SUBMITTED JULY 2015
ALL of the following is IMO ONLY!! My most recent search for the chest was also my most successful, and while I did not come home with Indulgence, I came home with a new outlook that provides me with unique insight into the way the poem must be solved. Please enjoy my latest solve, and by all means go there….it is quite a spectacular place. I highly recommend a side trip to Diablo Canyon too, which is near the Chili Line, a now non-existent narrow gauge railroad that ran from Santa Fe to Chile, NM.
I look at the poem as directions wearing a poetic disguise, so I can take certain language and spelling peculiarities as purposeful, since Forrest uses a few words that aren’t in the dictionary, and others that are, he bends a little. In order to give directions, one needs a fixed starting point, direction of travel, and distance. Forrest gives us many things to ponder in his poem, but one thing is for sure…a map exists in the words of the poem, along with marked starting and ending points, and including instructions on how to get from point A to Point X. Here is one interpretation, and I think you will all agree, it is a goodun’.
As EYE have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
EYE can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
This is clue number one of nine clues that are in chronological order. It tells us the Beginning (where warm waters halt), has a lone EYE in it and a lone I in it, And that EYE or I can keep the secret of where warm waters halt, and also may hint at the treasure resting location as well. This is the key to locating the correct warm waters, and the correct halting location of those waters.
Begin it where warm waters halt
This is clue number two, and tells us the starting location is where warm waters stop, or halt. But Forrest has stated that warm waters halt in many places in the Rockies, so which place is it…that information is in clue number one. When researching EYE, and I, and warm waters on Google Earth and other resources and maps, I came across Ojo Caliente, a town and a river named after a hot spring there. Ojo is Spanish for EYE, and Caliente is Spanish for warm or hot…so this, quite literally translates as WARM EYE. It is in New Mexico, and North of Santa Fe. Many searchers have made mention of how well it fits the poem. I don’t believe the hot springs is wwwh, however. I believe The Ojo Caliente hot springs mix with the waters of the Ojo Caliente River, making it warmer. This river then halts where it enters the Rio Chama, making the mouth of the Ojo Caliente River where warm waters halt. It is funny to me that the town at the confluence of the Ojo Caliente and the Chama rivers is called Chili (as in Chilly, as in where warm waters halt, or as in worth the cold!)
And take it in the canyon down
This is Clue three, and gives us our direction of travel; down, or downstream, in the canyon of the Rio Chama.
Not far, but too far to walk.
This is clue number four. It gives us distance, but at this point we don’t know exactly how far down the canyon we should go, or do we?…only that it is too far to walk, which I take to mean look a ways down the canyon…remember, we are using a good map or google earth as our research tools. So how far down canyon?? What about not four miles but two four two miles walk? Yes, it could be not 4, but 2.42 walk, or not 4, but 24.2 walk, or not 4, but 242 walk. But I chose 24.2 because it is the only LOGICAL choice. 242 puts us well south of Santa Fe. 2.42 is less than four, and is not too far to walk. 24.2 miles is more than 4, keeps us North of Santa Fe, and is, most would agree, not far, but too far to walk. And it works PERFECTLY with the rest of my solve too!! So if we go down the canyon 24.2 miles, we end up right below the home of Brown…When the Rio Chama enters the Rio Grande, we continue downstream, which is also south…let’s explore,
Put in below the home of Brown.
A tough nut to crack, but this turns out to be clue number five. If we continue to follow the Chama into the Rio Grande, (on a map remember?) and keep traveling down canyon for 24.2 miles from the mouth of the Ojo Caliente River, we go through several Indian Pueblo reservations, which are a brownish tint on the USGS quads of this part of New Mexico. The Brown skin of the Native American peoples that call these pueblos home also bodes well for this interpretation of the poem map. This clue tells us not to actually enter the canyon until we are below the boundary of the reservations on the map (below the home of Brown).The last reservation on the Rio Grande still North of Santa Fe is the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Now we know distance. And if we use Google Earth to run a quick directions check on the distance between Chili, NM (Worth the cold, and where warm waters halt) and San Ildefonso Pueblo (home of Brown), on interstate 84, it is…are you ready for this?…24.2 miles EXACTLY. (Not far, but Two Four Two walk). As in drive, as in interstate 84… So we enter (PUT IN) the Rio Grande Canyon 24.2 miles from our starting point of Chili, NM., just below San Ildefonso Pueblo (near the Ottowi Bridge)…but remember, we are still using a map!! I believe the location may be solved without leaving the house, but the treasure cannot be located without boots on the ground. Now alternately, if we go 24.2 miles “IN the canyon down”, as in following the rivers, we end up on an Island in the Rio Grande that is EXACTLY 270 degrees WEST, which is left (nigh) as you look at a map, of a very particular place… and that place just happens to be DIRECTLY below (South) of the San Ildelfonso Indian reservation “Sacred lands” boundary marker.
