Meek, Major Powell, and Maybe Escalante…

SUBMITTED JUly 2016 by Golden Horse

A recurring issue I have with many of my solutions is that I tend to make things fit the puzzle. As a result I find that there are several interpretations of the clues in any of my broad locations. I will use an asterisks to identify the correlations I believe make the best fit. The location this solution leads to has been searched by me twice, thoroughly, so I do not believe this area to be the resting place of Fenn’s gold. I am sharing my solutions on Dal’s page because I have used many of its members as a resource. A couple of my interruptions of the clues in this solve are nearly identical to other solves I have read here. That was in some cases by coincidence and in other cases intentional because some of you are just too darn smart. If you have read the Flaming Gorge/Brown’s Park/Joe Meek solve before feel free to skip to clue #6. From there I hope it is original.

#1. Begin it where warm waters halt

Forrest said that WWWH was not associated with a dam. I believe he did this in an effort to keep people as safe as possible. At the time of the release of this clue several searchers were putting themselves in danger around the base of large dams. I believe WWWH represents where a lake/reservoir meets a river. I have two/three reasons for this.

The first image (above) is located somewhere on the New Mexico parks webpage and the second is a photo from my Colorado Benchmark map opposite the map page of this solutions general search area. The third reason is that it fitsthis particular solution.

CLUE #1.A BWWWH = FLAMING GORGE RESERVOIR*

CLUE #1.B BWWWH = COLD SPRINGS MOUNTAIN

My grandfather and I started investigating this area because of its proximity to Butch Cassidy’s hideout.

#2. and take it in the canyon down,

Flaming Gorge flows into the Green River by way of the Red Canyon. In his book Forrest dedicates a chapter to a childhood adventure he took up Red Canyon near Hebgen Lake in Montana. (I have been there too. It is beautiful.)

CLUE #2 CANYON DOWN = RED CANYON*

#3. Not far, but too far to walk.

My interpretation of this clue is that the canyon is long and you shouldn’t get out of your car yet. Having driven red canyon myself I can assure you that walking it wouldn’t be fun. This could actually be part of clue #2 depending on how you interpret the 9 nine clues. The distance from the edge of the lake to our next destination, also the distance of the canyon, is 20.4 miles as the crow flies.

CLUE #3 TOO FAR TO WALK = DON’T GET OUT OF YOUR CAR, YET…

#4. Put in below the home of Brown.

Forrest said that all you need to solve his puzzle is the poem and a good map. When he published “Too Far To Walk” he partnered with Benchmark Maps which might mean that Forrest believes Benchmark Maps are good maps. There happens to be a “Put-in below” Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge just after Red Canyon.

These are notes I found attempting to identify where Browns Park got its name: “Janet Lecompte of Colorado Springs argues convincingly that Brown was a fictional character invented by Colonel Henry Inman in his book The Old Santa Fe Trail originally published in 1897. Still others feel that Baptiste Brown was actually an alias for Jean-Baptiste Chalifoux. Chalifoux was a French Canadian trapper who operated out of Taos. He led a horse stealing party to California in 1837, operated a trading post in Embudo, New Mexico, in the 1840s, and built the first house in Trinidad, Colorado, in 1869. He visited the Brown’s Hole area in 1835 and left his name carved on a cliffside in the Willow Creek drainage…”

CLUE #4 PUT IN BELOW THE HOME OF BROWN = BROWNS PARK WILDLIFE REFUGE

#5. From there it’s no place for the meek, The end is ever drawing nigh;

There are two trains of thought here and I subscribe to both of them. One train will tell you that the rapids after the put-in are no place for the meek. In fact two historic shipwrecks occurred about six miles south of the put-in at Disaster Falls. The first was General Ashley’s expedition and the second was Major Powell’s expedition. The natives warned Powell of the dangers inside the canyons of Ladore. The second train of thought refers to Joe Meek a fur trader and mountain man that was living at Fort Davy Crockett. Some of you have seen the journal passage mentioned on this blog, I attached an image of it below. In the passage Robert Newell tells Meek that the green river is not place for them now because the fur trade is dead. So where is no place for the Meek? The green river and Ladore canyon is no place for the Meek so that is where we should be looking. I am also including a couple extra images that indicate the location of Fort Davy Crockett. (J. Meek Pictured on the bottom right)

CLUE #5 NO PLACE FOR THE MEEK = GREEN RIVER – LADORE CANYON

To this point several of you must be saying I have read this solution before. Hopefully what follows is something most of you haven’t seen. I mentioned Major Powell earlier but his story really picks up over the next several clues. “The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons” by J.W. Powell and Dover Publications documents several of Major Powell’s adventures. The cover of this book has an illustration of one of Powell’s boats at disaster falls. If you recall I said that disaster falls could be considered no place for the meek. (Powell pictured to the right)

Powell begins his journey through the Gates of Ladore and down the Canyon of Ladore in chapter seven of his book. (Left: Powell’s Illustration of gates. Right a photo I took at the gates)

In the same chapter on the next page Major Powell chronicles the loss of their first ship the “No-Name.” Before the vessel is destroyed the No-Name loses their oars. Another word for paddle is oar. I have highlighted the passage below. (Bottom photo of Upper Disaster Falls)

CLUE #6 NO PADDLE UP YOUR CREEK = DISASTER FALLS – NO NAME LOSES OARS

#7. Just heavy loads and water high.

