Thinking About Far…

canyonMAY 2020
by dal


We shall not cease from our exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time


If a person will think, they can find the chest; but the secret is to think and analyze… they can find the chest.10:23
(4/2/13 – World Report)

One of the lines I find most perplexing in the poem is in the second verse:
Not far, but too far to walk.

As straight forward as that line seems, particularly in comparison to other lines in the poem, it is its very own riddle. For nearly ten years I have been trying to apply that line to dozens of solutions with no real sense of satisfaction.

How far is “not far”…and how far is “too far to walk”?

I’ve used distances that seemed correct for Forrest.
I’ve used distances that seemed right for an ant.
I’ve used distances that seemed applicable to me.
I’ve tried saying that if the distance is too far to walk then I should drive or take a bike.
And I’ve tried a lot of other ideas too.
But they all felt squishy…nothing really clicked into place…

I thought maybe my issue was with the word “far”…
Google’s definition of the word “far”-

at, to, or by a great distance (used to indicate the extent to which one thing is distant from another).
over a large expanse of space or time.

It’s that second definition that got me thinking.
What if Forrest is not talking about distance. What if he’s talking about time.
Okay…Forrest is clever but I don’t think that even HE has developed a way to travel through time…

But wait!
What about traveling through geologic time over geography..
That happen’s a lot…we all do it…particularly in the mountains.

It’s the actual Time/Space Continuum.
Think of a road cut through rock…or a canyon…

layersThe rim of a canyon can be millions of years distant from the floor of the same canyon.
As a river cuts a canyon through solid rock it exposes the layers of sediment and rock that were laid down millennia earlier…epochs earlier…eras earlier…TIME.
As we walk the length of the canyon we are walking through far stretches of time.

Too far to walk…It would be impossible to walk far through time…and certainly no one can walk a thousand years…that’s too far…except in geologic time. It’s commonly done…we do it all the time, without even thinking about it.

Maybe “far” is describing traveling through geological time as we move through a canyon…

The second stanza in its entirety:
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

Just thinking…


I started with nothing, and I still have most of it!










APRIL 2020
by dal


I have used several BIWWWH locations in my prime search area. I’ve shared a couple of them. They seemed pretty good to me on first light but two of my often used WWWH locations have pretty big holes in them…

Namely Ojo Caliente and Madison Junction…

Let’s start with OC. Ojo Caliente is a thermal event near Fountain Flats in Yellowstone. It rises out of the ground about 30ft from the the north side of the Firehole River at the Freight Road bridge and forms a small, very hot pond that empties through a series of small channels into the river. 

In his story, River Bathing is Best, Forrest tells of riding his bike from West Yellowstone out to this spot to take a warm bath before they had plumbing and hot water in his parents cabins. He wrote about how, by moving his body a bit in one direction or another in the river, either toward the hot spring water or away from it, he could find the perfect temperature for bathing. 

I tried this myself and things haven’t changed much in the 80 or so years since Forrest rode his bike out there..
I wrote about the experience HERE.

Forrest’s story about river bathing appeared in the West Yellowstone newspaper and on Forrest’s website before he announced the treasure hunt. It was not a story that was included in The Thrill of the Chase but it was included in his second memoir, Too Far to Walk. So the story has been around since before the chase began and is still around on his website. You don’t have to buy a book to read River Bathing is Best. Does that say something about its importance in the hunt for Forrest’s chest?

Maybe…But here’s the thing..If Ojo Caliente is the starting point, then why is it not mentioned…or even alluded to in TTOTC? After all, Forrest has insisted that the way to figure out the clues in the poem is to read the poem, then read the book, then read the poem again..then think…then read the book again…etc…

So it stands to reason that the clues are in the poem and the book is where we go to find hints about what those places the clues represent actually are…He never mentioned anything about there being any hints to the clues on his website or in the West Yellowstone paper…

So how in the heck is there any kind of hint in TTOTC that would point us toward Ojo Caliente???

It’s not mentioned in the book. It’s not hinted at in the book…How would we know to begin at Ojo Caliente by reading the book and the poem?
I don’t think we would. I don’t think anyone would.

This appears to be a fatal flaw against Ojo Caliente being the starting point.
And there’s more….

