The Valkyries Let Me In…

Submitted June 2014
by THE CHIPMUNK

 

Late February I figured out what seemed to be the perfect interpretation of the poem. The solve aligns nicely with the clues in a rather straightforward way and led me to a Yellowstone waterfall. No messing with the poem, no hidden numbers and no cryptic hidden codes. I hope you will enjoy reading my interpretation and search story.

Begin it by Yellowstone lake. The water from numerous hot springs, some along the beach, some submerged, halt here. I even got confirmation from a nine year old that warm waters halt here. Then take it in the Grand Canyon down. It is possible to walk into the Grand Canyon to the Sevenmile Hole. It might be possible to crawl, tumble, wriggle or abseil further down the canyon, but you certainly cannot walk due to the steep and often unstable canyon sides. A little downstream from the Sevenmile Hole is the confluence of Glade Creek and the Yellowstone River. The Authors of the book “The Guide to Yellowstone Waterfalls and Their Discovery” calls the side canyon containing Glade Creek for Valhalla. Valhalla is a giant hall which is the home of the Norse god Odin. This Norse god was referred to by over 200 names, one of which were Bruní, which means Brown. Most of Odin’s 200 names would point searchers in the direction of Valhalla after a quick google search. Brown, however, would be difficult, but not impossible, to associate with this place. A man with an alligator named Beowulf could certainly use North European mythology at other instances as well. So put in below Valhalla, the home of Brown.

In Norse mythology, the bravest warriors would be selected by female figures called valkyries and taken to Valhalla after falling in combat. This was the only way for humans to get there. Valhalla is no place for the meek.

Valhalla

Valhalla

The end is ever drawing nigh, so turn left and head up along Glade Creek into Valhalla. The first feature to be met along the creek is the Realms of the Dead Falls. This gives the statement about the end drawing nigh a second, confidence building meaning. As we move through Valhalla, Glade Creek splits into several Forks, some of them unmapped. The poem tells us that there are heavy loads and water high up our creek. Heavier loads than those of a citadel are rarely found, with respect to both walls and ammunition. The Citadel of Asgard Falls combines these heavy loads with water high. According to the aforementioned book, this world class waterfall was first documented in the late nineties. In my hypothesis, a Texan fighter pilot might have discovered it earlier…

The introduction to the poem says it will lead us to the end of Forrest’s rainbow. Again according to Norse mythology, the rainbow ends in Asgard. I laughed when this last piece of the puzzle fell in to place. I also laughed when I parked by the Glacial Boulder/Inspiration Point to walk alone in there.

It’s a 5.5 mile hike from the trailhead to the Citadel of Asgard Falls. Most of it is along the Washburn Spur Trail, but the last half mile is off-trail. Bringing a map, compass, GPS and a sandwich was obvious. Accidentally there was also a flashlight in my backpack. It had been there since last time I went on a multi-day hike and the batteries were flat, but I kept it in the backpack as an amulet. After all, Forrest told us to bring one. I also packed some warm clothes and a rain jacket – although the sun was shining – and a can of bear spray was put in a holster attached to my belt. I’d love to see a bear on the hike, but I wouldn’t like to meet one.

map

Comfortable temperatures and partially clouded skies made the first part of the hike a pleasant experience. But as I approached the Washburn Hot Springs a drizzle of rain made its appearance, forcing me to put on the rain jacket. This evolved into violent showers of sleet and snow when I crossed the Washburn Meadows. “Your effort will
be worth the cold”, I said to myself as ice cold water soaked my feet, immediately laughing at this treasure hunt cliché. I guess any treasure hunter with the slightest feeling of something not warm gets exactly the same thought.

After leaving the Washburn spur trail I followed a narrow meadow leading to a small waterfall called the Fall of the Valkyries. The meadow was welcome, because it provided an easy walk to this waterfall which I wanted to see. I also liked the symbolism in going there before I proceeded to Valhalla. The valkyries should take me there. This turned out to be a good route choice because I could follow some animal trails from here towards and along the brink of the Valhalla side canyon.

The valkyries used flying horses to bring the brave warriors to their afterlife in Valhalla. One of the things I’ve learned after following blogs and discussion forums is that “in the wood” is old western slang for being in the saddle. “If you are brave and in the wood”, yep, another strong confirmation of my solve. This must be it!

To explain how confidence in my solve grew I’d also like to mention the quote from the bible stating that the meek shall inherit the earth. After putting in below the home of Brown, the poem leads you past the Realms of the Dead and through Asgard (The hall Valhalla is situated in the world Asgard). These are two of the nine worlds found in Norse mythology, but neither of the two are earthly worlds, and thus no place for the meek.

The first glimpse of the Citadel of Asgard falls was a creek abruptly disappearing as the water threw itself over the brink of the canyon. Moving over to the brink you get an astonishing view over the Grand Canyon at its widest point. The bottom of the waterfall can’t be seen from the brink, you only see the water elegantly dancing through the air and hear the roaring sound when it hits the rocks below. It’s a marvel
gaze absolutely worth a detour for hikers walking the Washburn Spur Trail.

The Citadel of Asgard Falls

Since the chase potentially can last for hundreds of years, the blaze better be something lasting that can withstand the test of time. My guess was some sort of symbol carved into a rock. Not “FF”, that would be too obvious and people familiar with the chase could stumble upon it. Something more neutral would be more likely. All rocks in the vicinity of the falls where quickly examined, but there was no blaze
to be found. So I started checking all the trees surrounding the falls. Nothing resembled a blaze.

How could this not be Forrest Fenn’s secret where? Desperation started to fill my mind. What would be a better place to rest eternally for a brave fighter pilot than in Valhalla, next to a beautiful waterfall in the heart of his beloved Yellowstone that he discovered before any other man and kept a secret? How could the treasure not be in this spot where the similarities to the waterfall in “My war for me” can be seen so clearly? What about the fact that this spot is exactly west (270 degrees) of Toledo, Ontario? The chest had to be here. I just couldn’t find the blaze. The searching went on for more than an hour. A couple of logs were pulled carefully over and put back in place. The small pools in the creek were searched. Nothing to be found.

