Crouching Flyer, Hidden Canyon…

by FMC

 

 

Disclaimer: This solve will probably be at least as long as my “Going to See the Elephant” solve so make sure you’ve got some time to read it all, grab a beverage, and get comfy…

2nd Disclaimer: I will be interspersing my thoughts on ATF comments throughout my solve, but I should point out that my solve came first from the poem/maps and I primarily used ATF items as confirmation (bias) for my solve. I will try to point out/identify possible Confirmation Bias (CB) where applicable.

How I Came to this Solve

I covered how I came to the Chase in my previous write-up so I’m not going to re-hash it here. For this solve, there were a few things that happened around the same time that led me to my WWWH. 

1) I was exploring the edge of Wyoming/Idaho on the basis of the Western Interior Seaway – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interior_Seaway (as potential WWWH) in the following picture.

I was following the Snake River and ended up in Grand Teton National Park and then realized how close it was to Yellowstone.

  1. 2)I’d always skipped trying to find a solve in Yellowstone because of the number of people that have already searched there and because of the legal questions surrounding finding the TC in the park. But around this time, the following was posted on Dal’s site:

Which, combined with #1, made me reconsider the area (though I still didn’t think it was inside the park).

  1. 3)I took FF’s advice and focused on WWWH. I’ve long thought that the simplest explanation (especially given the warm “means being comfortable” ATF) is that WWWH is related to a hot spring. I also think the first two lines of the poem (“As I have gone alone in there And with my treasures bold”) point to a hot spring (“treasures bold” being a euphemism for skinny dipping and both lines hinted at in “river bathing is best” in TFTW). I’d searched the hot springs map – https://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hot_springs/ multiple times in each state, but this time, I took a different route – I Googled.

And I found hot springs outside of the parks that weren’t on the hot springs map.

Begin it where warm waters halt

There are multiple parts to this line so we’ll take them one by one. The above picture is from Huckleberry Hot Springs and I think the first article about it I found was this one:

https://www.jacksonhole.com/blog/getting-hot-in-huckleberry/

Looking at Google Maps of the area led me to a second, nearby hot spring (Polecat Hot Springs), which you can see in the top left of the image below. 

Full disclosure: both springs are now closed to people (effective 2014): 

https://www.tetonvalleynews.net/page2/two-popular-hot-springs-now-off-limits/article_6b954510-ed13-11e3-adc6-001a4bcf887a.html

So where do these warm waters halt?  Where they enter Polecat Creek or the Snake River? Nope. I think they halt (people) at Flagg Ranch – where you would park to go to them. So in this solve, my WWWH is Flagg Ranch. Now for “Begin it”. My “it” is the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road (AKA Reclamation Road; AKA Grassy Lake Road) which starts at the intersection with US Hwy 89/US Hwy 191. For purposes of this write-up, I’m just going to call it the Flagg Ranch Road. All told, BIWWWH looks like this:

And just to give you a wider overview of where we are, we’re south of Yellowstone and north of Grand Teton:

The Word that is Key (Possible CB)

For this solve, the word that is Key is Key, as in Francis Scott Key, who wrote the lyrics that became the Star-Spangled Banner. 

From Wikipedia: “Key was inspired by the large U.S. Flag, (Flagg Ranch?) with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

FF also hinted at this Francis Scott Key/potential flag connection in TTOTC, in“Important Literature”- “If Robert Redford had ever written anything he probably could have done it better than the guy who wrote that Gatsby book.“ The “guy who wrote that Gatsby book“ would be F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed on his father’s side, and whose full name is Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald.

Deep Thinking Logic Clue (Possible CB)

Many have wondered about this ATF comment from FF. I think it relates to his motive to “get kids off the couch and away from their texting machines and out into the mountains. “ There are many places in the mountains where there is no cell service, so it would be hard to narrow the search area much based on this comment alone, but I suspect it’s more rare to be without both service and WIFI wherever these hypothetical kids are staying each night. From the Headwaters Lodge and Cabins at Flagg Ranch website:

And take it in the canyon down

So we’re on Flagg Ranch Road, but where’s our “canyon down”? Here’s where we need to “look at the big picture” and “have the right map”. In this case, the interactive map at www.wilderness.net:

https://umontana.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a415bca07f0a4bee9f0e894b0db5c3b6

When we follow Flagg Ranch Road towards Ashton, ID (the only way we can go on it), and fill in the borders of the National Parks, you get this…

So we “take it” (Flagg Ranch Road) “in the canyon down” (I.e. down the road through the map canyon). 

Bike Hints

Flagg Ranch Road is part of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (section 2):

https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/great-divide-mountain-bike-route/

From TFTW, again in “river bathing is best” FF talks about riding his bike 20 miles to his secret bathing spot.  In ATF comments, on getting to the hiding spot, FF asks, “What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the ‘water high’ when I am through with it?”

Not far, but too far to walk.

Put in below the home of Brown.

I’ll come back to “Not far, but too far to walk”, but essentially, we’re driving along Flagg Ranch Road towards Winegar Hole Wilderness, my home of Brown. For this clue, I think too many people focus on “Brown” and not enough on “home”. From the wilderness.net map:

So Winegar Hole was designated a wilderness area because it was prime grizzly habitat (North American Brown Bear).  Debate all you want about the capitalization of “Brown” – I’m not going to get into it here.

FF ATF: “The clues did not exist when I was a kid, but most of the places the clues refer to did.” Winegar Hole Wilderness was not a designated wilderness by Congress until 1984.

Logically, I initially found 2 “Put in” locations – the Loon Lake Boat Launch, and the Fish Lake Trailhead, both of which are just south of (below) Winegar Hole Wilderness.

From Flagg Ranch, Loon Lake is 19.5 miles away and Fish Lake Trailhead is 20 miles away – “Not far, but too far to walk.”

These two options to “Put In”are good and it’s possible to make the rest of the poem work with them (I’ll come back to these options later as back up solve possibilities), but there was something about an area just east of Winegar Hole Wilderness that I couldn’t let go of. The rest of the clues (and ATF) worked better – if I could only find a “Put in below” that worked.

Calf Creek/Calf Creek Hill

Before I get into the specifics of the rest of my solve, I want to explain that they evolved somewhat between my initial solve and each of my two successive BOTG trips (3 BOTG total). I’ll try to reference this evolution as I go through the rest of my solve by identifying my thought processes prior to each BOTG.  To do so, I’ll reference each trip as follows:

BOTG #1 – Northern Route to Big Cliff

BOTG #2 – Along the Creek

BOTG #3 – Headstone Check

Put in below the home of Brown

For each trip, my “Put in” remained the same – the trail just east of Winegar Hole Wilderness that led into the Wilderness, but the thought process for my HOB changed.

Prior to BOTG#1, I had actually modified the HOB I listed above (Winegar Hole Wilderness) to Calf Creek Hill itself, though I recognized at the time that Calf Creek Hill as HOB was tenuous at best.  

For Fenn so Loved a Cow (Possible CB)

From “Bessie and Me” in TTOTC:

I think for Calf Creek Hill as HOB, my interpretation was either Brown as the color of the Calf itself (How Now Brown Cow?) or some sort of poop (mudpie) related teenager-esque interpration based on “My mind stays at about thirteen.” from the preface to TTOTC. 

I also got some confirmation from the shadows in the picture on page 28 of TTOTC which were pointed out by charlie on Dal’s site (though he missed the Flag):

https://dalneitzel.com/2017/09/14/the-blaze-4/#comment-384844)

I initially interpreted the “hill” as Calf Creek Hill, but later revised my interpretation to be an elevation map between Flagg Ranch and the turnoff to the Fish Lake Trailhead (identified by the “Flag” and the “Man Fishing”, respectively).  Mapping Flag Ranch Road to the turnoff results in an elevation graph as follows with the car/truck at approximately the parking location by Calf Creek Hill:

Kids have an Advantage ATF (possible CB)

For Calf Creek Hill as HOB, I tied this ATF to the following kids book:

It also works for Winegar Hole Wilderness as HOB:

For each of my two successive trips, my HOB was Winegar Hole Wilderness, but again, still using this trail as my Put in. I’ll detail my change in thought process after I go through BOTG#1, but first, the rest of my initial solve…

From there it’s no place for the meek

In this solve, this is simply the place where you park and get out of your car and go into the wilderness (into prime grizzly habitat).

The end is ever drawing nigh;

From wikipedia: “An example of a draw on a topographical map, and how it would look in the real world. If you are standing in a draw, the ground slopes upward in three directions and downward in the other direction.“

I probably don’t need to point out this relatively obscure geographical feature and FF’s ATF comment about “a comprehensive knowledge of geography”, but here it is for the sake of thoroughness.

This draw also goes to the left (nigh), completing the interpretation of this line in the poem.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Below is a picture of part of Calf Creek (west of the Put in) from Google Earth in June of 2013 (the June/2013 image shows the creek more clearly than the August/2015 image – I’ve been waiting for a Google update for 2018 all year).

In short, Calf Creek is a shallow creek (mostly under 12 inches deep, but occasionally with small pools that might reach 2-3 feet).  In addition, there are many small (4-6 feet) waterfalls as it descends into Yellowstone. It’s certainly not a creek that can be paddled and we are also going downstream.

Just heavy loads and water high. 

There are a few possible interpretations for this line with this solve. On the topographic map, the nearby trail is the South Boundary Trail (Borders bookstore as a hint in TTOTC?) and is designated on the Topo map as a Pack Trail.

Calf Creek eventually continues into Yellowstone and empties into the Fall River, which has a large number of waterfalls (water high). The waterfalls themselves may also be heavy loads (of water) or heavy loads could be the large boulders in Calf Creek itself.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,

This is the part of my solve where things become a bit more trial and error. I wrote about my thoughts on breaking this line up into two parts in my “Full Thoughts on Halving the Blaze” post from October/2017 – https://dalneitzel.com/2017/10/11/halving-the-blaze/ which was directly influenced by this solve.

Also around this time, I was trying to explore whether FF would answer (at the Nov 2nd Book signing) if it was now possible to see the TC on Google Earth as I viewed applying the thought process from the post pretty compelling in light of the GE imagery (notice the flat rock with the dark spot in the middle)…

Under this scenario, there would (in theory) be a blaze near the flat rock that couldn’t be seen from GE.

I also considered, further down the creek, the possibility that this cliff/barren area was the blaze. 

