Not At 40.41025N/105.5555W . . . Black Canyon, CO……




Last spring, on this site, I asserted that I had a unique solution to the poem.  And I promised to post it if it failed in the field.  Today, I am making good on that promise.  

Given the time delay, some of you may be wondering, “So why did you wait so long to send it in?”  

Fair question; in short, because I needed to assure myself that I wasn’t giving away information of extreme value too hastily, or for the wrong reasons.  As I have ridded myself of those concerns, I have chosen to give others the benefits of my thoughts and methods.

What follows is a complex solve. It is stunning and hideous at the same time. It is also incorrect! Please let me reiterate that:  IT IS INCORRECT!  This is not Mr. Fenn’s solution.  Whether he deliberately wrote this solution into the poem or not, I cannot say for certain.  All I can say is that I did not know what I was doing in advance.  I simply followed the directions in the poem in a certain way, and this is the result.  Hopefully, neither one of us will be disparaged too greatly for creating the intersection of creative thought described herein.


Many searchers believe that the poem cannot be solved using anything other than imaginative word associations and maps.  While I cannot prove that this perspective is incorrect, I do not subscribe to it myself.  I believe that the successful searcher will have a coordinate in hand before heading out to the mountains.  

For my assertion to be true, letters must be converted to numbers in some way.  And for letters to be successfully converted to numbers, very precise validations must be provided such that the possibility of miscommunication between the searcher and the author are minimized.  My methodology provides context for both parts of this information exchange.  I identify a potential validation structure, select inputs of interest, and compare output results to expected outcomes.  Obviously for this case, my inputs are incorrect relative to the validation structure I’ve identified and chosen to use.  

Of the two components necessary, I see most searchers completely engrossed on the input side of the house.  People are racking their brains trying to decide whether this warm spring, that hot creek, that warm-to-cold water fishing regulation rule change spot, etc. is the right one and why.  While I cannot prove that this approach cannot work, I do know that it is not for me. 


Because I find it illogical, and I know that I cannot solve an illogical puzzle nearly as well as many, many other people.  Now a logical, math-driven solution, with that structure, I like my chances. So for clearly personally-motivated reasons, I’ve spent my time trying to use puzzle solving strategies to crack the code and decipher the winning location. What follows is only one of hundreds of solution attempts that I’ve made, and because it is a statistical outlier across several fields of possible inquiry, I am happy to show it to you. Hopefully you glean some insight into how the poem can be approached from perspectives beyond those of imaginative place name association techniques.


I see a lot of discussion on the site regarding the distinction between hints and clues.  Frankly the whole subject bores me.  The poem is a puzzle, there waiting to be solved.  Now I’m sure that Mr. Fenn has a very distinct line in mind when he defines these words, but I do not know what that line is at all.  Therefore, I’ve chosen to ignore those distinctions completely in favor of my own personal terms:  Observations, Inputs, Solution Steps, Outputs, Validations, After-The-Fact-Observations.  A solution such as the one I am about to present cannot come from a vacuum.  Initial observations are needed.  Initial assumptions that define inputs to test are needed.  I believe it is critical to apply the scientific method to the solution process in order to have the best chance for success.  That this particular effort proved unsuccessful means nothing to the process needed.  But I digress a bit.  Let’s get it on!

There are many points about the poem that lead me to believe that a mathematical solution is involved.  But the most important ones are the following:

The four corners of the poem contain the following letters:

Line 1: A(s) (ther)E

Line 24: I (gol)D

Read from lower left around CCW yields:  IDEA!

The four corners of Lines 2/23 contain the following letters:

Line 2: A(nd) (bol)D

Line 23: I(f) (woo)D

Read from lower left around CW yields:  I ADD!

Using simple substitution, where A=1, B=2, C=3 . . . J=1, K=2, . . . Z=8

I = 9

A+D+D = 1+4+4 = 9

I = ADD!

The 5th letters in from the right and left Lines 2/23 contain the following letters:

Line 2: (w)I(th) (treasure)S

Line 23: (yo)U (th)E

From upper left around CW yields:  I SEU! = I SE(e) (yo)U! = I USE!

I = 9

S+E+U = 1+5+3 = 9

This information seems to validate the use of summative reduction numerology and the selected use of anagrams and puzzle-type extrapolations as possible solution techniques. 

So the question is:  Are these important observations, or random hits?  

