My TTOTC Solution…by Christian

January 2020

By Christian


Hello Searchers, 

My name is Christian and I’m going to share my solution with you. I’m a relative newbie and many of you know the chase better than I do. Although I wrote this with the best of my knowledge and conscience, I can’t exclude content errors for sure and thus everything I wrote is without guarantee. Also my native language isn’t English, so maybe my use and understanding of words and grammar isn’t always the best. And of course, all that follows is just in my opinion. Anyway, I don’t claim that even one single part of my solution is correct at all.

First I wrote the following section at the end of my story, but it became much longer than I had expected and since I don’t want to expect anyone to read everything, I decided to put it at the beginning.

!!! This solution is incorrect !!!
We have searched my final location very carefully for hours. 
I can tell you with the highest probability that there is no treasure chest hidden at this place.
So please don’t do anything stupid and destroy something, it’s pointless!
By the way, digging inside the Yellowstone National Park is illegal anyway!

Before we get started, I thought about making a small thought experiment. For this it’s essential that you have no idea of my final location. If you want to try this, only read my solution when you are done with this. If you know my final location, this won’t work anymore.

So let’s consider that the home of Brown is the Bison Peak, east of the Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone National Park. Now look at Google Maps/Earth and ask yourself: “Where would I search for the treasure chest?” Remember this location for later. This comes into play when I respond to the 500ft respectively 200ft searcher.

As I have said, this is a really long article. But don’t worry, if you are just interested which words of the poem I interpreted as clues and what I had thought that they are telling us, you only have to read the fat printed, underlined lines. This should take you not much more than one minute. If you want further information about a clue, just read the section below. Everything that comes after the 9th clue is just further explanation and my opinion about how my solution and my final location are fitting with the stuff Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase, you miss nothing important about my solution if you don’t read it. It’s also possible to read the different sections crisscross as you like, except the nine clues, no section is built on another. At the end I have put some pictures of my final location, so you can see how it looks like.

Ok, let’s get started with a question. What is a clue? I don’t know, but I guess it’s something that brings you from one location to the next and thus step by step closer to the chest. Except the first one, every clue is built on the previous clue. So you are only able to solve a clue if you have solved the previous clue/s. Of course, you could get an approximate idea of a clue in advance, but probably you won’t find the right location if you have no idea of the previous location. Only the first clue is exempted of this scheme, so you have to nail it down first. (01)

Well, I don’t know what Forrest Fenn really means with this phrase. I just used it because it fits quite well in here and I guess that’s funny. So my solution is built according to this scheme.

Clue 1: Begin it where warm waters halt, = Up in the sky

Since this is written in plural, I guess he means all waters on earth, not for example a single hot spring or river. Now the water molecules are tending to leave the liquid water as long as the 100% saturation degree of humidity of the air isn’t reached. The temperature of the water and the air are two decisive factors for this. As the temperature is increasing, the vapor pressure of the water and the saturation amount for the humidity of the air rises. If the sun comes out and warms up the water and the air (strictly speaking, the environment warmed up by the sun gives off some energy to the air), more water evaporates and the air can absorb more water vapor. The air temperature is not the same everywhere and usually decreases with the altitude. Since warm air has a lower density than cooler air, the warm air packages detach from the ground and ascend. During the ascent, the warm air bubbles cool down and when the dew point is reached, a cloud appears. The condensation process releases energy which delays the halt of the warm air bubbles and so the halt of some of the warm water. The rising air masses end their ascent when they reach the same temperature as the surrounding air. At the edge of the rising air masses, the cooled air and a part of the humidity descend again. Normal cumulus clouds disappear in the evening when the sun goes down. No warm air is moving up anymore and the tiny water drops are sinking down to the ground again. If raindrop formation occurs, the water falls back to earth in form of rain. Meteorology is a complex topic for itself, but this simple explanation should be enough for our purposes here. And by the way, you don’t need an exact explanation for my first clue anyway, I guess nearly everybody knows that the waters on earth which are warmed up by the sun, halt up in the sky mostly in form of clouds before falling down on earth’s surface. There are also blue thermals existing, but this only means that the warm waters, which halt up in the sky, are not visible for us because the ascending air-masses halt before the dew point is reached. With calm air and few condensation cores, it can also happen that the humidity is significantly more than 100% and there is still no cloud formation. But the warm waters still halts up in the sky bevor falling down to earth’s surface, only invisible. Clouds can also develop due to cold fronts, warm fronts, influx of moister air masses or winds, but there is no need for warming up the water.

Of course, now you could say it doesn’t really halt because the small drops are moving around in the cloud and the cloud itself is moving when it’s windy. But think about it this way: A school class is making an excursion. They drive from A to B with a bus. In the bus, the teacher is quite busy to keep control over the children which are making lots of funny stuff. It’s a long ride and after one hour, the bus driver stops for a toilet break. He opens the door and all children rush out to the toilet.

So what would you say, did they halt there or not? If you look at one single child, it never halts at all, but the bus including the whole class does.

Now you could see one child as a small water drop and the bus as the air package that’s moving up when the sun has given it enough energy. And then the warm waters halt for sure up in the sky in their movement up, before falling down on earth again.

By the way, also in the quietest lake there are always currents and no single water molecule is really halting at all ever. If you look precisely, it would presuppose to take all energy out of a closed system to make anything really halt, and that’s as impossible as putting infinite energy into a closed system. The funny thing is, when there’s no energy left in a system, this system doesn`t exist anymore and so the question of a halt inside it is pointless anyway. 

Also if you look at a seemingly simple Proton, it is built of appearing and disappearing quarks and just in the average it is build out of three of them. By the way, the simplicity is just an illusion. There is no simplicity or normality in this universe anywhere. Our brain has just become accustomed to the world around us.

Look at a little child, it points at everything and thinks everything around is great, also a small gray stone is fascinating.

We look at this little child and think it’s a dreamer and it’s ridiculous and silly to be fascinated from this normal small grey stone. And we guess the child will become more rational as it gets older, as we are rational already. But the reality is, that this child is yet realistic and we are dreamers and it’s ridiculous and silly if you don’t think this small gray stone is fascinating.

The brain of this little child hasn’t yet got used to the world around and so it sees the world how it is, crazy, interesting and fascinating. When it grows up, it gets more and more used to everything and soon it thinks most stuff is normal and not worth being admired. 

But we don’t really have unlearned wondering, it’s only because of oneself being numb to the world around. When we notice something which we are not used to, we are still able to wonder. But this leads also sometimes to curiosities like for example on the one hand, we would be fascinated from a flying drone which is similar to a fly, and on the other hand, we kill sometimes a fly just because we think it’s funny or because we are bored, and I am not talking about a fly which is annoying us.

Now you could say: I am always amazed when I’m out in the nature. But what are you wondering about out there? Legitimately about a formidable glacier, an awesome tree, a beautiful flower, a roaring waterfall, an imposing moose, a romantic sunset or a breathtaking big night sky. But what about the small gray stone you’re standing on?

In our life, it wouldn’t work if we run around the whole day stunning (with the mouth open), pointing at everything and because of wondering, we forget managing our life. But I guess, at least once a day, we should throw down this everyday-life-backpack for at least ten minutes and see the world how it really is, fascinating, admirable and anything but normal. But nature is as terrible as it’s awesome and we shouldn’t lose track of reality. Anyway, I guess everybody who reads this has probably won a multiple jackpot in the big lottery. But now I lost track if the issue, sorry.

Even in the best ultra-high vacuum that you can imagine, there are always quantum fluctuation. And if we consider that an elementary particle only takes either a certain velocity or a certain position when it is observed (interacts with something) and otherwise blurs in the blur, the question of halting or stopping in our universe is pointless anyway.

So we can summarize that there is not really a halt or stop in our universe, only on average.

A quote from Forrest Fenn: “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.”(02)

In my opinion, there are many places in the Rocky Mountains where clouds develop and of course nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe because almost the whole Rocky Mountains are north of Santa Fe.

Clue 2: And take it in the canyon down, not far but too far to walk. = Concerning conception of time, the short distance until night

What’s too far to walk? I mean, even from Deadhorse to Punta Arenas it’s not too far to walk. If you have enough time, you can do it, even though it might not be easy due to some border crossings, especially from Panama to Colombia. So there I see three possibilities:

1: The distance is so long, that your life is too short to reach the goal. So let’s say for example about 500.000 miles. But first, the earth circumference is only approximately 24.850 miles, and second, this distance isn’t “not far” anymore, at least on earthly scale.

2: The distance is not walkable because of geological or political reasons. For example, if your goal is on an island or up or down a steep cliff. Or you have to follow a geological canyon down on a map, which is impassable due to terrain conditions.

Or you have to cross a border like North Korea, where getting a passing permission is very unlikely.

3: The time is next to the three obvious space dimensions the fourth dimension. In this dimension, every distance is too far to walk and it’s like a canyon. No left, right or back, just one direction, down (even if this is maybe just an illusion of our memories, we just feel it this way). 

As we know that sun made clouds appear from dawn till dusk, a short and logical distance would be the distance till night.

By the way, later I found two quotes from Forrest Fenn about “too far to walk“, which in my opinion corroborate the third possibility.

First, although I have never read the book “too far to walk“, I know that he is writing there about a river experience where he once fished 10 miles downstream to Bakers Hole, which is now too far to walk for him. I guess, he is saying, that because time had passed he can`t repeat this experience – it’s now too far to walk for him.

Second, this conversation with Forrest Fenn: Forrest, “I enjoyed my recent trip through southern Montana! Some part of me wants to get lost in the woods where just maybe, I can find myself spiritually. My question for you now is, if you got another chance to enjoy Yellowstone in your youth, is there anything there that you wanted to do but never got the chance to?  -The Count”

The answer of Forrest Fenn: “Count, There are many things I want to do now that I didn’t do then. I want to fish every stream, catch every fish, sit under every tree, and hike the mountains I didn’t hike. And I would like to get lost in the Gallatins again. That was the best, but for me now, it’s too far to walk. f”  (03)

Clue 3: Put in below the home of Brown. = Below Big Sky in Montana

In my opinion there exists only one Brown because this is written in singular. Let’s just for example assume that Brown is the brown trout, then this sentence should be written like “Put in below the home of the Brown(s)”. And then I guess this home could only be something generally like the water or the earth for example, but not a specific river or lake.

But now we are in the night and provided you have a clear sky, you can see the stars. They form constellations and one of the biggest and famous is called in the Latin technical terminology Ursa Major. It’s also known as the big bear, and the big dipper, which isn’t really a constellation for itself, is a part of it. Now you can say that bears have from black to white many colors. But we know eight different types of bears (the extinct ones not included). The Kodiak bear and the Kamchatka bear, which belong to brown bears, are the biggest and heaviest of them. Only a few polar bears reach a larger body size, nevertheless they are not as heavy. Despite its white color, the polar bear is the closest relative of the brown bear. The biggest known bear that has ever populated our planet and is also closely related to the brown bear is the cave bear. And although brown bears can be besides brown also be black, gray or even white, it’s still called a brown bear. So the big bear should be a brown bear and its home is the big sky.

Now there we have a place called Big Sky in Montana. So let’s put in below this place. By the way, one nickname of Montana is Big Sky country. I also found a conversation which fits my interpretation of home of Brown.

The question: Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is?

Forrest Fenn answered: “The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues.” (04)

To find my third clue, you have to know the big bear. The 88 star constellations are well-defined and accepted worldwide since 1928. However, it hasn’t enforced in all cultures, and in India other constellations are popular. The big bear doesn’t exist, only the bright stars of the big dipper are known as Saptarishi. It means something like “the seven seers” (or the seven prophets or wise men). So if you don’t know the constellation big bear, you can’t get closer than the second clue.

Now you could say with the world-wide-web you can figure out everything. But the question was very specific, the little girl in India has only the poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains. 

Clue 4: From there it’s no place for the meek, The end is ever drawing nigh; There’ll be no paddle up your creek, Just heavy loads and water high. = Buffalo Creek near the Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone National Park

So what is or are the meek? Meek doesn’t mean fearful or afraid as many believe. It rather means gentle or mild. To my knowledge it’s also not a common noun, mainly I found this word used as a noun in the sermon on the mount of the Matthew’s gospel. Also to my knowledge, meek can be used in singular or plural as well. If this is true, we don’t know exactly if Forrest Fenn is talking about one meek or multiple meek or maybe both.

When I think about the meek, the first that comes to my mind are elephants. Shortly, I thought of a Native American tribe. But that doesn’t fit well because they aren’t really meek, or because their tribal area was or is somewhere else. And a Native American can go wherever he wants to. So I went on to the next meek that came to my mind, the buffaloes.

Nearly all of the wild buffaloes are in Yellowstone NP, so the question is why? In wintertime, they often wander out of the park to places with less altitude, to find food. But outside of the park they get killed or at least chased back to the park because the farmers are afraid that the buffaloes infect their cows with Brucellosis. So it’s no place for the buffaloes below Big Sky and if they go there, their end is ever drawing nigh. 

Now we know what the meek are, but this doesn’t bring us further. Next question is, what can be “your creek”? I guess, it can mean your way of life, a creek that belongs to you, or a creek that is referring to you.

And why is there a semicolon after the first two lines? A semicolon differentiates parts of a sentence more than a comma.

So since we have this semicolon, I guess the creek has not really something to do with the buffaloes. But what if we only need their name? Is there a Buffaloes Creek somewhere near? No, but a Buffalo Creek, and I think we can interpret “the meek” as singular and plural. This Buffalo Creek is near Slough Creek campground in the Yellowstone NP and flows from the high mountains to the park. It’s full of rocks and wood that dames the water (Heavy loads and waters high).

Clue 5: Look quickly down, = Look a bit south with bird’s-eye view

Why is there a comma after down? This only makes sense if you want to separate this from the rest of the line.

Without the comma, this sentence could maybe mean to end your quest quickly. But there is a comma! So I guess, it does not refer to “your quest to cease”.

Quickly could also mean not so far. And down could mean south or/and bird’s-eye view. So let’s look a short distance approximately to the south with bird’s-eye view.

Clue 6: But tarry scant with marvel gaze, = Small lake about 1,3 miles southeast from the mouth of the Buffalo Creek

Tar is a really slow moving substance and the tar drop experiment is known as the longest lasting laboratory experiment in human history. It’s a long-term trial to observe the dripping behavior of pitch. It started 1930 and the first drop dropped 1938. Until today, nine drops have “fallen”. 

So tarry for itself stands for a very very slow movement, almost a halt, but not quite. And scant means few. Now we could think this means wait for a short time and then leave this spot.

But if we see tarry as a really slow movement, and then we imagine this movement is scant, we have a extremely slow movement. Everything in the universe is moving, and so do continents, mountains and landscapes. And at least for us (humans), this geological movement is extremely slow.

And what’s up with marvel gaze? A lake could look like an eye, that looks “with marvel gaze” into the world and by the way, it moves tarry scant. Now if we look a bit southeast from the mouth of Buffalo Creek with bird’s-eye view, we find a small lake that looks like an eye. 

Clue 7: So hear me all and listen good, = Mirrored stone basin 500 feet west of the lake

“So hear me all” could mean “all people who read the poem”, but it could also mean both ears you have. And for listening good, you need both ears for sure. They are at least more or less mirrored and so is the stone basin to the lake, 500 feet west of it.

By the way, also following interpretation came to my mind: If the words “So hear me all” refer to both ears, and the rest of the line “and listen good” also refer to both ears, then this would be double mirrored. If you mirror something two times, first horizontal and then vertical, it’s the same as turning it around 180°. This could mean you have to turn the map upside down for the 7th clue. But then the next line of the poem has to be part of the 7th clue too because only turning the map 180° around doesn’t bring you to a further location.

Honestly, I have no idea how to continue from there. With some imagination: if the lake is an eye and the fen (which is mirrored to it) is an ear and the rock (which is ~0,2 miles southeast from the east bank of the lake) is a nose, then it looks like the head of a dog or wolf. And there is also a fen ~0,6 miles west of the lake. But I have no single idea how to merge this with the poem.

Clue 8: Your effort will be worth the cold. = Go into the stone basin

What do we think is cold or warm? We have only two different sensory cells for our heat or cold sensation. These points are very unevenly distributed. For example, per square inch of skin we have in our palms ~2,5 heat points (react in the range of ~86°f to ~104°f) and ~23 cold points (react in the range of ~41°f to ~104°f) and in our lips ~14 heat points and ~120 cold points. Our temperature sensation is very subjective because the heat and cold receptors are genetically different from human to human in number and distribution on the body surface. Numerous other factors come into play, such as gender, body height or weight, age or physical fitness as example. Sweating cools our body as it is depriving energy by the evaporation process. The wind breaks up the thin insulating layer of air around our body, causing us to perceive temperatures as hotter or colder. Therefore, cooler or hotter air reaches our body to which we release energy or which adds energy to us. The more warm or cold air reaches our body, the faster we cool off or get heated. As a consequence, our sensitivity of cold or hot temperature increases with the wind speed. The same effect also occurs during swimming, having water instead of air. By the way, if you feel that for example a liquid is too hot or too cold, it’s not the temperature receptors, but our pain receptors that react to it. That means, we don’t really feel the temperature of an object we touch (or the air or what surrounds us otherwise). Because our heat and cold sensory cells don’t measure this temperature directly. They only measure how fast or/and how much something withdraws or adds energy to our body. For example, if we touch a block of steel and a block of wood with the same temperature, the steel seems to be colder. This is because it has a much better thermal conductivity. Furthermore, we especially register changes of temperature.

To show you an example: The tiles from the space shuttles had a horrible thermal conductivity, although they were glowing hot, they could have been touched without burnt fingers. On the other hand, carbon stuff, like diamonds or carbon nanotubes, has a very high thermal conductivity. But they are only rarely or not at all present in nature, although carbon occurs in many things and all living beings.

