Posts Tagged ‘forrest fenn’

Last Spring my favorite daughter-in-law brought our then one year-old grandson out to see us. Yes, I understand that this is a blog meant to tell just how I’m going to find the treasure chest that Forrest Fenn stashed out in the mountains a year or so ago. And I will do that. But I figure that a few words about my grandson might also be in order; I am, after-all, a new grandfather.

And a remarkable little kid he is. For example, whenever he tired of trying to convince me in English that he absolutely had to have another cookie, he resorted to ASL (American Sign Language) thinking, no doubt, that the battery must have gone dead in my hearing aid.

I will give a whole lot more detail on his numerous achievements as well as his suggestions as to how we should interpret the clues of Forrest Fenn in later postings. This one, however, is about how he influenced the discovery of the secrets hidden in THE MAP.

When we met the two of them (favorite daughter-in-law and grandson) down at the airport in Albuquerque the day they arrived, my daughter-in-law asked me how I was doing. I said, ”Fine. I’m going to be a millionaire just as soon as I decipher THE MAP on page 133 of Forrest Fenn’s memoir, The Thrill of the Chase.”

Her response, as I remember it, was something like, “Yeah. Right.” Then, slowly shaking her head, she turned away, hugged my wife and handed her our grandson.

I sat in the rear seat on the way back to Santa Fe from Albuquerque just so I could quiz my grandson on whether or not he understood anything that Sarah Palin had ever said, but as we left the garage my daughter-in-law offered him her I-Pad which he took and, even before we reached the garage pay-booth, he had the I-Pad opened and turned on, had selected what appeared to be his very own file, and was debating whether he should watch “Curious George meets Allie Oops” or something called “Bunny Hunt” which, as far as I could tell, had absolutely nothing to do with Hugh Hefner, Playboy, or the NRA.

Given that I had now been replaced by something I knew nothing about, a nap seemed appropriate. The trip home, therefore, was uneventful except from time to time my grandson would poke me, point to something on the monitor, look me in the eye and say what sounded very much like “Absáalooke pwat” whereupon I would nod, take his word for it, and go back to sleep.

On our arrival home, I asked my daughter-in-law if she wanted to see THE MAP. Her response, as I remember it, was something like, “What map?”

I once again explained that “I was about to be a millionaire just as soon as I deciphered THE MAP” and she asked me what the problem was. “It makes me dizzy,” I answered.

So we then went to my desk in the office where I shoved aside three or four loupes of various magnifications, wiped a spot of spaghetti sauce off the page opposite THE MAP and showed it to her (by which I mean THE MAP, not the spaghetti sauce.)

She took the book, opened it to page 133, held it at oh, about 15 inches in front of her nose for all of 12 seconds, handed it back to me, knelt down to grab hold of the diaper my grandson was wearing to keep him from the brownish colored apple-core that had been sitting beside my wastebasket for all of a week and said, “It’s a map of Northern New Mexico.”

Incredulous, I stood there looking at THE MAP for the seven hundred thirty-second time, squinted my eyes and, sure enough, it was.

Then, as she dashed out the office door to grab my now diaperless grandson in an unsuccessful attempt to keep him from pouring more cat food into the cat’s water bowl, she added, “And there is a Captain Kidd-like pirate “X” about an inch and a quarter above the top gold nugget.”

And, sure enough, there was.

Life is sweet.  Happy New Year one and all,


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Forrest Fenn's map in "The Thrill of the Chase."

I want you to know that I have looked at Forrest Fenn’s map on page 133 of The Thrill of the Chase for what seems like days, weeks, even months on end. Not that that is all bad, mind you. I love maps—even when they are of places I have never been or where, unfortunately, I will never go.

Maps help conjure up all kinds of great adventure stories and, in North America, the best ones to do that are the old antique maps made by those sometimes skilled, often self-taught cartographers of the early years of Manifest Destiny; of Lewis and Clark and the mapmakers that dutifully put to paper the names, words and places traveled by the mountain men, who, whether French, Spanish or Irish, had a way of describing the essence of a landscape that is lost on no one.

From Tetilla peak (Spanish) that I can see from my office window, to les Trois Tétons (French) of western Wyoming to . . . well, I don’t need to tell you about the Irish. You understand what I mean. These early travelers never lacked for realistic descriptions nor did they suffer a loss of imagination; and their vocabularies were very much those of uncommon common men.

But do I care for new, modern maps? Not so much. They all seem to be about ranches or farms sold to developers just so they could undo the ancient trails and traces—the very names of which tell of hardships and successes won only with great difficulty—and then saddle them with designations like “Lily Lane” or “Hibiscus.” Now the falls, cataracts and steep narrow canyons that were always dangerous encounters for those early travelers, are hidden by reservoirs and diversions that have destroyed the very personalities of rivers that for many hundreds of thousands of years molded the landscapes of which they are a part.

And what have I found in Forrest Fenn’s map after all this blinking and thinking?  Well, for one, it’s just about the fuzziest map I ever saw, and it makes me dizzy, and it doesn’t help matters when I use a magnifying glass. However, after a couple of months of eye-blinking and brow-mopping over THE MAP as it has come to be called in our house, an epiphany of sorts occurred right there in front of me while I was re-reading Mr. Fenn’s wonderful story about letting children touch the nose of George Washington in a very expensive painting of that very same George Washington, when one of the young ladies discovered that that George Washington was the reverse of the George Washington she had in her pocket!

I’ve no doubt that many of you have looked at that MAP for hours just like me. And it made you dizzy and you used a magnifying glass. But how many of you have scanned that MAP and then put it in Photoshop so that you could reverse and then sharpen it?

Aha! And now you want me to tell you what I discovered? Well, here it is and it won’t cost you a percentage of the take if you find the treasure because of it.

What I found was that if you scan the MAP and then reverse it in Photoshop and then sharpen it, you have an image resembling pretty much every mountain range and river in the United States west of Arkansas.

I am sorry about this. It’s not much of a Christmas present. But maybe I can make up for it in the next installment about that MAP which will be coming more or less soon (maybe). You see, it has, indeed, snowed up at Ski Santa Fe where you will be able to find me over the next few weeks.

Seasons Greetings and best wishes,


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