Fair question, so I’ll weigh in with my personal opinion.  Yours may differ.  

My experience with working on the poem for a long time indicates that there is something here.  Some will trot out confirmation bias as a reason to ignore my opinion, and honestly, I cannot fully refute that.  All I can say is that, for me, I see enough here to persevere and keep trying. I see a math puzzle that can be solved, and hopefully, before I’m through, you will be inspired to tinker with my techniques, too.

My next major observation is that a lot of math is possible across “To Be.”  Candidly, I owe Brock Swenson for pointing this out to me via his seminal primer, “Not Just Another Solution.” His work paved the way for me to get started.  Everything you see here is built upon his foundation.  “Not Just Another Solution” can be viewed on Dal’s site, and I recommend it wholeheartedly for anyone who wants to come over to the dark side after reading this in its entirety!

“To Be” is used conventionally in 8 lines.  

Line 9:  From there it’s no place for the meek  (present tense: IS)

Line 10:  The end is ever drawing nigh  (present tense:  IS)

Line 11:  There’ll be no paddle up your creek  (future tense:  WILL BE)

Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze  (past tense:  HAVE BEEN) 

Line 17:  So why is it that I must go  (present to future tense question transition:  IS)

Line 20:  I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak  (past to present tense:  AM)

Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold  (future tense:  WILL BE)

Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood  (future tense:  ARE)

There are also several unconventional uses of “To Be” where forms are embedded in other words. For purposes of this solution, I focused my math pre-work on these eight conventional uses first, leaving the others for review later.  But just for clarity and completeness, I will list them here.  Also note that the embedded AR’s seem to be useful for letter swaps more than math, IMO. Letter swaps are not involved in this solve, by the way.

Line 5:  Begin it where wARm waters halt  (present tense:  AR(e))

Line 7:  Not fAR, but too fAR to walk  (present tense twice:  AR(e))

Line 13:  If you’ve been wISe and found the blaze  (present tense:  IS)

Line 15:  But tARry scant with mARvel gaze  (present tense twice: AR(e))

Line 21:  So heAR me all and lISten good  (present tense:  AR(e) & IS)

Line 23:  If you ARe brave and in the wood  (present tense:  AR(e))

Simple substitution math key will be used for this HINT-LEVEL math:










Beginning math checks on Line 9:  From there it’s no place for the meek . . . 

From = 6+9+6+4 = 25

There = 2+8+5+9+5 = 29

It = 9+2 = 11

No = 5+6 = 11

Place = 7+3+1+3+5 = 19

For = 6+6+9 = 21

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Meek = 4+5+5+2 = 16


It = No = 11

Words directly across IS are equal.

There + It = 29 + 11 = 40

Place + For = 19 + 21 = 40

There It = Place For = 40 = 4+0 = 4

Place FOR is 4!

The rest looks random. Full left never equals full right.

Next, Line 10:  The end is ever drawing nigh . . . 

The = 2+8+5 = 15

End = 5+5+4 = 14 = 1+4 = 5

Ever = 5+4+5+9 = 23 = 2+3 = 5

Drawing = 4+9+1+5+9+5+7 = 40

Nigh = 5+9+7+8 = 29


End = Ever = 5

Words directly across IS are equal yet again!

Note:  The odds that any two letters, word or phrase sums are equal using this method are 1 in 9. So the fact that both pairs of words are equal is nice, but not yet persuasive.

The + End = 15+14 = 29

Nigh = 29

The End = Nigh = 29

Note that the full left could equal the full right if unreduced letter values were used initially in place of the reduced ones listed above:

The + End = 20+8+5+5+14+4 = 56 = 11

Ever + Drawing + Nigh = 5+22+5+18+4+18+1+23+9+14+7+14+9+7+8 = 164 = 1+6+4 = 11

This might be a tip to use unreduced letter values instead of reduced ones. In most cases, letter state is irrelevant, but occasionally a total gets affected. Thus it pays to understand the nuances and pitfalls of this type of analysis!

As this is HINT-LEVEL math only, I’m not concerned about this outcome at all, as my primary focus is on the words directly across “To Be” right now.

Next, Line 11:  There’ll be no paddle up your creek . . .

There = 2+8+5+9+5 = 29 = 2+9 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

No = 5+6 = 11

Paddle = 7+1+4+4+3+5 = 28 = 2+8 = 10

Up = 3+7 = 10

Your = 7+6+3+9 = 25

Creek = 3+9+5+5+2 = 24


There = No = 11

For a third time, the words directly across TO BE are equal. 