Finding yourself a two hour hike into the wilderness with soaked legs and feet, freezing your butt of, desperately looking for some treasure hidden by an old art dealer is something I warmly recommend. Provided you have a desire to feel stupid. Reluctantly I had to realize that there was no blaze to be found around the waterfall. The weather improved and I got a nice hike back to the trailhead, but the disappointment was a heavy load to carry.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find a better solve, so the chase is probably over for my part. Despite the disappointment it has been fun and educational. On my trip to Yellowstone I saw 14 bears and 3 wolves. That’s something I will never forget. After returning home I realize that I have some very nice photos of Citadel of Asgard Falls. This truly is a special place. I will probably publish one or two of them on Google Earth. Maybe more people will visit this astounding waterfall if they are aware of its existence. The pictures also remind me of the uprooted trees by the creek that had recently been tipped over by the wind. I wasn’t able to search under them, because there were too much debris and the logs were way too heavy to move. Now I can’t help wondering if the blaze is below those trees. It probably isn’t, but if someone else wants to go there and look for the blaze, let me know. I might have a few pictures to share with you. Not many have been to the Citadel of Asgard Falls and I can safely recommend this hike to anyone who wants to wants to escape the crowds and explore Yellowstone off the beaten path.

-The Chipmunk

 

 

The Sure Thing…

Submitted May 2014
by michaeld

 

NCM_0042I always felt like stanzas one, five, and six went together because it was Forrest Fenn speaking to us. These are the only stanzas where he is using I, me, and my to communicate to us. It seemed like stanzas two through four were telling us where the chest was at. It sounded like to me by the last line in stanza four, the location was divulged…so my line of thinking was that stanzas one, five, and six gave the directions to where warm waters halt,  then stanzas two, three, and four told us where to find the chest from there.

It was also logical to assume that the poem divulged the blaze by stanza four as well because it says “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.” I believe stanza four is used to let you know that the blaze exists in stanza one, two, or three, and that you must be wise to find it. If you have been wise and found the blaze, then look quickly down to stanzas five and six, because, if you found the blaze, then stanzas five and six tell you where to go to find the chest. This is a MAJOR departure from what I have read on the blogs…(most people have been taking the poem as all directions on the ground all the time). So once you know the blaze, stanzas five and six reveal themselves a bit….I quickly deduced that if stanzas one, five, and six went together, stanza one HAD to be the stanza with the blaze, since stanza four tells you to first find the blaze, then look quickly down to five and six for directions to WWWH. Forrest always said to start at the beginning. I noticed right off the letter I, and two ones in the first line…As I have gone alone in there….What if I was one. In the first line, with a little imagination, we see, “As ONE have gONE alONE in THREE”…Now, I know that’s a stretch for some, but remember, my solve began at the beginning. The first stanza uses the word I in a specific way…”I can keep my secret where” is telling us the LETTER  I is important to the solve. After stanza one, the letter I is not used again until stanza five. “As I have gone alone in there” is a code. I one one in three. A butterfly is really a flutterby, and there is really three. Imagination is more important than knowlege, and gone is one, as is alone). This is the  BLAZE….I equals one. As we read through the rest of the poem with this in mind, the very next line says, AND WITH MY treasures bold….So perhaps instead of just I being a number one, whenever Forrest refers to himself in the poem, it means the number one. So every me, my or I in the poem would turn into a number one… we see in stanza four it states, “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace” We now know the blaze has to be introduced in the first three stanzas, and we found it…

And one one  one in three is true…So what if “I” as in Forrest Burke Fenn, is the Blaze?? That would mean not only I, but Me and My would be ONE, since they all refer to FBF. So I substituted ONE for all me, my and I’s that were referring to Forrest Fenn (in red letters), And BOLDED all the ONES  that already appeared in the poem… and I also bolded any changes or interpretations I made to the poem, and this is what I got: ( I left out stanzas two through four because they have no ones or FF referrals)

As ONE have gONE alONE in THREE

And with ONE treasures bold,

ONE can keep ONE secret where

And hint of riches new and old.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

Look quickly down your quest to cease,

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

So Y is it that ONE must go

And leave ONE trove for all to seek? = Y11 (trove = drove?)

The answers ONE already know,

ONE’ Ve dONE it tired, and now ONE’M weak. = 141 (it tired = drove?) and now ONE’ M weak….The reason I changed why to Y and the I’ve to a 4 (roman number IV…the e is silent) was because of what I found subsequently in stanza six….and where that took me on the map….So really I kinda went out of order to solve the 141 and Y11, because Stanza six made WAY more sense if I approached that way.

So HEAR ONE all and LIST TEN good,….(This is why the last I in stanza six  is used as a letter instead of a one…we already changed 10  me ,my, I’s into ONES, just as FF tells us to in stanza six! So hear ONE all and LIST TEN good) But I was looking for something else…something that would convince me I was on the right path…and Germanguy gave it to me on a silver platter!! He’s also saying to list ten letters… we hear in stanza six…

Your Fort will B worth the cold.

F U R brAve and N the wood,

I give U title to the gold.

FBFURANIU…wait, that only = nine letters…FBFURANIU,  we are exactly ONE’M WEAK (from stanza five) of spelling out FBF URANIUM. FBF = Forrest Burke Fenn…THE BLAZE!! The Blaze is FBF which is synonymous with me, my and I in the poem!! This is the carving we will look for on the tree, cliff, rock etc…but uranium?…URANIUM…URANIUM??

Okay, let’s think about this. Why would anything having to do with uranium be a very special place to FF? Maybe because it saved his life when he got cancer? Maybe because the very thing that is a symbol of war, which FF has learned comes at great cost, saved his life in the end. How’s that for a paradox (As in not far but too far). So the key word is ONE, and Forrest Burke Fenn, aka Me, My, I, is the BLAZE (both times) first time as me, my, I and second as FBF. So the nine clues, in order, are:

  1.  Y
  2. ONE
  3. ONE
  4. ONE
  5. FOUR
  6. ONE
  7. ONE M’ weak
  8. FBF
  9. URANIU

So if you search for Uranium on Y11 and 141….google comes up with Uravan, CO. ( If U R brAVe ANd)… Listen and HEAR what it sounds like…urbraveand…..uravan… With these clues we can find Uravan, CO and begin to unravel the mystery of where warm waters halt.

