Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…

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Please click on the comment balloon below to contribute to the discussion of  Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt. Please note that many topics have their own pages. Please scroll through the blog to see all the discussion pages. There are also stories, scrapbooks, searcher’s reports general information, tips from Forrest, a rumors blog and even email responses from Forrest. So please look around and if you want to make a comment please use the most appropriate page.

Thanks…

 

dal…

An Aussie Gives it a Go……

SUBMITTED JUNE 2018
by JIM

 

On June 6th this year I made my first BOTG search, and I was surprised at what I found at my final destination. Similar to another searcher who recently posted their story, I travelled to Montana from Australia, specifically the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. You have to be very committed and confident to sign up for 30 hours of travel and a few thousand dollars in costs but my research was solid, ticked many boxes and was unique so I thought it warranted a try.

I highly doubt I will be coming back so I hope that some of my ideas may help someone else out in their search… here goes…

Like many searchers before me my WWWH began as the Boiling River, or Mammoth Hot Springs and later La Duke Hot springs. Other searchers have made many connections with Rooster Cogburn, the Sherriff, Marion Morrison from scrapbooks and interviews. The line of the poem “So hear me all and listen good” could be a hint at John Wayne’s quote “Listen up and listen good”. I haven’t read any further references to link that “Duke” is a nickname for John Wayne.

La Duke Hot Springs is just up the road from Gardiner and there used to be a large hotel and baths on the site utilizing the warm waters for travellers coming to visit Yellowstone or workers at the coal mines in Aldridge. You could consider a hotel a stop or a halt. There was also a train stop here, also called a halt.

Here’s the thing though, I don’t think WWWH is any of these. I used these locations to direct me to my HOB and blaze, but my logic took me down a different path for WWWH. I had found a map of every hot spring in the USA. They do not halt at the Yellowstone caldera, they go all the way up through Canada. In my opinion WWWH is not a hot spring. Forrest has stated that several people have solved the first two clues without realising their significance. Several. However 1000’s of people use a hot spring or Madison River confluence or the New Mexico fishing regulations as their WWWH, not several. So the correct answer must be something more obscure. I was sure that my blaze was correct though and so I considered the most obvious nearby canyon and looked at what was at the start of that canyon to see if it could relate to Warm Waters.

So I typed into google Warm Waters Jardine. And this was the first result. Warm Waters by Charles Lloyd. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warm_Waters 

I freaked out, because on the very first day I started researching the chase this information crossed my path. I had tried finding lyrics and buying the album but it didn’t seem to be significant or connected to the treasure. However why when I added Jardine to warm waters did this album pop up again? Well, Al Jardine from The Beach Boys sang on the first song and on the Wikipedia page his name is in the first paragraph. Previously Forrest has said that a detailed map and good knowledge of geography will help find the treasure and I think this fits. If you know that there is a small town called Jardine near Yellowstone you might notice that name Al Jardine. The album was recorded in Malibu and Forrest’s plane was a Piper Malibu…. this is most likely nothing but an interesting connection none the less. I am not sure how “halt” fits in. Perhaps the name Al is in the word halt? Perhaps it is “warm waters salt” referencing the Beach Boys. I couldn’t find the lyrics to the song Warm Waters, maybe it is something to do with the last word, words or line.

Here is another important concept that helps explain why WWWH is so important. When Mr Fenn started this chase he knew exactly where he wanted to die and hide the chest. It seems to me all of the clues are reverse engineered, i.e. he wrote the last clue first and worked backwards to the starting point. Since he has stated the WWWH is the first clue, it would make sense this is the last clue he wrote. This means it would also be the hardest and vaguest because he could get more specific as the clues progress in the poem.

So let’s now really give my answers for the clues and hints – 

Yes, Forrest went alone to hide his treasure. 

A weir is a name for a low dam on a river and I think his secret weir is a spot on the Yellowstone River that has two slight dams that at different river heights trap trout in pools that allow for awesome fishing.

WWWH is Jardine for reasons already detailed. Start there and go down the canyon. It is about 3 miles until you get to a small put in overlooking the canyon and Joe Browns mining claim and house. Joe Brown lived in Cooke City and Gardiner but also lived on his claim.

From there head to Bear Creek/Bear Gulch, you can’t be meek trekking in a place with bears, you must be brave. Possible reference to Joe Meek but meek isn’t capitalised in the poem, so perhaps just a subtle hint.

Look to the nigh side of the creek and nigh side of the river. This is the left side when looking down stream.

No paddle up the creek, you are going down Bear Creek, not up and you will be walking.

