Deadwood Gulch…

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by DAVE FROM KC

 

I thought I would share the details of my 2nd search for Forrest Fenn’s treasure.  I did not find the treasure but maybe some of my logic can help someone else find it.  Below is my failed solve #2.  My search location was Deadwood Gulch just south of Silverton CO and I will get into the details about the location a bit further below.  Everything below is just my opinion even if I forget to state it sometimes.  Thanks for understanding.

First I looked at the ‘big picture’ because I felt that was missing from my first solve which initially led me to the wrong location for WWWH.  After giving it some thought, I felt the big picture might be related to Forrest facing his mortality, looking back at his life, and making a final statement to the world about his life…or at least a final statement to his father.  Forrest mentioned on multiple occasions that his father instructed him to ‘grab all of the bananas’, specifically while riding on a ‘train’.  I figured the ‘train’ was a metaphor for life and that the ‘bananas’ were a metaphor for seizing every opportunity that life presents.  Since Forrest mentioned this train/bananas metaphor multiple times I felt like he was saying that this was very important and sage advice from his father and that he tried to adhere to it during his life.  From Fenn’s writings, I do feel as though it is important to Forrest that he impress his father.  I then went on to conclude that the treasure chest and its contents represented some of the many ‘bananas’ that Forrest had grabbed during his life.  I felt like this train/banana metaphor from his father might have been what Forrest was referring to when he stated “What surprises me a little is that nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve”.  I personally have not read on any of the blogs where searchers believe a train should be involved because of the banana metaphor (I have seen searchers that like train involvement for the halts but not for the banana metaphor).  Am I the first to analyze this important metaphor from his father and is this what Forrest was referring to with his quote above?  Who knows.

 Forrest’s original idea about the poem and the location was that he would go to the location, die with the chest, and leave the poem for people to come find him and the chest.  For my solution I looked for a location that would include a steam train, a canyon, a river with ‘put ins’ for rafts/kayaks, a potential home of Brown, and other aspects of metaphorical significance for someone dying.  Forrest did say “those who solve the first clue are more than half way there, metaphorically speaking”.  I took this as a hint that metaphors were important to the solution.  I think you can still keep it simple and interpret metaphors in the solve…metaphors are not like some of the crazy complex stuff I see some searchers writing about (anagrams, codes, ciphers, etc.).

Stanza #1
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.

For the first stanza, I took this to mean Forrest went alone to hide the treasure and that he did not tell anyone…so it was his secret.  I interpreted “Hint of riches new and old” as a hint that the location had old riches and Silverton, CO fits this because of all of the mining that took place there (there are old mines strewn about everywhere).  For new riches, it could be a hint of the treasure itself, or possibly all of the great fun to be had in Silverton (rafting on the Animas river, riding the steam train between Silverton and Durango, hiking, fishing, ATVing, etc.)  I thought ‘Bold’ could be a hint to the treasure location, which is just a 200-foot hike up a cascading creek just north of US Highway 550 in Deadwood Gulch (we’ll discuss this further down).

Stanza #2
Begin it where warm waters halt – Clue #1
and take it in the canyon down, – Clue #2
Not far, but too far to walk.  Clue #3A
Put in below the home of Brown.  – Clue #3B

For WWWH (clue #1), I went to the ‘big picture’ mentioned above and the train metaphor.  I felt the big picture and the metaphor were the reasons this location was so important and special to Forrest…and NOT that the location was one that was special because Forrest visited it during his childhood…but instead special for the purpose Forrest was seeking for his final statement to the world (or his father).  Silverton has a steam train that still runs today between Silverton and Durango.  Train stops were sometimes referred to as ‘halts’ in the old days.  These were usually water stops where the locomotive would receive more water for steam powered fuel.  The warm waters are those heated waters stored in the locomotive.  I chose the Silverton station as my WWWH.

When the Silverton train departs, it heads south and down the canyon and follows the Animas river downstream (clue #2 – take it in the canyon down).

For the HOB (clue #3) there are several possibilities (Brown Mountain is 10 Miles due north which is TFTW and Brown’s Gulch is 5-6 miles NW of Silverton which is also TFTW).  There was a previous Silverton solution from another searcher that was using Cement Creek (which feeds the Animas river in Silverton) as the HOB because the locals call the water at the confluence ‘Brown Gravy’ (I doubted this one).  Regardless of which HOB you choose, there is only a single feasible marked ‘put in’ in this area and it is ‘below’ all of these (south and lower elevation).  Just south of Silverton (and north/upstream of Deadwood Gulch), there is a ‘put in’ on the Animas River that is used by the rafting companies and kayakers.  This is an ‘official’ put in with its own sign (see photo).  This ‘put in’ is south / downstream from the Silverton Rail Road station so this also has you moving down the river / canyon.

Below are some additional thoughts on this location and why it might be special for a reason important to Forrest.  I believe Forrest does not want his life or his name to be lost to history like the graves of the French soldiers he stumbled on in the high grass field near the waterfall he found in Vietnam.  I’m thinking he has a strong desire to be remembered long after his death (thus the books, memoirs, etc.).  He was also a very smart promoter and marketer in his life after the military.  Choosing a tourist location like Silverton would be brilliant in terms of ‘marketing’ for his immortality.  If his treasure was found in that tourist town it would be discussed on every train ride and every rafting trip…there would be businesses setup in town around the Forrest Fenn name, and they would probably create a Forrest Fenn museum in the town for the tourists to visit after they get off the train (they have a couple of hours to spend in Silverton before the return trip to Durango).  It would be brilliant!  And Forrest IS brilliant when it comes to promotions and marketing.  I understand that this thought will offend some searcher’s idealization of Forrest and also that Forrest himself might not agree and might be slightly offended by this…so this is just my opinion…but I personally would not put something like this past Forrest and would not blame him for such a brilliant plan!  I just cannot ignore the fact that this man was a self-admitted non-lover of art…yet we know he made a small fortune as a great art dealer.  Why?  Because he knew how to market and promote.  Would Forrest get the same level of immortality if he hid himself and the treasure way out in the middle of nowhere?  I do not think so.  With that said, I do think Forrest has already achieved some level of immortality with this amazing treasure hunt he created, for being a war hero, and with his other books so I do not intend to diminish that with the above opinions…I just think hiding his treasure in a tourist town would take his immortality to the next level…and I do think immortality is important to him and I might not even believe him even if he directly told me otherwise.

Many, many other train hints:
The train hints from Forrest are voluminous and at this point I do not think I could have a solve that does not involve a train.  Forrest has talked and written about trains several times and has made several comments that associate trains to death (I suggest going to the Tarry Scant website and search by ‘train’ to get the exact FULL quotes on the below bulleted items).
·       When talking about his dog Tesuque’s expression when hungry he described it as “Feed me now or there will be a train wreck with no survivors” – Death by train comment #1.
·       When answering one searchers questions Forrest gave a long response that included “Besides, I will probably get hit by a train” – Death by train comment #2.
·       In a separate video interview Forrest mentions “Yet, tomorrow I will probably get run over by a train, but I believe in karma and some of those things.” – Death by train comment #3.
·       In yet another separate interview Forrest states “I dare you to go get it.  If you find it, you can have it.  And nobody knows where it is but me. If a train runs over me this afternoon, it will go to my grave with me” – Death by train comment #4.
·       Forrest provides a very warm written response to a searcher named Diane that wrote to him about hobos and trains and referred to her as “kindred”
·       Forrest quotes his friend Eric that the far away sound of a bell “can be both forlorn and soul-stirring”.   Later in that same topic, he wrote that he acquired from Eric a cast iron bell possibly retrieved from an old steam locomotive that he keeps at his San Lazaro Pueblo.  Forrest has a thing for bells.  The old trains have bells.
·       Forrest mentions in his TTOTC book that as a child he could hear the steam train going out of Katy “The Katy Rail Road tracks were about half-mile from our house and late at night I could hear the steam engines puff and the engineers blow their air horns. It was a soothing sound and sometimes I think I can still hear when the wind is out of the east.” – The Silverton train tracks are east of the potential hiding spot in Deadwood Gulch.  If Forrest was going someplace to die, would he not want something soothing like the air horns from the train?  The Silverton train uses these steam whistles and he could definitely hear them from Deadwood Gulch.
·       The last sentence leading up to the poem in TTOTC says:  “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure:” The Silverton Rail Road Station was at the end of the “Rainbow Route” which was a steam train dating back to 1888 that ran from Albany to Silverton, CO. (long since defunct)

Stanza #3
From there it’s no place for the meek,  – Clue #4A
The end is ever drawing nigh; clue #4B
There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Clue #5
Just heavy loads and water high.  Clue #6

For Clue #4 (From there it’s no place for the meek, The end is ever drawing nigh), I have multiple possible interpretations.

My first thought for clue #4 was that Forrest might be referencing the Animas River which is on your left (nigh) while moving south/downstream from the Silverton Station to the ‘put in’ location.  This is the river that runs along the Silverton train tracks.  It is also known as “The River of Lost Souls”.  ‘Lost souls’ are considered to be ‘damned’ souls…since the ‘meek will inherit the Earth’ the meek are not ‘damned’ souls and therefore this would be no place for the meek.  This information about being ‘damned’ or a ‘lost soul’ would be pertinent for any person who is dying (end is drawing nigh/near) and Forrest thought he was going to do this whole poem and treasure hunt to go to the place he was going to die.  Hint – Forrest calls the chest his ‘indulgence’.  If you look up indulgence you find a pertinent definition of “a grant by the Pope of remission of the temporal punishment in purgatory still due for sins after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Age” (could Forrest be offering back some of his ‘bananas’ (i.e. treasure) as an indulgence to be pardoned for his sins?).  Forrest’s scrapbook #26 shows an old ‘anima sola’ which depicts a lost soul in purgatory.  Forrest pretended to not know what it was…yeah right.  Could he have been hinting at the Animas river?  I thought yes.  Anima is defined as “soul”.  Forrest has stated he is not really religious and that he is more spiritual…but I think most people have religious type thoughts when facing death and maybe the fact that Forrest was not religious during his life gave him some concerns that he might end up in some sort of purgatory if he turned out to be wrong about religion?