June in Uravan 073

So in order to find where warm waters halt, I go to Uravan, CO Uranium mine on Y11 and 141. And we know what blaze to look for (FBF) when we figure out the rest of the poem. Now that we have solved the clues, the book begins to make a lot more sense. Research goes a long way toward revealing the hints in the book. Yellowstone is really yellow stone, carnotite, uranium ore. Miss Ford is crossing the Delores River, with her loud voice and choppy steps. Y11 road is a graveled road to the south that crosses the San Miguel River at the “Black Bridge” and goes to Paradox and Bedrock, Colorado, via the scenic canyons of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers.

NCM_0221

Paradox is a farming and ranching community. It was named because the Dolores River runs north and south through the valley rather than the usual east and west—a Paradox that occurs in only one other valley in the world. Red Canyon, MT is really Red Canyon quadrangle, Colorado.

NCM_0046

15 miles of water runway is the hanging flume. 6000’ in elevation is where the chest is at or near (within 85%). The grave, the waterfall, the crescent moon (arch), 2.42 river miles from omega one (below the Home of Brown), on omega two (which is really omega three) which is 7 miles west of town (Uravan) on 141, between mile marker 79 and 80, on a large sagebrush flat with large stands of pine trees (stumps now) all around.

 

radioactivity-warning-sign

The Yellow and Purple flowers and the abundant tall grasses surround the gravestone. But I digress….back to WWWH… What do we know about the poem? We know what Forrest Fenn has told us, it contains nine clues that if followed precisely will lead us to the end of his rainbow, and the treasure. But we know more than that.

pre·cise·ly

[ prə sī́sslee ]

 

  1. exactly: used to indicate that something is stated exactly
  2. accurately: with absolute accuracy
  3. in detail: in complete and accurate detail

 

It is perfectly logical then, to assume the poem contains within it, exact directions to the chest. Forrest tells us to “Begin it where warm waters halt”, and he means it, but we MUST start at the beginning in order to find the beginning.

Uravan was a town that no longer exists, and was bulldozed because it was radioactive. It sits on county road Y11. From there, other, possibly imagined, clues start popping up….Drawing=Glyph, Paddle=ROW, High=Hie…reverse it…Hieroglyph. Hieroglyphics canyon is in Uravan. “Not far but too far” is a Paradox….Paradox Valley is near Uravan. Bedrock, Colorado in Paradox Valley is where Y11 comes off of HWY 90. (it=9T?)  (“Safe upon the SOLID ROCK the ugly houses stand, come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!”)

Stanza 2: “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.” This was the HARDEST PART of the whole solve. I couldn’t for the life of me find a decent wwwh in my area …Germanguy was convinced it was the continental divide, then Uncompahgre plateau, then Unaweep Canyon….None of which worked for me…because FF already told us where to begin looking, (Uravan) so WWWH becomes a point at which to begin the actual trail to the chest…not a place to begin looking for the general area…we have the general area already! And then it happened. April 18th 2014 at about 11pm… I was searching the internet for Y11 road references, and I hit the jackpot! Y11 FIASCO mountain bike trail…

This technically challenging trail follows the old Indian trail from Uravan to Saucer Basin, a small collapsed salt dome. The trail climbs along the south rim of the San Miguel River canyon, with great views of the hanging flume and the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers. It can be ridden as a lollipop overlooking the confluence, or as a loop featuring a very technical downhill into Saucer Basin and returning along CR Y-11.
Saucer Basin!? Tea with Olga?! Warm waters halt when they run over the edge of your teacup and into the saucer. My heart was racing!!  This wwh along with all the other stuff was just too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence…this was it! I had it! I found wwwh!! FF had taken us full circle on this bicycle trail, from Y11 road in Uravan to Y11 road in Delores River Canyon!! This is when I boldly posted the poem was solved…I was wrong…By the way, it turns out Forrest could easily drive from Y11 at Uravan to Y11 at Saucer Basin, but I may not have come across Saucer Basin if not for that mountain bike trail description! So begin it in Saucer Basin and take it in the Delores River canyon down, not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. The dreaded HOB!! I couldn’t find it! I searched forever…nothing, nada. So I must have to be there to see that part right? But the San Miguel River is a well-known and famous Brown Trout fishery, and runs a very Brown color at its confluence with the Delores River…and it is less than a mile downstream to the confluence from Saucer Basin. So I started working on the rest of the solve using the confluence as HOB. It was an educated guess, but it worked out so well later that I kept it as fact…a dangerous game!

June in Uravan 066

Now, everyone needs to get on google earth and look at that confluence!! Double Omega central!! “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.” After searching for some specific directions hidden in this part of the poem, I came up with everything is too far to walk if you “PUT IN” the water…So I measured in the streambed instead of on the roads, believing No place for the meek may mean by water instead of by land. And searching for more directions, I looked at “Not far, but too far to walk” and thought to myself, not four, but two four two walk. So I “Put in” AKA started, below the confluence, and measured 242 feet. Then 242 miles, then yards. Nothing made sense…I started to think, is 2.42 miles too far to walk? WAIT! Not four is saying less than four….so 2.42? So I tried this measurement. EXACTLY 2.42 miles downstream from the “PUT IN” spot below the confluence of the Delores and the San Miguel you end up at another Omega! And using a USGS quad map, you find a grave on that Omega!!

phone1 736

I was really getting excited now! Begin it at Saucer Basin, and take it in the Delores River Canyon downstream on Y11 road. Not four, but two four two walk. Put in, and begin your 2.42 miles below the Confluence of the San Miguel and Delores Rivers…now I found a grave marker exactly 2.42 miles downstream from the confluence of the San Miguel (home of Brown) and the Delores River. (Not far, but 2.42 walk) Worked for me! This  grave was calling me out! Was there a crude aluminum grave marker in the tall grass there? I HAD to go look at it. When I arrived in Uravan, where Y11 and HWY 141 come together, I reset my odometer’s trip meter. “seven miles west of town in a large sagebrush flat that HAD large stands of pine trees everywhere”…pg. 65 TTOTC…

EXACTLY 7 miles west of Uravan, CO on HWY 141 is the dead end on the sagebrush flat (that leads to the grave) that had numerous pine tree stumps all around in the tall green grass and the yellow and purple flowers were scattered about.…I had goose bumps when I read the tag on the mining claim corner marker that was on that flat…The name of the claim was DREAMS!! As in, “My church is in the mountains and along the river bottoms where DREAMS and fantasies alike go to play.” When I found the Grave, the name on the stone was John Christian… (John Charles Whatever??). The real kicker was there were broken pieces of an old tea cup and SAUCER resting beneath the shade of the headstone. I reached down and picked one up…the only word legible on the back was Tea (Tea with Olga)!! Warm waters halt when they run over the edge of your teacup and into the saucer. My heart was racing!! I have never wanted to dig up a grave…but boy I was tempted!! As I observed the area, I could tell nothing had been dug up for many years…and I felt like FF would not have done that. But I searched the heck out of that peninsula, from top to bottom and side to side…for three days…nada.