There = 11 = 1+1 = 2

Paddle + Up = 10 + 10 = 20 = 2+0 = 2

Once again, full left does not equal full right. 

Line 13 has two significant structural differences relative to the lines examined so far. 

  1. Past tense structure likely indicates that the sentence will behave differently!
  2. “You” presented as first term on the left indicates likely structural change if solver action is required to create equality, rather than equality being provided initially!

So, skipping ahead to the similar usage found in Line 17!

Line 17:  So why is it that I must go . . .

So = 1+6 = 7

Why = 5+8+7 = 20 = 2+0 = 2

It = 9+2 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

That = 2+8+1+2 = 13

I = 9

Must = 4+3+1+2 = 10

Go = 7+6 = 13


Why = It = 2

For a fourth time, the words directly across “To Be” are equal. 

Let me reiterate that! There are exactly four lines with similar construction across “To Be” and all four lines have words of equal value directly across from each other. 

Odds on any pair being equal are 1 in 9. Yet it happened four times in a row! Statistically this means:

1/9 x 1/9 x 1/9 x 1/9 = 1/6561 =.0001524

This equates to a .01524 percent chance of this arrangement happening randomly. So I’m saying that there’s a chance that Mr. Fenn did this unintentionally, but I’m more than willing to take the HINT that there is something going on across “To Be” and I need to understand what that is!

Now the other four lines act differently because they relate to future work. The fact that they do not solve now is a hint that it’s up to the searcher to find the letter values needed to make the equations work properly. 

But before we try to solve anything, let’s continue reviewing these initial lines!

Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze . . . 

If = 9+6 = 15

You = 7+6+3 = 16

Wise = 5+9+1+5 = 20

And = 1+5+4 = 10

Found = 6+6+3+5+4 = 24

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Blaze = 2+3+1+8+5 = 19


Note that You (16) not equal to Wise (20)!

BUT:   W = E = 5 (from wISe!)

Observe that the structurally similar application of my words directly across “To Be” still works here for the present tense case, even though there are no words, only single letters in play! This is very sneaky and it lends credence to my theory! 

So, technically, I did not have to skip Line 13 at all! It works as it should, and it informs me that I need to do some work to make the other part of the equation correct later!

Everything else here, at this point, is irrelevant IMO. Next up, Line 21!

Since Line 13, with embedded IS in WISE worked, I want to check up on the IS in LISTEN, Line 21!

Line 21:  So hear me all and listen good . . . 

So = 1+6 = 7

Hear = 8+5+1+9 = 23

Me = 4+5 = 9

All = 1+3+3 = 7

And = 1+5+4 = 10

L = 3

Ten = 2+5+5 = 12

Good = 7+6+6+4 = 23


L = 12 unreduced and 3 reduced.

Ten = 12 = 1+2 = 3.

For a sixth time, the structure works as it did the first time through! That is truly stunning!

1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9×1/9 = 1/531441 = .0000018816

That’s .00018816 percent chance for those of you keeping track at home! 

Deny this all you want, but recognize that your denial matters not to whether there is math involved, but it certainly may diminish your chances of succeeding should these concepts be involved with the winning solution!

Hear = Good = 23 = 2+3 = 5

Hear + Me = 23 + 9 = 32 = 3+2 = 5

All + L = 7+3 = 10

Ten is 10 linguistically!

There are meaningful equalities all over the place here! I respectfully suggest that you listen up and take the HINT!

Returning to Line 20:  I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak . . . 

I = 9

Ve = 4+5 = 9 

Have = 8+1+4+5 = 9

Done = 4+6+5+5 = 20

It = 9+2 = 11

Tired = 2+9+9+5+4 = 29

And = 1+5+4 = 10

Now = 5+6+5 = 16

I = 9

I’m = 9+4 = 13

Weak = 5+5+1+2 = 13


Note that I=9 not equal to Weak = 13 = 1+3 = 4

But I’m = Weak = 13

While this is technically incorrect as I believe that the contraction should not count, one can make a case that this structure works. Whether Mr. Fenn intended this equality be a positive hit or not, I don’t know. But I can take a HINT when I see one. 

Done + Tired = 20 + 29 = 49 = 4+9 = 13

Done +  It + Tired + Now = 20+11+29+16 = 76 = 7+6 = 13

Weak = 13

Last I checked, “done tired” and “done it tired now” both equal “weak” linguistically, too!

