Forrest Fenn and Treasure: End is Drawing Ever Near

The end is here today as this will be the last blog post from Capt Pappy on Fenn’s treasure.

Poker is a game of luck and without it your money soon becomes your opponent’s chips.  Skill  on the other hand increases the pay off when Lady Luck plays along and keeps you from going home early.  The best players balance playing the odds with playing the player. The hand you hold is as good as the hand your challenger thinks it is.  Reading others at the table makes or breaks those trying to be a winner.

Did Forrest Fenn hide a treasure with special meaning or is he on a bluff? What are the tells?  His history, suggests many. One is the trickster.  Tricksters never show their cards unless it is to mislead or taunt other players.  They use the traits we all possess,  both good and bad, to their advantage.  They make great deals even with poor cards.  They bluff, sand bag, over bet, under bet, pass, call and raise all while reading everyone at the table.  Fenn is said to be a master of promotion.  Is His treasure part of something being promoted?

If he did hide the treasure what does it promote?  The book about his life sold out with sales soaring. Fenn says he does not “profit” from the sales.  Money isn’t  everything and with death looking him in the eye money loses its appeal.  Behavioral psychology studies human behavior, yet science plays catch up to seasoned poke champs.  They have models for why we do what we do. They think man does what he does to gain a positive reward or avoid a negative one.

Historically we see a pattern; first money, then power and at the end philanthropy.  Most people won’t get to a level were they can play in such a high stakes game and for the majority just having something to leave their kids is enough.  Those with more than enough look to leaving a legacy, a mark in history– a treasure perhaps.

Fenn’s left hand knows what his right hand is doing. He is making his move public and he worked hard to get on the national news scene.   That isn’t easy and those who know how it’s done know it’s not done cheap.  The treasure is not central to Fenn’s plan what is important is his memoirs.  His history.  We all want to know we “done good.”   This is his statement to the world:  “I done good.”

Fenn’s father was a principal in Lubbock, TX.  Education was likely important to his father. In Fenn’s latest book Fenn’s lament leaks out for him not having more formal education is bothersome.  He is wrong to believe the only good schools exist behind ivy covered walls.  Fenn is educated far beyond the norm.  Just the same its there and so it maybe the motivator to the chase a chance to be part of the history he missed in one of those jail cells keeping him from being in the game called the classroom.

With this in mind, now consider  the following.   Who would go out and make an impression inside a hollow at the bottom of a cottonwood tree about 8  1/2″ by 8 1/2″ with something heavy enough to imprint the soil to about 3″  deep?  Who would go all the way to Yellowstone stop and walk into a valley of bison, wolves and bear then cross two streams in hopes to find a hollow at the bottom of a cottonwood just to leave an imprint?  What are the odds of that?  What are the chances of someone following their interpretation of  a treasure poem being led to that very tree and finding the impression “in the wood”?  What are the odds the three would be just down from Gary Brown’s home not too far from Mammoth Hot Springs and Soda Butte?  What are the chances that the river the tree is on would be famous for fly fishing and where Forrest made money as a fishing guide?  Millions to one by now but there’s more much more.

So here we are at the table. Fenn bets with a treasure and I call with my money, time and effort. He walks.  Is he afraid he will give away his hiding place?  Let’s follow out that possibility and see were it leads.  I get a message saying no it was not hidden there but good try.  So what’s the give away? Anyone?  This is why a friend says he can’t tell me. How slow does he hope we are?

Fenn, I call! Are you bluffing or is the treasure gone?  You said it was there in April it’s nearly June.  Rules of poker say put up or dealer passes the pot.  Its okay to let the public know what is the status on the treasure.  You just might need to do it again…  maybe much less bounty and a poem with more general clues.  For me I have to walk now.  Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me.

There are as many realities as people and in mine the treasure is real and it has been found.  The chase ended in April and one or more of the “within 500 footers” are in the gold.

To the hunters everywhere,  and to those who have come here,  good luck may the next rainbow land in your front yard.

The end is ever drawing nigh but I am on to the next  Great Chase.

History and Art to Interpret Forrest’s Poem

Here are some places to check out on the web followed by some commentary.  Placing the pictures in this blog is not allowed as the photos are copy written but just highlight and search and it will take you to some very photos.  I left the comments on the photos here for you to read.