June in Uravan 059

The last evening I was sitting in the tall grass near the grave admiring the view and trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I glanced across the canyon and I saw something that caught my eye and triggered a flood of thoughts all at the same time. There, on the south rim of the canyon, was a beautiful waterfall! It was dry, but it was obvious it ran as a spring creek. There was a beautiful inverted natural arch that had been carved out by the water…was this Forrest Fenn’s Rainbow?? My heart was pounding again as I realized the error of my ways. The end is drawing EVER nigh! He was telling me Just keep going left whenever you have the ability to! So, on google earth I began measuring from my “put in”, below the confluence (The HOB), 2.42 miles…this time going left whenever I could. The first place I was able to take a left was at that waterfall! And 2.42 miles put me PRECISELY at the top of the falls, at 5014 feet in elevation. I was sure finding the grave was all a part of FF’s plan. He knew solvers would go there first…and he knew what they would see on the other side of the River too. But I had no internet or cell service at the location, so I was unable to determine a driving route to the falls. (I feel it important to point out that with google earth, your cache will function without an internet connection). I sure as heck couldn’t wade the Delores River in April! So I went home…and I passed a bridge that crossed the Delores…but It was fenced off, so I assumed it was private. I felt frustrated and excited all at the same time. Over the next day or two, I researched a way to get within half a mile of the falls by vehicle… (4X4 only out there folks!!)

The next day I drove the 11 hours and 685 miles back to the falls and hiked the scary and tricky, but doable descent into the little side canyon with the waterfall. I had a 200’ rope, a harness, and a one hour rappelling lesson under my belt, and I was determined to get to the bottom of that waterfall! When I got there, I was amazed at how much larger and scarier the falls was looking down from the top of it. The arch was 40 feet down, and the pool at the base of the falls was another 100’ feet below the arch! I was terrified, but I boldly harnessed up and tied my rope to a large tree. As I began to walk down the rolling edge of the precipice a thought occurred to me. How in the heck was I planning on getting back up? Fear (AKA logic) took over, and I was already able to see the pool and the backside of the arch, and no chest was present, so I wisely pulled myself back from the sheer drop off, and sat down to ponder my ignorance.

NCM_0058

I had gold fever didn’t I?…I needed to rethink my solve. And come down off my adrenaline high for a while. Forrest said not to go looking where a 79 0r 80 year old man couldn’t go, and I give FF high marks in the athletic dept, but decided rappelling was probably not his chosen method. But I couldn’t let this area go.

So the double omegas of the canyon where the Delores River and the San Miguel river come together were screaming for me to read the book again…which I did.

“I tend to use some words that aren’t in the dictionary, and others that are, I bend a little.”

“Cross the street” pg. 20 = Y11

“cross the river” pg. 24.  =Delores River

“You should always tell the truth, but you should not always tell all of the truth.” Pg. 26.

15 miles of water runway pg. 53 = Hanging flume

Ravens  pg. 55, 61, 142  = Uravan and Raven mine

Red Canyon pg. 59 = Red Canyon USGS quad in Montrose County, CO

In Love with yellow stone= Uranium ore is yellow (carnotite)…do you see the genius of FF yet?

“7 miles west of town in a large sagebrush flat that had large stands of pine trees everywhere…” The Grave is exactly 7 miles west of Uravan in a sagebrush flat with pine trees.

There are so many more! I find more every time I read the book. He scattered confirmation hints throughout the entire memoir! They do more harm than good until you begin to solve the poem…then the floodgates of imagination, coincidences, and printed evidence all come together into a heavenly hodgepodge of “You’re Getting Warmer” stew.

As ONE have gone alone in three, and with ONE treasures bold, ONE can keep ONE secret where, and hint of riches new and old.

Begin it in Saucer Basin, (wwwh) and take it in the Delores River Canyon Down, Not 4, but 2.42 walk. Put in (begin your 2.42) below the Confluence with the San Miguel River (HOB).

From there, enter the river, (No place for the meek) the end is to the left, (drawing nigh) there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.( The creek at the end of the 2.42 miles)

If you’ve been wise and found the (Blaze) = FBF? look quickly down, your quest to cease, but don’t just stare in awe, take the chest and go in peace.

So Y is it that ONE must go and leave ONE trove for all to seek?

The answers ONE already know, ONE’Ve dONE it driving, and now ONE’ M weak.

So hear ONE all and list ten good, your Fort will B worth the cold, F U R brAve and N the wood, I give U title to the gold.

 

 

The Video

 
See all of MichaelD’s Photos from Uravan, CO HERE

Fennboree Report…

Submitted May 2014

The Fennboree was a fun event hosted by Desertphile on the weekend of May 16-17-18 at a remote ranch north of Santa Fe. This report was submitted by Bill who attended with his wife Sandra.