Another characteristic of matter is the thermal capacity. If you touch something for a long time, a matter with a high thermal capacity and a low thermal conductivity can extract much more energy from your body than something with a low thermal capacity and a high thermal conductivity. Normally we don’t feel this because our body generates heat faster than it is extracted.

Hydrogen has an enormous thermal capacity and it’s the most common chemical element in the universe, but not on earth’s surface. (I am talking of hydrogen in pure form, not of the hydrogen which builds the water molecule with oxygen)

Also Helium has a huge thermal capacity. It’s after Hydrogen, the most common chemical element in the universe, but on earth’s surface you rarely find it (again, I am not talking about Helium that occurs in natural gas or mineral oil).

So water has the highest thermal capacity of all common matter on earth’s surface. Being exposed for longer duration (depends on the mass of the object) water withdraws significantly more energy of our body (and we feel cold) than every other matter.

By the way, water has a good thermal conductivity too. Because air has a worse thermal conductivity, it’s easy for us to sit in a sauna with more than 200°f, but on the other hand, jumping in a pool with 200°f hot water is a pretty bad idea. That’s the reason why it seems to get hotter with a sauna infusion, although the temperature isn’t changing much. The sauna infusion increases the humidity which supplies more energy to our body and at the same time, our body can’t release excess energy due to the reduced evaporation process of sweating. The funny point is, because of the evaporation process, which deprives energy, it should get a little bit cooler. But on the other hand, the condensation process releases energy. So I don’t know how much the temperature is changing, but the increase is certainly not high. 

Now that we have a stone basin, we can assume that water accumulates there. So “your effort will be worth the cold” could mean, go into the stone basin.

Clue 9: brave and in the wood = Stone in the tall grass that grows in the basin

Now we can ask, what is a wood? Most people would say it’s a place where trees are growing next to each other. But it’s not fix that wood means a wood of trees. So imagine you are an ant, a maggot or a small spider. Then also a meadow could be a wood to you, a wood of grass. Of course, wood could also mean the matter, but that doesn’t count for my solution.

And what’s brave? Somebody who is brave always stands out or up against something. Somebody or something that excels. A stone could be meant that stands out or up against the wood of the tall grass in the stone basin.

And there is a stone in the north of the basin which would fit pretty well for this last clue. You can’t see it on Google Earth, you have to be on site. And when you are at the stone basin, you also can’t see it because it’s hidden in the tall grass, although it’s not a small stone. You have to go into the basin to see it, or at least go around to the north side where many bushes and small birches are growing. And then you have to go into the fen, being brave and in the wood to find the treasure chest which could be hidden around the stone.

In the Moby Dickens Book Shop video Forrest Fenn got the following question: 

Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?

First he answered “no it isn’t”. But after a short overthinking he said: “Did I really say that? … There is not a picture of the treasure chest on Google Earth. … Was that your question? … Because Google Earth doesn’t go down far enough.” (05)

He also wrote: “Rocking chair ideas can lead one to the first few clues, but a physical presence is needed to complete the solve. Google Earth cannot help with the last clue.” (06)

According to this, perhaps it is possible to solve most or even eight of the clues from home. Maybe also the last one, because he only said that Google Earth doesn’t help. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible to get an idea at home about the 9th clue. Only for completing the solution it’s necessary to be on site.

In fact, he only said, that Rocking chair ideas can lead one to the first few clues, but he also didn’t exclude this to the remaining clues, except the last one. For this one, physical presence is needed to complete the solution for sure.

In my solution you could also get an idea at home about the last clue. But to get certainty about it, it’s necessary to be on site because you can’t see the stone on Google Earth. On the other hand, maybe it simply means that Google Earth doesn’t help with the last clue and nothing else, who knows?

But also maybe following conversation supports this theory. The question: How much progress can be made by someone just thinking and searching the Internet from home? (Another way of saying this: How many clues can only be decoded in situ?) The answer: “All of them, in theory, but not likely in practice. A searcher must go to the site to find the treasure.” (07) Of course, for finding the chest, you have to be on site. I guess the treasure chest isn’t at home under the desk where your computer stands.”

By the way, the resolution of images is physically limited by the interference between the light waves emanating from the individual points. This factor always comes into play when the magnification factor approaches the maximum reasonable magnification, which is limited by the mirror or lens diameter. You can calculate the maximal resolution of a satellite image if you know the diameter of the mirror and the altitude of the orbit:

resolution = 1,22 * (~ 2,17 * 10 ^ -5 inch (visible light)) * distance / mirror diameter

So until today, a resolution with 0,5-1 feet is a high resolution satellite image. Those satellites have an orbit of over 370 miles. Only spy satellites have a better resolution of approximately 2 inch. But that’s only the theoretical specification. You will not reach that specification because of atmospheric disturbances which depends on the area and the weather. Every astronomer can tell you something about the seeing problem. Atmospheric disturbances are the reasons why professional telescopes are build in high altitude and dry areas. It’s possible to calculate those disturbances out by interferometry, but not arbitrarily.  And the diffraction of the mirror is also a problem (imagine a water wave which hits the surface of a parabolic mirror, when it is reflected, it has a different shape and direction). The value which is calculated with the formula is only valid for a 100% perfectly polished mirror in zero gravity, which is impossible.

And those spy satellites only reach this high resolution because they fly (or better fall) around the earth in a strong elliptical orbit. So they can come up to 100 miles close to earth’s surface. The satellites then move far away from the earth again, so that the deceleration in the high atmosphere layer is less significant. But those very high resolution satellite images are not available for public us anyway. In addition, Google doesn’t buy the best high-resolution satellite images for all areas of our planet because those are really expensive. Mostly they only buy the best available satellite images for populated areas. So considering this, every speculation about seeing the treasure chest on Google Earth/Maps is pointless. I mean, you can’t even see the stone of my last clue on Google Earth, and this one is much bigger than the treasure chest.

But what about the blaze?

The blaze is in my solution the Buffalo Creek, and I thought maybe Forrest has chosen the word blaze because it rhymes with gaze. And blaze fits quite well in this context because if you see the thrill of the chase as a path to the chest, and the nine clues as markings on this way, then the Buffalo Creek would be a blaze which points the way to the goal. This would also explain why this sentence is written in past. 

To the question: which direction the blaze faces (N, S, E or W) he answered: “I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions.” (08)

In my opinion an object that doesn’t face any cardinal direction should be flat on the ground. Also a rock doesn’t comply this requirement as long as it stands out of the ground. Because if it stands out, it faces at least one direction, or up to all 4 directions. 

The Buffalo Creek would fit this answer very well because it doesn’t face any cardinal direction. Of course every other creek, river or lake (and also every object that doesn’t stand out of the ground) would match. 

But someone asked: What Is Blaze? And he has answered: “Anything that stands out.” (09) 

In my opinion this doesn’t necessarily mean something that stands out physically, it’s more a metaphor for a marking. And in my opinion, a creek is a marking in the landscape, and the Buffalo creek as the 4th clue is a marking in the poem for sure. Every clue could be a marking and standing out, metaphorically speaking.

To the question, how far the chest is located from the blaze, he answered: “Casey, I did not take the measurement, but logic tells me that if you don’t know where the blaze is it really doesn’t matter. If you can find the blaze though, the answer to your question will be obvious. Does that help?” (10)

Of course, if you don’t have a point from where you can take the measurement, every question about a distance from there is pointless. But what about the second sentence? Why is the answer about the distance to the chest obvious if you find the blaze? Keep in mind that Forrest Fenn hasn’t said that the answer to the question has to be a precise distance. He only said that the answer will be obvious, and that includes a negative answer as well.

You could think, that it’s obvious, because the blaze is the last clue and so close to the chest, that the distance is insignificant. But let’s make a thought experiment: We are going to assume that Forrest Fenn is answering the questions as good as possible without divulge a hint. If he answers just at random as it comes to his mind, this won’t work!

So let’s say the blaze is the 9th clue, then why would he care about concealing the distance from there to the chest? If you have found the 9th clue, you are able to find the chest most likely, whether you know the distance or not. So if the exact distance from the 9th clue to the chest isn’t a hint at all, why doesn’t he at least estimate it approximately? One possibility, I guess, is because the blaze isn’t the last clue.

By the way, we know the approximate distance from the 9th clue to the chest anyway. Forrest Fenn has said that the poem leads within several steps to the treasure chest. (11)

But maybe the blaze isn’t even the 8th clue. Because if we assume that “look quickly down” is a clue for a direction and consider that the 9th clue is within several steps to the treasure chest, this simple direction specification without information of how far you have to go is too inaccurate to comply this requirement. To comply this requirement, the line that you can follow along the direction specification should end somewhere, for example at the ground, at a steep cliff or even at the chest. But in the last case, the solution leads precisely to the treasure and not within several steps. Also in this case, the knowledge about the distance from the blaze to the chest is no advantage at all, because if you follow the line until it ends, you will find the chest whether you know the exact distance or not. So he could have estimated at least the distance approximately.

And I guess that “look quickly down” is very likely a clue, because there, the poem tells very explicit to do something and so it brings you physically closer to the chest. If there would be no comma after the word down, it could maybe mean to end your quest quickly. But as we can see, there is a comma.

And in my opinion this conversation supports this assumption: Mr. Forest, I was just wondering. If I can find the blase, why should I worry about where warm waters halt? All I need to do is look “quickly down” like the poem says, and there is the treasure, right? ~ Philadelphia Franklin

The answer: “That’s correct Philly, but that’s not a plausible scenario. If you can find a fish already on your hook you needn’t go fishing, right? Don’t force those kinds of aberrational thoughts on yourself or you’ll likely walk back to your car with a very light back pack. f” (12)

By the way, this only tells us that if you look quickly down from the blaze, there is the treasure. But this doesn’t imply that you know already where the exact location is. This would also fit for my solution. If you look quickly down from my blaze, there is my final spot and so the treasure. Nevertheless, you still have to solve the remaining four clues to get confident about where it is exactly. 

In my opinion, the last clue is something more specific than a simple direction specification. And the blaze is neither the 9th clue nor the 8th clue, maybe the 7th clue. According to my solution, I favor the 4th clue as the blaze. Of course “look quickly down” could also mean something else that doesn’t come to my mind right now. But that wouldn’t change the fact, that the blaze most likely isn’t the last clue.

In this case the answer is indeed obvious. Because there are still one or some more clues to solve, a specific distance would be a too big hint. If he would have just said, that it’s far, you would know immediately that the blaze can’t be the last clue and maybe also not the penultimate clue. And maybe Forrest Fenn didn’t want to reveal that.

There is also another possibility why he hasn’t answered this question. If the blaze is huge, in proportion to the distance to the chest, an exact distance specification is difficult because from where do you take the measurement? From the midpoint of the blaze or from the point which is closest to the chest? 

How far away is New York City from the ocean? Now you could say 0 miles because it is located directly on the ocean. But is this really true for whole New York City? A preferably precise indication that fits best for all points of the city, should start from the midpoint of New York to get an average distance to the ocean, as precise as possible. 

If you have a circle, this point is easy to find, but that does not apply to New York. And by the way, that’s still only the average distance for whole New York City.

And from where do you take the measurement if the blaze is an object like a river? From the spring, from the middle, from the mouth of the river or from the closest point? But the closest point represents maybe not the whole river. So if you look precisely, this seemingly simple question is more difficult to answer, as it looks like. It’s easy to make a serious statement about a distance, from one object to another, if the distance between these two objects is in proportion to the size of the objects huge. Because then each object looks like a single point. But as the distance decreases, the more difficult it becomes. Especially, when the distance is shorter than the size of minimum one of these two objects. In this case, a serious answer should contain besides the distance, the two exact points between which it extends. For example, from the mouth of the creek it’s ~1,3 miles to the chest.

And also in this case the answer is obvious. The question about the distance is pointless, because on one hand there are so many points from where he could have taken the measurement and on the other hand, the searcher doesn’t know from which point he should take the measurement. Of course, he could have said just any distance which would fit, but in my opinion that’s not a serious answer.

In my solution the blaze would fit both, it’s huge in proportion to the distance to the chest and it’s just the 4th clue. But by the way, this is just an example. I don’t want to claim that I have found the right blaze!

Nevertheless, Forrest Fenn made several comments which one could easily conclude that the blaze is the last clue.

For example, to the question: Has anyone determined the nine clues and what they represent? He answered: “Well there’s about 250.000 people that think they have. 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, they don’t focus on the first clue. If you don’t know where the first clue is, you might as well stay 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. So you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze.” (13)

Or this quote: “The clues will lead you to the treasure and whether it’s buried or not, you can find it if you can find the blaze as a result of starting with the first clue.” (14)

Because of the 10 billion blazes comment, I guess the blaze is simply a marking and because you can use everything as a marking, there are countless blazes out there. In my opinion, every clue is a marking in the poem. Which, if you can determine them, will lead you to the chest. But there I assume we are talking about the blaze which is literally mentioned in the poem. The conclusion that this blaze is the last clue, is not what it looks like at the first glance. If we look precisely, in the first example he only says that you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze. Of course, because this is one of the nine clues. That also applies to the second example. But below the bottom line, he never said that this is the last clue and there are no other clues left after this blaze. This is just our own interpretation.

Another quote: “While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try, and I am certain it’s still there.” (15)

So theoretically you could remove my blaze by renaming the creek or building a dam for example, but this isn’t feasible to try.

About the blaze I found also this question: Is the Blaze one single object? ~ Scout Around 

The answer of Forrest Fenn: “In a word – Yes” (01)

So why did he say “In a word – Yes”? He could have simply said yes or no. Because maybe it’s not so easy to answer. For example, how do you answer this question if the blaze is a gravel chute on a mountain? If you look at the whole gravel chute it’s indeed one single object, but on the other hand with all those single stones, it’s not. And without those stones, it’s no gravel chute at all.

In my opinion, this would also support “my” blaze. The whole creek is one single object, but if you look precisely, what is a creek?  We can say, a creek is a groove in earth’s surface where mainly water and gravel flow or move through and it’s smaller than a river. I would say, gravel is no single object, but what about water? In my opinion it’s not. Water is part of the creek for a short time and on its way to the sea it’s part of different creeks and rivers or even lakes. And what if a creek dries out during a hot and dry summer? It’s still called a creek even though the water is gone. And all the stones and gravel are also gone, sooner or later, and new ones come. So in my opinion, a creek or river is indeed one single object, but if you look precisely, it’s made of many single parts. Strictly speaking, this applies to everything anyway. But I don’t know if below a certain size of an object, the formulation “single object“ is still appropriate?

To the keyword, I have to say that I didn’t even know there is one until I finished my solution. After finishing, I checked facts Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase and how this fits with my solution, and so I stumbled over the quote with the keyword.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “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.” (16)

It came to my mind that it could be imagination. So, “in a tight focus with a word that is key” means maybe not that you have to find a word that will unlock the poem. But if this “keyword” would be imagination, maybe you can solve it. So, if you are in tight focus with imagination, maybe you can solve the poem. Now for my solution I guess, some imagination is of advantage.

Maybe this quote supports my assumption: “I wrote this someplace a few years ago and maybe you’ll think it’s worth remembering, Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. f” (17) I guess there he means a key to write books, but at least we can see here that for him, imagination is a key.

Forrest Fenn also said: “Contentment is the key word. If you can go through this life being contented, then there’s nothing better than that.” (18) 

Now we could ask from where comes contentment? In my opinion, imagination is very important to be really contented and also knowledge is of advantage. At least for humans, but I don’t know if other living beings can be uncontended too. 

I have read once, that you can’t be contented, if you have a big knowledge about all those shitty things happening on our planet. But I guess that’s not true, maybe even it is exactly reversed. You have to put the knowledge of those awful things somewhere in your life-backpack, where you don’t see it the whole time, otherwise you make your last knot in a rope for sure, sooner or later. If you look at those things from time to time, and you have some imagination, you get really content because you realize how big the jackpot is, you have won in the big lottery. And that applies probably to everybody who will read this. However, this great contentment with your own life doesn’t mean you have to put up with these terrible situations on earth. Everybody can, at least, attempt to improve these situations. And if you think this is pointless because your attempts would be just a drop in the ocean, consider, that also a huge thunderstorm can’t extinguish a forest fire if every small, single water drop would think, due to its little impact, falling is pointless and not worth anyway. 

Also if you imagine, the unimaginable fascinating surrounding universe, and that you are just an almost insignificant but yet important living being in the middle of all this (unimaginably tiny and at the same time unimaginably huge in space and time) all unnecessary concerns and wishes disintegrate, and only a limitless contentment will remain. But of course, every word is a keyword as long as there is a lock which fits and I don’t claim that imagination is the keyword Forrest Fenn is talking about, that’s just an idea on the edge.

Forrest Fenn quote about the big picture: “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.” (02)

Maybe the big picture is the space-time? It is the biggest picture I can imagine, it’s absolute and there are no shortcuts for sure. And if it is the space-time, it would be a big hint to my second clue. In my opinion following quotes supports my assumption:

1: “Nature frequently takes away, and in doing so she always looks at the big picture. Five-hundred years from now no one will remember the fires. But I’ll still be thinking about that great little Viveash cabin that disappeared.” (19)

2: “I’m looking at somebody could find it tomorrow and it may not be found for a thousand years. I’m looking at the big picture. A lot of people who are searching for the treasure don’t see it the same way I do. I would love if somebody found it tomorrow, but if nobody found it for a hundred years, that’s okay with me too.” (20)

I don’t know if Forrest Fenn has thought about preventing to find the chest with a metal detector before all clues are solved. But if I would hide a chest, I would keep this possibility in mind and try to make this as difficult as possible. So how could you prevent this? Could you hide it somewhere where digging and the use of metal detectors is illegal, for example in the Yellowstone NP?  I mean of course you could count on that, but I don’t think that all people comply with these prohibitions.