My second thought on this clue #4 ties back to the bananas/train metaphor.  The meek would not be the ones ‘grabbing all of the bananas’ in life’s short (end ever drawing nigh) ‘train’ ride.  Thus, unlike Forrest (and the searcher trying to find his bananas), this would be no place for the meek.  I felt this is less likely to be correct than my first thought on this above but I would not put it past Forrest to have multiple meanings to the clues and I believe the message of the bananas/train metaphor from his father is that “life is short and do not be meek…seize all of the opportunities”.  So, I do somewhat like this second interpretation…just not as much as the first one above.

My third thought on this clue #4 is that this was the land of the Ute Native American tribe.  There was an “Indian Agent” named Nathan Meeker who was slaughtered (along with 10 others) by the Utes in the White River settlement on the western side of the Continental Divide.  The Utes near Silverton were led by the peaceful Chief Ouray and there was no Nathan Meeker around trying to force the Utes into an agricultural lifestyle.  Even still, the end was drawing nigh for the Utes as they were driven from the land near Silverton despite Chief Ouray’s peaceful and diplomatic approach.  I felt this interpretation was less likely than the first or second interpretations above.

For clue #5 (there will be no paddle up your creek), I note the semi colon after clue 4.  Semi colon’s can be used for a change in direction, and I thought that Forrest might be referring to a change in direction because as you continue south/downstream from the Silverton Station and then past the ‘put in’ along the Animas River, after approx. ¾ mile (from the put in) you will come to a creek called ‘Deadwood Gulch’ that feeds into the Animas river.  This Deadwood Gulch creek runs perpendicular (change of direction) to the Animas and it has a pretty steep climb up the mountain from its mouth at the Animas.  I believe Forrest indicates in the poem that it is ‘your’ creek because ‘his’ river is the Animas (river of lost souls) but the creek you want (your creek – the one with the treasure) is Deadwood Gulch.  Hint – ‘Deadwood’ is a term used in the card game Canasta!  If you do not have the first clue you might as well stay home and play Canasta!  You need to head ‘up’ this Deadwood Gulch creek (in elevation – not North).  There is no way you would ever put any sort of kayak or raft into this steep creek and thus there is no need for a paddle.

Clue #6 (just heavy loads and water high).  The creek in Deadwood Gulch flows down from high on the mountain (water high) and features a very nice waterfall (also water high) just below highway 550 (yes, THAT highway 550 – the one also known as the ‘Million Dollar Highway’ between Silverton and Ouray).  Between highway 550 and the mouth at the Animas, the creek also contains lots of old timbers, wood, and cast iron parts from an old mining operation that, I believe, ran some sort of rail cars / trolley down alongside the gulch to carry loads down from the mines further up the mountainside (heavy loads).  When I inspected this part of the creek I did see some sort of iron wheel and some old pieces of metal that looked like they might have been used as tracks.  You have to be careful walking around this area due to all of the mining debris that included wood pieces with old rusted nails sticking out of them.  I walked around this part of the gulch below highway 550 looking for a blaze (besides the obvious waterfall).  I did not find a blaze on that section of the Deadwood Gulch below highway 550 and ultimately decided that I did not like that part of the creek for Forrest’s hiding spot because it did not have a blaze (other than the waterfall), and I could not identify any location down there that would have a spot 200 feet away where some searchers would have been that also coincided with a separate 500-foot spot where lots of people would have been.  In addition, I also did not like the fact that all of that mining debris cluttered the area…if Forrest hid the treasure in this area I could see it being accidentally discovered at some point in the future if they ever decide to clean up all of that mining debris.  If you are down in that lower part of Deadwood’s Gulch searching, I think you need to be wise and think about the part of the Gulch above highway 550 (see explanation below for clue #7).

Other misc.  hints pointing to Deadwood Gulch near Silverton:
·       In OUAW, Doug Preston writes that Forrest originally intended to leave the final clue by leaving his car in the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  This museum is located just outside of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of museums in Denver.  The San Juan Triangle is created by connecting the towns of Silverton, Telluride, and Ouray.  Deadwood Gulch is just outside of the San Juan Triangle since it lies just south of Silverton.
·       In TTOTC, there is an illustration of “My Spanish Toy Factory” which shows three children looking down at a triangle formation (marbles) and two of the children is pointing down at the triangle (or maybe just outside the triangle).  Deadwood Gulch is in the San Juan Mountains (San Juan is obviously a Spanish name and could be linked to “My Spanish Toy Factory” for that reason…and isn’t this whole treasure hunt like a big toy for Forrest?)

Stanza #4
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Clue #7A
Look quickly down, your quest to cease, Clue #7B
But tarry scant with marvel gaze, Clue #7C
Just take the chest and go in peace. Clue #7D

I am counting the whole 4th stanza as clue #7.  After searching the area of Deadwood Gulch below highway 550 I think you need to be ‘wise’ that it is not the hiding spot and also ‘wise’ to the fact that the Gulch extends above highway 550 and that area above highway 550 should be considered for a search.  You also need to be ‘wise’ to get in your car and drive up to the top part of the Gulch above Highway 550 because hiking it is impossible unless you are some sort of mountain climber (it is a little over a 2-mile drive from Silverton to where the Gulch meets highway 550).  Thankfully, as you drive up on highway 550 at Deadwood Gulch you come to a ‘turnout’ in the road that is gravel and a place to park your car (see photo).

As you look up the Deadwood Gulch from the mountainside turnout you are treated to a beautiful cascading creek that runs relatively flat and shallow between the steep stone gulch walls up to a small and beautiful waterfall.  The stone gulch walls are covered with all sorts of ‘desert varnish’ in various colors but much of it is a tarry black color.  There is no mining debris in the Gulch above highway 550.  As you look at the small waterfall (which happens to be right at 10,200 feet of elevation and 200 feet from the gravel parking area) you see something that stands out…a blaze.  I had seen this blaze before in a picture of this Deadwood Gulch cascade on Pinterest…and I went there looking for this blaze.  Directly to the right of the waterfall (as you face it) you see this large square shaped red rock facing you with three fat dark black streaks of desert varnish.  The black desert varnish streaks on the otherwise red stone really stands out and is quite beautiful (see blaze photos).

Fire is a blaze and red in color…why not a red blaze?  Tarry scant could refer to the red aspects of the stone that were not covered by the tarry colored black lichen.

Go in peace’ (i.e. Rest in Peace) could be a reference to Forrest dying and resting in peace now that he has paid his indulgence to the searcher.  When I viewed the potential blaze from near the road it appears small and a bit hard to see and almost looks like it could be some sort of native American rock art…but up close you can see that it is quite large and is just lichen created desert varnish with an unusually bright contrast between the black and the red. The only way to get up to the blaze from the parking area is to go into the cascades and walk 200 feet up the creek…there are no side trails and the sides are steep and treacherous and thick with pine trees.  It could be the earlier searchers within 200 feet simply provided Forrest with some nice pictures of their time in Silverton and that the Gulch was not a part of their solutions.  Or, it could be that the searchers were there at a time when the Gulch was full of snow.  This year, the snow was melted by 12May, but normally this time of year that gulch would be full of deep snow making it inaccessible for a search until June.   I had been to this location earlier this year with my snow shoes and snow shovel and learned just how deep that snow was in April.  When I saw the heat wave from 5May to 12 May I guessed that it might be melted and I was right….it was running strong from the snow pack melt but I was able to easily walk up it with some hiking poles and rubber boots (and waterproof gortex pants) …. Fenn being a fly fisherman would not even blink at walking/wading up this cascade.  To get to the potential hiding spot you have to walk through the ‘pinch point’ where the walls of the Gulch are closest together.
Beyond the ‘pinch point’ it slightly opens up on the other side of the pinch point and has an area that has ground with bushes and accessible cavities at the base of the stone gulch for potential hiding spots (see photo).  One of these cavities was about 10-15 feet downstream from the blaze – quickly down.  This was at the base of the gulch and was an absolutely perfect hiding spot for the chest.  The cavity was outside of the creek, so not underwater but still wet…it was about 2-3 feet deep into the side of the Gulch, about 10 inches high top to bottom, and about 3 feet across / wide….and the cavity is in a spot that is hidden behind the pinch point of the gulch so anyone on the road would not be able to see what that crazy old man was doing up there in the Gulch when he was hiding it (see photo – it is the triangular shaped hole towards the right center of the photo with a small log in the water pointing towards it).

I got out my flashlight and shone it into the cavity…I was sure I was going to see some rocks covering the indulgence when I looked inside the cavity.  My heart was broken when all I saw was a bottle, a plastic cup, and underwear!  Yes, there was men’s underwear in the cavity…they looked relatively new and when I looked up the brand name I saw they were sold at Walmart.  I knew I really was up shit’s creek at this point when I found the underwear and I was able to have a small laugh despite my disappointment.  I assume this bottle, underwear, and cup had washed down from the top of the mountain.  There is no reason for people to go into that part of the Gulch beyond the pinch point because there is no fishing to be done in that creek and there are no hiking trails anywhere in the area.  It would be really hard to get beyond that small waterfall and it gets really steep beyond that waterfall so I do not see people hiking up that Gulch just for the fun of it.  It would not really appeal to mountain climbers either because they would get soaked and it would be an insanely cold hike.  There were some other cavities in the base of the gulch that were also empty…but none were as perfect as the one cavity described above…I REALLY thought I was going to find the treasure in that one and my heart was pounding when I saw it.

