“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”
The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.
Wherever the Bugle Blows
On the 24th of August, 1968, I was shot down in south Vietnam. One-hundred and nineteen days later, I was shot down again, that time in the jungle of Laos.
Thirty minutes after I ejected from my crippled fighter, it was dark. There could be no rescue attempt at night. No one knew where I was.
But the next morning, at first light, a recovery plan was in operation. A C-130, full of search and rescue experts, was circling high, directing my rescue. A forward air controller (FAC) spotter plane had found me and pinpointed my position on the ground. It was Lt. James Swisher.
Four Sandy airplanes whose duty it was to strafe all around my position to keep enemy heads down, were doing their job. Four F-100 fighters, flying low and fast, and pulling Gs, were ready to roll in on any enemy position the FAC could find. Several other fighters, including a Misty, were close by, sauntering just out of the way, and ready to come in if needed.
A Jolly Green Giant helicopter (the Candy Ann) came in low and dropped 240 feet of cable with a heavy jungle penetrator attached. Airman Bob Sully, and M/Sgt. Lee Maples, were watching from the chopper. When they saw me unfold the penetrator’s legs and strap on, they activated the hoist that reeled me 175 feet up through the tangle of trees and an additional 65 feet above that canopy to the relative safety of the helicopter.
Meanwhile, a spare Jolly Green circled 1000’ above my position and was ready to assist if the Candy Ann started taking battle damage.
Looking back at that incident, which occurred almost exactly fifty-one years ago, I am still humbled, and proud. And honored that all of that effort was expended in harm’s way just to save my life. I wish I could express myself more eloquently.
I wanted to say those things now, at a time when our military seems to be taking heat from every radial. Are we ready to handle a homeland assault from a foreign power, especially one who possess gigantic weapons? We were not on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Could that happen again? We must keep our military strong.
This old flag flies to warn anyone who sees her weak. Long after they have gone, she will wave, still at her peak, daring all of those who call her out to test her wrath and act as foes. Her strong stripes still proudly there, her resolve still strong, her teeth still bare, ready to charge again…wherever the bugle blows. f
Part 4 – A Dash of Logic
Okay, we have an image of an airplane. But what do we do with that to get us closer to the treasure location?
Fenn has said that it “seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure.” Lets apply a bit of logic.
Fenn went alone both inside his cockpit and to the treasure location. Given the importance of each, logically it makes sense that the treasure would be located somewhere within the cockpit area.
It also makes logical sense that the treasure would be on either public lands or private lands owned by Fenn. Fenn does not appear to own land within the cockpit area.
If you overlay a map of public lands, the result is about 35 acres of BLM land that is within the cockpit.
And zoomed in:
Part 5 – In Tight Focus
While 35 acres isn’t huge, the size of the chest and the landscape in which it is secreted still make it a challenging search area. There must be a way to narrow it down.
Fenn has informed that few “are in tight focus with a word that is key”. The word that is key can be found in the introduction to his poem. That reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.”
The word that is key is “precisely”. A synonym for precisely is the phrase “to a t”. Substituting that into the poem’s introduction, it now reads: “So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed to a T, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure”.
We want to follow the clues to a T. Using satellite imagery, if you zoom in to bring the southwest corner of the search area into tight focus you will notice the letter ‘T’. That puts us in tight focus with the word that is key.
In each of the images below the ‘T’ is in roughly the center of the image, below a single small tree, in a clearing.
If you scan to the right of the T a couple of inches you will see an X with a circle around it at the base of a solitary tree. That is easier to see in the Apple map image.
Between the X and T is the image of a snowman with its left hand pointing at the X and its right hand over its head waving. That is more evident in the Google map image. Due to the angle in the Apple map image you can only see its head and the beginning of its torso.
A snowman is an apt metaphor for the transience of life. Further, “Frosty the Snowman” represents the lesson Fenn learned and wants to teach in “My War for Me”.
(Stay tuned for the Finale, Part 6 – The End of the Rainbow)
The Promise of a Dream
Many years ago, when I was being wistful about what was ahead for me, I dreamed above my probabilities. It was fun to fantasize that someday I would write a children’s fiction book, and another that was non-fiction. And see a poem of mine in print, and one of my oil paintings hanging on the wall.
As I matured, I learned that some of the wishes, which seemed so far from me once, might have fallen within my realm if I would just try. So I did.
My book, The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance, was a biography. And later, The Thrill of the Chase, showcased poems that I wrote.
Today, my children’s book is being shipped from the printer.