Moving on to Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold . . . 

Your = 7+6+3+9 = 25 = 2+5 = 7

Effort = 5+6+6+6+9+2 = 34 = 3+4 = 7

Worth = 5+6+9+2+8 = 30

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Cold = 3+6+3+4 = 16

F = 6

EF = 5+6 = 11

EFF = 5+6+6 = 17

T = 2

W = 5

TH = 2+8 = 10


Note that Effort not equal to Worth

Note that neither F, EF, EFF or T equal W or TH! This implies that a logic problem across “To Be” is NOT in play! (At least not this time! LOL!)

Note that Worth+The+Cold = 30+15+16 = 61 = 7

Your = Effort = Worth + The + Cold = 7!

Note that Your + Effort not equal to Worth + The + Cold!!

This, for me, is the MOST CRITICAL observation so far! YOUR EFFORT does not equal WORTH THE COLD! I think that these terms need to match! I think everything rides on making these terms match!


Fair question!

At some point in this chase we all must reach inside ourselves and make a determination about what is incontrovertibly right, what is incontrovertibly wrong and what is open for interpretation and/or negotiation.  The Engineer in me says, this Line, right here, this one must solve properly, in full, or the answer is going to be WRONG! So if my gut is incorrect about this, then I have no chance to win. End of story for me. 

Finishing OLD MATH with Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood . . . 

If = 9+6 = 15

You = 7+6+3 = 16 = 1+6 = 7

Brave = 2+9+1+4+5 = 21

And = 1+5+4 = 10

In = 9+5 = 14

The = 2+8+5 = 15

Wood = 5+6+6+4 = 21


Note that You not equal to Brave 

Brave+And+Wood = 21+10+21 = 52 = 5+2 = 7

You = Brave+And+Wood = 7

Once again, a significant equality, but full left not equal to full right. So the structure of the You/I equations are similar to, but never identical to each other. I believe that it is my job to make all of these equations solve properly. That’s my theory, so let’s try to make it happen!


There are, of course, myriad ways to create solutions from a blank slate. At first I tried permutation after permutation using the directions in the poem, making rectangles all over the place. Some of them seemed to work out, most did not. 

These failures got me to thinking outside the follow the directions mode of solving. A tip from a friend put me on a track to simplify the process. What follows is a direct result of that tip. 

Mr. Fenn has said that there are nine clues in the poem. I decided to try to find nine inputs and then see what kind of a solution might be possible from there. 

Before making my choices, though, I noticed that Canyon and Brown both totaled 72 (unreduced letter totals) as follows:

Canyon = 3+1+14+25+15+14 = 72

Brown = 2+18+15+23+14 = 72

Given that both these key words had the same raw total, I decided to select 7 alphanumeric key change point inputs one way and 2 inputs by another way. 

For the larger set of 7, I decided to use letters directly across “To Be”, last on left = first on right.

The letters I chose for this subset were:

Line 9:  iT=No . . . T becomes N

Line 10:  enD=Ever . . . D becomes E

Line 11:  therE=No . . . E becomes N

Line 13:  yoU=Wise . . . U becomes W

Line 13:  W=E . . . W becomes E

Line 17:  whY=It . . . Y becomes I

Line 21:  L=Ten . . . L remains L, but value changes to 10! (note that this alternate usage probably doomed this entire solve, but I did not figure that out until after the fact)

For the other two inputs I used “I” loops:

Lines 1/24, 7th letters in:

Line 1(hav)EI(n)

Line 24 (y)O(u)T(he)

Reading from upper right CW yields:  I TO E . . . I becomes E

Lines 2/23, 5th letters in, already discussed:  I SE U . . . S becomes E

Ok. I now have nine alphanumeric answers that I want to see become active in my final answer key . . . 

Can it be done??

I already know that I have to begin my trek on Line 5 because this is where the first CLUE is housed. Let’s put up a grid and see what happens next!

