Forrest Fenn Treasure Notes: The Nine Clues (1-3/March 2013)

forrest fenn's treasure chestAnyone working on The Thrill of the Chase treasure hunt by Forrest Fenn is sure to be aware of The Nine Clues threads on Dal’s site.  These ‘parts’ now contain thousands of comments that include many different ideas and opinions on the nine clues in Fenn’s treasure poem.

Although it is always best to go through these threads by yourself, I am sharing the notes I have jotted down for myself.  The varying thoughts may spark a different thought, path to research, or alternate viewpoint to consider.  Each of us has our own feelings on the poem’s clues (the way it should be) and since I am not looking for a final answer in these, I have merely noted things that were mentioned to research later, if wanted.

I tried to include the many ideas shared dispersed amongst the comments, whether I liked them or not, but I am sure to have missed or simply passed over some things.  I do try to keep an open mind, and so if I didn’t find something relevant/important at this time, I know I may in the future, and so still took note of it.

What I didn’t include below, however, were the many lists on what the 9 specific clues of the poem could be.  Are they the 9 sentences of the poem, 9 different phrases in the poem, 9 verbs, 9 directional, 9 geographical, and so on?  To me the whole poem helps with deciding on a location for the treasure.  It may be that only when the treasure is found, the 9 specific clues of the poem will become finally understood.

I also didn’t take notes on information included in the comments about if someone finds the treasure is it legal for them to take it and how much tax might they pay.  (this was mostly in #2)

And one other thing I didn’t include which was talked about, but is very important, is the precautions to take while hunting: Bear spray, GPS, let someone else know where you are going, so on…and to be aware of Altitude Sickness.

The following are the notes on the first three:  (I will be continuing with others, later)

As I have gone alone in there
There- as in the ‘place’ where the treasure is hidden
There- as in gone alone in his office, home, or vault

He reads a story ‘alone’ (and the poem follows a story to the treasure)
He said he went alone in the cemetery in his book

And with my treasures bold
He went in to the place with the chest filled with treasures- a bold adventure (no one has done this before)
All his collectibles- if in ‘there’ is his house
Treasures= his memories/family

I can keep my secret where
Only he knows Where=the place of hidden treasure

And hint of riches new and old
Old mine of some kind-old treasure, now his new treasure is in there
His treasures are both old and new in his home and now in the chest
Cave- he found something in the past and now has placed his treasure there
Places he went and stories he told (new and old)

Begin it where warm waters halt
Hebgen lake- (where warm waters of Yellowstone halt)
The Boiling River -Yellowstone
Frozen water, like Ice Mountain, Colorado, or Ouray ice park- black canyon Gunnison
Snow melt-creates waterfall (or stream)- and then once done, it halts til next winter’s snow melt
Rio Grande River to Rio Grande Gorge State Park
Where Red River joins Rio Grande
Jemez hot springs
Gardiner Montana (just outside Yellowstone)-to Yankee Jim Canyon (Yellowstone to Missouri)
Some name referring to cold water—32 degrees—Agua Fria
New Mexico Fish and Game- warm waters are streams, lakes, ponds, except those designated as trout waters
Lake Solitude in Wyoming is Glacial-Cascade Creek- canyon trail—ending in Death canyon- mt meek and at base dry creek bed sitting on Death Canyon shelf
Dams, confluences, hot springs into colder waters, warm waters into hot
Sand dunes (they look like water)
North wall (Gulf Stream) is where warm waters halt…then find another ‘north wall’ in the Rocky Mountains…frijoles canyon north wall
Dal’s post- Great Salt Lake (no outlet, so no canyon down)-but many years ago- lake Bonneville-broke mountain and created snake river valley-idaho- collapse at Red Rock Pass
Dry Cimarron River
Brown Ranch
Devil’s wash basin
Eagle Nest Lake or Dam
Dam- cooler water comes out the bottom, while the warm waters are on top…possible connection to water high…heavy loads…
Continental Divide- refers to ‘the Rockies’…as a pilot would know about weather and air

And take it in the canyon down,
Go down (in whatever direction) the canyon you are following (actual canyon or possible canyon road or something similar)
Take it in (in referring to cave), and the canyon is down from the cave/crevice being up the bank (is a person at location already with a correct warm waters halt?)
Or ‘canyon down’ hints towards name- like Sinks Canyon, Wyoming

