Archive for August, 2013

Forrest Fenn has said that no one will ever just “stumble upon” his treasure. To find it, one must be actively looking for it. He doesn’t know my wife.

While out tending to her life list of bird sightings (while the rest of us looked for Forrest’s treasure) she made a fascinating discovery and wanted everybody to know about it. First she found Biggy-Sleuth and Mini-Sleuth sleeping by a gurgling brook in a chair we had carted along and told them.

Biggie-Sleuth and Mini-Sleuth

Biggie-Sleuth and Mini-Sleuth

Then she met Beat-Man and BKE who were seated by an ancient abandoned cabin discussing the comparative influence of Camus and Seinfeld on the modern arts—music and film in particular, and repeated her story.

A bit later, she crossed paths with Mama Girl who was wondering if any of us had been eaten by a bear and told her. Mama Girl then found me as I was happily skipping stones on a long skinny lake.

When I was told what my lovely wife had found, I said, “Where?” and as we walked along gathering stray members of Team Sleuthy-Guy, I marveled at the fabulous place that Forrest’s poetry had led us to: a short and narrow, incredibly serene and intriguing hanging valley with a stream of no name full of trout and any number of fresh elk beds (by which I mean in the valley), piles of moose marbles and great heaps of bear-poo at least as tall as Poo-Bear himself. Purple and yellow flowers bloomed everywhere. And though it was mid-summer and we were just a short eight-minute walk from the road, we were entirely alone. It was mesmerizing and all of us decided that when it was time, there were a whole lot of places where “our bones could rest forever” that were worse than the place we were in.

But, I digress.

After a stroll of about a quarter mile, we came upon a shaded meadow with a half dozen super-sized boulders (one of which held the feather remains of an osprey left there by something a whole lot bigger than an osprey). We rounded a corner and there it was:


Here, a small but important clarification needs to be said. It’s no secret that my wife loves dogs, cats, birds, and horses as well as spiders, lizards and me–sometimes in that order. She calls us all “Sweetie,” so when I saw what she had discovered I said, “Wow! This must be it!” and she said, “What?” And I said, “Forrest Fenn’s blaze!” But she had only seen the pile of stones and the small sign below that misplaced chunk of limestone that says, “SHELBY” and then, “Every man should have one good dog in his life. I’ve had mine.”

How she completely missed the graffiti on the 6’x6’x6’ block of rock that reads, “Men Landed on the Moon July 20 1969” is strange since I had taught her everything I know about both rocks and the clues of Forrest Fenn—and she missed it (I suspect tears in her eyes).

But, I digress.

Unsentimental fellow that I am, while everybody else lamented Shelby and his poor owner, I began to study the graffiti. It reminded me of a couple of things—one of which was the fact that several astronauts had also been pilots in Vietnam and they may well have known Forrest Fenn. Another was that this was the perfect Forrest Fenn blaze! What more could a pilot aspire to than blazing a trail to the moon? Surely Forrest would be proud enough of the path blazed by his colleagues to note it on a rock! I took photographs and that evening I checked that writing against the handwriting found on pages 122 and 123 of his Memoir and this is what I found:




What is more, if you look “quickly down” from that BLAZE, you see . . . Shelby . . .

However, being vegans and vegetarians who wave blood-filled mosquitoes off their arms and legs rather than smack ‘em, there is no way that Team Sleuthy-Guy would ever let me dig up a dog for a mere one or two million dollars. Besides, I know who put the graffiti up there and it wasn’t Forrest Fenn.

Doesn’t mean he couldn’t have used it as a blaze though; and there is nothing better than a ghost, real or imagined, to protect a buried treasure.

Tarry not,

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Now you want a Cookie?

For the last post, I gave you what seemed to me to be the “bone” that some of you (Michael et al.) had asked for. And now I am being asked for a cookie? You know, don’t you, that these “gimmees” have to stop somewhere. But, here goes; you wanted a cookie, you get a cookie.

