Not Another Rio Grande Solve!…

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 2016
by MIKEYJ

 

 

Hey all,
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.

Clue #1

“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.

Clue #2

“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.

Clue #3

“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.

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The drop pin is where the canyon starts and the state line is just below the color change

Clue #4

“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.

Clue #5

“The end is ever drawing nigh;”

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Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.

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Anasazi petroglyph from around 1150 A.D.

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Anasazi petroglyphs from around 1150 A.D.

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.

Clue #6

“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!

Clue #7

“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!

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My Blaze

Clue #8

“Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”

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View of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.

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Another view of the rapids from the end of the creek and the blaze.

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.

Clue #9

“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!

MikeyJ

A Grande Rio…

by Springer42

 
WWWH: Poncha Springs Colorado
There were at one time many hotsprings bubbling out of the hills around Poncha Springs. In 1935, when Forrest was just lad, all but one of the springs were capped with cement (halted). The remaining spring was then piped to the nearby city Salida who owns the spring to this day. Salida is also labeled on the map in TFTW.

The Canyon Down: The San Luis Valley
This where I should have realized I was starting to stray, it’s a valley not a canyon. But liked the Home of Brown I found on the way down.

HoB: Great Sand Dunes National Monument.
This is where all the brown sand ends up after being picked up by winds blowing across the valley. The biggest sand dunes in North America. Also on Forrest’s map.

Put In: Rio Grande
Continuing south down the San Luis Valley past the sand dunes you come to where the Rio Grande passes through the city of Alamosa (on the the map). so from here I start following the river.

No Place for the Meek: Ute Mountain
Once you cross into New Mexico, there is a big lonely extinct volcano known as Ute Mountain sitting on the east side of the beginnings of Rio Grande Gorge. There may be a couple interpretations of why it’s no place for the meek.
1. it’s a volcano
2. The infamous Meeker Massacre that occurred in Colorado was committed by Ute Indians.
3. There is Ute creation myth that essentially states that the creator specifically chose the Ute Indians to be the bravest of all the people.

The mountain is on the map just not labeled. You can see it’s little bump just below the CO/NM border along the Rio Grande.

No Paddle Up Your Creek:
There is a rocky wash on the northwest side of the mountain that looks like a creek bed (36.950290°, -105.701648°). You can’t paddle up it because it’s just made up of rocks (heavy loads) and the only water you see might be snow on the top of the mountain (water high).

Blaze:
Could have been the same rocks that make up the creek you can’t paddle, It looks very similar to the shape the blaze on a horse might be. But the thing that I found was what appeared from GE to be a U shaped outcropping of rocks about half way up.
(36.950154°, -105.701823°)

When I saw that on GE I just had to know what it was, so I started planning my trip. It seemed daunting at first to go by myself, but a friend of mine  agreed to go with me at the last minute.

Just getting to the mountain was an adventure in itself. It’s in an extremely remote and rarely visited location, and the only access is on poorly maintained two-track dirt roads. I am really glad I rented a Jeep with 4-wheel drive instead of just a regular car. We only saw two other vehicles anywhere near us for the entire day.

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When we started our less than a mile hike from the car, the first thing we noticed was the prickly plants literally everywhere on the ground. I’m going to be picking needles out of my boots for weeks. By the time we got to the bottom of the rocks, and I saw what we had to climb I was already starting to doubt my solve. Was this something an 80 year old could do? Maybe not.

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We pressed on anyway and scrambled up the side of the mountain to the U shaped object I had found on GE. when we got there I discovered that what looked like a single object from GE was just a pile of rocks and nothing more. What a let down.

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We checked many of the numerous crevices and hidey holes in the area anyway and marveled at the fantastic view we had of the valley below and the river gorge.

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Finally, it was getting late so we called it quits and headed back down to the Jeep. We headed over to the edge of the Gorge to get a few pictures before we left and made a new arachnid friend on the way.

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I believe this search has helped me understand a lot more about where and how I should be looking, and I’m looking forward to getting out again in Spring with a brand new solution to continue the chase. I leaning more toward a smaller scale solve now, hundreds of miles between clues is just way too far.

Thanks for reading, see you on the trail
Springer42

The Dream Search…

SUBMITTED december 2014
JULIE

 

My 14 year old son, Brendan, and I were debating about searching in New Mexico. We thought the warm waters fishing designation of New Mexico just had to be the warm waters Forrest was describing. I had pretty much ruled out the whole state based solely on the increased chance of snake encounters, but we had a few search locations that were just too good to dismiss.

