Jun 112013

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 Neitzel.com’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  http://www.reportfromsantafe.com/episodes/view/144/forrest-fenn

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?

Anyplaceamerica.com—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.”  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/03/clues-for-finding-forrest-fenn-s-buried-treasure-part-2.html (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.

Please feel free to follow/friend on Facebook (as I share thoughts on this Quest and others).


  6 Responses to “Forrest Fenn Treasure Notes: The Nine Clues (1-3/March 2013)”

Comments (5) Pingbacks (1)
  1. 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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.


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