Not far, but too far to walk
Drive there (or other method)
Referring to time

Put in below the home of Brown.
Put In:
Term used by rafters/kayakers for the safe area they ‘put in’
Term used by fish hatcheries to where they ‘put in’

Lamar Valley Ranger Station in Yellowstone- used be the home of a ranger named Gary Brown (1965) Can ‘put in’ to a trail (the Bannock trail is near Lamar station)
Molly Brown museum—either city or state—put in below Colorado or the city of the Molly Brown
Brown canyon in southwest Colorado
Arthur Brown 1883 painter and painted landscapes of Yellowstone (one known to exist of geysers)
HooDo Brown and the Dodge city gang connection?
Nickname for Missouri river- old muddy (brown) (starts as a spring on Jefferson mountain, west of Canyon Ferry, montana(water high))
Philmont boy scout camp (in Cimarron)
Cleveland NM (Cleveland Browns (Ohio)-but reference to other ‘Cleveland)
Brown’s Hole (fishing place/Yellowstone)
Brown’s landing raft ‘put in’, above marble canyon in Colorado
Fort Brown- today known as Lander, Wyoming
Cimarron Canyon- Eagle nest dam
UPS building
Brown trout Hatchery

El Vado Dam and Ranch- three of the largest brown trout in history caught here-on display at ranch
Casa marron (translation brown house)
Brown- former Gov. Brown of Billings, Montana

From there it’s no place for the meek,
Wilderness area (not for the meek)
Joe meek (connection?)
“The meek will inherit the earth” (Bible verse connection?)
Ghost Ranch (something with a non-meek name)

The end is ever drawing nigh,
End near
On left
Referring to time of day? Is time ending a clue? Sunset/west
Pedernal Mountain(O’Keeffe was ever drawing)

There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Dry river/stream bed
Go down the creek
Such rapid moving stream, can’t paddle up
“Your Creek” in Alaska—but refer to something in Rockies
‘Creek’ in name of trail you walk up

Just heavy loads and water high.
Journal entry of famous explorer(s) was noted to say “almost lost supplies because of ‘heavy loads and high water; referring to boulders and rapids
Bridge traffic- heavy loads/water high
Water high- dam- particularly hydroelectric dam that send ‘electric’ (heavy loads) to city

Heavy loads:
Water flowing over falls
Electric wires
Leadville co.- place where mined some ‘heavy loads’

Water High:
High mountain lake

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Wise- owl reference (tree-eyesight)
Blaze: special mark, sign, trail marker
Blaze-sun rays
Blaze- the bright eyes for hunters (reflective tacks)

Look quickly down, your quest to cease
Down: southward, downstream, lower elevation
Quest not quite over yet….it is ‘to cease’

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Tarry scant- don’t delay too long
Tarry- covered in tar?

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.

He’s lived the quest and leaves the gold for you to learn the answer

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
Will need to get ‘cold’ to get chest (through waterfall/damp cave/get outdoors/go North
Bronze is mentioned to be cold to the touch in the book (chest is bronze)

If you are brave and in the wood
Wood- referring to grove, not woods (referring to forest)
Warrior(brave) associated with Aspens, so aspen grove-
Aspens in fall foliage would ‘blaze’
Old beaver den
Pile of wood
Petrified tree

I give you title to the gold.
If you find it, it is yours



Miscellaneous items:

All letters, but X, used in poem.  It is the 24th letter.

Clues are in consecutive order…..start at the beginning….27:40

It was mentioned Forrest had advised searchers to wait for good weather or when it is warmer and springtime

Thoughts on Forrest may get to the location to hide the treasure differently than the poem takes you were mentioned.

Not in a tree, surrounded by trees

Treasure Island Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson has:
Ballyantyne the brave
Cooper of the wood and wave- James Fenimore Cooper

In the Wood by Herbert Edwin Clarke

North of Santa Fe—elevation?

Clues, like where warm water halts might refer to a legend?  Or maybe a painting titled as such….could the names provide a place to start..?

Was mentioned Forrest had walked 91 miles as a child…how far is far?—lat/long, elevation

Historical man-made reference could be home of Brown—maybe no longer standing, foundation…..but memorialized in some way—maybe this is the blaze, marker or plaque

Depending on how one views the poem, either through books, landmarks, cultures, or mixture of these, changes the meaning of it.  It is interesting to question ‘how would Forrest Fenn lead someone to the treasure?’