Meanwhile, my oil painting dries on the living room table. It’s called, As the Bugle Blows, which depicts a time in my life that sublimely underscores my passage through it. Maybe I’ll talk about that at another time. And now to my country song. It’s called Cold Coffee in a Hot Cup. f
My children’s book, Educating Ardi, does not contain any clues or hints to my treasure location. It was printed in only 100 copies, and will not be for sale. It is mostly just for family. f
Eric’s Funny Part
“…one day we were flying over the New England country side. ‘Someday soon,’ I said, ‘I must do a book about trees and wood.’ Down below, the wooded hills were just turning to their autumn colors, and the shadow of our plane raced across a sea of crimson and russet.”
When he was building his home in Santa Fe, he had some boastfully-wonderful old weathered boards. They were being saved to build doors and kitchen cabinets. He loved their roughness. They were stored outside in the sun and rain where they could take on more of a color that he called “personality gray.”
But while he was back east for a short visit the carpenters nailed them up as joists. Eric’s recovery period was rather lengthy and I dutifully listened to the story more than a few times during our frequent lunches.
Eric never lived to know that my dedication in Seventeen Dollars a Square Inch (a personal tribute to Eric Sloane) was really a dedication to his memory, in a funny abstract way.
When Eric learned I was collecting artists palettes, he lamented that he didn’t have one to give me. He had no use for one when he painted because he mixed his paints on a wooden board that was attached to his easel. “Never mind that,” he probably thought, “I’ll just saw off my mixing board and give that to Forrest.”
And that’s what he did, but not before painting a covered bridge and nailing a favored old paintbrush on for added flavor.
Although I had palettes from many important artists, including Nicolai Fechin, none was more revered than Eric’s.
I just measured the palette with my spread right hand, which is exactly 8 ¼ inches, little finger nail, to thumb nail. So the palette is 33 ½ inches wide. But just for fun I measured it with my ruler also. Yup, 33 ½ inches wide. I always like to be exact. f
More than 40 years ago, when Eric Sloane was building his home in Santa Fe, I gave him a painting by Leon Gaspard. It was a house warming gift depicting two Taos Indians on horseback, up close, and riding directly toward the viewer. They were wearing shirts with broad, brightly colored vertical stripes. And they each had on pauncho hats, one with a feather sticking up and out at a rakish angle.
Eric decided to put it on the left side of a fireplace, and it looked great hanging there, except that he didn’t have anything to offset it on the other side of the fireplace. That problem was quickly solved when he painted the same Indians wearing the same clothing, up close, and riding directly away from the viewer. Another typically looking Leon Gaspard painting with Eric Sloane martini-style humor. I told him how much I liked it, and we both had a good laugh. Eric was pleased to see that I recognized the subtle humor in what he had done.
The next day he came into my gallery and presented me with a still-wet Gaspard-looking painting depicting two Taos Indians on horseback wearing shirts with broad, brightly colored vertical stripes. And they each had on pauncho hats, one with a feather sticking up and out at a rakish angle. He titled it Gaspard Memories and here it is:
How can you not love a guy like Eric Sloane? f
I had seen the movie, A River runs Through it, but had not read the book. “You should,” my friend said, and she gave me a copy. After only 8 pages a mood came over me and I put the book aside to write this story. It is something I had to do. The book will be there later.
I Remember Bip
He was as close to me as anything could be, my arm for instance. His real name was Bippy, but I can’t imagine why. Perhaps it was given to him when he was just a pup and any flippant designation, applied with a laugh, would fit. You know how humans are around babies.
As he matured, my little brown dachshund moved off of his pad and into my heart, and even closer if there was such a place. He started sleeping on our bed, and then under the covers. It was nice to awaken in the middle of the night and feel his warmth at my feet.
Bippy became Bip, and then The Bip, as if the crown jewels had been injected into the name. In my work place he was always under the desk. If I moved an inch, he knew it. When I rose to walk, The Bip was always trotting, 3’ in my trail.
Once, in Lubbock where we lived, at the time, my wife and I had the occasion to drive from the Red Barn (the name of our art foundry) to visit Glenna Goodacre at her home. We drove about 3 miles through downtown to get there. My little dog was in his usual car-riding spot on the top of my driver’s seat, and behind my neck.
After a visit with Glenna we were ready to go, but The Bip wasn’t hanging with me, and he was nowhere around that we could see. He had never been to Glenna’s before and it was not like him to wander off into in a strange neighborhood. For three hours we searched, up this street and down that one, all about. He just wasn’t there, and I was sure someone had stolen him, or that he had been hit by a car. I was rife with despair.
After more hours of circling and looking, we drove back to the Red Barn. And there he was, The Bip, sitting by the front door and wagging his tail if to say, “Where have you guys been?”
How did he get from there to here, 3 miles through heavy traffic, and red lights, and big trucks? Those are the things that souls are made of.