Other hints related to clue #7
·       Why did Forrest make the upper elevation limit an odd number like 10,200 feet instead of 10,000 feet?  It is not the tree line…the tree line is between 11,500 and 12,000 feet.  The lower limit is a nice even 5,000 feet so I have always wondered if it might be right at 10,200 feet and this solution gave me that 10,200-foot number, which I liked.
·       Within 500 feet of the blaze is a second parking ‘turnout’ on the opposite cliff side of highway 550 that would be more popular because that one would provide the view of the larger Deadwood Gulch creek waterfall that exists below highway 550.  These two turnouts would explain why lots of people have been within 500 feet and why Forrest might have known some searchers were within 200 feet if they took a photo of the cascades / small waterfall above highway 550.
·       People bike on highway 550 all the time and I saw several people on bikes…Forrest hinted that he might just ride his bike there and throw his bike in the ‘water high’ which he could do…just toss his bike into the Gulch below highway 550 and then hike up the cascading creek above highway 550.  At his age now, I think he would need to start somewhere high on the mountain and coast down on his bike and not try to start at a lower elevation and pedal up the mountain.
·       The creek and pinch point could explain why Forrest is confident no one would ‘stumble’ upon the treasure.  It is a great ‘gatekeeper’ for the treasure.  As noted above, there is no reason to go into that part of the Gulch above the pinch point unless you are searching for Fenn’s treasure.
·       Once you are up the cascade beyond the pinch point if you look back you see a wonderful view.  You are looking North and, in the distance, you have a great view of Brown Mountain (see snow covered mountain in photo below).  You also see Silverton and if you stayed there long enough you would eventually hear the train blowing its whistle and ringing its bell from the East.  It is a neat spot.

·       I found a picture of the blaze on the internet after I had my solution for Deadwood Gulch by searching for Deadwood Gulch Silverton Colorado.  Fenn was once asked if the blaze could be pre-determined from the poem before being physically at the search location and he called the searcher a rascal for asking that question and decided after a long deliberation that he would not answer that question.  To me, that leaves open the possibility for finding the blaze prior to being BOTG.  You can find the exact quote if you wish…it is out there.
·       Fenn wrote about lichen in scrapbook 171:  “Because these strong colored rocks are a favorite of mine, once a friend told me that if I took one home, kept it in a sunny place, and sprayed it with beer once a week, it would continue to grown and keep its colors.  It didn’t work.”

Stanza #5
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. 

I believe the 5th stanza is simply Forrest explaining that Forrest is ‘going’ (dying) and that he has his reasons for taking some of his ‘bananas’ to this spot for people to try to find using his brilliant poem.  He has grabbed as many bananas in life that he could and maybe this whole treasure hunt thing was his ‘last banana’.  When you think about it, this poem and this treasure hunt really has been a major ‘banana’ for Forrest.  He has sold many books, achieved fame, and cemented his legacy and immortality.  This was a banana that he could still grab late in life even though he was old, weak, and tired.  Right up to the end, Forrest is grabbing every banana in life and I am sure his father is very, very, proud of him.  I am sure his friends and other family members are proud as well.  He has also enriched many lives with adventure and outdoor fun…and that enrichment of others’ lives has been his ‘stated’ answer…but I think that was only one of the answers (plural).  The other ‘answers’ are more personal IMO and I may, or may not, have guessed them correctly above.

Stanza #6
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold. – Clue #8
If you are brave and in the wood – Clue #9
I give you title to the gold. 

For clue #8 (effort worth the cold), I think my solve was solid.  You have to walk/wade into a very cold creek.  Enough said.

For clue #9 (brave and in the wood), I think that the average person searching for the treasure might look at the Deadwood Gulch cascade with some trepidation…while it is shallow, it flows quite fast and it has a rock bottom.  Average people might think the cascade could knock them off their feet or that the rocks would be slippery…there is some bravery involved walking up that creek towards that waterfall and through the ‘passage’ at the pinch point (hint – Forrest recently said to have ‘safe passage’ and that pinch point in the gulch definitely qualifies as a passage).  The wood clue is obvious….it is DeadWOOD Gulch, and the cavities I found were literally inside the walls of the Gulch thus ‘In the wood’.

I think the rest of stanza 6 was for legal purposes…he wanted to make it clear that whoever finds the treasure gets to keep the treasure.

If you have gotten to the end of this, thanks for reading.  My hope is that maybe some aspects of this solution are correct and maybe can help someone with their solve.  Best of luck to all searchers and stay safe out there.

-Dave from KC

 

Fishin’ Part 1……

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by SPARROW

 

It’s been almost two years now and I still have no idea where Forrest Fenn hid his Treasure. I have decided that I will search no more, but I did want to share a few things that have intrigued me during my search, before I let go and return to reality (lol).  Often, when fishing, someone may ask you “Have you caught anything?” One answer that can be given to help assuage the feeling of being “skunked” is to say “No, but I have had a few nibbles” (or “bites”). 

So what I am sharing in the rest of this article are just “nibbles”, because the truth is I haven’t caught anything. I am not a very good writer, so I would ask that you bear with me as I share these little trinkets with you. I often visit the Blogs, so very early on in my search I began to see things in the writings of Forrest Fenn, especially in the “questions and answers” pieces that he has shared with us. Here are a few of the things I have seen that just might be “hints” from Forrest in regards to HOW we should be investigating his poem.  Hopefully one of these little discoveries might help another searcher along the way, and possibly lead them to the correct solution to this amazing treasure hunt.

Jesse, I am a fan of Georgia O’Keefe. But not her work, and my opinion was no mystery to her. She said I was a LOW BROW. I countered with a comment something like, “who says you have to be a SNOB to enjoy art?”—from “Featured Question with Forrest Fenn, Georgia O’Keefe,”(September 1, 2015), Mysterious Writings Blog.

When I first began the search at the end of July, 2016 I began to regularly visit the blogs. I began digging into some of the older articles on the Mysterious Writings blog (hosted by Jenny Kile), and the writings and Scrapbooks on blog hosted by Dal Neitzel.  When I read the above question/answer between a writer named Jesse and Forrest I immediately remembered something I had seen in the poem itself. Why was Forrest using the words “snob” and “lowbrow” in the discussion? Somehow I didn’t think the words themselves were hints, but possibly how they were arranged in the poem was a hint of importance.

When I recalled that the words were in the poem (see above) I wondered whether Forrest was hinting that part of the puzzle might be solved using acrostics, and not necessarily orthodox ones either. The word SNOB would be considered orthodox, as it is exactly (5) letters in from the right on all lines. But the word LOWBROW combined two types of acrostics: a diagonal one counting in 2-3-4-5 from the right, and then meeting with another acrostic, BROW, which is part of a word flowing from left to right. This acrostic was in an “L” shape which greatly intrigued me, as Forrest had mentioned “ells” in some of his stories. Was the “L” shape significant in some way? This put me on a path of looking for acrostics in the poem which I do believe is ONE aspect used to hide hints and clues in the poem. It did lead to seeing some interesting things. Unfortunately I can only consider these “nibbles” as the elusive fish (solution) remained aloof.

As I continued my search I found in the same sentences shown above another “L” shaped acrostic that also intrigued me due to what it ultimately spells. It involves aligning the 17th letter from the left on three lines meeting with three letters in a line flowing from left to right:

                                17th letter from left

Andtakeitinthecanyondown

    Notfarbuttoofartowalk

 Putinbelowthehomeofbrown

What makes this intriguing is that the N-O-E letters are all exactly on the 17th letter from the left and then down. When combined with the C-A, from the sentence flowing left to right we have an “L” shaped “CANOE”. And it is interesting that the word “canoe” appears right where the poem says “take it in the canyon down”. Could “canoe” be something we take in the canyon down? What do you think? Is it purely coincidental, or is it a hint? It certainly left me wondering.

In another “Featured Question with Forrest”, called ‘Early Morning Ideas” (October23, 2014), someone named “Thrill” asks a question of Forrest to which he replies: “Especially burned into my memory Thrill, was the idea to arrange a cultural exchange program with the Russian Government. A few art scholars jazzed me pretty good and I was the butt of some funny jokes, because it was 1975 and the Cold War was in full blast.

Again, when I read this I immediately thought of the poem and something I had seen in it. Because not only had I looked for acrostics, I had experimented in other ways also, such as typing the poems sentences with no spaces between the words. One sentence in particular caused me to laugh, as crude as the humor was, because the words “butt” and “fart” were in the same sentence.

“NOTFARBUTTOFARTOWALK”

Again, as crude as this is it does appear to match the story’s words of “butt” and “full blast”. As I laughed under my breath I remembered another possible explanation which used another “L” shaped acrostic, this time appearing on exactly the 12th letter from the left combined with a word in a sentence flowing from left to right.  This time also the word read upwards and to the right.

                            12th letter from left

NOTFARBUTTOOFARTOWALK

PUTINBELOWTHEHOMEOFBROWN

 FROMTHEREITSNOPLACEFORTHEMEEK

The S-H-O is exactly 12 letters from the left—again very intriguing.  But why “Shofar” you ask? Well, first, if you read the answer from Forrest above he says that the art scholars “jazzed” him. When I think of jazz I think of horns.  Incidentally, in the first stanza of the poem are two different acrostics which both spell HORN.  And here, with the word “shofar” is another HORN.

If you google the word Shofar you will see it defined as having a “blasting” sound. They use the word frequently when describing the shofar with long “blasts” or short “blasts”. In Forrest’s answer he states that the Cold War was in FULL BLAST, which is an interesting choice of words. Another interesting thing about the sentence itself is the fact that Forrest said that he was the “butt” of Art Scholars jokes.

NORFARBUTTOOF ARTOWALK      The sentence seems to confirm this.