 

Fennboree (n.) – A gathering of searchers for Forrest Fenn’s treasure.Find all the picture pages. All pictures on those pages will expand with a click which will open in a new window. High resolution files are available to participants only for pictures in which they appear.Cast of Characters, using blog handles when available: (for more pictures, see Cast of Characters page)

  • Old Drum – Your author, aka Bill, from Missouri, on right – the photographer is always the one missing from the pictures.
  • Sandra-in-Missouri – Bill’s wife, Sandra.
  • Desertphile – Our host, of interesting history. Looks like an old desert rat, currently a ranch hand & jack of all trades at Gallina Canyon Ranch
  • Crayola John (not a blog handle) – Auto mechanic & inventor from New Mexico. Nickname given because he invented something to keep kids from swallowing Crayola marker caps
  • Tim Nobody (on right) – From New Mexico, works for the gas company and collects pin ball machines
  • Beachy (on left) – Tim’s wife
  • Grandma – Originally from Connecticut, now retired to New Mexico. Makes bracelets & key chains.
  • Gilbert (not a blog handle) – Friend of Grandma, former Navy SEAL. Wearing a neck brace because of a car accident.
  • Dal – Long time searcher and filmer from Washington state. Runs major blog at www.dalneitzel.com.
  • Nick (not a blog handle) – Aussie contact of Dal who is filming the Chase for an Aussie TV magazine program.
  • CCJulie – A top wedding planner from Colorado, came down to search and enjoy. She brought her son
  • Brendan (on left in Julie’s picture) – Julie’s 13 year old son, quiet but smart.
  • Jim Hawkins – From Illinois, arrived Saturday afternoon with new wife Angie & youngsters Maggie & Zach.

 

When we first read of the Fennboree on Chasechat, we thought: “Yeah, that’d be fun.” After resolving a potential medical issue, we decided to sign up for the event. First, though, Bill went to Walmart & bought a tent & double-high queen air mattress, placed them in the back of the SUV, added our suitcases & cooler, and evaluated how much space remained. It fit, so we paid our money and planned our trip.

While it would have been ideal if we’d been able to search after the Fennboree, it was to be the last real stop on our trip since we needed to get back to Missouri and have our B&B ready for the Memorial Day weekend. We’d used Google Earth in conjunction with the Fennboree website (http://fennboree.org/) to get a feel about how the site was set up; we’d been fairly close to it in 2013, when we attempted to get to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert. The Fennboree was held at Gallina Canyon Ranch covering both the Anasazi Ruin Camp & Wild Turkey Camp. The ranch runs along the mostly-dry Rio Gallina, in a wide canyon overlooked by imposing cliffs on both sides. The map link is http://gallinacanyonranch.com/map-ranch.htm – just zoom in.

Before the Fennboree, Desertphile put in a sweetener. He placed his “Faux Fenn” treasure, some old Navajo pawn with turquoise, somewhere in the vicinity of the camp – and wrote a Faux Fenn poem with clues to finding it. Bill read the poem, zoomed down with Google Earth, and said, “I can find this!”

We left on our trip on May 6th, visiting places like the Coronado Quivira Museum in Lyons, KS, the dinosaur trackway at Clayton Lake State Park, and the little town of murals at Mosquero, NM. After a few days in Taos, a couple in Santa Fe & Albuquerque, and a visit to Chaco Canyon, we left Cuba, NM, bright and early on May 16th for Fennboree. A quick stop for milk at Bode’s in Abiquiu and north on US-84 to the forest service road that would take us there. The road was rough except when close to the Chama, and we had 8 miles of it until we reached the curiously-named skull gate. Bill figured out how the lock worked, opened the gate to let the SUV in, closed it, and we drove up an even rougher road to the ranch.

We got to the Fennboree site about 11 AM – it was easy to tell that we’d arrived with the prominent Fennboree sign. Desertphile met us and said “camp anywhere.” We’d made a deal with Tim Nobody that he’d handle our food, so we needed to be near where he could park a trailer-tent. That was the Anasazi Ruin Camp, with an actual shelter building (the Wild Turkey Camp shelters were gazebo canopies). It also had a shower with cold and warm (propane instant water heater) water, and an airy 2-hole outhouse – called airy because the back was open from top to shoulder height and the door was a slatted gate with an “interesting” sign. We set up our tent on the west side of the shelter and blew up the air mattress with the blower. First oops – the mattress wouldn’t go through the tent door until we let out a lot of air, which made it rock and roll like a half-full water bed. About that time, Tim Nobody arrived and pulled into his recommended parking place. He got a little too close to a log and got to reattach his front plastic bumper after Bill worked the log out from under his car. He set up his rather unique trailer tent, pulled out his kitchen area, and set up a canopy. Second oops – a gust of wind flipped the canopy. After we got it back in place, that offending log did penance by acting as an anchor.

We now said to ourselves, “It’s time to go find that Faux Fenn treasure.” We followed the plan Bill had come up with and walked to the high bank over the Rio Gallina, then followed the bank upstream until we found a gently-sloping ravine leading down to the stream. We then went downstream until we found a good place to climb out on the north side, climbed the bank, looked around, found some baling twine leading running up into a tree. Below where the end of the twine frayed away, we found a peanut butter jar with the necklace & brooch. We put a $5 bill in the jar and tied it to the tree, and started to return to camp. Once back in the stream bed, we found a partial elk skeleton and a big hunk of white rock, which was later identified as travertine limestone.

On our return, we discovered more people had arrived. We’d previously met Crayola John and now Grandma & friend Gilbert were setting up a tent under some trees not too far from the Wild Turkey Camp outhouse – the one with no door whatsoever. Bill helped them restring the supports, while Sandra moseyed back to the SUV to properly store her find. Before long, another car rolled in. This was CCJulie and son Brendan. They set up a family-size tent in the Wild Turkey Camp area.

During this time, Dal showed up with Aussie TV Magazine reporter Nick in tow. Nick interviewed almost everyone there at the time on how they got into the Chase, how much they’d searched and what their thoughts were on it. He also shot the “Shrine” set up by Desertphile. Dal discussed the latest revelation by Forrest Fenn (Where Warm Waters Halt is unrelated to a dam) and the information about Ojo Caliente and Tres Piedras that he since posted on his blog (https://dalneitzel.com/2014/05/19/the-tewa-connection/). They had to depart, as Dal had to be at work Monday in the Puget Sound area and Nick needed to go to Phoenix for another story. I hope his You-tube video will include out-takes, since he did a lot more filming than needed for a 15 minute program.

Back at Anasazi Camp, Tim fired up his propane oven to cook some pizza. Here came the wind again, and made it rather difficult to keep the oven at the proper temperature. The top was tasty but the crust wasn’t very crusty. I guess we can call that oops #3. Oops #4 was the so-called ‘shark tank,’ a rather large stock tank in which we had expected to freeze our unmentionables off until the sun heated the cold spring water used to fill it. Desertphile, after the cold & snow earlier in the week, had guessed that the weather wouldn’t be warm enough for anyone to want to use it, so didn’t fill it – then a strong south wind raised the daytime temperatures well into the 80s (had he filled it, we might have seen whitecaps in a stock tank).