There was heavy lode mining done here, look at the high water mark. And this is what you will see.

When Mr Fenn was 16, Forrest and Donnie went looking for Lewis and Clark on horseback and Forrest’s horse’s name was Lightning. Here is a picture from The Thrill of the Chase, as you can see Lightning’s blaze is a perfect match to the marking on the mountainside.

Look down and to the nigh side of the Yellowstone River from where the blaze is and you will see the tarry scant. A “scant” is a masonry term for a large rock cut down vertically on both sides to the bedrock.

There have been quite a few searchers that have mentioned this general area and the blaze but none went to the other side. This makes sense of Forrest’s comments that people have been within 200 and 500 feet of the treasure, they simply haven’t crossed the river.

Most people go searching for the chest in June and July during summer vacations, but this is when the Yellowstone River is running very high from the snow melt and getting across is very hard. However if you are at this spot in September the river is low and there is an easy way across. Forrest having grown up around this area would know this.

For my journey I chose a different route. Jeff Murphy’s path took him to Turkey Pen Peake, and I saw that if I followed the same trail I could reach my destination without crossing the river. This confused me because I had always believed the chest would not be on BLM, NPS, Indian, federal or private land. It made more sense to be public land due to the legalities of finding lost/abandoned property. The trail starts in Yellowstone National Park so I found a map of the park to check the borders.  

And this is what I found. The scant is this tiny piece of land just outside of the park. Only this little area is outside, and it is only noticeably outside if you zoom in closely. This fishing spot/treasure spot/ grave spot is the perfect place outside the laws reach for Forrest to be able to fish without the NPS rules and for the treasure to be left and recovered. (The green area is NPS land, the lighter area is Public land)

As for Forrest leaving the treasure, back in 2009/2010 when he hid the chest, you used to be able to walk about 3 miles from Gardiner around the cliffs on another trail. This has since been closed due to land owners complaining about trespassers (probably searchers to be honest). I believe Forrest walked this route and crossed the river late August/ early September.

Lastly I think the twin Omegas are a hint at the Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of the park. You can look at the gate as both one enormous omega, but also the smaller doors on each side also look like omegas.

So I arrived at my parking spot around 8am on Wednesday the 6th June and started my 3 mile hike. It was a beautiful day and straight away I saw some Pronghorn a little way off the trail.

It was definitely weird being alone in totally foreign wilderness with no gun, only bear spray and plenty of wildlife around. The noticeboard at the trailhead had mentioned a bear had been sighted in the area a couple of weeks earlier and this was confirmed by these tracks I found only a few hundred feet along the trail.

I kept hiking, talking to myself to make noise and before long turned the corner around the hill to catch the first sight of the blaze.

The hike to the spot only took around 30 minutes and upon arrival the river was in full roar. 

This is exactly where I thought Forrest had hidden the treasure. You can see a large boulder that appears to have an alcove or space behind it that could hide the chest and keep it out of direct view of people and google earth.

The actual area is an awesome secluded spot, off the trail, plenty of animal bones and fresh scent around. You could easily imagine setting up camp here and fishing for days, away from the crowds, and the law. I carefully descended to the ledge and large boulder I believed the chest to be hidden behind and this is what I found.

I searched in and around this pile to no avail. Those big rocks are about the size of an office desk, not easily moved. There were a lot of spider webs around, and potentially rattlesnakes so I didn’t really want to stick my hand inside too much.

It didn’t make sense. I had checked multiple satellite imagery sites and all of them had the boulder vertical and intact. I know that google earth is only updated every now and then (over my house is about 5 years old) however the cliff face was old and weathered, and didn’t look like there was a freshly exposed area to suggest that the cliff had partially collapsed.

It almost looks like the boulder had been recently destroyed/broken/exploded by human intervention.

I searched all around the ledges, on the scant, around the water’s edge but found nothing.

Now we have all heard many times people saying the treasure has been found. In my opinion this is the correct spot that Forrest left the chest. Maybe I am simply gifting the chest to someone else who will travel here in the future because it is still there and I just couldn’t find it. I didn’t take a metal detector with me and couldn’t check the rock pile thoroughly. It could also be that someone found the chest and in the process broke the large boulder. It was heart breaking to walk away, but it was awesome fun searching. 

On the way back I nearly stepped on a young Bull Snake or Rattlesnake, had a small herd of Pronghorn sniff me up and down and saw a grizzly about 500 metres (1/4 mile) away scratching on a tree. I have video of him but not a very clear photo, I didn’t really want to hang around.