Look quickly down, your quest to cease,

With this blaze, the idea would be that TC would be below it, down closer to the creek.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

From the June/2013 GE image, there was also an interesting rock formation (tarry scant?) that resembled (from GE at least) headstones.

The zoom.earth view of these rocks also showed an interesting glint, but it’s hard to say for sure what was causing it.

It also seemed that from these rocks, there was the potential for a “marvel gaze” into Yellowstone NP, though BOTG would be needed to confirm.

Paul Harvey Voice: And now… the rest of the Poem

I subscribe to the Lugnutz theory of the rest of the Poem…

Consequently, I don’t think there’s much here with the exception of maybe some legal stuff and one confirmation hint that we’re in the right place.

If you are brave and in the wood

In this solve, this is a line that confirms being in Winegar Hole Wilderness is the correct place (as opposed to further down the creek and into Yellowstone NP or east of Winegar Hole Wilderness closer to Flagg Ranch Road).

“In the wood” relates to the “Wine” part of Winegar with wine being stored/aged in wooden barrels. “Brave” relates to the “gar” part of Winegar and relates to the veterans that made up the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), described by Wikipedia as follows:

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army (United States Army), Union Navy (U.S. Navy), Marines and the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the United States forces. Founded in 1866 in Decatur, Illinois, and growing to include hundreds of posts (local community units) across the nation (predominately in the North, but also a few in the South and West), it was dissolved in 1956 at the death of its last member, Albert Woolson (18501956) of Duluth, Minnesota. Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, helping to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 490,000, was in 1890, a high point of various Civil War commemorative and monument dedication ceremonies.

Additional TTOTC Hints to this Area (Possible CB)

In “Looking for Lewis and Clark” FF writes the following:

Which, combined, can be mapped as follows:

In “Gypsy Magic” FF writes “The gypsies came through town several times a year in their horse-pulled wagons that had rubber tires.” The story also has the following picture:

Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure (http://www.tetonwagontrain.com/) runs multi-day wagon tours along Flagg Ranch Road, with an overnight camping area near Calf Creek.

A Hint from TFTW to this Area (Possible CB)

In “my prehistoric friends” FF includes the following picture of one of his arrowheads.

Looking up the Castroville Point on www.projectilepoints.net reveals that these type of points are found in central Texas. What’s interesting is the listing of similar points:

You can go here: http://www.projectilepoints.net/Points/Calf_Creek.html if you want to read about the Calf Creek Point.

Distances (200 feet/500 feet) and an 80 year old FF

Before BOTG, the final questions are whether our prospective path can feasibly be done by an 80 year old man with a 20 pound pack twice in an afternoon… So how far do we travel on this solve?

With a one way distance of 3,500 feet, the total distance for 2 round-trips from the car is approximately 2.65 miles.

The 200 feet and 500 feet ATF comments are hard to define, but above, for the possible TC on Google Earth, one of the trails is approximately 450 feet to the east, while the pack trail is approximately 150 feet to the south. 

For the interesting rock formation below the blaze, the assumption is that the searchers were on the South Boundary Trail going into Yellowstone towards the Falls River.

@FF: You talkin’ to me? 

AKA The most Confirmation Bias-y thing that that ever Confirmation Biased (and deservedly so, IMO)

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this relates to FF’s “gut feeling”.

In September of 2017, as I was in the process of developing this solve, I sent the following email to FF:

Obviously, what stands out is my use of “gut instinct” and that I stated I was telling him specifically for his annual update (which I mis-remembered as happening just after New Year’s rather than the actual time of early February.

But what really drives this confirmation bias home is FF’s answer to the first question in the same “Six Questions with Forrest Fenn”.

In a response that only tangentially (IMO) answers the question, he references again (and misspells once), his calf/cow Bessie.

https://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-double-charmed/

Since I (spoiler alert!) didn’t find the TC, this is obviously just a coincidence and only served to give me a wicked case of Confirmation Bias, but you’ll never convince me it wasn’t at least justified given the above.

Backup Solves

I mentioned way back towards the beginning that I initially liked Fish Lake Trailhead and Loon Lake Boat Launch as “Put ins” below (south) of Winegar Hole Wilderness and they became backup solves to check out if my primary search area didn’t pan out.  I won’t go into as much detail, but in general, my solves for each were as follows:

Fish Lake Trailhead:

Loon Lake Solve:

The Best Laid Plans

So I’ve got my solve, I’ve got my hints, and I’ve got my ATF interpretations. I’ve got my backup solves. I’ve got my search partners lined up (my Dad and my brother) and we book our BOTG trip for the end of July/early August with 2-3 days of dedicated searching on either side of a drive from Denver, CO (family vacation in the Denver area is the following week).

It is at this point that I see posts from someone else on Dal’s site that led me to believe that they were in my same general area… namely a reference to a bike trail (could it be the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route that I discussed earlier?) and a question about 20 miles (could they be referencing the 20 miles from Flagg Ranch to Fish Lake Trailhead?), along with a direct reference to looking in Yellowstone. My interpretation was that this person was as far as “Put in below the home of Brown” being Fish Lake Trailhead below Winegar Hole Wilderness and that it might only be a matter of time before they started considering Calf Creek/Calf Creek Hill.

Because my wife is awesome and understands that I can be a bit obsessive about things (aren’t we all to a certain extent regarding the Chase?), and maybe because she didn’t want to listen to me worry about someone getting to my area ahead of me for however many months, and maybe because she wanted to do a family vacation to scenic Grand Teton, we booked a short 4-day trip for early June, with a dedicated day for the two of us to search. My in-laws joined us on the trip and wanted to take our two kids to Yellowstone/Old Faithful on our search day. Wins all around!

Full disclosure: that poster has since posted their solve (not on Dal’s) and they were not in the same area. They ended up being further west on a Warm River up to Cave Falls area solve with some dubious (IMO) logical stretches.

BOTG #1 – Northern Route to Big Cliff

We flew into Jackson, WY, landing around 9:00 am, and toured Grand Teton for the rest of the day. The plan was to search on day 2 and we started the day with a huge breakfast at the Virginian before picking up our bear spray and driving up to Flagg Ranch.

At Flagg Ranch, we encountered our first hurdle: a billboard informing us that Flagg Ranch Road was closed after campsite 8. This, despite me analyzing snowpack throughout the winter, and the gauge at Grassy Lake (approximately the midpoint between Flagg Ranch and Calf Creek Hill) being at 0 for 2+ weeks. We elected to drive as far as we could and if the road got bad, we would simply turn around and give up on it as neither of us were interested in getting stuck and hiking out 10 miles back to Flagg Ranch (remember there’s no cell service anywhere nearby). We were, however, in a GMC Yukon, which certainly helped our confidence levels.

At campsite 8, we (don’t tell anyone) moved a few barrels and, with there being no snow to speak of, continued on our way. Approximately a mile past this, we passed someone walking from the other direction, who informed us that he had parked on the far side of the closed section, walked in, and that the road was completely fine all the way to Ashton. We thanked him for the information and continued on to Calf Creek Hill.

What are the Chances? (Or: In which I almost have a heart attack)

As we rounded the corner to our predetermined parking spot by Calf Creek Hill, after seeing/passing only 2-3 other cars on this entire 15 mile stretch of road, we see a jeep and a truck parked in the exact spot we wanted to park and there are four people bustling about by the side of the road. I immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re searchers in my spot, and my wife remains calm and thinks they’re probably there for some other reason.

We drive past them about a mile and park to figure out our next move when another car comes up behind us. It’s a young couple in a Honda Civic that was trying to get through from Ashton, ID to Flagg Ranch/Yellowstone. When they passed the people in my parking area, they saw them loading animal parts and suspected they might be poachers and were trying to get service to call someone to report it.  We advised them that we thought they could get through on Flagg Ranch Road (which is a plus given FF’s “it was a sedan” ATF comment about the vehicle he used while hiding the TC). We turned around and went past the people again and it looked like they were packing up so we parked a little beyond that and waited. The young couple in the Civic eventually drove up and let us know that they had stopped and talked to the people. Apparently, they had just shot a bear and were loading up the carcass (the couple also let us know that they had confirmed it was bear-hunting season – I assume from that it was a Black Bear).

Eventually, the Jeep and the truck leave and we park at our spot to begin our search at about 12:30 in the afternoon. As we started up the hill, we did see what remained of the bear – there wasn’t much – and I didn’t take a picture.

BOTG #1 – The Search Itself

Our route was essentially the one I laid out in above:

We searched where the possible TC from Google Earth was. It was a bush. We searched in and around all the rocks we saw between the parking area, the top of the hill, and as we went towards the area marked “Cliff”.

We did find a “marvel gaze” (this isn’t the best picture):

But unforunately, it was a Cliff and there was no way to reach the headstone shaped rocks:

Some promising spots, but no TC. At this point, at the cliff, it was only around 2:30, but this being her first BOTG and the first for both of us in bear country, and after the internal drama of the bear hunters situation, our nerves were both kind of frayed so we searched as we headed back to the car. I knew that I still had my original trip with my Dad and brother coming up to spend more time searching so I viewed this as a bit of a reconnoitering trip to get the lay of the land.

We did start to head towards the Fish Lake backup solve, but the road was significantly worse than Flagg Ranch Road itself (probably not passable in a sedan unless you subscribe to the textbook dictionary definition that allows for an SUV to qualify as a sedan). After a short distance on the rougher road to the Fish Lake Trailhead and with our aforementioned nerves, I called it off and we called it a day.

Rest of Our Trip

This next bit isn’t search related other than we definitely fulfilled FF’s goal of getting our kids out into the mountains (they’re not old enough for their own phones, so there wasn’t any getting them off their texting machines).  We spent the next day hiking around Grand Teton NP and took a float trip down the Snake River.  The following day, we took the Tram to the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the kids finished up their Junior Ranger booklets and got their badges, and we bought all of our standard magnets/Christmas ornaments/snow globe souvenirs. We didn’t find the TC, but it was a great trip!

Revisions to my Solve Prior to BOTG #2

I mentioned before how I thought Calf Creek Hill as HOB was tenuous. After I got back from my first trip, I looked at some elevation information about Calf Creek itself and made a discovery – on Google Earth, Calf Creek close to Flagg Ranch Road was at a lower elevation than it was as you followed it up into Winegar Hole Wilderness.