Now, I realize some of you may be calling me “nuts” by now or deluded, and actually that’s fine with me. I realize that stating that “full blast” may refer to a shofar or a fart is a bit silly, but the placing of the words in the poem seems to be a bit more than coincidence in my opinion.  What do you think?  The shape of the acrostic as an “L” for both CANOE and SHOFAR on the exact letters that they fall on is quite interesting to say the least.  But then again, above in the sentences we can see the words FORT BROWN quite clearly too. I thought this might be a hint, but Forrest has since stated that HOB is not a man-made structure. Fort Washakie in Wyoming was called Fort Brown first. So it is obvious that coincidences can happen.

One other interesting acrostic found in the poem is the word GAIT (“Gone Alone In There”). This word has been hinted at many times by Forrest. Even in SB146, when he mentions the duck named ‘Tail End Charlie”, he states that it was born with a strange “gait”. Near the very end of the poem there is another acrostic, BAIT (Brave And In The wood). I had noticed these two acrostics right away as I read the poem, along with WAFT (Wise And Found The blaze) and the two examples of HORN in the first stanza also. However, I did also realize that these acrostics, being only (4) letters long per word, could easily have happened by chance also. But the more I read the more I felt that at least GAIT was a real hint.

One thing that confirmed this a bit for me was another exchange in a question/answer between Forrest and Carolyn. This is found in another “Featured Question with Forrest” titled “Inside Indulgence” dated 12-14-14.  Carolyn asks: “Are there any bronze animals in the chest, indulgence, or anything bronze?” To which Forrest answers: “Nothing bronze at all Carolyn, or even silver. I wanted more expensive metals in Indulgence. That’s why I chose gold. There is a gold frog that’s very old”.

I found the question and the answer both to be very odd. Forrest is asks whether there are any bronze animals in the chest?  Why bronze animals? Why? It just appeared to be a strange question.  And then Forrest answers with a couple of strange replies also.  He states there is nothing bronze in the chest, or silver also. But we all know that Forrest wants the SILVER BRACELET back if anyone finds the chest. So why does he say there is nothing silver in it?  Then he ends his answer with: “There is a gold frog that’s very old”. What I noticed is that the question and answer both begin and end with same acrostics that are in the poem—except they are reversed:

Are there any Bronze Animals In The chest  (BAIT)

There Is A Gold frog…” (TIAG = GAIT)

Again, this may be entirely coincidental. But the number of hints I have seen mentioned regarding the word “gait” leads me to believe otherwise. Because the poem begins and ends with these acrostics, is Forrest purposefully beginning and ending the question/answer with these two acrostics to hint to us that they are important?  I really have no idea. I am just fishing, and getting “nibbles”. I haven’t really caught any fish. By that I am basically saying that I see these things, but don’t really know how to apply them in order to get the big fish.

I might add though: In a recent post on Dal’s blog a gentleman mentioned a game he put together for his wife. He hid envelopes around the house for her to find. He actually went into quite some detail—and even added a bit more after Forrest responded to him

However, Forrest gave only this short reply: “That Is A Good story.f’  (TIAG = GAIT). He added nothing more.

Of course there are many coincidental things that we can find in the poem. Here are a couple of examples. In the past someone shared how they believed the sub-conscious mind might have something to do with the poem. They mentioned ID and EGO. Naturally I had to check it out, and here is what I found almost immediately (lol):

As I havegone alone in there

AnD with my treasures bold

And another person mentioned an esoteric meaning being part of the solution. They mentioned TAROT cards—especially the WANDS cards.  Surprisingly, if you arrange the poem in an up and down manner the following appears  and there are many other coincidental things that appear just like this. Or are they coincidental?

HBHDHDW

TSWNSNO

NETAROT

 IREWEYR

It’s kind of strange how WAND appears all on 4 letters in from the left. Just coincidence I guess.

END OF PART 1.

-Sparrow

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Forrest Gets Mail – 17

Mr. Fenn,
My students have a question for you. Since you have spent much time in the west around Yellowstone, do you have any personal experiences with cattle ranching and cattle drives?

Franklin

Franklin,
Many years ago, my good friend J. Evetts Haley (the writer), invited me to help him brand calves on his ranch in the panhandle of Texas. It was 103 degrees in August and they built a big fire to heat the branding irons. There was no cooling breeze. After the cowboys roped a calf, it was my job to run up and throw the poor thing on its side. I think every one of those critters kicked me in the nose. After the branding, the calf jumped up and ran off, and I had to do it all over again. That day was so hot and sweaty I lost 6 pounds. All of my aspirations for being a rancher were used up that day and I never wanted to see a branding iron again. Please tell your students to study hard so they don’t have to grow up to be a cowboy. f

The Madison River…

POSTED APRIL 2018
BY CYNTHIA

 

I could no longer endure this winter’s wait… I needed adventure and I needed it now. 

On page 120 of TTOTC, there’s a picture of Forrest as a youngster standing at the end of a wooden table, displaying 11 large trout. The caption below the photo says “A good day on the river, I was twelve. What fish we couldn’t use we traded for potatoes and other goods. It’s what kept us going during the war when my father was making $4,000 a year teaching school in Texas.”  I wondered if that could be the reference to the line in the poem “and hint of riches new and old”. Those fish were a commodity the Fenn’s traded for food… could they be the “riches old”? And if so, then what? Where do we go from there? 

At the top right on the same page are the words MADISON RIVER. The Madison begins at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbon Rivers at Madison Junction. Everyone who searches Yellowstone already knows this… it is probably the most popular WWWH in the eight years of Fenn treasure hunting.

And if you’re still not convinced, look at the sentence at the end of the opposite page where Forrest wrote, “But as I got older, I realized there were many moments to remember, like the time I sat under a tree on the Madison River and watched the osprey dive for fish as I wrote a note for my wife…”  The chapter concludes with the sentence “And when my tackle box is closed at last and the cadis hatch is gone, I will rest through all of time and space, pillowed down and scented in, with a smile that comes from remembering the special things that brought me to that final place, one of which was knowing Peggy was there, somewhere, waiting for me.”

It seems to me that last sentence in the chapter titled Flywater just described his “special place”, his final resting place… a place that is private and dear to him… and where he ultimately hid the treasure chest. He mentions Peggy… is it where he sat under a tree along the Madison and wrote her that note? Is the underlying message of his poem his final love letter to Peggy?

On that same page are words or phrases similar to the words in the poem… personal secrets, space was mine alone, I know, watching the waters deepen, and words “special”, most “dear”.

Even if this idea is on the right track, the Madison River flows 183 miles from Madison Junction to Three Forks, Montana. (You could glean even more hints for the Madison River in the chapter Looking for Lewis and Clark, where Forrest wrote about Osbourne Russell and Jim Bridger.) 

But where to start… I don’t like Madison Junction as where warm waters halt. I want to find a warm water spring nestled off the beaten path but not too far from the banks of the Madison River. There are a few to be found on a detailed map but the actual search will have to wait until late May or early June, when the weather settles down and the search becomes less COLD. Forrest did write, “You’re effort will be worth the cold”… if he means this literally, how much cold do I have to withstand to find his loot? 

I have a dismal feeling that I’m a good 7 years behind Dal, and Diggin Gypsy, and many folks who have already made various trips to search the YNP area, including the banks of the Madison River. I need a plan to catch up… so I thought I’d start now, using the process of elimination to help narrow the field.

I had been watching the extended weather forecasts for Pocatello, Idaho, Henry’s Lake, Ennis, and Three Forks, Montana for a couple weeks. I needed a 5-day window of drivable roadways to get from New Mexico to Three Forks, where the Madison ends (I also included a couple days in Gardiner/ Mammoth Hot Springs), and back home. My plan was to actually drive along as much of the Madison as I could so I could eliminate areas… I had already seen much of the river inside Yellowstone last fall so could skip it. This trip was intended to see the river from Hebgen Lake downstream all the way to the end.

I was out the door before 5am Saturday morning… it’s an easy drive from Rio Rancho up Hwy 550 to Rt64 to head west and north to Cortez, Colorado, Moab, Utah, etc.  I stopped for a moment along the road just north of Nageezi, NM, to get a shot of this sunrise. This alone was a wonderful reason to get an early start.

Then I continued north through Canyonlands where the road skirted Wilson Arch… I pulled into the parking area to take a picture but decided I had to climb up beneath the arch where I could see others milling around. It was worth the effort, on hands and knees here and there… wow, the view was incredible. Descending was worse… on hands and feet and butt… moving like a hermit crab down the precipitous side back to the parking area… well, that was exhilarating, and I was grinning… Yep, this was already an adventure!

In 12 hours after leaving home, I was pulling into my hotel parking lot in Pocatello, Idaho.  I almost wished I hadn’t made reservations so I could keep on driving… the adrenlin was pumping and I couldn’t wait to cross Raynold’s Pass and drop down to the river. But I knew Sunday was going to be a long day so tried to sleep.

At daybreak I bolted from bed, skipped the free breakfast and headed north to Idaho Falls, then northeast to Henry’s Lake where I turned northwest and crossed the Continental Divide at Raynold’s Pass. It was magnificent with the snow and the sunlight making it’s way through the cracks in the whispy clouds above. 

It wasn’t long until I reached the Madison at the Raynold’s Pass Fishing Access area. I pulled into the parking area, grabbed my gear, and walked along the river downstream a bit. It was beautiful, but not where Forrest hid the treasure chest, IMO… there were barely any trees. 

On MW Forrest said: ” Stop arm chairing that thing to death and get out there in the trees where the box is, but before you go, look at the poem as if it were a map, because it is, and like any other map, it will show you where to go if you follow its directions.” Yep, I feel like I’m not following the directions… at least not yet. I needed to drive upstream towards Hebgen…

The scenery did not disappoint… it was absolutely magnificent. I decided to use my cell phone to make a few videos. I held it in my left hand which I steadied on my side mirror as I drove. There was little traffic… I think it was 26º. My hand got cold but I didn’t care. I was on a mission… then I accidently dropped my cell phone as I was driving. Oops… thank goodness it bounced away from my truck, and landed face up. 