So many memories, cool people met, great local beers consumed and no regrets. Hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I did living it.

Jim

A Birthday for Forrest……

Let’s Continue to Grow Forrest’s Forest!

Last year for Forrest’s 87th birthday many of the treasure hunters participated in creating a forest for Forrest by planting a tree in his honor or proclaiming that an existing tree now belonged to Forrest’s forest.

Let’s continue that for this year! It’s easy!

Currently the forest looks like this:

To continue the expansion of the forest simply do the following:

Plant a tree or find an existing tree that you’d like to dedicate to Forrest.

Email the following to prairie.flower.ff@gmail.com

  • Your screen name
  • A photo of the tree
  • The type of tree
  • City, State where the tree is located

I will compile all the information and have it ready for Forrest’s 88th birthday on August 22, 2018.

You can look at last year’s compilation by going here:

Hugs to all!

Prairie Flower

P.S. Remember, don’t post the information below, you need to email it to me!

Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…Part Fifty Six

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This page is now closed to new comments. To continue the conversation please go to the latest Odds n Ends page.

Please click on the comment balloon below to contribute to the discussion of  Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt. Please note that many topics have their own pages. Please scroll through the blog to see all the discussion pages. There are also stories, scrapbooks, searcher’s reports general information, tips from Forrest, a rumors blog and even email responses from Forrest. So please look around and if you want to make a comment please use the most appropriate page.

Thanks…

 

dal…

The Seven Searchers You Meet in HoD-ven….

JUNE 2018

by FMC

 

Disclaimer: This is intended as a bit of fun and not to denigrate anyone’s thought process, methodologies, solutions, etc.  As the saying goes, “Until the TC is found, no one can say anyone else is right or wrong.”

Every solve is unique.  Even searchers with the same WWWH might come up with different HOBs, have different thoughts on the Blaze, or disagree which clues can only be solved with BOTG.  That said, if you’ve been involved in the Chase long enough, it’s possible to break the various thought processes into seven distinct categories.  Some Searchers stay within one category, while others combine pieces and parts of multiple categories like a TTOTC Frankenstein, hoping their solve comes alive.

Poem Purists

These Searchers generally stick to the poem and at times, eschew even the books as unnecessary (though some will supplement their poem-based solves with select “hints” from the books).  The Poem Purist prefers to poor over Google Earth, seeking the perfect a-ha! combination of landmarks that they can match up to the poem.

Google Earth Rorschachers

While the Poem Purist looks for place names or distinct features on GE, the Google Earth Rorschacher looks for patterns in the land itself, not unlike someone identifying shapes in the clouds that pass by.  The GE Rorschacher can be identified by the images that they put in their solves, which frequently have MS Paint outlines of what they “see” in the land.

If you see an arrowhead in the above picture and wonder how you might tie that to a potential solve, you may be a GE Rorschacher.

Maths! (Maths Factorial)

Devotees of the various math-based methods… TBH, I don’t really understand what they’re doing beyond assigning numbers to the letters in the poem and then manipulating those numbers in various ways and ending up with coordinates.  If you see math in a solve, try for a few minutes to understand it, and then give up on it for being too complex, you’re reading a Maths! Searcher.

Code-Breakers

Different from the Maths! Searcher, the Code-Breaker looks for hidden messages in the poem, books, and ATF information.  Often employing butterfly = flutterby as part of their reasoning, the Code-Breaker is a fan of anagrams, the most popular of which takes “From there it’s no place for the meek” to “Meeteetse Pitchfork Realm of Horn”, which… okay?  The Code-Breaker also will frequently employ the grid method to the poem, lining all the poem lines up, then looking for words or phrases hidden in the resulting Seek and Find.  This method is explained (well and interestingly, IMO) in the 2nd half of Cowlazars vlog #9 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnmNXX7iIaA.

Sherlocks and Historian Sherlocks

Sherlocks can generally be identified by some bit of internet minutiae that becomes the basis for their unique interpretation of a particular clue or clues.  Whether this is an obscure definition of a word, a fact about the temperature water freezes or boils at for a given altitude, or some other bit of trivia, the Sherlock Searcher is willing to explore any and all rabbit holes in order to solve the poem.  Historian Sherlocks are the same as regular Sherlocks, only they focus on historical events like town name changes, people that FF may have known or been interested in and where they might have traveled in history, etc.

Free Associationers

Whereas the Poem Purist makes, at most, limited use of the books, ATF comments, etc., the Free Associationer allows these items to drive potential solves through connections they make between the two.  For example, if FF says something about his coffee maker, the Free Associationer will seek out potential tie-ins with that statement (Mocha Point, Latte River, or similar).