And, per GE, it definitely drops back down as CC flows into Yellowstone and merges with the Falls River:

So this change in elevation allows me to use Calf Creek and the nearby trail as my Put In below (at a lower elevation than) Winegar Hole Wilderness, as measured by the elevation of Calf Creek. It also gives me a different possible interpretation of “waters high” – the high point of Calf Creek. Could there be a natural spring there with a stable water level that might account for the TC being wet, but not submerged?  Maybe a grotto type structure with a cooler temperature, making it “worth the cold”?  Or maybe the GE elevation data was just wrong (probably).  But even if it was wrong, we’re still using the poem and a map (even if the map is incorrect).  Also, the cliff above the creek is higher than our starting point so “put in below” could be referring to the start of the trail (which is modestly below the elevation of the trail as it goes into Winegar Hole Wilderness).

Regardless, traveling along the creek and reaching this high point would be the focus of BOTG #2.

Along the creek, we would look for our “blaze” while also considering the possibility of it being a waterfall down in the creek.

Other ATF/Hints for Going Along the Creek

There are multiple self-explanatory items here: “worth the cold” as a hint in the poem to having to walk through cold water and the ATF “I know the treasure is wet” from the NM tourism video. I also think the following quote (image from tarryscant.com) is well-explained with FF creek-walking at some point as he took the TC to its hiding place:

BOTG #2 – Along the Creek

I flew into Denver and took the scenic way up to Jackson Hole, driving over the Snowy Range Scenic Byway through the Medicine Bow National Forest and making stops at Saratoga (Hobo) Hot Springs and the Oregon Trail related sights, Devils Gate (https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/devils-gate) and Independence Rock (https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/independence-rock).

I met up with my Dad and brother in Jackson, WY and the next morning, we headed up to Calf Creek after picking up our bear spray. The general plan was to go along the creek, getting in and searching the creek where possibly, and searching the rocky area above the creek as well. The planned path was as follows:

There were a number of waterfalls and we were able to get into and out of the creek between them at times:

Though at other times, the drop off was too steep…

In one spot, there was a pre-attached rope that led to the bottom of the creek, which none of us were able to figure out a reason for it being there (I.e. why would anyone be trying to get to the creek here; other than other searchers obviously).

Along the top of the rocky area, there were a number of potential hiding areas; areas large enough for a body to fit in and surrounded by stones (remember the alleged early draft of the poem with “leave my bones” and hypothesis that the corresponding rhyming word would be “stones”) and with plenty of nooks and crannies to hide the TC.

(Full disclosure – the above pic was actually taken on BOTG #3 as I didn’t do a good job photo-documenting BOTG #2).

But the greatest potential spot was one of these areas that also had a “marvel gaze” – down through the valley and out into Yellowstone itself.

You can’t see it from this picture (and I didn’t take a better one on BOTG #2), but just outside the bottom frame of this picture is a headstone-shaped rock. And down in the creek is a waterfall. We remarked on all of this at the time, but getting down to the headstone-shaped rock was modestly dicey and as, you could see behind it and around the rocks from a different angle, we didn’t go down to actually check out the rock. We all said that this was the perfect spot and we didn’t find a better one further down the creek.

We did end up making it beyond where my wife and I went on BOTG #1, but were still not able to reach the creek bottom below the big cliff. 

On day 2, we looked at the Loon Lake Backup solve, but the woods from the parking lot were too thick and the area surrounding the lake was too marshy. We also looked at the Fish Lake Trailhead backup solve and made it to here:

I wanted to check out whatever weird thing it is I have circled and also get to where Calf Creek first enters the meadow, but what looks like relatively flat ground is actually a wall of ~8 foot high bushes that none of us wanted to fight through, especially given the possibility of unseen bears in them. The ground was also soft/marshy and this was only at the edges.

This isn’t the spot, but is an example of the type of terrain/bushes (thought these are only maybe 1/2 the size of the what we encountered.

Desperate Times

Pre-existing solves exhausted, I came up with an alternative backup solve that put us closer to Grassy Lake with Yellowstone as HOB, the “Put in” as Mountain Ash Creek Trail, “drawing nigh” as a small draw on the left side of the trail heading higher in elevation towards a gravel pit and small pond (“heavy loads and water high”). My “in the wood” interpretation from before becomes leaving Yellowstone and going back into just the National Forest.

It looked nice and there was a small creek running there, but not really ever a “marvel gaze” or any good blazes.

Out of ideas and time, my Dad and brother headed home and I started the drive back to Denver.

300 Miles Later…

I was somewhere around Rawlins, on the edge of the basin, when the doubt began to take hold.

I’m driving along, thinking about my failed solve, when the idea occurs to me that we should have checked that headstone-shaped rock more. What if it is somehow disguising the TC? It did look a bit out of place (whiter) than the surrounding rocks. Maybe it’s buried right underneath it like the dish in “charmay and me” that was hidden under the lid in the floor? What are the odds that a headstone-shaped rock would be in the perfect spot for FF to hide himself and the TC?

(It’s always on the way home that you realize something about your solve that you should have realized before…  It’s inevitable.)

I don’t have time to go back before I’m supposed to meet my family in Denver so I decide to explore it more when I get home and re-evaluate whether it’s worth a trip back to check what is most likely just a rock.

Additional Research and an Unfortunate Lack of Pictures

Unfortunately, I only have the picture of the spot… none of the rock itself. Neither my Dad or brother have a picture of the rock either. But GE provides some additional info. In this image, you can clearly see the waterfall lined up with where you would first spot it (essentially the rock I was standing on to take the picture). And I measured the headstone-shaped rock to the actual trail (topo map on top of GE). In looking at this area, there’s also an interesting squarish shape nearby…

But what probably pushes me over the edge is the distance from the trail…

My wife continues to be awesome/understanding of my need to check this and, coupled with a super-cheap direct flight, I book a quick in-and-out weekend trip to confirm the rock is a rock and there’s nothing under it and then I’ll be done with this solve.

BOTG #3 – Headstone Check

I flew into Salt Lake City early Saturday morning, rented an SUV and drove 4.5 hours to Calf Creek, stopping to pick up bear spray along the way. I got to Calf Creek around 4:15 and was at the headstone-shaped rock by 4:45. Upon seeing it, I was pretty sure it was wrong as it was definitely not as whitish as I remembered.

Nevertheless, I carefully went down and checked it out (it was definitely a rock) and not moving anywhere).  I looked around it and around the nearby rocks again as well.  Nothing. I did also get back down into the creek and attempt again to get to the spot on the creek directly below this point, fighting through these trees/bushes that we skipped last time.

But I called it at the following point as not somewhere a 79-80 year old would go (it’s narrower/steeper than it looks and the water depth in the trench-looking areas is not clear).

I hiked out, drove back to civilization and flew home the next day.

Remember, it’s Inevitable…

Not 3 days later, while double-checking the area around Grassy Lake/Mountain Ash Creek Trail (the “desperation solve” from above), I came up with another solve in the area that I wish I’d checked out – Cascade Creek.

Just west of Grassy Lake is a trailhead for Cascade Creek, also just below Yellowstone (with Yellowstone as HOB, again).

The rest of the clues:

There is even a compelling 200 feet/500 feet interpretation:

But alas, as awesome as my wife is, a 4th trip would have to be summer of 2019 and would require a deft touch to accomplish (flowers, foot rubs, etc.) Let’s call it a long shot at this point and possibly not even worth it (relative to developing a new solve somewhere else and going there).

Conclusion

I’m biased, obviously, because it’s my solve, but I’m pretty proud of the work and thought process that’s gone into this solve and to be honest, I’m still not entirely convinced the TC is not in this area. After three trips, however, I guess I’m convinced enough to be done searching there and either move on to my next solve or call it quits on the Chase (which one probably depends on if I ever come up with another solve that I think is as strong as this one).

Thanks for reading and hopefully I’ve given you some new ideas with my views on the poem.

Also, if anyone has any additional ATF/hints related to this solve (either in support of it or that would rule it out) that I haven’t discussed, I’d appreciate you putting them in the comments. Good luck if anyone wants to re-explore this area or the Loon Lake/Fish Lake Trailhead backup solves or the Cascade Creek solve.

– by FMC

 

 

 

 

 

Again and Again…

By  Diggin Gypsy

I went back to my spot twice in one month. How many of us do that? You drive 1900 miles there and 1900 back, then get home and realize I should of looked under that dang rock lol 😂 

Probably only me. I’m crazy like that.  

So I was walking in a field and and the grass was really tall and tripped across some old metal. It was cool. I grabbed a piece and was gonna take it back to Georgia then my shoe became full of these sand spur like things I turned around to put my foot on a rock and wow there was wire on it like a x and a little piece of wood.

Lol, brave and in the wood.

I really didn’t give it much thought I was only thinking how the spurs hurt And how badly I was gonna feel while dragging that metal back to the truck.

Lol, I think the altitude messes with your thinking process out there.

So we drive back home to Georgia and I start thinking, “could that of been the blaze”? 

Mildew the hat had a covering over a hole with wire and it was like an anchor of some sort, like on Peggy’s swim suit. Well, we drove all the way back and nope it wasn’t under that rock. So we camped at beaver creek campground. It is so peaceful out there. No sounds at all.  Just a moose and baby that roam the woods. I love walking the trails behind the campground. You can find all kinds of cool stuff from the earthquake while looking around Earthquake Lake. We were there August 17 and it was kind of scary staying there on the same date as the earthquake in 1959.   

Walking around I found this old bed stuck in sagebrush. All I could think of was someone sleeping in it that fearful night.

I guess when this guy found it, it was in better shape.

I know many of us have searched Hebgan Lake all the way down to Earthquake Lake many many times. Donna M is one. After you go there a few times you sorta have a connection with that place and all its scattered little treasures.

We camped in front of that cool “F” that hovers over Rock Creek. The “ole coot” said it took him all week to make it, lol. So I searched Rock Creek once again knowing that wasn’t really the blaze but a cool area. 

The creek looks like a waterfall .

I bounce around when I’m out there. To learn the area I take my time and explore and try to see what Forrest would have seen.   

To get cell signal I had to drive to the Earthquake Visitor Center and I would sit by this guy who slept a lot.  I think he is  “Head of the Mountain”, lol.  

I had to go search under his chin  wasn’t there either but that would of been a great blaze I asked the “ole coot”  if that was his lunk headed blaze. He didn’t respond. I guess he didn’t think it was funny.

I explored more with my huge imagination.  I looked over on another mountain and saw a grizz staring at me.   All I could think of was the “ole coot” telling me I was whom the Grizz fears.   