As evening approached, plans to sit around a fire, roast marshmallows, swap lies and consume adult beverages came to naught. A burn ban was in effect for the whole area, and understandably so. After some idle chatter, which did not relate to the Chase, all retired to their camp sites. We spread out our blankets on the jiggly air mattress and crawled in. Did you know it gets COLD at night out there? Especially when the wind keeps blowing? The air mattress offered no support when it came time to crawl out for that midnight visit to the airy outhouse, and leg cramps from thigh to ankle resulted. Sandra eventually ensconced herself in the back seat of the SUV, while Bill snuggled as best he could into the remaining blankets.

Morning came, with relatively calm winds. Tim was making breakfast, bacon & scrambled eggs to go into breakfast burritos. He had Bill do the eggs, not always a good idea. Sandra went for the burrito, enhanced by green chiles, while Bill savored the bacon and pushed the eggs around on his plate – should have added green chile!

After breakfast, it was time to head for the Rio Gallina and some photos while the morning light softened the harsher aspects of the landscape. Others picked this time to go hunting for the Faux Fenn replacement treasure. Bill had told Desertphile of his find, and Desertphile had added a Treasure Hunter charm bracelet to the trove. Two bracelets had been donated by “Deb” (blog handle), who couldn’t attend, to be awarded to deserving campers at Desertphile’s discretion. After reaching the Rio, Bill went upstream to photograph more views of the mountains and a red outcropping he’d noticed the previous day. Sandra went downstream to take more pictures of the elk skeleton. Desertphile stayed in camp waiting on another camper, Jim Hawkins, who’d intended to get there fairly early (boy, did he miscalculate). Julie and Brandon had driven off to the area of the Monastery, planning to look for Fenn’s treasure upstream from there on the Chama.

As afternoon came, the replacement Faux Fenn treasure had not been found, so we sat around the Wild Turkey Camp discussing the Chase and clues and hunts done and planned. Meanwhile, Jim Hawkins, with new wife Angie and two younger children (Maggie & Zach), finally arrived and set up their tent well down toward the Rio. While the rest of the campers chattered, Tim’s wife, Beachy, said she was going back to Anasazi Camp to take a shower. About 4 PM, Desertphile declared it was time to start supper, and the adventure of starting propane stoves in strong winds was underway. Tim returned to Anasazi Camp to make green chile stew, while Grandma started to thaw her frozen meatballs to complement the spaghetti planned by Desertphile.

About that time, Gilbert came into camp and said he’d seen Beachy heading down the exit road, tried to follow her but she was moving out too quickly. Bill and Desertphile jumped into Desertphile’s truck and started after her, soon meeting Gilbert who said her tracks had left the road someplace & he could no longer find them. Desertphile drove down the road, and verified no further tracks, then went the other direction, again finding a lack of tracks. Then we all decided to think a bit. We went back to camp and checked shoeprints to positively identify Beachy’s tracks. Tim went off with Desertphile in the truck while Bill took the Tim’s stew to the other camp. Meanwhile, Julie and Brendan had heard what sounded like a cry for help from way up in a side canyon.

More thinking – we found that Bill had two radios and Julie had two radios – but they weren’t compatible. We left one of Bill’s at camp with Sandra and Bill took one of each, while Julie used hers. Back to the road and we again heard, faintly on the wind, “help, help,” so Julie and Brendan started up one trail, Bill another, then came Desertphile. We met in the woods, Bill decided he was too old and too much a flatlander to climb further, so he stayed in one place as a relay. Beachy called out just enough for the searchers to home in on her location, way up the side of a steep slope near a cave (she later said “I heard a growl.”). Bill relayed the news to camp and eventually the rescue party returned with Beachy. It was time for an adult beverage or two!

Dinner was restarted, this time without interruption, and a couple of bottles of wine made their appearance. Desertphile presented one of Deb’s bracelets to Julie in thanks for her efforts in finding Beachy that day, along with a Fennboree mug and Fennboree playing cards. Brendan had earlier locked Julie’s keys in the car, but Crayola John had the knowledge to get into the car and rescue her from a bad situation, given the distance from “civilization.”

Night came. We had torn down our tent, re-aired the mattress, and moved to an area inside the shelter. That didn’t help a lot, as the wind continued and we were still cold. The only thing that kept us warm was a good snuggle. About the only improvements in our situation were that the bed was more stable and the muscle cramps when getting up were milder. Naturally, we woke up early, emptied the mattress and loaded everything in the SUV to prepare for an early departure. Tim had made cinnamon rolls, which were very tasty.

We went over to the main camp, where Julie had again failed to find the Faux Fenn treasure (she hadn’t gotten the emails with the poem in advance so hadn’t pre-scouted as I did). Bill said, “I’ll show you” and led Julie & Brendan down the crossing, down the Rio, up the other side and to the proper tree. Meanwhile, Sandra won the T-shirt awarded for naming the Wild Turkey Camp shower. Satisfied, we returned to camp. After farewells, we pulled out about 9:20 for the trek back to a main road – with a stop to pick up a box of those blue rocks we found along the road. Our route included a trip through the Brazos mountains, through Taos & Cimarron to Raton, arriving dead tired a bit after 4 PM.

Later, we learned that the Faux Fenn replacement treasure had not been found, and that Desertphile had awarded the bracelet to Crayola John for unlocking Julie’s car. For anyone who wasn’t there but thought they could have found the Faux Fenn treasure had they been able to attend, here’s the poem and my interpretation of the clues:

[1] Begin it where cold waters halt – Cold water runs into the “shark tank,” where it is warmed in the sun.

[2] Forsake Orion’s winter cold, and
[3] Set out towards the House of Bear – Orion is in the southern sky in the winter; Polaris (north star) is in the constellation Ursa Minor (the little bear). My interpretation was that I should go north from the location of the “shark tank.” Since this couldn’t be done directly because of a fence and a steep creek bank, I used Google Earth to approximate where the line would run.

[4] 36.37 is the altitude, not the azimuth – Interestingly, it’s also the approximate latitude of the ranch. However, I thought it would be about 36 feet over the stream bed. This may not have been exactly correct since the jar containing the treasure was originally hanging from a tree branch.