He told me the chest is “exposed” to rain and snow, and could be scorched in a forest fire. He told me the box, which is just 10 inches by 10 inches, is unlocked—suggesting it’s someplace where it is unlikely to be toppled or otherwise thrown open.” (may not be reliable)

It’s been suggested Forrest Fenn has said, “you don’t even need a map…just the poem”.
The poem is the map-
Begin, down,in, left, up, down,  – many directions in poem

Poem contains some anomalies:
Two lines don’t rhyme- halt and walk (5,7).  Why?
Three lines (2,3, 7) that don’t have 8 syllables. Clue?
Punctuation peculiar: use of commas, periods, semicolon.  Reason?

Begin where warm waters halt, canyon down, too far to walk…….
From there no place for meek, end growing nigh, no paddle up creek, just heavy loads and water high

Forrest Fenn told someone to give the poem to kids; meaning don’t make it too complicated…

(near end of blog #2- Dal writes in answering Q about ‘did Fenn know the place when he had cancer:’ “He has told me and others that he originally wrote the poem when he had cancer and then refined it when he decided to hide the treasure years later. Then he said that the line originally read something like:
‘Leave my bones, just take the chest and go in peace.’”

The place is special to him

Bronze will develop a green patina over time



All for now.  I will be continuing on to the other ‘nine clue threads’ and will be sharing the notes on these as well.

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37 Responses

  1. Cajunman says:

    Remember, Forrest said towards the end of his book “Imagination is worth more than knowledge!”. Use that principle to get closer to his trove. It is easy, you don’t need to hurt yourself to get the answers!

  2. J says:

    I just learned of this treasure hunt and am fascinated by it. When reading the poem, I take to heart that when he wrote it, Fenn thought he was going to die. Did any one think that maybe the GOLD is knowledge and experience. The last line of his poem “I give you title to the gold” means that person who realizes the treasure is in going out and experiencing life, in other words you are the gold.
    I am having more fun reading what people think and rationalizing what Fenn ment. What better way to enjoy life and encourage others to go live adventures.

    • Jenny Kile says:

      Best of luck in your search, J. And what an awesome comment and perspective. I believe that last line could have multiple meanings and one like you suggest.

      One I’ve sometimes thought about is winning the Gold Medal and includes the symbolism which goes along with that; You’ve paid the price, you’ve earned the treasure, you’re the first one to find it….Forrest gives you title to the Gold/first prize. … A first place location.

  3. Kellen says:

    Excellent summary of the clues. I’d like to add one additional piece of information that I find helpful to narrow down my search. ff said in an interview recently that ideally, his treasure would remain hidden for 1,000 years and then someone would solve the poem, find the treasure, and display it in a mueseum along with his story for everyone to see. This is an important clue because it eludes to the fact that all 9 clues will still be valid 1,000 years from now. You can eliminate structures, roads, and pretty much all other man-made structures as possible clue references. Thank you for sharing your insight Jenny. I hope this information helps you in your search.

  4. Jenny/Sixer says:

    Best of luck in your search, Kellen, and thanks.

    The above summary was only on the first three sections of the ‘nine clue’ threads on Dal’s site. I did 4-6 later, and do plan on continuing the summaries again here soon. There are so many different interpretations and thoughts. I find it helpful to quickly read down through them; it keeps my mind open to the numerous possibilities.

  5. jojo says:

    Has anyone asked him if you can find it without actually searching can you figure it out with just the poem and google search

  6. Justina says:

    Hey Jojo I don’t know but I’m tired of searching personally. I think no IronWill did a video.

  7. Edward says:

    ” Leave my bones, just take the chest and go in peace”…..

    perhaps it refers to a cemetery… where his remains is burried… (a tomb)

  8. frank smith says:

    Put in BELOW the home of brown could literally mean just that. Another location that’s below the home of brown when looking at a map. (North Clear Creek Falls, exc.) This location also has heavy loads and water high most definitely. Hope I helped someone out…

    • Andrea says:

      He is still alive. When he originally wrote the poem, he has cancer. Once he was in remission, he changed it, and his the box.

