Poem, Map, Geography and Imagination…

May, 2019

By Troy

 

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.

Search area:

  • 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.

-Troy

 

 

 

 

 

To The Gold…

February, 2019

By John (Crazy Fox)

 

First of all, let me state that the following is all just my opinion on where to find the treasure.  Also, I want to say that my solve was only made possible by all the brave people out there who are willing to share ideas.  So thank you all.  Thanks to Dal for hosting this site and a very special thank you to the man himself, who got me hooked on his fishing line, Forrest Fenn.

I enjoy watching nature documentaries and recently watched a documentary about the four seasons of Yellowstone.  Spring, summer, fall and winter.  Winter is especially tough in Yellowstone and the great bison struggle to survive the cold, harsh environment.  But then spring comes and life is renewed and the cycle continues.  I think this transition from winter to spring is important in understanding the poem.

Begin it where warm waters halt.  From the documentary, I learned that everything freezes in Yellowstone except the Firehole River.  The Firehole River runs north where it meets the Madison River.  The warm waters of the Firehole River run into the Madison River where the waters freeze (or halt).  Waters is plural because the Firehole splits right before it meets the Madison.  We don’t need to know a specific pin-point location, but more of a general area of where to start this search.  So, where the Firehole River meets the Madison River is my warm waters halt.

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Since the waters freeze, this indicates that we are in wintertime at the beginning of the poem.  Wintertime is symbolic of death and spring is symbolic of new life.  Death and new life are reoccurring themes in my search for the treasure.  Think of a forest fire…the pine trees burn and are destroyed but the pine cones are heated up enough to reseed the forest and start life anew.

Note: I’m not very articulate, so for clarity I’m trying to keep this story short and as simple as possible. 

And take it in the canyon down.  To me, it simply means follow the downstream flow of the Madison River, west through the canyon.  I think Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down is probably the first clue, but I never really tried to count clues and I’m not doing so in this story.  If anything, I think all the lines are clues.

Not far, but too far to walk.  In my opinion, this just means we’re driving now because it’s simply too far to walk.  But how far do we go? Not very far, but we have to continue west on the highway until we know where to “put in” (or park).  There has to be something that let’s us know how far to go.

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Put in below the home of Brown.  If we’re heading west on the highway, the Madison River will be on your left hand side (or south of the higway). 

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All of the examples in The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC) refer to brown as a color.  I’ve heard people suggest that Brown Trout is what the brown is referencing.  I think this makes a whole lot of sense, since Forrest is an avid fly-fisherman and was a fishing guide in his younger days and the Madison is world-famous for its Brown Trout.  We are in our car traveling west and we are north (or above) the home of Brown (the Madison River).  So, we keep going until we are below (or south) of the river.

Remember the story about Forrest flying above Philadelphia and he stuck his thumb in front of his eye covering the whole area?  As we come through the canyon, there will be a valley on your left that kind of looks like a thumb.  At the northwest corner of the valley there is an overpass where the highway crosses over the river and there is a horseshoe-shaped parking area right after the overpass.  If we park there, we are now at the home of Brown because we are now south (or below) the river.  If people figured out the first two clues but not the home of Brown, then I could see how they would easily go right past this quietly forgotten area. 

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Okay, before we proceed let’s take a look at the double omegas, because we passed those along the way.  Omega means the end and…death.  Two omegas equal two deaths.  In the chapter My War For Me in TTOTC, Forrest writes about Operation Arc Light when he was shot down and the bombs dropped in rapid succession after he had parachuted down.  He says “I experienced what was perhaps the most terrifying event of my life”.  And “the noise blasted me to my core”.  “The roar was so traumatic I felt that if it happened again I might not survive”.  And “I am convinced that thousands of animals, human and otherwise, were killed in Vietnam by sound alone”.  When Forrest got cancer he was given only a 20% chance to live.  Thank God Forrest didn’t actually die either time, but I’m sure he felt like he was going to die these two times in his life.  So for me, the two omegas represent these two events in his life when he thought it was the end for him.  Symbolic deaths if you will.  We have two omegas so we have two ends.  What is the end of the end…a new beginning?

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Okay, let’s go back to the home of Brown and figure out no place for the meek.