I stopped many times to get out and take pictures… I will spare Dal the inconvenience of posting so many in this story; instead, I will post a link to them at the end. (I included captions to describe the places.) 

By the time I got to Grayling Creek, the sky above West Yellowstone looked ominous… like Forrest had a direct line to God and they were warning me to turn back. So I did… 

From there I made my way back along the Madison and continued my journey downstream on Hwy287 to Three Forks, Montana, stopping at each of the fishing access areas to peruse the liklihood of Fenn’s loot hiding in the vicinity. 

The next photo is from the Lyon Bridge… yep, I count that as a possibility to “marry the clues on a map and see where the lines cross.” There are trees.. a forest of pine trees along one bank, and easily accessible, all year long.

Eventually the terrain became a wide valley… the photo below shows a herd of elk lying in the field… the river is behind them, and I don’t see trees… 

I continued on to the Lewis and Clark Hotel in Three Forks… it was a small town, but charming… probably… on any day except Easter Sunday. Nearly every eating establishment was closed… and I was starving! But I didn’t care… I was ecstatic… I had accomplished my mission. Here is the link to my SmugMug pictures for that part of my trip.

CLICK HERE

But wait, my journey and  reconnaisance trip doesn’t stop here. I planned an extra two days to stay in Gardiner and drive into Yellowstone National Park  to visit Mammoth Hot Springs and see wildlife… the 4-legged variety. (There was also some wild life of the 2-legged variety in the Two Bit Saloon in Gardiner, but that came later.) 

I had never visited this part of the park before. There are pros and cons for visiting in the winter… it is COLD…. 16º Tuesday morning as I made my way through Mammoth Hot Springs and on towards Tower-Roosevelt and the Lamar Valley.  Even though the road is open to traffic, that doesn’t mean the road is bare… driving through the hilly, windy forested area where the sun seldom shines was gut-wrenching, at least for someone living in NM who seldom has to drive in snow or icy conditions. I went slow… there was little traffic so I had the entire road to maneuver.  

I saw billions of bison and elk… not literally that many but A LOT. I stopped stopping to take pictures of them and continued on to Slough Creek where there were supposedly wolves seen that morning. By the time I got there, they were gone… how do I know this, you might wonder? Because the career wolf-pack-watchers were gone… the SUVs and pickup trucks with the big anntennas and surly people with the gigantic lenses, so I was told. 

Part way through the Lamar Valley, I decided to turn around and head back to the Terraces in the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  It was still a pretty day, albeit a bit windy and still bitter cold, but I definitely wanted to see them.  It was one of the best decisions I’d made the entire trip… I fell in love with the upper and lower terraces. It is a photographers paradise.  (One of the pros of a winter visit, less people…)

Once again, I will spare Dal the hassle of including them in this story… here’s the link to the Yellowstone photos, with captions on most of them.

CLICK HERE

I want to make sure everyone who reads this story understands I did nothing dangerous to put myself at risk. I even used my better judgment and postponed a drive through Yellowstone Monday the day I arrived, when it was snowing, blowing, and visibilty was horrible. I hated the thought of another YNP Fenn treasure searcher having to be rescued… or worse.

I also went extremely prepared… I had snow shoes, snow boots, 2 pairs of hiking boots in case one pair got wet, a winter ski jacket, hat, gloves, enough food and water inside the truck I could have lived in there for a week, as well as a shovel, chain, and flares.  

I did not actually search for Fenn’s gold at any particular spots… because I haven’t found the place to begin.  But now I have a better understanding of the terrain.

I also drove home by way of Rt191 from Bozeman to West Yellowstone before dropping south into Idaho… holy moly! This is a must-see drive for anyone in the area who has never seen this canyon and the Gallatin River. 

Now I’m so confused… this canyon and river is as beautiful as the Madison… and Fenn was a fishing guide here so would know the area well.

I have 6 weeks to solve the poem… then I return.  

As a word of caution, I hope anyone who plans to search in any of these areas looks at my pictures to understand how much snow is still there, especially in the trees. Don’t be stupid!  Go prepared and always tell at least two parties where you will be, and check in with them every day. 

I saw these words on a plaque in the lobby at the Lewis and Clark Hotel…

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,

but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”

I am fortunate… I just had many!

Cynthia

April 2018

About Lat/Lon…

SUBMITTED February 2018
by Diggin Gypsy

 

 

So this was another one of my searches last year the poem and numbers. They matched up to this spot . Forrest said if we have the coordinates we could walk right to it lol so y’all know me. I see things. Maybe my imagination is over-cooked. Who knows? It’s a lot of fun. The first number-

So that took me to West Yellowstone  so I had to find another number to go with it   Hmmmmm I had found several over the years but I had to have the right amount for a coordinate. I didn’t pick numbers to match my spot they just automatically matched  in a place I have searched many times. Here is the second set.

This was the perfect spot for the treasure  so we got down on the ground and raked around. Bu nothing! I have to say this was the best thrill of all my searches. if I would have hidden that treasure it would have been there in that perfect location.

What are the odds that the numbers take me to a location many of us search?    Maybe the numbers are just a hint. Who knows?  I searched that whole area without luck. Maybe it’s someone else’s turn and they will get lucky.  Happy trails y’all.

 

Diggin Gypsy-

 

 

My Solution…

 

SUBMITTED JANUARY 2018
by NEARINDIANAJONES

 

Forrest has stated everything in the poem is deliberate and placed there for a reason.  Along with the words of the poem, the commas, semi colon, and the apostrophes’ all play their part to unlock the poem.

Forrest also said all you need is the book, poem, Google Earth, and a good map, a good map is an understatement, it must be the right map.  Forrest served in the military, the military uses topographical (topo) maps, because they show greater detail and information about a given area.  However, it is not just the type, but what edition to use as well. Forrest tells us he got cancer in 1988, and during this time, he began his plans for the chase.  The right map to use for the chase is the USGS topographical map edition of 1988.  The reason for this edition is it contains information that later editions change or do not show.

What is so important about using topo maps is elevation.  Forrest has told us the treasure is between 5000ft and 10,00ft, the places on the map we are looking for to correspond with the poem’s clues are altitude markers.  My War For Me, notice how Forrest mentions his altitude frequently during the story, what makes the 1988 edition so important over the other editions, is how the altitude markers are hand written, and marked with an X, verses no X and block printed in later editions.

“Begin it where warm waters halt”, is the starting point to identify the first altitude X marker.  Forrest has made statements that have confused people to which stanza has the first clues.  This is because the first stanza contains the first two clues given by the poem, but the second stanza is the starting point for the first X on the map and the poems path that gives the answers to the two clues in the first stanza. The drawing associated with the story, Teachers with ropes, is the hint instructing what to do, connect the dots. The drawing shows the teacher with her hand up to halt the car and she and the six students connected by the rope.  Forrest said, looking for the blaze first is a waste of time, because solving the clues shows the blaze, and when you recognize the blaze, you will know how to find the chest’s location.

The little girl from India hint, Forrest said she could not get any closer than the first two clues, and if you do not know the first clue, to just stay home and play Canasta.  The first stanza contains the first two clues, and it is not until you identify the other seven clues will you know what the first two clues are.  The first two clues are the blaze, and the chest location. That is why, the little girl from India, cannot get any closer than the first two clues, because if she has solved the first two, it is because she has also solved the other seven.

“Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down,” three locations: Gallatin National Forest, Lee Metcalf Wilderness, multiple lakes that flow down Beaver Creek, and end in Earthquake Lake.  Down from where the waters converge, is a waterfall, and near that is the first altitude X marker, or number 1, altitude X marker 6901AT.  It is important to note, the altitude markers have an X drawn on the map with them, and the only letter not used in the poem is X.  We are looking for “treasures bold”, and treasures are the X’s printed on a map.

“Not far, but too far to walk.” From the first X, look for the next X following the water down, the comma tells us it is not far, and associated with walk.  Also following the canyon down from the waterfall, is a walking trail, “too far to walk.” follow it to our next altitude marker 6907T, NFBTFTW, is seven words, and where the trail and road meet is the X.

“Put in below the home of Brown.” Near the second marker 6907T, there is an old Ranger cabin. A cabin is a home brown in color, and we are looking to put in below for the capital B.  Below the cabin, and put in below Boat Mountain, we have altitude marker 6818T.  If you look closely at the map, you will see that the hand written number 8 next to the T looks like a capital B.  Tea with Olga here our black X’s have merged with red crosses or t’s, and the red crosses are called Found Corners, they now mark the altitude.  Also from Teachers with ropes the phrase “do not touch” is in red, connect the dots with red lines.

“From there it’s no place for the meek,” the apostrophe in “it’s” means two are tied together, from there to here, follow the red line to Ghost village, “no place for the meek,”, and to next red cross altitude marker, 6404T or 640for t-he meek.

“The end is ever drawing nigh;” Going left from here, following the red line, we arrive at our next altitude marker, this marker has an arrow “drawing” or pointing to it, marker 6398T.   The semi colon means this point and the next point perform same action nigh.

“There’ll be no paddle up your creek,” From the current point, there will be a red cross, and with “no” number, but the apostrophe tells us to go two red crosses up your creek.  Continuing nigh, take a diagonal line from 6398T through one unnumbered red cross and stopping at the second red cross.  “Just heavy loads and water high” is Boat Mountain, and “Just” means to adjust to center altitude X marker, 9019AT near the red cross.

“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, “ If you were “Wise”, then you are now X, and with Found Corners found the blaze.  X’s and found corners tied together. “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,” follow the red line down to the last of our 7 points, 6547T.  Now, connect all the points to see the blaze.

In addition, notice next to this point, is a gauging station for the Madison River, but on the map, it is misspelled gage.  The definition of gage: a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith. Sounds like an I.O.U.

