Sparrow’s Speculations Part Three…

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December 2019
by Sparrow

 

It has been quite a while since I posted my last article on Dal’s Blog (Sparrow’s Speculations 2).  

See Part 2 here if you are interested.

I mentioned in that article how I would share a “solve” in the future that I had put together a very long time ago when I first started the Chase. In fact, this solve was put together about two weeks after I first heard about the treasure hunt at the very end of July 2016.

One morning I came out to the computer and a large note was taped to it. It contained a poem and then instructions—many of which appear below. Here is the poem:

“I am the helpful ghost of Billy Barty

I have come to help you find the treasure.

I will not do this all alone,

But with the help of M.C. Escher”.

The ghost of Billy Barty was very insistent that the treasure was hidden in Wyoming. So much so that if I considered other states I would feel a kicking to my shins which was quite painful. Through time I began to realize that even a ghost can be wrong. I never did get to converse with Mr. Escher though he did promise one day to teach me how to make ends meet.  But this is the “solve” I put together back then:

As I studied the Poem, I noticed immediately the acrostic HORN (“Hint Of Riches New and Old”) on the fourth line of the poem.  Not too long after this, I also discovered another acrostic, “HORN”, which was on the 20th letter from the left and down.  The two “Horns” met and formed an “L” shape towards the left.

As I have gone alone in  tHere

And with my treasures  bOld

I can keep my secret wheRe

And Hint Of Riches New aNd old 

–note the “horn” downward on the 20th line, and the “Horn” from left to right on the fourth line of the poem.

I noticed also at that time that the Wind River and the Big Horn River in Wyoming are actually one continuous river with a “wedding of the waters” in the middle.  This continuous river forms an L shape towards the left when viewed from above on Google.

Click Here to See Map

Then I noticed that the sentence “Begin it where warm waters halt” had (26) letters in it.   This sentence was the first sentence just UNDER the first stanza.  The sentence has (26) letters and is right under the acrostic “HORN” in the 4th sentence.  The other “HORN” on the (20th) letter from left downward meets this sentence.  You then have a sentence with 26 letters just below an acrostic, which then connects with another acrostic on the 20th line.  I noticed that the Big Horn and Wind Rivers follow highway 20 south to highway 26 across towards the West:   20

BEGIN IT WHERE WARM WATERS HALT (26 LETTERS)   V  HWY 20 SOUTH CONNECTS WITH 26 WEST.

Click Here to See Map.

This was just too much of a coincidence for me. I immediately thought the treasure was in Wyoming.  Here was my understanding of the poem (at that time) after this discovery:

Begin it where warm waters halt”—-the amount of letters point to highway 26—and thus to THERMOPOLIS which is an ideal location for warm waters to halt. I had noticed while googling Thermopolis that the population was 3,009 people in 2010.  Forrest had spoken of the Chest lasting into the future, and had used the year 3009.  Again, I found this to be an amazing coincidence, as Forrest very likely had hidden the treasure in 2010.

And take it in the Canyon Down”—-follow highway 20 down to highway 26 junction.

Not far, but too far to walk”—a short drive.

Put in below the home of Brown”.   Fort Brown was once Fort Washakie. Highway 26 travels through this area. Perhaps “putting in” at Landers was a good idea since the Crow Reservation is located just northwest of there.

As you go west, you head into the Crow Reservation.  From there it’s no place for the meek”.  Of course, only “braves” would be in a Reservation, not the “meek”.

The End is ever drawing nigh”.  I never did completely figure it out, but I thought this might be an anagram of “Wind River Range” or something akin to that, as that Range draws closer and closer as you drive west.  It is continually nearing in the west as you drive towards it.

There’ll be no paddle up your creek”.  When you drive west on Highway 26 you eventually meet a small road, which heads “UP” or “North”.  It is East Fork Road:

Click Here to See Map

AnD leave my trove for all to seek

The Answer I already know

I’ve d One it tired and now I’m weak

So hea R me all and listen good

Your ef Fort will be worth the cold

If you ar E brave and in the wood   –note the progressive acrostic that spells “EF ROAD”.

You will not need a paddle here on East Fork Road—-you have to drive. 

Just Heavy Loads and Water High”—It may have been an old logging road so that would explain the “heavy loads”—and of course the “water high” is the Wind River.

If you’ve been wise and found the Blaze  Please notice that East Ford Road heads into (2) Y’s as it travels along. Could this be why Forrest mentions Yazzie Yarnell?

Click Here to See Map

Also, note that a lightning shaped feature of topography is located right at this area—-could this be “The Blaze”?

Click Here to See Map

“Look quickly down your quest to cease”

If we look quickly south from this “Blaze” we find a large “B” in the road.  Is the Treasure buried very close to this?  It’s also important to note that right where this lightning shaped blaze it there is a draw called “Harvey Draw”. Remember that Forrest actually won the bracelet from someone named “Harvey”. I would also point out that the name Harvey means “blazing”.

