Tom’s Solution

by Tom

Yesterday I made an announcement that my brother and I have confirmed that the Forrest Fenn hidden treasure has been found. Needless to say the remarks made afterwards were nasty and condescending. I explained that I did not want to provide a complete explanation regarding our findings as we are working with a reporter on the story. After further thought I decided to share the entire story and began to post my comments starting from the beginning of the poem. My idea was to take people on the full journey. At this point I realized that my comments and access to the website had been blocked…….freedom of speech?……..not on that website…….suspicious? ……what do you think? My intention here was simply to share my knowledge and perhaps help prevent people from spending money unnecessarily continuing their search……at least raise the questions and let them decide.

Here we go. You will need a plane for this trip as this is exactly how Forrest wants you to travel. As a matter of fact “IT” in the poem is an airplane and your journey……

WARM WATERS HALT – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire New Mexico. If you research Vietnam you will discover numerous references to it being surrounded by warm water. Many of Forres’s clues have multiple meanings as does this. Warm waters are the tears shed at the memorial. Halt is a military expression. Forrest would not write a poem like this without including some link to Vietnam. Directly across from the Memorial is a small plane airstrip……most likely one Forrest has used in the past.

TAKE IT IN THE CANYON DOWN & HOME OF BROWN – From the memorial onward you are in a canyon as there are mountains on both sides. That defines a canyon. Home Of Brown is Eagle Nest Lake……stocked with Brown trout. It is too far to walk.

MEEK – Nobody seems to have gotten this one. Meek is a fossil found in northern New Mexico. If you search the Ammonite records from northern New Mexico you will find a map that clearly shows there are Meek locations East of eagle Nest but not West.

Remember now you are in a plane. This may get a little confusing but think with me. If you reference Forrest’s comments about his flight pattern and details when flying in Vietnam, follow this on a map of Vietnam and match it up to a map of New Mexico it all comes together. In Vietnam Forrest took off from an airstrip and flew north. He put in there below the Home Of The Brown Navy, the river boats in Vietnam. He flew north to the 11 o’clock position into Laos……Laos/Taos. Are you with me?

NO PADDLE & HEAVY LOADS – Let’s start off with heavy loads as the bombs his plane carried. He describes their weight in his book. OK….Taos? Remember Forrest talked in his book about Olga and spreading her ashes over the mountains on Taos. He say’s flittered and later in the book says “there are other clues sprinkled in my book”. Yes…..he sprinkled her ashes …….are you ready?…….over one of the most beautiful places I have ever been…….a huge meadow just south of Gooose Lake in Red River. When Forrest was asked where he would hide a treasure he replied in “The Place Of Peace”. Olga’s resting spot is the place…….the location of the hidden treasure.

After I was certainI had located the area I used Google Earth to figure out how I would get up there. In doing so I discovered some very interesting things. Remember I said some things had double meanings……Goose Lake is at the base of a beautiful mountain…….ironically name Gold Hill. If you google Earth the photo you will see a picture of a large tree trunk marker at the top of Gold Hill. This was my first blaze alert and I looked “quickly down” into the meadow. Back to the road up there…..I discovered there was a trail…..trail 66……named Forrest trail off route 578 in Red River. Does this name and spelling look familiar? You need a jeep or ATV to get up there. Can check it out on Youtube. As you turn off the road onto the trail you have to cross under a series of high tension power lines…….Here are your “Heavy Loads”…….power loads. As you continue you have to cross thru a small river/lake……this is the “Water High”. Goose Lake is also water high. No paddle up your creek means you are on a road. Goose Creek runs parallel with the road.

Back to the blaze…….and here’s my proof. When I zoomed in on the meadow on Google I came upon a photo taken in the meadow. I cannot post this as the photo is copyrighted. You can however find this yourselves. When looking at the photo I thought I saw something and blew the picture up. sure enough there it was…….the treasure chest under a small tree. There is even a bird sitting on top of it. The tree is clearly the blaze……stripped tree bark, white. In total amazement I proceeded to compare the markings on the chest in my blow up photo with other pictures of the chest. Bingo……I was able to positively identify it!!!!!!!!! Regarding the location…….Forrest also said he would hide the treasure in the past and present with a river stepping stone between them. Thats exactly what he did. When you walk from the parking area thru the words and down into the meadow which is well hidden you come upon the small creek filled with stepping stones. The past is the meadow, the present is now……the parking lo and the blaze is right behind that area.