We begin again with a photograph because of this fact: more photographs have been taken from the day Forrest Fenn hid his treasure till now than were taken in all the 150 years or so before he hid his treasure. Facebook uploads about 200 million photographs a day which makes about eight billion photographs a month and not one of them is mine. Even though most of those photographs are closeups of smiling crosseyed teenagers with their tongues out, that same technology should help you find your own cookie.

For example, here is the photograph I showed you last time, taken by me (click on the photo to get a larger image):

My wife and I had gone up north on a recon/intel mission because New Mexico was burning and old folks can’t stand the smoke. We found this blaze and then found that Forrest Fenn knew the area very well. We saw that there was a fenn at the bottom of the cliff right next to the forrest that is also at the bottom of the cliff and so I took a lot of pictures—it’s what people do nowadays.

Here is another one, this time from the other side:


And here is a better one that demands to be counted as a “cookie” since I have labeled a couple of its more important parts:

img 8105

Something that makes this cookie at least a gingersnap is that I talked to the fisherman down there in the right-hand corner. It was June and I had seen a couple of pretty good rainbows just to the left of that big tree and when I told him about it, he said that a bit earlier in the Spring, you could see hundreds of them in that spot because that is where they spawned. I asked if “browns” (See page 132, TTOTC) also spawned there and he said, “Yeah, they did” (See page 124, TTOTC). Then I asked him if he had ever been on the other side of the river and he said “Yeah,” he had crossed it earlier and I asked, “How was it?” and he said—wait for it—“It’s no place for the meek!”(See page 132, TTOTC).

I can hear the mistrust in your thoughts already but my wife could help me prove all of this except she had gone off downstream following an osprey to see where it was taking the fish it had just plucked out of the shallows (See page 121, TTOTC). Even so, we have now upgraded things to at least an “Oreo” level.

As we parted, I asked the fisherman if he had caught some big ones and he said, “Yeah” but the “best part of the whole trip was when he saw a moose come out of the forest “with her calf” (See page 125, TTOTC). Now, for sure, we have not just an “Oreo,” but an “Oreo with milk.”

But there is more.

When we got back home, I studied all those photographs I took—especially this one:


You will notice the two trees that come together as a “V” are the same two trees that come together as a “V” about half way up the right 1/3 of the previous photo.

With all due respect for Connie, you will also notice that that “V” is directly (“quickly”) down from the very prominent and almost permanent white “blaze” on the rock face that, being a poor grade of marble, sloughs off golf ball size agate-like rocks (See page 45 TTOTC). And, you will notice that there are not one, but two, more conventional blazes on the left-hand tree, one of which is fairly old and one of which is fairly new.

blaze x 2 mad

If you look at these two trees a bit more closely, you can tell that neither of the blazes was made by a falling rock because they are on the down side of the slope and that they were not made by a tree fall because the tree that fell, fell outside the “V”.

And, if you look at the point where the two arms of the “V” come together, tucked away in that “wooded” small cavity, you can see what looks like a metal pipe or even a portion of the end of a metal box.

blaze x 2

That, my friends, is one of my wife’s homemade chocolate-chip cookies if I ever tasted one—and I have.


p.s. for James.

There are lots of guys running around all over the West. Some are on rocks and some are on trees and some are on motorcycles. Here are three:


The one in the middle looks more like the one on the right than the one on the left. And the one in the middle will change completely by the hour, by the month, by the angle from which it is viewed, and by the cloud cover. The theory is an interesting one but, I believe, of little consequence and it certainly is not needed.

I found the guy on the right while meandering the La Majada half of the plateau just west of Santa Fe. He is small—about six inches tall and hard to find. I showed him to the volunteer who keeps care of the volunteers who keep care of NM petro-glyphs and now there is a trail straight to him. My interpretation is that it is of a Spaniard running off in his underwear and boots and commemorates the Pueblo Revolt when the Spanish were expelled from this part of the world. They left the way they came, via the Camino Real. The Camino Real is about fifty feet from this glyph.

Those old guys had a sense of humor.


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