Click Here to See Map

Here is the area directly south of the “Blaze”—- there is a “B” in the road.

Click Here to See Map

But tarry scant with marvel gaze

Do not stay in the area very long. This road could have cross traffic, and people could be in the area.

Just take the chest and go in peace

South of “Harvey Draw” is another draw called “Pease Draw”—after we locate the chest should we exist in “Pease”?

So why is it that I should go” –so “Y” is where we should be headed. Note that “Wiggins Fork” forms a “Y”—and just north of this by the way is Gerry Spence’s Law School.  Another important consideration.

“And leave my trove for all to seek

The answers I already know

I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak”

References that the Treasure was not far from the car Forrest was driving.  He is old now and “weak” so he did not travel far when hiding the treasure.

So hear me all and listen good

Your effort will be worth the cold

This far north in Wyoming and at this altitude it is cold.  But it will be worth the effort to make the journey.

“If you are brave and in the wood

Please note that I believe where the treasure is hid is RIGHT on the border of the Crow Reservation, and the outskirts of DUBOIS, which, in French, means “the wood”.  You will thus be BOTH Brave and “in the wood” at the same time if you are on a border.

Though I did not have the exact coordinates, I believed the treasure to be just opposite of the letter B in the group of trees across the Wind River just to the West.  And of course by finding the treasure the last line of the poem applies “I give you title to the Gold”.

I do want to mention that I share this “solve” because I thought it was a good one at the time. I no longer believe that the Treasure is hidden in this location. But it does show the amount of coincidence that can lead to a “solve”. So many factors can “seem” to fall into place that we really begin to believe we have solved it. I certainly did at the time.

-Sparrow

 

 

 

 

 

Have a Forrest Fenn at Hansa Brewery…

hansa

Next time you’re in Cleveland stop by the Hansa Brewery and order up a glass of Forrest Fenn…

Not kidding…Look HERE!

The brewpub describes it as a “Happy Treasure with notes of grapefruit and pine. A blaze red appearance from the Carmel malts add a sweeter body to the balance. Brewed in the spirit of the west and adventure.”

I spoke with Boris who owns the European style brew pub and he told me they were out of it right this minute but it could come back…  Maybe we should all send Boris a note and request a new batch!!!

You can reach Boris at info@hansabrewery.com

Searchers in the tri-state area could have a meet-up in 2020 at the Hansa and do a few Forrest Fenn’s…

2717 Lorain Ave, in Cleveland…near the world famous Cuyahoga River…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Advice From Forrest…

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SUBMITTED NOVEMBER 21st, 2019
by Forrest

 

It is snowing in Santa Fe on top of 6” that I already have at my house. Willie is crazy out in it. Tomorrow will bring 25 degrees and my ducks are not looking forward to the pond freezing over.

That means it’s time to shut down all searching in the Rockies till next spring or summer. My advice is to get a cup of hot chocolate and watch a good Indiana Jones movie. f

 

 

 

Third Distinguished Flying Cross…

 

SUBMITTED November 11th, 2019
by DAL
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Distinguished Flying Cross

Some military awards are handed out like gold stars in an elementary grade school. All you have to do is show up and you can get one…The Good Conduct Medal comes to mind. The Distinguished Flying Cross is not such an award. The DFC is an award of valor presented to airmen who have distinguished themselves in aerial operations. Forrest earned more than one of these during his tour in Vietnam. This is about his third DFC.

dfc copy

The citation for his award reads:
Major Forrest B. Fenn distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial
flight as an F-100 pilot in the Delta Region of South Vietnam on 24 August 1968.

On that date, Major Fenn, using the call sign limit 52, was flying as wingman and pilot
in a flight of two F-100s on a close air support mission.The target was troops in
close contact and an unknown number of active automatic weapons positions When Limit
51 Flight arrived in the target area, a flight of two F-100s were bombing targets
which were in tree lines on both sides of a small canal. The friendlies had already
marked their positions with red smoke and were located 50, 150, and 200 meters from
the active enemy gun positions.

After one of the F-100 aircraft was hit with automate weapons fire , they departed for home. The forward air controller (FAC) , Andy 76, briefed limit 51 Flight on all aspects of the target including the heavy ground fire and the dangerous proximity of friendly forces.

Because it was not feasible to drop the four M-117 high drag bombs on the targets nearest the friendlies, Major Fenn was instructed by Andy 76 to move 150 meters east and hit the enemy firing from a position on the south side of the canal. The exact target position was described, marked with a white phosphorus rocket, and Major Fenn was cleared in. Although the automatic weapons fire continued from at least three positions, Major Fenn, with total disregard for his own personal safety, delivered two 750 pound bombs from 500 feet which landed precisely on the target destroying the automatic weapons position.