The Uninformed

Sometimes these are newer Searchers, but more often than not, it’s Searchers that are lazy or otherwise unwilling to read even the basics of the Search parameters.  The Uninformed Searcher may claim their WWWH is a Dam or that they’ve solved it, only for their search area to be 5 miles from where they park with a 3,000 feet elevation gain.

Whichever Searcher type or types you are, there are things that can be learned from all of the types so I encourage you to read HoD with an open-mind.  Think, plan, and when you put BOTG, be sure to do so safely.  Good Luck!

FMC

Armchair Thoughts From the UK……

SUBMITTED june 2018
by NICOUK

 

Armchair thoughts from the UK

I first came across Forrest Fenn in the news following an unfortunate tragedy for one treasure seeker.  A google search later and I was hooked on the mystery and challenge, the map and poem both being readily available.  I love a good mystery and love the great outdoors.  Being in the UK I can’t get my boots on the ground so to speak due to health issues.  Thank heavens for the internet!   Like anyone, I may be way off the mark with my theories and interpretations.  However near or far I am from the real location I hope that whoever eventually finds the treasure lets us all know the location, anonymously or not.  

In my search I’ve read a lot of different theories and snippets in addition to the poem and map, but those things have just reaffirmed my chosen location, correct or not, to me. I’m sure others may have already thought of it.

Having read through the poem several times I finally settled on the nine clues being between ‘begin’ and ‘cease’, which might seem obvious in some ways. I think most of the rest of the poem is a very personal narrative from FF.

‘Begin it where warm waters halt’
Within about an hour I decided to centre my search on Colorado, based on a combination of maps and feeling. I then came upon the town of Poncha Springs. The town was founded in 1880 because of the hot springs. The springs were capped in 1935. The town calls itself the ‘gateway to the Rockies’. It is also on Highway 285 north of Santa Fe, NM (possible take on 8.25?).

‘And take it in the canyon down’
You never go up into a canyon, so I didn’t think this so much as a navigational pointer, more of an instruction to head to a canyon.

‘Not far, but too far to walk’
My guess is this refers to the fact that Browns Creek is too far to walk from Poncha Springs, but head up Highway 285 and then on county road 271 and you can get to parking for Browns Creek Trailhead. (You could also start in the Gunnison direction and follow the trail from higher elevations where there is also parking, but that didn’t work for the clues for me).

‘Put in below the home of Brown’
Browns Creek trail/waterfall (not Little Browns Creek)

‘From there it’s no place for the meek’
You have to head off the trail to Browns Creek waterfall and then I believe you have to head off track to the treasure site.

‘The end is ever drawing nigh’
The waterfall is on the left if you approach following my route and a waterfall is a termination of sorts.

‘There’ll be no paddle up your creek’
If you see the creek and trail this is not cryptic at all.

‘Just heavy loads and water high’
I’ve taken this literally as the waterfall and impending treasure.

‘If you’ve been wise and found the blaze’
I believe that this is the waterfall; a beautiful cascading waterfall which creates quite a large blaze.

‘Look quickly down your quest to cease’
There are several possible rock shelters on the falls where the water has eroded behind the waterfall. They are generally easy to explore areas and can be quite large in waterfalls of this type and size. There are also a few possibilities alongside the waterfall, but my belief is behind.

I then cross checked my chosen solve with other comments and potential clues;

It’s a natural formation that’s existed for thousands of years and will for thousands more, although not in the same form.

It fits the elevation.
It’s not dangerous if your wear the right gear.
It’s behind, not under water.
It’s reasonable to get to for young and old.
There is car parking not too far.
Plus others that have just sought to affirm my choice.

The main web sources, aside from Google Maps and Wikipeadia were;

http://www.rainingfaith.com/10-days-on-the-colorado-trail-south-cottonwood-creek-to-browns-creek/

https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7010626/browns-creek-trail-1429

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=n7dLm2NINlQ

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FhACkk4hGFs

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8U3huT6ZpTo

http://www.hikingwalking.com/index.php/destinations/co/co_cent/buena_vista/browns_lake/browns_lake_detail

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267&V=10

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267

https://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=20267&ZIP=587105

https://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=587099

https://mtprinceton.com/colorado/browns-creek-water-fall-trail/

https://www.benchmarkmaps.com/

http://fennclues.com/m.hints-and-clues-fenn-treasure.html

https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/the-thrill-resource-page

https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/

https://www.npr.org/2016/03/13/469852983/seeking-adventure-and-gold-crack-this-poem-and-head-outdoors

Like with any possible seeker I would love to know how near or far my possible solve is. Hopefully if and when the treasure is found the finder will let us all know.