So I went and looked under that grizzly of a mountain. Wasn’t there either. Another good blaze  I left it for others to find.

Here was my search team this year. Me and my sister and nephew sam and my husband John standing with Dal  whom we ran into in town.  We had a great evening with Dal, Kathy and Spalies, all great people to hang around with not just because they will buy your dinner and a good Montana beer, lol. Just “good down home people” as the south would say.

So have at it y’all it’s still out there!

Team Diggin Gypsy

 

 

 

Treasure Quest…Part Three

Treasure Quest
Part 3 – The Blaze
By Lana

The Blaze!
If you’ve made it this far, then yes, the blaze needs its own very section and lots of pictures too!  I first thought the blaze was this amazing spire.  You can see it on a topo map as a circle.  I think it’s too far for Fenn to walk with a heavy pack and one has to walk on talus to get there which I think is too difficult, so I ruled it out.  It’s got great views though.  I even talked to Tom Lucas, western artist and found out he was painting a picture of it!  I had to buy it…..now the painting is in our study 🙂 greeting guests, just begging for the story of the treasure hunt to be told.


Since then I got a lot smarter, or so I thought.  Still dealing with the Vision Quest theme here and more importantly the PETROGLYPHS! I’m sure you have read about the Rosetta Stone from his TOTC book AND mention of the Rosetta Stone in a couple of his interviews?  If you need a refresher here goes.

The Rosetta Stone
1. It is made out of granodiorite which is an igneous rock that is like granite and can be pink or black or white. The Rosetta stone has a streak of pink running through it. Among others, there is a ton of pink and black granite like rock at Torrey Creek at Ring and Trail lakes.

2. It was discovered by a french soldier (like the french soldiers name on the grave Forrest tripped over at the waterfall). On page 94 of TTOTC “A French name and rank was followed by arcing English words across the top.”  Arcing like the complete Rosetta Stone.  The RS discovered by the French but displayed in a museum by the British.  On page 96 of TTOTC Forrest says he was “drawn to that place” and “my body was already tired”.  Page 106 of TTOTC “a bunch of fairies dancing around a rock, if you can believe I’d come to that.”  Fairy: an imaginary magical creature who has the form of a tiny human being.  Like a Tukudeka shamen (Tukudekawere known to be smaller in stature) or spiritual creature, anthropomorph as seen during a vision quest, I thought.

3.  Two scholars, Edward D CLARK and WILLIAM R Hamilton examined the Rosetta Stone a similarity to Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. Searching or Looking for William and Clark anyone?

4. As wikipedia puts the Rosetta Stone “It proved to be the key to deciphering Egyptian hyroglyphs.” Glyphs as in petroglyphs? Pictures that mean words and tell a story? I thought so.

5. The RS was found broken.  The original stone would have had a rounded top (like the French soldiers grave) and according to Wikipedia “there would probably have been a scene depicting the king being presented to the gods, topped with a winged disc”


Ok I tried to find a petroglyph that looked most like the stone and I came up with this that is about 500 feet from the road. Compare the complete Rosetta Stone and the glyph I found to somewhat match it, and tell me honestly, what you think.


I see  a winged anthropomorph of an owl and also a king or a shamen on top on it that appears strikingly similar to the wikipedia description of what the Rosetta stone might have looked like before being broken. Pretty darn close…..

6. Check out this next picture of a petroglyph and you will see a woman pointing at a glyph. This pic is used by the museums to promote their local glyphs and guides of the glyphs. Do you see how she is wearing a hat, has a stick and is facing left? OK, so now look directly below where her stick is pointing on the waist of the image of the person on the glyph. There is a weiner dog on the Shaman’s waist, like a belt, with round feet also facing left. She’s pointing to the weiner dogs ear!

Now look at the mandrake photo. A guy in a hat, pointing to the left with a stick and a weiner dog…crazy eh? I thought I was so onto something LOL!  Even the Egyptian kings were pictured with staffs aka sticks!

I thought I was so onto something LOL!  Even the Egyptian kings were pictured with staffs aka sticks!

Don’t forget, there’s also Skippy holding a rock very similar in shape and size to the Rosetta Stone on page 56 of TTOTC.


7. I thought about this for a long time and then I reread the chapters where it says to touch art, George Washington on the nose. Petroglyphs used to be called Rock “Art”……Page 111 of TTOTC “It’s an Indian” and “It’s an art”….and “cold to the touch”.  On page 112 “by touching it I could imagine, in some small way, that I was also part of that company.”  Page 113 “why I wanted students to touch George Washington….In doing so the painting (art) might provide another dimension (like a vision quest), one that is not available to the eyes (as in vision) alone.” Then I looked back at the picture of the petroglyph above that looks like the Rosetta Stone with the lady pointing with the stick and noticed that if you followed the crack on the Petroglyph down on the right hand side of the rock, just below and to the left of the lady’s right knee (with grass growing out of hole) on the pictures above there was a stone that was about 12″ tall and 6” wide that if it pulled out like a drawer would have a secret compartment (now I’m really imagining like Indiana Jones) where the treasure could fit on it’s side! Also the description of the Rosetta Stone by wikipedia says it has a “diagonal break at the bottom right of the stone”. The crack shadow also looks like a horizontal key shape.


8. That glyph, my blaze theory, is almost exactly 500 feet from the road!  Tea with Olga chapter “sacred old mountain” and “aspen groves” and “aromas of sage and juniper” and “chipmunks scurried all around” (tons of chipmunks along Torrey Creek) and in Flywater chapter “there were many moments to remember like the time I sat under a tree on the …River and watched the osprey dive for fish”.  There are many osprey nests on Torrey Creek  See the picture below and find a nest in a tree top and also in a rock cave. On page 125 “moose and a calf that just came out of the tall pines to feed on the water grasses downstream”, there are moose in Whiskey Basin….

Um yea…so this is where I drop the hunt and give up.  I went and searched this glyph and the surrounding area a few times with my family with no such luck finding Fenn’s cleverly concealed blaze nor chest.  The chest continues to elude discovery.  I think I’m an expert in locating most of the glyphs along Torrey Creek now – LOL.  I’ve got a lot of pictures of amazing petroglyphs on my phone and amazing memories that mark these last 3 years.

I’ve seen many, many animals and I’ve learned about the history of this area and of the Tukudeka people.  For this quest I am very thankful for Forrest’s clever puzzle poem, the thrill of the chase, for the blogs, the people who continue to dedicate themselves to this quest, all the people I’ve met en route, and for all my wonderful experiences.

So, after 3 years of searching and countless hours dedicated to the search, and since I couldn’t find the chest along Torrey Creek, at the Vision Quest site, I can finally come forth and admit that yes, this solve is most likely wrong.  So I’m throwing in my hat.  By typing up all of this, I hope in some small way, I can help contribute by perhaps tipping off someone to get them thinking of something new perhaps to find that darn chest for Forrest, so he has closure.

If you would like to chat about this particular treasure solve, email lana at busybeedogs dot com as I’m no longer dedicated to the blog in my decision to bow out of the search.  Thank you for taking time to read this and good luck in your “quest” to find Fenn’s Treasure.

– by Lana, blog handle, thrillseekeranimallover, over and out of the hunt as I’VE done it tired and now I’M weak.

Go Back to Part One

 

Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…

pink

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…

Treasure Quest…Part Two

Dubious Quest
Part 2 – The Books and the Poem
By Lana

Forrest Fenn University: Clues Found in Important Literature:
After reading TTOTC a few times, it becomes quite clear to me that Forrest’s soul has been bruised by not attending college.  He mentions both he and his own father thinking he’s not smart enough to attend.  He comments about praying for mediocre grades and not even getting those.  He mentions the pain of having to abruptly leave Texas A & M and crying under a tree in a pasture of cattle, a life altering moment.  Even though he prevails and is very successful in later life, with his father on the banco, complimenting him on his sale of an expensive art piece that is worth more than his father’s house, Forrest still seems to be hurt by, and tries to make up for, those lost college years by reading old literature in college curriculums.  Forrest sites numerous books he purchased at Borders under the chapter “Important Literature.”  He’s gently telling us there’s important works to be read as well as some clues perhaps.  This is kind of cool as you don’t need a bunch of money to find clues just head to the library and read the classics.

One big huge hint in the TTOTC book: In one of his interviews, Forrest said there are clues in the “chapters” of his book.  Chapters???  The first chapter of TTOTC is “Important Literature”.  It is these individual books he mentions where I gained the most clues to back up my poem solve.  In addition, in one interview with school aged children, a student asks how many clues are in the book (meaning a generic book, any book, and not specifically TTOTC, I think the generic word “book” means all the books mentioned in Important literature).  Forrest respond with something like “one, or no maybe two”.  This makes sense after you read all the books he mentions.  There may be one or two clues in each of the books he mentions in TTOTC.

Forrest says, TTOTC p133, “There are also other subtle clues sprinkled in the stories.” I believe Mr. Fenn is referring to the “stories” such as For Whom The Bells Toll, and The Great Gatsby, as mentioned in his TTOTC book and other books.  A definition of the word story is “history”.  I believe he would like us to go out and research on our own and find out about the past to educate us (without us having to go to college), to learn about the present.  I believe there are also other books with clues, Journal of a Trapper, Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Eric Sloane’s Eighty (which actually also refers to Robert Redford’s book).

Fenn wants to remember the history behind the heritage.  He doesn’t want the history to go meaningless and soon forgotten as time passes on, just like the soldiers tombstones by the waterfall in TTOTC. As soon as I felt this from reading TTOTC,  I searched for and thought I found my first clue with Robert Redford.  TOTC p11: “If Robert Redford had ever written anything he probably could have done it better than the guy who wrote that Gatsby book”.

Well actually, Robert Redford did indeed write one book titled The Outlaw Trail; A Journey Through Time and it’s right up Fenn’s alley with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, their routes, get-a-ways, hide outs, etc.  I think I found 2 hints in that book.  The book front panel reads “the key to the future may well lie in the past”. Forrest says “there are only a few in tight focus with a word that is “key”.  To me, that is another well said hint.  They Key or the Quest to the future may well lie in the past Vision Quests.

Robert Redford’s The Outlaw Trail Book Clue #1:
TTOTC p131-132, “So I wrote a poem containing 9 clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure:”

In Robert Redford’s Outlaw Trail book on p 152, “…we passed through Sheep Creek Canyon, a paradise that appears suddenly and looks like what one expects to find at the end of the rainbow.”