I hope by now the people that made the negative comments are giving this some serious thought!

The treasure was sitting on top of a flat white rock, probably taken from the creek. Forrest was smart to position the box on an angle for rain to roll off. The box was masked by growth which Forrest hinted about when he posted pictures of his back yard and discussed whether the growth was flowers or weeds. He said “us gardeners” which leaves me to believed he planted things around the treasure to hide it better. While I’m talking about his postings let’s look at multiple references to tobacco. Yes…….one of the most well know tobaccos is called Red River. His other postings also included clues such as Remuda which is clearly a reference to what the blaze looks like. He talks about it having warm clothing. This relates to the poem……Your efforts will be worth the cold. Note that is would certainly be easier to locate the treasure in cold weather as there would be less growth covering it. The area has very soft ground, marshy and it might be easier to walk around when it is not as soft.

Back to our search…….We arrived at the site on July 26, 2014. We were looking for the wide open area with the single tree as depicted in the photo. By doing so we completely missed it as there had been quite a bit of growth around this area and it did not look like the spot in the photo. It is a very large area, the altitude was killing us, I had bronchitis and we made the mistake of not identifying other markers in the background on the Google photo. We thought this was going to be a quick find and therefore took a short rental on the jeep. We had to get it back and could not use our cellphones. We left empty handed.

When I got home I reviewed the video I took coming down into the meadow. It almost dropped dead as there, in the last few frames of the video was the blaze. My brother and I both had other trips planned and could not make it back to the location until my brother did on Saturday 9/20. To our disappointment the treasure was gone and so was the blaze. My first Hope was that it had already been found before we were there on July 26. I would certainly feel better knowing I wasn’t 50 feet in front of it.

I wouldn’t be sharing these comments and making these statements unless I was sure the treasure was not at this location and the blaze was no longer there. It appears that the person who found the treasure cut off the trunk and may have it hanging over their TV. Or, someone came along later, after the treasure was found and took it. Regardless, The only thing that remains is the flat white rock Forrest laid the treasure on.

I have given it all up. I hope that future questions presented to my brother and are in good taste and reflect a sense of intelligence that previous ones have not.

If you wish to continue your search we wish you the best of luck. We have shared what we have found and know. I will be posting my personal pictures but cannot post the Google photo for reasons previously noted. Go see for yourself and you decide.

Regards…..Tom & Jim

Bob at Sinks Canyon

by Bob

Sinks Canyon, Wyoming
“take it in the canyon down”
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“Sink” defined- 1. Go down below the surface.
2.descend, drop

Well if THE canyon down is a descriptor of the canyon where the bronze box is hidden, then certainly Sinks Canyon fits the bill. I had made a list of all the state parks in Wyoming. Using WWWH as geyser activity Wyoming is the clear choice and to take it in THE canyon down would be Sinks.
I had just returned home from my 10 day Yellowstone search on Sunday, May 12 and was back at work Monday the 13th, out of vacation time. But after researching and establishing 9 solid clues for Sinks, it was time to lie to the boss. The thrill of chasing is too powerful! Well, too there is some gold involved I think. I decide to call in sick (lie) on Friday May 31st…from Wyoming ha! You see after I left work Thursday at 5:00 pm I went straight to Orlando International Airport. Flew to Salt Lake City, and rental car to Lander, wy. It was 5:50 am when I arrived at Lander. What a wondrous sight as the sun arrived with me. The foothills of south pass were covered with blooming wildflowers!
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I took this photo from the rental car at 60 mph. I didn’t actually drive into Lander that morning, took a shortcut south of town straight to Sinks.
At Sinks, there are no gates. I drove straight to the visitor center and parked the car. Nobody is here.
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I’m ready to start searching using these nine clues.
1. WWWH- Wyoming
2. Canyon down- Sinks
3. HOB- Fort Washakie, WY formerly known as Camp Brown. Sinks is south of or below, Fort Washakie.
4. Too far to walk from Fort Washakie to Sinks.
5. There is no paddle up the Popo Agie river.
6. Heavy loads water high- the overflow area at Sinks 7. The blaze- again, I’m looking for a trail marker that says “see rapids below”
8. “I’ve done it tired, now I’m weak”
Drained.
This describes where the river disappears into a cave perfectly.
9. “brave and in the wood”
The chest is in wood, woodpile or under a wooden bridge.