1) Night falls around what was then Ranger Gary Brown’s home. Originally published in “Yellowstone Wildlife in Winter,” National Geographic magazine, November 1967
Today, this structure serves as the Lamar Ranger Station, which provides housing for the Lamar ranger and emergency visitor services. Built near the turn of the century, it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

2)1883 Arthur Brown “Yellowstone” Watercolor Painting   $75,000 – $125,000

Photograph by William Albert Allard

3)Yellowstone National Park
With famous rivers like the Firehole, Madison, Gibbon, Slough Creek, Lamar, Gardner, Pebble Creek, Cache Creek, Hellroaring, Soda Butte, and of course the headwaters of the Yellowstone, our first national park offers anglers endless angling opportunites throughout the summer and fall.  for big lake browns that are in the process of “running up” to spawn later in November…More Yellowstone National Park Info

4)Big Blaze looking back to Big Brother (Alpha)

Lamar Canyon Wolf Pack

The Yellowstone fires of 1988 were unprecedented in the history of the National Park Service

5)The photo below, taken in late September 1988 shows the fires smouldering in the Lamar. The valley shows no signs of the great fires today, but Specimen Ridge in the background will for a half century or more.
The fires of 1988 smouldering in the Lamar; The photo was taken at Rose Creek.

Copyright © Ralph Maughan.

The following have pictures and terms about cottonwoods as a blaze.  Very beautiful.

6)Kay Witherspoon 2007 “Autumn Embers ” 11″ x 14″ oil on Linen $2400Fall Foliage in British Columbia, Cariboo Region Fall Colour

7)The Cariboo Region in central British Columbia is ablaze with yellow cottonwoods in fall.

Chris Harris / Getty Images

Wish you could see pictures on this page.  It is worth seeing.

Top are three browns and the Rangers sometimes refer to the Valley as Brown Valley do to the large number of bears in the area. That makes four Browns.  But do any of these Browns lead us anywhere?

How about Brown trout? No. That would be any area from here to Alaska.  No help at all really.

How about a brown building?  Too many brown buildings in the mountains to be useful.

How about brown trout and brown buildings?  No help yet?

A clue to last over a hundred years something historical something that narrows down the search.

How about Ranger Gary A. Brown?  His home was in YNP that’s a good clue.

What else about Ranger Brown?  He was the assistant head director of the Yellowstone Nation Parks.  Oh, Fenn spent the best summers there in YNP.  Ranger Brown started a museum is Fenn into museums?  Yes, check out the Will Bill Cody Center in Cody just outside Yellowstone and not too far from Lamar Valley.

Any other Browns?   How about Arthur Brown he painted the watercolor of Mammoth Hot Springs.  It was appraised in Billings Montana not far from Yellowstone.  The painting itself has a very interesting history it may be fun to look it up if you’re a history buff.  The story even has some railroad history.

Years  writing,  a legacy at hand plus one maybe two million dollars in the mix would Fenn  just be writing junk?

How about the blaze is it the sun? No help.

Is it a sign on a tree?  This would be very helpful, but first where in the Rockys do we look.

Is it a wise person who finds the blaze or is it by study we find the blaze?  To keep from being left out of the chase I hope it is through study.

Any historical blaze around?  The 1988 Blaze in Yellowstone change the U.S. Forest Dept’s policies on Forest fires.  That’s historical.  It also came close to burning down Silver and Cooke City in the NE corner of YNP just missing the Roosevelt Hotel.  The fire started just north of Gary Brown’s home and it crossed the Lamar river  just down from Brown’s old home.

How about the wolf who lived there named Big Blaze oh and don’t forget Little Blaze.  The Lamar Valley wolf pack has lots of followers.  Check out Blaze the wolf in Yellowstone it is very cool.  He is no longer with us and that is sad.

Ok, you decide, have you heard of better clues?  Why not share them.  Is there anyone as redundant?  I keep finding clues that shout Yellowstone, Lamar Valley and Lamar Ranger Station.  If there were something that backs this up it is the lack of info about these clues.  No one is talking about these clues maybe because they are keeping the good ones to themselves.  I don’t blame them but I believe they are too late.

If you do find the treasure couldn’t you just take a picture on a dated news paper for the rest of us.  It would have saved me a lot of money on travel etc..  After all I love to chase things that I have some chance of catching.  Fenn knows but he ain’t talking.   Maybe my interpretation of his poem is much better than his.