Peggy and I were going up the Amazon River when we received a frantic phone call from Santa Fe. A vicious dog had attacked Bip, and he was having trouble. We charted a small pontoon plane, which I think was held together with bailing wire and duct tape, (it had no heading indicator or altimeter) to come land beside our boat, and carry us to Manaus, Brazil, which was 250 miles across the unmapped Amazon jungle where we could catch a flight home.. The Bip saw us and wagged his tail. He quickly recovered. Reunions following near disasters, are wonderful.
In 1981, a friend assisted Bip in writing his autobiography. It’s called Bip, and has his signature on the leather cover. It’s a 30-page fictionalized account of Bip as an artist, and Eric Sloane illustrated it with 7 drawings.
The book was published at Northland Press in Flagstaff, AZ, in one copy.
The book starts out:
I never wanted to tell my story. I think that should be stated at the start. I find most autobiographies rather self-serving. I hated “Doggie Dearest,” which I found highly exploitive, “For Whom the Dog Barks, “Memoirs of a Schnauzer of Pleasure,” “Cheaper by the Litter,” and all of the other volumes I have read over the years have left me cold. I always assumed that my art, not my printed word, would make the world aware that I have been one of the most colorful artists of the American West, Throughout all the years I have been painting, I have naively assumed that somehow my reputation would be discovered through the gallery we operate. But now that I am getting old, I think it is time that I tell the whole story.
At about 13 years, Bip’s muzzle turned white, and he got a cancer on his right fore-arm. It was an ugly balloon looking thing, the size of a cue ball. Our vet just shook his head, a gesture I wasn’t ready to accept. The 2nd vet, a wonderful man named Clint Hughes, said he could operate and fix it.
He operated for an hour and he did fix it, and he allowed me to sleep the night in his operating room on the floor beside my little dog. I knew he would be stressed. At about 15 years the terrible malignancy returned, and Clint fixed it again. We were on a roll.
Then at 17 years or so, The Bip began to fall apart. His liver failed and he had other problems. His eyes told me he was ready. Clint came out of retirement to help us, and as The Bip went limp in my arms, all of us cried.
But I wasn’t ready for all of that to happen, and I told Clint I wanted my little dog to spend one last night on my bed, like he had done so many times over the years. “He’s no longer there, his spirit has gone.” Clint said. It was a kick in the gut to me, And I quickly reacted. “Who says he isn’t still there, where is your evidence, please show me your evidence?” Why do we arbitrarily believe things that we’ve been told? Just because someone said it doesn’t make it true. Throughout the night me and Bip were together in spirit. It was a warm sleep for me.
The next morning, I wrote The Bip’s biography and placed it in a fruit jar that had a rust-proof lid. My words said what I needed to say, so I signed it with my name and date.
Then I made small wooden box. The boards were new and the nails were applied with loving care. Then I wrapped Bip in some warm covers and buried him under the big plum tree just outside my office at the gallery.
Many years later, when we sold our gallery, I moved Bip to a place just outside the bedroom at our new home on the Old Santa Fe Trail.
Chiseled on a flat sandstone slab, and placed atop his little space, are these words, Bip, so long old friend, for now. I just went out and brushed the snow away to see if there was a date. There wasn’t, and I’m glad, because I don’t want to know when he passed away. I just want to remember that, in a real way, he is still with me. fThat story is full of reminiscing words and I feel better for having said them.
Now it’s back to A River Runs Through it, page 9. Thank you S.
Part 1 – Marry the Clues to a Map
Fenn advised searchers “to look for the clues in my poem and try to marry them to a place on a map.”
Solving the nine clues yields nine named geographic locations around Sweetwater Creek in Colorado, all within 10 miles of one another. They are as follows:
where warm waters halt
“Sweetwater Creek” – Sweet is a related word to warm, though not a direct synonym. It halts at the Colorado River.
the canyon down
“Hell’s Gate” – Down as in down into hell and where it forms a canyon.
the home of Brown
“Riland Creek” – Play on Rhode Island, where Brown University is located.
it’s no place for the meek
“Lyon’s Gulch” – Play on Lion.
The end is ever drawing nigh
“Tucker Draw” – Tucker as in tuckered out (synonymous with exhausted or done) and draw as in ending in a tie.
“Deep Creek” – Deep as in heavy, in 60s lingo.
“Turret Creek” – Turret is synonymous with tower, in other words, high.
“Hack Creek” – Hack is a synonym of blaze.
your quest to cease
Part 2 – The Big Picture
Fenn suggested that searchers “look at the big picture”. A phrase synonymous with seeing the big picture is “connecting the dots”.
The town nearest the nine locations identified in Part 1 is Dotsero, CO.
So let’s try our hand at the much-loved children’s puzzle game, connect the dots. Start by taking the nine locations from Part 1 and put a dot on the map for each. For creeks, put the dot at the mouth of the creek.