After reading Redford’s book, it’s clear that he has a vested interest in the history of the past, just like Fenn.  Redford speaks of knowledge going extinct as the people who once knew the information grow old and pass away.  Redford’s way of keeping this knowledge alive is his Outlaw Trail book.  Forrest’s way is through his treasure hunt. Kindred spirits I feel, the two of them.

In these quotes, both Fenn and Redford are referring to the end of a rainbow.  Redford pairs the end of the rainbow with “Sheep Creek Canyon.”  My interpretation of his Sheep Creek Canyon that Fenn is possibly revealing in this clue, is the largest concentration of bighorn sheep in the US resides in Whiskey Basin, along Torrey Creek, in Dubois, WY.

The Wind River is rich in history.  Butch Cassidy owned a horse ranch in Dubois (pronounced dewboyce) and went to Welty’s general goods store, a historic building which is still open to this day. Bridger passed through here.  There were mountain men rendezvous in this Wind River area, Russell Osborne also passed through here, and more.

Getting specific to my location now:

Near Dubois, there are 2 “warm” creeks that “halt” or slow down and change direction as they flow into the Wind River, hence warm waters, plural.

1. Warm Springs Creek, near DuNoir
2. Little Warm Springs Creek, in Dubois, across from the KOA

Remember the chapter No Place for Biddies?  On page 20 it reads: “the tall one was the best excuse I can think of for zero population growth.”  So too, was Dubois, as in ten years the population climbed a remarkable 9 people!  Population 971 at 2010 census and just a mere 962 at the 2000 census. Wyoming as a state hasn’t grown much either. Is Forrest hinting to a place where there is zero population growth?  Perhaps…

Catcher in the Rye Clue: p 12 of TTOC Fenn says, “I found the area I was looking for and pulled out “Catcher in the Rye.” Beginning of Chapter 2, p10 which is in the beginning of the book Salinger writes…”he showed us this beat-up old Navajo blanket…bought off some Indian in Yellowstone Park.”  This totally stood out to me, and upon first impression I thought he was directing you to Yellowstone Park, but no, he isn’t.  He’s saying “some Indian in Yellowstone Park.”  The Shoshone Tukudeka were known to be the majority inhabitants of Yellowstone, not the Navajo.  That was just a red herring using that tribe.  The Crow were in Yellowstone too, but not like the Tukudeka.  In the book “Journal of a Trapper”, Russel Osborn refers to seeing the Sheepeaters in Yellowstone and they were well dressed and had beautifully crafted bows made of sheep horn.  So the Sheepeaters specifically, were the primary inhabitants of the park.

Fenn took this book out of the trash and back on his shelf.  I thought that Fenn was telling us that book was important.

Hopalong Cassidy is mentioned in TTOTC.  Hopalong Cassidy is also mentioned at the end of the Great Gatsby.  Coincidence?  No not when it’s mentioned twice.  That’s a clue!  He wants us to look up something about Hopalong Cassidy!  I looked up the episodes that aired on TV and there’s one called Hills of Old Wyoming that was made April 16, 1937.  The stamp on the chapter that mentions Hopalong Cassidy is April 15, 1936.  Exactly a year and a day apart.  In the Hills of Old Wyoming film it mentions, an Indian Reservation in Wyoming.  There is only one reservation in Wyoming for the Shoshone Tukudeka, The Wind River Indian Reservation.

More importantly, In the first thick, Hopalong Cassidy book by Clarence Mulford, there are a couple references to the Wind River, ‘Ol Wind River Country, one of the mountain ranges in Dubois, WY.  In Journal of a trapper, the Wind River is referred to on numerous occasions.  In Lewis and Clark, they also mention Dubois, it’s in another state, not Wyoming, but hey, it’s mentioned, and you have to know your locations in further detail to figure that out.

In the For Whom the Bell Tolls book, on page 3, “I would like to have it hidden in utmost security at a distance no greater than half an hour from the bridge, if that is possible.”  There is a bridge on Torrey Creek to get to Ring Lake Ranch.  There’s actually a couple bridges.  “That is simple, the old man said.  But now we must climb a little to get there” in other words, up the mountain. “He leaned over and put the pack onto his shoulders.” and “How do we go?”  “We climb”…bending under the weight of the packs, sweating, they climbed steadily in the pine forest that covered the mountainside.”  This sounds like Fenn climbing with his backpack full of treasure and box.  There’s also on page 2 “You cannot see the bridge from here”, “No, said the old man”.  So maybe you can’t see the bridge from the treasure location.

Ok, I believe I found one more huge clue that I only found after BOTG.  It is in A Farewell to Arms which Forrest mentions in TTOTC as a description, but incorrectly labels the description of the story with the title For Whom The Bell Tolls.  He describes For Whom The Bell Tolls as an ambulance driver in love with a nurse, but this is not that book, it’s A Farewell to Arms.
In the book there are several references to posts.  Weird?!  Fenn it too sharp for this to be a mistake.  It’s a hint.  On page 14, “That day I visited the posts in the mountains and was back in town late in the afternoon”.  Didn’t Forrest hide the treasure in an afternoon?  Posts?  There are several mentions of “parking below the posts” in this book. Did you know that there are posts on the mountainside denoting the location of most of the petroglyphs as markers to their location?  What?!  Yep!  The only way you would know that is if you had boots on the ground.  I snapped a picture of a post near Torrey Creek that marks a petroglyph area.  There are also a few telephone posts. On page 2 of For Whom the Bell Tolls “Where is the next post?  Below the bridge.”  OMG coincidence?! I tended to think Fenn pointed us to this book on purpose.

Flywater book, the old version refers to Warm Springs Creek several times, one that’s in Idaho.  The new version of the book mentions the Wind River.  Put the two together and there is a Warm Springs Creek on the Wind River.

Now Let’s get to THE POEM!

Begin it where warm waters halt (#1)
There are two Warm Spring Creeks that empty into the Wind River in Dubois.  Where they enter the Wind River their warm waters “halt” or slow down and change course or direction.  The Warm Springs Creek that is the most DOWNRIVER empties into the Wind River by the KOA in Dubois. That is my starting spot, the KOA in Dubois.  Mile zero.

And take it in the canyon down, (#2)
Go down the Wind River canyon, downstream, literally which is East slightly South.
Not far, but too far to walk. (#3) (drive)
In his book TFTW, Forrest says 10 miles is too far to walk.  The distance where the Little Warm Spring Creek at the KOA in Dubois meets the Wind River until you drive to the HOB on government owned land (Fish and Game), which is directly in the middle of Ring and Trail Lakes (south) on Torrey Creek at the location of the petroglyphs is about 9.6 miles, so just under 10 miles.

Put in below the home of Brown.
“Put in”, reminds me of putting in boat.  Right at this location at the middle of Ring Lake on the flat road, there is indeed a boat launch!  There’s actually about 3 boat launches.  So park your car there and “put in” time and effort!

    I believe the HOB to be the brown skinned Sheepeaters.  The word Brown is capitalized which means it could be a personal, proper noun.  In the book, For Whom the Bells Toll, JD Salinger refers to a brown skinned character numerous times in the same paragraph, so many times in such a small area on the page, that it stood out to me like beacon.   Page 10, top.

There was a large ancient Sheepeater camp recently discovered  by Rich Adams somewhere upstream on Torrey Creek at elevation 11,000 feet called High Rise Village.  This might be the “home of Brown”. Or maybe the petroglyph site is HOB.  I went with the petroglyphs as it fits my Quest theme.

From here it’s no place for the meek, (#5)
In the Hopalong Cassidy book, there is reference to Mary Meeker.  She was Hopalong’s love interest.  She was caught during a cowboy fight and twice it mentioned that “it was no place for her” up on the mountain side.  Coincidence?  Not sure, but it goes with my theory that you have to leave the creek after you put in and go up the mountain side.  In addition, Page 128 of TTOTC “I faced an uphill battle”….”looking for answers”.

The end is ever drawing nigh; (#6)
The boundary/end of the Fish and Game land is right here.  There’s a fence at the head of Ring Lake, traveling west from the road, that marks the boundary.  Start here, near the boat ramp and travel up the hillside.  The glyphs are also on rocks that are not feasible to move and many are about 500’ from the road AND they have lasted for more than 3000 years! Perfect for a blaze!  The end is ever drawing nigh!  Woot woot!

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,(#7)
Don’t go up the creek.

Just heavy loads and water high.
Previously dismissed in Part 1: Heavy loads could refer to the big boulders deposited along the moraine and creek as the ancient glacier melted and/or his heavy treasure. Water high either just refers to water upstream that’s at a higher elevation or it also has spiritual connotation.  Some of the Tukudeka spirits are water spirits or deities.

By Lana
Go to Part Three 

Armchair Treasure Hunts…

SEPTEMBER 2018

Discover a world of Hidden Treasures in Armchair Treasure Hunts by Jenny Kile. Jenny manages the blog, Mysterious Writings, about games, mysteries and treasure hunts. She also publishes answers to searchers burning questions by Forrest Fenn and other Forrest related important information.

Inside Jenny’s book you will be introduced to over twenty different quests for hidden treasure. Some have been solved, but others wait to be solved, and you could be the one to find their treasures!

The foreword of Armchair Treasure Hunts is written by Forrest Fenn. Does he offer a clue for finding his million dollar chest of gold hidden somewhere north of Santa Fe within those words? If not there, maybe he does on the last page of the book. He generously provided a special note to searchers of The Thrill of the Chase to end the book. But it’s in code. Can you solve it and discover what he says?
The book is $25 and is available on Amazon…
Look HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure Quest…Part One

Treasure Quest
Part 1 – The Keyword, Theme and the Poem
By Lana

In order to understand where I believed the treasure was hidden, one must first learn of the Shoshone Tukudeka (Sheepeaters also found spelled as Tukadika and Tukudika).  These are the American Indians who inhabited the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and beyond.  More specifically, you must learn of their Vision Quests. After I try to convince you of my theme, I’ll then attempt to marry the information to the poem, “the book” and the map.

This solve, I believe, answers all the ATF quotes from Fenn’s interviews.  I can’t find one example where it doesn’t fit.

I believe Forrest has referenced Vision Quests several times in his poem. It is for these many references that I chose “Quest” as my keyword and theme of the poem.  As you read the following, take a pen and paper and see if you can spot the similarities in Fenn’s poem.  How many did you get?  Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve found?

