The Mark on the Map…

Submitted September 2016
by Alba and Raul


March and April 2016.

Based on the hypothesis – The mark on the map.

Our basic hypothesis, the idea that conditions all our lines of subsequent research, is based on the final text of the second book. Where he says he was invited to put an X on the map, and declined the offer, although he was there in spirit. “In Spirit” he said. So we look for that spirit, here in Spain relate to something that is but not seen, or something that appears as translucent. Well, actually, on the map, when looking at the light, a big “S” (Spirit?) Appears perfectly delineating a very specific area of the map.

It’s funny because in this second book there are only 9 chapters that have the red frame on the first letter of the paragraph. So we assume that it could be a clue.

We as a candidate place. Let’s see if there is more evidence pointing to that area.


forrest fenn treasure map

Additional assumptions # 1 – Interpretation of the prologue of the second book.

FF said in an interview that in the prologue of the second book gave a very clear idea of what was his concept of freedom and enjoyment of life in nature. In the prologue, in fact, he speaks of a canoe trip that allowed him to enjoy several days of rest and solitude in nature, away from others. It indicates that followed a common path by the river, but remained in a remote area. He explains that he has not returned to that place because it is too far for him ….

Could the zone marked by “S” be an alternative to this place that has not been able to return? Well, on one hand, it is a near Santa Fe (half hour drive) area. Second, it turns out, it has river (the “S” might have been on a mountain or on a plain), and it turns out, third point, is a navigable and normal for people practicing river rafting.

So, from here, we started with the poem. We believe that the beginning is BEGIN, so we interpret the first line: where warm waters halt

as the place where the warm waters literally stop – → in cold water.

It may be the place where burrowing otters are nice – warm otters halt

Both locations within the square, give such a point of beginning:


From here, take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk, which we interpret in two ways, paragraph (a manageable drive in less than one hour) and hidden, which already treated in this web, the distance of 24.2 miles.

It is curious to see how the distance that gives you Google Maps, from both points to Cooper’s El Vado Ranch is exactly 24.2 miles.

Why this location? Well, we thought that El Vado is The home of Brown (trout). As the place where they caught the biggest trout in the area.

So far we have the area in which we are investigating very naturally complies with what may be the first clues (start, direction and destination of the first steps).

Before the next paragraph, we believe that talks about a trip across the water. It turns out that all of our previous steps we could have led to a mountainous area, or desert or a forest, but lead us to a river, so we believe to be in the right direction.

From there it’s no place for the meek,

The end is drawing nigh ever;

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,

Just heavy loads and high water.

It is not a place for cowards, we’re close, you have to paddle through a strong stream of mountain water, exactly what do people who practice rafting in the area. So we go down the river, but far ?. The following paragraph would give us the key:

If you ‘ve been wise and found the blaze,

Quickly look down, your quest to cease,

With scant tarry but marvel gaze,

Just take the chest and go in peace.

We believe that PEACE refers to the Monastery, the poster with the same word that is in the entrance road, so we had a river bounded area in which we should look for the other tracks.

Also, when questioned by the search engines, FF has said his church is next to the rivers, the mountains, in nature, and this place is a good image of that longing.

Further hypothesis # 2 – Wilderness Study Area

In addition, the area has the name of Wilderness Study Area. So you can refer to both the word WISE (you have to study to be wise) as the word MEEK (Wilderness).

Candidate Sites

Candidate No. 1

• Above the monastery. around Huckby Canyon.

We chose this area, FF’s comments regarding the remoteness of the box in relation to the car. And its distance in relation to the number of people passing by. Had parked in the monastery, you could walk about fifty minutes beyond the monastery, until you reach the Huckby Canyon, where they found the blaze zone Quickly Look down, your quest to cease, But With scant tarry marvel gaze.

It would be a secluded with a length affordable search (no more than 3 miles search), where he could have let his boat at that imaginary journey evoking his last trip, and where they can rest forever in the middle of nature area.


However, this being our first option, we had to discard unable to directly access the area, because it is a private property of the monastery, and can not cross the terrain to reach the northernmost facilities .

Nor is it a viable option for the land surrounding the public part, because it took us over an hour to surround the entire monastery and its private area through the mountain and get to the start of the wildest valley. Thus FF had not had time to get there and back twice in one afternoon.

Candidate # 2 – STATUE


By studying the in situ field, we discovered a small black statue on top of a hill that must belong to the monastery, but which we have not found any reference on the internet. It is only noticeable if you look at the place and in the right direction.

As the statue of a monk, we believe it can represent St Benedict, founder of the order. Researching your figure, we find that one of his most famous miracles is that of the “Blaze in the kitchen”. This re-fit the prologue of the second book, which refers to an episode from his childhood.

