Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Prepares To Hibernate : One last Look Before Winter

Hot elk burgers and cold beer await and I hope to be eating and drinking at my favorite place on the Yellowstone River by the end of the week.  I have ruled out several areas as time is short and  younger, stronger hunters have scoured those places.  One such place is on the Bear Gulch Creek below Joe Brown’s cabin just off the Yellowstone and down from Boiling River.  A lady wrote about her hunt in that area and I feel she should’ve found the treasure if it were there.  She had great logic and her time studying the area showed.  I was so sure she had the right solve that there was no way she or someone following her ideas would not find the treasure.  No one has and thats why I feel it is not there.  Forrest Fenn said the hardest part is knowing where to start.  After that he said  the other clues are much easier.  He also said he thinks the treasure will be found sooner than he expected because people where looking in the right area.  But no one has found it. Forrest also said He could not understand why people would get the first two clues and then go by the rest.  I plan to look a lot closer to the put in point than anyone else may have decided to look.  If I am right I will be rolling with laughter.  i would like to talk to a native in the area of the north gate of Yellowstone as I cannot decipher what the blaze is or where it is.

The blaze is a tough clue to solve but it should be easier than knowing where to begin it.  That is what Fenn said, but no one has found the blaze. Think about that they have been as close as 500 ft. but they never found the easier to find blaze. I have to admit something really doesn’t add up.  The blaze is much harder to find than where to begin it.  The only clue we have about the blaze is that we must be wise to find it.  We don’t even know what a blaze is.  A hunter could start in the correct place then go not too far and put in below the home of Brown I have done this in several places;  Spinx creek just down from the home of Brown by Yankee Jim”s Canyon; Millers creek where Meek turned around to go to Oregon; Lamar Ranger Station (Home of Brown) to a h\whole in a cottonwood tree on an Inland in the Lamar River.  I went to many places in between and in every case I had no idea of what or where a blaze is.

Well if anyone wishes to comment or get in on this last trip for the year I will be looking for your comments.  I will update after I arrive in Yellowstone.  I wish all those hunting, good luck.  Also if by chance someone has found the treasure help the lost out as there are many other treasure out there.  Just a picture  would help us to move on to another chase.  Thanks for your time.

I arrived today 911.  I ‘m so happy that nothing bad took place.  I came in just behind a storm but weather was gentle and roads were dry.  After 18 hours I was tired but ready for that elk burger I was looking forward to,  when to my dismay,  no Iron Horse Bar!  Gone no one home.  I wonder if they found the treasure and took off with it.  I shook off the disappointment and suffered through diner.  I cannot recommend any of the very busy restaurants but there all ok I suppose.  I was shock by the amount of people up here at this time of the year and happy I have been here in Spring to have Yellowstone almost all to myself.

On the way in I decided to look just north of Gardiner out by the cemetery.  The area I was interested in is fenced with  very tall wire.  On google it looked like Native American  ruins . I guess I was right.  I was led to the site by following a dry creek bed coming off the Yellowstone.  That was my best guess until Wednesday when I got in my car to come up here and  it hit me,  I know where the blaze is.  Never have I known that before.  All the many times I have come here I would hope to find the blaze.  I believe the hunter should know where it is before s/he goes to get the treasure.  I learned from “rocket scientists and mathematicians  (really) that if you want to learn something well teach it to someone else.  I figured out some important characteristics the blaze would have  and if you have been following you may also notice how this idea has evolved.  I will know tomorrow.   I now  have two lines to follow and they cross like the x on a map.  I will walk with confidence right to the treasure and I knew where to go when I left my driveway.  If I am wrong I will give out the new solve.  Well, we will see.

Well I am done for today and still empty handed.  I found some likely spots on the Yellowstone using the Devil’s Slide as the blaze.  Could still be a good spot to keep looking  but I did not like the vines growing in the wood piles.  I hope it wasn’t poison ivy.  Leaflets in three leave it be.  More importantly the Iron Grill is open.  They closed last night because it got too cold.  No heat in the building.  Lunch was great and I got some new ideas while talking to the natives. Tomorrow I check out an area near bear Gulch Creek.  I looked up Creek and Yellowstone could be referred to as a creek.  I have an area along the river yet to look in and then I will just be another lost hunter.    More later.