Right as I was getting ready to rule out the trip to NM, they announced the Fennboree gathering. I thought this might be a once in a lifetime adventure, so I pulled Brendan out of school for a couple days (he didn’t argue too much) so that we could head out a little early and visit some of our search areas, as well as those we’d ruled out but wanted to see in person.

Three days before our road trip the plans for our destination changed dramatically. I haven’t had too many dreams about the Chase, but this one was so vivid and felt so real that we had to include this dream spot in our trip and made it the first stop of our journey. We had researched some areas near Taos, but not the area I dreamt about, so I’m not sure where some of the dream info came from?

Here’s some small tidbits from the dream, and our follow up search of the dream spot…

The Dream

In the dream, I was lying in bed looking at Forrest’s poem which I’d replicated exactly as it appears in the book on my bedroom wall. The large replica made it easy to reference the poem while I did some searching on my IPad before I went to sleep. I had been pondering “a word that is key”, and wondering if it could be “Brown” since it was capitalized.

I’m thinking of the capital letter “B”, and picturing it overlaying the whole poem in various ways. As I look at my poem wall, suddenly certain letters look a little more bold than others. I noticed that the bold letters formed the outline of a shape, but now it’s not exactly a “B” instead it’s the outline of an Omega…two Omegas on their side actually. I jump out of bed, grab a red marker and draw over the letters before they un-bold themselves. Suddenly, I realize the meaning of the line in the poem “The end is drawing ever nigh”, the Omega means “the end” and they have been “drawn nigh”.

Excitedly, I write down the letters that form the Omega shape. They spell out ,

“In Taos, in Taos Box, in the Upper Falls”.

At this point I’m starting to wake up, but I’m struggling to remain asleep as the “blaze” was the next part that was becoming clear in my dream.

Waking me is thinking “but there’s no “X” in the poem so those letters can’t be right”?

Sleeping me was thinking “exactly, there’s no “X”, because “X” marks the spot, it’s part of the blaze and”……but unfortunately waking me won out at this point.

In my still half asleep state, I rollover and grab my IPad, pull up the poem and draw a couple of omegas over it. Of course nothing lines up as perfectly as it does in the dream world.

I try a Google search to see if there is an area called “Upper Falls in the Taos Box”. Sure enough there is, and it’s the area for boaters to “Put In”. At this point I decided we had to go check this out! I changed all our plans and a few days later we were on our way to Taos.

The Search

Car loaded up , and we are on our way! Several hours later....

Car loaded up , and we are on our way! Several hours later….

Like our first search that we completed in Colorado, a road trip with a teenage boy involved lots of snacks, car dancing (mostly on my part), and singing.

Like our first search that we completed in Colorado, a road trip with a teenage boy involved lots of snacks, car dancing (mostly on my part), and singing.

We pulled up to a dirt parking lot in what felt like the middle of nowhere. We stretched and walked over to the trailhead to take a quick peek down the canyon wall, surely Forrest could make this trek twice.

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We prepped for our adventure, changing clothes, rearranging backpacks to allow for a small box on our return trip, and grabbed plenty of water for our hike down to the edge of the Rio Grande. As we prepped, a truck with an older couple rolled up. We chatted for a little bit and found out that they were from Texas, and that this is one of the gentlemen’s favorite fishing spots. Fishing? YES! Brendan and I give each other a quick smiling glance. We’re even more excited at this point. We don’t share exactly why we’re there or why he’s out of school, we’re just hikers after all!

The TX gentleman decides to head down the trail to check things out, he’s coming back tomorrow alone to fish. His wife has no interest in hiking, and waits in the car.

A few minutes later we are packed up and ready to go when I see this:

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Really? I take deep breaths and we blaze on…

It’s not much of a trail in many areas, and you step down over big rocks with plenty of snake hidey spots underneath. But it sure is an amazing view!

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We decide to sing ” 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” to pass the time. I’m also thinking it might scare away anything in the area. As we step down over the big rocks we use our walking poles to tap the rocks below and make sure no snakes jump out at us (yes, to me they jump). Brendan starts saying, “No snakes, no snakes” at each big step down. Well, I don’t even want to hear that word, I tell him it sounds like he’s calling them to us. I ask him to call the snakes something else, and we decide on “Whammies”. So we trek on while we sing, “94 bottles of beer on the wall, 94 bottles of beer”….( tap tap with the pole, step down over the big rock)…”no whammies!, no whammies!… take one down pass it around, 93 bottles of beer…”.

