Gadi was one of the first searchers. As a reporter for NBC News in Albuquerque, he made a documentary about the treasure that won him an Emmy, and a promotion to Correspondent for NBC News in LA.
He remembered in my book, TTOTC, that Donnie and I took 2 Babe Ruth candy bars on our horseback quest up Red Canyon while Looking for Lewis and Clark. So Gadi decided to search the canyon himself, and for luck, he ate 2 Babe Ruth candy bars and nailed the wrappers to the Red Canyon sign that had been placed by the National Forest Service to mark the trailhead.
Well, not much later, Dal, while searching Red Canyon, saw the 2 wrappers on the ground under the sign, and placed them in the trash can. Dal should have given me the paper souvenirs so I could picture them in this Scrapbook. Maybe they could bring other searchers good luck. it is indeed a small world.
Gadi came to see me his week, on his way to Yellowstone on assignment about grizzly bears tearing up garbage cans. He told me the story about how he proposed to his girlfriend. It was on a deserted island and includes a treasure chest with a secret inside, It is right out of Treasure Island, You can’t make this stuff up. Maybe Gadi will write a Scrapbook and tell that story. Here is an email I received from him this morning. f
From: Gadi Schwartz (Google him)
Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 11:13 AM
To: Forrest Fenn
Subject: Almost found your treasure again…
You’ll be happy to know that there are legions of pterodactyl sized mosquitoes out guarding your treasure!
I finished my assignment a little early at the Grizzly Discovery center, so I headed up to the Firehole and spent the afternoon exploring as many little slots as I could. I thought I hit the jackpot about a quarter mile down from the falls when I found this little crack. I crawled in, did some interior decorating and checked the crevasses and cubbies until my work clothes were indistinguishable from a miner’s. After a bit I sat back in the dust and cleared my mind and tried to imagine you sitting in Mummy Joe’s cave.
When I came out, I spotted a couple armed with binoculars who seemed a little out of place. No fishing gear, not particularly interested in taking photos and stopping at every pull off to scan the cliffsides. All told, I saw about 20-30 people that matched the description of treasure hunters around Yellowstone. (I didn’t stop and talk to any of them though, because I wouldn’t have been able to resist bragging about our lunch which would have wasted precious time)
After a graceful and wet mini tumble into an eddy, I headed upriver and put some eyes on that old grizzly cave. There are still bones from some sort of elk or deer bleaching away at it’s opening. My log bridge I crossed last time has washed a little downstream and I decided not to press my luck again.
I headed just past the falls pull out and checked on a couple more spots, one place I really love is this little ledge right above where the falls goes over the edge. It’s hidden from view but also nearly impossible to get to. One of those rocks gave me a gnarly little cut on my city hand that I can’t wait to get home and fuss over.
On my way back I spotted a big nest that had been destroyed by some kinda marmot. I finally decided to call it a day and head back to my car. As I got in, I heard a noise in some brush beside me. I turned to see a 3-400-pound grizzly lumbering toward me. I let out some sort girlish yelp that evidently conveyed I would taste very sour, so he went around and headed down toward the river where I had just been looking.
Hope he has better luck in the search than I did. I finished the day pretty proud that I survived and decided to celebrate by buying a steak and frying pan from the grocery store next to The Dude.
I found a nice spot overlooking Hebgen Lake to cook a romantic dinner for me and 7 million thirsty insects. I forgot seasoning, a knife and a can opener for my side of chili so my meal was small and over cooked. The mosquitoes ate me medium rare.
Sending you picture and videos.
Also, I love your new book, Once Upon a While.
“Took a long pull of Worcestershire Sauce to clear my head”
“While trying to avoid those who distract me from my self-esteem, I am always reminded of the heroic performances I committed on the football fields of my youth. “
“Fear they’d turn their vocabulary loose on me”
“… the candles died of old age”
“I mostly listened, not wanting to interrupt him with the weakness of my thoughts.”
My favorite chapter the bridge jump. My least favorite was the forward by Douglas. I was terrified he gave too much away! But that was before I headed back out to explore and was once again reassured by Yellowstone himself at how insanely large the woods are and how enigmatic the blaze remains. Here’s to hoping the treasure is never found!