Author: captpappy

Teacher, counselor, therapist, coach and a treasure hunter with 40 years of teaching and coaching people from kindergarten to sports professionals. Helping people achieve their goals is what I do. I taught K-12 and university level in Physical Education, Biology, life skills, and transitions. I have a Masters in Social Work with a mental health concentration and worked with families, adolescents, and chemically dependent groups. Treasure hunting is my new passion for the last eight years.

17 thoughts on “Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Prepares To Hibernate : One last Look Before Winter”

  1. Hi Pappy, I first heard about all of this 48 hrs ago, and it has already, apparently, cost me a friend. I am a somewhat well known nabob on various stock trading bulletin boards and that friend asked me to look into this at one of them, because he respects my analytic abilities. And so I did and posted my findings and conclusions back to that board (now deleted). Now he is not speaking to me. Having a cherished dream smashed didn’t sit well with him and, I suspect, he has decided that I have succumbed to greed and want the treasure for myself and am trying to throw him and the rest of the pack off the hunt. Not so. I’ve made and lost the kind of money the treasure is purportedly worth on single trades. The reason I am posting this, is you are the only person I came across in my poking around, that I was touched by. Your honesty and willingness to share, deserves the same in return. I considered sending this to you privately, but decided if you cared enough about the other seekers to be so candid in your own writings, that it would be in everyone’s best interest to have the same information. Before I begin, I will say that FF’s intention to get people out into the wilderness, to experience awe of the Creator’s craft, is not without merit. If the reader does not wish to give up the dream that inspires them to do so, simply stop reading now.

    Analysis of the Poem
    As I have gone alone in there
    (FF has commented on the need for taking precautions in engaging in wilderness exploration. He would not go alone, especially at his advanced age, anywhere that was even moderately hazardous.
    He has also commented that he had made two trips to the site in one afternoon, returned to his car, and that others have been within 500 ft of the location. There are usually many paths to the any location. I could hide something in your backyard, then leave a trail of clues that took you to the ends of the earth to get there. So could he. The site is within 500 ft of a road)

    And with my treasures bold, (no comment needed)
    I can keep my secret where,
    And hint of riches new and old.
    (New: his treasure. Old: either the lost French horde of Uncle Joe Brown’s placer find in Montana, as placer gold is a hint of larger treasure (mother lode) upstream. I lean towards the latter. More on this in the discussion section that will follow.)

    Begin it where warm waters halt
    (A dam on a thermal stream, of which the Yellowstone area has many of both. But interestingly, and no doubt intentionally, it also matches a site in New Mexico. His remarks that it is at least 8.5mi north of Santa Fe, and in the Rockies, between 5K and 15k elev, and that anything between 271 degrees and 89 degrees from Santa Fe, counts as “north” to him, includes both areas, as Yellowstone is NNW.)

    And take it in the canyon down, (apparently a reference to the Yellowstone Grand Canyon, below Gardiner)

    Not far, but too far to walk. (only if you take the route that the poem indicates.)
    Put in below the home of Brown. (Uncle Joe got around. Could be Gardiner, or Slippery Slide or several other locations. The ruins of the Montana Mining Corp mine, of which JB was a founding member, is nearby the site I most favor. But that isn’t the “put in” site, so probably his cabin near Gardiner is referred to here.)

    From there it’s no place for the meek, (no comment required)
    The end is ever drawing nigh;
    (This line is seldom discussed. There are several possible meanings, not mutually exclusive. At first, I thought perhaps it meant you are getting closer to the headwater of the stream, but that would be backwards, as streams end where they join a larger body of water or peter out. Of course, it is simply a tautology that the end of everything is always drawing nigh, including an old man’s life. But I am of the mind that it means the search is endless. And there’s a very good reason for saying that.)

    There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
    (Good luck paddling up Bear or Crevice Creeks where they join the Yellowstone River. Another possible reading of the without a paddle line, is that you put into the creek near one of Uncle Joe’s home sites and float down to the dam, hence needing no paddles.)

    Just heavy loads and water high. (another reference to the dam.)