A s I h a v e g o n e a l o n e I n t h e r e 

A n d w I t h m y t r e a s u r e s b o l d 

I c a n k e e p m y s e c r e t w h e r e 

A n d h I n t o f r I c h e s n e w a n d o l d 

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

S o w h y I s I t t h a t I  m u s t g o 

A n d l e a v e m y t r o v e f o r a l l t o s e e k 

T h e a n s w e r s I a l r e a d y k n o w 

I v e d o n e I t t I r e d a n d n o w I m w e a k 

S o h e a r m e a l l a n d l I s t e n g o o d 

Y o u r e f f o r t w I l l b e w o r t h t h e c o l d 

I f y o u a r e b r a v e a n d I n t h e w o o d 

I g I v e y o u t I t l e t o t h e g o l d 


Line 5:  Begin it:  W here!

Answer:  W At!

Validation:  Where+Warm+Waters+Halt = 5+8+5+9+5+5+1+9+4+5+1+2+5+9+1+8+1+3+2 = 88 = 8+8 = 16

The 17th letter in Line 5 is the “W” in “Waters!” 

The first instruction is to accept the first three letters in WAT ers and do nothing else. Visually, I have:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

Line 6:  And take it:  “IN” the canyon down!

Answer:  homophone “EN” where second “N” on “canyoN” is directly below the “E” in “WATErs”

Validation:  In+The = 9+5+2+8+5 = 29 = 2+9 = 11 = 1+1 = 2

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

Line 7:  Not far, but “TOO” far to walk!

Answer:  “TOO” is the only pure number in the poem. For all military codes, “TOO” means the number “2”! So extend the line from the current stop on the “L” and extend it down two more letters as shown:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

Validation:  “Put in below” signifies a change of direction underneath Brown.

“From there” doubles down on this change of direction concept, especially since the “F” is in this Line already.

Line 9:  From there it’s (k)no(w) place!

Answer:  Move left through PLACE, stopping before reaching NO/(k)NO(w) homophone combination!

Validation:  The end is drawing nigh = means keep left as you move “From there!”

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

Line 11:  There’ll be (k)NO(w) paddle “UP” . . . 

Answer:  Currently on “P” with half a “Paddle” directly below, so use what’s available going Down!

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

W A T E N L B F E C A L P A D X X X X X X X X X X X X 

Half the alphabet down, and four for four on my hypothesized input/output exchanges! Wow! What’s next?

Status report: 

I have half of a blaze, I need exactly 12 more letters, but I lack instructions at this point! Perhaps I can draw my way to a complete nine for nine solution?

Line 14 hints:  “your quest to cease”

Answer:  2 C’s!

Using this idea, I added to my letter string as follows: 

My first “C”:  Down from “D” in “padDle” to “A” in “And”, left to “S” in “loadS”, down to “SE” in “wiSE”

My second “C”: Down from “E” in “wisE” to “N” in “dowN”, left to “W” in “doWN”, down through “W” in “With” to “ES” in “chESt”. 

These two moves add 10 letters to the blaze. 

I chose to finish the blaze by moving upwards and finishing with “IN” per Line 16, “go IN peace!”

Note 1:  In retrospect, I should have realized that moving upwards violated the instruction of Line 11, but alas, I did not!

Note 2:  The completed blaze, when seen, will be a shock to some. For that, I apologize in advance! But, it is what it is, and I can’t do anything about it now!

So here it is, the full blaze, in all it’s glory:

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

So what is this a picture of?  Rotate the grid 90 degrees CW and I see a scrotum and an erect penis!

Yes, people! I have “WOOD” on your screen. Linguistically-, mathematically-, artistically-derived “WOOD”! For that, I apologize, but then again, it is pretty funny, too! 

Drawing Validation: all 9 of my input/output combinations hit!

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

W A T E N L B F E C A L P A D A S S E N W W E S I N 

The blaze, when written out, has a hidden message, too!


Holy cow! That is so weird, that I still don’t know what to make of it! But, given the drawing on the screen, the message seemed to really fit, so I ignored the weirdness and got down to finishing my solution pronto!


New alphanumeric key courtesy of the WOOD!

A B C D E F G H I J K  L M N O P Q  R   S T U V  W  X Y Z 

5 1 2 5 5 3 2  6 5 3 1 1 7  1  4 1 10 10 5 5 5  5 5 10 9 5 

Line 22:  Your effort will be worth the cold . . . 

Your = 9+4+5+10 = 28

Effort = 5+3+3+4+10+5 = 30

Worth = 5+4+10+5+6 = 30

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Cold = 2+4+1+5 = 12


Effort = Worth = 30 (Exactly!)

Your+Effort = 28+30 = 58

Worth+The+Cold = 30+16+12 = 58 

Your+Effort = Worth + The + Cold = 58 (Exactly!)

