Advancing the Chase…

by Jeremy P


Advancing the Chase

It’s possible that me, my dad, and two brothers were the “first four clues, but I am not certain” folks. I’m not going to try and convince you by pointing out all the subtle Easter eggs such as I wish he hid it in the Appalachians, and that Forrest Fenn wishes he had another treasure to hide there (5Q). There’s a bunch of these and they are fun to discover.

I point to that one because it’s true. People who live in the Rockies have an advantage over those of us who don’t. I really would be out there looking every weekend if I could. Instead, I have to meddle from afar.

There are parts of the Chase that are very serious, in themes of Forrest’s life and the extremes that some searchers have gone in risking personal and financial well-being. I’m not that guy. To me, it’s the Great Game, an adventure. I had thrills to last a lifetime off a single trip (I took two) so if it isn’t me that picks up the treasure chest, I’m OK with that. I feel that I have played the game as best as I could despite not being able to close it out. Some other me with more money and time could. I’m retiring, but I would like to see if I could advance the Chase as I do. I’ve said before, “It’s fortune and glory, kid. You keep the fortune, let me share the glory.” If anything here helps, please give me a nod.

Here’s are the facts. Going into 2015, Forrest stated that no one to his knowledge had solved past the first two clues. By the end of 2015, some may have solved the first four clues. I searched in 2015, so I’m in play. The advantage I have over others in considering “what if it was me?” is that I only searched one area. When I got back from my trip, I knew that if he continued saying only two clues, I was out. You need at least three to get there. He said four, maybe. I suspect why he said he was uncertain. I’m not going to share that.

I don’t know what I know, but here are the things I suspect:

Fundamental: The nine sentences are the nine clues

I’ve tried to explain this. Some get it, some don’t. I think it’s axiomatic. Whether you agree with me or not, seriously consider it. If you ignore everything else I say, keep this one. Further, consider that the first sentence (Stanza 1) describes where you are going. As Forrest has said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any trail will take you there.” The first sentence describes the location from the Weekly Words that “is huge”. Your journey to the destination that “is small” begins with sentence two. From this point of view, the first four clues are:

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.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

This point of view suggests other things, such as you simply can not solve more than five without actually having the chest in hand and leaving in peace. Additionally, the third sentence is the third clue that The Little Girl From India (5Q) can’t get past. She wouldn’t be able to work out “Put in below the home of Brown”. I’m not going to tell you why that is. Figure it out. It’s clever.

Agua Fria, seriously

I talk a lot about analyzing things, applying logic, etc. but I’m a fraud. Since I’m retiring, I’m going to throw out a confession. When searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure, I was chasing poetry. I am far more interested in art and poetry than I am in logic.

So while I may have looked up Santa Fe in Google Earth, saw that there was an Agua Fria there, did my research and found out there there were 32 “Agua Fria” entries in the GNIS for New Mexico, half of them being geological place names or locations, and saw that most of them were north of Santa Fe in areas of Colfax County, and related this to his comment that “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe,” none of that is why I started there. Even while I vetted the idea that Spanish might matter, because of this class in the book that spanned several chapters, none of that is why I started there. Even though the crossroads is right there between a small airport, and his Vietnam War Memorial, and you absolutely should start there, I didn’t choose it for that either.

I chase poetry, period. When I decided where I would begin “it” (my journey), it was this excerpt from the book:

“When his home mortgage was finally paid, he and my mother went out in the back yard and ceremonially burned the papers. They said it was a religious experience.” p. 119

Father on the Banco. “I always listened closely when he talked and told me things. Sometimes he would ask me a really important question that I didn’t know how to answer and make it seem alright.” Really important questions, such as “where to begin?”

It is completely a logical fallacy to cherry pick in this way. But when you’re standing at the crossroads there in Agua Fria, in Angel Fire, and the only thing nearby is a real estate agency, you can’t help but think: What a clever way to describe this place. Not only is it poetic, it’s completely accurate. It’s a three-point match to a place that is otherwise non-descriptive. If you don’t see it, you’re not thinking like a poet. I think this is his “tell”. He can’t help but be completely accurate.

I’m not going to tell you how this relates to the HOD what ifs comment and why I think it’s confirmed. You’re going to have to use your imagination and connect those dots yourself. Since I am retiring, and attempting to advance the Chase, all I am going to say is that it is directly related.

I will suggest that you might not be considering Agua Fria because you’ve been in it too long. You find it cliche. Everyone, everywhere already considered it. Yes, and they didn’t know the significance of why they should have.

You can connect the remaining dots through the first four clues. I will say that Colin Neblett is your area that “is huge”. If you’re not seriously considering this, I’d suggest you’ve been in the Chase too long.

