Monthly Archives: August 2016

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure

 

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“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.”Forrest Fenn

A few years ago, a certain octogenarian, Forrest Fenn, hid a treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of America. Since then, many a puzzle-solver has attempted to crack the poem which contains clues to the treasure’s location. It reads;

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.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

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.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

The poem is contained in an autobiographical sketch called the Thrill of the Chase, of which Fenn says, ‘ The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search.’

So where to begin – well, in a case of x marks the spot, there are two crosses on the treasure map – one should be a decoy & one help to hone in on the treasure. So, the peak marked with a cross in Wyoming is Garret Peak, its the most central cross, so on a hunch we’ll begin our search there.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,

This is a reference to fishing on the Green River, which flows through a canyon & becomes too warm for the fish in the summer. Thus ‘Begin it where warm waters halt’ is a reference to fishing – in Fenn’s book his love of fishing, especially fly-fishing, is everywhere.

Put in below the home of Brown

‘Put in’ is a term for launching a small boat – this is a reference to sailing on Green River Lake, which sits underneath Osborn Mountain.  Henry Fairfield Osborn was the man who assisted Barnum Brown’s search for dinosaurs in Wyoming – the first Tyranasaurus was found by them – & the bones were displayed in the American Natural History Museum paleolithic section founded by Osborn – thus Osborn is the home of Barnum Brown’s finds. In Fenn’s book, his love of artifact hunting & deep history is everywhere.

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At the south east corner of the lake, Clear Creek begins – there is a trail to follow which leads through pinyon pine trees (rare in Wyoming) – along which one comes to Clear Creek Falls, which is described in Fenn’s third stanza;

From there it’s no place for the meek – The meek inherit the earth, thus we need to follow water

The end is ever drawing nigh –  line evocative of a waterfall’s edge & the eternal movement of the water as it approahes the drop

There’ll be no paddle up your creek, – you cant paddle a waterfall & the movement is, of course, upwards

Just heavy loads and water high. – Water high is pretty obvious, heavy loads could mean the transporting your boat which Fenn clearly tells us has been ‘put in’ by rope – up the falls

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If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

This is a fun stanza. In 1988 – the same year Fenn was diagnosed with cancer – the forest around Clear Creek beyond the waterfall was charred by a blaze caused by lightning (Hiking Wyoming’s Wind River Range).  Tarry scant with marvel is an allusion to Hemingway sending a copy of a short story (tarry scant) to Mcleish who wrote a poem to Andrew Marvell in the style of His Coy Mistress. In a letter to Mcleish, Hemingway calls Mcleish ‘Andy Marvell’ (Selected Letters 1917-1961, p.326) & in the Thrill of the Chase there is a glaring error made by Fenn concerning Hemingway, which I beleive was one of the subtle clues made to draw one’s attention to Hemingway. The short story was called ‘Wine of Wyoming’ in which we read; 

‘Labour day we all went to Clear Creek.. Madame said. 
‘Oh, my God, you ought to have been there all right. We all 
w&it in the truck. Tout le monde est alle dans le truck. Nous 
sommes partis le dimanche. C’est le truck de Charley.’ 

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For me, Forrest Fenn has hidden his treasure in river-cave beneath Clear Creek Natural Bridge. When he writes, ‘As I have gone alone in there’ & ‘Your effort will be worth the cold,’ wading into the waters to reach the chest makes sense, especially when supported by two of the clues Fenn has given us over the past few years.

If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I’d see trees, I’d see mountains and I know the treasure chest is wet. 

Take a flashlight and a sandwich. 

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The other hints Fenn has given us can check off one by one;

There’s no need digging in the old outhouses, the treasures’ not associated with any structure. CHECK
It is not in Nevada. CHECK
The treasure is not in a grave yard. CHECK
The treasure is higher than 5,000 feet above sea level. CHECK
If you had the coordinates, you would be able to find the treasure. CHECK 

The treasure is not hidden in Idaho or Utah. CHECK
The treasure is not in a mine. CHECK
It is at least 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe. CHECK
The treasure is hidden below 10,200 feet. CHECK 
It is more than 300 miles west of Toledo. CHECK
I never said it was buried, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t. CHECK

Is it not possible to find chest without leaving computer & google earth – CHECK

There isn’t a human trail in very close proximity to where I hid the treasure.”  CHECK
Not associated with a structure……CHECK

I would like to know if the blaze can be found during the day without a flashlight. “I would say yes. – CHECK

I made two trips from my car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon.”CHECK

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I might be wrong, I might be right – perhaps – but many of the clues in my solution synch up with Fenn & his lifestyle, so I ‘m probably right. Fenn announced the treasure in 2010, & a few months earlier, in September of 2009, he attending the Black Bow Tie event in Cody Wyoming in his capacity as a board member of the Buffalo Bill Society. So he was definitely in the right area at the right time

As for me, I live in the UK, & I’m hoping that if I am right – which I most probably am –  & someone in the US does find the treasure, then they’d give me a wee share. Indeed, just after I sent Fenn my solve he made a massive retreat from the chase, stating that on doctor’s orders;

I’m cutting back on my activities, which means going to lunch, seeing people, and time on my computer. f”

Coincidence? I think not…