By Jake Faulker
The Thrill of the Chase has hints and subtle hints that will help you get the general area down and I think these are places considering we have to marry the clues in the poem to places on a map and the poem also has directions, places and things at places.
In Love With Yellowstone
Looking For Lewis And Clark
Yellowstone National Park
Google Maps and/or a good map
1 – Begin it where warm waters halt
After reading his books and poem multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that chapter 5 “too far to walk” River Bathing Is Best, is where to begin. He tells a story of his bathing spot near Ojo Caliente spring on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. Note: He never mentions Ojo Caliente, but we now know that was his bathing spot in the Firehole near Ojo.
This spot should not be in a canyon and isn’t seeing we need to take it (The quest) in the canyon down next.
“when I decided it was time to leave I’d back a couple of feet downstream where the water was cold. That gave me instant incentive to climb out and sun dry…”
*Omega shape on this part of the Firehole River
*5th line in the poem and the 5th chapter in – too far to walk
*He went alone in there
**My secret bathing spot
**Always worth the effort
2 – And take it in the canyon down,
The only canyon down (In elevation) is the Firehole Canyon.
Maybe this explains why many have figured the 1st 2 clues correctly and fizzled out.
Not far, but too far to walk.
Not a clue here, just letting you know what you shouldn’t do and maybe just drive.
3 – Put in below the home of Brown.
In the preface of his book “too far too walk”, he states “put a small rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. The river distance was about 10 miles”
“The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make the trip again. THAT DAY NEVER CAME FOR ME,…. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.”
Some have decided to figure out what the home of Brown is instead of knowing where it is before trying to figure out where warm waters halt. Big mistake!
I think Forrest is the only one who knows WHAT the home of Brown is and you will only find out after you find the treasure. I do not think this place is labeled on any map, new or old.
One way to figure out where this clue is, is to skip it and figure out the next few clues if you can do this. I was able to do this and the next few clues seem to work with what the poem says.
What’s more important? The “put in” spot? or where you are going to draw, take or get out of the waterway. Try that out on a river or lake and you will see what I mean. It’s more important where you get out.
4 – From there it’s no place for the meek,
From there? The place you put in, then let the river flow take you down stream passing through Fenn’s favorite, special fishing spots to the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Joseph Meek was a trapper, trader & hunter back in the 1800’s when there was no park label and designation back then.
There is no hunting or trapping allowed in Yellowstone National Park now and the park is no place for him.
If you don’t like Joe Meek in the mix, then you could say it’s no place for Fenn now. Seeing that day never came for him, I would have to say he is meek in the park now with all the crowds and fisherman all over his special fishing spots.
This clue brings you just outside the park at the border in West Yellowstone.
5 – The end is ever drawing nigh;
You’re at the border of the park and there’s a bridge close by.
You have to draw out of the Madison River there and head North on Gallatin Road.
NIGH = North Intrastate Gallatin Highway, is Intrastate Highway (191). It is also known as the “Gallatin Gateway” and reminds me of “The word that is key”. Gallatin County appears to be in the shape of a key.
You will need a key to unlock the “Gateway”.
The end is ever drawing North Intrastate Gallatin Highway;
Hop on the bridge and head north to your creek.
Gallatin County below.
There are over 30 creeks up the Gallatin Gateway and it’s been tough to pick out a few that fit the poem. All the areas in this solve are places that Fenn loved which makes sense to me where he hid the treasure.
The Gallatin River where you can paddle.
Ode to Joe fishing spot from too far to walk on the Gallatin.
I think this is a basic simple straightforward solve by my design and guidance from Fenn’s comments.
All these clues do not have to be physically traveled. Just use your imagination to get from one place to another and don’t overcook or over think what is right in front of you.
Good luck to all of you and please simplify if you can.
First, consider Fenn’s words.
“Your treasure hunt has inspired people worldwide to discover history, culture and nature, but many people, (even in the US) might be deterred because they don’t live near the Rockies or can’t afford to travel. Should they be deterred? Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is? And would she be confident as she solves each clue, or only confident when she has solved them all?”