New Mexico’s G.A.I.N. Program

LitterateOne made a great comment and it didn’t appear to generate much thought. First, he points out that Forrest said, “Our great mountains, forests, and deserts are not to be worshipped. Strange when Forrest himself says that his Church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms.” This is true, but that part is easy. Sangre de Cristo. Blood of Christ. The river waters are the blood of the mountains. The other part, what Forrest also said, that’s really something to consider:

I want to use my public property, and if you don’t mind I prefer to do it without a game warden, yahoo environmentalist, or forest ranger watching from behind a tree. It is bad enough that they lock the gates and put signs everywhere reminding me of all the things I’m not allowed to do on my property.

Something else occurred in New Mexico around the time that Forrest hid his treasure chest. Look into when the Gaining Access Into Nature Program went into effect. Here is the sign that went up and the gates that were locked.


Gain access? Imagine Forrest’s reaction to that and you have a plausible answer to sentences six and seven, or at least a correlation to the timeline that prompted him to act at the time he did.

They told him he couldn’t. They told the Maverick he couldn’t!

Is this the solution to those sentences? I don’t know. Maybe, at least in part, the solution to Forrest Fenn’s poem is that Forrest does what Forrest wants to. He’s been fighting these sort of things all of his advanced life. He’s done it tired, and now he’s weak. He does what he wants to on his property, the sign be damned. Follow the timeline, the creek, the trail, Touch-Me-Not. You have a fantastic story that covers the entire poem, not just the bits.

What if no one discovers my art?

This one is fun. When the “what ifs” went up, people considered a lot of what ifs, but no one publicly mentioned the only “what if” in the book (maybe there are others that I missed, but this one stands out).

“And what if no one discovers my art?” p. 139.

In context he is talking about his bells and jars that he’s also hidden, but what if? Others have noted that the credits say “Drawings by Allen Polt unless otherwise noted”. The only one that clearly has a notation is on p. 99. The infamous “map” illustration. Forrest has later stated that “Life should be an illustrated search for hidden treasures, and not just a guided tour.”

There’s a few things that others haven’t publicly mentioned, so here is my guided tour. I sent this graphic to Forrest some time ago:


It’s kind of a jocular interpretation of the “map” on page 99.

These things are like Rorschach inkblots and people see what they want to see. I’m not going to connect all the dots for you, but here is what I see:

Consider that the lines on the plane aren’t camouflage but are instead the features directly above Santa Fe (roads or rivers) with the cross point being Espanola. Consider that the little square box on the side of the plane, where you might expect Moreno Valley to be, is the little square chest you are looking for. Consider that the fox hole in the illustration is really Eagle Nest Lake, looking West, like in my graphic above, and that the ladders Cynthia mentioned are really trails leading up into Colin Neblett. Follow it, and when in doubt, turn left.

Consider that the “JF” isn’t just an autograph. Consider that to be a marker to at least orientate you, if not “the blaze” from the poem itself.

No one ever promised clue longevity

I’m not going to call this a fundamental because I don’t know for certain. I suspect that Forrest’s intention was that the chest may survive the test of time (not be found) but he wasn’t as concerned about the clues lasting forever. Truth is, when problem solving, you hold some ideas fixed and you vary others. I vary clue longevity. I could point back to the mere fact that a real estate agency lives at the crossroads of Agua Fria as evidence of expiring clues, but that would be a circular argument, and I’m the only one who believes that is confirmed. I don’t really care at this point. You don’t have to believe me. I will say, you may want to consider that the chest is a lot like the bells and jars. It is a time capsule meant to survive the test of time. If you don’t find it in the next couple of decades, Forrest has already had his fun and he’s not planning to be around to help you out. I’ll leave it at that and say, consider tree blazes.

There are a number of tree blazes in particular you should consider. I’m not going to share the photos, or point to where they are. One in particular is a “JF” exactly where you’d expect it to be. It may or may not (hard to read) say “HALT” beneath it.

Something hidden. Go and find it.

So why is it that I must go?

I don’t have to, but I think I’ve gone about as far as I can go, personally, living thousands of miles away. If I lived there, I’d be out every weekend. It’s boots on the ground from this point, and I can’t afford repeated trips to work the area as it should be (though I tried as best I could).

I’ve had thrills to last a lifetime. The money would be nice, but I don’t need it. I feel I’m clever and bold enough to make my own fortune to hide out here in the Appalachians. I’m young enough to make it happen and I’m inspired by Forrest’s story to take that on.

I thought hard about partnering up. Giving information to a particular person who I felt was deserving, etc, etc. Ultimately, though, I don’t know what, if anything, I may have gotten right. I don’t want to lead random, individual people astray or mislead anyone at all. In hindsight I’ve gotten some things clearly wrong over my own journey.

So, my solution to The Final Problem (Sherlock reference) is to throw it all off a waterfall and see what bubbles up. If I am able to advance the Chase at all, I would feel personally rewarded in doing so. It’s fortune and glory, kid.

For you conspiracy nuts: I do not have the chest. All is in my humble opinion.

Jeremy P