Happy hunting!

NicoUK

Where Warm Waters Halt….

JUNE 2018

BY DOUG

 

Doug Meyer wrote a couple of interesting papers on the topic of Where Warm Waters Halt. He wrote the first last March and now  he has added part two. In addition to sharing some personal ideas and thoughts on the WWWH topic Doug is also a skilled technical writer. I think you’ll enjoy the read and his thoughts might spark an idea…

 

The docs are in PDF format and you can read them in your browser, and/or save them to your computer. If you have any questions you can ask Doug in a comment on this page…

WWWH I

WWWH II

 

 

 

 

The Newest Little Cache….

JUNE 2018

 

If You Find It Don’t Keep It…PLEASE!

William restored the little cache…just for fun. It will give folks in the MT/WY area something to look for after a hard day of searching for Forrest’s Treasure Chest, particularly if you come up empty handed.

The idea is for you to go find the little cache. Take one thing out and then put one different thing in. Preferably something associated with where you live or who you are or what you do…Sign the register and date it and say what you added and took..

Then, take a pic of you holding the cache and email it to me when you get near some wifi.

dal-at-lummifilm-dot-com

Make sure I have your screen name with the photo and I’ll post the pics on this page.

Then close it back up tight and put it back the way you found it so the next person who comes along can find and enhance it..

It’s just a fun thing to do and won’t take long to find..have fun thinking about what you can put inside it. The item you put inside cannot be very big. The box is small…so a coffee mug won’t fit.

Here’s a pic of the cache when we first started about 4 years ago.

The new cache. Some verified wood, obsidian, marbles, caribeaner, an old bead, some hand tied flies, an apache tear, a quartz crystal and a pyrite crystal..or and a miniature book... Take something and leave something from where you live..sign the book. Send me a picture of you and the chest and I'll post it.. But I'm having trouble finding a spot to hide it. The old spot was the best but the Park didn't like a cache in their park.

The new cache. Some petrified wood, obsidian, marbles, caribeaner, an old bead, some hand tied flies, an apache tear, a quartz crystal and a pyrite crystal..and a miniature book…
Take something and leave something from where you live..sign the book. Send me a picture of you and the chest and I’ll post it..

And now the directions. These are made so a kid can follow them.

Begin it in West Yellowstone on Boundary and Madison at this place.

IMG_9954

This is the motel that Forrest, Skippy and Donnie built.

From here look directly across Boundary and see this.

IMG_9953

The trail through the wood to the Madison River. But you won’t be going that far.

From this sign take 70 paces up the trail to here:

IMG_9947

This is a second signpost just up the trail 70 paces from the first signpost.

From here you take 140 paces and then halt.
Turn to your left and take 20 paces.
You should be looking at this. The cache is directly in front of you.

It’s not really buried. It’s hidden. And if you need a precise location..try this:

IMG_9902

The coordinates of the little cache.

Okay..go get it..have fun!!
Ohhhh…one more thing..please don’t put any food inside. The critters will get at it..
They can even smell food in that tub if it’s sealed.

Thanks to William for getting the cache back together this year!!!!

2018 I’VE BEEN THERE PHOTOS:
Page One

 

Harnessing A Force of Nature……

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by Jamescastellaw1685

 

If you believe you have a good solve, and a plan. Please stop reading, and just go about your business. If you would like to skip to the end, please read on, if you so dare. I’ve left out much of the details and how many of the stories and scrapbooks pertain to the correct path, but you will probably figure out a bunch of them with a little digging and imagination… just take a look, and try not to get excited. I will provide my journals (emails) to Fenn over the course of the last year, on my website (noone37.com …coming soon), on a gradual basis. Mr. Fenn has taught us mountains, and I like to use some things from his playbook: immaculate grammar and spelling does not allow for imagination or poetic license, it’s like looking at the exact same painting style from every artist. Please forgive me, I rarely go back and edit, so there will probably be some happy little mistakes…

I have yet to see the chest or touch it, though I have a good idea of where it may be. I leave these truths to be self evident, I have studied this Gordian Knot, and about to pull out the pole pin.