From the four book sources mentioned below, I gathered that a Vision Quest for the Shoshone is a religious journey especially for shamen but often for brave young men, and women who went alone to connect with the spirits in search of power and/or answers. First, the participant would usually go alone and bathe in a stream or river, then often paint themselves with red pigment and sit in cedar smoke.  Next, the seeker often sat with his/her back to the rocks, perhaps with a fire, facing the river or lake, typically looking in an Eastern direction.  Once there in front of the rocks, the Tukudeka would then fast and sleep, wrapped in a blanket for one or several days awaiting a visit/vision from the spirits.

It is said that the spirit creatures could be heard pecking on the rocks, but when a visitor arrived, the spirits quickly stopped and left.  During the Vision Quest, the seeker was visited from one of these little spirit people who led them on a journey directly into the surfaces of the rock through cracks in the rocks surfaces, holes or crevices that seemed impassable.  This is why some of the petroglyphs have people’s/shamen’s arms and legs disappearing into rock cracks.  Once inside the rock spirit world, the brave vision seeker would meet other creatures that seemed to be an animal but then composed of both animal and human parts such as an owl with human arms.  These part animal, part humans are otherwise known as anthropomorphs.

During the vision, other odd, strange forms were encountered.  This is when the vision or the power and answers were made available to the participant. Alone, and supposedly inside the confines of the rocks, the brave seeker would have to fend for him/her self in this unfamiliar, strange, frightening, spirit world.  When the Vision Quest was over and the power/answers were gained, the seeker would return through the rocks, and begin creating a petroglyph.  This drawing served to record the memory of the journey.  Some of the petroglyphs I continue to refer to throughout, were incised upwards of 3,000 years ago.  Usually there was no talk of the VQ to other people, the details of a Vision Quest were kept a secret.

Key Word and Theme: “Quest” as in Vision Quest and from Fenn’s poem “your quest to cease” and all references to the word “it” I believe refer to the quest or the journey.    I have outlined the similarities of VQ’s to Forrest’s poem below.

The information on the Vision Quests was taken from several books:
Mountain Spirit, The Sheep Eater Indians of Yellowstone by Lawrence Lowendorf and Nancy Medaris Stone
Ancient Visions Petroglyphs of the Wind River and Bighorn Country by Julie Frances and Lawrence Lowendorf
Plains Indian Rock Art by James Keyser and Michael Klassen
Crow Rock Art in the Bighorn Basin: Petroglyphs at No Water, WY, by James Keyser and George Poetschat.

TTOTC page 145, Forrest:  “Now as I look back with the vision…” Ha!  Vision Quest!
References of a possible Vision Quest in Forrest’s Poem:

As I have gone alone in there (Forrest by himself alone in the VQ) TTOTC page 124 “Most are conjured up by the reverential spirits and are reserved for times when we happen upon the solitude of just ourselves”.

I can keep my secret where (usually VQ info is kept a secret but images are recorded as glyphs, drawings on rocks)

Hint of riches new and old (petroglyphs, experiences, memories, perhaps ff found artifacts, as well as a reference to the old and new riches in his treasure chest)

Begin IT and Take IT = IT refers to the Quest

Put in below the home of Brown
Dictionary definition of Brown = “dark, sun tanned skin”, capitalized as it relates to a proper noun referring to a nickname for the Shoshone people.  Definition of home = “a place of origin”, “one’s own country”, “in harmony with the surroundings”, “a family living together”, “a place where something normally or naturally lives or is located”, “was born and grew up”.  It is well documented that the Shoshone Tukudeka who have dark, sun tanned skin, lived in the glacier valley where the petroglyphs are located, named and described in further detail below, migrating up and down this glacier formed valley, following the resources of the plant life and wild game that each season offered.

Does this migration following resources sound like the definition of Geography? Geography Definition: the study of human activity as it affects and is affected by the physical features of the earth, including the distribution of populations and resources, and land use.

From here it’s no place for the meek
It = referring to the quest again.  Meek = lacking spirit and courage.  Participants in the VQ’s had to have courage and spirit and also believe in spirits or deities. In addition, perhaps the quest is taking us to a place that now requires a short hike uphill or it’s in a location that would discourage most meek, feeble, physically out of shape, seekers.

The end is ever drawing nigh
Ever: as in “always, at any time, increasingly, constantly”.  Drawing =  “an outline or sketch made by using a series of lines” just like a petroglyph.  Nigh = “coming closer, sure to happen” as well as “on the left side of a river when looking downstream.”  Put these all together and on the left side of the creek when looking downstream, from below the HOB, there’s petroglyph drawings along the creek side.

There is no paddle up your creek (don’t go up the creek, get out and search up from the creek on the hill side)  If Fenn would have used “up from your creek” it would be more obvious, however it would add another syllable to the line making the stanza not match the other prose.  I believe he meant this to be able to be deciphered both ways.  Up from your creek is perhaps where the treasure is located, and simply up your creek is where there is no paddle, or don’t bother going up there.

Just heavy loads and water high
Just: meaning ff is dismissing the heavy loads and water high as they are insignificant.  Heavy loads are the boulders dropped by the terminal moraine of the glacier. Water high simply means the water upstream, as it flows from a higher to lower elevation.  There is a waterfall upstream.  Definition of  High: “upwards in elevation, altitude or simply upriver”.  High also means “of a high reverence as in a religious figure a high priest or shaman”.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze
Wise: a word associated with owls.  Also, the below mentioned valley has the highest concentration of owl human anthropomorphic petroglyphs in the world. Wise is a word associated with being smart from former knowledge. Found – “looking among more than just one” (there’s more than a few petroglyphs), also to find as in to find your answers as you see your vision. This sentence is past tense making me believe you can figure out the blaze before hitting the trail.

Your quest to cease (Yay!  My keyword that I am in tight focus with!)

But tarry scant with marvel gaze
Tarry Scant: don’t stay long there may be others nearby or it’s in a kinds of sketchy location. Marvel Gaze as in use your eyes to see (as in vision) as well as drooling over the treasure.

Go in peace
After you have found your answers and power by gaining insight from the spirits on the quest.

So why is it that I must go
Forrest is perhaps questioning and seeking answers to questions about his life on his Vision Quest.

The answers I already know
He’s already had the vision and is satisfied with life’s answers.

I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak
After fasting for several days as if on a VQ, he’s weak.  He’s maybe also weak from climbing up to secret the treasure and weak from the cancer strain.  The type of sandstone that is in this valley is Tensleep and if I were tired it would make me want to go to sleep, to Tensleep.

So hear me all and listen good,
Listen to the spirits pecking the petroglyphs, or the ring sound of Ring Lake and listen to what he has to say next in the poem.

Your effort will be worth the cold
Cold from low body heat from bathing in the cold lakes and only having a blanket. A lack of normal human emotion or friendliness from the spirits.  Also cold means “far off the mark” which represents all former attempts to solve the poem. He also needed a word to rhyme with gold and this one fits the bill more than any other rhyming word.

If you are brave and in the wood
I believe he is really emphasizing this part by saying “hear me all and listed good” .  Brave like an indian warrior seeking a VQ despite meeting unknown spirits.  The style of petroglyphs, with their unique interior lines is “Dinwoody” tradition, which could be considered a form of being “in the wood”.

Ok, I hope I provided enough to convince you on the Quest, particularly, Vision Quest theme.  So how did I come up with my location?  Well, since ff uses “wise” and also “in the wood” I took that as an owl and Dinwoody.  Wise can also mean like a shaman on a VQ.  If you look at all the vision quest sites of the Shoshone where there are glyphs/drawings the greatest concentrations of owl glyphs at above 5K feet, they are along Torrey Creek, near the quaint old west town of Dubois, WY.  Some are by Dinwoody Lake but that is on reservation land, so that rules that out as it’s not publicly owned.  Lander has a few glyphs but not particularly ones of owls.  There are also some near Thermopolis, but I don’t feel all the pieces fit. So now I’ve got my location for Torrey Creek glyphs near Ring and Trail Lakes near the town of Dubois, a french word, when translated means “in the wood”.

By Lana
Go to Part Two 

A Bear Trap Canyon Solve…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2018

By Idle Dreamer

Bear Trap Canyon isn’t a new solve area and will continue to get Fenn Searchers drawn to it until the chest is found.  I became interested in the area after making two BOTG trips into the Cody area (the area around Mummy Cave including the UXU Ranch).  The proximity to a lake, a canyon road that you can only gain access from one direction, and the possibility I was on to a new take on that area got me excited.

Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt
The Madison’s 50 mile riffle ends at Ennis Lake and the lake itself is always warm until it freezes over completely in the winter.  This made the lake a literal WWWH’s in my eyes (and no doubt many others).  At the North East end of the lake is the entrance to Bear Trap Canyon where you cross a bridge that always seemed to have at least a couple people fishing who gave a warm wave as you crossed.

Take It In The Canyon Down, Not Far, But Too Far To Walk.
This is where I felt I was on to something new.  The previous solves to this area all went down by the dam and didn’t seem to stop by the first parking area (Solved the first two and went right passed the other seven).  The distance to this parking area is only ½ mile, but is also the same distance that Forrest ran to the Katy railroad tracks.  Plus, I have always read that line with the extension “…far to walk if carrying a heavy chest”.  Thus, keeping the poem in context with the goal, “Put in below the home of Brown” became put in below the hiding spot of the brown chest.  Which would make it hard for people to solve because, I assumed, most attempted to put a location to the Home of Brown instead of just the “put in” and even if you noted the right “put in” if you labeled the Home of Brown as a location you would be technically incorrect.  Plus, Forrest has stated that if he told you where the HOB was you could just go get the treasure.  At least this logic worked for me at the time.

Put In Below The Home Of Brown
The Put In for me was the parking lot for Trail Creek Trail.  I immediately liked it because of the two omegas and the redundancy of “trail” in the name.  The Trail Creek itself follows a large draw up which I felt could reflect on “Drawing Nigh” but the trail itself doesn’t immediately follow the draw.

From There It’s No Place For The Meek
The trail starts with a series of switch backs where you gain a large amount of vertical elevation.  A website on Cowboy Heaven describes this as “Not for Couch Potatoes” which really resonated with that line in the poem as couch potatoes could be considered meek and this hike wasn’t for them.