Path to Forrest Fenn’s Treasure the Easy Way

Start at the northeast gate of the Yellowstone National Park (YNP).  Any gate will do but from the gate get to US 212.  US 212 runs a long the north part of YNP in a east west direction. From the northeast gate go past Soda Butte down the canyon to the Lamar Ranger Research Station and stop at the small turn-out on the south side  of US 212 about a half mile from the station.  For others coming from a different gate get the free YNP map and find the Lamar Ranger Research Station on Us 212.  Park at the turn-out  and being careful of the animals (read the rules about maintaining distances to the different animals) walk towards the grove of cottonwoods to the south and slightly east of the turn-out.  Walking sticks come in handy as you cross water twice.  I never got my shoes wet. When you arrive at the trees look west to the tree in the middle it splits into two trunks.  Look at the bottom and find the hollow.

Forrest Fenn’s treasure chase Tag your it

Running around the web in my quest for info on the treasure’s location is fun and fascinating.  All the attributes and misgivings in human nature come out to play even my own.  I have come off to some as arrogant over confident and to others as conceded and self center.  Blinded by my own thoughts and the ever growing need to know I have allowed myself to become indulgent reading everything on the subject and rejecting all that doesn’t consider what I feel are the facts.  Coaching others to be their best has led me to believe the mind is the greatest place to start when we face challenges.  Modesty and sportsmanship, important characteristics in life’s journey are hard to find in the young hero. It is the hero’s down fall that causes the Phoenix to burn become pure and rise from the ashes.  Confidence in the leader has won many a lost battle.  It keeps us moving toward the goal no matter how hard. The top of the list of athletes I have had the honor to work with believed in themselves and in their coaches.  Get a vision see it clearly and stick to it.  Wisdom is different.  Wisdom lacks the ego.  Wisdom hears all sides and finds the value in them.  Fenn’s poem spoke to me I went with confidence saw what I saw  and now your it.  All those in the chase your it.  Let us find the Treasure or the end of the chase.  Let’s listen and reason together. This is my intent to hear others and to compare.  The Chase is a wonderful thing I have chased gold in Yankee, Achorage, Idaho city, San Pedros, Golden, Nevada, Utah, Dakota, Idaho and Oregon.   Comparing notes with old timers and newbies is the way I was taught to be apart of  the community.  Is the treasure still out there?  Is the poem a real map or is it just a poem with as many meanings as there are interpreters?  Tag your it.

Lastly those of you who visited this blog from other countries I am so interested in what you think.  I would love to hear from any of you.  There are visitors from Germany, England, Poland, Canada, and the Netherlands.  It is exciting to see so how about leaving a comment.  Also how about the new layout? Like or not?

A closer look at the wood

A closer look at the wood

This is the best I could get. My phone camera didn’t flash. I estimate it was about a foot and a half to the bottom. Nothing was buried and it could be snowed on or rained on and it could burn in a forest fire. Forrest has said these things as reported on some of the earlier blogs. The opening was about 14 inches.

What I found in the wood as I went in there alone

That morning I awoke my mind still racing with images promising a chest of gold.  My 64 year old body was striking back, legs cramping, feet burning and fatigue from the hours spent crossing the river, wading in snow, and climbing under and over fallen trees, convincing  me no 79 year old would do the same.  There in Lamar Canyon home to an invisible bear with rather large feet and what appeared to be a grass diet avoided my double barreled pepper spray gun as I tried lining up a blaze in the canyon wall with some very inviting caves, tree falls and rock formations, when it struck me Fenn   Image

wasn’t there.

Ok time to get real or go home.  Two weeks and two trips in that time I know I’m close but no cigar as they say.  Then I remembered what Fenn wrote about the person who will find his treasure.  To paraphrase he will analyze  the poem over and over then go with confidence to get the chest.  Last chance I say to myself as I was going back to the car.  After this,  just the long drive home through Montana then Wyoming, Denver Colorado and finally passing by Sante Fe.   Just, just, just oh, just water high and heavy loads, just the long drive home just not the place to be looking.  Now  like my athletic days it is game face time, confidence in my interpretation of the poem and with one mindedness, Its make or break it a last chance effort.  This in mind I head for the starting point, Soda Butte.