The blaze is a cursive capital f!  But we are not finished yet, back to the first stanza, and to find the chest.

“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 I” is f, and you find his blaze by finding the treasures and connecting the X’s.

“I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old.”  I keeps his secret where and hints of where to look. The I is the eye from Forrest autograph.

“But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.”

 The area we are now in, is Refuge Point, here is the sign at the entrance to the trailhead, see the picture of the man parachuting in, seem familiar?

Forrest says the chest is 10” by 10”, and this, along with the eye in his signature, tells us altitude X marker 6610T is the spot.  However, we must adjust, “Just take the chest, altitude X marker 6610T, and go in peace.” Below X marker 6610T, there is a grove (leave my trove) of trees in the form of a cross (peace), which can be seen in Google earth.

Center tree of the cross, a good place to sit and think in the wood.

All of this is simply my opinion.

By NearIndianaJones-

 

Season Five…

SUBMITTED DECEMBER 2017
by Diggin Gypsy

 

SEASON FIVE
13.300 miles,   2 pairs of boots,  new set of tires,  3 lost flash lights,  50 bottles of Advil.  Went thru 3 backpacks  and always lost the bear spray.  Someone on the ride always had a head cold. Don’t matter when we went someone always was sick  and shared it  with the rest of us. We’re gonna start wearing those mask the Chinese wear. Smart people them Chinese 😷🤧   Then we always had the one that was always hungry, we made them hike with a picnic in their back pack.    The one who always had to use the bathroom carried the toilet paper.  I won’t mention who that was 😂. What a team we made!   If one couldn’t hike up a hill to look in a pile of rocks the other one did.  That was mainly Charissa and Melani. I watched for grizz at the bottom of the hill.
We also learned throughout the years that no matter if your 5 feet away or 10 feet away you cannot hear each other holler;  bring walky-talkies, they come in handy. Otherwise you spend half your time looking for each other instead of looking for the treasure, and then we all hike back mad and fighting, “where the heck was you?”, hehe.
Five years of searching we have tread thru every darn huge bush. Y’all know which ones. The ones that turn fire red and leave marks all over ya and the bees and birds hide in them. From Hebgan Lake to clear beyond Earthquake Lake  them dang bushes have been searched. Hate them bushes every stump or log along the Madison and hebgan has been overturned more than twice hills have been walked and walked again, and again. and again.
So what was suppose to be an easy drive/hike right up to our spot on one of our trips  ended up in days of long hikes down that road to Horse Butte. We walked all the way to Edwards Peninsula. One minute sunshine, the next minute a darn blizzard. First day was fun. Second day it was a job. Third day I wanted to kill my sister. Fourth day the gate opened and I realized I was now crippled and could barely move my legs to get out of the truck to search within 5 feet.
So I sat in the truck eating Fritos while I told them where to look.
Here was one of our many blazes.
Yeah! A line of white marble rock all the way across the mountain.
Now where is down? lol
Well no treasure there so we decided to look for gold in a creek instead.
This year we hiked thru tall swamp grass and we searched thru all the Lilly ponds outside of West Yellowstone.
We have totally lost all fear from animals. The first year, ohh  my god, every sound we heard sent cold chills up our spines. Five years later we’re brave Viking women.
Searching is so much fun for us, I don’t care if all we walk away with is an old coke bottle and a piece of an arrowhead, and maybe a ole fish hook of the ole coots off the Madison. We have fun fighting and making memories.
We camp and we eat cheap.
 
And when it gets too cold in your tent, you go to the Madison Hotel and get the cheap room for $75 and share a full bed with your sister. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Horrible nights sleep.  The things we do to find a treasure. We had to share a bathroom with 20 other people. That was rough!  I’d rather share with the animals in the woods. None-the-less, 2017 was a fun year of searching with my team of Diggin Gypsys. Can’t wait to see what adventures are ahead of us for season six!!!!
ps: Stay away from Bessie. She doesn’t like visitors. She is one mad cow!
Goodbye 2017
Diggin Gypsy-

 

Closing In…

by voxpops

Go in peace

Here’s the dilemma. You’ve invested your soul in the Chase… and many thousands of dollars. It has rewarded you with views, experiences, and wildlife encounters to last a lifetime. And yet it has also teased you mercilessly – pushing you to keep going with hints, revelations, and yes, even tires! So often you think that you must have reached the end, but no, there’s yet another stage to complete… and then another. Where and when do you draw the line? I confess that I still don’t know the answer to that question, but eventually, if there really is a chest full of gold, it must reveal itself to the persistent searcher. And that’s why I was out there again, clawing my way toward the end of the rainbow.

Let me remind you.

“Asterisk”

In my search, the “asterisk” marks the start point of the Chase. It lies a little way from another marker that reveals the essence of the trajectory that the searcher must take. Look above the drop-pin for the critical element; then view the wider image for something that may or may not be helpful

It means something to me!

After failing to find the treasure at a far distant omega on a previous trip, I had assumed that the trove would therefore be found near the start. As my wife was reluctant for me to search alone following bear confrontations earlier in the year, I asked a friend to meet me there, and we went a-hunting. Here’s the center of the asterisk, which had been submerged earlier in the year, but was now revealed as a circular disc of stone.

Odd how the Google image seems to enhance reality

After a couple of days fruitless searching, my partner had to leave to rejoin the real world, and I was left wondering where the heck I’d gone wrong. I spent another couple of days retracing our steps, looking down at the significant rock formations, trying to cajole my crumbling brain to make the connections. But it was only when I looked up that the penny dropped. Remember the scrapbook with the tangled telephone cable? How about the Native American “listening” by the telephone pole? Crossed wires! I raced to the nearest cafe with an internet connection and fired up Google Maps. It only took me a couple of minutes to relocate the omega.

My first discovered omega

I began to use the “measure distance” function and drew lines from point to point until… wow… I landed in a place that I would never have considered part of the Chase… until I remembered another scrapbook. And it fitted perfectly! It was a long drive, but the summer weather cooperated, and I arrived excited and ready for whatever I might find. I will draw a veil over what I actually did find – suffice for me to say that trespassing is neither necessary nor a good idea as part of the Chase, that landowners and local officialdom are not likely to view it kindly, and that, with better planning, awkward and embarrassing situations can be avoided!

My remaining time was spent trying to parse the information I’d uncovered, drawing more lines, and taking side trips to far-flung outposts of the Rockies – all of which poduced a big fat zero. As on previous trips, I ran out of time, and took the flight home more than a little puzzled. I knew I was onto something, but why wasn’t it working? It wasn’t long before I discovered my error. When Forrest talks about following the clues precisely, he’s not merely using a figure of speech. Precisely means with precision down to a few feet. I had made an error of calculation that, over the large distances involved, had amplified itself to an order of magnitude that was bound to lead me astray. I corrected the error and… wow again!

*If you wear a smile to the right spot you will wear a grin going home. f “

One of my perennial failings is impatience. You would think that after nearly five years of painstaking work on the poem and BOTG, I would have overcome that by now. If so, you would be wrong. I was back in the UK and tearing my hair out. How was I going to get back to search that spot? I emailed my friend in the States and asked if he was up for another adventure. He was (what a trooper)! As he prepared to fly out there, I kept working on the coordinates, coming up with three likely spots, all within a couple of hundred feet. There was the anchor:

You need to look very carefully to find the anchor

Here’s how I see it

And if that was too much of a stretch, there was also the smiling frog, which I shall keep to myself for now. And there was my friend’s frustration as he reported back that he was drawing a complete blank, trudging across the empty landscape. I felt crestfallen, and guilty for sending him on what was turning out to be a wild goose chase. And yet…

It was only later that I spotted the “lighthouse,” flashing its friendly warning like the asterisk so many miles distant. And didn’t it also resemble a keyhole?

Bring a flashlight!

I fired up GE and loaded the coordinates. Usually, when you use the time slider on GE, the earlier images are too low-res and blurred to discern much at high magnification. This time it was different. I could clearly see that the “lighthouse” didn’t exist in 2009 and before. I connected the images I’d found, and revealed something fascinating, apart from the fact that they aligned nearly perfectly. A year earlier I had sent Forrest certain coordinates based on something discovered in the poem. I now realized I had been prescient but premature. That was the wrong time to use that clue. Now it fitted perfectly, and it said something about “in the wood” that I would never have guessed if I hadn’t gone on a frantic Google hunt as these revelations dawned. I had to get back there!

It was then that my wife decided that she had to get over to the States within a few weeks to deal with some pressing family business. I would have just been in the way during the visit, but what if I used the opportunity to make one more trip? We’ve reached that point in life where we dread flying – particularly across multiple timezones; it leaves us wiped out for days, and the whole security rigmarole takes any of the remaining fun away. But this was just too good an opportunity to ignore. I left Val at Salt Lake City and headed out to my spot. Two days later, I was as frustrated as my friend had been. I had found nothing… until I decided to check the two “ends” of my specific line of latitude. At one end there was a circle in the ground, and at the other end was… smashed pottery.

Someone had a smashing time!

Wasn’t there a scrapbook about smashing pottery? I looked closer:

Garden City Pottery Co.

The Garden City Pottery Co., based in San Jose, was big in the early part of the 20th century before going into decline, finally shutting its doors in 1987. As with most of my artifact discoveries, this was found where there was little in the way of human detritus. Why would someone have taken a large and heavy pottery vase – almost an antique – out into the wilderness just to smash and discard it? And why were the pieces arranged as they were, with a few shoved in between sage brush roots, and the others in a line that pointed toward the circle? It was not a major find, but coupled with something else I had discovered out there it told me to head south. And so south I went. In fact I went so far south that I was starting to brush up on my Spanish! After a day or two of this, I turned around and retraced my steps. Sitting down near some water, I tried to think. It’s something that I find much harder to do when I’m BOTG than when I’m in the warm cocoon of my own home. But this time I made a breakthrough. What if I reversed something important? I went down to a key spot – nada. I went up – zilch. But wait… what’s that?