The book is broken up by chapters and by (almost) daily journal entries. Some days something significant happens and there is a lot to read and other days there are only a few lines. The crew spends a couple days carrying the remaining boats around disaster falls. On the third day (June 12th) the men discover supplies and wreckage from the lost boat. They carry them above the HIGH WATER mark and leave them, because their cargo is already too HEAVY.

CLUE #7 HEAVY LOADS AND WATER HIGH = HIGH-WATER MARK AND TOO HEAVY

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

Over the next few days Powell’s crew encounters several more rapids but nothing exciting happens. They name the stretch of the canyon they just encountered, Hells Half Mile. On June 16th something unexpected happens… There is a fire in the camp. Read the passage I have highlighted below if you want the details.

When I read it the first time I believed I had solved the poem. I assumed I had found the blaze. Many people believe this blaze occurred at rippling brook. In fact I have heard river guides tell the story that way. However after careful reading you will find the historic blaze actually occurred at alcove brook. Alcove brook has been searched thoroughly by my group with a metal detector.

I found the blaze but, was I wise? If I was wise and searching for a fire where would I go or what would I do? I pondered this question as I scoured the map and the book. Then I realized if I was wise and looking for a fire I would go to a fire lookout tower and low and behold one of the oldest towers still in operation overlooks the entire search area from Dinosaur National Monuments highest point, Zenobia Peak.

My thought was that I needed to look in the direction of the historic blaze from the lookout tower. So we drove to the peak!

Above is the view from the tower in the general direction of the blaze. (Technically this photo is a little off center, but I chose it because it is more appealing to the eye.)

CLUE #8 IF YOU’VE BEEN WISE AND FOUND THE BLAZE = POWELL’S HISTORIC BLAZE

#9. Look quickly down, your quest to cease, (marvel gaze? Trust me… it is a marvel)
Look down…

CLUE #9 LOOK QUICKLY DOWN = LOOK DOWN?

I searched for hours and didn’t find the chest here. I figured I was still on the right track but had messed up somewhere along the way. So I developed a couple alternatives. I consider myself a math hobbyist but I attempted to calculate the odds of Powell’s book fitting so well after finding the first set of clues, it seem unlikely to be a coincidence. Later I consulted a mathematician who reassured me that it was unlikely that a book written over 200 years ago could so closely and sequentially match three clues from the poem. And so I flipped a few more pages in the book. It had occurred to me that some of the clues I outline above could be considered one clue instead of two. Thus leaving room for additional clues. For example WWWH and “take it in the canyon down” or the latter of the two and “not far, but too far to walk.” After the fire Powell finds himself in Pat’s Hole, now Echo Park. Echo Park is home to a monstrous rock appropriately named Steamboat Rock.

In his journal; Powell, who only has one arm, claims he climbed this behemoth. Of course he almost falls to his death in the process. It is said that he holds on with the only arm he has. I imagine hanging there and taking a QUICK peak at the canyon floor below. If Powell fell his quest would have undoubtedly CEASED. This calamity happens just two days after the blaze.

I have several interruptions of the clues from this point. For example Powell climbs Mt. Dawes (now Zenobia) a few days after his near miss with death. When on top of Zenobia he describes looking in all directions from the highest peak. He marvels at the beauty of his surroundings.

“So hear me all and listen good,” could be a way of describing Echo Park or Jenny Lind rock. The park is named after the great echoes that can be heard there. Jenny Lind Rock rest at the upper edge of the canyon near the confluence. Jenny was an opera singer, perhaps if you holler from there you can be heard by everyone in the canyon if they are listening good.

The illustration opposite page 169 is of Echo Park looking from a large rock across the Yampa/Green Confluence.

… What if… “the end is ever drawing nigh;” actually means the END is NIGH (near) an EVER DRAWING (or a drawing that lasts forever aka a petroglyph)? Inside Echo Park you will find the Pool Creek Petroglyphs.

I know this canyon well. I have searched it top to bottom. I have swam in all its waters, crossed all its creeks and ventured into the depths of all its caves (Pat’s included). I have even stepped over recently devoured deer or elk carcasses near Pool creek in search of the chest. Echo Park is MASSIVE and beautiful but the chest isn’t there. Feel free to message me if you are planning on taking the trip I would be happy to answer almost any questions. I have a couple other obscure solves for this area that I didn’t mention because the chest wasn’t there either and this post is already over 2000 words and nearly 18 pages.

I almost forgot to mention the possible Escalante Solution. While Powell was coming back down from the peak of Mt. Dawes he discovered a man-made monument which he believed might have been built by the Spanish Priest Escalante. I couldn’t find it. This isn’t at Escalante Overlook either. I think it is on limestone ridge. This is the last passage before Powell enters what is now Utah, which we know is outside the search area. Good Luck.

-Golden Horse