Listen to the idea that the clues are “contiguous”
From the Moby Dickens video at 47:35 in-
“They’re contiguous. I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest so it was easy for me to put one foot down, and then step on it, to get to the next foot, that’s what I did.”
Moby Dickens video is HERE.

What does that word “contiguous” tell us about the clues?
Simply that they touch one another. Where one ends the next begins. There is no space between them. As in the 48 contiguous States. They touch…where one state ends the next begins. Neither Alaska nor Hawaii are one of the contiguous States because they don’t touch any of the others. There is space between Hawaii and the other States. They are not contiguous with any of the other States.

So…for instance, “the canyon down” must begin at the place “where warm waters halt” ends. They must touch one another. The canyon must be pretty long because we take it “not far but too far to walk” and right at the end of that canon must be the place where we put in…and logic tells me that the Home of Brown is inside the Canyon since we are putting in below it and the “put in” has to be touching the end of the canyon. There is wiggle room here though…as long as everything is touching.

How does this negate Ojo Caliente as the place to begin?
Because there is no canyon touching Ojo Caliente is there?

Ojo Caliente is 30 feet from the Firehole River and the nearest canyon down from that place on the Firehole is 7 miles downstream at Firehole Canyon. Firehole Canyon and Ojo Caliente are not contiguous…

The only canyons contiguous to Ojo Caliente are the little canyons that the hot water has carved through the 30feet of travertine on the way to the Firehole River…but a 30foot canyon is hardly too far to walk…isn’t it? Even an ant can walk 30ft effortlessly.

Ojo Caliente seems to be a “no go” right from the start because the very next clue is not contiguous…there is no canyon that is “too far to walk” contiguous to Ojo Caliente…

If there is a simple litmus test for the place that we should begin, our WWWH…it should be these two questions:
1. Is this place somehow referred to in TTOTC or the poem…even remotely…even off-handidly…even microscopically?
2. Is there a canyon contiguously adjacent to this place?

Let me apply that same litmus test against Madison Junction.

Madison Junction is the place where two warm rivers end and a new river begins.
1. Does Forrest ever mention Madison Junction in TTOTC or the poem?
Is it mentioned off-handidly or remotely or candidly or microscopically?

The answer, I am afraid, as far as I can tell, is no. Forrest does not write about that place in particular nor symbolically by mentioning a mixing of waters or a meeting of rivers or the headwaters of the Madison. The place seems to hold no memories worth writing about for him.

2. Is there a canyon “contiguous” to Madison Junction?

Yes. The Upper Madison Canyon begins at Madison Junction and the newly formed Madison River travels through it for some 14 miles…although, exactly where in geographic terms the Madison Canyon ends seems open to geographic interpretation.

So that failure tells me that I should not use MJ as my BIWWWH.
Additionally, there is well-founded speculation that the upper Madison Canyon is really a valley and not a canyon. It is marked as a canyon on only one map that I could find and is more often referred to by fishers and rangers as the Madison Valley.

What Madison Junction has going for it is that it is a place where two warm rivers (warm waters), HALT. They both end at exactly that spot.

I still feel that the upper Madison River is generally the right place to look…It has all the other elements that I need…I just have to find the key…and a new starting place…

Of course, this is not a fact…it is merely my opinion, and my opinions tend to change over time. Failure to find what one is looking for leads most to change perspective on where to look.
You may have better opinions if you think about it.








Missing the Mountains Already…

June 2019

By Veronica and Izzy


I have been wracking my brain trying to think how I can share my search without giving away my location. So I wrote a poem…

Izzy and I aimed our car at the Wild, Wild West,


To search for treasure where we thought might fit the best .
So we drove all day and most of the night,

image3 1

Got some rest , then hit the road by first light.
Finally made it to where the warm waters stop,

image1 1

Then drove not too far with our canoe on the top.


We searched all over for that home of Brown,
Don’t mind us…We’re just passing through town.

image3 2

We looked all over in the places not very meek,


We even found a paddle up the paddle-less creek!

image5 2

No chest to be found , but there are riches galore,
So much to see, and so much to explore!


So, get in your car and aim it out West


And visit the Rockies where you’ll be put to the test.
For me and my boy , we count down the days,
Til we can search again and find that dang blaze!


