the chest and its contents, 2) Ulysses references from TTOTC and Scrapbook posts, and 3) references related to the actual hunt locations.

1) Ulysses (and The Odyssey) references about the chest and its contents
– F named the chest “Indulgence”. This word is also used prominently in the Ulysses colophon by Sylvia Beach, publisher at Shakespeare and Company, apologizing for the

misspellings in this most exceptional of cases.
– The chest depicts ladders. In Ulysses, I wonder if this alludes to Stephen and Buck leaving the tower via a ladder.
– 265 gold coins = 265,000 words in Ulysses
– 2 Ceylon sapphires = Ceylon tea distributor located at 2 Mincing Lane, London, E.C. (there’s E.C. again… so strange)
– 6 emeralds = I believe this relates to the emerald 4-leaf shamrock ring (2 extra as stem)
– 42 lbs = #42 is Ulysses in the Companion to Modernist Literature
– 20.5 Troy lbs of gold = Troy was defeated in The Odyssey, the book which Ulysses is said to allude. Twenty may allude to the number of people at Dignam’s funeral. Death’s number.
– F’s autobiography in an olive jar = Odysseus built his unmovable bed around an olive tree, proof to Penelope that he was Odysseus. In Ulysses, “Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews.”
– Gold dust and rubies = I speculate it relates to this line in Ulysses … “Dust slept on dull coils of bronze and silver, lozenges of cinnabar, on rubies, leprous and winedark stones.”
– My hypothesis suggests there is likely to be more, I’m just not ambitious enough to find and list them.

Not convinced yet? Let’s continue.

2) Ulysses (and The Odyssey) references from TTOTC and Scrapbook posts
– Ulysses uses the word “Fenian” for an Irish movement of the time (that’s kind of funny).
– Important Literature – F references the book Kismet, kismet is mentioned 4 times in Ulysses.
– Important Literature – Ulysses is missing while being the most important Modernist literature of F’s time.
– First Grade – F says John Charles would bring a jar of olives to school. In Ulysses, “Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews.”
– My Spanish Toy Factory – Ulysses references a squatted child at marbles.
– Me In The Middle – references chickens being chased, same is in opening scene of O Brother Where Art Thou (another set of allusions to The Odyssey)
– Gypsy Magic – Ulysses uses the words red Egyptians as Gypsies were was once thought to have Egyptian origins.
– My War For Me – F references Shakespeare throughout, Ulysses references Shakespeare and Hamlet throughout, and the book was published by Shakespeare and Company. There are several more, but this is getting too long.
– Teachers With Ropes – this concept is the final scene in O Brother Where Art Thou (another set of allusions to The Odyssey), the Penelope character is dragging her children holding onto twine, the last one is lassoed with the twine.
– Teachers With Ropes – Gilbert Stuart is the artist of the George Washington paintings F allows the children to touch. Stuart Gilbert was the French translator for Ulysses.
– A scrapbook about forgetting his keys – In Ulysses, Bloom has to break into his own house through the basement for the same reason.

– A scrapbook about house slippers with a hole in his sock – In Ulysses, “Stephanos, my crown. My sword. His boots are spoiling the shape of my feet. Buy a pair. Holes in my socks. Handkerchief too.”
– A scrapbook on Glenna Goodcare (of her works, he chose these) – In Ulysses, “… the tea merchant, drove past us in a gig with his daughter, Dancer Moses was her name…” This scrapbook instead could be pointing to the importance of the maternal relationship alluded to in Ulysses, and between Molly and Milly. There are very small Molly Islands in Yellowstone Lake. I suppose it’s also possible that the chest could be here, but everything else in my hypothesis points to Dot Island. And perhaps I’m anchored.

– My hypothesis suggests there is many many more, I’m just not ambitious enough to find and list them.

Still not convinced TTOTC is entangled with Ulysses? One more.

3) references related to the actual hunt locations (in my interpretation)
– wwwh: E.C. Waters – there’s a German passage in Ulysses, “Und alle Shiffe brücken.” – canyon down, tftw: boat to Dot Island – Ulysses refers to Dottyville, a colloquialism to a lunatic asylum, and according to journalists, where all of us belong.
– home of Brown – A Phil May cartoon referencing Dottyville seems appropriate to F. Definitely google it.
– no place for the meek: Dottyville (Dot Island) was E.C. Waters’ zoo. The park officials shut it down after seeing what an idiot Waters was and how the animals were being treated.
– end drawing nigh: Dottyville (Dot Island) is in the shape of an arrowhead, pointing NW.
– no paddle: Dottyville (Dot Island)… seriously, have a big motorized boat take you, or if you’ve dragged your own there, use it. Paddling here could endanger your life.
– water high: elevation of Yellowstone Lake
– blaze: Dottyville (Dot Island) pointing at the location. Ithaca, Episode 17 in Ulysses, ends with a giant dot, an oversized period which at the time alluded to a Latin mathematical suggestion of QED, or problem solved.
– hear me now and listen good: a sound (water measurement) synonym is “fathom”… he says this twice —> 2 fathoms – he also alludes to this somewhere when describing measurement systems of links, chains, fence poles, telephone poles, and fathoms.
– efforts worth the cold: this is where I completely missed it… I think you have to wade into cold water and look under a rock off the point of Dot Island (there are 2 visible during windy waves, it’s probably the one 2 fathoms or 12 feet away from the NW point shore so that Dot Island is pointing at it). I started to wade in barefooted, without waders. My feet were in pain immediately and began to numb. I had to turn around. A fathom used be about an arm’s length. Maybe he’s suggesting to stick your arms in the ice cold water and feel around. That seems weird. Maybe use a flashlight first.
– brave and in the wood: paper is made of wood. F alludes to this as being a bit of a conservationist. So, get in the wood and read Ulysses. “in the wood” may allude to “read the story about the wooden horse at Troy.”
– give you title: an allusion to Ulysses S. Grant, the President who signed Yellowstone into a preservation… “grant U president”. See how he nicely tied that all together?
– the nine clues are the nine sentence-ending punctuation dots, alluding to the nine muses throughout his book and throughout Ulysses, plus Ulysses has nines all over the place.