“I wish I had another treasure to hide in the Appalachians. The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues. There are many disabled people who are deeply into maps and geography, and they are having a lot of fun.”
Given Fenn’s intentional vagueness, I am making a huge assumption that “having a lot of fun” means they have a chance to solve more than the first 2 clues and maybe figure it out.
I could be wrong, but it’s just too time-consuming to start everywhere, so I need to start somewhere.
“Children have the greatest imagination because their thoughts run free”
My approach: Poem, map, extensive knowledge of geography and imagination.
Most people on the search sites appear to conduct their searches by poem, map, imagination, geography, ecology, history, riddles, codes, Fenn’s real or imagined hints, and anything and everything else. They appear to look at anything and everything and hope their mind clicks onto the connection. Doing it this way adds a crazy high number of variables and introduces a very strong cognitive bias that is based on their own experiences instead of reason. I need to set parameters and continually follow them, so I don’t also waste time and go off the rails.
I only need the poem, a map, an extensive knowledge of geography, and my imagination to find the treasure. Nothing else. Get back in the box.
- The poem vs a treasure map: my approach will be this. Fenn created a treasure map that is primarily geographic in nature, but he put it in a poem. Imagination will be needed to turn the poem into geographic terms. My first search will be based on this approach. I could be wrong, but it’s just too time-consuming to start everywhere, and I need to start somewhere.
- Ignore the book: Fenn thinks the book would help, but I think it wouldn’t because it’s a vast sea of words and phrases to analyze and potentially get wrong, vs. a small poem.
- For example, take one sentence out of the book, idk, if he said, “I picked up a stick and threw it into my favorite lake.”…does this mean he hid the treasure at his favorite lake? Or should I pick up “stick creek” at a lake and go about as far as he could throw the stick into the lake???? Maybe, hmmm”. Now multiply that by the number of sentences in the book. I think the book will only make sense after I find the treasure and then it will be like, oh yeah, I can see that. Before that, it’s a massive waste of time.
- Treasure is in the Rocky Mountains, clues may be outside. Include areas bordering 4 states & Rocky Mountains
The first clue:
- I only need a map for the first 2 clues, per little girl in India.
- Map: Why has no one ever asked Fenn what kind of map we need to use? His poem shows a Benchmark map, but they only produce state maps. They also product Atlases, but he didn’t say all you need is an atlas. I have a strong feeling that Fenn owns very many detailed maps of many, many areas in the Rocky Mountains. Because I don’t want to invest in a bunch of detailed maps, I’m going to make a bad assumption that all I need is google earth and google maps. Someone needs to ask him about maps, although maybe they have, and I didn’t read it.
- WW and WWWH: WW is a name on a map, per little girl in India. I need to say this to myself 5,000 times. WW is a name on a map. WWWH may also be a name on a map, or it may be where the WW obviously halts visibly on a map. Don’t forget imagination – for example, Agua Fria peak makes for a nice potential WWWH.
- Go through google earth and map out everywhere in the Rocky Mountains that has a name related to WW or WWWH. It may help to go to the hot springs website & mark all hot springs (https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hot_springs/)
- Google earth and google maps are a pain to use because it’s easy to miss areas when mapping out everything. I’ll use a benchmark state map to note where I’ve covered area on google.
Rest of the clues/poem:
- Canyon down: For the first search, assume a canyon is a canyon. This is probably the second clue, so will be a name on a map, or a canyon on an elevation map. Small chance it’s not a canyon, but don’t go off the rails on the first search. Down is either down a canyon wall, or it’s following the canyon floor as it goes lower in elevation.
- Far but not too far to walk: For the first search, assume 20 miles, which is a 5 hour walk at 4 miles an hour. It could be a higher number of miles, but it exponentially increases the search criteria. If first search fails, this is the first variable to increase and redo the search, to 30 miles, then 40 miles, etc.
- Home of Brown: Start thinking geographically.
- Most likely Not a name on a map, unless this is the second clue.
- Geography: when most people think of geography, they think of physical geography, but it can also include human civilization & how animals play into it. Physical geography takes priority, but don’t discount the others.