    If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
    (Ah, the “blaze.” I initially thought this referred to a slash cut into the forest for logging or mining access. But, as other commenters have said, any boyscout can tell you it can also mean to mark a trail. This came to me in a bit of serendipity, after falling asleep in my chair and awaking to an old Daniel Boone TV show episode, where DB was “blazing: a trail with an arrow and his initials carved into a tree. He was big on stuff like that. “Kilt a bar by this tree. DB.” But cutting a blaze into a tree, or clearing a path through the woods, would not match FF’s remarks that the blaze will last a thousand years. I at first thought maybe the blaze was in the form of an owl (wize) but then decided it referred to being wize is decoding it is an X, a paean to Stevenson. The classic, X marks the spot. It’s on a large boulder or the dam itself. Or perhaps is only there at a certain time of day/year, when the sun casts either a shadow or sunlit “blaze” upon the dam or the actual spot the chest is located. More on this below. But it’s a safe bet, you will know it when you see it.)

    Look quickly down, your quest to cease, (when you do see the blaze, your journey is over.)
    But tarry scant with marvel gaze, (for various good reasons, people have killed for far less being one.)
    Just take the chest and go in peace. (no comment required.)

    So why is it that I must go
    And leave my trove for all to seek?
    The answer I already know,
    I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
    (No comment required, except to say it speaks to an old man’s need to be remembered and is the motivation for the entire charade. Well, that and to sell books.)

    So hear me all and listen good, (Yes, pay attention to him, that’s what he craves.)
    Your effort will be worth the cold.
    (The single most cryptic line in the poem. I considered thermoclines, where still or slow moving water has a temperature gradient and implying the chest was under deep water. But FF has said the location can be affected by both fire and snow, which deep water is unlikely to be prone to. I considered that it meant that the blaze is only visible on the shortest, coldest day of the year. I would have worked on this part more, had I not soon arrived at the conclusion that any further investigation was pointless.)

    If you are brave and in the wood (No comment except that it is in a “forest” Forrest. Get it? har)
    I give you title to the gold.
    (Ah, the crux of the matter. He doesn’t say “Give you my gold. Just “title” to it. The chest is empty, except for an IOU and, perhaps, the bracelet, which he has said, he “lowered” into the chest. Odd phraseology. Perhaps explaining why he made two trips to the site on the day he planted the chest. Deciding that leaving it entirely empty, save a scrap of paper, was too cruel. Even con artists can have a some shred of decency. Some hint of a human heart. But implying you can not easily reach the chest, even once you have spotted it.)

    The Chest
    My friend told me the chest was supposed to be 600 years old. Balderdash. Nothing lasts that long without picking up any patina whatsoever. There is a very clear and reasonably high def view of it in this utoob vid, where it can be seen to be clean as a whistle. The video also says that he commissioned the chest shortly before hiding it. He owned a foundry. He has supposedly cast brass bells that he has buried as well. Dal (whose site I spent a hot five min at, who is into it up to his attention seeking eyebrows and is just too chummy with FF to be credible and who would never allow this post on his site) has said, authoritatively, the dimensions of the chest are 10 x 10 x 5 inches, which agrees with a rough guesstimate you would arrive at measuring the known size of the coins in the photos and extrapolating that to the ratio of the size of the box. Gold has a density of 315.2 grams per cubic inch. Filled to capacity, even allowing for interstitial spacing between the coins, that would be around 300 lbs. Even at today’s somewhat depressed prices, that would be approx $5.75 million. Of course, their value as historic artifacts, would be much higher. Brass has a density of 4.856 ozs/ci. Again, extrapolating from measuring the thickness of the chest’s walls in the published photos, .25 in, and applying the ratio dervived from the known linear dimensions, we have 200 cu x 4.856/16 = 60lbs. Slightly more than the 42 lbs and 44 lbs that FF has, at various times, claimed it weighs. I can not account for that discrepancy with any certainty. Perhaps it is a brass alloy. Perhaps it is overlaid over wood. Perhaps the walls are slightly thinner than I estimated. But, in any case, supporting the conclusion the chest is empty. The design on the chest is of a fortress successfully repelling invading attackers. One can not take a fortress which does not exist. There is a key to the chest shown in some of the pictures. Where is that key? Inside the chest? Couldn’t lock it if so. Secured to the outside? Why bother to lock something and leave the key? Not locked? Why show the key? Not there? Bingo.

