Forrest Fenn Poem Line: If You’ve Been Wise and Found the Blaze

The line in Forrest Fenn’s poem of ‘If you’ve been wise and found the blaze’ has I am sure all of us wondering what Forrest means by being wise and what type of blaze.  I know many have suggested the blaze is a mark, possibly etched on a rock or tree, indicating the location of the treasure chest.  I am not so convinced of this.

There are a few reasons why.  One is in Six Questions with Forrest Fenn; Forrest said nothing about finding the treasure would be accidental.  If there was a blaze marking the exact spot of the treasure, and someone saw it by chance (no matter how rare of a chance it might be), I feel they could ‘accidentally’ find the treasure.   We are told this will not happen.

Another reason is Forrest has said to read his memoir, read his poem, and then read his book again with an eye for subtle clues to help understand the poem.  Doing this, I found page 61 of The Thrill of the Chase a bit interesting in helping with possibly knowing the wisdom of Mr. Fenn and his blaze used in the poem.  This page is included in the chapter entitled, Looking for Lewis and Clark.

The chapter shares how his friend Donnie and he had gotten lost in the wilderness and how Forrest thought they could find their way out.  In order to discover ‘where’ out was, Forrest writes the following, “So I applied some mountain man wisdom to the situation.  The sun comes up in the east and we thought out was south so that made it easy…..”

This makes me question, should we apply some ‘mountain man wisdom’, in order to find ‘where’ the chest is, like Forrest found ‘where’ out was when he was lost.  Is this how we are wise?  Which applied to Fenn’s poem line, the blaze would then be the sun.

The complete stanza of the poem is as follows:

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.

My thoughts are that the poem acts like someone giving you directions.  In order to follow them, a person must understand what each line means.  Like mentioned in the post about Poe’s story of The Gold Bug, I think it is possible that some clues will need to be discovered and followed on site.  This doesn’t mean one doesn’t move confidently or know precisely what he is doing.  One would have analyzed the poem for meaning, understood it, and will move accordingly.

It is exactly like following a map.  You know your starting point, understand the directions to get you to the final destination, but, since you have never been to this place before, you will need to use references in the directions (while on site) to get you where you want to go.  The end of the journey cannot be known unless the quest is taken.  The map locations may not all be found on google.

In the above instance (and this is not for certain, but I share it as a possibility), IF the poem line of ‘if you’ve been wise and found the blaze’ implies using some ‘mountain man wisdom’ and ‘finding east’ (where the sun rises), then, ‘Look quickly down, your quest to cease’ could suggest to look South.

The quest is ‘to’ cease, but is not quite over yet at this point.  The following poem line of; ‘But tarry scant with marvel gaze’ could support this thought with its inclusion of ‘marvel gaze’.  Why do we have to ‘tarry scant with marvel gaze’?  Is it because we have to ‘gaze south’ and notice then where the chest is hidden.  Do we have to keep that line of sight/marvel gaze in order to discover the location of the chest and so better ‘tarry scant’?

What has me wondering even more about the line ‘if you’ve been wise’ is the past tense of being wise; like we needed to be wise before all this? To back up some, and think of some possibilities, I really like ‘The end is ever drawing nigh’ to be where we were wise once before.  This poem line appears in the third stanza and is as follows:

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.

I think these could be powerful directions.  Consider ‘the end’ in Fenn’s poem as the blaze of the sunset every day.  The line, ‘The end (sunset) is ever drawing nigh(left) could be directing us to have ‘where the sun sets’ on our left.  If so, then we could be told to walk North/Up beside a possible creek.

This flows with the belief that ‘from there it’s no place for the meek’ could imply ‘crossing a stream’.  In Mt5:5 it is stated that the meek will inherit the land.  ‘From there it’s no place for the meek’ seems to suggest we could have to travel through some water, since it’s not a place for the meek (who inherit the land).

So following this scenario, and the above interpretations, a person would ‘Put in below the home of Brown’, cross a stream, head north along a creek (there’ll be no paddle UP (supporting north) your creek), so the sunset is on the left (the end is ever drawing nigh) and there will be ‘just heavy loads and water high’ (description of the place).

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze (if you know how the sun travels, because you have already used it), Look quickly down (south)…and so on.