The End Is Ever Drawing Nigh;
When you reach the top of the switch backs you start to go into the draw and get drawn to the left.  There are a few interesting things as you go including large quartz deposits that shine brightly in the afternoon sun.  They are also large enough, and bright enough, that you can see them on Google Earth.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t at the right line in the poem (though I did check that area without luck) so this solve doesn’t cover that in any more detail.

There’ll Be No Paddle Up Your Creek
This is where I really started to get excited about the solve.  As you get drawn to the left you reach a point where you must cross Trail creek.  If you read the signs where you park, it warns about private property ahead and to stay on the trail.  Before going I made to sure to note the boundaries (Forrest has noted that private property rights are important – MIJ) and the spot you cross the creek is private property.  Thus, going up the creek would get you in trouble and reflects the concept of “up a creek without a paddle”.  The trail itself switches back and goes up the other side of the draw.  This reminded me of TTOTC (p.62) and “If we don’t change course soon we’ll end up where we’re going” stated by Donnie.  Which made me feel like if I didn’t change course I would end up where I started (Circular logic).  Which also reminded me of Forrest mentioning T.S. Eliot and arriving where you started and to know the place for the first time.  I felt that this was a sign that when you got to the top of the other side you weren’t supposed to follow the trail (which headed back towards the private property and on to Cowboy Heaven).

Just Heavy Loads and Water High
This is where I started to run into trouble with my logic.  As I was headed back I reached several large rock areas (heavy loads) where, if standing on them, I could see Ennis Lake (water high that Forrest could toss a bike into).  I was okay with those but the blaze wasn’t forthcoming.  The area itself was filled with sage brush and pine trees and giant boulders that Skippy would consider as rocks.  There was even an old campfire ring, thousands of great hiding places, and plenty of bones to find (I had my bear spray on belt).  No blaze could be found and I reached a large outcropping that overlooked the parking area where I started.

Wise and Blaze

This got me thinking about the rocks across the Madison by the parking area.  The one rock feature that stood out looked like a Sphinx to me (which I felt I was on a Sphinx’s riddle with this solve).  What if that was the blaze and the rock outcropping was where you were supposed to be wise and realize you had seen the blaze when you arrived but had to see it from the correct location.  This rock outcropping was directly across the river (and road) from the Sphinx.

The photos are from the rock outcropping which is wonderfully flat and easy to access (I didn’t feel unsafe being there).  I then looked quickly down and about 10 feet below was another flat area of rock.  This reminded me of the Dizzy Dean story and I could see people at the parking area, but they didn’t notice me at all.  There was only one way to get to that area and it was through a small channel that I barely squeezed through.  The spot was everything I could imagine as it was full of hiding spots and I was surrounded by wood.  The views were amazing but regrettably there was no treasure that I could find.

I’ve Done It Tired, And Now I’m Weak
After that I was finally ready to eliminate the solve (30 hours of BOTG in total) and take a break from the chase.  I can honestly say that area was amazing and when you go off trail it feels like the minute hand on my watch sped up as hours would pass without my knowledge.  There are a lot of interesting spots in that area including a 10-foot waterfall that isn’t easy to find, a spot filled with old tin cans and old glass, and sadly a dead horse skeleton in an area of moss and wet quartz that made the area sparkle brightly from the sun.  My son named the horse Jimmy, so if you find Jimmy, make sure to pay your respects.

by Idle Dreamer

 

 

 

 

 

Odds n Ends About Fenn’s Treasure Hunt…Part Sixty-Five

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Comments are now closed on this page. To continue the conversation please go to the newest 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…

A Small Scale Solve…

August 31st
I am on my way to YNP. Actually, I am on my way to Missouri via Yellowstone. I wanted to try my hand at a small scale solve…where the theory is that all the clues are actually quite near each other. Working off the idea that others identified the first two clues and then went right past the other seven. I am thinking, of course, that perhaps they went right by the other seven because they assumed the third clue was farther away and while they were headed NFBTFTW they went right by the other seven.

I only have a few hours in the YNP area this leg of the trip so I can’t spend much time there. But I am excited about trying this out. Not that I have a complete solution…I am stuck right now at the same place I am always stuck in my solutions…the blaze…

I left Lummi Island late today…about 2pm and am in Pateros, WA at 7pm on the wide Columbia…River of the West. As I crossed the Cascades I could see smoke in the Methow Valley and when I settled down into the small town of Winthrop on the east side of the range the local fairgrounds were home to what appeared to be hundreds of tents at what has become the Interagency Fire Command Post. A lot of firefighters in the area. I also passed the Heavy Equipment Staging Area for the fire fighters. I did not see any flames but plenty of smoke and I understand the apple and pear orchards that usually prosper from here to Yakima are in frightful condition because all the smoke for such an extended period has shaded the crop. Reports predict that this will be a very bad year for orchardists in the area and could spell the bitter end for some who cannot recover financially from such a loss.

I passed through dozens of little towns with flags waving smartly at half mast saluting Senator John McCain.

Here in Pateros the air is relatively clear and the river looks stately.

Looking across the Columbia from Pateros, WA about 7pm, August 31st, 2018. Not much smoke here.

I stopped by at a local bar for a burger this evening…
I generally like bar food and now that folks can’t smoke in bars they aren’t too bad…and this establishment had a patio surrounded by a tin fence and overgrown Wisteria…a cozy corner to indulge in bar food.

Typically, this weekend hosts a lot of rodeos but the smoke…or threat of smoke, has all but wiped out tourism in this area of the state. Few people from Seattle or Vancouver want to drive 300 miles through a smoky, baking landscape to attend… Maybe next year!

My intent is to post some pics and thoughts every night on my trip as I get closer and let you know how this small scale solution turns out…

Tomorrow I will post my half solution so you can chew on it for awhile and let me know where I went wrong..

-dal


September 1st

Stopped in Post Falls for lunch today. If you find yourself there and you like garlic…and you like Greek food…try out the White House Restaurant. When I say garlic…I mean GARLIC…these folks use it unsparingly…So much so that in the rest rooms they have a jug of mouthwash and small paper cups to use after dinner so your breath doesn’t kill your date. I had the lamb burger…and I have to admit that no vampires attacked me the rest of the day…

White House Restaurant in Post Falls, ID

Here’s my “so far” Small Scale Solution

WWWH – This is the spring at Ojo Caliente, which was Forrest’s favorite river bathing area when he was a kid old enough to ride his bike there. 

Why – Because the first stanza describes this place to me.

AS I HAVE GONE ALONE IN THERE – somewhere Forrest went alone

AND WITH MY TREASURES BOLD – he was naked when he bathed so his family jewels were not covered. And he was alone.

I CAN KEEP MY SECRET WHERE – He wrote the story “River Bathing is Best” about his visits to Ojo Caliente but it  was not published in TTOTC where other hints were published. Instead he kept the story on his web site (where it is still located) and published it in TFTW. I also believe this was a story he wrote for the West Yellowstone paper where it was first published. Because it wasn’t directly mentioned in TTOTC it could be described as a “secret” hint or clue.

AND HINT OF TREASURES NEW AND OLD – Inside the chest is new gold and old gold…new treasures and old treasures. This simply describes the chest and it’s contents very broadly.

BEGIN IT WWW HALT – The Ojo Caliente spring which halts in a small lake.

TAKE IT IN THE CANYON DOWN – The water has formed a miniature canyon as it runs out of the spring toward the Firehole River. 

NOT FAR, BUT TOO FAR TO WALK – How far to walk and for whom?…To an ant a mud puddle is an ocean.

Look HERE

And HERE

So follow the canyon like you are an ant…

PUT IN BELOW THE HOME OF BROWN – My home of brown is Ojo Caliente…it exudes a brown mineral that coats the rocks where it’s water flows. You can read more about the mechanics of these thermal events HERE

Below this HOB could mean a number of things but to me, for the purposes of this solution, I am going to be looking directly across the Firehole in Fountain Flats. A place known for wandering bison and elk and the occasional griz. There are many trails in the area but there are also large areas that are trailless. It is permissible to walk around in Fountain Flats. I have done it many times. It is an enchanted place for me. The combination of thermal geography and scalded and alkali terrain contribute to the strange landscape…and when you consider that you are treading in the cone of one of the worlds most volatile super volcanos…well…it’s no place for the meek. Sprinkled amid the flats are copses of pine trees, wildflowers, a variety of animals and a unique geography that makes this a fairly unusual area…even by YNP standards.

I know what you’re thinking…Is Dal using Ojo Caliente for both WWWH and for HOB? 

Not really…I am actually using the thermal event itself…the geyser where mineralized water comes up from forty miles below the surface as my HOB and for my WWWH I am using the small spring/pond/lake that forms around the geyser.

My HOB

My WWWH

THE END IS EVER DRAWING NIGH – This is always a tough line to grasp and I have to do some experimentation out there but it could mean that the end of Fountain Flats is to the left from my position on the far bank of the Firehole and facing into the flats.

THERE WILL BE NO PADDLE UP YOUR CREEK – There are many small rivulets from far away thermal events that drain the flats and run into the Firehole. I will explore the area for one that suits me…They are generally small…creek like…

They are too small for any kind of boat to paddle..

JUST HEAVY LOADS AND WATER HIGH – These creeks are filled with minerals from the thermal events they drain and at 6,500ft in elevation, they are certainly water high…

So that’s my plan and I am sticking to it!!

I plan to spend some time on Labor Day exploring the area…around OC to see what I can see…

No matter what I will have a good time walking around out there…I love that place…


September 2nd

Just north of the park tonight. On the lovely Madison. Might toss a Woolley Worm or Bearded Damsel around before it gets dark. Will head into Ojo Caliente area tomorrow.

No smoke up here but I understand they have had a lot of smoke and fires in the past days. The fire crews recently moved on to drier pastures.

I will drop Kathy off in West Yellowstone where she will search for “end of season” sales while I gaze at Ojo Caliente…”Men Who Stare at Geysers”…lol

Not my cabin


September 3rd

I spent the afternoon running through my solution…and adding to it as a few clues revealed themselves, while others remained hidden…In short…no, I did not find the box but as predicted, I had a great afternoon…weather could not have been better. Tomorrow I will post a more completed solution and some good photos showing why this is potentially a good location if someone can develop it more fully…based on what I found out there.

I also met up with Spallies and Diggin Gypsy and her husband John in West Yellowstone. We had dinner together and talked about Forrest and moose and laughed a lot…a good time was had by all…

A peaceful location complete with blaze, water high and heavy loads. No place for the meek yet not a dangerous location. A child could walk here with a little help from an adult.