I hope for the best for all involved, please allow me to cut to the chase:
Just about a year ago, I was roped into something very special, and consuming. It all started with the last half of an Expedition Unknown segment, then my curiosity and the challenge. I mulled over that poem for a couple of weeks, thought like many I had a good idea and then a plan was set. We’d drive for a couple of days out to Yellowstone, take in the sights, and find that darn chest. Not only was my first inclination totally wrong, someone had already been there! My partner urged me that evening to not give up, we had come so far, see what else you can come up with in the area, she said. So I went back to my “warm waters halt” ideas, and found one I couldn’t shake. You see, below Yellowstone lake there’s warm water that is stifled, there’s a heck of a canyon down river, and there’s an Artist’s point, where an architectural painter by the name of Grafton Tyler Brown did a painting of the lower falls. But what really got my attention, as I looked over the satellite map, a small horseshoe shaped pond in the woods just south west of the point. This was just going off some logic… worth a shot.

The next morning, we took some pictures with the falls, peeled away from the crowd and made our way clockwise up the hills to check out this little unique pond. Huffing and puffing like a couple of low land easterners, we finally arrived at the hidden clear water gem. As I inspected the end of the peninsula jutting into the reservoir, I found a piece of cloth. Appeared to be an old white halter top, full of holes. It had definitely been there more than a few years. Just then, my ever beautiful and ever observant wife proclaimed she spotted something behind me, a bottle! Not just any bottle, it turned out to be a L-G 1934 milk bottle, in great condition. People shouldn’t litter!…Now how do you suppose that got there? …I had a pretty good idea.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -Maya Angelou

Everything about this bottle was a clue.

After searching all around the surrounding area, and even flying back on a return trip, with some new ideas. I thought I had reached the end of my treasure hunt, that was far from the truth. I had yet to use much of my imagination, or that bottle. On that return trip I stayed in Gardiner Montana, because of the cheaper rates and close proximity. I learned that Gardiner has an unexpected “I” in its name, and it was the end stop on one of the steam locomotive lines. But a few things caught my eye on the drive down to the falls area. The swimming hole just south of the park entrance. And who would say halt, but a Gard. The town of Mammoth, which just happened to be the seed of coming national parks, and all those Brown signs within them… What animal was Bigger and Brown, than a mammoth (no see hair? nose hair! my favorite clue/ interview haha!). There was also the Liberated felt cap in Mammoth, and further down the canyon something really got my goat. There was a pull-off parking spot for the Sheepeater cliff area just down from where a coyote camp used to be. Sounded like no place for meek sheep or bananas to me (who says baaa? …and na, na,…no, no…, think like this, and you will see through the vale).

A bell, a cowboy, and his dog…

When I returned home, I dug further into all this mounting evidence and started to build my case. Now I’m no detective, but I was refusing to give up this chase case, much to my wife’s dismay. As I started to notice such things on the map, as the Obsidian lake, which fed a little creek that eventually emptied into the Gardner right where I started looking. Of which, with a little imagination, just happened to look like the profile of a big head with a load on his mind. Then on the other side of the river, just to the north east, trees in the shape of a huge hat! I would come to learn, the Obsidian from just south of there, has been found all across the US. Even hundreds of pounds over a thousand miles away before Indians had horses, some found in the Ohio mounds. Seems like something Forrest would have  to mention… unless he didn’t want to draw attention. I also read somewhere, after the fire in ’88 there were scientists from the Denver museum out there making observations above the obsidian cliff. How convenient, If you needed to hitch a ride…

Just enough to stay hidden, what a beautiful work of art!  Hat’s off to mother nature! lol

After several more trips, my attention was to take a monumental turn. I began to notice a very big picture, and figures appeared  in the new trees from above. The floating hat guy was just the beginning, there was a huge chess piece to be seen, the head of a horse, Pegasus? Secretariat? Ralph Lauren? Polo?. Off of his nose, a crescent moon, a dove made from the wide shallow falls. A little cowboy, a dog at his side, and just above his head, the shape of a bell! A beautiful ode to Mr Sloan, there was no more doubt in my mind anyway, I was in the correct area. My attention then turned to the natural spring along the crescent, water flowed from high above. Then looking on down river, the possible appearance of a little man with an ax on his shoulder, a possible stump below him, and a large frog to his west. Mother natures wonders never cease! Below these figures, back to the south towards the big hat, along the river’s edge, sails topped with a skull.