From the visitor center, I found several small bridges made of wood on an interpretive trail from the sink to the rise, a 1/4 mile hike. I search every bridge and read every sign. No bronze box. At the rise there is a large pool of water, home to large brown trout. A self pay feeding station is there. I put a quarter in the slot and turn the handle to get food for the fish. Tossing it off the deck, the trout churn the water battling for the nuggets. I have seen this same scenario many times at Bennett Spring State Park in southern Missouri, where I learned to trout fish. There is a hatchery at Bennett, and if you can catch trout there after 9:00 am you can catch trout anywhere in the world.
I decide to search the rise area, below this home of another brown. Again, no bronze box.
Turning from searcher to tourist, I head back to the visitor center to check out the observation deck there. On it is a telescope and to my surprise I find many aspects of the poem….
“tarry scant, marvel gaze”
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“if you’ve been wise”
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“hear me all listen good”
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“worth the cold”
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This one says..Wyoming wildlife, worth the watching.

So, I am wise like the great horned owl and I dig right under the sign.
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I crawled up under the deck so nobody could see me…
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And dug down about 6″ and hit something! A cinder block.

I’m tired, I need a motel.

Next day I went back and looked here in the overflow area.
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And here….
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And everywhere!
I went back to Lander to find a beer. The Forge. SC14 I talked to the bartender and told her the whole story. She has no idea where to start. Except for an interpretive trail right next to the river in downtown Lander. Here is what I found.
Finally! The HOB! SC15 this trail is for Lander schoolchildren. The bat box is on a pole 15 feet in the air. I dig around the base, no box. Continuing down the trail I find wetlands, a fenn! With a frog on the sign! SC16 I searched the entire area, no bronze box. I gotta go home. So-long Lander! One of Wyomings best kept secrets!

Bob at Pathfinder Dam

by Bob

I wanted to get this out quickly before anyone changes their plans about going to Pathfinder Dam in Wyoming. Don’t be fooled by the old trickster Fenn, treasure is there…

begin it where warm waters halt.
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A golden sunrise on pathfinder reservoir.sunrise
A person who is warm, friendly is known as sweet. So we could begin it where sweet waters halt. The Sweetwater river in Wyoming halts at Pathfinder Dam in Natrona (natrona in Indian means “to hide”) County. Below the dam is Fremont Canyon named after John C. Fremont (1813-1890) an early trailblazer. There is a hydro-electric power plant in this canyon(heavy loads). Pathfinder dam is different than most dams as the discharge of water is not at the base but 50 feet above the base from a large pipe (water high). From there it is indeed no place for the meek, we were surprised by a rattlesnake one morning on a stroll along the river. Fremont canyon is rugged, some places are totally inaccessible by foot and there is definitely no paddle up this creek. We camped above the dam on the lake at Weiss campground.
tent
In view of the huge black stripe of igneous rock that pathfinder is famous for(wise, blaze). After two days of thoroughly searching above and below the dam we did not find the bronze box. There are hundreds of hiding places there. Here are the treasures we did find and you can see them too by going there or google. I highly recommend going there it’s beautiful and quiet. We were the only tent in the campground on Monday!

Look for: the black stripe of rock
The damtenders house and museum
The old quarry
The winch house and two cable towers winch
The graveyard
Fish the river!
fish

Bob at Boiling River

By Bob

Leaving Rescue Creek I am still in the canyon down. And below the home of Brown. Still searching for the trail marker that says “see rapids below.” Then it hits me, all the rivers I’ve searched so far, the Lamar the Yellowstone and the Gardiner are mostly rapids! There is no need for a trail marker to indicate rough water! Rather, I should expect to see a sign quite the opposite- “see calm waters below.” DUH! How dumb can I be? Because calm waters here would be unusual. In thinking I had correctly solved what “look quickly down” really meant, suddenly I’m faced with the fact that I could be wrong! I’m in the wrong area, wrong park, wrong state! To keep from admitting that my trip to YNP is a complete failure, I must force myself to carry on more like a regular tourist. Not a get-rich-quick treasure hunter.

