Finding Forrest Fenn…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2016
by Jeremy G

 

Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not a writer-in fact I despise writing, typing, and reading- although I’m not a nazi either. The only reason that I’m doing this is to help others save their time, effort, and maybe a little of their hard earned money on their own hunt! A little about myself…My name is Jeremy G. I’m 38 years old, I was born and raised in Texas and I currently reside in Burleson, Tx. I guess I could be considered a redneck from Texas. I joined and served in the U.S. Army with an MOS of 13F, fire support specialist or forward observer, from 2000-2006. I was stationed in Germany, where I met my beautiful wife, for three and a half years and deployed to Iraq for fifteen months of that from May 2003-July 2004 then I was then assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the last year and a half of my enlistment. I then found employment with the union pacific railroad as a train crewman which is where I currently am employed.

In May 2015 I found a post from an old high school friend on Facebook about Forrest Fenn and his hidden treasure. I looked into it and thought to myself I can do this and I’d have a better chance of finding this treasure than winning the lottery! So I searched read and studied everything I could find on Fenn and his elusive treasure trove.

It didn’t take long, (maybe a week), for me to come up with my first solve which landed me searching in Angel-fire, New Mexico. I used the Vietnam veterans memorial there as the blaze and the overlook as the place to look quickly down from which the top of the blaze, I thought would align on the exact place on the mountain where I’d hoped I would find the chest hiding. That half assed solve only took me about a week to come up with but it sounded good enough for me to go check out though…(I’ve always loved the mountains) so we (my wife and 2 year old son and I) loaded up and went. It was kind of funny when I followed google earth in the direction from the lookout across the blaze and not too far in line with that I found a small pond with an interesting square shaped object below it that I had to check out! So we went there and there was a gate that was open so we drove on in and parked in some thick foliage in order to camouflage us from onlookers and nearby houses.

I walked alone down there to the pond and searched the area. What I’d found gave me chills! Just below the pond was an out flow box which was concrete surround with a wooden lid/cover that had a fish carved in it-I thought to my self that this was the home of Brown and another blaze and that if I looked quickly down I would find the treasure! image-1

No joy there and I searched the entire immediate area as well to no avail. It was a fun and quick trip though for all of us to break up the monotony of everyday life and just load up to go see the mountains…and for all of us this was a first time experience as treasure hunters and explorers!

It didn’t take long until I became consumed with the thrill of the chase and everything Forrest Fenn as I still am possessed with this hunt and don’t see any way to deliver myself from it until it is found…I then started searching google earth for a possible “home of Brown” in all four states in the search area. I then searched the nearby areas for other possible clues. I found Molly Brown’s museum in Denver, Colorado and followed it down the road to the nearby stream with waterfalls- I decided that couldn’t be it because Fenn said it could be there a 100 years from now or even a 1000 years from now so I started focusing on natural geological places instead which lead me to Brown’s lake near Glen, Montana along rock creek road(no paddle up your creek). the more I looked into it the better it fit! Now this is getting complicated because I’m gonna add pics and screenshots to help explain what got me focused on to this whole area!

This is one of the first things that I found in the area-it’s a trail(blaze) with hint of riches new and old (artifacts) wildlife and spectacular views(marvel gaze) its trailhead begins at Browns lake rock creek road(no paddle up your creek) and is too far to walk to the end at mono(alone) creek campground where only small campers are allowed and an added bonus is mention of the wise river!image-2image-3
Another of the first things that stood out to me in the poem was Hear me all and listen good and I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak which led me to Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces famous speech

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I visited the big hole battlefield and museum and noticed something else that fit with Fenn’s hidden treasure. In the museum they have a touch table with ancient artifacts that you are encouraged to touch and handle and I’ve personally never read Fenn’s book but have read into these other hints like this which come from his book and are discussed on the blogs.

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My second treasure hunting trip! First time to Montana! This trip I flew in and rented a 4×4 pickup and explored a large area for any botg leads! My 1st-4th trips to southwest Montana were all searches based on the same solve using Browns lake as the HOB and all incurred from May-August 2015.

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My marvel gaze the first morning at Browns lake

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Browns lake has it all- *no paddle up your creek=rock creek road and uphill creek trail *heavy loads=rock quarry * water high=lake agnes *wood=Birch, willow, branch *even rainbow lake=the end of his rainbow! Forrest even said he once walked 92 miles in TFTW so if TFTW=92 miles then I noticed that this home of Brown was exactly 92 miles from the Idaho-Montana state line along I-15 to exit 85 (Glen) then left(nigh) 7 miles to Browns lake for a total of 92 miles! I thought that this was enough to confirm that i had the right HOB! But theres even more in the nearby area to build my confidence such as-Bell mountain, Maverick mountain, ten mile road, ten mile lake, Kidd Montana, wise river, etc.