Now get off the couch and go smell the sunshine, Y’all!
– Veronica & Izzy








River Bathing is Best Solve, Clue 1-5

June 2019

By Jake Faulker


The Thrill of the Chase has hints and subtle hints that will help you get the general area down and I think these are places considering we have to marry the clues in the poem to places on a map and the poem also has directions, places and things at places.

In Love With Yellowstone
West Yellowstone
Looking For Lewis And Clark
The Madison’s
The Gallatin’s
Yellowstone National Park
Google Maps and/or a good map
The Poem
The Memoirs

1 – Begin it where warm waters halt 
After reading his books and poem multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that chapter 5 “too far to walk” River Bathing Is Best, is where to begin. He tells a story of his bathing spot near Ojo Caliente spring on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. Note: He never mentions Ojo Caliente, but we now know that was his bathing spot in the Firehole near Ojo.

This spot should not be in a canyon and isn’t seeing we need to take it (The quest) in the canyon down next.

“when I decided it was time to leave I’d back a couple of feet downstream where the water was cold. That gave me instant incentive to climb out and sun dry…”

*Omega shape on this part of the Firehole River

*5th line in the poem and the 5th chapter in – too far to walk

*He went alone in there

**My secret bathing spot

**Always worth the effort


firehole swim


2 – And take it in the canyon down, 

The only canyon down (In elevation) is the Firehole Canyon.

Maybe this explains why many have figured the 1st 2 clues correctly and fizzled out.

firehole canyon

canyon down

Not far, but too far to walk.

Not a clue here, just letting you know what you shouldn’t do and maybe just drive.

3 – Put in below the home of Brown. 

In the preface of his book “too far too walk”, he states “put a small rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. The river distance was about 10 miles”

“The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make the trip again. THAT DAY NEVER CAME FOR ME,…. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.”

Some have decided to figure out what the home of Brown is instead of knowing where it is before trying to figure out where warm waters halt. Big mistake!

I think Forrest is the only one who knows WHAT the home of Brown is and you will only find out after you find the treasure. I do not think this place is labeled on any map, new or old.

One way to figure out where this clue is, is to skip it and figure out the next few clues if you can do this. I was able to do this and the next few clues seem to work with what the poem says.

What’s more important? The “put in” spot? or where you are going to draw, take or get out of the waterway. Try that out on a river or lake and you will see what I mean. It’s more important where you get out.

put in

put in madison

4 – From there it’s no place for the meek, 

From there? The place you put in, then let the river flow take you down stream passing through Fenn’s favorite, special fishing spots to the border of Yellowstone National Park.

Joseph Meek was a trapper, trader & hunter back in the 1800’s when there was no park label and designation back then.

There is no hunting or trapping allowed in Yellowstone National Park now and the park is no place for him.

If you don’t like Joe Meek in the mix, then you could say it’s no place for Fenn now. Seeing that day never came for him, I would have to say he is meek in the park now with all the crowds and fisherman all over his special fishing spots.

This clue brings you just outside the park at the border in West Yellowstone.

meek place

5 – The end is ever drawing nigh; 

You’re at the border of the park and there’s a bridge close by.

You have to draw out of the Madison River there and head North on Gallatin Road.

NIGH = North Intrastate Gallatin Highway, is Intrastate Highway (191). It is also known as the “Gallatin Gateway” and reminds me of “The word that is key”. Gallatin County appears to be in the shape of a key.

You will need a key to unlock the “Gateway”.

The end is ever drawing North Intrastate Gallatin Highway;

Hop on the bridge and head north to your creek.

Gallatin County below.

gallatin county

There are over 30 creeks up the Gallatin Gateway and it’s been tough to pick out a few that fit the poem. All the areas in this solve are places that Fenn loved which makes sense to me where he hid the treasure.

gallatin nigh

The Gallatin River where you can paddle.

ode joe

Ode to Joe fishing spot from too far to walk on the Gallatin.

I think this is a basic simple straightforward solve by my design and guidance from Fenn’s comments.

All these clues do not have to be physically traveled. Just use your imagination to get from one place to another and don’t overcook or over think what is right in front of you.