Boiling River. This area has a real parking lot not just a pullout. It’s almost full, lots of cars here as there is a popular trail. A very large interpretive sign and of course I do not expect to see the phrase “see rapids below” anywhere on it. And I don’t. I start to walk the trail towards the springs where people bathe in the tepid pools and then, I stop. Just too many people here, not a good place to hide the chest. I look across the river to the flood plain area. Lots of green grass and cottonwood trees. The only way over is to wade there is no footbridge. I’m thinking roll up my pant legs, shoes and socks in hand and hope I don’t slip and fall. I’ve got a borrowed iPhone on me and if it gets wet it’s ruined. I decide to walk around. Back to the highway and cross the bridge, high and dry. It’s a good half mile walk but I find the buffalo trail and the way is easy. It’s possible Fenn crossed the river wearing a backpack. Effort worth the cold? Nobody goes over there, just us gold fever crazies. I reach my destination and start my search. Just above the flood plain, to below the mountain. Rocks and sage everywhere. Again I can see where his bronze box could lie here for thousands of years, undetected. I’m looking, looking, looking….and thinking too. I’m thinking I have always had to work for everything in life, nothing comes easy. I am paying my dues here, boots on the ground boot camp. Treasure hunt 101. I’m tired. My feet hurt. I thinking too that I know the bronze box isn’t here. But this is a part of what I must do to achieve the goal. Work.

Earlier, I was contemplating negotiating the rapids to get over here. Now, I see a family in that spot on the other side where I was. On their way to the bathing pools, they stop to look at me. One of them points in my direction. I can’t hear them but I imagine this conversation.
The mom: “what’s that man doing over there?”
The dad: “I don’t know.”
The kid: “isn’t that where the animals are supposed to be?”

I say back to them but they can’t hear me either: “hey! Your lucky day! When you get home you can tell your friends you saw a shark eating a mannequin at Yellowstone park!”

Yep, that’s me alright.
Now that’s impressive!
Sigh.

Bob at Rescue Creek

By Bob

I left Yankee Jim canyon confident I had done my best to search there. I’m feeling extreme highs and lows now daily, the anticipation of having solved the poem as it pertains to a certain area  followed by the disappointing lows of no bronze box. I am trudging forward despite being knee deep in doubt. Just two days now left until I need to be back at Salt Lake City for the plane ride home.

At the north entrance to YNP, I stop at the arch to feel the stones that have seen thousands of visitors pass through. The gate to a land set aside, oblivious to the time machine we call progress. Our mechanized, “civilized” world is thrusting humans forward…but to what end? Here at YNP, I am not unlike the first white man to see this wonderful place. I am filled with joy just to be here. My very first visit was in 1998 with my now ex-wife and our three kids then aged 7,8 and 10. There was much I wanted to do and see here but couldn’t. Somebody is always hungry, or has to stop to pee and precious time is lost. Now here alone I can do whatever I want whenever I want. The 1998 visit was just a taste. I decide to use Mammoth Hot Springs as WWWH just as many others have done. There is a home of Brown in there somewhere I’m sure. Perhaps the two concrete bears in front of the old post office. So from the north entrance I’m actually working it backwards going up the canyon to Mammoth. I’ll stop at every pullout along the way looking for my blaze- see rapids below.

The first one I come to is Rescue Creek. It has a large football sized flat area next to the river on the left as you enter the pullout. I search this entire area. At the river, on a moss covered rock is a bear paw sized mark of claws where a bear slipped while crossing. The white marks on the black rock are obvious. Once again, it is the search for Forrest Fenn’s treasure that exposes me to things that tourists who don’t venture far from the pullout ever see. I decide to test fire my bear spray. It fans out about 10 feet long by 5 feet wide. Good. Now I know how it works. I chase the cloud of pepper spray trying to get a whiff but it had dispersed too quickly. I smell nothing, yet. Back at the pullout, there is a footbridge to cross the river. Other side is an interpretive sign for the Rescue Creek trailhead which gives hikers directions. Right behind the sign is an old dead tree with two trunks joined about 8 feet tall. Tops of the trees long gone the trunks are hollow. I pull myself up to look down inside… Nothing. Inside the second trunk is a ziplock bag. Pulling myself up with one hand and reaching down with the other, I grab the bag. In it is a black plastic Tupperware bowl. What the heck is this? I look around to see if anybody saw me take it out. No. There are other cars at the pullout but nobody saw me. I tuck it under my shirt and almost run to the car. There are too many people around to open it here. I feel like a thief.

