Archive for July, 2013

Do any of you out there who were born after 1985 know what somebody like me does when they have writer’s block? No, it is not “clean the keyboard” or “text your spouse” or “hack the Pentagon.” It’s things like “walk the dog,” “play with the cat,” “search for a sharp pencil,” “sharpen all the pencils you may have found,” “raid the fridge,” “get some coffee,” “reread all the false starts,” and then give up and “take a nap.”

I just finished a “take a nap” stage but not because my muse has taken up residence elsewhere. It’s because I have bluffed all the bluff I can muster and now I have to write something that will give up too much ground and get too close to the secrets I have spent the last two years trying to hide. It is a costly thing, this thing I’m about to do and the rest of Team Sleuthy-Guy will be on my case ten minutes after I hit “Publish.” It won’t be pretty. Nevertheless, here it (the bone) is:

Have any of you ever seen a more blazey blaze than this? “More blazey than what?” I hear you say.

“That white spot up there,” I respond. It has been there for years and will be there for many years more; and you have to look “quickly down” because there isn’t much more of an “up” up there and, besides, if you look down from there for very long you get vertigo. And it is big; about sixty feet by sixty feet and some 300 feet a.r.l. which is something only Forrest Fenn will know—the acronym, I mean. ;>) It is also canyon down and too far to walk from warm water and it is below a “canyon down, home of Brown.” Not only that, it is a place that Forrest Fenn knows very well.

How do I know this, you ask. Well, if you really want to know and are paying attention, just across the river from the “FENN” that is at the bottom of that steep “FORRESTed” slope, is one of those fishing camps that serve really great breakfasts but won’t let you in if you are wearing waders and several years ago one of its patrons couldn’t get the phone to work.

Now, it is my belief, based on an hour or two of super-sleuthing, that there is an excellent chance that, just maybe, that patron could have been none other than Forrest Fenn if, of course, it wasn’t someone else.

You see, the mysterious patron was trying to place a call to Australia concerning a buy he wanted to make of something that had just been found and because the operator kept giving him Shelby, Montana instead of Shelby, Australia, the largest gold nugget ever discovered anywhere now sits in some dinky casino in Las Vegas called the “Golden Nugget” instead of in a brass box along with a bracelet of turquoise and silver that you are supposed to be looking for instead of reading stuff like this.

Of course, there are lots of collectors of gold, I know; but I dare say that only one of them likes really great breakfasts at fishing camps with bad phone service and who is also collector enough to want the very biggest of whatever he happens to be collecting at any given time—in this case “gold.” Besides, under the blaring lights of the Collected Works Book Store and the intense stare and unique line of questioning by Sleuthy-Guy, Forrest Fenn admitted that that very camp used to be a great place to find arrowheads.

Come back in a couple of weeks, more or less. I’ll need some time to make up a sequel.

Best regards,

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“He Said What?”

It is over a year now that I’ve been investigating the very spot where Forrest Fenn hid his treasure. For months, Google Earth has been my nightly fare; all words in the POEM have been finely parsed and exegesesed; I know which words are his and which he quoted and from whence they commeth.

I analyzed the uploaded photographs on Google Maps of anybody who ever had a camera within a hundred miles of the place; I found the nearest post office, the library, the police station, the barbershop and the conservation non-profit; I know who their members are and what their mission is and I am now an e-mail friend of Chris, the only person there who evidently knows how to run the computer; I know where in the nearest town to get vegetarian pizza.

I looked for anybody named “Fenn” or “Simpson” or “Smith” who ever lived in the county and found them all; I know who owns what piece of real estate over five acres in size within a hundred yards of both banks of the river; I personally am somewhat officially acquainted with the town’s ailing, 90 year old unofficial historian and I have the local phone book nearly memorized. Believe it or not, I know Forrest Fenn’s travel schedule for four years ago.

Sleuthy-Guy III says its not in this "Wood."

Sleuthy-Guy III says its not in this “Wood.”

I have located all points of legal river access anywhere close to “the spot;” I know the stream classification according to USGS, USFS, USBLM and Trout Unlimited. I know its average temperature and flow rate at any given time between April 30 and November 1; I know the kinds of fish caught, their most sizable size and their spawning habits; I know the trespass rules and when the moose do their “thing.” I have my bear spray ingeniously hooked to an air-horn so they go off together and, following Forrest Fenn’s advice, I convinced a friend to come along even though he knows that with my new hiking boots I can surely outrun him.

I have been eating lots of raw garlic because only that can guarantee the mosquitoes will go elsewhere. My air mattress is once again patched. And, although I have yet to learn how to run it, the GPS has new batteries and I have bought a really loud whistle.

The POEM? Piece of cake:

1. “In there.” Check
2. “Warm waters halt,” “Canyon down,” etc. Check
3. “Home of Brown.” Check
4. “No place,” “no paddle,” “heavy loads” and
“water high.” Check
5. “Found the blaze, etc.” Check
6. “Why I must go and leave the damned thing.” Check
7. “Tired and weak etc.” Check
8. “Worth the cold.” Check
9. “In the wood.” Check

Extra clues? Got ‘em.
10. “Three hundred miles west of Toledo.” Check
11. “Not in Nevada.” Check
12. “Not in a cemetery.” Check
15. “No need to dig up outhouses.” Check
16. “Over 5000 feet elevation.” Check
17. “In the mountains more than 8.25 miles
N of Santa Fe so stay out of his neighbors
yard.” Check

Extra, extra clues? Yep.
18. Colophon. Check
19. Fenn’s Rainbow. Check

Other pertinent stuff?
20. Say “no” to guy in Santa Fe Plaza trying to
sell his interpretation of the clues for $3.50. Check

My team is ready. Sleuthy-Guy III has his little-bitty bottles, super big magnifying glass and teeny-tiny net to collect bugs and, unlike his father, he can identify poison ivy. We are making reservations in various motels and campsites and it is time to jump.

Then Forrest Fenn gives his latest clue. I call my team to give them the word: “Its not in Idaho or Utah.”

Forrest Fenn – 3
Team Sleuthy-Guy – 0

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