Major Players Search in Yellowstone for Forrest Fenn’s Chest

Words out that some well known members of the chase will be crossing paths in Yellowstone Park.  Most these hunters are tight lipped but some are giving small bits of info, mostly the areas where they’ve been and now have ruled out.  Don’t blame them for keeping quiet especially with a large pack of would be treasure finding dogs of the chase nearby.  Must be exciting driving to the next good guess but the traffic this time a year could slow the pack down.  Hope to hear comments from anyone who cared to check out the blaze in the wood.  If you are new to this site make sure you read where I feel the treasure was and look at the many photos showing the way.

Who’s a major player one may ask.  Those who are favored by Fenn.  Seems some get a little more attention than others.  Communication with the treasure king himself.  Who of those lucky few stopped looking in April after a visit to Yellowstone? Theres a few looking for you. Fenn thinks whoever finds the treasure will not be able to keep it secret but can Fenn keep the secret.  Fenn let the dogs out time to let them in.

Forrest Fenn says June 17 Next Today Show clue

Its here, almost, but at least by the end of June that thing everyone in the chase longs to hear, a clue.  The clue, that one clue, which will make clear the treasure’s hidden place. Interestingly, this clue could come the 17th or sometime in the next three weeks.  This clue  still in the works, isn’t ready.  Fenn may need more time as he is releasing a new book due this summer.  Book finishing takes a lot of focus so heres hoping he will have enough time to get a clue worth the wait. Welcome to the stage, clue and book, perhaps both on the same day or maybe the new book will be the new clue.  His last book is well written and a good read. This book contained a poem with nine clues to Fenn’s treasure.  The book coming this summer may include more subtle clues as did the latter book.  The clue, coming soon, is the monthly Today Show Clue.

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.

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.

Fenn’s in the wood

The 5th verse says if you are “in the wood.” The three references to the wood are: the three woods in the valley below Brown, the wood being the last set of trees before the canyon, and “in the wood” as the hollowed out tree that is the furthest down stream.  The triple references to “look down quickly” come when you look down at the tree, then down inside the tree that is down from the others.  And, then you are looking in the hollow where Fenn placed the treasure!

And so you may ask why am I giving away the treasure’s location?  To paraphrase what Fenn said, “been there, done that.”

Part two of the poem’s meaning and treasure’s location

The place to “begin it” is not far from the northeast gate of YNP.  Capt. Kidd hung out on Gardener Island but if he were in Gardener he could go into YNP any day of the year.  Those who have read Fenn’s book will know about his “Captain Kidd” dream.  Silver Gate is near Warm Springs and close to Soda Butte.  The sign at Soda Butte describes how Soda Butte was once prolific but now has all but stopped– “Where warm waters halt.”  On the first page I pointed out that each clue has three references.  Here are the three for the starting point:  Mammoth Hot Springs, Warm Springs and Soda Butte.  Soda Butte is “far but too far to walk ” from the home of Brown (the Lamar Ranger Station.)  Next time I will reveal the “blaze.”