A Brown for the Times…

October, 2018

By Stephan

 

William Harvey Brown, b.1862, d.1913

A stout-hearted man if ever there was one!  I imagine that all three of his names will certainly ring a bell with searchers.  Born in South Africa to American parents and later educated at Cornell, he worked for the Smithsonian, and spent more than a few years roaming the Rockies and the American West.  A naturalist, he collected specimens of mammals for display in the museums of his day, rubbing shoulders with some of the 19th Century’s most accomplished taxidermists.  He ended his life in South Africa.

It could well be that museums such as the Denver Museum display to this day some of his specimens in their taxidermy collections.

On one of his expeditions, he helped establish a scientific camp high in the Rockies, which was dubbed “Camp Brown Bear Trail”, so named for the many grizzly trails which then criss-crossed that area.  He resided there for several weeks and hunted for grizzly.

The following is an actual account  from recollections of those days:

“I went up the side of a steep mountain following a small stream to its head.  I chose a large flat rock at the edge of a ledge for my camping place.  The view was marvelous.  On the rock I soon had a fine fire going.  Water was heated and venison toasted.  Though tired, I was much refreshed and cut a great stock of fir spruce boughs which were to serve for a bed that night.  A goodly quantity of wood was gathered for the fire,(which) was now removed nearer the edge of the rock and the spruce boughs spread down.  I stretched my weary bones out on that bed of Mexican feathers and really almost went to sleep and would have had not the fire burned low and a horrible dream about a grizzly roused me.”

Well, I figured this small stream he followed was the creek to paddle up and I figured that this ledge just had to be the blaze in Forrest Fenn’s poem, what with campfires blazing and bones and all..  And wouldn’t you know it, after some considerable effort (difficult but not impossible) and some years, I finally found the Ledge and stood upon it.  The view was truly marvelous.  And yes, I had already considered where warm waters halt: and it led me right to it.

But before I ever went to the Ledge, I figured I had better give the poem a once-over just in case I missed anything.  Good thing I did:

Scant (from Wiktionary)- a block of stone, sawn on two sides down to the bed level.

Marvel (from the Shorter Oxford)- see also marvil.  A child’s marble.

Tarry- of, like, or covered in tar; splattered with tar.

Clear as day, then:  I knew I needed to find a block of stone with black flecks and a marble-like marking of some kind on its face, probably white.

Since I knew Forrest Fenn was a marble champion in 7th grade, I knew I was onto something:

So I climbed to the Ledge at last. It was at an altitude of just barely under 10,200 feet.   I took my best friend with me.  Together we stood on that Ledge, and we keenly felt that we had found Forrest’s special spot.  To stand on the actual rock where a brave and wise naturalist had once camped in the late 19th Cenury, when the wilds were still wild.  He had  even carried a Sharps rifle, as if he wasn’t already wise enough.  And below us, a rare fisherman’s paradise, but virtually unknown, with two perfectly symmetrical horseshoe bends.

Then we turned and gasped as we saw the block of stone beneath us on the Ledge, so scant-like, with a marble on it.  We gazed on it in awe.  But evening drew nigh and so we resolved to return the next day.  And then that night it snowed and snowed.

-by Stephan

 

 

Stephan Returns to the Blaze…

The following story is from Stephan The Pants-less Pirate and is a follow-up to his previous story.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 2012

Stephan The Blunt here again after a long hiatus.  Me and my desperate gang of pants-less pirates just finished watching the movie Braveheart, about the 13th Century Scottish patriot, William Wallace.  You can be sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as I hoarsely exclaimed, “They just don’t make heroes like that anymore, nor films neither!”   Me lads gave me a cheery assent, and we lapsed into a somewhat-thoughtful reverie, as somewhat-brilliant lads are prone to do.  It was then that my erstwhile and unfortunately-visaged lieutenant, Pierre LeMoche, offerred an equally raspy suggestion:  “It zeems to me, cher Stephan, zat we must now tell our tale of woe and treazure to le monde.  Certainly if Sir Wallace could geev ees life so fearlessly, we should not now fear sharing our petites morceaux of brilliance with other zeekers of ze trezure!”

(And hold on to that Scottish flavor, if you will: it will return at the end of this missive, in relation to the fabulous Treasure Poem of Mr. Forrest Fenn.)

Well, I thought long and hard about this suggestion, and decided that Pierre was correct.  And what with many of the lads enduring failed romances of late, finding ourselves perhaps not so sparkly anymore in the lovely eyes of the fairer sex, it seemed that the possibility of a wee bit of notoriety from sharing our hopefully not-too-inelegant Treasure Poem solution might be just the thing to revive our pitifully flaggin’ spirits.  Especially also as we had hit the proverbial brick wall rather too often in our vain searches, and our foreheads were bruised and bloody.  So, even though we have yet to spy that thar bronze box with all the gold in it, we have decided to divulge our secrets.  After all,  The Thrill of The Chase must really be about sharing selflessly and fearlessly, or what is the point?  And besides we told too many of our friends and family about our “clever” solution, which came to us under “remarkable” circumstances, so now it’s time to see if y’all agree!