If you think about how you give someone directions, it’s a point by point walk through.  It’s start here, and do this, this, and this, and see this, this and this.   I believe where one starts is known before you ever leave your house…..and you will simply do what is said.  From the above example, it is easy to see how Forrest feels the poem is all that is needed.  Plus, it is easy to know how Forrest would feel the treasure could be found in hundreds of years to come by following the poem, because the directions to follow will always be accurate, if understood completely.

I find the T.S. Eliot’s quote that Forrest used relatable here.  The quote was:

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

The meaning of the line; “And at the end of all our exploring”, seems like ‘the end’, or the sunset of our lives and ‘The end is ever drawing nigh’.  Forrest has mentioned many times he created this hunt for all of us to experience the Thrill of the Chase.  It seems like a belief in the need to ‘quest’ for something in order to ‘know the place for the first time’.  Something similar to the Francis Bacon (1561-1626) quote of ‘Wonder is the seed of knowledge’.

Why is it he must go and leave his trove for all to seek?  Is it because he knows the immense value of the quest and he wants us to learn it too?

Best of luck to all!


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21 Responses

  1. astree says:

    Hi Jenny,

    re: blaze

    Perhaps now to consider, the double colophon as “the end” of “the rainbow”. Hopes that gives another perspective.


  2. shirley says:

    What if the end is drawing nigh, means that it’s only the day that is near but the search isn’t over just yet.

  3. Seeker says:

    I like your version of “the blaze” i thought in the same lines as you, using the sun as a possible direction finder. You have a little Indiana Jones in you. BUT, nigh meaning near, close, left. I would add that Left could also mean west. up north down south right east etc.
    just one more hint. You still have to do the math.

  4. neil says:

    I find your theory very interesting as I have felt something in a couple of statement by FF; and the book about the Australian with a book in his pocket, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, WAR, when FF was in Vietnam he flew with the sun behind him on the mission he was shot down, emptied 200 rounds at the machine gunner as a marker for his buddies to attack, also when he was flying a sortie in America, he covered Pennsylvania, with his thumb, and something about 11 o’clock from his cockpit hood, also about the waterfall in Vietnam, in the clearing, I have thee places in mind at the moment but will certainly have a look at the sun issue.

  5. john stidman says:

    hebgen lake and madison arms fire

  6. john stidman says:

    silver scarf falls ,warm waters ,heavy loads and water high

  7. P.Marloon says:

    Now I’m thinking so much different than most people have posted on this subject, I really think that Most People are Over Analyzing (Over Thinking) this Poem, I thought he wrote this when he thought he was going to die, so does The end is ever Drawing Nigh mean to pull the Cover Over His Head, and close the box, and kind of like he will not have or need a Paddle going up Shitz Creek, I have only heard of this since yesterday 11-21-2015, so I am not up on this at all yet, mainly because I am just now starting to read all I can find, I’m sure I will have more ideas to come soon, Anyways this is very interesting to me at the moment, So you all take care and have fun doing so,

    • Zane says:

      I absolutely agree with you on this one too. I think he was really expressing some feelings here. Specifically because he uses the words “the end” to describe what is nigh. Where later he refers to the treasure as “your quest.” And based on what else we known about Finn I don’t think he ever considers the hunt to end. So it must mean something else.

  8. Ernest_H says:

    I believe these three lines are the key.
    I believe the cover of his book confirms the location.

    And take it in the canyon down,
    From there it’s no place for the meek,
    But tarry scant with marvel gaze,

    You can email me at

  9. C.M.R says:

    What if the BLAZE isn’t what most think it is. The line is “If you’ve (you have) been (past tense) wise and found the blaze, .
    What if it really means “If you have followed the breadcrumbs (trail markers) to here”. Not something physical you are looking for, but something accomplished. Could this be the “nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve.”

  10. JL says:

    Could be nothing in this chase is what it appears to be.