[5] The six points will stump you – I didn’t find this clue, which was a 6-point shed elk antler on a stump, with an arrow beneath it pointing toward the treasure.

[6] But it won’t be for long:
[7] Your effort will be worth the cold [feet]. – This told me it was across the stream. As it happened, the water level was low enough to cross on rocks.

[8] Visit the home of Little Joe.
[9] Then talk to Adam, or Hoss, or Ben. – The “Bonanza” connection is unmistakable. They lived on the Ponderosa. I used Google Earth to look for a clump ponderosa pines as near to the north of the “shark tank” as possible.

[10] Look slowly up, – I thought I’d find it attached to the tree, but didn’t expect it to be hanging. As it turned out, the twine had frayed & the jar had fallen.

[11] Tarry scant, just open the chest.
[12] I give you title to the turquoise. – Sandra put it with her other prized Southwestern jewelry.

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© 2014, Cedarcroft Enterprises.

 

Imagination Runs Wild…

Submitted May 2014

by DIGGIN GYPSY

Warm waters halt = Hebgan Lake
Take it in the canyon down = Canyon below the dam
Not far but too far to walk = Drive
Put in below home of brown = Hebgan lil side road to the ghost village u park
From there it’s no place for the meek because it’s a ghost village

photo 5

So we get out of the truck and start hiking  till our end is ever drawing nigh, looking for heavy loads and water high. I assume this means the log jams at beaver creek.

There will be no paddle up your creek telling us don’t go that way so we search for a blaze.

f

We found a blazing “F” on an Aspen tree.  We looked quickly down and saw nothing but our feet and the river.

photo 4

We move on to then find this cool horse shoe beer can 🙂
I was thinking, “Dang! my lucky day”. Next day we come back to the same spot and looked even harder. We left no rock unturned and no bush or goose undisturbed.

The Australian cameraman Nick was with us that day when two huge moose starting charging at us.
Now we had just had a group talk about bears. “(ok) if we see a bear no one run”.  Me and Libbi saw them moose and thought well hell it ain’t a bear, Runnnnn anyway. Poor Aussie Nick left standing there with camera and tripod lol. Thank god the moose ran up hill.

So then I take pics of everything I find on the ground. I found a glove a really nice one. Then Charissa found the other one after I thru mine back down.

001

We walked a lil further and found a ole red car fan or boat motor stuck in the ground by a log. I wanted to shove it in my back pack but we were being filmed :-).  So all the hiking and filming ended.

The day we were to go home I looked at the book. “Dang!!” I shouted to my sisters and Libbi Dibbi. “We found it haha.”

photo 2

I was looking at the pic of that page in the book that has the initials JF under it. I saw them propellers look just like the fan to me, and over JF was a three blade emblem. That’s the only pic in the book that I found that had initials. I figured it meant “just Forrest“.

photo 3

Seemed to me Forrest made it a scavenger hunt. After you find the blaze then imagination comes into play. Remember he said all you need is a flashlight and a sandwich I figured because the rest of the stuff is laying around out there. We’ll that was my thought anyway .

We’ll no treasure around the fan blade or the “F” lol.  But it sure was a heck of a good ending to my treasure hunt in Montana.

-Diggin Gypsy

A Pic of the Chest?…

Submitted May 2014

by ritt

This is one of the pictures that I took at my site looking down from the blaze behind me.

pic765
If one looks to the Juniper tree at about one o’clock, in the shadow to the right is a small
bronze looking chest item, at lease it does to me. I wanted to see what others thought of it.
You’ll need to zoom in on it because it’s about 25 to 30 feet away from me.

I didn’t notice it when I was there, I was just taking a break when I shot this pic. When I got
home I transferred my pics on the camera to my computer. I don’t think there is anything
that will give away my search area so I don’t mine having it posted to your blog.

I have many pics and a great story, but that will come later.  Of course I will be returning to the site.

What do you think of the pic?

I hope you will post this e-mail on your blog.

Exploring the Firehole…

old-faithful-yellowstone-l

Submitted APRIL 2014

by MUSSTAG-

Ask a Kid

We start at Old Faithful,… Yes,… I know,… but ‘ask a kid’.. OK? When I told this story to ff, before I could hardly get the next words out of my mouth, after saying, wwwh was Old Faithful, he chuckled and said, “did you run up there and look down the hole?” LOL

NO, thats NOT where the chest is to be, this is just the beginning Forrest …. haha.

Yellowstone National Park sign at the North Entrance; Jim Peaco; October 1992

(In my defense, steam and boiling water are tossed into the air 180 feet high, and it might be a little cooler (warm) as it halts at the top before it returns to the ground (halt = temporary lack of motion) . And there are over 300 hot springs and thermal Geysers that flow into the FireHole River, and most of them do so between where Old Faithful is and where the FireHole Falls are located, a distance of 8 to 10 miles I guess.)

So from there the FireHole river runs north in somewhat of a canyon, and then one of the Geyser basins (Middle ?) has a famous mud pot. If you’ve seen it you know, it is bubbling like gravy cooking in a big pot. It looked more grey than Brown when I visted it, but in ttotc book, at the restaurant, he hated to wash those giant kettles used to make brown gravy, and won’t eat any still to this day.

And he and Grandma have a ‘private joke’ name for Frosty the manager, its the Ruler, (note capital R in ttotc book). So a ‘private joke’ about ‘Brown gravey’ at that resturant could be its weird source and that ‘joke source’ is from that mud pot, hoB. ( lol here.)

Another hoB on this route is found at Biscut Basin , its just before the mud pot basin, and the ‘mule shoe’ bend of FireHole is between them.

Its a hot pool, named Avoca. Its a poem, Molly B loved the poem so much she named her land Avoca, 400 acres, where she later built her second home (a summer home) near Denver and this one also is in the Natl Registery as is her other Denver Home.

The author is Thomas Moore and Avoca is Irish for, of all things, Meeting of the Waters. To me the poem descibes a pefrect place to ‘hid’ something, much like someone we all know. If you haven’t read it, you MUST, if you don’t then you should QUIT the chase !! J/K

From there you find yourself in a caldera, and giant volcano, not a place for the meek, and if it errupts again as it is expected too one day the end is really ever drawing nigh. And of course, there is John Coulter. Its thought that he gave the name of hell to another part of Yellowstone Park, a part whose thermal springs have now died down, but the Old Faithful area also got tagged with the name of Coulters Hell.