So in my opinion there are three possibilities to make this as unlikely as possible:

1: The second closest clue to the chest is so far away from the last clue, that it’s very unlikely that someone could manage to search the whole area up to the chest.

2: The chest is so deeply buried that no metal detector can find it. But because there are metal detectors existing which can find a metal object the size of the chest in more than 4 feet depth, it should be buried very deep.

Ten years ago, the detection depth was certainly even lower, but that this will change, was of course predictable.

3: If the chest isn’t buried deep and the 9th clue is relatively close to a previous clue(s), at least the 9th clue should be easy to misinterpreted and the chest should be in an area where you are not going just for fun, for example a swampy fen. If only the first requirement is complied, you can find it if you have time to search, and if only the second requirement is complied, it’s more likely that the person goes into the “not funny area” because he/she has no idea where to search. But if the person thinks that for example “the wood” refers to something like a forest or the matter wood, which is around a fen, probably he/she will not step into the swamp because he/she is focused on the wood around.

And I guess when Forrest Fenn hid the treasure chest, he probably didn’t assume that he would say once that the treasure chest is wet. (21) I mean you can’t avoid it for sure, but at least you could lower the possibility of finding the chest with a metal detector before all clues are solved. 

Concerning the mildew problem, Forrest Fenn’s quote: “You will find no mildew in the treasure chest.” (22)

Mildew grows best between 68° and 77° Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, it can also grow from 32-140° Fahrenheit, on food even until 14°f. It depends on the species of the mildew. Due to condensation moisture in countryside, the humidity of the air might only reach a constant value (for a long time range) in places like the Sahara where it doesn`t come to mildew growing. Also in the Antarctica, but there it’s too cold anyway. And we know also that the chest was not sealed airtight under protective atmosphere because he made two hikes when hiding the chest, one with the chest and one with the contents. (23) So I assume that he filled and closed the chest at the hiding spot. 

But we have a bronze chest, and bronze contains at least 60% copper. Copper has a germicidal effect, which makes a microbial growth difficult or even impossible. Nevertheless, there exists also a copper-tolerant, wood-destroying mildew. And as you can see on pictures from the chest, it’s lined with wood. If we wouldn’t have a picture, we would also know that the chest isn’t a full made bronze chest, because if it would be, it would weigh at least 42Ibs for itself. And we know that the full chest weights only approximately 42Ibs. (24)

Therefore I assume, that there is only one possibility why no mildew grows in the chest: it is no oxygen inside. And that’s only possible, if inside the chest is a vacuum, it’s full of gas like nitrogen or it’s full of water. It could theoretically also be filled with other liquids, gases or even matter that replace the oxygen, but in my opinion only the “full of water” theory is rather probable. 

We know the chest is wet, but not under water. (21/25) If you bury (or better sink) a chest in a fen, soon it will fill up with water for sure, provided it’s not sealed waterproof. But if it is sealed, you have the mildew growing problem again, unless you have sealed it in a protective atmosphere. In a rain fen there is almost no water exchange, so there is less oxygen in the water then in a lake or of course in a river. This, and the acidic environment support the preservation of wood, inter alia.

By the way, a big part of Venice is built on wooden piles. Those had outlasted unscathed for centuries. But since large cruise ships approach Venice which produces big waves, oxygen reaches the wooden piles and they start to rot. Because of this and some other troubles, maybe the big ships have to detour the old town of Venice, in near future.

One point about this “full of water“ theory seems questionable at the first glance.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “If you know precisely where it is you can probably retrieve it in any weather.” (26)

So how can that be, if everything is bone hard frozen? First we should keep in mind, that he hasn’t said it can be done for sure, he has said “probably“. But the word “probably“ for itself is not evident. He never specified, how likely you can retrieve it. If we hear a phrase in which the word “probably“ occurs, we imply it is highly probable, but that´s not for sure.

Normally, in wintertime, if you have enough snow, the ground isn’t frozen bone hard because the snow has a good thermal insulating effect.  And if it’s frozen, because the snow came much later than the first frost, the whole ground is most likely not frozen through. Only the top layer is frozen, how deep, depends on when the first snow comes, on the moisture of the soil and of course on the temperature. Only in the worst case this can be more than three feet.

By the way, the gravediggers from the past as well as from today, are creating a covered ember bed over the frozen ground. Some hours later, the well-heated soil can easily be dug out. Of course, they could use a jackhammer to. But normally they try to avoid loud noise at this quiet place, at least in the place where I live. And although often an excavator is used today, many graves are still duged with shovels, spades and pickaxes.

And keep in mind, that he has never said that it can be retrieved in any weather for sure, he has said “probably“ and he also did not announce that this can be done in any season, only in any weather. And further did he not mention that this would be easy. 

In my opinion it shouldn’t be deep in the soft mud anyway. I guess, it should be possible to retrieve the chest with your hands, and digging inside the Yellowstone NP is illegal anyway. I don’t think that you have to do something illegal.

Now we know from Forrest Fenn that searchers have been within 500 feet and even 200 feet of the treasure. (27)

Interview excerpt; Forrest Fenn: “People have been within 200 feet. And I know that because they send me emails and they tell me exactly where they are. The people that have been at 200 feet from the treasure didn’t know that they were there. Laura Thoren: They weren’t searching. Forrest Fenn: They were searching for the treasure but they didn’t know that they were within 200 feet”. (20) Monday, 27 April 2015

Another quote: “There have been some who have been within 500 feet because they have told me where they have been. Others have figured the first two clues and went right past the treasure and didn’t know it.” (28) Friday, 8 March 2013

Also this quote: “I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure puttputt, but there is no indication that they knew it. No one has given me the correct solve past the first two clues. f” (29) Tuesday, 30 December 2014

So we know that people have been within 500ft of the treasure and no one has given him the correct solve past the first two clues until 2013. If we consider, that since then the number of searchers has increased massively and that the number of people which have solved the first two clues and those which have been within 500ft is equivalent to this, we should wonder why nobody has made it to the treasure chest yet, or at least much closer than 200ft. Especially if we consider that the clues get progressively easier after the first one. (30) And it’s possible to find this spot even without knowing the poem because Forrest Fenn has found this place once too. Is there maybe something that distracts the seekers from the right location? Later Forrest Fenn also mentioned that searchers maybe have solved the first four clues, but he isn’t certain about that. (31) But now my 4th clue is just the Buffalo creek, and that’s at least 1,3 miles away from my final location. And worse, my second clue is the night and that’s not more helpful than the knowledge that the chest is somewhere hidden in the Rocky Mountains.

We should consider that he has never said that those persons who have been so close, came there because they have solved all the clues that lead you so close to the chest. Not even that those persons have at least solved one clue correctly, only that they have been that close to the chest. So how can that be? One possibility that works with my solution would be as follows: 

The summit above the lake is called Bison peak and I bet some people have interpreted this as the home of Brown and have searched already there. But they are unable to solve the remaining clues or finding the chest because they are looking probably for “no place for the meek”, the blaze, searching in the woods or because they know that the chest is wet, they search around the beautiful lake. (21)

From my last clue it’s ~500 feet to the lake and ~200 feet to the next wood of pine trees. So if those people have searched around the lake or in the small woods all around, they would have been within 500ft and even within 200ft without knowing that the treasure is so close and if they write Forrest Fenn about this or send him pictures, he would know the approximate distance to the treasure.

Now you could ask, if they know that the chest is wet, why they don’t search in the fen too? Have you made the though experiment at the beginning? Honestly, where would you have searched for the treasure? 

You can also ask a person who knows nothing about my solution where he/she would search for the treasure considering that the home of Brown is the Bison peak and the chest beeing wet. I can tell you that probably they don’t see the fen on the satellite image because they are too much focused on the lake. You probably only see it if you search for it and the funny thing is if you have found it, it catches the eye whenever you look at the satellite image. When on site, it’s even more difficult to stumble over the fen, especially if you are focused on the lake again, or the woods of spruce or pine trees all around.

The easiest route you can take from the street to the lake doesn’t lead past the fen, you have to make a small detour and there are many dense bushes and small birches close to it. So if you don’t search for it, it’s unlikely to stumble over it. The funny thing is, that a person who knows nothing about the poem has a higher possibility to stumble over the fen because he/she isn’t focused on hints to look for and so he/she is free to just hike around.

Still, there is a possibility that a searcher stumbles over the fen. But it doesn’t look like anything that you would expect as a great hiding place and certainly not as the last resting spot of Forrest Fenn. So I guess the chance that someone searches in the fen even if he knows that the chest is wet is pretty small. And if so, it’s a huge project to search the whole fen. I know this from our own experience and I guess that’s funny, I mean not because of searching in the swamp but because of finding nothing anyway. 

Maybe this quote supports a place like this: “People will be surprised when they find out where it is. (32) And maybe also this conversation: Dear Forrest, You say there was only ever one place you wanted to hide your treasure chest because of how special the spot was to you. When a searcher arrives to this location, will they understand why it was so special to you? And did you include that reason in your autobiography in the chest? ~jenny Forrest Fenn’s answer: Jenny, maybe they will, but probably not. Their mind may be on other things. It was in my autobiography until I removed it for personal reasons. f” (33)

Nevertheless, in my opinion, the whole place around this lake is very beautiful and to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never specified how big his special place is. So theoretically the whole place up there could be special to him and so he could have hidden the treasure chest in a spot at this place where he thought it would work best. But beauty is relative anyway, and exists only in our head. Of course, you never know how close you really are until you find the chest, but this theory could generally explain this problem for the correct final location.

Maybe those people being near the chest, could have been hikers with no idea of the thrill of the chase at all. But then, there should be something like a trail at least 200ft away from the chest, so that it’s likely that human beings were so close. 

But he said very explicit that searchers have been there, and we also know that Forrest Fenn has said that there is no human trail in very close proximity to the chest. (34) Of course “in very close proximity to the chest” is relative, but I guess 200ft is a bit too close to comply this requirement. Maybe 500ft comply this requirement, but not in my opinion.

I also found a video, made by Julius Brighton where Forrest Fenn says: “There have been a few people within 500 feet. I think there have been people within a couple hundred 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.” (35). We could assume, that people which were within 500ft respectively 200ft, have solved the first two clues correctly for sure. But I am not sure how much this quote is worth because maybe it isn’t what it looks like at the first glance. Between the first two sentences there is no break and so he probably said this successively. But after the second sentence, there is a break and so maybe a video cut. Due to this uncertainty, we can’t be sure that Forrest Fenn has said all three sentences really successively. I assume, that Julius Brighton asked him many questions, maybe he misinterpreted some stuff Forrest Fenn has said and has cut it together like we hear it now. This would make sense because to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never made a connection otherwise, between the 500ft respectively 200ft searchers and the people which had mentioned to him the first two clues correctly. And he made many comments about those. I asked Julius Brighton if there is a video cut and got following answer: Hi Christian, This was a long time ago and I didn’t do the edit. I’m sorry to say I can’t help you. Julius Brighton So who knows?

Forrest Fenn also wrote: “Several months ago some folks correctly mentioned the first two clues to me in an email and then they went right past the other seven, not knowing that they had been so close.” (36) Wednesday, 26 September 2012

In my opinion, those people weren’t physically close to the chest, because he doesn’t really say that those people went out for a search, he only said, that those people went right past the other seven clues. But this can also be easily a metaphor for not finding the remaining clues. He also doesn’t specify what they had been close to, so he simply could have meant “close to the third clue”. But if we consider that he has answered to the question of who is Brown: “Well, that’s for you to find, if I told you that you’d go right to the chest.” (37) and assume that this is the third clue and that they get progressively easier after the first one, he could also have meant that those people were close to solve the poem. (30) I assume, also there Forrest Fenn doesn’t talk about the same people who were within 500ft and 200ft to the chest. But all this is just my opinion.

The total quote where Forrest Fenn denied a human trail in very close proximity to the chest is this: “Generally speaking, there are places where one should stay on established trails; Yellowstone is one. However, it reminds me of the worn-out axiom, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” When I am in the mountains or in the desert, the last place I want to be is on a trail. Ain’t no adventure in that for me. There isn’t a human trail in very close proximaty to where I hid the treasure. f” (34)

The conclusion is possible, that Forrest Fenn has excluded the Yellowstone NP from the search area. But we can ask why we should stay in Yellowstone NP on established trails? Is it because of bears or other dangers? But there are dangers everywhere, so you should probably stay on established trails everywhere else. By the way, this doesn’t really protect you from bears or other dangers. So, unless you have no wilderness experience and the danger of getting lost is considerable, off trail hiking isn’t more dangerous than staying on established trails.

But Yellowstone has millions of visitors each year and many of those have no wilderness experience at all. So the Park Rangers will tell you to stay on established trails and although off trail hiking isn’t prohibited there, they don’t see it with pleasure. And due to those crowds, this also makes sense for protecting the nature, of course.

But in fact, Forrest Fenn has only said that the Yellowstone NP is a place where you should stay on established trails, not that you have to, nor did he exclude this area. We should also consider that he has hidden his treasure chest off trail, so he had to justify himself to the questioner. If we consider this, the fact, that he mentioned the Yellowstone NP could as well as be a hint. Because maybe he means, if you stay on established trails in the Yellowstone NP, you will never find the chest. And because of following conversation we can assume that Forrest Fenn often hiked off trail in the Yellowstone National Park: What was your favorite Hike/Trail Yellowstone.? Forrest Fenn: “Trails are not favorites of mine. I always hiked off trails. Why go where everyone else had gone. The rangers didn’t like that, but I did and I was the one doing it. Do you see my logic?” (09)

But for my solution this is inconsequential anyway. The poem leads me from nowhere into the Yellowstone NP. And if the treasure isn’t hidden in Yellowstone, the majority of my solution is wrong anyway.

The quote where Forrest Fenn mentioned that maybe the first four clues have been solved is this: “Searchers have come within about 200 feet. Some may have solved the first four clues, but I am not certain.” (31)

This could fit with my solution, if some have emailed Forrest Fenn that they assume that the meek could be the buffaloes, but didn’t make the connection to the buffalo creek. But if you assume, that the meek may be the buffaloes, the idea is close, to search for a creek which is referring to those. This could be the reason why Forrest Fenn has said some may have solved the first four clues, because he knows that some assume that the meek are the buffaloes, but Forrest Fenn isn’t certain if they have made the connection to the buffalo creek yet and have found it. However, this would also work with other meek and a creek referring to it.

In a video Forrest Fenn said: “If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains, I’d see animals. I’d smell wonderful smells of pine needles, or pinyon nuts, sagebrush and I know the treasure chest is wet.”

“Well you’ve asked me a lot of questions and some of them, most of them I answered, a few I haven’t, but I’ve got to tell you there’s one thing I told you I wish I had not.” (21)

Now you could assume that the thing he wishes he hasn’t said is about the scent of pinyon nuts or the treasure chest being wet.

In my solution the chest is in a fen, so the chest is wet, nevertheless it isn´t under water. (25) Only in the middle of the fen the water is over the dirt. Although the water level might depend on the season and of course the weather. I proclaim, that the water level changes during the year. And because the fen is in the basin which is only the 7th clue, he could regret that he said the chest is wet, because it’s obvious to search in the fen if you have no idea about the remaining clues and you know this. However, in fact, the chest could be also wet simply because of condensation, how knows?

By the way, nobody knows if this statement refers to anything he has said in this video. It could also refer to something he has said in the rest of the interview with the producers, which was cut out.

Later he wrote that he wanted to say he smelled pine needles instead of smelling pinyon nuts. (38) But he didn’t write that there are no pinyon trees around the location of the chest. That does not necessarily mean anything. Maybe it was just an incorrect slip of the tongue, but who knows? Anyway, in my final location there are growing many sage bushes and pine trees, but no pinyon trees. You can see mountains and there are many buffaloes and deers around.

Forrest Fenn’s quote: “The clues did not exist when I was a kid but most of the places the clues refer to did. I think they might still exist in 100 years but the geography probably will change before we reach the next millennia.” (39)

Of course, the 9 clues did not exist when he was a child because they only exist from the moment when he created them. But most of the places the clues refer to, did. In my solution, there is one place that didn’t exist when he was a kid, it’s “Big Sky” in Montana. I don’t know when this name occurred the first time, but to my knowledge, it was probably not before 1950. I guess, it got its name according to the Big Sky resort, which was opened in December 1973. Also the nickname of Montana “Big Sky Country” originated 1962. So if there is no place called Big Sky, there is also no “place below” there.

Another conversation with Forrest Fenn. 

The question: Forrest, You said you made two trips from your car to hide the treasure. Besides walking, did you use any other methods of transportation to get back and forth between the car and the hide? Thanks, Edgar 

The answer: “Edgar, your wording of the question prompts me to pause and wonder if I can answer it candidly, yet correctly. Were all the evidence truly known, and I answered in the positive, you might say I was prevaricating, by some definitions of the word. And if I answered in the negative, you may claim that I was quibbling. So I will stay quiet on that subject. Thanks for the question anyway. f” (40)

In my opinion this could mean that besides walking, he had also to wade, or something else which is quite similar to walking. If the chest is in a fen, that would fit too. If he doesn’t mean wading, nevertheless it should be very similar to walking. Because otherwise, it wouldn’t be on the one hand prevaricating, and on the other hand quibbling.

Another quote: “The chest is exposed to rain and snow, and could be scorched in a forest fire.” (41)

Now you could assume that the chest is above ground, but this quote isn’t from Forrest Fenn himself. 