    The Man
    He admits, in the few words he has written that I bothered to read, he tells lies and embellishes the truth. Many other posters, in this and other public venues, have called him out for specific cases. One example is saying the F100 Super Sabre he was shot down in, was equipped with 37mm rockets. Comes as news to me that our armed forces use metric measurements. The F100SS was armed with 2.5 inch rockets. The enemy Migs were armed with 37mm canon. Not a mix up one would expect an USAF pilot to make. He claims to have ejected at 1,000 ft, and yet somehow had the time and presence of mind, and finding himself at loose ends, with nothing better to do, before landing behind enemy lines in a few short seconds, to take out his Minolta camera and snap some photos. Sadly, said camera and film were lost, leaving us with no supporting evidence. Yeah sure. There are many other such examples. I will not belabor the point. While it is purely subjective, I will comment that he is both the spitting image of, and uses exactly the same NPL language misdirections, as the biggest con artist I ever knew personally. It is a real talent to be able to give affirmative sounding replies, that when dissected, prove to have said nothing at all. (ex: “Are you going to pay me the $100 you owe me?” – “I intend to.” A meaningless positive affirmative reply.) Three people have committed suicide after being caught up and then caught out in FF’s dealings with primitive artifacts. Some have lost their lives hunting for the treasure. Many have spent their last penny failing to find what is not there. “This I know, and know full well. I do not like you Dr. Fell.”

    Several people have made mention of his unhappiness with his lack of a formal education and his being a voracious reader of great authors. And a glance at his well stocked and copious home library, visible in some videos, bears that out. Understanding that, was key to the final solve. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Stevenson. Aha! X does indeed, mark the spot on that Island in the Stream. har again.

    His remark that it is not in a cemetery, is borne of his fear someone will dig up his father’s grave.
    While that would only make that person no worse than FF, who made a career of plundering Native American “graves”, for Heaven’s sake, do not lower yourself to his level. There is nothing there except the bones of his father.

    The “Brown” , mentioned, is almost certainly Uncle Joe Brown. It is the only capitalized word in the poem. FF isn’t formally educated, but he is highly intelligent and literate. That capitalization was not in error and he knows that the name of fish are not capitalized. It is rainbow trout, cuthroat trout, brown trout. But a tip of the hat to seekers who thought of that. Wrong, but canny none the less.

    The blaze is not cut into a tree, which would not last a thousand years. It does not refer to the local name for aspen and cottonwoods, due, presumably, to their fall colors. For the same reason. But learned something there and another indication that some seekers are clever people. It isn’t there year round, or you would not need to “brave” the “cold” to see it. If I am right in that conjecture, it wildly reduces the chance anyone would find it, as 99% of seekers, do so in the clement months.

    My first remark, to the friend who sent me on this chase, made minutes it began, was there are many people who would know instantly what the solve was, had years of head start in finding it, an insurmountable head start, and that, if it hasn’t surfaced yet, it is because either the finder does want it known (doesn’t care to pay taxes. admit he has broken the law in removing anything from Fed land, or just doesn’t want the hunt to end, because he and the community are making large off the seekers) or that it never existed in the first place. I am now of the opinion that the former is the case. FF did hide the empty chest. He has commented both that, as far as he knows, the chest has not been found. How would he know? Certainly he can’t be afford to be seen, at this point in the story and with the notoriety he has gained and the woods literally crawling with seekers who would spot and recognize him instantly. So how does he know? IMHO, it is because you have to contact him and deliver the proof, to claim the reward. Again supporting the theory (and I do not claim any of this is anything else) that the chest is empty. He has further stated that, if he could, he would recover the chest himself. Interesting remark. Why can he not? Because even if you find it, you would have to do serious heavy equip excavating to reach? Assuring an expensive arrest for destruction of private property? I’m pretty sure there are any number of gov’t agencies who would supply completely trustworthy agents to do that for him. Oh right, he hates those guys. Or is it because he knows it has been recovered and whoever did it, has no more interest in that fact becoming known that he has? Got me.

    The Solve:
    It is on An Island In The Steam (Hemingway) directly beneath your feet, standing on the spot that is lighted by a sunlit X (Stevenson), cast by the sun peeping through a nearby rock formation on the shortest day of the year. Shades of Indiana Jones! whom he has often been compared to and dresses like. Or the blaze appears on the south facing face of the dam and can only be seen from a location near the chest on the island. (Another reason to go when it’s cold and you can walk on ice to get to the island, that would be surrounded by turbulent and dangerous water in the summer months.) The island is below a dam (could be a beaver dam, but again, the thousand year remarks) and the steam is Boiling river, or below the Fire Hole or some other geothermal site. I’m not that familiar with that neighborhood, to know the locations of all the dams. I’d guess up Bear Creek, north of Jardine. Or maybe Crevice or Soda creeks. I initially liked Sphinx, just for the Riddle of the Sphinx angle, but now discount it as not matching several other clues. But I suspect Pappy and other of other seasoned searchers, will know for sure which is most likely, after reading this. The nearby road, is most likely Crevice Rd or Jardine Rd. The allusions to a site in New Mexico (Brown ranch, Soda Springs) is a red herring to both give seekers a distraction that is more alluring in winter months and hence making it impossible to find the real location, as well as throw some of the business generated by all this, to the home town gang. But his well known love of and familiarity with the Yellowstone area, convinces me that is the location. But it is not in the park itself, but near north of there, in Montana.