On his next two bomb passes, Major Fenn delivered two more 750 pound bombs with equally devastating results on an enemy location just across the canal south of the first target with all bombs expended, he was cleared to move west and strafe the enemy gun location 50 meters from the friendly forces. Because of the seriousness of the tactical situation on the ground, Major Fenn elected to concentrate his strafe in hopes of silencing the guns that were still active in several positions.

On his first strafe pass, with airspeed in excess of 510 knots, Major Fenn fired a burst of 350 rounds of 20MM high explosive incendiary. Andy 76 reported the fire to be “exactly on target.”

During the pull out Major Fenn felt his aircraft jolt with the impact of three hits in the fuselage. One bullet entered the engine accessory section, starting an oil fire which immediately filled the cockpit with smoke. The other two hits were sustained in the forward fuselage fuel tank causing two small holes and a hole “big enough to put a football in.

After declaring an emergency, Major Fenn turned his crippled F-1OO toward Binh Thuy
Air Base 4O miles to the south. A quick fuel check revealed 4200 pounds total
remaining. However, the forward fuselage tank, which feeds the engine, had lost over
1000 pounds in less than two minutes. Major Fenn initiated emergency procedures which
were successful in removing some of the smoke that was burning his eyes. The extreme
critical situation caused by fuel pouring overboard faster than the boost pumps could
replenish the fuel tank prompted Major Fenn to level his aircraft at 6000 feet and
throttle back to reduce fuel consumption.

With 33 miles remaining, the forward fuel tank had depleted to 400 pounds which is 200 pounds below emergency fuel. Although the runway was 4000 feet shorter than is normally required for F-100 operation and realizing that he could not use power required to establish a normal approach, Major Fenn elected to continue in an attempt to save the aircraft. With four miles still remaining, on a straight-in gliding approach, Major Fenn called “zero fuel,” and the engine flamed out approximately 1/4 mile from the end of the runway. He realized it would be extremely close, but decided to attempt a “dead stick” landing to save the F-100. Major Fenn landed in the first 200 feet of the runway and made an approach end engagement of the BAK-9 barrier to insure that he stayed on the short narrow run-way.

The professionalism exhibited by Major Fenn in an extreme emergency situation
not only dealt the hostile force a devastating blow, but also saved a valuable combat
aircraft. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major
Fenn reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

JOHN S. RIVERS, Lt Col, USAF
Commander

Forrest’s handwritten note added to the citation:
The Viet Cong blew up the F-100 that night. So much for saving the aircraft!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cutest Pet in the Known Universe Photo Contest…

 

November 2019

 

FROM 200 ENTRIES ON BOTH JENNY’S SITE AND DAL’S SITE…
THE WINNER IS:

IMG 1030

Posh is ready for the holidays!                       by Megan Waters

Megan will get a Forrest signed and doodled Fetchin book like the one pictured below…

Congratulations Megan and Posh!!!

And we have a couple of wonderful runner’s up…so close…so many great photos and pets…

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Bear says, “Forrest, can I be your co-pilot? ”                   by Courtney

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Baby Burk napping in my wooden search box; treasures sniffer.         By Damon H.

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Human says I’m too small to hunt this year        by Veronica

Hammy 1

Hammy is the strawberry in the milkshake of our family               by Alicea E.

 

 

 

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED TO NEW ENTRIES

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Willie in the Dish Washer                                                            by Forrest

This is a photo contest that everyone can enter. If you don’t actually own a pet, you could borrow one.

Submit your photo either here or on Jenny’s site. Give it a short caption and a by-line and our razor sharp team of judges will choose the winner..

We’ll post them up for everyone to appreciate as they come in. So the Entry Pages will be updated daily.

This contest is a joint effort between Jenny and Dal

 

    • RULES
      1. One submission per person. You can only submit one photo so please pick your best one.
      2. The photo you enter should be at least 1000 pixels wide so that it’s big enough for us to appreciate in all its glorious detail.
      3. No digital trickery please. You can crop your photo if you’d like, but other than that please don’t tamper with it. Other than cropping it should be the way your camera recorded it. This contest is about sharing a photo of your pet and is not about comparing photoshopping abilities.
      4. If a photo is not suitable for all eyes or appears to be an invasion of someone’s privacy it will not be posted or entered.

       

    • HOW TO ENTER
      1. Send your photo as an attachment in an email to:
         sixer13 at gmaildotcom or dal at lummifilmdotcom as a .jpg file
      2. Subject line of your email should be Photo Contest Entry
      3. Make sure you include a 10 word or less caption for your photo and a by-line. (for instance: “Willy in the Dish Washer” by Forrest. This caption has five words. The by-line is not counted as part of the caption.)
      4. Make sure your entry is sent by the contest closing date/time
      5. Make sure you submit your entry to EITHER Dal or Jenny…NOT BOTH

       

      CLOSING DATE
      The last date to submit your photo entry will be November 20, 2019. After midnight MST on November 20th we will no longer accept entries.