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In TTOTC, the chapter No Place For Biddies, the biddies say “he’d run away from home but he’s not allowed to cross the street”.  Forrest didn’t say anything out loud to the biddies because he was meek.  But instead said to himself, “I could cross the dumb street anytime I wanted to”.  So, from the home of Brown we cross the highway on foot, into the wooded area.  But how can it be in a place like this valley?  The place is so exposed and people and park rangers would see you in there and you’d get in trouble if caught.  Is that why we need a flashlight?  Are we supposed to sneak in there at night or something?

The end is ever drawing nigh;  The end of winter is drawing near in our poem and I think Forrest used the semicolon to signify the transition from winter to spring.  Also, nigh meaning to the left, gives us the direction that we will head toward the river and creek on our left.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  To me, it means we are not going up the creek.  This next part is where imagination is really more important than knowledge.  In the strange Scrapbook 116, Forrest posts about images that he can see in his shower tiles.  This effect is known as pareidolia.  An example would be the famous face on Mars that people think they see.  I have found pareidolia images as well in this valley.  I see a bird, a duck, a mountain lion’s face, but the ones I want to focus on are the phone, the alligator and the leaping frog (front view) with paddle feet.  The frog reminds me of the frog Forrest placed in the chest with the large “paddle” feet.  I’ve drawn these pareidolia images so they’re easier to see.  The first one is the easiest to see…the phone.

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Now, see if you can spot these in the landscape of the valley.

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Pic15The alligator has one of the frog’s paddle feet clenched in his jaw.  Hence, no paddle up your creek.  Hope that made sense.

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So, no paddle up your creek, JUST across the river.  If we’re standing on the bank, looking across the river, we see the phone on the other side.  Does Forrest really want us to cross the river?  When I actually thought the chest was hidden in here, I read the lines So hear me all and listen good, Your effort will be worth the cold.  HEAR ME ALL?!!!…on this giant phone!!!  So that gives us the crossing point…where the river is narrowest by the phone’s receiver.  Your effort will be worth the cold…meaning the cold water.  I think there’s more than one meaning to lines in the poem and I’m not going to go into all of them.  Just heavy loads and water high.  If it’s springtime now in our poem, the heavy loads are the snow-pack and the water high is the spring runoff.

Forrest talked about the time when he was in Laos and had to decide whether to try to walk out or call for help.  He decided that it wouldn’t be fair to Peggy if he took months to walk out, so he made the call for help.  To me, the giant phone symbolizes this call for help and he was then saved.  I’m not very articulate but hopefully you’re picking up on the meaning I’m trying to convey.  It’s springtime in the poem now, a chance for renewal of life.

So we’ve been wise and crossed over the river at the right spot and now we’re looking for the blaze, or the correct path.  If we are wise like an owl and see things from above then we can see the blaze.  It’s right next to the phone.  It’s the white, fallen dead tree (symbol of the first “death”).  Now we just need to find the second symbol of death and the two signs of life.  I know you’re probably thinking, how could this possibly be the blaze?  It’s not permanent.  It won’t be there in 100 or 1000 years.  I feel that Forrest wants this treasure found sooner rather than later.

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Look quickly down.  Follow the blaze down and it points toward a triangular sandy area.  That triangle is an arrowhead (just like the first arrowhead Forrest found as a small child).  This is the arrowhead that has struck the alligator, saving the frog, giving him new life.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.  If we sneaked into this area then tarry scant would mean don’t dawdle, just take the chest and get the heck out of there before your caught.  But I’ve already stated that I don’t believe the chest is there.  So there must be a deeper or alternate meaning to tarry scant.  Tarry as in tar or something resembling black.  In Tea With Olga (TTOTC) when Olga told Forrest she had cancer, they drank black tea.  I believe the black tea symbolized cancer (or death) and the green tea was symbolic of her new life (after death).  Forrest came back from death after beating cancer, so the double omegas represented the two “deaths” in Forrest’s life, now we’re looking for the green symbols of life.  On the arrowhead, it appears there are two green trees, I  truly believe this is the area where Forrest wanted to rest his bones.  His “bones” are represented by the second fallen tree (on the arrowhead by the trees) and is symbolic of his second “death” by cancer.

Forrest said we would have to use a magnifying glass to read what was inside the bottle.