    Concluding Remarks.
    I spent an enjoyable four or five hours researching this. All of the above, was generated from memory (except the utoob URL) and I may have commingled some of the findings. Once I decided there was no real treasure, I became ambivalent and not willing to give it a rigorous treatment with the usual proper citations. To others, whose work and writings I came across and was influenced by, my appreciation and apologies for the lack of ascription.

    Pappy, I hope this does not come as a disappointment to you. But I feel you have already pretty much reached the same conclusion. You are a true gentleman and the most enjoyable part of my investigation, was reading your blog. I will tell them at the Elk, that you sent me, if I make it back to that neck of the woods again. Really would like to try those elk burgers. Live long and happily mi amigo.



    1. Boy, I should have proof read the above. A ton of missing words and half finished sentences and thoughts. Oh well, the gist is clear enough. Cheers.


  2. Doh again. I meant bronze, of course. Fortunately for the sake of the argument, they have pretty much identical densities.


  3. Wow, nice analysis, Old Man– of FF, the poem, and my friend Cpt. Pappy. Perhaps Pappy will grace us with his thoughts and reaction to your post soon. I’m not a hunter myself, but I’ve followed CP’s journey. I especially like your take on Stevenson (which CP considered) and Hemingway…hmmm! I’ll put on my literary hat and see what else might apply. Thanks!


  4. Are we searching for physical or spiritual treasure? That’s the question raised by the Academy Award nominated movie “Birdman” and perhaps FF’s quest as well. The new clue, issued February 2015 says, “If I was standing where the Treasure is, I would see trees, mountains, and I know the “treasure chest” is wet.” Hmmmm. Watch for yourself:

    Pappy we’re overdue for a comment from YOU!!


  5. Dear lord. It’s as obvious as sin. You need ALL the clues to find it. A few clues will get you close, but you need ALL the clues to pinpoint it.

    I’m going to give you guys two clues. I hope you can figure the rest out. You have six months before I get the treasure myself and put you all out of your misery.

    Home of BROWN.
    Fenn is an angler, he is talking about Brown trout. The river he is describing is bisected by a waterfall where the brown trout do not cross. You must search for the treasure below the section of river that the waterfall bisects.

    If you’ve been wise and found the blaze.
    Boyscouts? White markers on trees. The answer is so damn big, you can’t wrap your head around it.
    Go downstream on this river, the largest wildfires swept this area in 1988, the year Fenn wrote the poem. When you can first see evidence of the burn, you’ve have come to a very close approximation to where the treasure is.

    Heavy loads and water high are BOTH referring to descriptors of a river, NOTHING else. Fenn is an angler, get inside an angler’s mind, he’s thinking about river, river, river, river.

    You guys are projecting all sorts of crazy shit. Get yourself a fly fishing rod and some waders, and get in a stream, and you’ll be closer to the answer then all of your crazy navel gazing.


    1. Nez perce intersecting and is the origins of brown trout along the firehole river where fish once were not able to travel up. Also little firehole river introduces cold mtn water cooling the warm waters of the river running past old faithful. Place is pot marked with geo thermal holes.


  6. To much thought to discover the truth beyond a dream of illusion. You say its not there then you go eat elk burgers to find it. You have the answer to the clue but the clue is not there. O k it’s there. And full of gold and I aim to prove it. J B


  7. It does not make sense that there’s an iou due to the fact there’s no guarantee that any organization would still exist 1000 years from now to honor the iou for FF…


  8. I was wondering if you could point me In the right direction of the article on the woman that you said you felt was very smart and were amazed had not found the treasure….thank you and I really enjoy your perspective on the hunt.


  9. Time’s expending. Now it is 2000 years from now.What happened 2000 years back? Jesus happenned. Church. Religious mark. Cross.


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