The Columnist Tony Doukopil wrote this after an interview with Forrest Fenn. But since I know that people often misinterpret things Forrest Fenn has said, I am not sure how much this quote is worth. I would be more interested in the exact sentence Forrest Fenn has said. 

If this sentence in the article is built on a quote from Forrest Fenn like this: “I am guessing the clues will stand for centuries. That was one of my basic premises, but the treasure chest will fall victim to geological phenomena just like everything else. Who can predict earthquakes, floods, mudslides, fires, tornadoes and other factors?” (42) Then it’s worthless, because there he only says that especially on a longer time range, nobody can predict natural disasters. Afterwards, he listed a few examples, but making a conclusion of this basis, (of the place where the chest might be) is very questionable, 

in my opinion.

The only thing he has said, in fact is, that it’s difficult or even impossible to predict natural disasters. If this quote from Tony Doukopil is correct, I really don’t know how to solve the mildew problem. By the way, I also guess that all the clues in my solution will stand for centuries.

This quote is from Forrest Fenn for sure:” I would advise new searchers to look for the clues in my poem and try to marry them to a place on a map.” (43)

The first map that comes to our mind is probably a topographical map or a street map. But as “a map” could also be meant everything that’s like an illustration. There are many kinds of maps existing and astronomers use star maps for orientation in the big sky. And I could drew a treasure map from my solution as well. Most difficult would be the time, but a clock or sand glass would visualize that pretty well. But I know this part is a bit fishy. Nevertheless, in my opinion “not far but too far to walk” is most suitable for a distance in the time.

I have read, that in the book “Chasing Fenn’s Treasure” of Cynthia Meachum is following quote: “When I discussed the CCC cabin as being the home of Brown, he immediately said, ‘don’t you remember, I said it can’t be associated with any structure.’” (44)

According to this we could assume that none of the clues is associated with any structure. Or/And because we know that, the chest is also not associated with any structure, we could assume that the chest is at the home of Brown. (27) But in my opinion, the first assumption is more likely. I guess, that none of the clues is associated with any human structure anyway, because it would be to uncertain to stand for centuries. (42) 

This would fit my solution too. None of my clues is associated with a human structure, only with names human beings have given them.

The funny thing is, that to my knowledge, Forrest Fenn never clarified, that he means a human structure in this response. So if we assume that his quotes are to 100% correct, he hid no treasure chest at all because if the chest isn’t associated with any structure, this includes chemical structures as well and without those, every question about a location is pointless anyway. Luckily, we know that Forrest Fenn reserves the right to be wrong once in a while. (45)

And another quote: “I have not said that a searcher was closer than 12’ from the treasure. It is not likely that anyone would get that close and not find it.” (45)

This could mean that you can see the chest if you are as close as 12 feet. But it could also mean that the person who comes that close, is pretty certain about what he has to look for (maybe it is visible from this distance) to find the chest. It could be visually hidden, though. The stone in the tall grass would fit pretty well for this theory, because it’s only visible if you are so close.

But it could also mean, that it is hidden in a terrain, where probably nobody goes to voluntarily. Only if somebody knows where the chest approximately is, he/she enters this terrain so he/she comes that close. That would in turn support a fen. I mean except children, there are only a very few human beings living on this planet which are stepping in a swampy area, just for fun.

By the way, I am pretty certain, that the chest is, for all that, visually hidden. I often walked off trail in very remote places, and yet found traces everywhere, that indicate the presence of other human beings. 

Forrest Fenn has also found the place where the chest is hidden once. So there is a possibility to find this place, despite not knowing the poem. If we consider, that today much much more people are hiking and doing outdoor stuff than a couple of decades ago, it could also be more likely that someone finds this place. I guess, it’s only a question of time until somebody would stumble over the chest if it’s not visually hidden.

In Moby Dickens Book Shop video, Forrest Fenn said “that I buried the tre… ah that I hide the treasure” (46) Maybe this was just an incorrect slip of the tongue again, but who knows?

To the question: Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R

He answered:” No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.” (02)

If you look at the satellite image of my final location and you have a comprehensive knowledge of geography, you will know, that this formation is very likely a stone basin. Knowing this, you can assume that water accumulates there. Concluding, that inside the basin is probably a fen, and in such a fen grows a tall grass. So for the last clues of my solution a comprehensive knowledge of geography helps for sure. But also for the other clues it is not of disadvantage.

Another conversation with Forrest Fenn; the question: Dear Forrest, What’s more important in solving the search, a greater knowledge (“knowlege”) of Toponymy or Geography?  ~Chris the answer: “I don’t know how Toponymy can help you at all Chris (I had to look that word up). But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure. f”  (39)

So what exactly is a geographic location? Geo means earth and graphy means describe. Therefore, it’s the description of our earth and this includes the atmosphere as well. And a location doesn’t necessarily have to be a point on earth’s surface.

In my opinion, every “clue location” of my solution is a geographic location, even the night is “earthly”. You could ask, where the geographic location of the night should be. The answer is simple, it’s were no sunlight reaches earth’s surface, and without a surface, any question about night is pointless, anyway. I mean there is no night in outer space. Of course, our moon or other planets and moons have nights too, but that’s not a GEOgraphic location anymore.

Quote of Forrest Fenn: “Not on a mountain top, maybe close “(15)

That’s a funny quote. In fact, this just tells us for sure, that it’s not on a mountain top. “Maybe close” fits for every point between the valley bottom and the mountain top because “close” is a description which is relative. He has also said “maybe”, means, that this is not for sure. If you look precisely, it could also be down in a valley bottom. Apart from these hair fissures, this quote fits perfectly well for my final spot. My final location is not in the valley bottom and there is a mountain top close by. But how close a mountain top has to be, to be close?

We also know the following things:

1: “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search.” (15)

2: “Excellent research materials are TTOTC, Google Earth, and/or a good map. f” (47)

3: A question: Is any specialized knowledge required to find the treasure? For instance, something learned during your time in the military, or from a lifetime of fly fishing? Or do you really expect any ordinary average person without your background to be able to correctly interpret the clues in the poem? ~mdavis19 The answer: “No specialized knowledge is required mdavis19, and I have no expectations. My Thrill of the Chase book is enough to lead an average person to the treasure. f” (34)

For my solution, you just need the poem and Google Earth and/or a good map. In my opinion, no special knowledge is needed for my solution, only general knowledge, and it’s not really difficult to figure out. Most people know:

that warm waters halt up in the sky, 

that there is only one direction in time and every distance “in time” is too far to walk, 

that in the night you can see the stars, which form constellations, 

that buffaloes are meek, and so the idea is close to search for a Buffalo Creek, 

that look quickly down could mean south and/or bird’s-eye view, 

that tar is a slow moving substance, that a lake can look like an eye that looks “with marvel gaze” into the world and that the geological movement is extremely slow,

that “for listening good”, you need both ears (which are mirrored), 

that water outdoors usually feels cold,

that a meadow is, to a small insect, like a wood and that something brave stands out. 

Of course, comprehensive knowledge of geography and some imagination might help.

Forrest Fenn said, that the clues get progressively easier after solving the first clue. (30) We can’t say this in general, because everybody interprets things differently. But for me, my solution complies this requirement.

I have never been a full time searcher and in the beginning, I thought that this is more a promotion for selling books or the begging for attention of a millionaire and setting a memorial for himself beyond his death. Maybe also some kind of spiritual exploration, but I didn’t think that there is really a chest hidden somewhere. I was also pretty sure, that in case it isn’t a hoax, I’m not smart enough to solve this riddle anyway. The funny thing is, that at least in this point I had a good nose. But because of my curiosity and the fact, that I always have plenty of time to dwell on my thoughts, I started brooding about this poem, from time to time. Although I had the first three clues in my mind from the start, funnily enough it took me a while to make the connection between them. But still, I thought that “put in below the home of Brown” would refer to the birth on earth or something like that.

I bought the book “The Thrill of the Chase” too, also because I was going to Alaska for some months and I wanted to buy some English books for refreshing this language, anyway. Except of learning some new words, it didn’t bring me further, but I must say, that I really enjoyed reading it. I only discovered some parts that made me suspicious because of it being only partially right or being totally wrong. I also found some mighty proves for my first three clues, there: For example, Eric Sloane, Albert Einstein and many allusions to stars. But I know very well that this is not significant. In case of having a result, it’s always easy to find some parameters that support this. So I guess, it doesn’t make sense to refer to this here further, also because this article has already become too long anyway. Well that`s funny, because I know at this point that it will get much longer because there are still so many thoughts in my head. 

After reading the book, I skipped thinking about the poem for a long time. Then I had a surgery on my leg and I ended up for five weeks just sitting around and reading. But soon, I had read many books twice as well as “The Thrill of the Chase”, and this brought the poem back to my mind. I thought maybe there is a place in the Rocky Mountains where big sky occurs in its name, like for example big sky mountain or big sky lake. Because I had nothing better to do anyway, I switched on my computer and googled for “big sky Rocky Mountains”, and from this point, I was back in the game again. The rest of my solution I figured out in two steps, each took me a couple of days. So I can say, at least for me, my solution got progressively easier after connecting the first three clues. The most difficult part was getting over the obstacle of searching for big sky in the Rockies. Afterwards, I have spent most time for checking facts Forrest Fenn has said about the thrill of the chase and how this fits my solution. To the question of who is Brown Forrest Fenn answered: “Well, that’s for you to find, if I told you that you’d go right to the chest.” (37) 

Now I can’t speak for everybody, but at least for me, this statement matches with my solution if there would have been a chest at the end. It could theoretically also mean that the chest is at the home of Brown, but in my opinion, this is unlikely because in this case, what would be the point of the remaining clues? By the way, this quote fits the one at the beginning of this section well.

But other people maybe won`t share my opinion, as well as I won`t share theirs. And this is what makes our world inter alia more colorful too, I guess.

I thought, if I would make a treasure hunt, I would construct the riddle like a hopper. At least the first clue should be easy to find. This doesn’t imply that it’s easy to solve nor that you will be confident about it. But if you have solved it, it should be easy to find, even if you are still not confident about the accuracy. Then this would be a good starting point from where you can solve the remaining clues in sequence. 

Forrest Fenn wrote once: “Several months ago some folks correctly mentioned the first two clues to me in an email and then they went right past the other seven, not knowing that they had been so close.” (36) This comment is from Wednesday, 26 September 2012. 

If we consider, that the number of searchers has increased massively since then, and that the number of people which have found the first two clues is equivalent to this, we can conclude that many people have found the first two clues until today, not knowing that they had been so close. And we know that many people have figured out at least the first clue until today because Forrest Fenn wrote: many people have found the first clue but they didn’t know it. (31) In my opinion, this supports my assumption that the first clue isn’t difficult to find.

To prevent anyone from skipping a clue, every clue should be built on the previous one. So it would only be solvable if you have figured out the first clue. Maybe the “nail it down” quote refers to this, who knows? (01)

Also maybe this quote of Forrest Fenn supports my assumption: “Your destination is small, but its location is huge.” (48) 

Referring to my first three clues, its location is huge, at least on earthly scale, and especially the first one is easy to find, at least in my opinion. Even if you really can be certain about the clues after you have found the treasure chest. (31) That`s funny, not because of only becoming certainty when you have found the treasure chest, but because of my not negligible uncertainty that I have yet by finding nothing. 

Of course this quote might also fit for other “easy to find solutions” of the first clue. But in my opinion, the first clue isn’t something like a tiny single hot spring somewhere hidden in the Rocky Mountains (you would have to have lots of luck finding it – it could only work if the solution of the first clue is the name of this hot spring and therefore easy to find). So I guess, it’s not the luck or coincidence that brings you to the chest. Maybe those three quotes support my assumption:

1: “And at the end, the one who finds the gold will not feel lucky, but instead, will ask himself, ‘what took me so long?'” (49)

2: “The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental.”(50)

3: “The person who finds the treasure will be the one who solved the clues in my poem and walked to it. No one will happen onto it. My hope is that whoever deserves it through his efforts will be the finder.” (51)

Quote of Forrest Fenn: “What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it?” (52) I don’t know exactly if he really means the same “water high” as in his poem, but to my solution of “water high” you can ride the bike for sure.

One last quote from Forrest Fenn:

“I will give you an important clue, no need to look for the treasure in a place where a 79 or 80 year old man couldn’t go with a 44 pound treasure chest full of gold and precious gems. Good luck. F” (52)

It’s difficult to say how far 80 year old men can walk. I know men in the thirties that are exhausted after a small hike, and on the other hand one who took each year part in a mountain marathon with 21 miles and 8200 altitude feet until he was 74.

A few years ago the mountain-rescue-service rescued a 90 year old man from a mountain very close to my home. Not because he was exhausted, but because he didn’t find the right ascent. And this happened to younger hikers before, which climbed this unmarked, very steep and difficult to find trail. By the way you have to make about 4000 altitude feet from the bottom to the top, so nothing for people in bad shape.

To my final location you have to walk 1,2 miles and about 650 altitude feet from the street. It’s an easy hike in easy terrain.

In the Austrian Alps, the trail descriptions are normally expecting around 1,9 miles and 1300 altitude feet per hour. This description considers that you carry an 11-22Ibs heavy backpack. If you are hiking off trail you are slower, of course, depending on the terrain.

So considering this, one should be able to do this hike in at least 45 minutes uphill and 30 minutes downhill. Let’s say, an 80 year old man who has hiked much in his life needs twice as long. This would make approximately 5 hours for two hikes, plus the time Forrest Fenn has needed to hide the treasure chest. I guess this should have been possible for him in one afternoon. And I also guess 5 hours is a generous estimation, also because he had no heavy backpack to carry downhill. So I don’t think that it would have taken him that long.

He also mentioned, that there is no human trail in very close proximity to the chest. (34) The closest trail to my final spot is 0,8 miles away. But who knows how far “in very close proximity” really is. By the way, it’s 0,8 miles to the Slough Creek Trail as the crow flies. We didn’t try this ascent because it looks quite steep on the map. I guess the 1,2 mile route from the street is the easiest way up there.

Since Forrest Fenn has said the chest isn’t in a dangerous place, some words to the safety of this spot. (53)

As I have said, the terrain is easy and even a small child can do it without a problem. Nevertheless, in Yellowstone NP there are living bears.

I have spent some months in bear countries and lots of this time in the wild nature, far away from any civilization or even streets and I had never ever a problem with a bear. I know that the experience of one single person is not very significant, and also that a bear which is used to humans is more dangerous than one that is not. But all people I know and I that have ever met, share in this regard the same experience.

Nevertheless, it sometimes comes to incidents. But there is no 100% safety in your whole life. From the beginning of your life, there is ever the possibility of death. It depends, for example, on where you live, or your way of life. You only can lower this probability by your actions, as you can raise it too, at least in cases you can influence by yourself. But you will never reach 100% of safety, that’s just an illusion.

In Alaska, for example, it is up to 50 times more likely that you die in a car accident than you get killed from a bear (I use this country, because I have been there and so the statistic is in my mind, but in every other bear country it’s quite similar, I guess). So if you have to throw a dice with 51 faces, fifty of them are black and one is white and you would die if you guess the right color, who would say black? Nevertheless, we are more scared of making a hike in bear country than driving the car. As I have said, 100% safety is just an illusion and we don’t see the danger in things or actions that our brain has become accustomed to. What we fear is sometimes only in our imagination, and that’s the point, our brain works more emotionally than rationally.

The media coverage boosts this fear unintentionally. We only hear about the one who got killed from a bear, but we don’t hear about the crowd of people which had no problems at all. Luckily, because otherwise 24 hours would be way too short for the daily news.

Then the main part comes into play, cognitive distortion through selective perception. This means we see the world like we expect it, because we remember stuff that we expect much better than other stuff. And our memories are not static because they are not stored in our brain like on a hard drive. They are recreated at each reminder process and they will change as time goes by. So they are maybe not similar with the past reality anymore. But normally, we don’t realize this because we don’t have a reference. If you want to be certain about something, it’s always good to have pen and paper in your pocket.

We should also consider, that our sense organs receive only a fraction of what our environment has to offer and from this, our brain filters out over 90%. From the remaining rest, our brain models the world, and this also doesn’t ever necessarily correspond with the reality. 

For example, look at our most important sensory organs, the eyes. We think, we are keen seeing living beings and the world around is exactly how we see it with our eyes, but is this really true?

First we have to know that our eyes normally don’t work the whole time both to 100%, it’s more work sharing. Seeing is a highly complex exhausting process for our body. So, one eye does ~90% of the work while the other one takes a rest and does only ~10%. Then they change and the other one rests and the second does most of the job, and so on. The raw material which the eyes send to our brain is approximately like the following:

The pictures are only sharp in a cone of ~1,5°. This is approximately as big as the fingernail of your thumb when you stick your hand out in front of your body and put the thumb up. Outside this area it quickly gets blurred, and this effect increases the further you get away from this spot. In these pictures is a spot where nothing is displayed. It’s the blind spot where the optic nerve leaves the eyeball. And the eyes don’t deliver a continuous sharp movie to our brain. With jerky movements they scan our environment and only the single and short sequences during the halt are usable for our brain. Additional to that, we have only three different kinds of sensory cells for colors to react to: ~red, ~green and ~blue. And for our brain not being bored, the whole picture is up side down. Furthermore, we are virtually blind at least a quarter of the time. Because we are blinking approximately every three seconds and during the jerky eye movements, we make three to four times per second, we see next to nothing. From this raw material, our brain forms an upright, sharp, colorful, continuous movie without a blind spot in 3D. A reflex, which works as an image stabilizer, links the information from the semicircular canals (sense of balance) to the eye muscles. For every body and head movement, it triggers an exact counter-movement of the eyes. Otherwise, we would only see a very blurry picture, like the shots of a poorly moved video camera. Below the bottom line we can say, that the impression that we can see all things in our field of vision at the same time, and the impression of a continuous and uninterrupted view, is just pure illusion. And our nose, which is in the middle of this picture, is also cut out. 