Good luck to all of you and please simplify if you can.









Begin at Warm Eye…

Michael D


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.

Michael D.













































Janice and Ray From L.A. …

Every once in awhile I get an email from someone out there who has complete confidence in their ability to find Forrest’s gold. Such was the case with a couple I’ll call Janice and Ray who contacted me last summer.

I had been out in New Mexico for several weeks eliminating a number of potential hiding places while following hints in the poem, same as everybody else who’s looking for the treasure I suppose. I generally make a list of places I want to check out before I leave home. I order the list by my excitement level. The places I’m crazy about are at the top of the list. By the time I get to the bottom I’m looking at places that have a lot of flaws. Places so unlikely that no one else would consider them. Places it’s pretty hard to be enthusiastic about but “due diligence” requires that I take a look since I’m in the neighborhood anyway.

While I was out I got an email from someone new to me who was interested in meeting up if I was going to be near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico in two days. Janice wrote me that she, and her boyfriend Ray, were coming in from Los Angeles, had been reading my blog and wondered if we could meet up at the hot springs for lunch. Janice wrote that they knew where the treasure was and were headed out to get it and take it home. Janice thought maybe I’d like to go out with them to write a final story in my blog about them finding the treasure. There was no hedging her bets or use of the words “possibly” or “maybe” in her mail. Just straight forward “We’re going to go get it.”

Wow! How could I pass that up?

My first thought was that they had a lot of hutzpah. I mean by Forrest’s guess there might be close to a thousand folks out looking for his chest and very few that I knew of had the audacity to not only state that they knew exactly where it was, but also invite a witness along to “record” their find.

My second thought was that I only had two days to figure out where they were going and beat them there.

Ojo Caliente is a small town and also a fancy resort in the small town. The resort and the town are built around a bubbling hot spring that has been a source of “healing waters” for Indians and the rest of us since before recorded history. The spring started out as a free and public place but is now under ownership of the spa/resort where you can go to get yourself pampered, soaked, pummeled and re-strung. The resort puts up a striking facade of lovely adobe, pine and stone. The gardens are well tended. The accommodations are for the most part reasonably priced and very nicely appointed. If you want to avoid the resort itself there is one or possibly two Bohemian places you can stay for a less regimented but none-the-less exotic experience on the other side of the road.

It didn’t seem like a likely place for Forrest to hide his chest. But what do I know? I started by looking at the springs itself and then spreading out. I walked those hills day and night for 48 hours trying to understand how on earth this place could match any verse in the poem beyond the first. Sure, warm water at the spring..but then what? No canyon…No creek…No places I needed to be brave to explore. Hardly anything that could be considered a “wood”. At the end of two days I was exhausted, frustrated and, of course, treasureless.

About an hour before the appointed lunch I paid for a shower at the Inn and put on my cleanest shirt and jeans. Then I went out in the parking lot and scanned the vehicles for California plates. You can tell a lot about people by the vehicle they drive. I saw it right away. A glistening, black, pimped out Humvee with white wall tires, spinner wheels and a few thousand dollars in hand painted flames growing along the sides. It was the only California plated vehicle in the lot. I tried hard to find another one. No luck! Bummer!

Everyone has a line in the sand they won’t cross. Mine is the Humvee. Possibly the most over priced, over rated and under performing vehicle turned out in this country since the Dodge Challanger. I understand the desire to associate with military vehicles. I still can’t get over my lust for a Willys MB. But that was a practical vehicle and the idea was to keep it practical not to make it look like a strumpet on steroids. Don’t get me started on the senseless, nincompoop, military wannabes who buy these things.

Okay..that’s out of my system now.

Anyway, in spite of my misgivings about Janice and Ray’s vehicle selection I decided to keep an open mind about their ability to find the treasure. They were apparently wealthy enough to buy a $90K vehicle and add $17K in accessories. They were also smart enough to be wealthy enough to afford the American Dream. Maybe I was the nincompoop. Besides, they were obviously going to be interesting characters and by now you must know that I value those who achieve uniqueness in a world that seems to go out of its way to eliminate individuality and creativity. So, in spite of my misgivings about their transportation choice I was keen on meeting them.