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image-9 Looks like a good clue to me!

image-10image-11 9 clues to solve this puzzle!
Another thing the poem lead me to was the Journals of Lewis and Clark a lot of the wording used in the poem are also used in these Journals plus Fenn said in a radio interview that Andrew Briggs was a bright fellow and had most of it all figured out…uh, maybe. I think the part he had most figured out was that it had a lot to do with Lewis and Clarks Corps of Discovery Expedition and Sacagawea and the Nez Perce and all of their history in that era. for example this is from the Journals of Lewis and Clark and has- look quickly down, marvel gaze and a waterfall as a blaze!

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My first trip I drove mostly around the entire area of interest looking for clues to narrow down my search area, pictured is the area where I drove, mostly around the beaverhead-deerlodge national forrest area.

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My second trip; I hiked to lake of the woods

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6 miles each way after not making it all the way to it on my first trip due to exhaustion and

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knee deep snow, which afterward, I knew I was in trouble and drove myself to the hospital in Dillon, Mt. to take on some much needed rest and a few bags of fluids- that’s another long story…I also thoroughly searched all over, in, around, above and below Browns lake because of the “from there the end is ever drawing nigh” line of the poem.

Later on, after my second trip, on my drive home, I was thinking to myself that you can’t pinpoint a hidden 10x10x5 chest just by searching random areas or places that kinda fit or line up with the words and clues in Fenn’s poem or even places that look peculiar from google earth…something was missing (besides the $2 million treasure). Then I was about 4 hours into my return trip and suddenly it hit me HOB is a large area including “Browns” lake, bridge, gulch, etc. and to put in below it or south of it…Well, below (south of) that area if you follow rock creek road (from there) along side railroad tracks and a bold creek (heavy loads and water high) it leads directly to lovers leap road (no place for the meek)(a place to throw himself or fling himself onto the chest) ,where, at that intersection atop a small hill just over 5000 ft lies the missing link! Clarks lookout state park in Dillon, Mt. A thrilling location nonetheless!

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notice the missing stop sign for southbound traffic!

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It’s a compass (blazoned) with 3 directions and 2 distances from where William Clark stood back in 1805. Clark also speaks of a “bold running stream 7 yards wide on the lard side just below a high point of limestone rocks” Bold as in (treasures bold)? Could this be Fenn’s treasured bold running stream to fish in? Lard side as in (Nigh or left)?

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I have found the blaze! I was overwhelmed with excitement! If I looked quickly down at the blaze with this information I could come up with an exact coordinates (precise location) projected out from the known point (compass=blaze). Now I just had to do some figuring and plotting not forgetting to convert these coordinates from magnetic to grid from 1805 when these coordinates were taken to get the proper declination as depicted on FF’s map in red letters with a picture of a compass!

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I did just that and have visited and searched this entire area thoroughly (including all places plotted to the corresponding times new and old) to no avail…and I promised my wife that I would not search there anymore after my fifth time to the search area so here it is for all to see my straightforward, apparently, not so perfect solve! The north direction that points towards browns lake has no distance, although, I did search the browns lake area along that azimuth. The beaverhead Rock coordinates was so promising because of FF’s comment “plan on a warm place to retreat to” or Sacagawea’s people’s summer retreat!

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And because a beavers head is brave and in the wood! But this plotted below 5000 feet in elevation,

Places that I found where warm water halts nearby this area:

1. Warm springs, Mt. just north of Glen also mention of Brown trout fishing nearby!

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2. continental divide,
3. this sign very near Clarks reservoir dam which leads to Clarks canyon and is higher in elevation (perfect for canyon down) but south of the blaze(Clarks lookout compass)!
4. Another place where warm water halts in many places in the Rockies is above the tree line where it stays frozen (permafrost) below ground year round due to the freezing temperatures at such high elevation. Also, I believe your effort will be worth the cold means that it’s hidden at a higher elevation with a marvel gaze or grand view…Fenn did say to dress warm too!

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This is just one of my searches/solves in the area I still have many more stories to tell and places to search in the rockies, but, like I mentioned earlier I don’t care much for writing/typing so this may be my first and last reveal!

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I know that it’s wet! Also cold and water high!

Below depicts heavy loads, bold, water high, cold, no place for the meek, tired and weak

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This solve is my crown jewel where I’ve spent the most time and money on and I have many more screenshots and photos to back this route. I also have a few more ideas that are just as simple and straight forward to lead me to the end of Fenn’s rainbow one of which I’ve already searched and few others I’m still working on!

