By Richard Cron
The Thrill of The Chase Poem – Clue Analysis with Notes and Timeline
As I have gone alone in there (Just as I have been alone to that place before)
And with my treasures bold (and I have gone there with my treasures unafraid)
I can keep my secret where (I won’t tell anyone the location)
And hint of riches new and old. (I will give clues of the existence and location of treasure (new) and the place (old))
Begin it where warm waters halt (the train station at Osier, Colorado) Passenger train stations are sometimes referred to as a Halt. Warm water is the steam train.
And take it in the canyon down, (traverse to and enter Toltec Canyon via the forest road, ford the Rio de Los Pinos, leave the forest road and take the vehicle path downstream along the river until it ends, just over a mile. Travel on downstream by foot through trees, brush and grass until you reach the canyon, approximately ¾ mile.) A scythe would come in handy for the hike along the river through an area of trees, brush and tall grass.
not far, but too far to walk
(refers to the short section entering into the canyon and traversing to the horse shoe bend that requires wading as opposed to walking).
Put in below the home of Brown. (The home of Brown is the Rio de Los Pinos. At the horse shoe bend in the river, “put in” or in other words, leave the river and “go ashore” where the canyon wall is a gradual slope allowing a not-too-difficult climb.)
From there it’s no place for the meek (meak).
(A scythe or meak will not be needed). There’s just rocky terrain ahead as you climb the canyon wall slope.
The end is ever drawing nigh (as you reach the top of the slope, bear to the left toward the cliff formation (hoof) that forms the horse shoe bend in the river).
Directions to the Blaze:
There’ll be no paddle up your creek (don’t look in or around the stream for the Blaze)
Just heavy loads and water high (the steam locomotive train track)
The Blaze is the chalky area of road bank just above and below the C&TSRR track, uphill from the canyon and to the left of the stream (as facing downstream).
Directions to the chest:
If you’ve been wise and found the Blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease.
(at the top of the slope of the canyon wall, find a vantage point where the Blaze can be seen over the hoof formation. This is the alignment between the searcher and the Blaze and reveals the area on the hoof of the chest location. The niche will be some distance back from the edge of the cliff “in the quick” likely at the high point of the formation and offering a view of the surrounding area, which is Fenn’s special place.)
After you’ve located the chest:
But tarry scant with marvel gaze
(Pause for a brief time and take in the view of Forrest Fenn’s special place.)
Just take the chest and go in peace or piece
(Don’t try to carry the chest full – too heavy.) Just take the chest (empty) and carry the contents separately – in piece.
So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? (Why did I go there and leave my treasure to be found?)
The answer I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak. (Because I’ve lived a full life and now I’m nearing the end.)
Transfer of ownership:
So hear me all and listen good, (Pay attention, this is important,)
Your efforts will be worth the cold. (The difficulty, hardships and frustration of the search will be worthwhile.)
If you are brave and in the wood (If you’ve “hit the bulls-eye” – found the chest – due to your courage and resolve) “Put one In the wood” is an old saying from the game of darts meaning you’ve scored a bulls-eye.
I give you title to the gold. (I transfer legal ownership of the treasure to you, the finder.)
I believe that one morning during August of 2009, Forrest Fenn departed his home in Santa Fe and together with his treasure, headed north on US highway 285 and traveled in his sedan to the junction of Colorado highway 17, just south of Antonito, CO (112 miles, about 2 hours). He then traveled west on highway 17 to mile post 29 (10 miles) where he then turned south on forest road FR103. On FR103, he traveled to Osier, CO (17 miles).
At the Osier train station is a cafeteria where he may have stopped for lunch. He then would have continued on FR103, fording the Rio de Los Pinos. Branching off from FR103 is a vehicle path that continues on downstream along the river, which he followed to the end of the path (about 1 mile from the train station). Total travel time from Santa Fe was about 3 hours (plus lunch break).
Forrest then made the first of two hikes, wearing waders, to his special place, carrying the chest contents and leaving the empty chest hidden in his car. He would return to his car to carry the chest to the site and complete the placement of the treasure. Returning to his car, he then drove back to Santa Fe, arriving home by about 7pm.
The hike distance from where he parked to the site is about 0,8 mile. Considering the terrain along the river, it may have taken him about an hour each way, allowing for rest stops. Two trips from his car to the site with time to arrange the placement of the treasure probably could have been completed in approximately 4 hours or less, which could be accomplished in an afternoon.
I believe the treasure was hidden in 2009, probably sometime during August, rather than in 2010 because access to the site can only safely be accomplished after spring/summer runoff. Fenn’s sedan probably wouldn’t have had sufficient clearance to ford the river during significant runoff. He would have already announced the quest in 2010 before that safe period of the year. Fenn would have been 79 years old.
A key word in the poem is “halt” because it is crucial to correctly identifying WWWH. Passenger train stations are sometimes referred to as a Halt. Forrest has said to begin with clue one. And he has said that without it, you have nothing. Fenn also said that if you don’t have the first clue nailed down, you might as well play Canasta. RR track rails are nailed down.
Fenn has told us that temperature is relative (warm brass feels cold to the touch). Warm water can become steam at high elevation.
Hints from TTOTC, etc: steam trains, Mrs. Ford, fly fishing, chalk, rainbow, oxbow or the double Omega symbols.
The 500 footers are the train passengers that pass above the canyon approximately 500 feet above the chest location.
Even though the river offers good fishing, the area is very remote other than the narrow-gauge tourist train (and its lunch stop at Osier), one might feel confident in going alone and boldly while carrying a fortune.
The only trails along the river are from wildlife as well as some cattle that are grazed in the national forest.
Forrest said the treasure chest is wet. I believe that he placed an alcoholic beverage (small bottle of wine) in or on the chest which would make it “wet” as opposed to “dry”. That allows the chest to be placed “high and dry” while still being wet.
Forrest commented that there was something he had said that he wished he hadn’t (after making the statement regarding what he could see and smell while standing next to the chest) – I believe that word was likely “pinon” because of the similarity to “pinos” in Rio de Los Pinos.
There are two adjacent horse shoe bends in the river canyon, corresponding with the double Omega symbols (or oxbow) in the back of TTOTC.
“So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and treasure” The horse shoe formation that contains Fenn’s special place may be seen as forming the shape of a rainbow at the base of which is his special place and his treasure location.
Forrest signs his name with a “dot” in the lower loop of the “F” in Fenn. Although this phenomenon predates 2009, it may be his way of signifying his special place.
So, is he comparing the similarities of his signature to the horse shoe bends in the river with the “dot” roughly marking the spot of the treasure in the upstream horse shoe formation?
The signature in the copy of TTOTC he provided for 2019 World Series of Fenn had an “X” instead of a dot. “X” marks the spot…