Just before the appointed hour I went into the old hotel and took a window booth where I could monitor the entire room. The place looked like it could hold about 60 diners and there were only about 20 of us in there. I told the Maitre’d that Janice and Ray would be looking for me, ordered a diet Pepsi, leaned back and absorbed the ambiance of the restored historic structure.

Two gulps after my Pepsi arrived I saw a couple walk inside from the desert sun. Their eyes urgently trying to adjust to the comparative darkness of the lounge. The petite woman was  dressed in khaki shorts with cargo pockets and a forest green tee that had a small wren-like figure embroidered in white just below her left shoulder. Her thick dark hair was cut short and framed her attractive brown face in what might have been called a Page Boy years ago. I don’t know what it’s called today. She had a tan canvas bag slung over her shoulder. She was completely devoid of jewelry. A no-nonesense gal. The maitre’d pointed them at my table. Bright red flip-flops made a shuffling noise as Janice walked deliberately toward me across the plank floor.  Ray was about ten feet behind Janice and his gaze was fixed on my table. He was a good foot and a half taller than his companion and the fashion difference between them was stark. Ray was wearing diamond stud earrings, a fat gold chain necklace with a 5 inch silver cross at his neck, a thick twist of what appeared to be gold and platinum around his left wrist and an understated Phillipe Dufour timepiece on his right. He was wearing a complete Lakers basketball home uniform (number 17) and a pair of bright red, unlaced Nike Air something-or-others that made his feet look huge and his shins look skinny. His dark hair was close cropped, more like a five o’clock shadow than a hairstyle. Perhaps his most striking fashion accessory was a series of Chinese characters boldly tattooed across his dark forehead in elegant black calligraphy. I was guessing that the Humvee was his and not hers.

Aside from the same colored footwear the two appeared to have nothing else in common. If I had to guess I would figure Janice for about 28 and Ray about 16….maybe 18. Neither of them was carrying an ice axe.

I slid out and stood up to greet them. Ray didn’t bother saying hi. He just slid into the booth and slumped into the corner. Janice shook my hand and said “Hi, glad to meet you. Really glad you could meet us.”

We both sat and Janice asked how to pronounce my name.

“Day’-el”. I said. “No ‘e’ but pronounced as if there was one.”

“Thats unusual”. She said. “Is that a family name?”

“No.” I said. “Its not even the name my family gave me. I just sort of slipped into it.”

“I had one of those too. Janice said. “My given name was Bitsy…not Betsy but Bitsy. It was fine until middle school. Then when all the girls are developing boobs and you’re not, any name that rhymes with “itsy” can make your life a nightmare.”

Girls do that too?” I asked.

I glanced at her chest. Given the conversation it seemed fitting. I thought everything looked size appropriate. But people are often their own worst critics.

“Probably more so.” She said. “Being smaller is more evident on girls than on boys.”

I smiled and turned to Ray. He was staring out the window. His long legs were stretched out in the booth so his feet could rest on the seat on my side. Those big red Nike’s looked like they were brand new. Not even the soles were dirty.

“Ray.” I said. “Interesting country isn’t it? Have you been out here before?”

Janice jumped right in. “He won’t answer you. He doesn’t talk to anyone. He can’t hear. He’s deaf since he was a toddler. Severe ear infection left him that way.”

I kept on looking at him. Trying to decide what I thought about that.

I turned toward Janice.

“Does he talk to you?” I asked.

“No. Ray writes me letters and cards and notes. He’s very communicative. He knows he doesn’t sound normal when he talks. Its embarrassing for him. So he just stays mute. We sign each other but he won’t do that in public either.”

I looked back at Ray.

“He doesn’t like to stand out.” She said.

I laughed.

“What?” she said.

“Well, if he doesn’t want to stand out around here he should get a pair of jeans and a cotton shirt with a collar…and cowboy boots would be a good choice.”

She laughed. “At home he blends in.”

“Where do you Staples Center?” I asked.

“Young black men like to dress that way.” She said.

I could hear stress in her voice and knew I was crossing one of her lines. It probably wouldn’t be a good time for me to bring up their Humvee either. Anyway, what I know about the fashion interests of guys Ray’s, white or any other color…verged on nothing. Finally, I really didn’t care what fashion trends people followed. At home Ray was probably just another guy. Around here he was unique and I was the guy preaching unique…Ray was preaching ‘blend-in’. I needed to change the subject.