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 whole stanza I consider to be clue number six, although arguably there are more twisted hints surrounding this funny clue after you decipher it’s geographic location reference on the map… for now you know you are looking for a creek to go up from the Rio Grande, and you don’t know for CERTAIN whether its nigh as in closer, or nigh as in left, or nigh as in west… But the next line, just heavy loads and water high, gives you more information about what you are looking for on the map or Google Earth… (Your references for reading the directions in the poem). I translate this clue using the confidence that clues one through five are correct, and place me within striking distance of the chest. For doubters, this one will be tough to swallow. But to get the chest, you CANNOT be meek. Now, the end is ever drawing nigh is tricky at best, and my iffiest clue at worst. People have said nigh means to go left…but when you mount a horse, you are facing the same direction as the horse…meaning your left is the horses left too. So far in the poem, for this solve, directions cannot be confused. What I mean by this is canyon down is both South AND downstream, and below is both lower and South of the home of Brown. But nigh leaves some questions…or does it? We are still using a map to navigate…so if we orient the map with the compass heading of true north, that is, place the top of the map to the North, nigh becomes West. West is also left when you are facing the same direction as the map is oriented (North at the top and South at the bottom). So now the horse is the map and we are the rider, and both are facing the same direction when going nigh…or left…or West. So we are looking for a place that is not for the meek, to the west as we go DOWNSTREAM along the Rio Grande, (on a MAP) and we won’t be paddling up it…This clue has ALWAYS reminded me of the saying, “Up S#!t creek without a paddle” and I believe Forrest knows that saying as well. Others have seen this in the poem or Forrest would not have felt the need to tell us not to dig the old outhouses, and Dal would not have insulted Forrest with the thought of a sewage treatment plant. But wait… it just so happens that to the west of us as we travel Downstream 24.2 miles along the Rio Grande, a S#!t creek (heavy loads!!) flows into the Rio Grande. This creek flows out of MORTALITY CANYON…and the real name of the Creek in Mortality canyon is CEDAR CREEK (In the wood), translated into English from Spanish for your reading convenience. There is a S#!t waterfall on the South Wye of the Canyon (So why is it). Now, let me explain. The Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent from WHITE ROCK (the blaze), New Mexico feeds a waterfall on Cedar Creek, that flows in Mortality Canyon. This clue, plus clue seven, solid it up for us…
If you’ve been wise, and found the blaze (WHITE ROCK),
Look quickly down your quest to cease
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
Well, once you get clue seven, you see the ugly truth of this whole thing!! Boy, Forrest wasn’t kidding when he said we’d be surprised by where it is, and he meant it when he said it’s more fun to figure it out than it is to go get it, because then the fun is over!! We have all heard that Forrest mentioned to Dal that a blaze is something white. And we all know that rock cairns are/were often used in blazing trails. When I saw the town of White Rock, NM on the map, I knew I had found the blaze. It fit in every way Forrest had alluded to, and more. When I look quickly down from White Rock, NM I am seeing the creek that I won’t be paddling up…it is literally a s#!t creek!! Below White Rock wastewater treatment plant, a waterfall cascades down a canyon known as Mortandad (Mortality) Canyon! It is very pretty to look at from afar but has quite a different appeal close up. Kinda gives “Go in Peace” a new meaning now don’t it? Along with So Why is it that I must go. I guess that’s why we don’t tarry scant huh! But would Forrest really do that?? Or does he just want us to get pooh on us before we find the chest?
Clue eight is the entire next stanza…
So why is it that I must go, (LMAO)
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.