More than impressed with the scope of things, a large buffalo to the west, a small chicken under him, a bear face or two to the north, a possible cat up there too. And there very well may be more, but this is where I will stop. I have tried the obvious and not so much. Hopefully this will take the chase a giant leap forward, level the field, perhaps. More like presenting you where the field is. It very well may be found this summer, time will always tell. I am content, for it is not in my nature to seek out fame and fortune. Believe I have gotten y’all most of the way there, and as odd as it may seem, I shall let the glory go to the one who can finish it. I love a challenge, I love the infinite possibilities, and I love the great outdoors, and that is plenty for me. Please be careful if you explore, nature is not forgiving, though personally I see no better place to go, this I know. Yes, for me it was the hunt I sought, and not the quarry. From a disaster, they found opportunity in those twisted pines. My guess is, they don’t ask you many questions, when you volunteer to replant a forest..

May you all find inspiration and peace within your travels.

Please obey The law, don’t do any digging, it’s not allowed or needed, I believe. Stay away from steep grades, high water, and anything else that might kill you. Show respect for the natural environment, and each other. If you get the place shut down or cause forrest to call it off, well that’s on you… and take a kid fishing. Tip your waiters and waitresses at least 20%, and the same for that dude that gave you 90% of the solve, that would be fair in my eyes. And if you don’t get it done within the next 2 months to 2 years, I will come back and quite possibly walk off with it, in short order (I’d like to invite Cynthia and Cowlazars to join me…). 10% would go to my veteran buddy next door, 10% to my old uncle who kept me straight, that old guy has some great stories too… sometimes the story, is worth more than the object… and may wonders never cease! Butterflies and life are fleeting, but maybe a family’s story is worth more than what’s in a box?

P.S. -My original plan, if I found it, was to go to one of those Carvana vending machines, pick out a nice ride, and “OH! Look what came with my car!” but then I remembered, some people have put a lot more time an effort into all this, and I kinda hope one of those veterans in this chase, will see this solve for what it is and finish it.

Man has responsibility, not power.-TUSCAR

-Jamescastellaw1685

My 10,000 Mile Boots On The Ground Adventure……

SUBMITTED MAY 2018
by RockLicker61

 

Well OK, it was only actually 9,800 miles door to door, but unless someone from South Africa has gone searching I think I can still claim the unenvied title of Furthest-Travelled Failed Searcher.

For me this craziness started after reading a news story in March 2018. It was a day that I couldn’t be bothered doing any work, so I found myself digging around the blogs and forums and I was quickly hooked.

Within a couple of days I had the basis of my solve sorted out, then it was refined and strengthened over the next couple of weeks to what you will read today. The solve builds on the work of others to narrow down the WWWH starting point, but I’m presenting a couple of (possibly) new ideas on some lines of the poem, particularly the blaze, so hopefully you may both enjoy the story and get something useful out of it.

In its simplest interpretation this solve doesn’t rely on any information you can’t find on a good map, but a small amount of googling and a bit of geographical knowledge help firm things up. Unlike many solves people come up with, I had this one down to a fairly specific area months before I put boots on the ground. This was by necessity – I’m a New Zealander living in Perth, Western Australia, so if I was going to invest (haha!) a few thousand dollars into getting to the Rockies I couldn’t afford to be going on a hunch.

But I’d just sold my trusty old pickup so I had some play money lying around, and I have a very understanding wife! In early May I found myself setting off for the 39 hour journey to Bozeman Montana. There I rendezvoused with one of my brothers who lives in Phoenix and couldn’t say no to this sort of adventure.

So armed with a healthy dose of jet lag and a can of bear spray, this is our chase…

Begin it where warm waters halt,
And take it in the canyon down
Not too far, but too far to walk
Put in below the home of Brown

This simply follows the popular solve starting where the warm Gardiner River meets the cold Yellowstone River at Gardiner Montana, then following the Yellowstone River down to the Slip and Slide Boat Ramp near the end of Joe Brown creek.

From there it’s no place for the meek

This boat ramp is used by rafters and kayakers to access the white-water rapids in Yankee Jim Canyon – definitely no place for the meek.
A less obvious interpretation is that this canyon was a stumbling block for Joseph Meek in his early exploration of the area (though this obviously requires knowledge beyond the scope that Forrest Fenn says is necessary).

The end is ever drawing nigh

This refers to the bottom of Sphinx Creek, the first feature we come to down-stream, and there’s a few ways of looking at it:
The flowing creek is continuously ending as it reaches the river.
The word “drawing” could be used because the bottom of Sphinx Creek is in a draw (also known as a re-entrant outside of the USA), which is a steep-sided gully.

Also, it’s on the left, and numerous people have asserted that nigh is an archaic word for left, though I haven’t found any solid references for this.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek
Just heavy loads and water high

Sphinx Creek is merely a trickle, even when we visited during the melt in May, so you won’t need a paddle.