The waiter saved me by dropping by to ask if Ray and Janice wanted anything to drink. Janice ordered iced tea and a Coke for Ray.

“So how did you get interested in Forrest’s treasure?” I asked.

“Emm. She said. “That’s Rays doing. He reads everything. He came across Forrest’s blog and the book. We ordered a copy and then he found your blog and he started spending all his time trying to figure out where it could be.”

“I do the same thing.” I said.

She laughed.

“Have you looked other places?” I asked

The waiter brought their drinks. Ray didn’t seem to notice his Coke. Janice squeezed the lemon into her tea. Took a long swig and then tapped Ray on the shoulder and pushed his Coke closer. Ray looked over at his glass and pulled it the rest of the way to his end of the table then returned to staring through the window.

“No, this is where Ray says it is. No reason to look anywhere else.”

The waiter came back and took our lunch order. Janice ordered Ray a burger. I ordered a Frito pie and Janice agreed to try a pie too. Although she did think the concept was pretty funny. “Why not just call them nachos?” She asked no one in particular.

We talked through lunch about the treasure mostly. Why Forrest hid it. How many people might be out looking for it. The different places people were looking. All speculation of course since neither of us knew anything.

Ray quietly eyed his burger like it might have hidden vegetables in it.

Janice, it turns out, runs a pet boutique in Malibu and her clients include some of LA’s wealthiest citizens.

“What’s a pet boutique?” I asked.

She looked at me like I was from a different planet.

“I live on a small island.” I said. “We don’t have any pet boutiques…that I’m aware of.”

“Its like a spa for pets. We style their hair, trim their nails, give them a shampoo, brush their teeth, make them smell pretty and care for them while their owners are gone.” She said.

“Brush their teeth?. I said.

“We fuss over them. Its probably not a business you’d be good at.” She said.

“The list of things I wouldn’t be good at is more or less infinite.” I said.

She laughed.

“It pays very good money. Ray is a dog walker. He gets along fine with the dogs. He can handle ten dogs at a time. They never fight.” She said this with a great deal of pride.

At some point the waiter cleared the table. Janice thought the Frito pie was okay and Ray wolfed down his burger in about three bites.

“So that’s your hand tooled Humvee out in the lot?” I asked.

“Mr. Nosey.” She responded. “Its Ray’s. Like I said, dog walking in Malibu pays good money.”

I decided to change the subject again.

“When are you going to go get the treasure?” I asked.

“Soon as we’re through here. Ray is excited about getting it.”

“Sounds good.” I said.

“We have to clear our bags out of the room and we’ll meet you out front in twenty minutes. Okay?”

“Perfect.” I said.

“Lunch is on us.” She said as she gathered up her bag. They paid the bill at the bar and then exited the way they came in. I watched them head toward one of the old cabins and thought quietly about their baffling life while I finished my diet Pepsi and set out a tip.

It was about Noon when I left the building. I headed to the truck and gathered up my camera, hat and ice axe. I wondered if I was going to need water. If we were driving or walking. I wasn’t going to ride in the Humvee. If we were driving I’d follow in my truck. I closed the van up and leaned against it while I waited for them to show.

About two minutes later  I saw Janice headed my way. She was wearing the same outfit she had worn at lunch including the red flip flops… sans the bag. To my utter surprise Ray was dressed completely different. He had on a black plain ball cap and a black tee and a pair of black jeans.  No cowboy boots but he did have on a pair of dark brown, leather work boots and the laces were tied. All the jewelry was gone. As he got closer he did a spin around and grinned at me. Janice laughed. I did too. Neither of them were carrying a shovel or ice axe.

“Looks good.” I said and gave Ray a thumbs up. I turned and looked down at Janice’s feet. I’m not sure you’ll want to walk around out here in those I said, pointing at the flip-flops. Not much protection for your feet and there are cactus, sharp rocks and even snakes around here.

“I’ll be fine.” She responded. “ohh…I forgot to tell you.” Janice said. “Ray is a lip reader.”