So why….South wye of the Creek? Yup, matches up if we are approaching from the poem direction, which is UP Mortality Canyon, from the Rio Grande River, remember? Also possibly humorously asking why we must spend so much of our lives going to the bathroom….surely that’s a design deficiency of some sort. So he “goes” and leaves his trove? Hmm…
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold,
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
Well, clue nine both brings us back to the beginning with the Chili/cold reference, and also makes it sound as if we must enter the pooh waterfall stream at some point in order to retrieve the chest….eeeewww!
But I am hoping that the last line tells a different tale…A bit further up Mortality Canyon from the pooh falls, is another, more pronounced South Wye…and the name of this creek is…wait for it again…Cedro Canyon, (Cedar Canyon…= in the wood??) Perhaps Forrest terrifies us with the thoughts of pooh falls, secretly hoping someone actually goes in there to find it….and all the while it is nestled just a tad further up the canyon on the left..(South, or nigh..), in Cedar Canyon. Of course, I will have checked them both by the time you read this. But Forrest claims the chest is wet, and the only year round water source in Mortality canyon is the pooh falls…what a perfect place to put something you don’t want found for a long, long time. Who in their right mind is going wading around under a pooh waterfall looking for riches? Except maybe a kid. It just so happens that several baseball fields are located within 100 yards from the top of the waterfall.
Now I will get a bit more twisted. Forrest mentions how disappointed he was in Laos and Vietnam when he visited his beautiful waterfall…it just wasn’t the same close up as it was from a distance. I’m guessing the same could be said about this waterfall. As tough as it is to swallow, I can see Forrest using this kind of humorous, and a tad off-putting location to hide his gold. If you read that poem with a bathroom in mind, a lot starts to jump out at you!! No need to search the old outhouses, cuz it’s under pooh falls!! It gets better. Can it be a coincidence that it is EXACTLY 24.2 miles from my WWWH to My HOB? Do me a favor. Go to google earth and begin at the confluence of the Ojo Caliente River and Rio Chama. Staying in the river bottom, measure a path moving downstream, continuing downstream on the Rio Grande. Go a path distance of 24.2 miles. You should end up on a little island in the Rio Grande Canyon…Funny, but if you go 270 degrees due West (nigh) from that spot, you come out PRECISELY at the waterfall in Mortality Canyon on Cedar Creek. And if you go due East (90 degrees) from that same Island, you end up precisely 8.25 miles North of the X formed by HWY 599 and Interstate 84, the city limits northern boundary marker of Santa Fe. That seems to fit the bill of AT LEAST 66000 links north of Santa Fe, NM. If you do a little leg work, you discover that White Rock, NM has been removed from existence before, and was rebuilt in 1963…just around the time Forrest would have been wrapping up his Indian Ruin exploration from the cockpit of his jet in the four corners states. What if he found a great little hidey spot BEFORE they built the treatment plant? What if he went back after they built the plant and stashed the chest in the spot he found so dear? Would it still be dear to him? There’s another small catch…The location falls near Indian Reservation lands labelled SACRED on the quad map. Is that why you must be BRAVE??? Yes, pun intended. So here is the poem, as translated by Michael Dill…
Since EYE and the letter I both appear in the name of the starting point, They will be used as the first clue, and perhaps help you find the box as well. Start where the Ojo Caliente river meets the Rio Chama, and go downstream 24.2 miles. Your destination is South AND downstream of the San Ildelfonso Indian Reservation Boundary, which is the home of Brown. From there it is no place for people weak in spirit or resolve. Travel west up Mortality canyon, to a waterfall. The correct location is directly down from WHITE ROCK. Take the South wye when coming up your creek. Remember, EYE holds the answer. So hear me and listen to what I am telling you. Your effort will be worth getting wet. If you act like you are an Indian warrior, and you are in Cedar Creek, I give you title to the gold.
This is as simplified as I can make it. The poem is directions on a map, or google earth. It takes you to a specific location, and from there you still must search for the chest. It will be difficult, but not impossible to find it. FF isn’t giving anything away. The finder will have paid his or her dues.
Well, I just got back from standing in pooh waterfalls, and I searched the cave crevices behind them thoroughly. I also searched the North wye of Mortality canyon as well, after discovering a promising white rock cliff. The going was very tough, and I found myself doubting that a 79 or 80 year old man did that hike twice in one afternoon with twenty pounds on his back….plus water. But my solve seemed so sound to me, that I went with confidence. I came away with some fantastic photos, a nice turquoise bead, and an arrowhead for my troubles.