- Physical geography: There are so many brown things in the wild that it’s meaningless to limit by “thinking of brown things”. We know that Fenn knows about the paint color brown (ocher, sienna, etc.), per his writings. It could literally mean an outcropping or a current or past quarry/mine for the main minerals used to create artist’s brown paint. Limonite or an oxide or something. It’s unclear to me whether it’s just the treasure that isn’t in a structure, or if it’s all the clues. Outcroppings are probably more likely, but don’t discount quarries/mines.
- People geography: the only thing I can think of are pueblos or pueblo ruins.
- Animal geography: beaver dam, brown trout, maybe bison, etc.
- End is ever drawing nigh: think geographically, use imagination
- A draw can be defined geographically in terms of water, but to me, it makes more sense to use the definition as a sort of mini-canyon with 2 sides.
- Nigh could be left, either go left or on left side of draw, or nigh could mean nothing
- End could be end of draw, or nothing
- No paddle up creek:
- I can’t see this any way other than going upstream on a river/stream/creek. “No paddle” could limit search to places “too shallow to paddle” but if it’s not, I don’t want to limit my search. In nature, if you’re up a creek without a paddle, you find a pole and pole down.
- Heavy loads and water high:
- Physical geography load: I think it’s most likely a stream load. Either a heavy load bed (big rocks in it), or it’s a stream with heavy load capacity (like a braided stream).
- Physical geography water high: High water mark doesn’t really make sense for fresh-water. Imagination: maybe a waterfall or a perch lake. My money is on waterfall.
- Human geography load and high: Train tracks or past train tracks, maybe a heavy bridge. Maybe a water tower or similar. Could be others, but I’m thinking that Fenn likes wilderness, so I like physical geography better.
- If you’ve been wise and found:
- No idea what this means. Requires imagination. I suspect this is Fenn’s “nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve”
- Past tense probably means the treasure is somewhere on your journey — meaning, you determine where he’s talking about by the clues, but the blaze can be anywhere on the route after and including the first clue
- Could be something complicated like you can only see the blaze when/where “fill in the blank” (looking down from a lookout point – being wise and all-seeing, when the sun is at zenith, etc.). I mean, maybe on the draw, you can see the blaze from far, far away, and the treasure is under the blaze. Find all possible places where other clues exist, and then use imagination to deduce wise/blaze.
- The blaze:
- Based on what he’s said about the blaze, and the within 500’/200′ comments, I’m guessing that the blaze is an unusual 4-sided outcropping of some sort, or maybe (doubtful) water. Trees and vegetation don’t last long enough, and really, what else is out there but mountains, rocks and water?
- The treasure:
- Don’t worry about the treasure, just find and identify the blaze. Per Fenn’s comment: “How far is the chest located from the blaze? Casey, I did not take the measurement, but logic tells me that if you don’t know where the blaze is it really doesn’t matter. If you can find the blaze though, the answer to your question will be obvious.”
Other Fenn hints about pine, sage, from the car in an afternoon, secluded enough area to let bones rest in peace: Fenn is tricky, so don’t trust these during the above search. Only look at these filters when you have a short list of solves. Look at the closest roads and ranger roads to the treasure site. This is Very helpful afterwards. For example, a lot of areas with glaciers are too many miles away from any road.