But our brain also cuts things in. It remembers things we have seen before and if at the edge of our visual field something appears which looks alike (and remember for our brain this area is very blurred), our brain cuts this stuff in because it expects that this would be the same.

Also immobile objects exert fewer stimuli on our eyes than moving objects. This makes sense because danger comes from moving objects mostly. This is called the Toxler-effect and there is a fascinating experiment existing.

Put two mirrors in an angle of 90° on a table (like a roof), so that the ridge of the mirrors is facing you when you look horizontal to the table.

Then put two toilet paper rolls parallel in front of the mirrors so that each roll faces a separate mirror and you can see through them as through binoculars (two paper rolls      =<      two mirrors ~90° to each other). Now put something (it doesn’t matter what, for example a meeple) on one side, so you can see it with the one eye in one mirror if you look through the paper rolls like through binoculars. Then put your fingers on the table so you can see it with the other eye in the other mirror. If you move your fingers now, the meeple disappears although it’s still there. The brain evaluates movements higher and cuts the meeple out by using only the information of the other eye. Even if you focus and concentrate on the meeple, it disappears. Only with the highest concentration you can still see the meeple very vaguely. But if you make a quick different movement with your fingers, nevertheless it disappears and you can do nothing against it. 

We could ask, do we really see through our eyes, or does the visible movie just exist in our brain? Considering all this, the answer to this question is obvious, I guess.

By the way, this is only a simple example to show that the world we experience is not always 100% of the reality. But what is reality anyway? Nothing is really like we perceive it. Everything around us is not really impenetrable and of closed surface. It’s only the elementary charge of the electrons, that safes us from falling through the ground. If you removed all the empty space out of a mountain, its altitude would shrink to perhaps an inch, although it looses no mass at all. 

The next time you have made yourself comfortable on an airplane seat, think about it in this way, there is mostly empty space under your ass. The surrounding, as long as it doesn`t emit light itself, doesn’t have really the colors we see, because color is just the characteristic of light, representing the energy of the light waves and the colors we see, arise and exist just in our head. The light that reaches our eyes has previously interacted with that stuff and a part of the wavelengths has been absorbed. So we see only the remaining wavelengths and by the way, we are only able to see a small spectrum of light waves anyway. When you sit on a park bench, enjoying the quiet and peace, you are not really sitting motionless on this bench. Depending on which degree of latitude the bench is, you move around the earth’s axis with up to 1.000mph. But that’s still not your actual speed. You also move around the sun with over 60.000mph and around the galactic center with ~490.000mph. And the speed of our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is in relation to the cosmic microwave background radiation ~1.230.000mph. Knowing this, one could almost regret that he wasn`t born as a tree which is firmly rooted to the ground, not to be flung away. But at least, in our decisions we feel totally free, don’t we? Also this isn’t as it appears to us. Previous research results show, that there are neuronal activities in connection with subsequent actions before we deliberately decide to do so. At first, we can decide against it but there is a point off no return. But if we consider that the movement of time is probably just an illusion of our memories, every question about a free decision is maybe pointless anyway… I could continue on and on but this would go way beyond the scope, and I guess you know what I mean.

Resuming, our brain forms the world we experience, but this isn’t necessarily to 100% true. Our brain is a fascinating, ingenious high performance organ, but do not trust it blindly.

If you go to the spot where my solution leads to, the actual reality is that the most dangerous part of the search is over when you leave your car and make your first step into nature. Of course, you have to follow some rules when you are in a bear country, but that goes without saying and those rules are available everywhere in Yellowstone Park. But you have to follow some rules to minimize the risk of injury or even death everywhere. You should also not overtake another car in a tight corner or go outside when a thunderstorm is close.

An other way to think about could be that your life isn’t only teetering on a knife edge since your own birth, but at least since the big bang. How likely is it that life arises? Till today, nobody knows. But in fact, none of your ancestors died in his childhood, despite high birth mortality, natural disasters, wars or illnesses in sooner times, for example. With the huge number of ancestors, that’s quite impressive, I guess, isn’t it? And the final danger is, that your parents would have never met. But again, in case of the time flow illusion, these speculations are maybe pointless anyway.

The spot where the treasure is, is the same spot where Forrest Fenn wanted to die once. (27)

I would say, that a wet fen isn’t a cozy place for a nap. But if you know that you will be dead soon anyway, maybe you don’t care much about this trifle. At least, maybe this spot would fit if you want your body to rest where you died for a few millennia. (41) Everywhere else your dead body will soon be eaten up. Only some bones may remain, exploring the world for a while, until sooner or later somebody will find them. And in those days the forensic doctors are excellent in their jobs and I am confident they will find out pretty soon who probably lost those bones. The police are also very good at finding the remaining parts of the owner, especially if they have only to play “Hansel and Gretel” and follow the trace. So this would put a quick end to this chase and I am pretty sure that Forrest Fenn has thought about that. 

Considering this, I guess, every speculation about a place where a dead body could rest unharmed above the ground for years is pointless. And I don’t know if there are shovels in the happy hunting grounds so you can bury yourself and although I have been there once before my birth, I don’t remember this. But even if buried, your dead body doesn’t last long because worms, maggots and mildew are hungry too. And he has denied the possibility of a cave as a final location where he could have closed the entrance with stones when he was inside. (27)

By the way, in a closed cave your dead body doesn’t last long too. Worms and Insects are small and will find their way for sure and mildew spores are of course nearly everywhere at home.

In a rain moor, due to the lack of oxygen and the acidic environment, it comes to soft tissue preservation while the mineral parts of the bones often dissolve. Until today, the oldest known bog body with an age of ~10.000 years is the “Man from Koelbjerg”, found in Denmark. Nevertheless, I don’t know if you will sink fast enough into the dirt before someone comes for dinner.

One question that came to my mind is, is this the important possibility related to the winning solution? (54) There are only a very few places on earth where your dead body will last for a few millennia unless you are not professionally mummified, but then I guess it’s a bit tricky to take a hike to your final resting spot anyway. 

Excellent places would be an icy spot like the Antarctica or a hot and dry spot like the Sahara. However, we are searching in the Rockies and there are no such first-class places, but at least there are glaciers. The “Oetzi”, found on the Tisenjoch at the border from Italy to Austria, rested there for more than 5.000 years. But Oetzi only rested there for so long because he was sleeping in a rock pan close to the Tisenjoch, joch is German and means something like a pass. The Tisenjoch is very flat and the glacier there doesn’t get any new ice supplement, following that it’s not moving. Because of that, Oetzi was best protected in this rock pan bed with the blanket of immovable ice. So you should choose your final resting spot wisely, otherwise a glacier will spit you out sooner as you can make yourself comfortable there. But due to the fact that the earth is right now becoming hell for the ice and if we don’t change course soon, the ice comes probably premature to heaven, I doubt that you will stay fresh there for so long. Oetzi was found in the unusually hot summer of 1991 because of heavy defrosting. But he would have been found until today anyway. I have been at the finding location several times and it’s frightening how fast the glaciers disappear in those days. 

I don’t know if there are deserts in the area of the Rockies where the chest probably is, which would fit for a long rest too. But in those places there are growing no sage bushes and pine trees anyway. (21)

So the idea is close, if you know that Forrest Fenn wants his dead body to rest where he died for a few millennia, that he has chosen a fen as a goal on his last hike. (41) It’s a “lose to impossible” project to find the right fen if you search for it in the whole Rockies between Santa Fe and the Canadian border. But if you consider all known facts about the thrill of the chase too, this possibility rises considerably. 

Anyway, a fen would be in fact an ideal location if you want to rest on top of your treasure for years unharmed, and maybe this comment supports this: 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. (55) But that is just an idea on the edge, who knows? Well, I’m not saying that I am a deep thinking treasure searcher but probably a normal thinking treasure searcher.

The prerequisite for this is that the fen never dries out. Otherwise, the organic substances are decomposing to humus. I guess, my final location will stay wet the whole year and maybe build a moor in the future. But this depends of course on the climate development and the longer you want predicts that, the more difficult it gets. 

Here I have listed the remaining facts I still know. (27)    

The chest is located above 5,000 ft and below 10,200 ft. My final spot is at ~7,200 ft.

It’s in the Yellowstone National Park, so it’s more than 8,25 miles north of Santa Fe, the hometown of Forrest Fenn.

It’s not in a grave yard, not in an out house, not associated with a structure, not in a mine, tunnel, or cave.

“Begin it where warm waters halt” is my first clue and it’s not a dam.

The spot is on the map in his book “too far to walk”.

The treasure is in Wyoming.

My clues are in consecutive order.

And honestly, I must say, that I have no idea why it’s best, if you have a searching partner, to have them wait in the car. (56) This sentence is a bit odd anyway. Why he is talking about “a searching partner” and then he says “have them wait”? Does “them” mean something else than your searching partner or is it just mistyped?

Last but not least, we should also not forget that Forrest Fenn reserves the right to be wrong once in a while. (45)

Recently a few audio documents of Forrest Fenn have been released. Maybe this would fit much better somewhere else in my article, but I’m too lazy to rearrange my writing, and so I put my opinion about this here at the end.

Now there Forrest Fenn says: Tarry means wait around…And scant means…for a second or two. (57)

So in my opinion, those are the definitions of those words in fact. Tar is moving so slow, that tarry is similar to wait around. And it can be used in a writing for this meaning like linger. Nevertheless, if you look precisely, it’s just a hesitation. Also if you observe a tarry movement for a second or two, it’s like no motion at all or waiting around, but below the bottom line it’s a motion and we still have the implementation of a very slowly movement.

When Dal Neitzel told Forrest Fenn that he was surprised that he had answered the question about tarry scant, Forrest said “Why? What else could it mean?” Dal Neitzel responded that searchers had been talking about what those words meant from the very beginning of the search. Forrest Fenn just shook his head and said “It’s not complicated.” (57)

To see in “tarry scant” an extremely slow movement isn’t complicated, at least in my opinion. So this doesn’t change my opinion about my sixth clue and at least for me, “tarry scant” still means literally an extremely slow motion. 

Forrest Fenn also said: “You have to find out where the first clue is, where warm waters halt, that’s the first clue, and then take it from there … the clues are chronological after that, one leads to another, leads to another and … when you get to the ninth clue, look down, because that’s where the treasure chest is.” (58)

The conclusion is near, that the ninth clue is the blaze because after this, the poem says look quickly down. But then the poem would contain ten clues, with look quickly down as the last one because here the poem tells you to do something, and so it brings you from one location to the next. Even if this location might be not far away or even very close, it’s of course a description to get physically closer to the chest and so it should be designated as a clue. By the way, I have described the problem I see with “look quickly down” as the last clue further above. I guess “when you get to the ninth clue, look down” don’t refers to the “look quickly down” in the poem. In fact, he only says when you get to the ninth clue (and I guess he means on site), you have to look down because that’s where the treasure chest is. And by the way, this would fit my solution as well, because if you stand at the stone, the chest would be below you, hidden somewhere around this stone. Of course, this also fits for every other solution where, when you are physically at the ninth clue, the chest is below your horizontal facial field.

Below the bottom line, I guess, we should be very careful with our interpretations about the stuff Forrest Fenn says. Otherwise we end up immediately with totally wrong facts. The best example is following statement of him: Because I spent 19 of my first 20 summers, three months, in Yellowstone or West Yellowstone but the last time I was up there was 1950. (59) Now the seemingly obvious conclusion that he visited Yellowstone 1950 the last time, is wrong. In fact, he only said that the last time he spent a whole summer in Yellowstone was 1950. And by the way, we know for sure that Forrest Fenn has visited the Yellowstone NP many times since 1950.

And also this example: I doubt that a volcanic eruption under Yellowstone Lake would blow the treasure chest to bits, no matter the odds, but it might spread a lot of beautiful cutthroat and lake trout around the country side. f (60) Also because of this statement we could think that the chest isn’t hidden in Yellowstone. But if you look precisely, if the Yellowstone sneezes before the treasure was found, it doesn’t blow the chest into bits, but probably the chest will fly into the sky in one piece. And even though we don’t know exactly where and how big the next blow out will be, the probability that my final spot will fly into the sky is rather low. Maybe the shock wave blows the chest away, but it’s buried for sure after this impressive, worth seeing natural event.

I stumbled over something more. I read that in the foreword of “Once upon a while” Douglas Preston wrote: The final clue, he said, would be where they found his car: in the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. (61) Forrest Fenn said this before he hid the chest. 

This final clue hasn`t to be necessarily a clue connected to the clues in the poem. Forrest Fenn could have meant the final clue he gives to the world before he goes to his secret place and dies. The fact that his car would be found in the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science could have been a hint that the solution of the poem is built on nature and science.

In 2012 Tony Dokoupil says that Douglas Preston remembers Forrest telling him that he’s worried that people will find his car and the location of the car would be Northern Arizona University. (62)

If this is correct, we should wonder why Forrest Fenn is talking now of the Northern Arizona University instead of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Maybe he decided to give a more concrete hint to the winning solution. This university belongs to the Big Sky Conference and maybe this is a hint to Big Sky. But the second statement is just someone’s memory referring to someone’s memory, so who knows?

I have tried to respond to everything I have found about the thrill of the chase. But probably I have missed some stuff.

Finally, is the treasure somewhere hidden around this stone? At least you don’t have to worry about us finding the treasure. In my opinion, this solution fits very well, but who doesn’t think this about his solve? As I have said at the beginning, my girlfriend and I have searched this spot very carefully for hours with a five feet long stick like you search in an avalanche. First around the stones and later in the whole fen. I mean not really in the whole fen, only in the parts which are safe to reach. But in the other parts, I guess searching is pointless anyway because we know it’s not in a dangerous place. (53) Thereby I can tell you that there is most likely no treasure chest in the whole fen. So please don’t turn this fen over and destroy it, it’s pointless! By the way, digging inside the Yellowstone National Park is illegal anyway. There is always a possibility of having overlooked something, but I estimate this probability rather low.

It’s relatively easy to find a seemingly suitable solution and if you are convinced about it, you get blinkers and make everything else suitable. Sometimes it’s good to fail not to become arrogant. My solution joins now the long list of failed solves. And that’s funny, because we take many banalities for too important and serious, luckily failures teach us to see many things more humorous. Well, I don’t mean it’s funny because of seeing many things with more humor, but because I guess my live made me to a pretty humorous person. However, I would say we are not as perfect as we likely assume, often we don’t recognize our failure at the first glance and tomorrow we have forgotten it anyway. What we think is right today is maybe at all wrong tomorrow, or the other way round. And how this appears the day after tomorrow is written in the stars of course. But on the other hand, if we finally know all our failure in advance, we could probably stay two-thirds of the day in our beds, and permanently that’s bloody boring.

In the end I don’t know if my solution is partially right or wrong at all. After finding nothing, I thought that it’s simply wrong at all. But now after writing all this, I’m not that confident anymore. Somehow, some things are very conclusive, at least in my opinion. But otherwise, who doesn’t think this about his solution? 

But if I have the slight suspicion that there is maybe something affirmative in my solution, why do I give it out of my hands? Especially if there is the possibility that I could make my solution more suitable? Honestly, first I was skeptical if I should share my solution because I feared that some greedy idiots would turn the fen over although I have written that there is probably no treasure chest hidden in the dirt. And also if someone solves the poem and finds the chest, it sucks, if a partially correct solution has been published before. But then I came up with the conclusion that the major point why I thought I should share it, carries a greater weight than those concerns. The point is, even if I could improve my solution, I am not going to make a renewed search anyway. The reason is simply because I live in Europe and I have to make a long distance flight to get there. As we know, flying is one of the worst things to the human accelerated climate change, at least at the transportation sector. I found too many excuses to fly again and so I flew way too much in my life. Because of my guilty conscience and my responsibility towards all living beings on this earth, those who are, and those who will come after me, I will probably never fly again, at least with an airplane. Well, I mean for the Yellowstone fireworks I would fly again because I guess it’s worth seeing it.

I know that meanwhile many people from around the world are flying just for the treasure around the whole globe (and I know this because I was one of them), and because there is ever a possibility that something is correct in a solution, I thought maybe my solution helps to solve this riddle to prevent this.

I think it’s good, if people get their ass up and go out into the nature for new experience and adventures. And it would also be wrong if everybody cancels travelling from now on. The livelihood of many people depends on travelers. Also when you travel around the world, seeing other countries and get to know other cultures and attitudes, it expands our horizon and makes us more tolerant towards others. But there is a fine line between a reasonable and an unreasonable journey and last but not least, it’s up to oneself to decide this. But in fact, we shouldn’t live our life too much at the expense of our descendants and keep our debts as low as possible. For me, it’s yet not too far to walk to make a turn and I hope that we all together, as the population of this planet, don’t miss the point from where it’s too far to walk. Because I’m a limitless optimist, I think, that we haven’t passed this point already, but who knows? Nevertheless, it’s ever appropriate to leave our world in as good as possible conditions to those who come after us.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying if you have to make a long journey to your final spot, you shouldn’t go. I’m not in the position to tell you this anyway. I just want to say, if it’s a bigger project to get there, take as much time as you can and make out of your journey one of the biggest adventures of your life, so that the long way is worth it. And don’t be too much focused on finding the treasure chest, there are countless things out there which are just waiting to get recognition.