 Jeremy G.-

In a Well…

SUBMITTED SEPTEMBER 2016
by STEALTH

 

Let me begin with a few disclaimers.   This is long.  Everything in this post is my opinion.   I reference several quotations from the books and Forrest himself, but I don’t have the specific references to them all and they may not be exact.  I hope I have referenced them correctly. I have not done a BOTG search at the location of this solve.  I am sharing this publicly because like many of you, I find ‘the chase’ to be consuming my life, so I’m getting this off my treasure chest if you will.  If someone does go and find the treasure and this has been helpful, I’d hope you would share a few nuggets…

As a bit of context, I grew up in the Midwest and my roots there are important to my solve.   I grew up participating with my parents and later my family in puzzle “road rallies” almost every Saturday night in the fall and spring.   These “puzzle” or sometimes “gumball” rallies are distinctly Midwest events which are essentially treasure hunts / scavenger hunts on wheels.  See  http://roadrallyinfo.com/   as a reference.   The basic idea is you are in a car with a group of people and competing with dozens of other groups in their cars.  At a starting location you are each given a “clue”. Solving that clue leads to a new destination.   At that destination you do something to prove you got there correctly and then get instructions for the next clue and so on.   A typical rally covers 10 clues and about 25-40 miles and always ends at a bar/restaurant and prizes are awarded, etc.    The “winner” gets a cash prize and to plan the next rally.   Coming in second is often considered to be ‘winning’ because planning these takes a lot of effort.    I’ve participated in hundreds and planned more than a dozen.   They are sometimes fundraisers for church organizations, etc.    Unfortunately, where I live currently this is just not an activity that anyone understands.  I miss them.    Forrest, thank you for giving me a new type of road rally.

So when I first heard about TTOC a few years ago I immediately thought of it in this context. It is very typical for a road rally clue to be a poem or a narrative that has in it embedded instructions/hints as to the destination.   Common puzzles would be the first letter of every word would spell out a destination, or perhaps the nth letter (matching the number of the clue).   Words that were misspelled, words with double letters, words that matched army call signs like ‘WTF’, anagrams, etc.   Clues with codes, changing numbers to letters and such are very common.   In any case for better or for worse this is the context with which I approached the chase.    I believed that the poem and it’s “9 clues” will at a minimum reveal an EXACT starting location if not the final destination.  Otherwise might as well stay home and play canasta.   And despite all the commentary on poem purist’s vs needing the books as reference, I believe the poem solution would be self-contained.   I think Forrest has said as much repeatedly although the “girl in India” comment most recently may debunk some of that.   He has also said that a “two year old” or a “child” could solve it and I believe most importantly said that he felt like an “architect” while creating this poem.

All of this led me immediately to a “grid” type solve.   I felt like Forrest was a child playing with letter blocks stacked in 2 dimensions and the “clues” were contained within them.  The only thing that has given me any pause about this theory is the typo around “The answer(s) I already know”.      Forrest has said that it doesn’t matter and as it turns out it does not, but I think it is critical to understanding how to “solve” the poem as I will demonstrate.

So, I started with a grid with no punctuation (credit to Blake/SidNCharley who first posted a ‘grid’ solution)

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I was drawn to the line “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down” and began to search for the blaze.  I know about all the discussion about not starting with the blaze, but I did it anyway. The most obvious blaze for me has always been the SUN.   It fits everything that has been said about it.

–           Can you see find the blaze during the day – “in a word, yes”

–           How far is the blaze from the hiding spot – “I didn’t measure”

–           A hint in TOTC in Lewis and Clark – “used some mountain man WISDOM, SUN rises in the east”

So off to find the blaze, IN THE POEM.

I looked quickly down.

If you look down a column in the poem you only find the letters, “S”, “U” and “N” together in 5 columns – 2, 6, 15, 18 and 22.    There are multiple ways to arrange the lines of the poem to spell out SUN.  Words like “AND” and “SO” provide lots of “S” and “N” and many, but not an unrealistic number of combinations.

I know the admonitions against anagramming, but while technically an anagram.  This is different.   It is in ‘tight focus’ with a ‘word that is key’, “SUN” and while providing many possibilities it is still limiting.   I would note btw, that it is only possible to spell “SUN” in 4 of the 5 columns at the same time and that leads to only a few possible solutions.

I just imagined Forrest playing with blocks over 15 years and arranging the lines to hide just the right message

Then I found this.

