SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2016
I first read about Forrest and his treasure chest in January 2016 after googling hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains. I figured since I moved to the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe I would give this a shot.
Here is my adventure for the past season. All of the following is my own opinion. I’ll get right to it. Hope you enjoy.
“Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,”
To me this is the first clue, because it tells you to begin. In my early days of research I came across Dal’s post where he used the start of the Rio Grande Gorge as his WWWH because it’s where the Rio Grande turns colder as it enters the canyon (it’s more of a canyon at the start than a gorge) and leaves the San Luis Valley. If you google “Lobatos bridge Colorado” you can find where the canyon starts. I moved to the valley about 2 years ago and the average low in January is -30F. The water flow rate is slow enough where the canyon starts that the river freezes over. It’s a popular ice fishing spot for locals in the winter. A synonym for halt is freeze. So now I have 2 reasons why warm waters halt where the canyon starts.
“Not far, but too far to walk.”
This seems pretty straight forward to me. Go a distance that would be too far to walk. I start to follow the river down and it starts winding and weaving, then cuts to the east for a couple miles, then heads back down south and continues weaving and winding. This stood out to me because it strongly resembled the preface to Too Far To Walk.
“Put in below the home of Brown.”
I kept following the river until I hit the NM/CO border. Then I noticed it looked like there was a way to get into the river just south of the border. I thought maybe Colorado could be the infamous HOB. One thing I’ve heard a few times from other people who have moved to CO recently was that there’s a lot of brown in the scenery. I also looked at the “B” in home of Brown and thought that whatever the “home of Brown” was would be a proper noun and capitalized in it’s proper usage. That would mean it should be identifiable on a map. Colorado fit the proper noun qualification for me so I decided to go with it.
“From there it’s no place for the meek,”
Just south of the border is Ute Mountain. In my research I also read Springer42’s story from late 2015 about his Rio Grande search where he used it because a. it’s an old volcano, b. it was the site of Meeker Massacre, and c. the Utes were supposed to be the bravest. So now I’ve found a put in spot south of the border and north of Ute Mountain. It was about late January/early February when I found my BOTG spot and decided to do a little early reconnaissance mission.
“The end is ever drawing nigh;”
Now this is where I started to get excited. I get to my BOTG spot which is an old, dry creek bed, Costilla Creek. About a mile away from the Rio Grande is where I put BOTG. At the parking area it’s any easy walk to get to the creek, no elevation changes or climbing, just walk right in. Well about 500 ft down the creek on one of the rocks are some old petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D., the same times as the chest. So now I’ve got my drawing nigh. I look at the semicolon and think that it means to pause and keep going down the creek.
“There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.”
There will be no paddle up your creek. I take this as Forrest talking in the future tense. So when I’m in the present I keep going down the creek bed. Now for some more synonyms. A synonym for paddle is wade. So now I’ve got some petroglyphs in a dry creek bed that I can’t paddle a kayak up or wade up. Even if there was water in it I couldn’t paddle up because of the heavy loads, big rocks that would get in the way. A synonym for heavy is also ponderous. Could ponderous loads be big pine trees? And then there’s the water high. Along the whole way down there are high water marks on the rocks and where Costilla Creek and the Rio Grande meet, there are a few small pools/mostly mud pits right at the junction. Now to find that blaze!
“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,”
Once I found those petroglyphs in my dry creek bed I was sure I had the put in spot. I spent all spring and summer looking for a blaze, hiking up and down the Rio Grande until I felt like I had walked more than a few miles. Then I did a little more research on some synonyms and realized I may have found the blaze pretty early on. Synonyms for wise, found, and blaze could be sage, root out, and fire. Going back to drawing nigh for a moment. A synonym for nigh could be left. So down where the creek meets the river, right where the pools of water are, on the left side of the bank is a burned out root ball under some sagebrush. Great! Now I’ve got the blaze!
“Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”
I looked all around whatever was left of the root ball but no luck, so it was on to some more synonyms. If you haven’t been able to tell yet I rely heavily on synonyms in my solve. “Look quickly down” could be translated to “goggle rapidly down”. So now I’ve got my sights set on the river, a great place to secret something. When I look down from my blaze there is a little section of rapids right there. It was about the time I found this out that I realized throwing away my snorkel set last November was a terrible decision.
“But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.”
At face value this tells me not to stop and stare, which I wouldn’t want to do if I had a box of gold and only one way in and out for miles. I looked for some more synonyms and found “tarry scant” could be a blackish slab of stone. Also, a synonym for marvel is goggle and a synonym for gaze it goggle at, which both direct me to somewhere under water.
So why don’t I have the chest? Beats me. I probably couldn’t have asked for a better season. Water levels were in the 20th percentile and I wasn’t looking in more than 18″ of water with a pretty weak current. Even tho I didn’t have any goggles I had some polarized sunglasses. I could seen my feet at the bottom of the river along with all the other rocks. I must have flipped over every rock I could move at least twice. That only leaves one answer and I hate to say it, but I must be wrong. Best of luck to all searchers!