“Great.” I said. “Thanks for telling me that before I made a fool of myself'”

Janice laughed. “By the way. Ray says that if you ever come to Malibu you’d probably be arrested for vagrancy in that shirt and jeans.”

“Maybe I could stop in at your place and get my nails trimmed and a shampoo.” I said.

“We don’t do mutts.” Janice said.

I laughed. Janice laughed. Ray grinned.

Janice said that we were very close to the spot Ray had in mind. We didn’t need water or vehicles. With that, we started walking down the dusty drive toward the main road. At the street we turned right and walked a few hundred feet before crossing the highway toward the community cemetery.

I had a bad feeling as we walked through the gate into the burial ground. Ray walked directly over to one of the headstones as if he’d been here before and pointed at it. I walked over to take a look. The man buried there had the last name “Brown” as in “below the home of Brown”.

“Okay…what now?” I asked. I was hoping that what I was thinking was not what Ray intended. “Do you think its buried here in this mans grave?”

Ray nodded yes.

“Thats where it is.” Added Janice.

“Lets think about this for a second.” I said. “First, look around. Forrest hid the treasure less than two years ago. Old man Brown here has been dead since 1958. So the treasure could not have been buried with the body. Further, there is nothing in this cemetery that’s been disturbed in the past two years. No recent holes have been dug. Its all well cared for and its all uniform. Nobody buried anything in this cemetery recently. Second, I’ve met Forrest. I cannot believe there is any way he would dishonor anyone’s grave to hide his treasure. Not even possible.” I said. “Third, I don’t see how any of the hints in the poem could lead you to this spot. I’ve been thinking about it for two days now and this place…or any place in Ojo Caliente just is not possible. Finally, I don’t even think Forrest buried it. He never said he buried it. He said he ‘hid’ it…not buried it. Imagine if this was your relative’s grave. Would you want some yokels digging it up on a whim? I don’t think so. To dig here would be morally reprehensible as well as illegal.”

“So even though we know its here you are not going to dig it up?” Janice asked.

“No way.” I said. “And its not here.”

I stopped. I waited for an argument. None came.

Ray turned and calmly walked back out the gate.

“Okay, I win.” Said Janice.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

Ray said you’d dig up a grave. I said not.”

“What are you talking about?” I repeated.

“It was just a bet.” Janice said. “Ray figured you’d have no problem digging in a cemetery if that’s where the gold was. I said ‘no way’. I won. We’re through here. You pass the morality test. Ray loses a hundred bucks.”

She turned and walked away through the cemetery gate.

I watched her walk. Dumbfounded.

I ran after her. When I caught up I said. “You came all the way out here from LA just on a lousy hundred dollar bet?”

“Of course not.” She said. “Lied about coming from L.A. We were shopping in Santa Fe. Read the story about the treasure on the internet. Found your blog. Ray wanted to bet on what a guy like you would do if the treasure was in a grave. We contacted you. Dragged you out here…”

“I was not that far away…” I interrupted. Trying to prop up my pride.

“Listen.” She said. “Ray figured you’d dig up the grave because that’s what he would have done. Ray’s religion is about money. Not about death and dying.”

“What are you talking about?” I said. “Ray walks dogs for a living.”

Janice stopped and turned toward me. She looked a tad venomous around the eyes.

“Do you know what he makes ‘walking dogs’ Dal? She asked. It was a rhetorical question. I did not answer. “He makes more than what is in that chest in a single year. Ray is not a dog walker Dal. Ray is THE dog walker.He can make a thousand bucks an hour all day long.” Then she turned and walked away down the highway.

I slowly walked back toward my truck. I felt like a sucker. I was pretty certain I had just been taken advantage of. But I wasn’t sure how. I got a free lunch. I didn’t lose any money. I didn’t lose anything really. Maybe a little self respect. I felt like a white rat being tested by egg-head researchers. I stopped and considered my position.

I saw the Humvee pull out of the drive, onto the hardtop and head toward me. I couldn’t tell if I was angry or not.  I saluted them as they went by. I pointed my mouth at the windshield and said “Thanks for the lunch.” The Humvee’s tinted glass prevented me from seeing if they waved back.

“Interesting people.” I thought. “I should have ordered a more expensive lunch.”