       

      PRIZES
      There will be one overall winner and one prize. The prize will be Forrest’s beautiful book, The Genius of Nicolai Fechin…

      fetchin book 1

      It will be signed and contain an original doodle by Forrest. 

      There may be other…unprized winners in categories such as biggest pet or smallest pet or funniest pet…

       

      JUDGES
      The Judges will be Jenny, Dal, Forrest and Willy
      Judging will take place over the 24hrs following the close of the contest.
      Judges will be looking for the photos that best represent the theme. 
      Two of the judges have a pet, two do not. 
      They will all bring their own unique perspective as to what photo best exemplifies the theme. 
      Their decision will be final and no bribe could possibly be large enough to sway their decision. However you are welcome to try 🙂
      Remember, this contest is about the photo but a great caption will certainly help.

       

      POSTING THE ENTRIES
      Jenny and Dal will post entries as soon as possible after receiving them. They will be made available for all to see on our blogs and remember there are two blogs where different photos are posted…You need to look at both sites to see all the entries. If you have questions about the contest please email Jenny or Dal at their respective emails posted above.

      Please view the entries on Jenny’s site HERE

      Entry Pages on Dal’s Blog:
      Page One 
      Page Two
      Page Three
      Page Four
      Page Five
      Page Six
      Page Seven
      Page Eight
      Page Nine
      Page Ten
      Page Eleven
      Page Twelve
      Page Thirteen

We Shall Not Cease…

abc 1

NOVEMBER 2019
by Brad

 

“We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Why did Forrest Fenn offer us the above quote? At first notion we readily accept that the quote was offered in reference to our search for his hidden treasure and the endless exploring to be endured in that specific pursuit. However, are we really to believe that Forrest Fenn held little regard for the true context of those words in the original author’s writing? 

Perhaps, in order to answer the above question, we need to examine more closely what it might actually be that we are being challenged to explore? No doubt we are being challenged to explore all of the wonders of the Rocky Mountains, there is no questioning this fact. But now let me suggest that we are also being challenged to explore two other equally important things, one of those being life itself, and the last and most important challenge being the exploration of ourselves. These last two, after all, is what T. S. Eliot was exploring when he penned the above words in his writing, Little Gidding. 

What was T. S. Eliot writing about? What was he referencing when he spoke about all of that exploration and what was to be discovered in the end? The end is the beginning, or so it was written, and not just by T. S. Eliot. In Forrest Fenn’s poem we are to begin where warm waters halt and we are to end our quest with the discovery of the blaze, brave and in the wood not coming until later. This is the full extent of our participation according to that poem, Fenn’s last directive being that we listen, and listen good. 

Why are we to listen good? Is it because he is making extra effort to draw out attention to what is really being said? Is it because he is suggesting to us that there is something more to be understood within his poem then what is presented on the surface? 

Below is a painting I did, a new pursuit I’ve recently taken up. I call this little painting, Willie & Me, and I think it sums up the true nature of Fenn’s poem pretty well because he’s done it tired and now he’s weak, and there is that contentment in this simple painting. 

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But there is more to this little painting then what one might see at first glance. The tree is a Juniper tree, a sacred tree at the heart of the Hopi culture. In the distance there is a river, there also exist the hint of a blaze, and there is also two soaring eagles. And there he comfortably stands, with Willie, a moment of absolute contentment.   

“…at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

If you have not read Little Gidding then perhaps you should as you just might discover more content within that writing that seems to resonate with Fenn’s poem and the chase. I know I did. And so I’ll continue to explore and to discover until one day I can say, in complete contentment, that I’ve also done it tiered and now I’m weak. 

With open mind, with great imagination, I’ll keep exploring and discovering. Next year I have Wyoming in my sights and I plan to take my camera, fly rod, and now also a canvas and easel. The thrill of the chase, maybe we’ve just got to embrace it for what it can be, the journey of a lifetime. 

Have I got it all figured out? For me, anyway, I have. Now then, I gotta go because I have a date with a paint brush…… 

Man Alone (Brad)  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art of the Chase…

pantbb

OCTOBER 2019
by Sacha

 

I had to share this with you.

sachapaintIt is a painting, made by Rick’s grandson, Eli. Eli is 6 years old.

This is Eli’s very first painting.  On the left is Rick, and on the right is Eli.  They are both holding shovels.  Between them is a tree.  Below the tree is a red box.  According to Eli, that is “the” treasure.

Jason and I were on a video call with Rick when Eli came into the room to share his first masterpiece with his papa.

It is amazing how children can view life in such simple terms.

I asked Rick if I can borrow Eli for my next BOTG. He has this thing figured out.