Then you come to Nez Perce creek ( Nez Perce Trail is another story). No paddle up your creek, meant don’t go up a creek, and boats are not allowed in this and a few other NP streams About 8 miles up the creek at high elevation is a Lake , and its near there that the last person killed by a Grizzly was hiking. When I was at the trail head, the last time (The ‘another story’) it was not open to “Human” use, could not hike it untill there was less chance of a bear finding you. That was in July. Oh, you, may know, one bridge going over the Nez Perce near by, is called the ‘Old Freight Bridge’ .

If you take a paved road towards the south from the picnic area you can visit Ojo Caliente, where FF, Dal, hundreds of other ppl, and I have been in its warm waters. There were 3 teens swimming there one day, and I asked them if they noticed a metal box about so by so wide as I held my hands 10 inches apart. FF laughred at that part of the story also. Ojo Caliente could also be the well where THOR gave up his eye to gain wisdom. Thor learned that Life goes on, which In a nutshell, is what ff also learned. (remember ff was praying thanks to THOR) in ttotc book.

From the spring or well, If you know where to look, (which could be another ‘finding a blaze”) you can spot Fairy Falls which will be about 2 miles south away from the hot springs. It is harder to spot in the late afernoon. Try with binoculars first, the right side is white, the falls are 100 foot fall.

To continue on, go north and take a paved road that is just south of Madison Junction, Firehole Falls Road. This road was closed when we first got to it, May 24th, part of it had washed away, wasn’t closed due to snow. (this route is from Old Faithful to the North)

Firehole Falls

Firehole Falls

So, if you’ve been wise (Thor ‘s well) you’ve found FireHole Falls, it was one of a ‘my blazes’, you are to look quickly down. If you try to walk down to the river and cross that log jam to get to that little cave that the News Reporter from Santa Fe has shown in a video, you may Very Well CEASE your LIFE, not only ceasing your quest, it looked very dangerous to me.

But I had a plan before I got there, If you face towards the falls, there are two knolls behind you. (I found them at home on street view of Google Earth) ( and that wasn’t a real cave, just a cresent shaped hole)

So, to look quickly down, first I was Going UP, The quickest way to go up was from these knolls, then from a better vantage point I could see around the Falls with binoculars and then search the top of each knoll. Plus, they where on the ‘other side of a street’, from the water fall blaze, and FF ‘can too cross the street if he wanted too’ in the Old Biddies story. And its a one way street to (maybe) go with that story about which side of the street we and ppl in Europe drive on when he muttered things about the Coriolis effect.

A knoll

A knoll

Well one knoll is very steep, I made it to the top, but i’m sure ff could not, and I wasn’t carrying 20# of stuff. I do not think I could have made it carrying 10#’s. I am sure ff knows the spot, half way up it has a natural rock formation that is like a staircase, not steps, but bannisters that go up and then takes a left and brings you near the top. It was a great view, but the egdes are very steep, and the street is directly below one edge of the cliff.

View from the knoll top

View from the knoll top

The north most knoll was just right for ‘old man’ climbing, but no chest was to be found. Both knolls have had heavy foot traffic, so, many others have climbed them.

Thats it for that spot.

Musstag-

Rush of Spring…

snow road

Submitted march 2014

by ANONYMOUS-

Springtime in the Mountains North of Santa Fe

Well, I went up there and it didn’t look like what I wanted. There was still snow even before the trailhead. We had to stop way before and get out and walk. Made it to the trailhead and couldn’t see that pointy peak that would peek out at me every now and then as I walked. Very enclosed. Disappointed we started walking back and I just stopped. Wait a minute this is a very special blaze, no where else, probably, do the borders come together at a point forming a corner which just so happens is also a trailhead. You gonna throw your ideas on that to the wind, I told myself. My son asked me what I was doing and then I told everyone to come back. We went and stood at the trailhead and I said. “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease”. Everyone looked at the stream before us.

streambelowus

I jumped to the last stanza and said, “Now hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.” We continued to stare at the stream. “If you are brave and in the wood, I give you title to the gold”. Our line of vision traveled from the stream to the densely forested area sandwiched in a little hollow where the stream came forth. My son cried, “It’s in the wood and rushed forward. Everyone else also ran forward as well. A couple of seconds later we were post holing it past our knees. Laughter ensued as shoes came off in the drift and bodies fell this way and that. Not my son though as he trudged forward. Although no one had realized how deep the snow was there he didn’t miss a lick, his balance completely intact. He rounded a corner where the bank jutted out obstructing our view. Calling forth for us to follow in his footsteps, he waited for us to catch up. The others made it to him but I waited to see what they would find. The snow was too much for the majority of our party and it wasn’t long before they had scaled the bank up to the trail. My son lingered at the stream. I decided to climb the bank also as I wasn’t keen on twisting an ankle in the deep snow. Laughing and chattering, my daughter and her two friends became intensely interested in a huge evergreen high up the slope with a vibrantly red colored trunk stating that excitedly that she thinks she found the place. The voices of the others faded somewhat as they moved away from me. I was still waiting for my son to come up to the trail. He eventually did with a confused look on his face. You should come down there he told me. But the day had been long and the walk back was going to take time. I noticed the sun had hit the western ridge and darkness would be a reality soon. It had been a beautiful day, warm even despite the snow. I could hear the voices of the others again as they drew near.

roadback

My son whispered something to me. I looked at him. He whispered louder, “It was coming right out of the rocks.” I wonder if he saw that right. “We can’t go down, I don’t want to get caught out here after dark.” We started back making our way over the frozen road. I kept stopping and making people take pictures with their phones. I don’t have one, a phone that is. Pictures of the snowy bank sprinkled with evergreens. Pictures of the creek running swift and clear with snow mounds caressing its sides. Everyone noticed how nice it was up here. The shadows grew longer as we walked with our car finally coming into view. My son told me, “ We need to come back. It reminded me of something in the 13th warrior.” He has my interest now but it’s too late for today. I will have to return another day.

 Anonymous-