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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
Okay, let’s go back to the home of Brown and figure out no place for the meek.
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.
Now, see if you can spot these in the landscape of the valley.
The alligator has one of the frog’s paddle feet clenched in his jaw. Hence, no paddle up your creek. Hope that made sense.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One more thing…actually two. There has to be an “X” marks the spot, right?
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.