A short ways down we come upon the man from TX who’s heard this whole discussion and singing, he’s completely red in the face from laughing at us. We nod, smile, and move on. 320 feet down and about a half mile later we reach the bottom.

It’s beautiful!

ImageExtract-006

There’s a little path to the boat put in, and adjacent a small, corrugated roof shelter with a picnic table. We decide to sit and have a water break. I head towards the picnic table and immediately see a small snake slithering away a few feet in front of me. I did what came naturally, ran the other direction (probably towards more snakes) yelling “Little Snake, Little Snake!”. I run towards the river, down a narrow path with tall grass on either side. My backpack catches on the grass, flicking the tall grass, and the motion makes me think there’s another, bigger snake next to me. This of course sends me running back towards Brendan who is just standing there laughing at me and shaking his head.

We sit and have our water break at the picnic table. Once my heart rate came down, we decided to set off down river towards some big trees (could this be the “in the wood”). We scout out how to get there since most of the area is covered with tall grass and shrubs, with some random paths that deer or other animals have made.

The shelter is built adjacent to the rocky canyon wall. There is a narrow path less than 3 feet wide between the shelter and canyon wall that allows us to head in the direction we wanted to go. We set off with Brendan leading the way, we’re right between the structure and the rock wall when we hear a distinct “rattle, rattle, rattle” at head level …again I did what comes naturally and ran the other way. Yes, mom of the year award I know! Somehow Brendan followed?

Again a short heart rate break, as I stood frozen in apparently the only snake free clearing.

Me in my clearing

Me in my clearing

We decide to head the opposite direction, up the creek, no paddle required. We didn’t get far when we came to a point with big boulders and high water rushing by. There was one big dark colored rock with a mark on it. We get closer, it’s kind of an “X”, a blaze perhaps? Brendan’s face lights up.

He climbs up on the boulder and looks down in to the water on the other side.

ImageExtract-008

No treasure, but I hear him shout “it’s really cool looking, lots of sparkly stuff in the water!” (Keep in mind we live in suburbia, so this is a big thrill for my young adventurer)

I’m not exactly sure what else there was to look at on the other side of this boulder, but he crawled around and checked it out thoroughly for quite some time.

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We head back towards the picnic structure, thinking we could find another way to head down stream that is rattlesnake free. I’m leading when I hear Brendan say “Uh!” pretty loudly behind me. Apparently another snake slithered right behind me. I make it back to my snake free clearing rather quickly, and decided this was no place for us meek folk. I took a quick glance around at all the possibilities for treasure hiding spots, but we decided we just couldn’t do it. They all would most definitely include at least snakes, and after looking at all the deer trails I decided it just wasn’t safe for the two of us if something happened. Maybe we would come back to explore with the rest of our family another time. A few quick photos by the river and we head back up the hill, and on our way to the next search area….”43 bottles of beer on the wall…No whammies! No whammies!”.

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InTheKnow on the Rio Grande Part II…

SUBMITTED december 2014
BY INTHEKNOW

 

Let’s pretend for a minute that I got the starting point right.  I know that Glenn Woody Bridge is out.  So, How far is too far to walk?  Later in the poem, Forrest tells us to hear him and listen good.  So, I close my eyes and say the words out loud.  I hear ‘to’ and ‘too’ and think, what if that means 2+2?  Well, 4 miles could be too far to walk for an 80 year old man.  Not Forrest probably, but most 80 year old men.  So, I follow the road into the canyon down for 4 miles.  What is there?  Nothing.

Agua Caliente to Souse Hole Rapid

4.4 Miles from WWWH to the parking lot

This canyon has a road, and then a steep drop to the river on one side, and an impossible incline on the other.  Signs in the area warn of rockslides and slick curves.  Crosses dot the road where many have succumbed to the will of Mother Nature.  But, 4.4 miles down from my WWWH, there is a parking lot.  This parking lot is used by a lot of people associated with river rafting.  This could be related to ‘put in’.  There is also a hill overlooking the river.  Guess what is on the hill?  A picnic bench!  Well, this HAD to be the place.  But, wait.  What is that grassy hill across the river?  Is that a tree on the top of it, perfectly centered, and solitary in it’s stance?  Well, now I know I am in the right place.  But, I knew taking the family on this trip would not be wise, so I was going to go it alone.