Motivation into Action

Now you know the premise to my hypothesis. More random coincidences than Robin Hood? I’d say yes absolutely yes undoubtedly yes. So I went there just last week, boots on the ground. Here’s a few findings as I traipsed around, roaming with purpose but without the confidence in the “get into the lake” solution.

If Dot Island also interests you, and you don’t have your own motorized boat, Cap’n John Blair of the Otter will shuttle you from and to Bridge Bay Marina (launch at the gas station next to the docks where Virginia has manned the desk for years). They are open for shuttle service between season-open and season-end (about June 15 to Sept 15 depending on various things). Make a reservation. Cap’n John and Virginia need permission from NPS to drop-off and pick-up at Dot Island for day hikes because it’s not one of the pre-approved drop-off points. A NPS day-use hiking permit is not required according to the ranger we checked, but you’re not allowed to camp overnight. Earliest drop-off is at 8am. Latest pick-up is at 5pm. The shuttle costs a little more than $300 as an excursion special for up to 6 passengers in total, so make sure you believe it’s worth it. It comes with a canoe, which we opted out of because we weren’t yet convinced the water was related. Doing this with park permission removes all the worry, and there’s enough worry just being on the island than to also have to worry whether or not you’re legal. Once approved, you’re good to go. If you mention you are seeking Fenn’s treasure, you will undoubtedly be denied. It makes people there nervous because they don’t want to break the rules, and they all believe we’re dotty as it is. A letter (although a bit dated but still applicable) is always at the ready to be shown to the “tourons”, a colloquialism of what the park concessionaires and rangers call us, moron tourists, because we must stop traffic for 20 minutes to get pictures of a lumbering bison, or feel confident enough to try to pet one before getting gored. But this letter also expresses the seriousness and the consequences:


click on image to see it larger

Just follow the rules. Don’t destroy our park. Dot Island has a beautiful open grassy vale behind some trees on the NE side of the island, or up and over the peak dune on the west side near the northern tip. There are a couple of things that appear to be old rusty fire pits about 30 yards apart along the north tree line. Do not start fires. Just take pics. We had a picnic, took a sandwich. We packed out everything we packed in, although we did find a few old rusty cans, bottles, jars, and a broken plate fragment in a large hole area with a fallen tree on the SE side of the vale. Uncaring and littering people have been there before us. Just use common sense and you won’t ruin it for everyone else. Also, watch for a nesting duck near the NE edge of the grassy vale. It scared the wits out of me as it flew up vertically into my face when I approached. Good for a laugh and a story after when I could see the duck returned. But that’s the beauty of Dot Island. It’s secluded and difficult, but not impossible. There’s an extremely low probability of seeing bears, bison, elk, moose, no worries of attacks, although there have been sightings in the past of stranded wildlife early in the season perhaps after crossing on the ice. Rangers will attempt to relocate stranded wildlife. One other caution about Dot Island… It’s packed with stinging nettle, thistle, and lots of other thorny messiness. Hikers beware. The nettle is quite ugly and helps to discourage passage into a lot of areas.

Looking east into the vale.

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A fire pit on the NE tree line of the vale, pointing north into the tree line.

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A fire pit on the NW tree line of the vale, pointing east toward the other fire pit about 30 yards away.

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We also located a heavy wooden plank in some woods near the SE corner of the island.

It’s about 200 to 300 lbs. Upon hearing of it, Cap’n John speculated it might have floated there or was abandoned there from a former dock. It was old, very solid, and very heavy. We found a similar sturdy plank at Spruce Point the next day, wondering if “in the wood” could be Spruce Point after failing at Dot Island.

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This plank at Spruce Point had a marking scratched into it. It looked recent-ish.

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An old picnic table at Spruce Point… We checked all around the rocks at Spruce Point, but may have missed it if it’s there.