Sacha

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Rick added this new photo of Eli’s painting and the following comment about it:

When I took the picture Eli was signing the painting, I guess he wasn’t done signing it because he added the 6 to it after I took the picture for Sacha.


Sacha Johnston is a long time searcher.
She has a YouTube Channel devoted to the search.

Rick is IllinoisGho$t and has both a Blog and a YouTube Channel.

By the way…Eli is auctioning his one-of-a-kind artwork of eBay. Monies go directly to his college fund…Click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emailing Forrest?…Please be Considerate…

 

SUBMITTED OCTOBER 25th, 2019
by DAL

 

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I recently spent a couple of days with Forrest in Santa Fe. We had an opportunity to chat about many things. First off I want to say that Forrest is in good health but both his hearing and his vision are weakening. Additionally, Peggy is frail. but in good spirits. Forrest spends much of his time caring for and attending to Peggy. 

At this point in his life the 200 emails per day that searchers feel compelled to write him are, by and large, a distraction from more important duties. He uses a magnifying glass to read his email. As you can imagine, it takes a significant amount of time to get through email that way.

What Forrest wants…and needs…is to receive fewer emails, from you, from me…from searchers everywhere. Believe it when I say that there are some searchers who write Forrest several times each day…with nothing more than idle chit-chat. He told me that this has become quite tedious.

Other searchers send him their solutions, hoping for a response that will verify or nullify their ideas. Forrest will never answer such emails with remarks that could support or thwart any solution. To do so would be to give the sender information that no one else has. He refuses to do that. So, sending Forrest a solution is pointless.

If you have the chest in your possession, Forrest certainly wants to know that…you can remain anonymous. He has no desire to know who found it. If you find the chest there will be ample ways to prove that you have it without disclosing your identity and Forrest looks forward to that information.

I realize that it is difficult to believe that I am speaking about these things with any authority from Forrest. But Forrest asked me to post this note to everyone in hopes that we would all cut back on sending unimportant email…

In the past Forrest has announced twice that he would be cutting back on responses to email. Those announcements never affected the number of emails he received. This is a third attempt to cut down the number of emails he receives.

It would be easy for him to just hit the delete button on any email he does not want to read…but the problem is…the email he deletes without reading may be important…so he reads most…

The solution to this problem is not for Forrest to read fewer emails…but rather, for us to respect his wishes and send less…self edit…be aware of his need to spend less time at his computer.

I think we can do that…

Sincerely,

-dal

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Slippy Slidey Blazey Crazy Armchair Solve…

gardiner

October 2019
by JonPaul

I stumbled upon the poem from The Thrill of The Chase, and all-things-Forrest-Fenn, when the British press covered the story a couple of years ago.  I’ve always been fond of puzzles and riddles so naturally I found Forrest’s poem irresistible.  I have very much enjoyed my introduction to Yellowstone, to Wyoming and Montana, and to the colorful history of this unique, beautiful corner of the US.  Like many others I have studied the poem and formulated a solution.  And, like many others, it is not feasible for me to travel to Yellowstone to conduct a boots-on-the-ground exploration, so a walkthrough of my rationale will have to suffice, and hopefully it will be of use.  Should anyone use this solution and actually find the treasure, I trust they will give credit where credit is due.

I’ll be honest: I have not read TTOTC.  However, from reading the many blogs and resources online, I think the wider context of the hunt – and perhaps the most salient clue to be taken from the book – is that Forrest has a long and intimate knowledge of Yellowstone, especially the Western reaches, and the creeks and waterways therein that might be discovered by the avid and adventurous fly fisherperson.  I have also learned the following from various additional statements that Forrest has made:

I believe the 1st stanza basically sets the scene – Forrest’s secret place is somewhere he was able to visit openly, alone, in his 80’s, carrying 40lbs over 2 trips in a single afternoon (https://www.fftreasure.com/uncategorized/not-under-water-done-two-trips/).  The 2nd Stanza is where the real clues begin – let’s get to it!

‘Where warm waters halt’ is, I believe, where the Gardner River flows into the Yellowstone River at Gardiner.  There are a great many potential WWWH’s in and around Yellowstone, but Forrest does not capitalize ‘warm’ here which suggests it’s not Warm Spring Meadow, Warm Springs Creek, or similar (and we’ll come back to Forrest’s use of capitalization later).  There are too many hot springs scattered throughout Yellowstone for Forrest to be unnecessarily vague, so I believe he must be – surreptitiously – offering us something we can work with.  I believe that ‘warm’ is the key word here.  It’s a strange and specific term for Forrest to use: not cool, tepid or hot, not scalding or boiling, just ‘warm’.  We can guess from Forrest’s accounts of childhood that our WWWH could be, or could be linked to, a hot spring he used to know as a boy.  It turns out that in the 1800’s the Gardner River was known as Warm Spring Creek due to the hot springs at Boiling River (Historical Origin of Waterways Names in Yellowstone).  Forrest is, I believe, using the word ‘warm’ to specify this particular waterway, and the WWWH it points to, without being either too vague or too obvious.  Where does the Gardner River halt?  It halts where it meets and mixes with the cold water of the Yellowstone River.  The interesting thing is that if you’ve adopted Boiling River (a hot spring) as your WWWH, instead of the Gardner River, it doesn’t really matter – following the next 2 clues takes you ultimately to the same checkpoint.