On top of the bowl taped to the lid is a piece of notebook paper. I read through the clear plastic tape- in the “woods”.  Those three words just like that….in the “woods”! Incredibly, I have found something that relates to Forrest Fenn’s treasure hunt- or so I thought. This is a part of the line from the last stanza of the poem….”if you are brave and in the wood”. But wait, the bowl in my hands has an “s” on the end of “wood”- “woods”. What gives? And also on the lid is a web address …www.geocaching.com. I drove back to the north entrance to a large mostly deserted parking lot. I open the ziplock bag and remove the bowl. Open the lid to find toys! A rubber frog, rubber eyeball, a punching balloon(deflated), a one dollar gold coin , a tuft of buffalo hair, a logbook? And a folded up piece of notebook paper. I excitedly open the paper expecting to find a special phone number or web address to contact Forrest. What the heck? There is no mention of Forrest. The logbook is blank. What is geocaching? I never heard of it as of may of 2013. Of course later in the year I would read on Dal’s blog about his geocache at west Yellowstone and see photos of searchers who have found it using gps coordinates. But here and now I am at a total loss as to what it all means. I call my search partner, Zelda, back in Florida. She fills me in on the whole geocaching thing. Immediately I ask her- “you mean to tell me that Dal is hiding things too?” I can’t believe it! He’s supposed to be looking for Fenn treasure like the rest of us! Why is he fooling around with toys?! I think I have found “title to the gold” so I post on Dal’s blog right then asking him about it. I get no response. I feel cheated! I’m reminded of the Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson where a ship carrying mannequins wrecks and sharks try to eat them. One shark says to another with a leg in its mouth…”what is this some kind of cruel joke?” This was me that day. No bronze box. A friggin plastic bag with a plastic bowl with plastic toys! Oh man.

I’m detecting the faint aroma of an ice axe wielding rodent. And he works for the big cheese. I sign the logbook and put the whole thing back where I found it. This roller coaster ride of highs and lows is a daily thing now. How much more can I take?

Oh wait, it’s a million dollars…I’m ok.

Bob at Yankee Jim Canyon

By Bob

A continuation of my 10 day search.

The jar I found at Lamar Canyon, pullout #4 is a vintage Skippy peanut butter jar. Why it didn’t dawn on me at the moment I found it, that Skippy is FF brother, I don’t know. Sitting in my rental car rested now I decide to go back and find the rock it was lying next to and dig. I believe the bronze box is buried there. Hiking back, I pass the bones, the two large boulders with the skull keeping a safe distance. At the area where I found the jar I begin looking for that rock. I have a mental snapshot of the moment I spotted the jar. This photo in my mind is what I need to see again to find the spot. Trying to retrace my steps, I find the big  fallen rotted tree. I had searched here earlier today. The rock must be close by but I just can’t find it. Now late afternoon, all the shadows are leaning the other way giving the area a completely different look. It’s like I’ve never been here before. Tired and disgusted, I leave the area again. These 6 pullouts at Lamar Canyon were my prime spots to look for the treasure. Totally defeated, I’m beginning to have doubts about ever finding it. The poem so vague, and this area alone is so huge it could be anywhere. And if it’s buried? Forget it. I’m hoping the numbers guys on the blogs will come up with some coordinates. I decide to head to Gardiner Montana. Civilization and a cold beer. Maybe I’ll think of something there.

The Iron Horse Saloon. Wow! Very cool place. Lots of stuff hanging on the walls and rafters. Antiques, collectibles, guns, stuffed animals. I especially like the old Yellowstone advertisements. I imagine Forrest seeing them when he was a kid. I ask the bartender about Yankee Jim canyon. I had read about it on Dal’s blog but never researched it. I remember a trailhead called Joe Brown. The bartender grew up here and knows the area well. He gave me directions. I told him I was here to find and photograph the old advertisements from years ago painted on the rocks leading into YNP. He says “oh yeah, they’re still there.”

It’s late afternoon but I want to scout the area tonight. Heading north out of Gardiner along the Yellowstone river, I’m passing pullouts. Some have interpretive signs some don’t. Also, im crossing cattle guards in the road.Finally I reach Joe Brown trailhead.

