Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Treasure in the Rocky Mountains

I visited my daughter and son-in-law in Grand Junction, Colorado last week.  Mary had been sick with pneumonia. Her sister, Amanda,  and I spent a week with Mary and her husband, Matt. It snowed almost everyday.  One evening, at a local restaurant, talk turned to the Forrest Fenn Treasure. The news had reported that a searcher for the treasure went missing on the Rio Grande River.  I knew nothing about the Forrest Fenn legend of a treasure map poem and the hiding of a bronze treasure chest with more than a million dollars worth of gold and jewels somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.. In discussing the meaning of the poem with its 9 clues, my curiosity was definitely piqued.   I've traveled a lot through areas of the Rocky Mountains and I love a good word puzzle.

On our way back to New Mexico, we came south on Hwy 550 through the Rocky Mountains in all their winter glory.

Just south of Ouray, Colorado
My daughter, Amanda, and her dog, Tinder
The mining town of Ouray

Hwy 550 heading toward Red Mountain Pass 

Where might have Forrest Fenn hid his treasure?

It certainly would be difficult to find it in the Rocky Mountains in winter.

Of course, the Thrill of the Chase brought many people to see the natural "treasure" all around them....

...which is one of the primary goals of Forrest Fenn's efforts to get people to search for his treasure.

I was hooked and and I began to search the internet for information about Forrest Fenn and the hunt for his treasure. Here's Forrest Fenn's Poem with all the clues you need to follow precisely and find the treasure which he placed in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe:

As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it's no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There'll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

If you've been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
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.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
And here is the Treasure Map that Forrest Fenn provided in his latest book, Too Far to Walk:

In reading Dal Neitzel's Blog, Thrill of the Chase, where the Forrest Fenn treasure hunters gather in a virtual discussion of the search, I found a posting by The Wolf, a Canadian searcher, who wrote a Three Part account of his search in New Mexico and Colorado over a two year period.  His posting was intriguing and quite a thrilling account of his own quest.  Part 3 left me hanging as he was on the verge of discovering the treasure in a marble quarry in Colorado. His entire 120 page story is called "Finding Forrest Fenn" and can be purchased for $4.95 at The Wolf's website.  It is worth every penny.  I think he solved the poem but did not find the treasure for reasons you will read about in his story.

On the other hand, perhaps The Wolf DID find the treasure.  He wrote this post on January 6, 2016 on the Dal Neitzel Blog:

The Wolf on January 6, 2016 at 9:52 am said: 
To reveal or not to reveal – that is the question.Have you ever really considered what you would do if you found the treasure? Sure many searchers including myself would want to tell the world, the ego inside wants to blurt out to the world that you were the one to solve this five year puzzle. Even Mr Fenn predicts the type of person to find it won’t be able to keep their mouth shut.However after that individual has their 15 minutes of fame is that the right decision? Even Dal has said he is not sure if he would reveal it or not.There are many other factors to consider. What if it is on private land and you signed a non-disclosure agreement with the owner prior to searching? You risk loosing the chest if you disclose. Maybe the owner of the land doesn’t want all attention and those that will flock to the area to see for themselves.One could maximize the value of the chest by making it public and promoting the find. But as Mr Fenn will attest there are negatives to being a public figure and not all of us are equipped to handle it.Maybe the finder wants to just keep it and not sell it. One thing I have observed: it is human nature to take away what others have earned. One will have to be ready to defend their find and that costs money. Court battles, surveillance and security. The chase has brought out its share of nut cases, and many have threatened Mr Fenn’s life and tried to break into his home. Can you afford that kind of protection? Can you handle threats to your life? All things to consider.Of course keeping it quiet seems unfair; do not the other searchers deserve to know the answer? Is that right to keep them in the blind, continuing to search for a treasure that is no longer out there?We all know one can’t claim they found the chest because everyone will demand proof so some say they will just send the bracelet to Mr Fenn. But that may mean he will reveal the location and that may still end up singling you out if you have not covered your tracks.I know I have gone back and forth on what I would do and I wondered if there was another way to reveal but not reveal, a compromise so to speak. One of the options I reserved was to not reveal to Mr. Fenn or anyone I found the treasure but tell everyone the solution but leave it for each searcher to decide. Surely if the correct solution was provided they would be able to figure it out – or would they? Just an adventure story which explains in detail the correct solution and lets the searchers decide for themselves – but no confirmation one way or the other of finding the chest just the correct solution. With out physical proof Mr. Fenn will not be able reveal whether it has been found either – maybe one of those who have been within 200 feet already have the chest and made it appear to Mr. Fenn in their email that they had no clue they were so close. Something to consider…