And to all naysayers, there is no doubt about the huge human influence to the climate in the whole scientific community around the whole globe. Only very, very few scientists are still skeptical about that, and funnily, most of them don’t work at weather nor climate research. And also not a single National Academy of Science around the world denies the huge human impact on the climate. It’s a mystery, that laity often think they would know better than numberless studied scientists who may have been involved in the topic for decades. And even more mysterious is, that some people still believe in those astray laities. If I have toothache, I also won’t trust somebody who has seen at best some toothpaste advertising on TV. This Dunning-Kruger-Effect is so funny. Well, I don’t mean because of its impact to the world but because of its irony. By the way, flying is also a big waste of resources and for 2019 we have already used up the annually available resources by the 29th of July. For the rest of the year we are living on tick.

Honestly, there is also one egoistic point about sharing my solution. I would love to know the right solution and due to the fact that there is still the possibility that every solution contains something right, I also thought it would be a good idea to share it.

Finally, I can say, it was yet an awesome and exciting time. I have seen the Yellowstone NP which was a great journey and without this chase, I probably wouldn’t have ever seen this place because I am really scared of human crowds. The thrill of the chase is over for me now and should my solution being partially correct, maybe someone else brings a fresh wind into it and can improve it. 

Sorry for pulling down the mood at the end, nevertheless, I wish all of you a nice day, many great imaginative ideas and upcoming awesome and save searches,


PS: A big thank you to Karin, who made my weird writing readable for everybody.

To raise the mood again, here are a few pictures of our search.


Parking lot where we started hiking (at the far left)


The summit at the very left is the Bison Peak


View back into the Lamar Valley, direction west


The Lamar Valley to the southeast



In the center is the elongated summit above the lake, the first wooded summit to the right is the Bison Peak


View towards Amethyst Mountain


In front you can see the small lake


My brave and in the wood


The fen how you see it from the east side



Reference list of comments:






























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(58) (part three)










Be Water…

of34October 2019

By CrazyFox


Boots on the ground (BOTG) was always the fun part for me.  I don’t know how many searches I’ve been on and it never really mattered if I was even close to the treasure or even in the right state.  It was all just an excuse to get out in the wilderness and hike around and explore new areas and have some fun pretending I was going to find the treasure.  But eventually I had to stop doing that because it got to be an expensive hobby and I couldn’t afford to just keep driving around the Rocky Mountains on a wild goose chase looking for gold, no matter how much fun I was having.  But the poem had become stuck in my mind, playing over and over in an endless loop, even when I was hiking outside the Rockies.  Somehow I had become obsessed.  The more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was a crazy idea that Forrest even hid a treasure valued that high somewhere out there.  I mean what if someone accidentally stumbled across it and found it without even having any knowledge of the poem.  Or what if a park ranger in Yellowstone found it and then what…the government takes it?  I would think that would be the last thing that Forrest would want to happen.  So, at some point I had a shift in my thinking.  I began to think that maybe the treasure chest wasn’t actually hidden out there in the mountains and that maybe the poem was just a riddle to be solved mentally.  Does that sound crazy?  Anyhow, this solve is a mental solve only, using imagination.  All I ask is that you read my solution with an open mind because my solve is pretty far out there.  After almost a decade, still no one has found the chest with traditional thinking…with BOTG mentality.  So, I’m thinking outside the box.  Way outside the box.

Forrest used the word “good” in the poem, instead of using the more grammatically correct “well”.  Is there some reason we have to be good?  Forrest spent a long time writing the poem and I’m sure he chose every word carefully, and if he used the word good instead of well, then I’m sure it must have meaning in the poem.  The treasure chest is said to have possibly once contained a bible, so maybe there is a connection to the word good and maybe morality plays a role in the poem.  In The Thrill of the Chase (TTOTC), Forrest mentions Catcher in the Rye in the chapter titled “Important Literature”.   Forrest thinks the book is about him and says that it was “my very own story line”.  The title Catcher in the Rye comes from a song that the main character hears and misinterprets.  Holden (the main character) wants to “catch” children in their uncorrupted innocence before they “fall” into adulthood, or in other words to protect innocence from the corrupting influence of experience.  So is there a “fall” in Forrest’s poem?  A fall from grace and Forrest wants to be the “catcher”?  “And take it in the canyon down”…that canyon leads to hell!  In Forrest’s poem we have the line, “There’ll be no paddle up your creek”, which to me, sounds like we may be in trouble…we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle (because of our sinful ways…we have fallen).  

In Important Literature, Forrest doesn’t really care for The Great Gatsby, a cautionary tale with themes of decadence and excess.  And when Forrest talks about For Whom the Bell Tolls, he’s describing a completely different book.  Death is the primary theme in For Whom the Bell Tolls and is the primary theme of Forrest’s poem in my opinion.  In Forrest’s poem he writes “the end is ever drawing nigh”.  That line always sounded a little ominous to me.  I think he’s talking about the end of life.  We have the double omega at the end of the book.  Omega means the end so the double omega would mean the end of the end…or a new beginning.  In my solution, the first omega (or the first end) represents a spiritual death and the second omega represents a physical death.  On page 15 in TTOTC, forrest says “that before too long I’ll make my last flight to where even memory itself will never have been”…the last flight, meaning death and his spirit flying up to heaven.  On page 142 he writes, “Today I looked up in the sky and saw that I shall never die”, meaning that the physical body may die but the spirit lives on in the afterlife.                 

The quote that Forrest mentions from the T.S. Eliot poem says, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”.  Basically the quote is saying that we are going to end where we start.  But how can that be?  Are we going in a circle?  Yes, two circles.  Two cycles.  Two omegas.

I started out by looking for the blaze first because that’s the trail marker.  That puts you on the correct path.  “Begin it where warm waters halt” is not the beginning of the poem.  We need to start at the beginning of the poem where the keyword is located in the first stanza.  He tells you that he’s giving you a hint, in the line…And hint of treasures new and old.  The keyword is old.  Start out by looking for the blaze…just heavy loads and water high…that’s the blaze.  It’s not a waterfall, that’s the wrong direction…your arrowhead should be pointing up!  When Forrest fell from the sky after being shot down, he was saved by being pulled up.  That’s the direction you want to go after you die…up, not down to hell! 

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

The keyword is old.  He’s talking about Old Faithful in this first stanza.  Don’t think of “I” as meaning Forrest speaking to you, think of “I” as Old Faithful speaking to you.

As I (Old Faithful) have gone (erupted-the water is gone, it has left the chamber) alone in there

And with my treasures bold (This is the blaze, the water in full display-the eruption).

I can keep my secret where warm waters halt (which is in the clouds, or in heaven).

New and old…new eruptions, old eruptions. 

Okay, I guess I need to explain WWWH (where warm waters halt).  Hot water comes out of Old Faithful and most of the water falls back down, except for the finite particles (the steam or the mist) which rises due to temperature.  The mist is the warm waters, which rise until they reach the colder air high up in the sky.  That’s where warm waters halt and clouds are formed.  The clouds represent heaven and the mist represents a spirit that reconnected spiritually with God.  More on that later.  We need to start at the beginning of the path.  So we begin it WWWH, or in other words, in heaven.  We start in heaven and God gives us life to begin. 

And take it in the canyon down (ATIITCD).  Those of you who are familiar with the searcher who goes by the name Seeker, may remember Him talking about “take it in” to mean view.  So we take in the view.  We have to view the path, that is, we have to visualize the path in our mind’s eye only (imagination) since the path takes us underground.  And we’re going to take it (the water cycle of Old Faithful) into the canyon down.  Water is a symbol of life across many different cultures.  So in the poem, life is symbolized by the water which I’ve already pointed out by saying that the mist is symbolic of a spirit going to heaven.  So as the rain (or snow) comes down, this is the “fall”.  As we go through life, we fall into sin, because let’s face it, we’re all sinners.  

Not far, but too far to walk.  Hell is too far to walk, and we won’t be walking at all since this is a mental solve, no BOTG needed.

Put in below the home of Brown.  The home of Brown is Earth.  Earth is not capitalized when preceded by “the” – for example, everything on the earth, as opposed to everything on Earth (with no “the”).  The poem doesn’t say put in below the home of the brown.  That’s why he capitalized Brown.  So the canyon down, is below Earth.  In TTOTC on page 48, Forrest says after washing dishes all day… “My hands turned white and had deep canyons in them”.  So the canyon is small, or starts off small, just a little crevice where the water seeps down underground.

I’ve made a rudimentary drawing to help you visualize my solve.


So what I’m saying is that the poem takes us through two water cycles of Old Faithful.  These two cycles are the double omegas.  From there it’s no place for the meek.  So the water seeps down the crevice (the canyon down) and into the chest.  So, we’re at the gates of Hell (the magma chamber) now, and that’s just too far to walk!!!

The end is ever drawing nigh.  So it’s a cycle that repeats itself over and over and we continue to sin and put ourselves in Hell.  We need to break the cycle!!!  That’s why Forrest used the word “good” in the poem instead of using “well”.  We have to be good unless we want to end up in Hell!!!

There’ll be no paddle up your creek.  That’s the constrictor that the water is forced through.  So basically we’re going to be up sh-t creek without a paddle if we don’t change our evil ways!!!

Just heavy loads and water high.  This is the eruption of Old Faithful.  Water is spewing everywhere like the tears we’ll be crying from a life of sin.  We hit rock bottom because of our immoral ways and there’s only one way to go from here…UP!  Water high…meaning WWWH…we’ve had a spiritual death and now we reconnect with God.  

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.  Wise, because we need to see the error of our ways before we die and end up in Hell.  Look quickly down your quest to cease.  This is the start of the water cycle again for the second omega, or the rest of our lives, hopefully by now, living a more spiritual life.  I think the second omega represents our physical death.

But tarry scant.  So now we are in between eruptions.  We’re down in the water chamber (the chest) and we have to wait a while but not too long, for the water to fill up the chest again and for the eruption to happen.  We don’t want to tarry down in Hell.

With marvel gaze.  So is the marvel gaze hell?  From TFTW (Too Far To Walk)  I believe the last chapter is about the marvel gaze.  He’s looking into the mirror at a younger version of himself and in the mirror poem on page 259 he’s not happy with the looks of his old age (hell) and he asks the mirror to change his looks to twenty-three, his ideal age (heaven).  Then in the mirror poem he says “Maybe we can compromise, If you’ll just make me forty-four” (the middle…between heaven and hell).  So the marvel gaze would be the eruption itself (the blaze).  So we’re down in hell again because we’re all prone to making mistakes.  But this time we just tell the devil to go squat in a cactus patch and get the hell out of there!  

Just take the chest and go in peace.  This is the second eruption or the second omega (our physical death).  The double omega means the end of the end…or a new beginning.  We die a physical death but our spirit travels up to heaven!  Hallelujah!

So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?  The answer/s I already know I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.  So we know why Old Faithful erupts and after every eruption it is “weak” until it fills with water again and the cycle continues.  Plus, Old Faithful is slowing down…it’s not quite as faithful as it used to be.  Is that what’s happening in today’s world…we’re not quite as faithful as we used to be?  I’m not a religious person ( I don’t use the Bible to connect with God) but I am a spiritual person and I connect with a higher power through meditation.

We all know that war is hell.  And it’s possible that Forrest views war as a sin.  In “My War For Me” (in TTOTC), on pages 81 and 82, Forrest writes about a mission where he comes across a large group of people and he has to decide if it’s a legitimate target or not.  He describes the utter chaos, the panic, the terrible fear of the people below him.  Forrest said he felt ashamed and started crying in his oxygen mask.  He says, “Suddenly, I hated Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara and all of the other politicians who were sitting in their fat offices at home, totally oblivious to what war was really like.  I think war was a spiritual death to Forrest.  

So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.  Of course we can all hear when Old Faithful erupts and you already understand now why he used the word good instead of well in the poem.  And worth the cold, of course, is where warm waters halt…up in Heaven. 

If you are brave and in the wood…well, I have to be brave to write something as outrages as this!  And this seems to be the place to post it.  Home of Dal is in the wood because that’s where Forrest’s posts all his Scrapbooks.  

I give you title to the gold…this of course…To the Gold… is the title of Forrest’s poem.  What do you all think?








Trying To Read Between The Lines…

October 2019

By James Collier


Trying To Read Between The Lines

For this solve, I tried to keep things relatively simple. One day, about a month or so ago I was reading some replies on Dal’s blog. The discussion was in reference to some of the things Forrest Fenn has said in the past, as well as the 200ft and 500ft quote. I began to wonder why people were able to get within 200ft and 500ft of the TC, but not realize they were so close. How!? In almost 10 years, and the countless amount of searching, on top of the amount of people who have had very intellectual ideas, why has it not been found? So, I began to think. I sat around for an entire afternoon and asked myself the following questions:


1.How did people get so close and not realize it?
2.Why did FF tell people if you didn’t read anything else in the book, read “My War For Me.”
3.Why did ff tell a kid when asked if he thought a kid could solve it, “Yes, quite possibly one of the “smart” ones.”
4.Why did he say that “telling people when he found the location” would be too revealing of a clue?
5.Why did ff say there were clues “sprinkled” throughout the book but they weren’t deliberately placed to aid the seeker?
To answer these questions, I wanted to approach my next solve by simply sticking to the notion that all you needed was the book, the poem, a map, and an extensive knowledge of Geography. That’s it. Nothing else. I began this solve by taking Fenn’s advice and re-reading “My War For Me.” I went back to this chapter and tried to focus on what he was saying. I tried to find something that would punch me in the face. I tried to put myself in his shoes, and when I did, something stood out to me. After all of the narrow misses, the war, getting shot down, finding the soldiers grave site, what would I look forward to most? If it was me? I would look forward to nothing more than coming home to my family. Being done with it all and in the arms of the people I love the most. That day was December 22nd for him, and when he walked into his home it was Christmas Eve. This is what hit me in the face…the punch so to speak. “So what?” you might be asking. Well, let me explain as to why this was important to me.


This goes deep into question #3 & #4 above. Why would it have to be one of the “smart” ones? Why would the time he found the location be too revealing? I was wondering if there was place in the book he specifically mentions an age. I knew of one for sure, but I wanted to go back to the chapter it was in and read what was being said. This chapter in TTOTC is “Looking for Lewis & Clark.” Fenn states “I was thrilled and wished I could have been part of those great adventures. Sixteen-year-old kids are like that I guess.” Could this be the age he was when he found the spot? A specific age that would be too revealing? It was also in this chapter where question #3 came right back around to slap me in the face. On page 63, ff states “ A few days later with the luxury of hot chocolate, I made some notes that might be helpful to any future “SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD GENIUSES” who think looking for Lewis and Clark might be fun. “One of the smart ones,” “Sixteen-year-old geniuses.” There is no way this was a coincidence in my mind. It is because of this chapter I believe the “map” you need to have is very specific. The map you need is a map of the Gallatin National Forest. A map that will “come in handy later on.”


From here I went on a google search for a Gallatin National Forest map from the late 1800s-1940s. A map he might have used. It was then I found this map:
When I found this map, my jaw dropped. Could he really have laid everything out for us? Is this the idea he said to his recollection no one has come up with for the possible solution? With this solve, the clues in the book tell you about the location, tell you about a specific time period, but they are separate from the poem. The poem is to guide you from a directional standpoint. The sprinkled clues are literally there to tell you about where you need to be once you follow the poem…IMO. He stated you could find the location by the clues in the book if you could “recognize them.” I also believe this is why he wanted the cover of TFTW to be very specific. I think the cover of OUAW tells something very specific as well.


Let me start with the Poem and bring everything full circle so it makes sense to everyone. Now for the explanation:
Begin It Where Warm Waters Halt: Madison Junction


Take it in the canyon down: Madison Canyon


NFBTFTW: The 10 river miles where he put the rubber dinghy into the Madison River and fished “downstream” towards Baker’s Hole.


PIBTHOB: I believe the home of Brown is Bakers Hole. But, we don’t put in there. We put in BELOW the home of Brown. This would be Barns Hole.


From there it’s no place for the meek: The meek will inherit the earth, so we are talking about water.


The end is ever drawing nigh: FF has stated if you follow the clues and can’t find it, go back to the beginning. I believe this is the meaning of Nigh (One definition states: Draw the covers nigh towards you). Pulling them up towards you before you go to sleep, so we are going back towards the beginning. Back towards Madison Junction.


No paddle up your creek: There will be no paddle because we are walking, and you are not allowed to have a boat/rubber dinghy in this section of river.


Just Heavy Loads and Water High: FF stated he liked to fish in the bends of the Madison where the water turned green and deep. He also stated he could throw a bike into water high. This is where we start to bring the clues from the book into the solve. Heading up stream from Barns Hole you meet an area considered “Riverside.” This is one area where stagecoaches use to bring people down to the water. Due to this, and the deep water in the bends of the Madison, this was my “heavy loads and waters high.”


If you’ve been wise and found the blaze: I believe what we are supposed to be looking for is some kind of “Star.” On a rock, on a tree, something. My reason for thinking this is because of the 3 Wise Men (More on that in a little). Also, because of the cover of OUAW. I thought he was telling us what we are fishing for is a STAR.


Now that we are here at this location, let me explain as to why I believe the clues in the book tell us about a specific time, a STAR, and the location.


Clue 1: Green Olives
Clue 2: All the references to the color Green
Clue 3: All the references to the color Red
Clue 4: In the chapter Gypsy Magic he stated the Gypsies came through town several times a year
Clue 5: All the references to food and baking
Clue 6: All the references to fire
Clue 7: The references to dancing (gypsies and fairies)
Clue 8: The darkness behind the gypsies dancing
Clue 9: The darkness of him in the cemetery looking up
Clue 10: Page 146 in TTOTC shows a man with an ax, standing with his foot on a stump around cut down trees. Darkness around him. Looking up towards a bird that looks like a dove, and behind it the head of a turtle (More on this in a minute).


I think these clues are telling us about a specific time. I then believe he created the cover of TFTW for the same reason, as well as the cover of OUAW. This brings in some of his scrapbooks as well. The Cloves (Scrapbook 49) His Peppermint and Spearmint plants in his yard (Scrapbook 146).  Imagination is more important than knowledge quote.