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I found this sign by the double omegas and it’s hard to read and I had to zoom in all the way.  I believe it says…Naturally reseeded by wildfire in 1988.  1988…the same year Forrest was diagnosed with cancer.  I believe this is at least part of the reason why Forrest has said something to the effect of being umbilically tied to this spot.  The wildfire and reseeding is just one more example of death and new life.

Now let’s take a closer look at the comments Forrest made about searchers being within 500 feet and 200 feet of the treasure.

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If we take a look at the double omegas (the viewing areas), we see that one of the pullouts is 500 feet wide and the other one is 200 feet wide.  I think this is where the searchers have been.  The treasure is all right in front of us.  There’s no hidden chest filled with gold to find in this area.  The beauty of this special area is our treasure.

Don’t go where a 79/80 year old man wouldn’t go.

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One more thing…actually two.  There has to be an “X” marks the spot, right?

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If we measure out 200 feet from the “bones” (see first picture above), the red area is the banana.  Can you see it?  Grab every banana you can!

I’ve found our golden frog safe and alive, peeking his head out of the woods and hiding out from the black, shadowy figure holding a large flashlight (more pareidolia images).  If you want to find him in Google Earth, start at the “bones” and measure out 500 feet in the direction of the arrowhead point.

So if we draw lines from the banana and the golden frog the lines intersect at the “bones”.  X marks the spot!

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.  Like I said, this is just my opinion.  If you think the chest is still out there, then good luck in your searches.  I’ve been typing this up while having the flu and fever so I’m going to go rest now as I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.  If I get any comments or questions I’ll try to respond eventually.

-John (CrazyFox)

 

 

 

 

 

Through the Looking-Glass…

January, 2019

By Jonas

 

 

I’ve been fighting with this puzzle for more than a week now. I know that isn’t a long time for some of you in the chase community but I’m a very impatient man and must get rid of the itching an unsolved problem cause. I chose to make this public on HOD since I’m a Swedish resident and do not intend to go and get the treasure and I’m not sure I’ve legally could claim it if I wanted to. Before I present my solution I would like to express my gratitude to Mr Forrest Fenn – thank you sir, it’s been a thrill. Given my solution is right you are surely a genial architect. So here we go (I will try to keep it short).
The equivocal mirror solution.

Since I’ve first saw the poem I was sure the first paragraph is about losing yourself in the world of literature and art. I know Forrest Fenn said the purpose of the chase was to get out in the wild but I think that’s only half of it the other half is about educate yourself. A sort of body and life harmony in life and thereby the mirrored solutions.

I will reference the ”Wildlife reflection” as ”a)” and the ”Mind reflection” as ”b)”.
”Begin it where warm waters halt”

Using basic physics. Water, when heated rises and halt on the surface. First I was interpreting this as ”at the top” but I now know that it is the ”surface”.

a) Surface Creek by the Yellowstone River
b) Two Mile Reservoir outside Santa Fe (from now on this is what gives me the distance)
”And take it in the canyon down,”

a) Follow the Canyon (2 miles straight line)
b) Follow Canyon Rd (2 miles straight line)
”Not far, but to far to walk.”

a) I havet o get to the other side of the river
b) ” If Paris wasn’t so far away” (The Golden Road, L M Montgomery 1913). Paris, Texas is the birthplace of the Brown I am heading to.
”Put in below the home of Brown.”

”And then ‘mome raths’?” said Alice. “If I’m not giving you too much trouble.”
“Well a ‘rath’ is a sort of green pig, but ‘mome’ I’m not certain about. I think it’s sort for ‘from home’–meaning that they’d lost their way, you know.”

(Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll 1871)
a) Lookout Point were Grafton Tyler Brown painted ”View of the Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone” 1890
b) The Irby Brown Gallery in Santa Fe
Jumping past a couple of lines in the poem since they don’t take me any further.

”There’ll be no paddle up your creek,”

a) Alum Creek (3 miles straight line)
””I wonder if it’s where we buried it yet,” Speculated Felix.
”I put a stone over it, just as we did over Pat,” said Cecily”
(The Golden Road, L M Montgomery 1913)

This is where you go if ”you’ve been wise” (Bring a sandwich a flashlight)

b) Santa Fe Public Library, La Fargo Branch (3 miles straight line)
””I read it in a book”, said Alice.”
(Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll 1871)

This is were you go to get wise (Bring a sandwich and a flash lamp –  to burn the midnight oil)
Again, thank’s for the thrill!

-Jonas