These are exact totals! No reductions! These are pure equalities, and EXACTLY how I want this line to operate!

Note:  These outputs are more than enough for me to continue looking at this very hard all the way to the end of the line! Line 23:  If you are brave and in the wood . . .

Technically, I’ve already got this line covered, but let’s check the math, anyway!

If = 5+3 = 8

You = 9+4+5 = 18

Brave = 1+10+5+5+5 = 26

And = 5+1+5 = 11

In = 5+1 = 6

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Wood = 5+4+4+5 = 18


If + You = 8+18 = 26 = Brave (Exactly!)

Brave + And + The + Wood = 8+2+7+9 = 26 (By reduction!)

Wow!  Exact equalities involving Brave and Wood! 

Thanks to a picture of WOOD!

Even now, I’m still stupefied at how this all came together!

If this isn’t an engineered solution, it a statistical anomaly of extreme proportions!

Continuing with Line 13:  If you’ve been wise and found the blaze . . . 

If = 5+3 = 8

You = 9+4+5 = 18

You’ve = 9+4+5+5+5 = 28

Been = 1+5+5+1 = 12

Wise = 5+5+5+5 = 20

And = 5+1+5 = 11

Found = 3+4+5+1+5 = 18

The = 5+6+5 = 16

Blaze = 1+1+5+5+5 = 17

If + You = 8+18 = 26 = 2+6 = 8

Wise + Found + The + Blaze = 20+18+16+17 = 71 = 7+1 = 8

If + You’ve + Been + W = 8+28+12+5 = 53 = 8

And + Found + The + Blaze = 2+9+7+8 = 26 = 8 (Note: E cannot be used here. Another RED FLAG missed!)

As this is getting very long, I’ll simply summarize the other equalities:

So+Why = It+Must+Go = 2  (Note:  Neither “That” nor “I” can be used here)

From+It = No+Place+For+The+Meek = 7  (Note: “There” cannot be used here)

The + End = Ever + Drawing + Nigh = 9  (Full left = Full right)

There = No+Paddle+Up+Your+Creek = 4  (Full left = Full right)

Done+It+Tired+Now+I = Weak = 7  (“I’ve” and “And” cannot be used here)

So+Hear+Me+All+L = Ten+Good = 8  (Full left = Full right)

While there are some imperfections, the correlations here are extremely strong! I must admit being blown away by the totality of the fit, and yet, IT WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Oh, the lessons we learn the hard way! LOL!


The only work left is to find the coordinates in the grid. 

Given that I have a picture of WOOD, I need to find “R” in a place where I can successfully enter the WOOD itself. 

B e g I n I t w h e r e w a r m w a t e r s h a l t 

A n d t a k e I t I n t h e c a n y o n d o w n 

N o t f a r b u t t o o f a r t o w a l k 

P u t I n b e l o w t h e h o m e o f B r o w n 

F r o m t h e r e I t s n o p l a c e f o r t h e m e e k 

T h e e n d I s e v e r d r a w I n g n I g h 

T h e r e l l b e n o p a d d l e u p y o u r c r e e k

J u s t h e a v y l o a d s a n d w a t e r h I g h 

I f y o u v e b e e n w I s e a n d f o u n d t h e b l a z e 

L o o k q u I c k l y d o w n y o u r q u e s t t o c e a s e 

B u t t a r r y s c a n t w I t h m a r v e l g a z e 

J u s t t a k e t h e c h e s t a n d g o I n p e a c e 

RDSSWW = 105.5555 . . . This is a longitude in CO!

I paired this with O space ORGU coming down from the “O” in “Down”, Line 6!

This combination seemed to fit with the tone of the solution at hand!

O space ORGU = 40.41025 . . . This is a latitude in CO!

The location is in the Roosevelt NF near Black Canyon Trail. Black Canyon felt like a very fitting location for this solution. The hike proved to be 3.2 miles one way with all but the last little bit on trail. This distance is right at the outside limit of what I felt was theoretically possible for Mr. Fenn to undertake. The lack of extreme elevation changes worked as a mitigating factor, but honestly, given the totality of correlations I had on paper, I was game for almost anything. Needless to say, Indulgence was not at this spot. I had a friend and a metal detector. We looked around the area for a good while, but I knew going it that this was a long shot scenario because I did not have a set of points on a map to bolster the work presented here!