But first, we’d also like to mention that thar Newsweek article by that Tony fella, as another point of inspiration to share our hopefully-somewhat-clever solution to the Treasure Poem.  You see,  me and the lads always chafe at dim-witted arrogance, and we thought we might show that thoughtless sue-do jurnalistico just what a real solution might look like, one that accounts for all of the poem and many other clues sprinkled in the chapters of the book.

And as regards the fallout from that article and threats of the treasure being “withdrawn” by he who secreted it, me and the lads must admit to having pause to ponder.  You see, our faith in the Almighty might not be what it could. Which means that our faith in ourselves and others might not be what it could, neither. Our fault entirely, of course.   As we see the sheer chicanery which Providence allows the leaders of this fine nation to indulge during this election season, we cannot but question why one might “withdraw” something already given, and then, if it was actually offered…

But enough.  We over-ponder often, to our detriment. Without further ado, hyar follows a list of clues from the book that fit our solution to the Poem seamlessly.  We’ll reveal our solution in stages, to give other seekers the chance to solve a puzzle which, even if it represents the wrong solution, is nonetheless arguably an uncanny coincidence. If you put all these together, and solve the poem as we did, you’ll find the Blaze of Stephan and his gang.  Only when you look down, you won’t see the treasure!  Or if you do, we promise that you don’t have to share any with us!

Miss Ford

Those Old Biddies

Bessie the Calf

Skippy’s Airplane

The old Chev

Fred Harvey

Fly fishing

Billy the Kid

Fried Pineapple Pies

Yellowstone

The drawing of the lumberjack in a field of felled trees

The picture of the old map of New Mexico with pieces of gold

Waterfalls

Me and the lads came up with much of this within a week of reading Mr. Fenn’s book, while sitting on the sandy beaches of San Diego, staring out at the wild blue Pacific.  We gathered around a computer, did some Google searches, looked at Google Earth, and decided precisely where we wanted to go then and look for Mr. Fenn’s treasure.  So imagine our extreme surprise when, one week later and in the dead of winter, we headed out into a remote, snowy canyon and found that thar tree. (See “Stephan Finds a Blaze”).  I attach now the full photo of which I previously shared only “FF”.  A carefully stacked pile of stones two feet high rested against the tree on the side opposite this carving…with no other carvings anywhere in the vicinity.

Now, I know the first thing y’all will say:  “Huh!  Look at the date!  It’s after Mr. Fenn said he hid the treasure! What is Stephan thinking?  This can’t be the blaze in Mr. Fenn’s Fabulous Treasure Poem!”    Well, our answer to this objection is simple:  we  can assure you that 9-11-11 is not the date that this tree was carved. We conducted a simple and obvious experiment to determine this, as we discovered this carving only three months after the actual date of 9-11-11. We’ll leave it to you to determine how one might so easily accomplish this determination!

We did a lot of reading from Ernest Thompson Seton and Daniel Beard about trail blazes, as well as accounts about how miners once marked their caches.  Since “9.11.11” was not carved on that date, we concluded that 9.11.11 could very well have been intended as a clue rather than as an actual date….It is, after all, the ten year anniversary of 9.11, and as blazes “mark” trails, so do anniversaries “mark” events in time.  So why not use an anniversary date to indicate that this tree “marks” something?  Also, 9-11 is about jets and acts of war against civilians, which might echo Mr. Fenn’s unfortunate and difficult experience in Viet Nam.

We have yet to figure out “JB” and look forward to any ideas.  Of course we’d have to share the treasure if anyone offered any ideas which helped us go further!

So, to reiterate, we solved the Treasure Poem carefully from the remote location of San Diego, and one week later found this tree with its cache of rocks in “the canyon down”, on our first try, in a truly remote and private place…

To further entice our fellow seekers, we will now offer a solution to part of the poem, specifically “Brave and in the wood” and “no place for the meek”.   To do this, we make reference to the Scottish warrior, William Wallace.  For the Scottish Highlanders, aspen trees were considered the trees of heroes and warriors.  Aspen boughs were placed in the graves of warriors to assure their reincarnation.  And aspen trees were also considered by the Scots to be the guardians of buried treasure.  How appropriate, then, for an “old” warrior like Mr. Fenn to leave his initials and the date of an act of war on an aspen tree, in a place where he might choose to go and end his own life?

Interestingly, also,  one definition of “wood” signifies that it is a small copse or stand of a particular species of tree.  How interesting that our carved tree is located in a beautiful stand of aspen trees: one should be “brave” to be in that “wood”, because one is amongst the trees of heroes and warriors, “no place for the meek”….

Just so all you seekers know, me and the lads did not dig beneath that thar tree of ours.  A mysterious fellow named “f” once sent us a curious poem, part of which said somethin’ like: “…while fools argue about the quest, he won’t even need a tool, as he carries out the chest.”

Well, we hope you all like what you saw so far, and if you did, we can promise you that our other solutions of the Treasure Poem are equally clear!

Best to all, and more soon,

Stephan