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.
The cottonwoods below are the blaze in the fall. This is also where the Blaze of 1988 went through.
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.”
Stop at the first turn-out past Lamar Ranger Research Station. The turn out is on the left side of Highway 212 about a half mile west or down stream. Remember only verses 2, 4 and 6 are leading the reader to the treasure. Verses 1,3 and 5 are true but they are only meant to distract the reader. Verse 2 tells where to start and where to put in.
The “wise” may find the blaze. A little history, as before, leads to the three references to the treasure’s location. The famous Blaze of 1988 started in Quartz Creek about a half mile north of Lamar Ranger Station and later the blaze that threatened Cooke City crossed the Lamar River just up from the Lamar River Canyon. A picture of where it crossed can be found on the internet. National Geographic refers to the 1988 fire as “The Blaze” in the headline. The matriarch wolf of the pack living in the Lamar Canyon has a name and her name is Blaze. She was shot a few years ago and is no longer living. Looking from the car into the valley from the turn out you can see the blaze especially in September when the treasure was hidden by lonesome Forrest Fenn. It is then that the valley is ablaze with cottonwoods as they turn color.
Forrest is a active member of the Wild Bill Cody Museum in Cody, Wyoming just outside the Northeast Gate of YNP. This is the way he would come to spend his summers away from his dreaded school life in Lubbock, Texas. The museum has a black bow tie ball in September. Oh, by the by, Gary Brown is the founder of the Forest Ranger’s Museum. Lots of history for an antiques dealer’s poem.
Find the blaze and “quickly look down.” There are three groups of cottonwoods one south of Lamar Station and two more as you look down from there. After that “just heavy loads and water high.” Boulders the size of cars says a brochure on places to stop and look in the YNP but that is in verse 5 to mislead the reader. A blaze or mark on a tree won’t last long because the bears claw the trees until the bark is almost completely torn away. Thus “no place for the meek.”
The next part will divulge the last verse’s clue “in the wood.”
This is the first of a set of answers to the poem that will lead to the very place that Forrest selected for his treasure. The poem has three rhyming lines per verse. It is a triplet. The main clues all refer to three things that identify the place to find the treasure.
Brown is the key needed to put the clues together. Only three verses are needed to find the treasure the other three verses just distract from the treasure’s location.
Here are the three references to the “key” Brown. Arthur Brown is a famous artist who’s only surviving water color of Yellowstone is of Mammoth Hot Springs. Gary A. Brown was a ranger and Assistant Director of Yellowstone National Park and he grew up in a cabin on the Lamar River. The cabin is shown in National Geographic and titled the Brown home. It is now the Lamar Ranger Research Station. The third reference is the Lamar Valley known by many rangers as Brown Valley for its many bears. If all goes well my next post will reveal which gate to enter to “Begin it.”