  9. anna says:

    @JC1117, You asked for a volunteer to reserve the domain name “Forrest-Wise Foundation” which I have kindly paid for a one year term under both .com and .org

    As this was your vision, and I will be unable to fulfill future obligations regarding your dreams for this foundation, please post your email or instruct me how to forward the domain name information to you. Sounds like a terrific foundation for You to steward on Forrest’s behalf.
    I applaud you JC! Best wishes, anna

  10. Anonymous says:

    When he says below the home of the brown, you might want to look into brown trout. There are many rivers in New Mexico which house brown trout, so you could assume that. Additionally, he mentioned (I think in an interview) that chest is “wet” most definitely. Brown trout obviously reside in rivers and rivers, of course, are wet.

    Possibly, consider the red river. While I can’t think of too much, I know the water is warm. Anyone who actually has the funds to travel to wherever the red river ends might find this information useful.

    • Atomicbear says:

      @ Anonymous: You said “When he says below the home of the brown, you might want to look into brown trout.”

      FF didn’t say below the home of the brown. He said “below the home of Brown”. Big difference. there is no “the” before brown, and Brown is capitalized in the poem.

      Just saying.

    • Guy says:

      Anon – F is king of vaguery – when he wrote/planned this poem he thought of all the possible things a searcher would think….rarely does he give out adequate information I mean it’s only happened a few times like when he said the treasure was hidden above 5000 feet….now that’s definitive information we can bank on. He’s a master of not speaking in black-and-white terms. He said once that the treasure was surrounded by trees then he went on to say everything is surrounded by trees if you go out far enough. He really doesn’t want to give this thing away….The question we all have is with all the vaguery is it possible to find the treasure…. For most I would say stick with the slot machines…. And forest knows this but his rationale is that he’s giving you something that something is the thrill of the chase.

  11. Garrett says:

    I believe what Fenn meant by “below the home of brown” possibly Hooker and Brown mountains in the rockies below would mean below the mountain hope this info helps also look for a creek at the bottom of it

  12. Aw, this was a very good post. Finding the
    time and actual effort to make a really good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get anything done.

  13. locolobo says:

    You’re site ranks as one of the best!! Thank you very much for the work you put into it. I have frequented it regularly for three years and am still constantly amazed by the content. Good Luck to you in ff’s Chase!

    🙂 OK, now that I’ve buttered you up, and I realize you posted this in June 2013. Do you remember where Forrest said, “you don’t even need a map…just the poem”?
    Or where it was “suggested” that he may have said it?

    Thanks again……….loco

  14. locolobo says:

    Thanks Sixer!! You are a sweetheart!! 🙂

  15. Ryan says:

    Anyone want to go on a treasure hunt?

  16. Jackie's says:

    Anyone have any thoughts on Montana? Yellowstone and/or West Yellowstone? I’m new to this but live in the area so it’s intriguing to me.

  17. Justin says:

    I went the beginning of 2016 I was the first to kayak the Yellowstone River. My research led me to Gardiner Montana. I had a great time, I soaked in the hot springs of the Boiling River. I walked where the Yellowstone River and the Boiling River met and it was steaming I hiked 2 miles up the Boiling River which led me into Yellowstone park.then I went to Bozeman Mt because Forrest Fenn use to live there I went clear back to Ks to get my kayak went back to Bozeman rented a uhaul trailer and a rental car. Went back to the Yellowstone River first checked in with Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston Montana because you always check in with a local. Being Fenn was a fisherman why not check with them of the area. I then put my kayak in the Yellowstone River so being I went 8 miles the second day from Connell River access to Yankee Jim Canyon River access. Because the river was froze solid so the warm water halts. Brown trout migrate and spawn up the Yellowstone River and the Boiling River, the thing when I pulled out at the Yankee Jim Canyon. Across the road is the Joe Brown Trailhead huh below the home of Brown take the Canyon down. So I walked through Yankee Jim Canyon the river was froze solid. No treasure for me in the “Treasure State Montana”. I did sink my kayak the first 2 miles of the Yellowstone River in some class 3 rapids from Connell River access boy I held on to my kayak for dear life what a ride all of my stuff my keys my ID was in the nose of my kayak so I was not letting it go for the life of me ha-ha. But I dried out by the end temperature was 17-28 degrees January 1-4 2016 morning below 0 so I braved the Cold due to I didn’t want to encounter Grizzly Bears ha-ha .I did look around and even looked along the bottom of the river for Fenns favorite fishing hole. Good luck to those who may search I was lucky but not lucky enough. What a experience Thank You Forrest Fenn If I could have found it I would have gave you back your turquoise bracelet and may who ever find it return it to you.