First stop Silver where a store has just opened.  I’m thinking coffee as I walk in and see an attractive lady at the counter. I tell her about the rangers  in Bear Canyon.  She says there are bears there and news travels fast in the Yellowstone.  Photographers come running to catch a bear on film and there must be ten or more just down the road as they snap shots of a female wolf filling up on an elk carcass just off the road.  I think to myself how lucky I am not to run into the Lamar Canyon wolf pack.  Hopefully Blaze’s offspring will stay higher up in  the canyon with the snow where elk and bear prefer to be this Easter Day.   I will walk past buffalo and chance a wolf pack but a bear, well a bear in spring time is not an animal I want to see anywhere I intend to go.   I stop one more time at Soda Butte to read the sign and resolve to find the treasure at the end of  the kind of walk Fenn could make when it was time to end his life and join his treasure chest of memories.  The next stop “the home of Brown.”


Here at Gary Brown’s old home I watch as a man about my own age makes and consumes a sandwich. I think here is a treasure hunter eyeing the valley a mirror image of myself  but he was leaving and I would soon be asking if that satisfied look on his face as he consumed lunch was in response to Fenn’s  suggestion to take a sandwich and a flash light.   I noted his Montana license plate before concentrating on the poem and following the exact directions.  Put in below, simple go down the road and put in below.  Ok, no matter what, I am putting in at the first turn out period, no guessing just trust in the poem.  Then there on the left it sat asking me what took you so long.  I parked and  looking to the valley I see a blaze of cottonwoods separated by a large number of buffaloes and a couple of small cold side runs of the river I knew my quest was soon to end.  Walking was easy and crossing the small side creeks just took a hop to get across.  The only thing that could stop me now, a bear or two.  The trees in the area have little bark from the clawing of bears and elk horns. How could a blaze in the tree last with these over size vandals dissecting man’s intended historical symbols such as UU or FF or a long legged frog.  Stay with the poem get to the blaze avoid the herd and watch for bears.  Easy, too easy I find it hard to believe its right in front of me.  The fifteen hundred feet went quickly as I kept looking for the place reported to have had groups pass by just five hundred feet from those trees.  Then I remembered a group leaving from a bigger turn out another half mile from the one where I had put in at.  They had stopped at  the river crossing at about that same distance.  Did they come back after they heard they were so close or was the man at the ranger station having a victory lunch?   Before I finished my thoughts I was at  the cottonwoods.  I tried to fight off the feeling I had been there before but I  knew what was next.  It was too easy how could it have taken so long to find.   The snow kept it covered till spring when anyone could see the blaze, the hole at the bottom of the tree.


Now I hear Fenn saying look quickly down.  I found the blaze,  look down,  down to the last tree, down to that blaze in that tree.  Heart beating quickly my mind telling me its gone you know that its gone.  But I can’t know that I have never been  here still inside that dreamy sense instantly insuring me it is gone.  Still drawn like a magnet pulls iron my feet knowing where to go I watch as they take me to the tree.

13yp There it is and nothing else exist even time is stop.  One day on my friend’s clam in Idaho city as I studied the few gold flakes in my pan hunched over and squatting in the creek a black nose toughed mine startled,  I looked up to see Jim and his Labrador retriever.  Jim was laughing  he barely got his message out but his point  struck home ” your lucky he isn’t a bear.”  Bears, Wolves or angry lions had better get out of the way as nothing could stop me from meeting my  fate.  This was not a few flakes of gold this was the end of the chase.

Inside the tree the hollow was about a foot and a half lower than the ground and at the bottom in the peat was a perfect mold of a box  less than 10 by 10 inches and about 3 inches deep.  It was so perfect nothing in nature could leave such a print.  I couldn’t resist moving my hand through the sawdust.  It was cool and dry and fell apart easily.  I though a picture should be taken moments too late and I tried to remake the box shape back to what I first saw but it was impossible.  This print had taken time to form and now like the treasure its gone forever.  42 pounds inside of a small chest is something like a woman’s high heel the pressure on the ground bellow would be intense making as it did quite a dent add to that a couple of years to set and you would have a unique print.

Some will say it wasn’t there to begin with, others will think it fits the poem and Fenn’s life so well it must have been there. Only two people  can be sure, Fenn and the finder.  I have presented this for your own discernment.   I can’t get Fenn to answer so it will remain my own mystery.  Captpappy’s empty tree mystery.  Second place but first to disclose.  For those nay sayers  enjoy the chase that’s what is most important, as for me let me know if you want a partner to chase the next treasure.

My friend and writer asked me to leave this blog up until KUNM’s auction has ended but it will soon go away.  Till then enjoy and thanks to everyone who visited, it is great fun to see people from around the world come to read what Capt. Pappy had to say.

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