The second line defines the bottom and top of the creek as we go up it.

Heavy loads describes the bottom of the creek which crosses the Old Yellowstone Trail and where the railway line used to go.

The top of the creek is a perched lake (high water) called Yankee Jim Lake.

So we head up the creek all the way to the lake.

Fresh bear tracks of different sizes were dotted all the way up Sphinx Creek – a bit worrying for us as we’d never had to deal with bears before!

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze. Look quickly down

OK, here’s where it gets interesting.

Notice the past tense on this sentence – in my opinion you have to have already been wise and found the blaze before you get there. In this case that’s because you can’t actually see it from the lake at the top of the creek.

So to find the blaze, you need to know where to look.

Have you noticed the red magnetic declination lines on the map provided in Where Warm Waters Halt? I find them odd because they’re a bit ugly, and many versions of the map have removed them for aesthetic reasons. But what are they for? It’s not normal to have these lines on a simple schematic map like this. Magnetic declination is used when you’re using a compass bearing – the lines tell you what the correction is between true north and magnetic north is at a particular spot. The presence of the magnetic declination lines is telling me that you need to use some sort of compass reading, or at least a general bearing to some remote feature in your solve.

So what is the blaze?

If you look on a map about 6.5 miles / 11 kilometres to the south west of Yankee Jim Lake, you find Shooting Star Mountain.

Shooting stars blaze across the sky, and you have to look quickly to see them.

Forrest has mentioned that it would be possible to remove it the blaze, but not feasible. I know from experience in the mining industry that removing the top of a mountain is definitely possible, but you have to have a good reason to do so to make it feasible.

But you can’t see Shooting Star Mountain from the top of Sphinx Creek, it’s hidden by the ridge on the other side of the valley. Luckily there are high points all around Yankee Jim Lake, but for this solve, you need to be “wise” and move clockwise around the lake.

A drone photo of Yankee Jim Lake, looking roughly north west, with the high point where you can see the blaze on the left

As you reach the highest point on the south-west side, Shooting Star Mountain just peeks into view above the ridge.

Another drone photo, with the high point in the foreground and Shooting Star Mountain peeking just above the ridge, slightly left of centre of the photo

I was 99% sure I’d be able to see Shooting Star Mountain from this high point as I’d used the 3D view in Google Earth and a viewshed analysis in QGIS to verify this beforehand. Still, it was a massive relief when we reached the top and Shooting Star Mountain just came into view!

Look quickly down your quest to cease

When you’re at the top of the hill and the blaze has come into view, then look down and you see a series of rock faces below you.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze
Just take the chest and go in peace

And this is where this solve joins the long list of failures!

It was a beautiful spot, with sweeping views of the valley dotted with lakes and meadows framed by distant mountains.

The view from the solve location – a fitting spot for a final resting place

We searched all along the rock faces, covering everything up to 200 feet away from the peak (in reference to the 200 feet that Forrest says searchers have been within). There were plenty of perfect little hiding places, but alas, no chest.

One of the many chest-sized nooks in the rock faces

The original solve was a bust, but I knew that I had to get closure and I had to exhaust all options before we left Montana. So, on the second day of our trip we searched all of the rock faces between the top of the creek and high point from the first solve, thinking I may have misinterpreted how to use the blaze reference.

My brother left to go back to work the next morning, but I spent that third day searching the main peak of Sphinx Mountain, and all of the rock faces on the south west side facing the blaze. Again, I found many amazing spots with beautiful views over Yankee Jim Lake, and lots of potential hiding places, but no chest.

The view over Yankee Jim Lake during the third day of searching

Our (approximate) search coverage around Yankee Jim Lake

So I go in peace, having spent an awesome couple of days hiking in Montana with my brother. We found some amazing spots, plenty of fresh bear tracks, and walked away with a couple of deer antlers as trophies.

Our trophies adorning the rental car

It’s a common cliché in The Chase circles, but this experience gave us moments to treasure, even though we walked away empty-handed.

So as my final act of closure in this chase, I’m putting this failed solve out to the world so that you might hopefully glean some insight that helps you in your chase.

You can see my solution on a Google map by clicking HERE.

I’ll be lurking on Dal’s website, Reddit and THOR under the username RockLicker61 if you want to discuss this solve. Or drop me an email at the same username @gmail.com if you want to get in touch directly.

Stay safe out there, the bears are always watching you!

-RockLicker61