    • Strawshadow says:

      Justin, that sounds like a great adventure. All of these places bring back great memories. College days filled with skiing and fishing, those were my priorities. And naturally nickel beer night downtown. My grades would have been much better if the fishing wasn’t so good, both in the water and after dark. Thanks for refreshing a special place in my heart.

  18. Unbelievable! Absolutely, positively, un be leave a bull!!!
    The shadow whispered…
    The phantom came to play…Bessie and frosty too…
    Even if I don’t bring the pooch it’s ok…
    R u an alien?

    • sunbuddy says:

      “bitterness keeps you from flying”

    • Strawshadow says:

      No way but I know them and they are cold to the touch. Like my Sprint connection frozen in time. The bitterness lies in the roots, the changing colors of hidden age always conceals it’s true direction. Lighten up sunbuddy, your best day came from a clouded sense peace. I’m mind blown, turn my back and sunbuddy shows up to twist the blade. This is a cold room indeed, which makes for better flying, you can take that from a true blue reflection in perseverance.

      • sunbuddy says:

        sorry, it was a statement for me. Definitely not intended as a flick of the blade when your back was turned. It is what it is and if a person can’t trust in a handshake then there is no peace. All the cats walked away and feeling blessed.

        • Strawshadow says:

          No apologizes necessary sunbuddy. I was just playing along. I’ll still trust a handshake, that’s just who I am. As far as the kittens, they always were just a playful bunch. Someday I will tell you where six lie in waiting for a free squirt of milk. And as far as the topic in question? From a brief exposure I’m not feeling many of these nine recommendations to any of the nine clues. Perhaps I should take a closer look.

    • I find the use of the word “pooch” an interesting descriptor. It’s like after getting permission from Father time, making it to second base, then you hear Mother nature pull in the driveway. Mother Nature can be quite unforgiving at times. Takes me back to a place where I might have unfinished business to attend to, maybe a less than 50/50 chance is very good odds if you are in the right place at the right time. Thanks !!!mindblown!!!

  19. Tiger says:

    What in the heck are you all talking about?

  20. Jdiggins says:

    Tiger, don’t feel bad, I’m confused too!
    In light of the recent “oddities” I’ve bend seeing pop up here and at HOD, I’ll just throw thus out there, what the heck, right?
    Does anyone else see, rather, observe a change in the chase? Like, some things I’ve come accross my own personal research has led me to believe that maybe there’s a chosen one? Maybe that’s why somebody was so close and it’s been how long now since they’ve solved two, or four Clues. Maybe they’re not doing something right or maybe there’s a certain time? Or maybe not, but I don’t leave anything unexplored. just reading the things I’ve been reading lately, I’m leaning a bit towards something more spiritual. Is there a right time in the right place?
    Or maybe they just gave up.
    Anyway, they are still some pretty confusing things going on… or is it just me? How come nobody, or sumbuddy, or anybody can’t figure this out?
    Have a great day all…:-)

    • Strawshadow says:

      JD, Your beautiful poetry is what keeps us on par, Thank You for your way of placing special thoughts on paper,. I think it always gets confusing about this time, just before the season, new searchers in the room and all. I know I’m a little confused from recent events, so what’s new. By now you should know not to put much credence into my ramblings. You have a great day as well….

  21. astree says:

    “If you are brave and in the wood
    Old beaver den”

    This one had me distracted for quite a while.

    If you ar EBRAVE and in the WOOD

    which gives the BEAVER anagram. So, it was either 1) useful, 2) a coincidence, or 3) a red herring.

  22. Michael Koen says:

    Just a small note about the treasure if it is ever found. According to the poem to whoever finds the treasure FF gives title to the gold.
    IMO that is a gift and if the donor has gifted less than $5.43 million in their lifetime there is no tax and no tax to the receiver unless the donor has gone over the limit and can not pay the tax then the receiver has to pay.

  1. August 20, 2013

    […] though (like mentioned in the first Forrest Fenn Treasure Notes (1-3)), I think it is best to peruse these threads yourself (because various wordings spark different […]

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