I found the parking lot pretty easily and found a good spot to park, off to the right.  I knew this side of the river would be heavily trafficked, but I searched it high and low, anyway.  Then, I got all the way down to the river, and crossed onto a sandbar in the middle of the river.  Maybe this was the way across.  I looked down at the rushing water going past me, and knew I was not crossing here, on foot.

This is the view from where I parked

This is the view from where I parked

You can see the hill across the river on the left of the picture, with the green grass.  My tree is in the center of the image.  Also, on the left, you can see the old gas pipeline.  It is broken in many places, but it used to run the length of the other side of the canyon.  There is also an old access road that runs alongside it.

I hiked back up to the hill, went to my car, and called my husband for some advice.  I remembered that the Glenn Woody Bridge was only 2 miles up the road, and even thought there was a No Trespassing sign, I didn’t think the owner would mind if I just strolled across it and walked back down the other side of the river, along an old above ground gas line.  I told my husband I was thinking of doing it, and he reminded me that there were 14 wolf/German Shepard hybrids on the other side, all very hungry and eager for a fresh meal.  I decided that was out of the question.

As I am wrapping up my conversation, I see a young  girl pull up in her car.  She parked about 10 feet from me.  She got out, and strolled off in her flip flops, carrying a book and a nice-looking camera.  She walks along the side of the busy road, along where the earth just seems to fall off and disappear.  Then, she did something unimaginable:  she scaled the side of the hill down – in her flip flops!  I couldn’t imagine how she just did that.  This girl knows this area very well.  So, I got out of the car and followed her.

I got about 100 feet up the road, and suddenly a stone staircase appeared, and lead down to a tiny wooden shade structure, under which was the girl, enjoying her book.  I made it down the staircase to her, and said hello.  I asked her if she knew of a good place to cross the river.  She replied, “Why would you want to do that?”  Um….hmmmm….let me think.  I didn’t want to tell her the truth.  Maybe she will go search across the way and find it before me.  “I am trying to take some pictures.”  She looked me over, glancing at my gollashes, my shorts, and my checkered backpack.  “You are gonna have to swim.”

“I am not swimming across the river.  Is there a low point I can walk across?”

“Maybe a few miles down, at the county line access.”

“Ok, Thanks. Bye.”

I needed a new plan.  I climbed back up the staircase to my car, and was ready to call it a day, but then I saw a white passenger van across the way, with a raft on top.  Hmmmmm.  This could be a way across.  I walked over and found and young man lying in a hammock, underneath two trees.  His view overlooked the river, so that he could ensure he saw his group pass by in their raft, so he could know when it was time for him to go. A pungent smell of an herbal remedy wafted through the air.   I approached him and asked him if he knew a way across the river.  “You can swim across,” he replied.  “I am not swimming.  Any chance you could give me a lift across?”  I pointed at the raft on his trailer.  “I only have one life jacket, and am waiting for my group to come down the river at any minute.  But, I have an idea.  Follow me.”  He grabbed the life jacket and started off the same way the girl had gone.  I did as I was told and followed.  He walked down to the girl, and told her I was his friend, and that I needed a ride across.  We were going to flag down the next group of rafters to give me a lift across.  I couldn’t believe it.  None of these people knew me, and they were going out of their way to help me – all because I wanted to take some pictures (or so they thought).

It only took two minutes for a raft to appear.  I put the life vest on, and I got in.  They ferried me across, and I returned the life jacket, and went on my way.  I had saved the man’s name and phone number in my phone, and he told me to call him when I was ready for a ride back across.  He warned me that he would be busy feeding hungry rafters for the next hour or two, but that he would come back when he was done if I hadn’t called by then.  I didn’t worry about a silly thing like getting back across the river, with a treasure chest.  I had a search to get underway.

This is the one picture I shot while on the hill

This is the one picture I shot while on the hill

You can see a staircase on the upper right side of the image.  This leads you from the parking lot to a flat area where the bench I mentioned is located. You can also see the sandbar I stood on in the bottom left.