‘Take it in the canyon down’ means, I believe, follow the Yellowstone River downriver (rather than following the Gardner Canyon south).  The Yellowstone River is not specifically named as a canyon at Gardiner, but I think it can apply in general terms and subsequent clues make a lot more sense with respect to the Yellowstone River.

‘The home of Brown’ is, I believe, the home of ‘Uncle’ Joe Brown – Joe Brown Creek.  This appears to be confirmed by ‘Put in’ which, at face value, is a straight reference to the boat ramp located here.  There are a great many potential HOBs (HsOB?) if we only consider brown the colour, but here we see an overt capitalization.  I don’t feel that Forrest, as a wordsmith, would want to sow unnecessary confusion by deliberately misusing standard grammar.  If it’s capitalised, I believe Forrest is signifying a person’s name, pure and simple.  Forrest did have names for all the local fish, but it appears that they were on first-name terms (https://dalneitzel.com/2018/05/04/not_in_yellowstone/).  And since WWWH is Gardiner in this solution, it’s not feasible for the correct Brown to be Ranger Brown or Grafton Tyler Brown.

‘No place for the meek’ is, I believe, Slip & Slide Creek, the mouth of which is located below (South) of the mouth of Joe Brown Creek.  Its name speaks for itself.  Now, I admit I was *sorely* tempted at this juncture to err towards Tom Miner Creek / Rock Creek, and an area that appears to satisfy the subsequent clues to a greater or lesser extent, but I think Forrest’s lack of capitalization for ‘meek’ precludes this interpretation.  Extending the logic from the previous clue, I think Forrest would have used ‘Meek’ if he wanted us to head to Tom Miner Basin per the legend of Joseph Meek.  Instead my solution continues on the north side of the river, south of Joe Brown Creek. . .‘The end is ever drawing nigh’ refers, I believe, to Sliding Mountain West, located just beyond the end (source) of Slip & Slide Creek.  I’ve read a lot of speculation about whether ‘nigh’ means left, and I believe it could, but there’s actually a bigger clue here.  We know that Forrest plays golf, and once dreamed of being a professional golfer (https://mysteriouswritings.com/six-questions-with-forrest-fenn-and-the-thrill-of-the-chase-treasure-hunt-double-charmed/).  He knows that the controlled versions of a Hook shot (which drifts left) and a Slice shot (which veers right) are called Draw and Fade.  This clue tells us, I believe, that the end of the correct creek is a location that is ever drifting left or, to use different language, sliding west.  In a wordplay triple-whammy, we also know that a ‘draw’ is the name given to a small stream flowing in a steep channel, and also means to bring forth water (eg; drawing a bath), both of which suggest that we’re following a real water-bearing creek and not a road or forest trail. . .

‘There’ll be no paddle up your creek’ is not just a play on the well-known saying ‘Up (the) creek without a paddle’.  It reiterates, I believe, something hinted at in the previous clues – we should be definitely following an actual waterway.  There are many creeks in Yellowstone that have a similarly-named creek road running alongside, but I think Forrest knows we’ll need to be ‘in there’ by now – on foot, and getting our walking boots muddy.  I believe that ‘no paddle’ simply refers to walking, but perhaps also implies that the correct creek is dry in part.

‘Heavy loads and water high’ is yet another clue that could point to several notable locations in this part of Yellowstone.  Heavy loads could refer to rocks, electricity, or the old railroad.  ‘Water high’ could refer to elevated creeks or lakes, or be an allusion to Hell.  From point-of-view of where we are in the poem and on the map (ascending Slip & Slide Creek) I believe this clue serves to frame and underline where we are and where we’re headed – towards the source of the creek.  I believe that ‘Heavy loads’ refers to Big Pine Creek over the ridge to the north, and ‘water high’ refers to the cluster of lakes near High Mountain to the south.  I believe we’re being guided in, like a plane coming to land – the poem lays out where we’re coming from, where we’re heading, and what stands either side as way markers.  I also believe, however, that we’re not meant to go right to end of the creek. . .