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Blaze.  Look quickly down.  HALT HOW = ICE.    Ok.    Random?   I don’t think so.   Even the “S” in “waters” starts to spell another “SUN”.     I will note that just to the left of “HALT HOW” is the word ANTRE.    That threw me for a long while.   I’ll let the word definition experts dig into that and go down that rabbit hole…   I know Forrest has said no ‘red herrings’ but that would be a giant one.

This made me think I was on to something, but despite months of trying, I couldn’t get to a specific solve from the poem – despite lots of places that would fit with the basic clues and ANTRE.   Then two things happened.   Forrest said something like “to my uncertain knowledge I don’t believe anyone has considered one important possibility related to the winning solve” AND someone posted that ‘nigh’ also meant ‘left’.   Forrest has also said that he looked at it from every angle.   I’ve also always been bothered by the ‘typo’ of the “The answer(s) I already know” between TOTC and TFTW even though either doesn’t impact the available SUNs.

What if the poem draws nigh?

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And now we search for the blaze.    Turns out you can only spell “SUN” in … you guessed it 5 columns – 6, 18, 21, 24 and 27 – and only 4 together at the same time.     Curious.     Well after much experimentation I found.

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Nine precise words that lead directly to the treasure.   “IN A WELL AT RISING SUN, LOT TEN (FROM) END”.   Quickly down in just a few columns.  Glowing blaze.   Anagram, ok, but really?  5 columns across 9 lines out of 24 and 5 of the 9 from the last 6 lines of the poem, starting with “THE ANSWER”.

And a very nice “X” marks the spot  RISING ‘X’ TREASURE and “THE ANSWER(S) ‘I’” pointing right to it.

It also begins with “BEGIN” and ends with “END”.   “FROM” may be optional and that is something a BOTG search will need to establish.

I would note that there are MANY “RISING SUN” in the 4 states, but the only one that really makes sense is RISING SUN CAMPGROUND in Glacier National Park (halt how – ice) on St. Mary’s Lake.    Several of the lots have potable water wells including number 10 and number 10 from the end.   You can find all of this information online.

Why this makes sense….

“Warm Waters Halt” = Glacier / Ice

“Canyon Down” = From the summit of Going to the Sun Road  (seasonal search only open July-Sept) also “down” in the poem

“Gone alone in there” = Well (although you really don’t have to crawl in which is why it would still be safe for your kids the reservoir area of these water pump wells looks to be only a few feet deep)

“Hint of riches” = Lots of mining used to be in this area

“Home of Brown” = Brown Mountain or if you prefer a more proper name Brown and his home (it is directly below Pincher Creek, Alberta – Home of the cabin of Kootenai Brown – interesting guy)

“No place for the meek” = In a well and lots of bear activity in the area (in fact it was closed last summer because of bears and then a fire

“Drawing nigh” = Draw water from a well (I would note  the picture of the water pipe on the cover of TOTC and also there is a picture in TFTW of the Fenn cabin and its very similiar water well.

“Heavy Loads” = Water buckets

“Waters high” = Lifting water buckets

“Done it tired and now I’m weak”.   Ask anyone who has drawn water from a well

“No paddle up your creek”… columns down in the poem is my creek, but maybe Rose Creek trail at the end of the campground.

“Worth the cold” = Wet / glacier. It’s already snowing above 7000 feet there – in August. It’s cold.

“In the wood” = wood casing (and one other possibility that only BOTG would tell for sure)

“it’s wet”, indeed.

Searchers within 200 feet but went right past it.   The road is very close, more like 500 feet.

The first two clues  WWWH = “Glacier National Park”, CD =  “Rising Sun Road”

Why it may not make sense…

No human trails.   Hmmm.  This one is always challenging.   There are trails like Rose Creek at the end of the campground.  Is that ‘close proximity?’.

Above 5000 feet.  Well it’s at 4950’ish on Google Earth.   But only BOTG would tell exactly at the spot.

“Not associated with any structure”.   Is a water pump well as structure?  Debatable.

“Don’t mess with my poem”.    I don’t think I did, but others will disagree.

But ultimately, this is why I like it.  It is a safe place for Forrest’s bones to rest (away from animal activity) for a few thousand years – I was reminded of the practice of throwing bodies down the well watching  Hateful 8  last year.

And the clincher for me. “tarry scant and marvel gaze”.    Look this one up, but the view of sunrise from Rising Sun over St. Mary’s Lake and the ironically named “Wild Goose” Island is considered to be one of the most spectacular ‘marvel gaze’ in the country.   It’s depicted in photographs and art and I am certain Forrest would consider it very special as would anyone who has ever seen it.     Here is just one example.  What do you think?

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Well.   That’s off my chest.   So, please let me know if you find the treasure chest in my well.

–Stealth