SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2018
By Idle Dreamer
Bear Trap Canyon isn’t a new solve area and will continue to get Fenn Searchers drawn to it until the chest is found. I became interested in the area after making two BOTG trips into the Cody area (the area around Mummy Cave including the UXU Ranch). The proximity to a lake, a canyon road that you can only gain access from one direction, and the possibility I was on to a new take on that area got me excited.
Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt
The Madison’s 50 mile riffle ends at Ennis Lake and the lake itself is always warm until it freezes over completely in the winter. This made the lake a literal WWWH’s in my eyes (and no doubt many others). At the North East end of the lake is the entrance to Bear Trap Canyon where you cross a bridge that always seemed to have at least a couple people fishing who gave a warm wave as you crossed.
Take It In The Canyon Down, Not Far, But Too Far To Walk.
This is where I felt I was on to something new. The previous solves to this area all went down by the dam and didn’t seem to stop by the first parking area (Solved the first two and went right passed the other seven). The distance to this parking area is only ½ mile, but is also the same distance that Forrest ran to the Katy railroad tracks. Plus, I have always read that line with the extension “…far to walk if carrying a heavy chest”. Thus, keeping the poem in context with the goal, “Put in below the home of Brown” became put in below the hiding spot of the brown chest. Which would make it hard for people to solve because, I assumed, most attempted to put a location to the Home of Brown instead of just the “put in” and even if you noted the right “put in” if you labeled the Home of Brown as a location you would be technically incorrect. Plus, Forrest has stated that if he told you where the HOB was you could just go get the treasure. At least this logic worked for me at the time.
Put In Below The Home Of Brown
The Put In for me was the parking lot for Trail Creek Trail. I immediately liked it because of the two omegas and the redundancy of “trail” in the name. The Trail Creek itself follows a large draw up which I felt could reflect on “Drawing Nigh” but the trail itself doesn’t immediately follow the draw.
From There It’s No Place For The Meek
The trail starts with a series of switch backs where you gain a large amount of vertical elevation. A website on Cowboy Heaven describes this as “Not for Couch Potatoes” which really resonated with that line in the poem as couch potatoes could be considered meek and this hike wasn’t for them.
The End Is Ever Drawing Nigh;
When you reach the top of the switch backs you start to go into the draw and get drawn to the left. There are a few interesting things as you go including large quartz deposits that shine brightly in the afternoon sun. They are also large enough, and bright enough, that you can see them on Google Earth. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at the right line in the poem (though I did check that area without luck) so this solve doesn’t cover that in any more detail.
There’ll Be No Paddle Up Your Creek
This is where I really started to get excited about the solve. As you get drawn to the left you reach a point where you must cross Trail creek. If you read the signs where you park, it warns about private property ahead and to stay on the trail. Before going I made to sure to note the boundaries (Forrest has noted that private property rights are important – MIJ) and the spot you cross the creek is private property. Thus, going up the creek would get you in trouble and reflects the concept of “up a creek without a paddle”. The trail itself switches back and goes up the other side of the draw. This reminded me of TTOTC (p.62) and “If we don’t change course soon we’ll end up where we’re going” stated by Donnie. Which made me feel like if I didn’t change course I would end up where I started (Circular logic). Which also reminded me of Forrest mentioning T.S. Eliot and arriving where you started and to know the place for the first time. I felt that this was a sign that when you got to the top of the other side you weren’t supposed to follow the trail (which headed back towards the private property and on to Cowboy Heaven).
Just Heavy Loads and Water High
This is where I started to run into trouble with my logic. As I was headed back I reached several large rock areas (heavy loads) where, if standing on them, I could see Ennis Lake (water high that Forrest could toss a bike into). I was okay with those but the blaze wasn’t forthcoming. The area itself was filled with sage brush and pine trees and giant boulders that Skippy would consider as rocks. There was even an old campfire ring, thousands of great hiding places, and plenty of bones to find (I had my bear spray on belt). No blaze could be found and I reached a large outcropping that overlooked the parking area where I started.
Wise and Blaze
This got me thinking about the rocks across the Madison by the parking area. The one rock feature that stood out looked like a Sphinx to me (which I felt I was on a Sphinx’s riddle with this solve). What if that was the blaze and the rock outcropping was where you were supposed to be wise and realize you had seen the blaze when you arrived but had to see it from the correct location. This rock outcropping was directly across the river (and road) from the Sphinx.
The photos are from the rock outcropping which is wonderfully flat and easy to access (I didn’t feel unsafe being there). I then looked quickly down and about 10 feet below was another flat area of rock. This reminded me of the Dizzy Dean story and I could see people at the parking area, but they didn’t notice me at all. There was only one way to get to that area and it was through a small channel that I barely squeezed through. The spot was everything I could imagine as it was full of hiding spots and I was surrounded by wood. The views were amazing but regrettably there was no treasure that I could find.
I’ve Done It Tired, And Now I’m Weak
After that I was finally ready to eliminate the solve (30 hours of BOTG in total) and take a break from the chase. I can honestly say that area was amazing and when you go off trail it feels like the minute hand on my watch sped up as hours would pass without my knowledge. There are a lot of interesting spots in that area including a 10-foot waterfall that isn’t easy to find, a spot filled with old tin cans and old glass, and sadly a dead horse skeleton in an area of moss and wet quartz that made the area sparkle brightly from the sun. My son named the horse Jimmy, so if you find Jimmy, make sure to pay your respects.
by Idle Dreamer