‘If you’ve been wise and found the blaze’ is, to my mind, the most difficult clue in the whole poem.  As Forrest has noted, a ‘blaze’ could be just about anything  (https://www.chasechat.com/archive/index.php?thread-5596.html).  Of course, it could just be a simple mark on a tree, as is traditional, but I suspect that’s too mundane for a wordsmith like Forrest.  I believed for a long time that the blaze was a shape to be traced on a map by following the locations described by the clues, and that the final shape (maybe an ‘X’ or an arrow) would point to the actual location of the chest.  I could never get this approach to work, however, because the clues and locations are sequential, not scattergun.  Forrest has hinted that we should ‘make all the lines cross in the right spot’ (https://www.reddit.com/r/FindingFennsGold/comments/amuhe4/anyone_drawing_lines_on_a_map/), but I believe this can be taken to mean that it’s simply a case of intersecting the lines he’s describing in the right places: the line from Gardiner to the Joe Brown Put-In; the subsequent line from the mouth of Slip & Slide Creek up towards Sliding Mountain West.  In this sense, I believe he really means ‘spots’, plural.  This would suggest that the crossing lines aren’t an ‘X’ marking the spot, but simply where one section of the path joins up with the next.

So, what IS the blaze?  Forrest hinted early on that identifying the blaze is meaningless without having already solved the preceding clues (https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/).  This is an important clue.  If someone was out hiking and stumbled randomly upon an incongruous sign, they might be tempted to root around underneath and subsequently find the treasure.  But Forrest doesn’t want that – it would render the preceding clues redundant – and he’s discounted the chance of anyone finding the treasure by accident (https://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/).  Consequently I believe that the blaze can’t simply be a sign out in the wilderness.  Instead, I think the blaze shows us when to look, as we move up the correct creek.  And how do we identify the blaze?  Forrest tells us, I believe.  He says we will already have been wise (past tense) and found it.  Wise, of course, means clever.  But we wouldn’t be in the correct creek already if we weren’t clever.  The word ‘-wise’ (like the similar ‘-wards’) also means to move in a direction, usually with respect to a circle: clockwise or anti-clockwise.  I believe Forrest is instructing us to turn.  But which way?  I don’t think it matters.  Forrest just wants us to turn around, which will enable us to find the blaze.  At this point I believe the blaze can only be a reference to the name of Shooting Star Mountain, which at 9665 feet would be visible in the southwest once you’ve reached the correct elevation up Slip & Slide Creek.

‘Look quickly down, your quest to cease’ tells us, I believe, that the chest is on, or set into, the ground at that spot – a point up Slip & Slide Creek where the peak of Shooting Star Mountain first comes into view behind you.  It’s not an exact science, which is why I believe Forrest has always maintained that a boots-on-the-ground search is necessary for the treasure to be found (https://www.reddit.com/r/FindingFennsGold/comments/bh9qsp/thinking_out_loud/).  The clues in the poem will put you to within a few meters of the treasure, but it’s up to you to scour the ground at your feet to find the chest itself.  The middle reaches of Slip & Slide Creek are no more than 3km from Route 89, which makes them accessible on foot from a vehicle parked near the Yankee Jim Picnic Area below.  A round trip would take about 2 hours, which would have allowed ample time for Forrest to make the journey twice in one afternoon.

Additional: Forrest has given a few cryptic quotes about the end of the search being somehow connected to the beginning, including a reference to a poem by TS Eliot (“moved with confidence” – The Hint of Riches – Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt).  I believe that this is a nod to the other link between Shooting Star Mountain and Slip & Slide Creek:  as far as I can tell, before a recent land exchange (https://billingsgazette.com/outdoors/land-exchange-opens-gardiner-basin-ranch-to-public/article_929ae536-bec4-58d3-983f-f9d9ed1f24db.html) the lower slope of Slip & Slide Creek was owned by the Shooting Star Ranch, which is located in the Cinnabar Basin between Shooting Star Mountain and the river.  In short, the right spot up Slip & Slide Creek is denoted by visibility of the mountain which lends its name to the ranch which recently owned the lower stretch of that same creek.  Full circle.  Not to mention that half of western Yellowstone would be visible from the higher portions of Slip & Slide Creek, giving searchers a fresh perspective on the road already travelled.

I can’t help but feel that the last 2 stanzas are essentially an extended outro, with ‘brave’, ‘in the wood’, and ‘cold’ underlining the need for searchers to go out in the field. ‘So hear me all and listed good’ could be a reference to the natural amphitheater formed by the curved ridge that surrounds Slip & Slide Creek (incorporating the peaks of Red Mountain, Sliding Mountain West, and High Mountain) but that feels a little too tenuous to me.  It’s more likely, I believe, that this is a nod to the famous letter written by Native American leader Chief Joseph (http://fennclues.com/hear-me-all-and-listen-good.html), along with ‘I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak’.  Forrest planned his hunt and wrote the poem when, like the Chief, he believed his days were truly numbered.

Well, there it is.  I can’t shake the conviction that my solution gets at least a few clues correct, but then I guess most people who have worked out a solution feel the same way.  If not, then it’s been both fun and informative, for which I thank Forrest most sincerely.  Best wishes!