Frogs on the brain!

The frog stone set me thinking again. It was the second time a frog had entered the arena for me. Maybe I wasn’t so far off. I hoped that the weather would hold –  the temperature was plummeting during the night, but there was little in the way of rain… yet. I was venturing into some territory that might be difficult to extract myself from if a storm hit. Interestingly, by now I had exhausted all of the poem’s coordinates. I used to think that it was simply a question of unlocking these numbers, and they would take you to the treasure. Now, I was beginning to realize that Mr. Fenn expects you to use logic and imagination in spades once you’ve made use of the coordinates. So that’s what I tried to do. And one October morning I alighted from my rental car, walked to the spot my thought processes had indicated, and stared in wonder at a reversed question mark. My photos are not bad, but they can’t convey the clarity with which the 3D image presented itself on site.

…ti si yhw oS

Looking from above the reversed question mark is probably the better way to view it:

What the heck is it saying?

I knew I had uncovered an important clue, but I had no idea how to use it – and as usual my time was running out. I had to rejoin Val at her sister’s place.

It was on the flight that I thought I had the answer. As soon as I could, I checked coordinates and became convinced that I’d found a potential ending location. The only trouble was that we were talking private land again. I’d learned my lesson on that front, and so I tried to re-plot my next move. Fortunately, my wife and her siblings had more work to do that didn’t involve me, and so I rented another car and drove across three states back to the spot. I checked all possible permutations, and came within a whisker of another bear encounter. I stumbled into a clearing in the trees, saw the disturbed ground and smelled the very pungent odor. I think I was lucky that I’m such a clumsy hunter that there was no way I could have surprised this particular beast. I kept that foray as short as possible, walked back to the car uttering a few choice oaths aimed at the poem’s author, and returned to the hotel to think some more.

That was when it hit. It was a real “duh” moment for me! I had not extended my line from the question mark far enough. The frog had given me the answer. And when I looked online, there it was: the second omega! (I should point out that my “discoveries” are not random, but occur within a few feet of specific coordinates that are derived in one way or another from the poem.) This time the omega was upside down. By now, I had learned to stop assuming that I’d reached the end – despite Google’s suggestions! I’d also noticed that most of the markings I’d found – and was yet to find – are clearly visible on Google Maps, but not on Bing, etc. Food for thought. So, despite this scintillating piece of evidence, I earmarked a couple more places that fit the pattern that was forming for me, before tromping out to the omega.

2nd Omega – but upside down

Of course, there was nothing there, apart from a veiled instruction. Well, that’s not quite accurate. What I did find was this:

Get gas!

Coincidence, quite probably, but it was conveniently pointing toward my next destination. And as I walked back to the car, I came across this interesting skull that has nothing to do with the Chase but makes an interesting photo:

Furry friend

It was what I found at the next destination that was the “aha!” moment for me. When I clambered up to the spot that I’d earmarked as a potential pivotal point, I was met by a pair of stones standing in formation. Bear in mind that the next two photos were taken after I had picked up the stones to examine them. I didn’t replace them as neatly as I found them, but they are roughly as they appeared to me.

Rock steady

Upon examination, the stones, which had a quartz-like core, had been cut to length in order to form a stable triangle, and had been very carefully positioned so that they provided a specific view when looked through. I don’t bend very easily these days, but I managed to get down there and make a mental note of what I saw.

Triangulation point?

Gradually, things were falling into place, but there was something about the shape formed by the stones that eluded me right then; the answer would arrive later.

There was still much walking to do, and calculations to make, but something was crystalizing in my mind. Exhausted from walking many, many miles in temperatures ranging from the teens to the upper sixties, I returned to my room to think some more. Once again, I thought I had the measure of what was going on, but on my final morning, I failed yet again. I couldn’t quite make the ending stick. I drove away, making it about 250 miles before stopping for the night. And of course, as I pondered my recent finds, I remembered something I’d seen on Google. It was something so obvious that I’d completely ignored it! And it occurred right where my two lines crossed.

As a result, I came up with two possible hiding places and chose… the wrong one. I careened back to the spot, and spent all of 15 minutes checking – with one eye on an approaching storm. It was no good, I’d have to go. But when I Googled the second spot (and its partner), that was when I saw the evidence, as clear as anything I’ve found during the Chase. I won’t say what that evidence is, but it pulls together almost every aspect of the Chase and provides a glimpse into the motivation behind the whole saga. I was tempted to delay my return flight, but with the weather turning and commitments at home, I knew it could wait for another day – even if wild geese are involved…

 

voxpops-

Spawning a Solution……

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by The Geezer Team

 

We (the Geezer Team) believe that the best way to find the treasure is to take Forrest Fenn’s poem at face value and temper that with information provided by Fenn since the poem’s publication. Our approach will also include establishing segments such as A-B wherein A is WWWH and B is the HOB, the HOB and the blaze make up segment B-C, and the blaze and the treasure is segment C-D. We don’t know if our approach is any bettter than other approaches, we just like it.

The first stanza, we believe, is an introduction wherein Fenn is telling us the treasure is hidden in some kind of rock shelter at least as big as himself plus the treasure box, “As I have gone alone in there,”. We’re guessing to get in there, he may have walked in upright, stuped, crawled, or wiggled in. He is also telling us that knowledge of the hiding spot is his alone and safe. Fenn said when he decided to hide a treasure he knew exactly where to do it but how would he know about such a location? We believe it was discovered during approximately 12 summer trips to and from Yellowstone when he was a youth. If you study a highway map from the 1930s you’ll see a major route from Texas to Denver. That route passes right along three of the four major river systems for that part of the Rockies. The three river systems are the Rio Grande, the Arkansas, and the Platte. (Fenn has ruled out the Rio Grande, however). On those long trips away from and back to their Texas home, we believe the Fenn family stopped along the rivers to rest, to camp over night, and to fish for trout. And, there was probably enough leisure time for two exuberant boys to explore, discover, collect artifacts, etc.

In the second stanza, we got started right away on segment A-B. We believe that “Begin it where warm waters halt” is a tributary water way, which flows into a river, and that we have found that tributary. Finding A, of course, is the key to the whole enchilada. The tributary has numerous hot springs making it a warm water source. Then we have: “And take it in the canyon down,” which means the searcher is in a water craft of some kind (canoe, kayak, raft) going with the current and into a canyon. We believe the use of a water craft is confirmed by “put in” (2nd stanza, 4th line) which is a nautical term meaning to land, esp. put in to a port. Alternatively, a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance might be able to be used when this river’s water is low, typically, early spring and late autum. But we don’t know if that’s legal. Now, what about “Not far, but too far to walk.”? How can a destination be both “not far” but also “too far” at the same time? Since the searcher has to go down through a canyon he/she might think why not just walk up on top the river bank. We believe Fenn is telling us (and we observed) that the canyon has sides that are riddled with deep gulches making that kind of endeavour a long hike – up and down, up and down, up and down, etc. thus adding many more miles, and tough ones at that.

“Put in below the home of Brown.” tells us where to stop, where to “Put in”, thus determining segment A-B. It seems like there are two ways to interpret “… home of Brown.”, both require Brown to be capitalized, but for different reasons. The first is that Brown is a proper name wherein the searcher must find a person, place or thing named Brown along the river, in the river, or on top of a bank overlooking the river, etc. We call this the “proper name” scenario The second interpretation is that Brown refers to an animal species; e.g., Brown Bear, Brown Trout. I can hear many folks screaming right now; ” … but, but, but, but the rules of capitalzation …”! And, early on in our quest, we would have been screaming right along with you. However, the capitalization of common species names is now becoming a regular practice. But, this is also a special case allowing Brown to be capitalized to distinguish a common species name from a feature like color. For example, we are saying these are not just trout that are colored brown but are a species with many distiguishing features. We call this the “Brown Trout” scenario, which we will pursue if the “proper name” scenario does not produce the treasure. More discussion on this later.

In searching for point B of segement A-B, we actually found a location with an interesting proper name. The proper name we found is Brownsville! But don’t try to find it on a map because it hasn’t existed for a long time. The town of Brownsville was a ghost town when the Fenn’s visited the area and there is now a different name for that location! That Fenn sure is a sly old fox, but don’t try to baffle the old Geezer Team, buddy boy! Actually, we stumbled into that information, serendipitiously, and went to the old Brownsville cemetary but couldn’t find “any body” named Brown (ha, ha, ha). We discovered later that the Brown in question is in a different cemetary. The old Brownsville town wasn’t quite on the river, but the slope of the land from the town down to the river canyon was sufficient for us to believe that that part of the river is “below the home of Brown.” Further, if a searcher “puts in” on the opposite river bank there is a gulch that kind of fits the next part of the poem.

For segment B-C, Fenn cautions that the going will be tough (“From there it’s no place for the meek,”) and searchers will be in a non-navigable creek (“there’ll be no paddle up your creek,”). We are puzzled, however, by the words “your creek”, why not just say “the creek”. One reason we could think of was that maybe we should be looking for a creek with a name like “Treasure Creek” or “Gold Creek” or “Searchers Creek”, etc. But there are no creeks with names that fit that category in our search area. We are more puzzled by the next line, however: “Just heavy loads and water high.”! Some searchers say the heavy loads could be big boulders and rocks but I hope no one is trying to carry them around! Some searchers say the heavy loads are the treasure box contents, but it hasn’t been found yet since we’re following the poem sequently, as Fenn suggests. Does “water high” mean there’s water further up the gulch, does it mean the water found will be deep, or is it a water feature like a water fall? We know for a fact that this gulch has a wet lands seven miles up from the river and has some small springs along the way but for the most part the gulch is seasonal – intermittent wet and dry. Like a tree that’s been cut down, we’re stumped, so we will move on to the next stanza.