I climbed up the hill with such excitement.  That tree was so big, and so pretty, and had such a beautiful view of the river.  But, as I made my way up the hill, I started to smell something.  It was urine.  And, it was strong.  I ignored it the first time, but a couple of trees later, I smelled it again.  I forged ahead, determined to reach my tree.  When I got there, I looked high and low for a rock, a log, anything that was out of place.  Oh look!  Two railroad ties just lying there.  Underneath: nothing.  I start to widen my circle around the tree, and then investigate nearby trees.  Still nothing.  Nothing, except that smell.  Then I realized, it reminded me of the smell when cats leave their mark on things.  Cats?  That has got to be a pretty big cat.  Then, as I came around a corner of rocks, I see it.  A small cave, only about 3 feet high, and 4 feet wide.  Just in front of the cave, where the grasses reach 4 feet tall, there was a large size area where the grasses had been smashed, and were laying horizontally.  You could see this was a good place for a large animal to catch some sun in the morning, and that this spot was well used.  There were also a few small bones scattered about the front of the cave.

I knew I was definitely in the wrong place.  I also knew this was a very bad idea, and I needed to hightail it out of there.  But, before I ran off, I snapped a pic.  At least now I wasn’t a liar, as well as a failure.  I pulled out my phone and called the number of the man who helped me get a ride across.  No service.  No service anywhere on that hill.  Crap!

I hurried myself down the hill, and to the edge of the water.  The girl was still perched under her shade structure across the way.  She saw me and yelled across, “Are you done?  Do you need a lift back?”

“Yes Please!”

I didn’t have to wait but two or three minutes and another rafting group came by.  I saw the girl snap her photos of them, and then wave them down and started pointing my way.  The group kindly pulled up to the bank, allowed me to board, and ferried me back across.  “Did you get your pictures?,” she asked. “Yes, I did.  Thank you.”  The man who helped me was gone, and my repeated attempts to let him know I made it back across failed.  Either I got the wrong number, or his phone was turned off. I headed for home.

I searched the road side of the river two more times after that.  Then, another time, I hiked up one of the slot canyons on the opposite side of the road, and scaled 50ft of sheer waterfall (it was dry at that time).  I ended up in the most amazing crevasse, which was surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks.  It was about 40 ft. in diameter, and it was the most peaceful place I had ever been.  Sadly, I forgot to take pictures until I was halfway back down the slot canyon.

After that trip, I learned a very important lesson.  I realized that the entire canyon area was subject to Mother Nature’s attitude changes, and that no place there would be safe.  Fenn did not hide his treasure here, but I feel like I am still heading in the right direction.

Next time, I will tell you how far too far to walk actually is, and how Fenn’s ‘non-clues’ are all actually very good clues (according to my solution, of course).

 

InTheKnow on the Rio Grande…

SUBMITTED december 2014
BY INTHEKNOW

 

You all know me as InTheKnow, but my kids call me Mom, and my sister calls me Crazy.  I have almost 30 searches for Forrest’s treasure, just since I joined the search in August.  This is one of my stories, and part of my current solution.  I have never changed my solution, I only move forward in the poem.

InTheKnow - A Little Piece of Me

InTheKnow – A Little Piece of Me

I went on my first search without knowing much.  I knew Dal had a website, and so did Forrest.  I knew he said a few clues on the Today show, and that he wrote a poem.  I was inexperienced and thought I was a smart cookie.  I can figure this out easy. Any of this sound familiar?

After reading the poem a few times, I deduced my starting point.  I wondered if warm waters could be translated into Spanish, and it turned out to be a geographical place.  Agua Caliente.  If you Google Agua Caliente, you end up getting results for a Casino in California, and a few other small places, but none of them in the search area.  If you add New Mexico, you can get two different results.  I will let you decide which one I started with.

Agua Caliente translates to ‘warm waters’, and we know that Forrest knows at least a rudimentary amount of Spanish.  Also, if you live in the Southwest for any length of time, you pick up a moderate vocabulary of Spanish words.  Now, what about the halting, you ask?  Well, Agua Caliente is a warm water spring, which runs down a canyon, as a stream, and HALTS at a swimming hole.  It is actually a popular swimming hole, because the water is so warm.  So, we have warm water halting, both by name and by action.  I figured it couldn’t be a coincidence.