Photo above is from Fountain Flats…This was along the creek I couldn’t paddle, with water high and even heavy loads….Additionally..it seemed like an excellent place for Forrest to lay in the grass under the shade of those trees, listen to the creek, watch the animals, smell the pines and relax after a hard day of bathing and fishing…By the way…no human trail in close proximity…remote but less than a 30minute walk from where he could have parked. So easy a child could get here…and surely not a dangerous location.


Tuesday, September 4th

Dal’s Revised Small Scale Solution 

Based on being in the area and following the clues as they unfolded.

The first stanza did not change from my original interpretation. I believe the first stanza gives me info about WWWH so that I can identify it.

In this case it is describing Ojo Caliente in Yellowstone National Park as written about by Forrest in both TFTW and on his blog in a story titled “River Bathing is Best”.

https://www.oldsantafetradingco.com/blog/river-bathing-is-best

The sign to Ojo Caliente from the Freight Road Trail on Fountain Flats

Ojo Caliente Spring and Geyser. The Geyser is the bubbly patch on the near side of the pond. It gets higher but I got tired of waiting.

To me there are all kinds of problems with OC as a place where warm waters halt…but I selected it because it seems to be an oft accepted WWWH location touted by many…and because it was one of the very first WWWH places identified…and because it has a history that goes back at least as far as when Forrest said that folks had identified the first two clues…and finally because I wanted to try out a small scale solution.

We know that WWWH is the first clue because Forrest said that. This means the first stanza is unlikely to be a clue…so what is it? For the purposes of this solution I have used it as a four line hint. It helps us find where the place to begin is located. The second stanza simply begins by telling us to start at the WWWH place. But it fails to give us any information that will help us identify where that place is located. In this solution the first stanza provides us with all the information we need to identify the location of WWWH…the place where we should start our journey. The first stanza is Forrest’s voice telling us about his experience while bathing at Ojo Caliente.

Ojo Caliente is made up of three elements:

1. A Geyser of hot water that is pumped out of the magma heated earth 

2. A spring or small pond formed where the hot water from the Geyser is held and cools a bit before heading downhill 

3. A channel where water travels from the holding pond to the Firehole River. 

From the spring we are told to take our journey in the canyon down…

Here is a pic of the channel…directly downstream from the spring at Ojo Caliente.

It’s a canyon. Pretend you’re an ant

The water leaves the spring and has more or less carved a channel in the mineral material nearby as it rushes to the Firehole River. This channel is about 30ft long. It starts at the spring and ends at the river. Many might argue about whether I can legitimately call this channel a canyon or simply a channel or something else. I won’t quibble. I have my doubts too…But the important thing here is to think like Forrest…not like Dal…and to Forrest…The person who said “To an ant a mud puddle is an ocean”…this might very well be a canyon. Additionally, I believe we are supposed to use our imagination…I mean look at that photo…That certainly has the characteristics of a canyon to me.

Not far but too far to walk… Here lies the first conundrum. How far is to far too walk…and to whom is it to far? Well..since our canyon is on a diminutive scale, perhaps our “to far” distance is also on a diminutive scale…maybe…but here’s another idea…If you tried to walk in that canyon of overly warm water it would be too slippery and to warm to get very far. You might get one step but by the second step you’d be sliding and your feet would be scalded. And look at that steep slope in the photo above…you’d be on your keister in no time if you put feet in that canyon…it is clearly too far to walk…because the water is too warm and the canyon is to slippery to walk…you might make it a short way but not the entire length. My imagination might be working overtime…but that’s all I’ve got…and Forrest accused me, on this very blog, of not having any imagination…

So practically any distance at all in that canyon is too far to walk…40ft would be impossible..in my opinion…

Put in below the home of Brown…I actually have a home of brown…I actually even have brown..ok…not a caps brown…but ..but…but…

Look at the pic below…

That’s pretty brown

That brown ooze is either bacteria or a mineral that comes out of the geyser…so the geyser is the home of that brown stuff…

Okay, okay…you don’t like that home of Brown…ok…try this one…

The Firehole River…It is definitely a home for Brown trout.

So if you put in BELOW the home of Brown…you could be putting in on the south side of the river..South is below on a map..North is at the top and South is at the bottom…

South is down

This is what the canyon down looks like from the other side of the Firehole river from Ojo Caliente…the South side…

The below side…the place to put in…

And no…you don’t have to swim across the river to get to the other side…because there is an excellent and convenient bridge across the river right next to Ojo Caliente…

Walk across on that bridge and along the river to the place below the home of Brown…

From there it’s no place for the meek…this is the caldera of a super volcano for crying out loud. If you are afraid of loud noises or being blown to smithereens this is no place for you.

The end is ever drawing neigh…to get to the treasure walk to the left along the river.

Til you get to the creek that you can’t paddle up…like this one in the pic below…

Fairy Creek which runs into the Firehole River a hundred feet or so from Ojo Caliente

This is Fairy Creek. It enters the river just a hundred feet or so from Ojo Caliente. At over 7,000ft it’s certainly water high and as you can see it has heavy loads of log and rock debris as well as minerals from various hot springs along it’s route.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze…lots of blazes on tree trunks from bison using them as back scratchers…but even for the sake of this solution I cannot believe that Forrest intended a mark on a live tree to be visible for a few hundred years…The blaze needs to be something more timeless like a stone carving or a rock cairn or a large white stripe of quartz in a basalt rock face…something that will stand out and be there for centuries.

I walk up the creek and keep my eyes open. Here is a marvel gaze of the area from up on a hill. The creek winds in and out of open places and various copses of trees.

The view from  a hill down onto an open area along Fairy Creek

There are many natural rock piles in the area. They often look like this.

Could a rock pile be a blaze?

And they have interesting and exciting cubby’s for hiding 10x10x5 bronze chests.

But which rock pile? There are hundreds of them.

None that I could see were any more likely than the next…no “F” anywhere…no large quartz rock standing out…no ancient petroglyphs…

So…that’s how the solution ended…same as most end for me…no blaze…stumped…

But it was fun…I had a ball…In all..the walk from where I parked to Ojo Caliente and then Fairy Creek and then the area with potential blazes…about a half hour…about a mile and a half. Very even terrain…unless you decide you must climb a hill to look at the view…

It took me longer because I was figuring things out..and taking pictures, climbing hills and having fun…

Here’s a Google satmap of the area.

I think I’m through with small scale solutions…


Tuesday September 18th

Visting Forrest

Our trip to MO went well and Kathy and I turned Ezmerelda west and headed for Santa Fe. On Monday I visited with Forrest. Willie was the first to greet me.

Forrest already had two guests when I arrived. Alex, a writer for the German edition of Playboy Magazine and Jason, a searcher who, with Sacha, will be taking Alex out on a search this week. I guess we’ll all have to read the German edition of Playboy to see if they found it.

Alex has some serious journalism under his belt. He excels at profiles. HERE is his web page. I’m looking forward to his story. I need to brush up on my German….

Jason, Alex and Forrest in Forrest’s office as Alex grabs a couple shots of Forrest for the story he is writing.

Jason is a First Sergeant in the Army. That makes him a senior non-commissioned officer with three up and three down and a diamond in the center.

Typically a First Sergeant would be in command of an entire company of infantry. I walked to the other side of the street when I saw those senior NCOs headed in my direction…Jason looks like the kind of guy who could find that chest…I don’t know where he’s looking but I hope it’s the wrong place 🙂 He worries me!!

Forrest was looking good. I think that was the first time I saw him wearing a shirt that wasn’t checkered. Alex interviewed him for a couple of hours while Jason and I listened intently for clues or hints…there weren’t any that I noticed…maybe Jason feels differently. You’ll have to ask…or read the story. I don’t know when it will be coming out.

Before we left Forrest posed with Kathy next to Ezmerelda wearing one of Kathy’s new acquisitions. It reminds me of the lodge hats that Fred and Barney used to wear on The Flintstones.

Forrest and Willie on the front porch saying goodbye to Jason and Alex.

It was great seeing Forrest. Nothing new to report. No bombshells. Just that a good time was had by all.


Thursday September 20th

Heading Home

 

I went by Ezy in the repair shop parking lot this morning. I had not made my decision yet about what to do with her…junk her or have them replace the motor…

Kathy said I should let Ezy wear the buffalo hat and take a pic…

I don’t know…looks like she’s smiling to me…

So I walked into the shop and told them I wanted them to put a new motor in her…

I feel so much better and I believe Ezy does too…

So we moved the last of the mountain of stuff Kathy collected at Yard Sales in Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri from Ezy to our brand new (to me), 2005 Ford Expedition…it was the only vehicle we could find that was big enough to haul all the stuff we had inside Ezy…and we left Cortez for Mesa Verde National Park…

What a place…800 years of settlement by folks who made houses and communities starting in pits about 550AD to the  amazing cliff dwellers around 1200AD and beyond…then…they simply disappeared…vanished!!…Pretty cool trick…

The park protects nearly 5000 archaeological sites. It was home to thousands of folks who planted corn, raised families and built communities all over the Mesa. The educational exhibits did a phenomenal job of increasing my understanding of how those folks lived.

The Mesa Loop Drive is a lovely self guided driving tour with interpretive signage and a museum and naturalists…excellent job…

Not all the communities at Mesa Verde were cliff dwellings. Below is an archaeological dig on a pit house. One of the oldest types of housing found in the park.

They even have dioramas of several of the pueblos and cliff dwellings that are great fun to lose yourself in…

I wonder if some archaeologist a thousand years from now is going to be looking at the foundation of my house and trying to understand what life must have been like back in the early 2000s?

The views in the park from the top of that Mesa are absolutely staggering…

And let us not forget that one of the prizes for finding the chest is a turquoise and silver bracelet made from beads found by Richard Wetherill one of the original investigators of Mesa Verde…even before it became a national park in 1906. Below is a pic of Richard Wetherill and party at their camp in the park.

The “new to me” Ford is running great. It has more gizmos than I know what to do with. Even air conditioning and adjustable peddle heights for the brake and accelerator…But get this…this thing gets about 12mpg…About half of what Ezy gets. When I get back to Cortez to pick up Ezy I’ll be selling this SUV back to the dealer where I bought it…

But I’m not complaining…I’m happy as a clam that Ezy is getting a new life and I have a reliable vehicle to drive back to Lummi Island…. and holds all our collected wonders 🙂

by dal