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Some guy on dal’s blog commented once- “could it be this easy?” I thought, no its not. Driving past Joe Brown, I come to the old steel bridge the bartender told me about. Here, I cross the river and turn back south on a gravel road that is the actual old entrance road to YNP. Of course now I’m riding in a Tallyho. It’s about 3 miles back to Yankee Jim. There are signs so it’s easy to find.the parking area is not paved just dirt very primitive, very remote not many tourists come here. There are two vehicles parked here a small pickup truck and a 4door sedan. Both of them full of stuff. Looks like homeless people. I’m guessing they are at the river fishing. Bear spray at my side I begin looking for my blaze- a trail marker that says “see rapids below.” there are rapids here all along the river. I found an interpretive trail that is wheelchair accessible. It’s paved, about 4 feet wide and easy to walk. At the end of it is a most wonderful sight. The sign says “follow these ancient pathways” ok now I’m EXCITED!

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I continue reading…”the aspen grove you see in the distance…”

Oh boy! Oh boy! This could be it! I look in the distance over the sign and there it is, the aspen grove.

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I never believed that an FF carved in a tree was the blaze but I haven’t found the chest yet so I’m going to look. I can see at the base of this sign where people have moved rocks and grass looking for the chest. I look too, near the sign are big rocks. But it’s getting late now so I head back to the car, eager for tomorrow. I’m going to search that aspen grove thoroughly. Just as I reach my car a gruff voice shouts “hey!”

I’m startled by a man next to the 4door sedan. He’s obviously one of the homeless. We look each other up and down for a moment. I’ve been homeless myself now for a week and it shows. He fixed his gaze upon my bear spray, his face showed vulnerability as he was unarmed.

Him- “bearspray!”

Me- “yep”

Him-“what are you doing here?”

Now I know he’s not an undercover park ranger but his tone and demeanor imply he owns the place.

Me- “I’m looking for the old painted advertisements on rocks along the road to YNP.”

Him- “keep goin south, you’ll see em.”

Me- “thanks. Are you fishing here?”

Him- “camping.”

He points to his tent just beyond a rise next to the road. I can only see the top of a light brown canvas tent that blends perfectly with the dead grass. Problem I had now was IT IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE ASPEN GROVE!!!

We said so long to each other cautiously eyeing each other as I left. I had a bad feeling about this guy.driving back to Gardiner I thought- how can I search there with him right there? I decide I will go early early next morning and park away from the parking lot and sneak into the grove away from his tent and search as much as I can until he wakes up and then deal with whatever happens. If he has a gun, I hope he’s a poor shot. Back at the Iron Horse, a big cheeseburger and fries with beer will help me sleep.

Next morning, still dark, I leave the Super8 in Gardiner. Driving back to Yankee Jim a hundred thoughts race through my mind. What if he is looking for the treasure too? What if I have to fight him just to look? Is he alone? Where is the other people with the pickup? What if the treasure is inside the tent on a little stand and he works for Fenn guarding it?

I’m worried but determined to search that aspen grove! I park the car next to the road about 300 feet from the parking lot. Closing the door quietly, I make my way to the grove. The aspens trunks shimmer in the earliest of morning light. I begin searching. The ground is grassy and I see evidence of recent camping and partying by locals. Looking at every tree for the FF carving. I can see his tent thought the grove but I stay well away. Just then behind me I hear a low grrrr, grrrr. Two short growls. In my concern for the human animal caused me to forget there are bears and big cats here too. I’ve got a hunting knife in one hand and bear spray in the other. Turning around I see nothing. I crouch down to listen and watch for movement. Nothing. I heard something, I’m sure of it. Maybe it’s a ground bird I’ve disturbed. I go back to searching keeping a close eye out for the human. I am looking, looking, looking, rocks trees. After 2 hours the sun is full up now. I need to search closer to the tent. I’m going to talk to the guy and tell him the real reason I’m here. Somehow I feel compelled to do this, against my better judgement. Making my way back to the car I look under a sage bush. There it is! The chest!

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A closer look reveals its only an old Prestone 1 gallon steel anti-freeze can. I remember my dad using these. Now back at the car, I hear it again grrrr, grrrr. I turned around quickly to see nothing! What is that sound? Am I losing my mind over this? To check myself I say my name and address out loud. I state the reason I’m here. Ok, I’m rational, alert. I’m ok. I’m standing next to the car looking across the river at the paved highway on the other side of the canyon and there it is. When a semi truck and trailer rolls over the cattle guard at 65 mile an hour, it makes the grrrr, grrrr sound. It echoes in the valley. Oh man! My weak hearing really makes me feel foolish sometimes! Ha ha on me!