I will try to keep this short. I have emailed a few times already but for me, this is the most precious one. I went on my first search this weekend and cannot thank you enough. I am an out of shape, stay at home mom of 5 kids. I rarely, rarely ever leave my kids. Me, my husband and his buddy went out this weekend to search. It was so amazing having an entire, kid free day to ourselves. I conquered a couple fears in the process too! The gift of going out and feeling a part of my younger, fear free life was amazing. I used to be much more adventurous and I was the one talking my friends into adventures but once I became a mom I acquired a fear I never knew was possible. I’m so worried I will go out and somehow die and leave my children momless. I know it may sound crazy but there is a voice in my head telling me they need me more then I need to be out doing things that could take me away from them. I had such a good time and felt truly alive for the first time in over 13 years. Thank you for reminding me I am more then just a mom, but that I am a person who needs some adventure to keep me happy and alive. I found a greater treasure just in that day away then the treasure itself could have given me. I have tears in my eyes writing this because I had completely lost my adventurous side until yesterday. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This email from Mary came in last night just as I was closing down for the evening. I asked for her permission to post it on Dal’s blog as a come-along for other latent adventurers. This is what she said:
“You can absolutely post it. No need to change my name, I’m a pretty open book. Thanks for the reply.😊”
I slept with a smile on my face. f
Today I read a most wonderful book. It’s called My Childhood in Montana, by Irene Estella Stephens (1920-2015). It is published in paperback, on demand, and can be purchased on AbeBooks.com for under $10. It was compiled by Pamela Gehn Stephens, and copiously illustrated by William Shumway.The book came to me in the mail from Brent, with a note that said, “Forrest, I hope you enjoy my grandma-in-law’s stories. She was a great storyteller and really would have liked to have read your memoir I’m sure.”
On the back cover of the book are these words, “Irene was my mother-in-law until her passing at age 95 in 2015. She was an exceptional person of many talents, and I especially loved reading her straight-forward vivid description of growing up on a remote dryland wheat farm on the central plains of Montana during the Great Depression. This memoir evokes her close family and neighbors, and the constant hard work to survive in this harsh environment where the winters were long and bitter, and the growing season was, at most, four months.” Pamela G. Stephens
Chapter 13 is titled Teacherage
“In late fall, when the Montana winters dug in, it became too difficult to ride our horses to school, so our folks would take us to the schoolhouse Monday morning, and we would live there with the teacher until Friday afternoon. The school building was heated with a coal furnace in the basement, and the teacher had to shovel coal into the furnace or see that it was done by one of the older boys. She also had to cook our meals and get us to bed at night. Before school started in fall, the parents would bring a load of coal out from Roy, along with school supplies and food staples. Of course, the toilet was an outhouse, same as at our house.
“One year our teacher was Mrs. Stephens, and I remember giggling with the other girls when we saw her son Webb wearing his long red nightgown. That boy grew up and became my husband. We were married for 55 years.” (A cutout from Chapter 6. “There were at most 14 students, and sometimes as few as 9 or 10, from 4 or 5 families in grades 1-8, all taught by 1 teacher).
The 40, one-page chapters were drawn to a time, just 10 years before mine, when the promise of an easy life seemed distant. But they held sway so potent that I longed to harken back and live it all again with them. Tough times make memories stronger, and longer lasting. I love Irene and her sister, and their father with his rigid expectations. Please read this book and tell me what you think. f
Slush Cup Competition
According to the Santa Fe paper more than 280 inches of snow fell on our ski hill this winter. Now it’s melting all up and down the Rockies and the rivers are filling with run-off. Soon it will be time to start searching for the treasure, but not yet.
Sunday the 14th was the last day of skiing for this year and there were several hundred people on hand to watch the Slush Cup competition, or as some call it, the “The Annual Dunk.” Doug Preston, and his wife Christine, were there taking pictures. About 100 men, women and children registered to compete in the juried event.
Shiloh made it – no, wait. He almost made it.
Tradition suggests that competitors wear costumes, and many did. A mystery man wearing a banana suit with a cape drew the most laughs, especially when he splashed soon after he reached the 2 feet deep pond. Superman soon followed with the matching results. Many participants made multiple runs and they didn’t seem to mind getting soaked in the 32-degree weather. Some were topless and others wore swim suits or skivvies. About 25 skiers and snow boarders made it safely across the 65-foot pond. Shiloh and his friend Nick (who is one of the geniuses at Los Alamos National Laboratory) made multiple runs during the 3-hour event, and both were able to skim across. They also crashed a couple of times.
Shiloh and the partially nude Nick.
Contestants were judged on style and results. Shiloh and Nick didn’t win anything, but they were smart enough to take a change of clothing. The top prize went to a 23-year-old woman who received tickets to the Ten Thousand Waves Spa, where the water is warmer. Maybe I’ll enter the competition next year, it looks like fun. f