“Come on already!” you’re probably saying. There are some people speculating throughout the blogs that we need to be at a specific place, at a specific time, to see a shadow cast across something. I believe a specific time is correct, but not for that reason.
I believe, he is referring to the Winter Solstice and Christmas Time. The time he left the war was on December 22nd. He walked into his house on Christmas Eve and for the next month “the flourish of activities related to homecoming and reuniting with family and friends put my jungle thoughts on hold.


1.Green Olives and Green Olive Wreaths are associated with Christmas
2.Imagination is more important than knowledge (Kids have the most imagination around Christmas time).
3.Green and Red are the colors of Christmas
4.Gypsies celebrate the summer solstice and the winter solstice. They celebrate with fire and dancing just like in the book when they came to down several times a year.
5.The winter solstice is known for: celebrations of festivals, spending time with loved ones, feasting, singing, dancing and fires. It more often than not falls on the 21st or the 22nd of December
6.The bird with the turtle head behind it I considered to be a reference to “Turtle Dove.”
7.The dark night sky in the pictures: The winter solstice is the time when the day is the shortest and when your shadow is the longest (Back to the cover of TFTW (Cast a lonesome shadow across the Madison)
8.In TTOTC he talked about being in the middle: The winter solstice is also referred to as “Midwinter.”
9.The moon during the winter solstice is called the “Cold Moon.” Effort will be worth the cold.
10. Cloves are considered the Christmas Spice
11. Peppermint and Spearmint are candy cane flavors
12. I believe the Blaze is a star due to the three wise men following the north star to baby Jesus when he was born on Christmas. Also, why the stick figure is hooked on a star on the cover of OUAW.


This brings back the map above and “Christmas Tree Park.” Christmas Tree Park is entered right across the street from the Dude Motel. Referred to now as “Riverside Trail.” It takes you down to a gated off area that, if you go beyond the gate, leads you down to the area considered “Riverside.” You can also get there from Barns Hole, but the walk is a lot longer walking upstream.



This is what it looks like today


The Entrance to the trail

I hiked around here for a good 4 hours. I did a total of around 9.4 miles and took some amazing pictures. I kept and eye out for grizzly bears while trying to find anything that resembled a STAR and came up empty. The only thing I fo und I considered “Interesting” was this:
I didn’t want to mess with it because I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. There were rocks all around it, and my gut instinct was to leave it intact. It wasn’t a STAR so I left it alone. I came up empty handed, but the scenery and the sounds of the Madison River are something I will never forget. I still believe my theory make sense, but if it wasn’t for this theory, I would not have been able to see this amazing place. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did:

Heading towards Earthquake Lake once my searching was complete


Horses near Red Canyon Rd. I wanted to check that road out due to FF stating they made their way up Red Canyon. Maybe on my next trip I’ll make the hike at the end of the road.


This was around one of the deep bends of the Madison River, the guy was fishing into water that looked to be at least 15 feet deep.


Another area between Barns Hole and Bakers Hole


The Madison River before sunrise

-James Collier





Undine Falls……


September 2019




Has anyone here played Zork?  How about the  much less-known sequel, Zork: Grand Inquisitor?  In the game, the main character is guided by a lantern who selects the moniker AFGNCAAP – which stands for “Ageless, Faceless, Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person.”  During my last three years on the search (from my armchair and trolling HoD), I thought this name aptly appropriate to hide my true identity.

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, and stationed all around the country in the U.S. Coast Guard, I finally landed in Michigan, which has limited my ability to make regular BOTG trips to RM.  However, I am in this more for the fun than for indulgence, so decided to marry a work trip out here with a reunion of sorts with my father.  As of writing this, we will be heading to Wyoming this weekend to do some hiking and fishing, but also look in my primary search area.  I have some other areas as backup in case we find nothing the first day, but I’m hoping they will not be necessary.

Here is my breakdown of how I interpreted the clues in the poem to reach my solve location.

First stanza:  Since we all know that “Begin it where warm waters halt…” is the first clue of the poem, what can be said about the first stanza.  I believe there is only a subtle hint; Forrest’s “secret where.”  I thought to myself; if I was looking for a place to rest my bones, it wouldn’t be out in the open, but could be guarded from view by passers-by.  Do you know where would be a good place to hide?  Behind a waterfall.   I also believe this “secret where” is actually a secret weir, which are used to regulate river flow for management purposes, and result in changes in height of a river.  These occur naturally, however, and are called waterfalls.  It will be discussed further below, but I believe one of the functions of Forrest’s secret weir is that it prevents many fish species from heading further upstream.  

Second Stanza:  This is where I believe the “word that is key” is “trout” and is used in each clue of the second stanza.  With this key word, clues in the second stanza are not only unlocked for where to go; but when to go as well.  There are several rivers that get too warm in the summer for trout to pass through, but at other times of the year are very rich with trout.  Gardiner River north of Boiling River is one of these locations.  People may have inadvertently started at Boiling River for other reasons, but the true clue is that warm waters halt in the late summer as the trout migrate up the river and must stop in two places; Osprey Falls down Gardiner Canyon or down Lava Creek Canyon towards Undine Falls.  


NFBTFTW: my interpretation of this is that you could walk it from Boiling River if you wanted to, but why would you when there is a parking lot much closer to where you should “put in.”  HoB again refers to trout (specifically Brown) that have a late spawning run late September through November; this is where I believe you not only put in to one of these rivers “below” where Brown trout stop spawning, but also late enough in the year where most of the snow melt is finished and low flows make it easier to traverse.  Another assumption that I struggled with at first was words like “down” and “below.”  For a long time, I thought of them as “downstream” and “below” HoB would also be downstream.  But I was thinking like a nautical person, not someone following a map.

Third Stanza: This is another place I struggle with my interpretation of some of the clues, because as of this point following the clues has led me to two potential places; however, only one of them is a creek that breaks off “nigh” and has a relatively high climb to “heavy loads and water high.”  Is this confirming I took the right path?  If not, then I have inadvertently jumped around on the clues to know where (and when) to put in.

Fourth Stanza:  “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.”  I’ve always believed that the blaze was a waterfall; there are just too few creeks to follow that would lead to anything but.  But “Wise Falls” is not in the Rocky Mountains (its in Washington State, if you are interested).  However, Undine are wise, typically female elemental creatures; and there is an Undine Falls that feeds the lower part of Lava Creek.  I can’t tell you how anxious I got when Wikipedia had this definition for a very long time, and then someone edited it and removed the “wise” part from the definition.  I thought to myself, “someone must be on the same path as I am and is trying to prevent others from making the same association.”  Maybe I should have taken that survey on HoD to see if I was paranoid…

I’m still not sure about the rest, as I know I will likely have to be BOTG to interpret the rest of the clues.  What I will be looking for is a terry scant, or a leaning flat(ish) stone that may be concealing indulgence from sight.  

I don’t know why, but I always wondered why Forrest made two trips from his car to the hiding spot that afternoon.  Most assume that one was for the chest, and the other was for the treasure.  I actually think he brought the “terry scant” down first, and then returned with the TC and concealed it.  I’ll be looking around the bottom of the falls, and even behind it.

Oh, one last thing.  Did you know there is an Upper and Lower Undine Falls?  From the lookout on the road, you can clearly see Upper Undine Falls.  But just around the corner to the left (about 200 feet away) there is a Lower Undine falls that people can hike to and never be seen  from trails or pull outs on the road.  It would also be a great place to ride your bike out to and throw in the water high.

I’ll write more after my search…


So… I fully believe lower Undine falls is no place an 80 year old man could go; I went once and barely made it back to the car.  Cutting down from Lava Creek trail, my dad and I went back and forth over all the cuts of the creek, often backtracking and zig-zagging more than we should have.  

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We finally got to the lower falls, which I thought was “the wise blaze.”  There was a lot to see down there besides the beautiful view that I am sure very few people have had the opportunity to see…

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This includes some orange markings on the wall behind the falls, a large group of rocks on the far side of the falls with lots of moss on them, and a large boulder directly down from the falls.  I was so exhausted after the trek there I didn’t have much left in me to explore, especially knowing I had to return to my vehicle at the end of it.  It might have been there, but from some of the nooks and crannies I could access without chest waders, I didn’t see indulgence in sight; I still have a difficult time thinking an 80 year old person could make it there, but I might just be too out of shape.

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Next steps:

So, I promised my wife after a BOTG trip (which also included other trips to Lost Creek falls, Joe Brown trail head, and Bear Creek Canyon), that I would stop talking so much about TTOTC, in hopes that she can begin introducing me in social circles without explaining what I am interested in😊  I still believe that some of my interpretations of the poem are correct, and want to help whomever else is looking for future BOTG locations.  My suggestions include:

  • I still feel Lava Creek is a good place; I wish I would have started where Lava Creek connects with the Gardner river, and put in there.
  • The second stanza (I feel) is most certainly around Brown trout.  Whether WWWH is something ecological, or perhaps it is on the border outside of NM where there is a legal definition of “warm waters,” I think that spawning location of Brown trout is a critical part of the solve.
  • I felt strongly that “wise blaze” was “Undine Falls;” or more generally that a falls was the blaze.  I’m much less certain of this interpretation now.  I still feel like it could be a possibility; especially since we are looking for a place where someone can throw their bike into “water high” near the TC.
  • It will be a few years before I make another BOTG trip, but I’m not keeping my interpretations a secret anymore; if one of use solves this thing, it will be a win for all of us!






Lost Creek Solve…


August 2019

By Desert Cloak



CLUE #1 
Begin it where warm waters halt 
When considering where in the Rocky Mountains warm water would most likely occur statistically, Yellowstone National Park is the first choice simply because it has the highest concentration of geothermal activity.
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Forrest Fenn has said to “look at the big picture” when considering the clues.
If by “big picture” he means to look
 at a single map (a literal big picture)
of the entire search area (the Rocky Mountains), the first clue, at least, must be large enough to be seen on that map. Could this be why the “little girl in India” can’t get closer than the first two clues if all she has is the poem and a single map of the entire Rockies?
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In school, every child learns about the water cycle, in which water flows downhill into ponds, lakes, and oceans where it collects until evaporated. Is this why Fenn said “kids may have an advantage in the search.”?


Fenn said “There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.” This indicates that WWWH may be a fairly common geographical feature, like a lake, and nearly all lakes in the Rockies are north of Santa Fe.


Yellowstone Lake
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With many incoming tributaries, the most obvious place that water flows into in that region is Yellowstone Lake… a place where warm waters ‘halt’, in a general sense.


Consider these quotes by Forrest Fenn:
•“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.” 
Does this mean WWWH is a large feature, but most searchers are mistakenly looking for something smaller like a hot spring?
•“People tend to over-complicate. Try to simplify if you can. That’s good advice.”
•“Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.”
•“Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem.” 
Think of how many searchers have driven right past Yellowstone Lake on the way to their solves.
•“The solve is difficult for many searchers because their minds think the clues are tougher to decrypt than they really are. Some say they are trying to think outside the box, as if the solution lies somewhere out there. Until now I have resisted telling them to get back in the box where their thoughts are comfortable and flow more easily.”


Sound Phenomenon: 
Yellowstone Lake is the source of a long documented natural audio phenomenon called “lake music” or “lake whispers.” It is documented
via recordings and interviews on the National Park Service website. It is described as a widespread low sound that grows louder and more intense until it seemed to be coming from right overhead, then rapidly fade away.
It seems likely that Forrest Fenn may have heard this sound phenomenon given the amount of time he spent in this region.
Fenn has said “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. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper.”
Is the line in the poem “So hear me all and listen good” a hint about the Yellowstone Lake whispers?
Hear me all = A widespread sound covering a large area

Listen good = A low sound you need to listen closely to, like a whisper


Elephant Back Mountain 
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 12 48 54 PM
Other considerations:
•Forrest Fenn spent every summer in Yellowstone as a child.
•He visited Yellowstone nearly every year of his life.
•He has stated that his heart is in Yellowstone.
•A chapter in his book is titled “In Love with Yellowstone”.
•He said he has an almost “umbilical” attachment to the hiding place. 
Does this mean he discovered the special place in his youth?
•“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.” 
Elephant Back Mountain overlooks Yellowstone Lake.
•Yellowstone Lake is also the only lake in the Rockies with a “thumb.” 
Does this have relevance to the Philadelphia story in the book The Thrill of the Chase where he has a profound experience covering all of Philadelphia with his left thumb while flying? The thumb of Yellowstone Lake is known as “West Thumb.”


CLUE #2 
And take it in the canyon down, Not far, but too far to walk. 


Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone 
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An obvious and massive natural feature of the landscape. Probably the most recognizable landmark in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone lake drains directly into this canyon.
Again, Forrest Fenn has said to “look at the big picture” when considering the clues. If this is the correct canyon, it may be why the Little Girl in India is able to see it on her map of the Rockies.
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Walking along the bottom of the canyon is not possible or practical, but there is a road that travels down the north side of the canyon and continues the length of the canyon, approximately 20 miles.
Does “I’ve done it tired” in the poem refer to driving a wheeled vehicle with tires?


•20-30 miles is too far to walk in a day’s hike, so you must drive.
•Going down the canyon, you pass Calcite Springs. He mentions “chalk” in TTOTC. Chalk is composed of calcite.
•“Marvel gaze” might be a reference to “Grand View” near the Yellowstone Falls in the canyon. Is this a hint from the poem indicating that you’re on the right track?


CLUE #3 
Put in below the home of Brown 


Roosevelt Lodge
Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 12 56 54 PM ImageExtract 010
Emerging from the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, one of the first landmarks reached is Roosevelt Lodge at Tower Junction.
•An official name of a shade of brown is “Beaver”
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•The home of a beaver is a “lodge”

•The word origin of the word beaver means brown, both words share the same etymology
ImageExtract 015•A beaver lodge is entered from below. The poem says to “put in below the home of Brown”
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•Forrest has mentioned castor oil several times. The North American Beaver’s scientific name is Castor canadensis 
The B in Brown may be capitalized in the poem because this is the “word that is key” that needs to be focused on. It requires some abstract thinking and may be why some searchers figured out the first two clues but went right past the third.


•From the blogs: In reference to Roosevelt Lodge, Diggin gypsy said: “…Forrest did tell my sister once make sure you check out the lodge” (hearsay)
•The man that had the first lodge there, before Roosevelt Lodge was built over it, Yancey, was rumored to have buried treasure around the Roosevelt lodge area just before his death. From the poem… “And hint of riches new and old.” Is the “old” treasure Yancey’s and the “new” treasure Forrest’s? Forrest Fenn often says “Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.”
•In TTOTC, right after the poem he mentions “Gardiner’s Island.” Gardiner, MT is the closest town to the search area.


Regarding “structures”:

“The treasure is not associated with any structure” – Forrest Fenn

“Mr. Fenn, when you said not associated with any structure did that mean all 9 clues or just where the chest sits? Thanks, d”

“Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.” – FF
This seems to indicate that the clues themselves can be associated with structures, but the physical treasure chest itself is not hidden in or about a structure.


CLUE #4 
From there it’s no place for the meek 
Lost Creek 
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Lost creek flows down the mountain behind Roosevelt Lodge.
Being “lost” is definitely no place for a meek person. Strength and decisiveness are necessary when you’re lost.


•Forrest writes about getting LOST with Donnie in The Thrill of the Chase
•The famous MEEK Cutoff wagon train got LOST and many pioneers died
•Teddy Roosevelt was certainly not known for being a meek person.


CLUE #5 
The end is drawing ever nigh 


Lost Creek draw Considerations:
• Another definition of “nigh” means “on the left side.” Lost creek is on the left as you travel down the canyon.
“Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R”
“No Steve R, The only requirement is that
you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.” – FF
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A draw is a terrain feature formed by two parallel ridges or spurs with low ground in between them. The area of low ground itself is the draw, and it
is defined by the spurs surrounding it. Draws are similar to valleys on a smaller scale; however,
while valleys are by nature parallel to a ridgeline,
a draw is perpendicular to the ridge, and rises with the surrounding ground, disappearing up-slope. A draw is usually etched in a hillside by water flow, is usually dry, but many contain an ephemeral stream or loose rocks from eroded rockfall.
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Lost Creek draw Considerations: 
•This entire ridgeline was once part of a large petrified tree forest that extends along the south side of Lamar Valley all the way to Specimen Ridge. Petrified wood can still be found on this ridge line and around Lost Lake.
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•Is “If you are brave and in the wood” in the poem a play on words referring to entering the petrified forest area?
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•Did Fenn park his car at the Petrified Tree parking lot and walk the short distance to the spot (easy hike approx. 1 mile)?


Petrified Wood from Lost Lake area
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Petrified Tree at parking lot
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CLUE #6 
There’ll be no paddle up your creek 


Lost Creek Falls 
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Lost Creek Falls is a physical barrier that you can’t travel past going upstream. The walls of the draw are high and not easily climbable. The only way to get past the falls is to take an alternate route around them.


CLUE #7 
just heavy loads and water high 


Portage around Lost Creek Falls
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A portage is a term for carrying all of your gear (heavy loads) to get to the upper river (water high) beyond the obstacle, typically when paddling a canoe or raft. Forrest mentions Lewis & Clark in TTOTC. The Great Falls Portage is the route taken by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805 to portage around the Great Falls of the Missouri River.
To portage around this waterfall, there is a trail that goes around by the Petrified Tree landmark and past Lost Lake.
There is a parking lot at the Petrified Tree where Forrest could have parked.


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Also There is a huge out-of-place and prominent glacial boulder (heavy load) resting on the top edge of Lost Creek Falls. A definition of “load” is “the material carried along by a stream, glacier, ocean current, etc.”
Is the boulder an “aberration that lives out on the edge”?
There is also a small lake, Lost Lake, above the falls. Could this also be “water high”?