JonPaul, UK

 

 

 

 

My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn Part Two…

blionk

Introduction: This is part 2 of my imaginary interview with Forrest Fenn. The words are all his, but I have selected and organized them in a manner that I feel best conveys the essence of his message. You can find my first imaginary interview on this page: https://dalneitzel.com/2019/06/08/imaginary_interview
– David Thalheimer
My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn, Part Two

I hid the treasure in a place that is not especially difficult to reach. There isn’t a human trail in very close proximity to where I hid the treasure. I made two trips from my car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon. I will say that I walked less than a few miles if that will help. People will be surprised when they find out where it is. Stop arm chairing that thing to death and get out in the trees where the box is, but before you go, look at the poem as if it were a map, because it is, and like any other map, it will show you where to go if you follow it’s directions. The clues will lead you to the treasure and, whether it’s buried or not, you can find it if you find the blaze as a result of starting with the first clue. That’s what you have to do.

I don’t know that anybody has told me the clues in the right order. I think part of the problem is, they don’t focus on the first clue. If you don’t know where the first clue is, you might as well stay at home because you’re not going to find the treasure chest. You can’t go out looking for the blaze and expect to find the treasure chest. There’s 10 billion blazes out there. Although many have tried, I doubt that anyone will find the blaze before they have figured out the first clue. So you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze. Google Earth cannot help with the last clue.

Searchers have routinely revealed where they think the treasure was hidden and walked me through the process that took them on that course. That’s how I know a few have identified the first two clues. Although others were at the starting point, I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem. Playing a hunch is not worth much in the search and those who start out by looking for the blaze, are wasting their time. Playing a hunch is nearly always fraught with disappointment, especially if the stakes are high. A searcher who guesses through life is destined to carry a thin wallet. And to many searchers I should also suggest that you take another look at your mistakes. The answers may not be nearly as complicated as you are making them.

I cannot tell you how many searchers have identified the first clue correctly, but certainly more than several. I cannot imagine anyone finding the treasure without first identifying the starting point, although many seem to be preoccupied with later clues. To me that’s just expensive folly. Searchers have come within about 200 feet. They figure the first two clues but they don’t get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest. I don’t know that anyone has been closer than 200 feet and I don’t think they have. No one is looking AT the right spot. You can’t have a ‘correct solve’ unless you can knowingly go to within several steps of the treasure chest. Otherwise you have a ‘general solve.’ A good solve is frequently lost in a poor execution.

What surprises me a little is that nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve. A hypothetical example of a “what if” might be, what if I was looking so far ahead that I neglected to notice what was beside me. It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Fresh eyes and new thinking might provoke a winning idea.

I think kids may have an advantage. Don’t expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. They’re more agile, they have more energy. Children have the greatest imagination because their thoughts run free. Why should a kid take a back seat in the treasure hunt? Bloggers have quoted me as saying that a child could walk up to the treasure. I don’t think that’s an accurate quote because a three year old girl would have a problem without some help. Remember, I was about 80 when I hid the chest, and had to make two trips.

Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. That poem was really written by an architect. Every word is placed in there strategically, and you can’t ignore any of the nouns in that poem. In each one of my books, I’ve made up words and I corrupt words. If everybody knows exactly what you’re saying, or what you mean, then who cares what the word is? And so that thought permeates, manifests itself in the poem. Well what does that word really mean? Does he mean what it says it means and so that adds, that puts a little dessert on top of the cake. But the poem is straightforward. There’s no tomfoolery in that poem. Try to simplify it if you can. That’s good advice. There is no substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps, unless it’s the desire to keep it simple.

All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. If a person reads the poem over and over and are able to decipher the first few clues in the poem, they can find the treasure chest. It may not be easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. I could go right straight to it. All that will be needed are the clues, some resolve, a little imagination. You just have to think the right things. Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. Emblazoned upon some of the bronze bells I’ve buried are the words, “Imagination is more important than knowlege.” If I had spelled that last word correctly it would not have had the profundity of meaning I wanted. To misspell the word emphasized my point that having knowledge is, in fact, not as important as being resourceful.

I said in my book that the solution will be difficult but not impossible. If it was easy anyone could do it. I feel fortunate that my poem said exactly what I wanted it to say. Hiding that treasure chest full of gold and jewels was fundamental to how I feel about living life to its stretched best, and it emphasizes my aversion to seeing anyone be a spectator to today’s opportunities. It was a special time of fulfillment for me and I can still sense now, the elation I felt then. It’s the only time I recall laughing out loud at myself. I have done only a few things in my life that were truly planned. Hiding the treasure chest is one of them. Whoever finds the treasure will mostly earn it with their imagination. And at the end, the one who finds the gold will not feel lucky, but instead, will ask himself, “what took me so long?”