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We also hiked Sand Point to Rock Point (aka Suicide Point although I don’t know why) to a location we believed was the position on the western lake shore where Dot Island is pointing. The boating staff call it “The Great Wall” area because of the cliff erosion formations. The hike in the sand was a foot muscle killer (FitBit should have given me at least 3x steps), and fallen trees were a real impediment in several locations. But we did find this interesting human formation at Rock Point…

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Anyway, thanks to Dal and Goofy for running a great site. I said I would give up after this. And so I am… yes I said yes I will Yes.

Cheers all and good luck, E.C. Waters (aka Mike Bibler)



Wooden Maiden…

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. 



Comfort comes from where you find it.

This 4 foot Indian woman was carved about 1830. Her original color tones and tints have gently faded through the years to form a pleasing meld. Her dress of green tobacco leaves identifies her for what she is, a cigar store Indian. The split down her extended bodice may serve to show the struggles of her culture. Before the red men got their own historians, stories of the quarrel always glorified the white man.


I like this wooden lady because she touches me personally. When I look at her – silence responds – but her seeing eyes and angelic face speak in ways that are not misunderstood. Although she is good at keeping secrets, to me she’s the embodiment of an era I am wont to know.

FF with cigar store indian

Surely this lady stood in silent repose beside a smoke shop door in St. Louis or some other frontier town as an announcement for the product being sold just inside. At least I want to think so.

Another reason for my feelings about this maiden – she was given to me by my dear friend Eric Sloane, and now he lives vicariously through her to me. Imagination can be a treasure also.


Anabella’s Hat…

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. 



About forty-years ago, maybe more, an old Basque sheep herder came to me wanting to sell an awkward looking Alibates arrowhead. It was worth about five bucks so when he said he wanted fifteen, I bought it. I couldn’t guess how old the man was but his face looked like he’d slept on it for a long time.
“Where’d you find that point,” I asked.
“I donno, wherever I went, there I was,” or words similar.

He had a fun way so we sat down. He pulled a folded half-sheet of newspaper from his back pocket, tore off a small square and rolled a cigarette. The “tobacco”, looked like cedar bark. Then, to my amazement, he struck an iron strike-a-light against a piece of flint, which caused a spark that lit his smoke. And he did it with one hand. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have a collection of fire starters and have used them at mountain man rendezvous, but would never have thought what he did was possible.


Each time this strike-a-light struck the sharp edge of a flint it removed a red hot fliver of steel that fell upon tinder and started a fire.

Several cigarettes later the sheep herder rested his hat on the bench next to me. I picked it up. It was homemade from very thick, hand tanned hide, probably buffalo, and was maybe a hundred years old. He could see I liked it, and smiled to reveal an interesting tooth-lacking dental pattern.


Anabella’s Hat

“It’ll break a fall,” he grinned, and pointed to the bullet hole near the hat’s forehead. “Got that one moonlit night when Anabella’s husband showed up unexpectedly. Unreasonable man, he was,” and the sheep man’s expression said that it was a proud failing. It didn’t take much for me to know that both the hat and the Basque had been molded in rude elements.

“How much you want for this old beat up hat,” I asked.
“No, No, with its history of saving my life a million dollars wouldn’t buy that thing.”
“I’ll give you three hundred bucks?”
“My God, sir, you sure bought a great hat.”

Kyetena’s Tobacco Canteen…

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. 





In the early 1880s, Geronimo was the most prominent leader among the Apaches. His revengeful raids into Mexico and along the southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico were taking a heavy toll in life and property. President Grover Cleveland finally put pressure on General Crook to “rein in the terror at whatever cost.”

Kyetena, whose demeanor contained all of the earmarks of bad company, was the influential son of Nina, chief of the Warm Springs Band of the Chiricahua Apaches. He was released from Alcatraz early so he could be enlisted as a scout for the 4th Cavalry. In 1886, he was instrumental in talking Geronimo into surrendering to General Crook. The scout, who was suffering from severe dehydration at the time, was offered half a tin cup of water. He declined, saying that he would accept nothing less than a full drink, a testimony to the durability of the desert Indians.

The iconic Geronimo was a prisoner of war for 27 years. He died at Ft. Sill, in 1909, of pneumonia after being thrown from his horse and spending a cold night supine on the ground. On his deathbed Geronimo, who had long since learned the judicious lessons of what not to believe, muttered, “I should never have surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”

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Kyetena’s canteen from The Forrest Fenn Indian Collection

During the Indian Wars, small canteens were fabricated to hold enough tobacco for a short bivouac. This one, made of copper and heavily patinated, contains the original tobacco. It was probably crafted by an army trooper and given to Kyetena, perhaps by General Crook himself.

The writing on the rondelle says:

U.S. ARMY scout

The TOTC Word Cloud…


July, 2014
by E. C. Waters


A word cloud is an artistic depiction of words found in a text.  The size of the word indicates the frequency of its use. The larger the word, the more it has been used.
Color is not meaningful in this example. will accept text and generate art depending on various user preferences.  In this example, all of the text (excluding various common stop list words like “the”, “and”, “or”, etc. from TTOTC were used with the intention of visualizing word frequency patterns for clues.