Now, lets go in the canyon down and see what we can find.  First, we pass the town of Pilar and the Rio Grande Visitors Center.  Pilar is a very popular river rafting area.  There are dozens of rafters going from Pilar, to the bottom of the canyon, every day.  So, we have our ‘Put In’ and ‘Canyon Down’.  As for the home of Brown…well….I skipped that one, for now.  I will figure it out when I get there.

If you follow the canyon down from the swimming hole and Pilar, you will find very little in the way of landmarks.  However, there is one bridge, called the Glenn Woody Bridge.  Glenn Woody was a business man who made a lot of money mining in the area about 100 or so years ago.  He built a bridge to cross the Rio Grande on the ruins of an old government-built bridge that had been burned down by the Apaches – twice.  All that remained were the concrete pylons, which still remain today.  Glenn Woody left the area to join the California gold rush, and eventually went bust.  After Glenn Woody went under, the local sherriff purchased his property and bridge, and used it as a fishing retreat.  Now, it is owned by an eccentric man, who leads a very interesting life – but I will tell you more about him in a moment.

Glenn Woody Bridge – that could be ‘in the wood’!  Oh boy, this is it!  The very next day, I packed my husband, my 11 month old, and myself into the car, and drove two hours from my house to the bridge.

Father and Son on the Rio Grande - We enjoy the river close to home, too.

Father and Son on the Rio Grande – We enjoy the river close to home, too.

When we arrived, I was so excited, I jumped out of the car and ran straight down to the edge of the water.  I didn’t worry about silly little things, like the fact that the water was very low because the monsoons hadn’t arrived yet, so where I was standing would be underwater for part of the year.  Also, nevermind about the fact that 100 people stop here every week to enjoy the water, walk their dogs, or to enjoy an adult beverage in the serenity of the tall grasses.  This had to be it, right?

I trudged through the muddy banks, the tall grasses, and the thick bushes.  The whole time, I swore a snake was going to jump up and bite me any minute.  My husband looked on in confusion as he and the baby ate snacks by the car.  We were only at the site for 20 minutes, and the last ten were me sulking because I knew I was wrong. There was no way Forrest was going to hide a treasure in a place with so many people.

Rio Grande River

Rio Grande River – I took this picture on a later search, after hitchhiking to the other side of it.

While I was sulking, my husband was being social.  As he sat in the back of the SUV, staying out of the rain with the baby, a truck pulled up, and a man got out with two large bags of dog food, weighing 40 lbs. each.  The truck then drove off and the man started walking towards the bridge.  My husband struck up a conversation with him.  It turns out he is the current owner of the bridge, and the property across the way.  He also has two pets: a German Shepard and a Wolf.  It also happens that these two have mated – twice – and both times had produced 7 offspring.  So, he now had 1 dog, 1 wolf, and 14 hybrid offspring to feed.  Also, I should mention that these animals have no cages, leashes, chains, or any other kind of restraints or restrictions on their movements.  He told my husband that he walked all the way into town to get them dog food.  His vehicle is not working, and he is down on his luck at the moment, so he sometimes finds himself accepting generosity from his neighbors (I use that term loosely, because I am not sure where the next neighbor is, but it is a couple of miles in either direction).  Members of the community often donate dog food to him, and give him a ride to and from town, whenever they can.  For today’s ride, he hitchhiked from a stranger.  The man also admitted to my husband that he regularly drives across this bridge.  Anyone with a shred of common sense would question walking across the bridge, and would laugh at the idea of driving across this ancient structure.  The two men exchanged pleasantries, and the man lifted each of the two bags of food onto his shoulders, and started off for home.

Glenn Woody Bridge

Glenn Woody Bridge – It doesn’t look like anyone should cross this.

I didn’t know that the wolf/dog animals would play a minor roll in one of my future searches.  I will share that story soon, if you like.  It involves a mountain lion den, and hitchhiking a ride across the Rio Grande River from a river rafting group – twice.

The 4Runner - I bought her this summer, in excellent condition.  She now has multiple deep scratches going from headlight to taillight on both sides, from offroading through thick brush, in later searches.   She also has a fair amount of cactus needles in each tire, I have replaced two of the four valve caps, and she needs a new windshield.

The 4Runner – I bought her this summer, in excellent condition. She now has multiple deep scratches going from headlight to taillight on both sides, from offroading through thick brush, in later searches. She also has a fair amount of cactus needles in each tire, I have replaced two of the four valve caps, and she needs a new windshield.