Following this thread, If You’ve Been wise and found the blaze, may be telling us that if we have gone through the WSA (study to be wise) and found the statue (Blaze) should look there.

Two options:

• In front of the statue. Next to the river.

Quickly telling us Look down, your quest to cease, decided to follow the gaze down the statue, which leads to the river. We search the area for a day and found nothing that matched With scant But tarry marvel gaze.


• In front of the statue. At his feet

If we are more strict with the term Look Quickly down, we look almost exactly in the area at the foot of the statue (but not under it, being a cult!) Where we locate also two Memorials, which could have two associations, one TARRY the word as a synonym for REST, and the other with the two brothers FF. In a chapter of his books goes something you would like to be with them, and we think that these two Memorials were a tribute to Rose and Skippy.


Think even one of the crosses has a rose (Rose) and another an eagle, a possible reference to flights of Skippy.


The above two locations respected the premise established by FF, that several search engines have been close to the chest, maybe 200 steps, but have not been realized. Both for the river to the hill beneath the statue, the way the monastery is near, but outside the search area.

We spent an entire day in each of these two options, and found nothing. Maybe because the chest was not there, you might let us pass to the side and were not able to locate him.

• Variants

A third day we decided to change a bit our interpretation. Ok, if we are in the Chama River, we have gone Home of Brown, let’s boat, the area where is hidden the chest is near the water, a place where FF could camp and be quiet, and the final part of our search should be Monastery area, with the statue as BLAZE and poster as PEACE, let’s look at MARVEL GAZE.

What if it comes to that we look with a wonderful view? Can this wonderful view be the church? Could the statue? Ok, let’s go down the river a bit, but keeping the views of both references. Thus, we have this search area.


This option is fitting in everything, but found nothing, apart from several alleged Burrows (who will be brave to lift stones with rattlesnakes roaming the area?), And a large hole in the trunk of a tree, pretty deep, but with dry leaves inside.

Well, after the unsuccessful search above, at and below the area of the Monastery, we considered other readings of the poem. What if when talking about If You’ve Been wise is telling us the same area of the WSA? That is, the area in Google Maps and other mapping applications appears properly designated as Wilderness Study Area?

Candidate # 3

• In the same WSA


This area has several of the premises (river after Home of Brown, down the river, Water High …) and the poem we may be saying that if we are wise (so we are in the study area) can find the Blaze and then leave (the barrel) through PEACE. The only natural way out of the canyon is going through the monastery, so it can serve.

What was the downside to this place? We drove for many kilometers to get closer to the top of the barrel, for, from there, go down and reach the river, but our vehicle could not get to the end of the road and also saw that the gap between the top and the shore would have been difficult to do twice in one afternoon for an elderly person. TO

So we did not get down there. Who knows if we had the chest in sight and we were able to lower the barrel despising the force FF to walk paved roads … Id carefully!

(In any case, in several interviews, FF has said that he has not gone up and down canyons on their way to the place of the chest … who knows)

Candidate No. 4

• At Brown, beyond the bridge (no place for the meek).

This option is based more on the FF comment on the simplicity of the poem. As if we were children in a gymkhana, we follow the first keys of the poem (WWH, canyon below, Home of Brown …) and here we focus on the word MEEK. If we have not MEEK … we have to do some testing that requires courage?

Well, in the same Home of Brown there is a suspension bridge which you have to have some value to cross. And if it is as simple as this? So we had to cross the bridge and keep looking the other tracks (down the river, with plenty of water … and locate a BLAZE).


Beyond this bridge, there is a path that follows the river through the canyon, to the WSA and the Monastery.

We spend a whole day going up and down the river but saw nothing that could fit with the other tracks of the poem.


Candidate # 5

• Going downstream, all the rapids.

also dismissed the previous area, we decided to reinterpret another section of the poem. This time, the word QUICKLY, we associate with the river rapids. From Monastery (remember that the area above us was really difficult to access) there are many rapids on the river, reachable from topographic maps of the area, so we went looking downstream in the same areas of rapid and names as possible related words, almost to the turnoff that ends at the lake.

Several days search to one side and another that also unsuccessful.



More than ten days looking at the Chama River canyon, with many sections of the poem that fit naturally into our assumptions and different places candidates, but that did not lead us to the exact location of the chest. We may have been a few steps treasure or can we have completely misunderstood the intention of FF and the chest is thousands of kilometers from the area in which we seek, but one thing is to try to decipher the riddle and quite another to get mountain and be able to locate the undergrowth a hidden chest many years ago. In one form or another, has been one of the most exciting adventures we have lived, perhaps one of the most amazing we live, thank FF and the whole community of seekers in this forum for their debates (which have 24 lines universal) conundrum, and we hope our experience will serve to enliven ideas and advance the final solution.

Alba and Raul-

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