Now let’s create our drawing. We will ‘begin it’ at the Sweetwater Creek dot (where warm waters halt is dot 1) and ‘take it in’ to the Hell’s Gate dot (the canyon down is dot 2). With no further instructions, we will continue with this pattern. (“Put in” and “From there” apply to the on the ground phase of the quest.) Continue drawing lines to connect to each subsequent dot. When you reach Turret Creek connect that dot to Deep Creek as those two clues are the only which are connected in one line in the poem. Finish up by connecting to the last dot, dot 9 (Lyon’s Gulch).
Here is the architected result (note that “Mason Creek” – mason and architect are synonymous – feeds Sweetwater Creek):
Part 3 – Adjust the Blueprint
If you have a good imagination you may have seen an airplane in the connect the dots in Part 2. But clearly it is incomplete. Fenn did warn us that his “blueprint is challenging so the treasure may be located by the one who can best adjust.”
We are going to have to adjust to complete his blueprint which means we will be bending the rules for connect the dots. To justify doing so, lets look at some of the hints in the poem and see what they may relate to outside of the treasure hunt.
And hint of riches new and old
“Irrawaddy Creek” feeds Sweetwater Creek – The Irrawaddy River is located in the southeast Asian country of Myranmar. Irrawaddy translates to “abundance of riches”. The new name for the country is Myranmar. Of old, and when Fenn served in Vietnam, it was known as Burma. [Some of this hint had to be researched so you may choose to discount it.]
And with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where
“Treasures” hints at his bombs and “secret where” were his, at the time, secret bombing runs in Laos.
As I have gone alone in there
Hints at being in the cockpit.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak
“Trove” hints at bombs left on bombing runs. “All to seek” is the VietCong. “Tired” is short for attired which is synonymous with uniformed.
Outside of the poem, Fenn councils that if one is to read only a single chapter from “The Thrill of the Chase” it should be “My War for Me”. That chapter is about a slice of his time as a fighter pilot in Vietnam.
Taken as a whole, these hints point to Fenn’s time in southeast Asia as a pilot and how impactful and formative that time was for him. The hints give us confidence about how to appropriately adjust the blueprint.
First, lets connect dot 9 to dot 1 to form a complete outline of an airplane.
The hints also suggest adding a cockpit. We will create the largest one possible by connecting dot 3 to dot 7.
Now that’s a plane!
(Stay tuned for Part 4 – A Dash of Logic)
I’m getting emails from some who want to see more of our collection. I hope you don’t think I’m over doing it.
This beautiful 9” Sinagua lady is a pitcher. She was made of clay in north-central Arizona, and I excavated her on a friend’s ranch. She had 2 holes punched in her from a previous encounter. Can you tell where I gave her some necessary medicinal repairs?
Dal thinks she’s ugly but what does he know about little ‘ole pottery ladies? He probably thinks her nose is too high on her face, and it is by today’s standards. But in her day, 1,200 years ago, she was right in the middle of what was culturally vogue. Her profile makes me want to agree with dal just a little bit.
When my trowel found this woman, she was resting supine in the volcanic ash-like dirt. The 151disc beads in her necklace were made of shell, catlinite, travertine and argillite. They had become unstrung over time, but were still in place. I restrung them on cotton. Same for her turquoise earrings.
Meanwhile, and 4,000 miles to the south, the Chancay Indians of coastal Peru were making anthropomorphic figures like this 6” guy. His eyes of ostrich shell are inlaid in his wooden face. The other facial features are made of shell beads. Notice that his nose is up between his eyes.
Inlaid in the right side of his headpiece is a recycled spiny oyster pendant (the other side probably had one also). Both sides of his earrings are inlaid with small slabs of turquoise, which are difficult to see because they are held in place with some kind of dark mastic.
For several thousand years most all of the cultures up and down the Americas, constructed their art from identical raw materials. It nearly always included turquoise from what is now the United States. f
I like old wood when it has aged in a dry environment. It takes on a deep mellow patina. Can you see it in this 18th century Spanish Colonial chest? It’s just 9” long and 4” high.
Perhaps at one time its purpose was to provide a travelling home for some special religious object, like the 7 1/4th inch bulto below. An old tag on the back identifies it.
Circa 1810 carried by Don Pedro Don Baptista Pino who was the only delegate from the New World to the courts of Spain. He was trying to acquire money for teachers and priests. The statue was carried with him at all times.
Today, the old chest serves a useful purpose for me. It provides a home for 880-dollar coins. The value of the chest and the coins is about $3,500.
I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. Ideally, I would hide it somewhere in the New Mexico Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, but nearer than 8.25 miles from town. Then invite kids 16 years old and younger to go search for it. It can’t be out in the weather. What would you do with it?
Here are a few of my old Spanish Colonial wooden crosses. f