I drive on up to the parking lot to find the pickup gone but the 4door sedan is there.good! I only have to deal with one of them. I get out with nervous excitement, make my way to the tent. There’s a stove pipe coming out the roof of the tent! This is no weekend outing, from items lying around the tent I can see he’s been here awhile.

Helloooooo! Anybody home!

From inside the tent he says “what do you want?”

Me- “I’m the guy from yesterday looking for the painted rocks.”

Him-“oh yeah! Come on in man”

Me-“you got clothes on?”

Him- “yeah”

I pulled one side of the door back expecting to see the bronze box on a little stand. Of course it wasn’t. The was a folding chair, the wood stove and him sitting on a pile of about four sleeping bags lying on the ground as makeshift bed.he had just woke up.

Me- “no bear spray today, I come in peace”

Him- “yeah I saw your shadow on the side of the tent, you’re clean. Did you find those painted rocks?”

Me- “no, but I want to tell you the real reason I’m here. My name is Bob.”

Him- “so is mine.”

Me- “have you ever heard of Forrest Fenn?”

Him- “nope.”

I explained the whole treasure hunt thing to him.

Him- “thats what they are doing! Son of a gun”

Me- “who?”

Him- ” I been seeing people around here walkin around lookin at the ground like they lost somethin! When I ask them if I can help em find it, they won’t say anything and just leave.”

Me- “ha ha! Now you know!”

We had a good laugh and the he told me his story. BLM let’s him camp for 16 days in one spot then he has to move. He goes back and forth between Yankee Jim and another area, Tom Miner. He’s a real life modern day mountain man. Survived a bear attack 10 years ago. Has a contract with the actor Wilford Brimley, to make a reality show about mountain men.

Me- I says “where’s the contract? I want to see it.”

Him- “a girl I knew in school is a lawyer in Livingston, she has it.”

I had no reason not to believe him.

I told him about the interpretive sign, and the aspen grove. And that I needed to search right here around his tent. He said ok.

Me- “where do you crap at so I don’t step in it?”

Him defiant- “I bury it,”

Me- “liar!”

We both laugh.

Him- “you don’t bury yours either do ya!”

Me- “nope.”

We laugh again, harder.

He says- ” let me take a look at this poem you’re talkin about.”

Me – “ok, I’ll go to the car and get it. Have some bacon and eggs cookin when I get back!”

Him- ” I ain’t got no bacon and eggs!”

We laugh again.

Back at the tent he reads, better than I thought, but one word at a time.

Him- “as. I. Have. Gone. Alone. In. There. And. With. My. Treasures. Bold.”

Looking up from the page at me he says- “you call this a poem?”

Me- “you can’t read worth a darn, let me do it.”

Him- “ok Shakespeare.”

After hearing the poem we discuss what it means. He’s not wanting to think  a whole lot, I can tell. He tells me why he lives out here. It’s because he’s been diagnosed as anti social and is on lithium and other drugs. They keep him from hurting people. But what helps him the most is smoking marijuana. He offers me some but I decline. I never even smoked cigarettes. I ask if he has a beer.

Him-“nope, no beer. Makes me worse.”

He continues….”ya know, I could kill you right now and nobody would ever know.”

Me- “I bet you could but not today, you gotta help me look for that treasure partner.”

Him- “partner? You mean I get half?”

Me- “yep.”

We both laugh again, he respected the fact that I wasn’t afraid of him.

But I don’t like that crazy look in his eye. I told him- ” we’re burnin daylight, put on your shoes now and come help me look.”

Him- “ok boss!”

We laugh again.

After about 30 minutes of searching he’s done. Had enough already.

He wants to go back to the tent and get high again. I’m thinking, no wait! Help me look more! But instantly I change my mind…I say- “yeah, you go smoke more weed so you won’t want to kill me!”

I know he’s going to be in the tent awhile, so I finish my search and sneak the long way around back to the parking area get in my car and leave. Watching my rear view mirror, I don’t see him. A mile away I can breathe a sigh of relief.  I’m alive, and I didn’t step in his poop.

photo5

Driving back to Gardiner, I cross the cattle guard a loud single grrrr from the tires. I’m smiling from ear to ear now realizing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I had at Yankee Jim canyon found Forrest Fenns treasure. It is mine.