CLUE #8 
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze 


Unknown until at location


•Is the chest 200 feet upstream of the Lost Creek Falls, or 200 feet from the upper hiking trail?
•In a story in TTOTC, Forrest had a profound personal experience in a clearing above a waterfall in Vietnam
•Blaze is probably a permanent natural marker.
•Blaze possibly a discoloration or vein in a stone wall. This small canyon/draw is mostly comprised of basalt columns.
•Possibly a petrified log or wood (“If you are brave and in the wood”)?
•“While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try” – FF. Indicative of a large immobile feature. Geological?
•Does the blaze have a unique shape like a Y or an owl? (“If you’ve been wise and found the blaze”)
•Another word for ‘wise’ is sage. Along the tops of the draw along the creek are large sage fields.
•Forrest said you’d be able to smell sage and pine from the secret spot.
•He said if you’re standing where the chest is you’ll see animals. The ridge at the top of Lost Creek Falls overlooks Lamar Valley, known as the “Serengeti of Yellowstone” for it’s abundance of wildlife.


CLUE #9 
Look quickly down, your quest to cease 


Unknown until at location


• Chest is possibly located directly under the blaze
• Chest is possibly covered or slightly buried
• Is it in a wooden crate, or under some petrified wood? From the poem, “if you are brave and in the wood”?
• “I think the gold will again become alert to the tromp and vibrations of hiking boots.” – FF
• “Perhaps the artifacts are enjoying each other’s company as they patiently listen for the clomp of a boot.” – FF
• Possibly listen for a hollow sound underfoot

• “Physics tells me the treasure is wet.” – FF

• “I know the treasure chest is wet.” – FF

• Wetness could be due to condensation on the cool bronze chest
• Wetness could be due to proximity to year-long water source. Lost creek flows year-long.



Splitting the pot & gas money:
Bill on April 29, 2014 said:
Who can I trust? I learned of Mr. Fenn’s treasure late last night, and as crazy as I know it sounds, feel very strongly that I know exactly where it is. I believe fresh eyes can make the biggest difference sometimes. I would go out there myself to claim it if I could. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money or the time off work. I live in St. Louis. With a partner, I am willing to split the pot into thirds. One third for me, one third for my partner, and one third to hide in a new location, after making a new riddle, of course. So who can I trust that could go to Yellowstone after the snow melts (I’m assuming it’s still snow covered)? I need someone in good physical shape as there is a pretty good hike involved and also someone brave and not afraid of the dark.


Bill on June 6, 2014 said:
Still no one wants to partner with me? The northern part of yellowstone is where you would be travelling. And if the treasure was not there, I’d even split the cost of gas with you. You can walk there but you have to be in good shape and brave as you do go off trail a bit. The walk is probably three miles round trip.


Question posted July 2, 2014 to Forrest Fenn:

“Do you think that someone who is sure about the location of the home of Brown could reverse-engineer where warm waters halt?” ~Ben Raylor
“Thanks for the question Ben. If you are sure about the location of home of Brown why are you concerned about where warm waters halt? But to answer your question, sure you could and a few searchers might throw in some gas money for a percentage of the take. Good luck. f”


200 feet vs. 500 feet:
On June 21, 2014 Bill posted a full solve related to Lost Creek Falls. His solve used different solutions to the clues than this solve does, but they led him to Lost Creek Falls. He thought the chest was somewhere near the base of the waterfall. He didn’t search above the falls.
In his search he went all the way up to the actual base of the waterfall. Most people stop approximately 300 feet back where the official trail ends. In Bill’s solve he said “when you walk the trail and get to Lost Creek Falls you are 500 feet or less from the falls as Forrest said people have been.”
Then, two months later, Forrest makes what appears to be the first public mention of someone getting within 200 feet.
• “Searchers have been within 200 feet”. – FF Aug 2014


Most people stop hereImageExtract 033
Lost Creek Falls is aprox 300ft from end of trail


“How do you know searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure?”
“Well because people have told me exactly where they were. And that’s the only reason I know. That 200 feet is pretty accurate. But there weren’t
too many people within two hundred… lots of people within 500 feet of the treasure.” – FF


Screen Shot 2019 07 28 at 1 40 30 PM
Searchers have been within 200 feet of the treasure at the base of the waterfall.
• The chest is wet
• Special place above waterfall?


I believe Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest lies within 
a 200-500 foot radius upstream of Lost Creek Falls.
ImageExtract 036
“I knew exactly where to hide the chest so it would be difficult to find but not impossible. It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Santa Fe. So I wrote a poem containing nine clues that if followed precisely, will lead to the end of my rainbow and the treasure.”


-Desert Cloak





“Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts.”

Little girl from India

“kids may have an advantage in the search.”
Moby Dickens interview 12/2/13

“There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe.”

“So many searchers are stomping on the ants while the elephants run by.”

“People tend to over-complicate. Try to simplify if you can. That’s good advice.”

“Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem.”

“The solve is difficult for many searchers because their minds think the clues are tougher to decrypt than they really are. Some say they are trying to think outside the box, as if the solution lies somewhere out there. Until now I have resisted telling them to get back in the box where their thoughts are comfortable and flow more easily.”

“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. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper.”

“I am almost umbilically attached to the spot…”

“The treasure is not associated with any structure”

“Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.”

“No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.”

While it’s not impossible to remove the blaze it isn’t feasible to try”
Dal’s Blog – The Nine Clues…Part Thirtyone / September 26, 2014

Seeing animals and smelling sage

“I think the gold will again become alert to the tromp and vibrations of hiking boots.”

“Perhaps the artifacts are enjoying each other’s company as they patiently listen for the clomp of a boot.”

“Physics tells me the treasure is wet.”

“I know the treasure chest is wet.”








Four Trips To Pebble Creek…

Pebble Creek Trail Yellowstone IMG 9217

July 2019

By llll



I first heard about the Chase in the news August 2017, read a couple of articles about the treasure hunt in New Mexico and didn’t think more about it. A few weeks later it bounced back via a childhood friend that also had heard about the treasure hunt. This time I learned that it might be hidden in the Yellowstone area and now it caught my attention. I started looking in to it and all of a sudden I got struck by gold fever!

The recap below is just a very condensed version of the events, maybe I’ll write something longer later on. Many fellow searchers can probably recognize themselves in the struggle; great confidence and high hopes, disappointment and frustration, giving up and going at it again -it has been a roller coaster!

four trips to pebble creekI first went to Pebble Creek in Yellowstone in September 2017. I did not have much time and didn’t find the treasure, I e-mailed Forrest my solution and put it aside. A couple of weeks later when I looked through my photos from the trip I realized that I had made a simple mistake.

I went back in mid June 2018. I found a very good hiding place that matched the last clue but found nothing. I sent an e-mail that described where I had been and that I was flying home on the 24th. Then I went to see the Black Hills, the Great Plains and other places.

four trips to pebble creek copy

Scrapbook 188 arrived on the 21st and made me go straight back to Pebble Creek. The scrapbook led me to a tall pine that was easy to climb. When I first visited I felt that this was the place but couldn’t connect it to the poem until I read the story in SB 188.
I found nothing and gave up once again.

Odd questions and answers started to appear on Featured Questions the following weeks. At the end of the summer I was convinced they were ”blinks” aimed for me (confirmation bias!). I arrived at Pebble Creek late on the 24th of August, searched everywhere for four days and went back home on the 29th.

four trips to pebble creek copy 3Even though I didn’t find the treasure I still believed the treasure to be at Pebble Creek. Scrapbooks and questions kept coming and in late September I believed the treasure to be high up in the pine, covered in pitch. I had seen the football-shaped pitch all the time but didn’t climb up to it because it was a bit difficult to reach and it looked all natural.

four trips to pebble creek copy 2On June 13th this year I was back, climbed the pine and the football turned out to be just a normal burl. I sent off an e-mail and then went on a ten day trip to the Bighorns, Great Plains and the Beartooths.
Before I flew home to Sweden I went back to Pebble Creek one last time to check and say goodbye.four trips to pebble creek copy 4It has really been a great adventure, Pebble Creek will be with me forever and I have visited places I have dreamt of since I was a kid.
Thank you Forrest and the Thrill of the Chase!








Missing the Mountains Already…

June 2019

By Veronica and Izzy


I have been wracking my brain trying to think how I can share my search without giving away my location. So I wrote a poem…

Izzy and I aimed our car at the Wild, Wild West,


To search for treasure where we thought might fit the best .
So we drove all day and most of the night,

image3 1

Got some rest , then hit the road by first light.
Finally made it to where the warm waters stop,

image1 1

Then drove not too far with our canoe on the top.


We searched all over for that home of Brown,
Don’t mind us…We’re just passing through town.

image3 2

We looked all over in the places not very meek,


We even found a paddle up the paddle-less creek!

image5 2

No chest to be found , but there are riches galore,
So much to see, and so much to explore!


So, get in your car and aim it out West


And visit the Rockies where you’ll be put to the test.
For me and my boy , we count down the days,
Til we can search again and find that dang blaze!


Now get off the couch and go smell the sunshine, Y’all!
– Veronica & Izzy








Scrapbook Two Hundred Two…


june, 2019


Gadi was one of the first searchers. As a reporter for NBC News in Albuquerque, he made a documentary about the treasure that won him an Emmy, and a promotion to Correspondent for NBC News in LA.

He remembered in my book, TTOTC, that Donnie and I took 2 Babe Ruth candy bars on our horseback quest up Red Canyon while Looking for Lewis and Clark. So Gadi decided to search the canyon himself, and for luck, he ate 2 Babe Ruth candy bars and nailed the wrappers to the Red Canyon sign that had been placed by the National Forest Service to mark the trailhead.

Well, not much later, Dal, while searching Red Canyon, saw the 2 wrappers on the ground under the sign, and placed them in the trash can. Dal should have given me the paper souvenirs so I could picture them in this Scrapbook. Maybe they could bring other searchers good luck. it is indeed a small world.

Gadi came to see me his week, on his way to Yellowstone on assignment about grizzly bears tearing up garbage cans. He told me the story about how he proposed to his girlfriend. It was on a deserted island and includes a treasure chest with a secret inside, It is right out of Treasure Island, You can’t make this stuff up. Maybe Gadi will write a Scrapbook and tell that story. Here is an email I received from him this morning. f


From: Gadi Schwartz (Google him)
Sent: Friday, June 14, 2019 11:13 AM
To: Forrest Fenn
Subject: Almost found your treasure again…

Howdy Forrest!

You’ll be happy to know that there are legions of pterodactyl sized mosquitoes out guarding your treasure!

I finished my assignment a little early at the Grizzly Discovery center, so I headed up to the Firehole and spent the afternoon exploring as many little slots as I could. I thought I hit the jackpot about a quarter mile down from the falls when I found this little crack. I crawled in, did some interior decorating and checked the crevasses and cubbies until my work clothes were indistinguishable from a miner’s. After a bit I sat back in the dust and cleared my mind and tried to imagine you sitting in Mummy Joe’s cave.

cave movie

When I came out, I spotted a couple armed with binoculars who seemed a little out of place. No fishing gear, not particularly interested in taking photos and stopping at every pull off to scan the cliffsides. All told, I saw about 20-30 people that matched the description of treasure hunters around Yellowstone. (I didn’t stop and talk to any of them though, because I wouldn’t have been able to resist bragging about our lunch which would have wasted precious time)

After a graceful and wet mini tumble into an eddy, I headed upriver and put some eyes on that old grizzly cave. There are still bones from some sort of elk or deer bleaching away at it’s opening. My log bridge I crossed last time has washed a little downstream and I decided not to press my luck again.

I headed just past the falls pull out and checked on a couple more spots, one place I really love is this little ledge right above where the falls goes over the edge. It’s hidden from view but also nearly impossible to get to. One of those rocks gave me a gnarly little cut on my city hand that I can’t wait to get home and fuss over.

On my way back I spotted a big nest that had been destroyed by some kinda marmot. I finally decided to call it a day and head back to my car. As I got in, I heard a noise in some brush beside me. I turned to see a 3-400-pound grizzly lumbering toward me. I let out some sort girlish yelp that evidently conveyed I would taste very sour, so he went around and headed down toward the river where I had just been looking.

bear movie

Hope he has better luck in the search than I did. I finished the day pretty proud that I survived and decided to celebrate by buying a steak and frying pan from the grocery store next to The Dude.


I found a nice spot overlooking Hebgen Lake to cook a romantic dinner for me and 7 million thirsty insects. I forgot seasoning, a knife and a can opener for my side of chili so my meal was small and over cooked. The mosquitoes ate me medium rare.

Sending you picture and videos.

Also, I love your new book, Once Upon a While.

“Took a long pull of Worcestershire Sauce to clear my head”

“While trying to avoid those who distract me from my self-esteem, I am always reminded of the heroic performances I committed on the football fields of my youth. “

“Fear they’d turn their vocabulary loose on me”

“… the candles died of old age”

“I mostly listened, not wanting to interrupt him with the weakness of my thoughts.”

My favorite chapter the bridge jump. My least favorite was the forward by Douglas. I was terrified he gave too much away! But that was before I headed back out to explore and was once again reassured by Yellowstone himself at how insanely large the woods are and how enigmatic the blaze remains. Here’s to hoping the treasure is never found!






River Bathing is Best Solve, Clue 1-5

June 2019

By Jake Faulker


The Thrill of the Chase has hints and subtle hints that will help you get the general area down and I think these are places considering we have to marry the clues in the poem to places on a map and the poem also has directions, places and things at places.

In Love With Yellowstone
West Yellowstone
Looking For Lewis And Clark
The Madison’s
The Gallatin’s
Yellowstone National Park
Google Maps and/or a good map
The Poem
The Memoirs

1 – Begin it where warm waters halt 
After reading his books and poem multiple times, I have come to the conclusion that chapter 5 “too far to walk” River Bathing Is Best, is where to begin. He tells a story of his bathing spot near Ojo Caliente spring on the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park. Note: He never mentions Ojo Caliente, but we now know that was his bathing spot in the Firehole near Ojo.

This spot should not be in a canyon and isn’t seeing we need to take it (The quest) in the canyon down next.

“when I decided it was time to leave I’d back a couple of feet downstream where the water was cold. That gave me instant incentive to climb out and sun dry…”

*Omega shape on this part of the Firehole River

*5th line in the poem and the 5th chapter in – too far to walk

*He went alone in there

**My secret bathing spot

**Always worth the effort


firehole swim


2 – And take it in the canyon down, 

The only canyon down (In elevation) is the Firehole Canyon.

Maybe this explains why many have figured the 1st 2 clues correctly and fizzled out.

firehole canyon

canyon down

Not far, but too far to walk.

Not a clue here, just letting you know what you shouldn’t do and maybe just drive.

3 – Put in below the home of Brown. 

In the preface of his book “too far too walk”, he states “put a small rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. The river distance was about 10 miles”

“The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make the trip again. THAT DAY NEVER CAME FOR ME,…. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.”

Some have decided to figure out what the home of Brown is instead of knowing where it is before trying to figure out where warm waters halt. Big mistake!

I think Forrest is the only one who knows WHAT the home of Brown is and you will only find out after you find the treasure. I do not think this place is labeled on any map, new or old.

One way to figure out where this clue is, is to skip it and figure out the next few clues if you can do this. I was able to do this and the next few clues seem to work with what the poem says.

What’s more important? The “put in” spot? or where you are going to draw, take or get out of the waterway. Try that out on a river or lake and you will see what I mean. It’s more important where you get out.

put in

put in madison

4 – From there it’s no place for the meek, 

From there? The place you put in, then let the river flow take you down stream passing through Fenn’s favorite, special fishing spots to the border of Yellowstone National Park.

Joseph Meek was a trapper, trader & hunter back in the 1800’s when there was no park label and designation back then.

There is no hunting or trapping allowed in Yellowstone National Park now and the park is no place for him.

If you don’t like Joe Meek in the mix, then you could say it’s no place for Fenn now. Seeing that day never came for him, I would have to say he is meek in the park now with all the crowds and fisherman all over his special fishing spots.

This clue brings you just outside the park at the border in West Yellowstone.

meek place

5 – The end is ever drawing nigh; 

You’re at the border of the park and there’s a bridge close by.

You have to draw out of the Madison River there and head North on Gallatin Road.

NIGH = North Intrastate Gallatin Highway, is Intrastate Highway (191). It is also known as the “Gallatin Gateway” and reminds me of “The word that is key”. Gallatin County appears to be in the shape of a key.

You will need a key to unlock the “Gateway”.

The end is ever drawing North Intrastate Gallatin Highway;

Hop on the bridge and head north to your creek.

Gallatin County below.

gallatin county

There are over 30 creeks up the Gallatin Gateway and it’s been tough to pick out a few that fit the poem. All the areas in this solve are places that Fenn loved which makes sense to me where he hid the treasure.

gallatin nigh

The Gallatin River where you can paddle.

ode joe

Ode to Joe fishing spot from too far to walk on the Gallatin.

I think this is a basic simple straightforward solve by my design and guidance from Fenn’s comments.

All these clues do not have to be physically traveled. Just use your imagination to get from one place to another and don’t overcook or over think what is right in front of you.

Good luck to all of you and please simplify if you can.









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..


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.



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.



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… 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”.

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 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 🙂


October 21st, 2018

Headed back to Cortez, CO to pick up Ezy. Two solid days of driving each way…
Anxious to see Ezy. I hope she remembers me…

Looking forward to the drive through the aspen color in the foothills. Might stop HERE to see the Pando, the Trembling Giant…say hi…take a few selfies…ask the giant about life, Home of Brown….that kind of thing…

by dal