Discovering point C requires finding the blaze, a major element to finding the treasure. Fenn offers little help in the poem simply saying “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,” which tells us nothing because we already know that the Geezer Team is wise! He has told us, however, that the treasure is not in close proximity to a human trail and that searchers have been within 500 feet! So at .5 miles we got out of the gulch and went 500 feet left and right. Some searchers believe “nigh” means left, so why not just do the left side? Well, we’re having a hard time finding that definition. No matter, if you go one side and don’t find the treasure, you’ll be wise and go on the other side, or go home empty handed. But, when a searcher leaves the gulch what should he/she be looking for as a location? Look for a place that satisfies Fenn’s sensory experience as if he were standing near the treasure hiding spot. Fenn wants to able to see his beloved Rocky Mountains, a river valley, the river, pine trees, and indiginous animals (deer, elk, prong horn, big horn sheep). He wants to smell sage brush, pines, and most of all Pinon Pine, especially when the sap runs thick! To date, we have searched an area approximately .5 mile from the river and 1 mile up, on both sides of the gulch, with no results. Winter is coming on so we will wait until spring 2018 to do the next mile up.

Since the blaze must last 10,000 plus years it can’t be a tree notch, a carving, a cairn, or any thing like that. It can’t rot, rust, or be prone to erosion or being moved in any way. So we are left with something like a natural rock formation or discoloration. But we don’t buy that either. As mentined earlier, Fenn said he knew exactly where to hide the treasure. It is highly improbable, though, that a natural blaze would be in exactly the right place too. We’re guessing that the blaze is something he made, brought in and placed himself. Something meaningful to show the way. Something like, like … Well, figure it out yourself, we can’t have all the fun. The meaning of “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.” is that since the blaze is man-made, you will know it when you see it, else you are not wise! So now we have a way ahead for segment B-C.

Segment C-D is from the blaze to the treasure and Fenn gives searchers instructions. He says “Look quickly down, your quest to cease.” We believe he means, when a searcher sees the blaze, stop! Moving forward toward the blaze (a natural tendency) will put the searcher out of position to see the chest! Looking down has several interpretations such as look down at your feet, or look south, or look down the trail, or if the blaze is high, just bring your gaze down. We believe it doesn’t matter at this point. When we find the blaze we’ll try anything and everything to find the treasure, even bring in bull dozers, back hoes, construction cranes, jack hammers, etc.!

In the final stanza first line, Fenn urges searchers to listen up with: “So hear me all and listen good,” then: “Your effort will be worth the cold.” and “If you are brave and in the wood”. We believe that the “cold” means that the hiding place is on the north side of some feature, a cliff, rock out-cropping, boulder pile, etc., where the sun never shines. And/or the river and creek waters are always cold! The last sentence of the poem is puzzling. Why does one have to be brave, unless its just a general trait expected of searchers? For “in the wood” we’re guessing Fenn means in the chest, which is lined with Lebanon cedar! For the rest of that sentence and the last line of the poem, “I give you title to the gold.” Fenn has gone weird on us. If we have the chest and its contents we don’t need title from him or anyone else. Unless, unless, … unless all the intended treasure is not in the chest and we have to collect the rest from him or his estate!

A bit about the “Broun Trout” scenario, which we believe is actually a “Brown Trout spawning” scenario. First we have to find a new WWWH for segment A-B, either on this river or another. Next we go down a canyon as before but this time we’re looking for a Brown Trout spawning tributary to begin segment B-C. Once we find the tributary, we are “… below the home of Brown.” and can head up that creek and then explore 500 feet on either side to find the blaze. The phrase “… no place for the meek.” now takes on a new meaning as it refers to the trout swimming up stream to spawn! Females carry approximately 10,000 – 20,000 eggs (Just heavy loads …) which are laid and fertilized in the autum but don’t hatch until the spring when the waters start warming up. The hatch becomes thosands of fry and those that survive become fingerlings which stay in the creek at least a year. Thus, although still non-navigable, the creek must have water all year and be deep enough for spawning (… water high.).

We imagined spawning to go something like this: After swimming up stream, a male trout approaches a female and she says “Wow, you look buff, what’s up big boy!” He says “Yeah, been working out for the spawn. I’m wondering if you’d be interested in a little romance?.” ”I am! I just laid a few thousand eggs over by those rocks in a nest I made. Go knock yourself out, then come back for a cigy-pooh! (Jack Kerouac beatnik slang for cigarette). After which I’ll cover the fertilized eggs with sand and gravel, then we’ll get back to the river. You won’t tell any body about this, will you? I mean, we just met and now we’re having all these kids! A girl has to worry about her reputation.” “Nah, what happens in this creek, stays in this creek.”

The Geezer Team-

Grayling Creek 2017: Cynthia’s Version…

SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 2017
by CYNTHIA

 

The sound of chirping crickets awakened me as my iPhone announced it was time to rise and shine. It was still dark but I knew I had to hustle to get ready to join Dal and the ABC Nightline crew at Dal’s place in West Yellowstone where we’d planned to meet to start the filming of what I hoped would be an outstanding piece of Fenn treasure hunting.

It was Monday, September 18th, 2017. I’d been thinking about visiting Yellowstone National Park ever since I moved to New Mexico 25 years ago. I’ve been searching for Forrest’s elusive treasure chest for almost 5 years, and now I felt like I’d run out of places where warm waters halt, at least in New Mexico. It was time to broaden my search area, and West Yellowstone and the National Park was my new destination. I was ecstatic!

Lucky for me, Dal had agreed to meet me and my friends in West Yellowstone when we were still in the planning stages of synchronizing our itinerary way back in August. Soon after, ABC Nightline asked if they could film us on one of our searches… we both said yes.

Since Dal has searched this region repeatedly over the last several years, I let him decide where we should take them. I prefered a place outside the National Park boundary so that Molly could tag along. He agreed and knew the perfect spot…. at the bend in the road where Hwy191 crosses Grayling Creek. He knew Forrest had fished from the bridge downstream along Grayling Creek to the canyon.

Dal had the solves for the first 4 clues… all I needed to do was find the BLAZE. It sounded simple at first but the previous night I laid in bed worrying about my ability or lack of knowledge in finding one that made sense for the film crew.

It was starting to get light outside when I grabbed my camera and backpack and lifted Molly into the pickup truck. The temperature was chilly and the sky overcast and gloomy… thank goodness I’d brought a raincoat. Thank goodness I’d brought warm clothing…

The film crew took some departing shots of Dal, Molly, and me as we packed our gear into Esmerelda and drove towards Hwy191 where we turned north and headed to the bridge ten miles up the road. There was a wide enough area along the highway on the south side of the bridge where we could get both vehicles off the road. On the map that follows, the red arrow at the bottom is the town of West Yellowstone, and the red arrow near the top is where the road bends and crosses Grayling Creek, our destination for the day.

In the picture below, the small bridge crossing the creek in the grassy area is for snow mobiles to use in the wintertime. This is where the crew staged their cameras for our intial interviews that morning.

While the crew transported their gear from their SUV to the bridge, Dal headed across to scout a place where we all could safely get down the bank to the creek and forest.

The ABC crew was comprised of Michelle Kessel producer, Clayton Sandell correspondent, and Connor Burton producer and drone operator.

After the interviews, Dal and Molly took the lead as we scurried down the embankment and bushwhacked our way through the trees into the grassy meadow.

Dal had explained that the trees and brush were too thick along the creek downstream from the bridge so we’d walk through the woods into a large meadow and from there we could make our way to Grayling Creek. We could see trees, we could see mountains, and we could tell there’d been animals. We could smell the sweet smells of pine needles and sage brush…

And holy moly, off in the distance at the far end of the meadow, I could see a BLAZE… a rock face looking towards us.

As the film crew and Molly and I made our way through the sage brush, Dal walked up the hillside a bit to get a better view of the area.

Dal took some pictures from his vantage point, then came back down to the meadow and joined us. I had dropped Molly’s leash for a minute to take some pictures as well, only to lose her momentarily. She had wandered off to the thicket of willows behind the folks in the picture below.

Her nose led her to this… a dead mule deer with its front legs dismembered, and brush covering her body to hide her… Dal said it looked like a recent bear kill. Hmmm, were we being watched?

Instead of continuing straight to the BLAZE, we moved to our left and walked down to Grayling Creek. The pictures make the water look brown but it wasn’t… it was clean and clear and did not look deep.

At this bend in the creek, we left the shoreline and walked back through the trees to the base of my Blaze…

There, surrounded by trees, was a perfect hiding spot… beneath the end of this large boulder. I got down on my hands and knees and peered in… I didn’t see anything glistening nor anything that looked like the bronze chest with the loot… so I crawled in even farther. Just rocks… no treasure chest. But it looked like a great place where Forrest could have pushed the chest in a hole in the rocks… but he didn’t.

The crew asked us to walk back to the large meadow. They went to the far end as we stayed put. Then they launched their drone.

Before we knew it, hours had flown by. The crew told us they had enough footage and we could head back to the bridge and our cars. In the picture above, Dal is trying to find the game trail we used to get from the meadow through the forest and back to the road.

Eventually, we all made the short climb up the embankment and back to the bridge. Clayton asked us a few more questions on camera, and asked both Dal and me to read the poem for the final footage of the morning.

Our mission was over… we provided ABC with a damn good search story and an awesome half-day adventure. They were happy… I was happy… I found a good BLAZE. Were Dal and I disappointed because we didn’t find Fenn’s loot? Not at all… despite it being after noon, our day was just beginning.

He cranked up Esmerelda and off we went… into Yellowstone National Park and Forrest Fenn’s childhood special places.

To be continued… 2018! Cynthia and Molly and Dal

Cynthia-

 

You can read Dal’s version of this search HERE

The end result of the crew’s work are two stories on the ABC site. One story is video and the other is written. The written story is HERE

The video story can be found HERE