  11. Billy says:

    If you’ve been wise (smart) and found the blaze (the right lure for very specific waters)………Look quickly down (your line is tight!) your quest (a trout) to cease (net it!)………..But tarry scant (a tacky rock to filet a fish outdoors) with marvel gaze (look one gives to a good camp fire; cook fish!)…..Just take the chest (your tackle box) and go in peace (fly-fishing is a religious experience to masters; “go in peace” is universal goodbye to all parishioners; Tom Brokaw uses “go in peace” in foreword of FLYWATER). ============================== THE 4TH STANZA IS A MEMORY OF FORREST FENN’S FAVORITE FISHING SPOT. ============================ Find Fenn’s favorite lure……and match it (to the specific water) to his EXACT favorite spot seen on a page in the book Flywater…….you’ll find the treasure trove. ============================ write me if you think I am nudging closer to the truth: – Billy in Texas

  12. Tyler says:

    The issue is that his favorite lure was Pickles. His fave spot was just outside of randolph afb in Texas so it doesn’t add up. I think you guys are overthinking the warm waters halt I think it’s Agua Fria,NM cause if you follow route 599 it takes you down a canyon just north of Sante Fe…..

  13. Andrew Jef says:

    C.M.R, you said “What if the BLAZE isn’t what most think it is.”
    I have no idea what most think the BLAZE is. In your opinion, what do most think the BLAZE is?
    I don’t believe that most searchers (for the Fenn treasure) are posting on forums. And I don’t think
    any specific “thing” gets votes from most of those folks posting; it appears to me that the most popular
    “thing” would get a plurality, at best. . . . So much for the word “most” being used . . .
    Regardless of my tendency to nitpick — and I apologize for this, although nitpicking may well be
    necessary in order to correctly solve the poem! –, it may be that your point is that the BLAZE may not be
    a single physical thing (i.e., one of the following items).
    Here are some of the things I’ve seen mentioned by people, although I don’t think any of these things
    is what Forrest had in mind: a mark (made by a person or persons) on a tree; a mark (made by a person
    or persons) on a stone or boulder or on the face of a cliff; a waterfall; a fast-moving body of water (i.e., “white water”);
    a marker (such as a plaque or plate or monument or pile of stones) left by a person or persons; part of the face of a horse; a fire; the results/remnants of a fire; the sun; a group of trees; the poem itself; the trail or path leading to the TC; the creek near the TC; Forrest Fenn himself (surprising, isn’t it, what people think?) . . .
    Your mention of “one important possibility related to the winning solve” has caught my eye. And I noticed
    that phrase before today, on something that Forrest said. It seems to “fit” pretty well with my solve, in which
    I have a high degree of confidence (in fact, I plan to “move with confidence” when I search in the summer of
    2017). I think that a searcher, in looking for the blaze, should be seeking something that could physically be seen on site, after having addressed that “one important possibility related to the winning solve”. And it is more than simply
    important . . . it is CRUCIAL to the winning solve that will lead one “right to the treasure”. Of course, if you spend years combing every square meter of the nearby area, after solving only the first 8 clues correctly, then you might still find the TC. It has been claimed that FF said that the blaze could be seen at night using a flashlight. It has also been claimed that FF said that the blaze could be seen during the day. So a physical thing may qualify, as far as these claims are concerned. And in case I haven’t pushed enough buttons so far in this message, here’s another “curve” I want to throw you . . . I believe that the BLAZE can be identified and located from the comfort of your own home, by using a computer. I didn’t need to put BOTG to find the blaze. But since the TC doesn’t show up on google earth, I’ll need BOTG to go to where the blaze physically is. And to look “quickly down” from there. This is all my opinion. Yours may differ. Please
    keep safety a high priority while in the Rockies. There are bears, cougars, snakes, mosquitoes, moose, etc. that could
    well be dangerous . . . and I didn’t mention everything I thought of. Good luck to all searchers. Jenny, thank you for this website. You rock!

  14. Bob Miller says:

    I have agonized over the word “BLAZE”. Now, I believe my take on “”BLAZE” has changed dramatically after looking for synonyms for that word. I”m sure I am not the only one who has found this. Merry Christmas to everyone 🙂

  15. Dave says:

    As I read, through the glasses of my own solve, I find your insights intriguing, Jenny. I feel like some of what I read is almost dead-on, and some is interesting, even if it isn’t wholly applicable. I enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you for all you do.

  16. eric says:

    Good guesses! Almost spot on except for 3… but you are mising the most important aspect of the poem…. hmmmm..

  1. July 17, 2013

    […] I see Skippy is in on the 42.. pic opposite pg 55.. there's also the stamp of 5/23 the old car on 55 is cearly balanced Originally Posted by astreeturover " pontoon card game " "In Mt 5:5 it is stated that the meek will inherit the land." […]

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