So what went wrong?  

A lot of things, actually.  But the biggest mistake I made was getting too excited about some very positive math! The math, after all, WASN’T PERFECT . . . it was only ALMOST PERFECT!

Then there was the hike thing. It was too long. I don’t think Mr. Fenn could do that 6.4 mile round trip twice in an afternoon. I know for a fact that I was done after doing it once and I’m still in decent shape. So from now on, my hike limit is a 2-mile radius from park point for anything but almost flat ground!

Then there is the lack of connection to Mr. Fenn thing. Frankly, I discounted this far too much! I got too excited about my wacky solution and forgot to cover the basics! Mea culpa on that one! Will certainly do better next time!

Then there is the whole WWWH/HoB matter. From Mr. Fenn’s comments, there has to be more to these clues than a path through the poem. I discounted this aspect to my own detriment. Again, I won’t do that again.


As this solve is very strong, I may have missed something related to the Latitude. I really like the derivation of the Longitude coordinate. But I admit that I had to guess a bit on the Latitude. It is possible that a different set of letters could emerge from this solution, as presented. If so, you are welcome to review my work, find another answer, and investigate at will. All I can say is that I took my best shot and came up dry with this solution. Your results, should you play with this further, may vary!


Even in defeat, I like this solution. It is certainly possible that another path through the poem might generate a positive result.  I hope that one will work out for you, should you dare to revise this one, or look for another possible answer; but, after working with these possible paths for over a year, I decided to scrap the blaze-inside-the-poem concept altogether. I have a new methodology and a new solution in hand. With any luck, I’ll be able to walk right to the chest later this summer.  If not, I’ll publish it and admit defeat once and for all!

You see, this chase is what we make it. For me, the chase has provided me with a chance to solve a difficult puzzle using my abilities to the fullest extent.  No matter what happens next, I’ve already  done that.  No matter where I go or what else I do to dream up another answer, I will never be able to top the place I plan to go next.  Thus, for me, the chase is already over . . . I’ve run my race.  There is only victory or defeat in the offing now, and only time will tell which of those it will be.

Either way, I will walk away proudly, knowing that I’ve given this opportunity everything I could muster. 


Making predictions about what will happen in the chase may be foolhardy, but I’m going to put a few things out there, anyway.

The complexity of this solution goes far beyond statistical randomness. I don’t believe it is random at all. I believe that I am looking at an intentionally-constructed outcome. I believe this is Mr. Fenn’s CRUDE solution! 

You see, I think that Mr. Fenn anticipated guys like me coming along and he wrote us a note beforehand. That note said, “Great thinking . . . but screw you, Dude! Keep trying! LOL!”

Based on this outcome, I am absolutely certain that an elegant, perfect-math solution is out there waiting to be found! It’s there, just waiting on someone else to come along and discover it for the very first time! 

The alternative, of course, is that the correct solution is NOT math-based at all. But if it isn’t, why go to the trouble to derive and provide a solution of this complexity at all? Think about that for a minute, please! If you do, I think you’ll realize the importance of what I just said!

I further predict that the math verifications will be predicated on more intricately devised arrangements than full left = full right on a single line, as I’ve postulated here.

I further predict that the final solution will use far more interesting puzzle construction techniques than the ones encountered here . . . and these are GREAT!

I further predict that the inputs will be exactly 2, not 9! Line 7 provides the number, and it is “TOO!”

The puzzle must be worked backwards, reverse engineered. While the inputs are few, the answers are all provided, and the most astute searcher will be able to put all the pieces together successfully. 

Essentially, Mr. Fenn has written a double-sided, but 90-degree rotated picture puzzle for us to solve. If you’ve never worked one of these before, take it from me, they are hard because there are pictures on both sides of every piece. When working them, one often puts together little sections, then those sections have to be disassembled and reassembled after flipping and rotating. I find myself doing the same things with my ideas here. And this is harder than any double-sided puzzle because we lack a box top of the picture itself. We must imagine the picture, and the only way that I’ve been able to make any headway at all is to play with the letters in the poem grid! I humbly suggest working with the grid until you begin to see some light and shadows through the forest of letters provided.


As for me, I want to thank Mr. Fenn for giving me the opportunity to stretch my mind and think about things in ways that I’ve never done before.  And, if I get nothing else beyond that out of this effort, then I will have been well-compensated, indeed. 

May all of you achieve the similar outcomes!