Well, when I first created this website it was for fantasy football articles. The last thing I thought I'd be writing about was a treasure hunt. I didn't even know they still existed. I guess this would go under the & More part of my website title haha! Apparently this treasure hunt has been going on for eight years. Anyway, I just heard about it last week on the news. Up until then I had no knowledge that this event was even going on. After hearing about it though, It sounded really cool and for the hell of it I decided to take a look at the poem just to see if I could solve the riddle. It was addicting. Anyway, I think I solved in two days. I tried posting my theory on Dal Neitzel's Thrill of the Chase website blog under The Nine Clues, but for some reason it still hasn't been posted so I'm posting it here, on my website. My site is very basic. I'm not the most tech savvy guy on the planet, but at least my theory is out there- online for everyone to see and on the record. Take a look and decide for yourselves.
Okay, with that said, let’s go through some background info and some clues outside of the poem. Forrest said it was a place near and dear to his heart- which was a huge clue for me. It eliminated random places & the key to the riddle was knowing that- at least for me. More research indicated that he used to love going fishing with his dad as a kid. When his dad had cancer he took him one last time to go fishing. I could relate as I had one final trip with my dad taking him to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It was an emotional and defining moment in my life. That story struck a chord with me. Anyway, because of Forrest's love of fishing I strongly suspected it was near a creek, river, or a lake to start with. Forrest and his dad spent a lot of time in Yellowstone, but also some time in Montana on the Madison River. So I focused on those two locations when trying to decipher the clues. I looked for geographic spots near those places that matched with the poem. Forrest gave clues both inside and outside the poem. He said he wanted people to visit Big Sky Country. Montana’s state nicknames are Big Sky Country and the Treasure State- so I believed the treasure was in Montana and zeroed in on geographic locations there. With that background info and now that you know what I was thinking- here’s my take on the cryptic poem.
As I have gone alone in there I'm not sure let's skip for now
And with my treasures bold, I'm not sure let's skip for now
I can keep my secret where, I'm not sure let's skip for now
And hint of riches new and old. I'm not sure let's skip for now
Begin it where Warm Waters Halt- Cold Spring Creek Montana
And take it to the Canyon Down - Hmnn.....there's a Bear Trap Canyon down river on the Madison River near Ennis Lake Montana or a Bear Trap Canyon Rd & a Bear Trap Canyon National Trail. That's odd- let's investigate this further.
Not Far, but too far to Walk- Sounds like I need a car or boat- too far to walk it
Put in Below the Home of Brown- Madison River is known for Brown Trout fish and they live below the water
From There No place for the Meek- McAllister, Montana
The End is Ever Drawing Nigh- The end of the search is drawing near
There’ll be no Paddle Up Your Creek - Barn Creek Rd is at the lower part of the Madison River. I don't need a paddle to use it.
Just Heavy Loads and Water High- Heavy loads of electric current= power plant/power lines Water high means the lower Madison River (from what I read) & has high water
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze- One of the definitions of blaze is marker. People were looking for one outside, but I think he meant the marker on the map, (the marker on the website with the symbol ( i ) . I'll talk about this clue later.
Look Quickly Down, your Quest to Cease- Look down once you get to the marker at the site
But tarry Scant with Marvel Gaze- A little tar on it perhaps & a spectacular site of riches in the chest
So why is it that I must go So why is it that I must go away? He possibly meant die.
]And leave my trove for all to seek And leave my treasure trove (it’s hidden above ground, not buried) for everyone to find
The answers I already know The answers I already know.
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak I’m very tired and now I’m weak.
Just take the chest & go in peace - Just take the chest quietly- don't scream like an idiot saying I found it. Be subtle and inconspicuous
So here me all and listen good So all of you listen and listen carefully
Your effort will be worth the cold- It's worth the cold temperatures
If you are brave and in the wood- If you're brave and in the woods... near a tree maybe?
I give you title to gold (good) I'll give you title to the gold for good
So all of this tells me it's at the Madison River, near Lake Ennis Montana. Okay so let's take another look at the top of the poem to see if that reveals anything else. This is what was going through my head anyway. I've got to really read this & put the pieces together.
As I have gone alone in there- I've gone there by myself
And with my treasures bold, I've gone there boldly with my treasure
I can keep my secret where, I can keep my secret to my favorite fly fishing spot on the Madison River and also to where my treasure chest is hidden
And hint of riches new and old.- I believe old riches were the times Forrest spent with his dad fishing and new riches is the treasure he hid there in this contest.
What's the theme here? He treasured his time fishing with his dad on the Madison River as a kid. Life is an adventure, go outside and do stuff. It's a place near and dear to his heart. And now I learned it's something he can do by himself. So I googled the Madison River and learned it's known for fly fishing. Do It Yourself is similar to As I have gone alone in there the first verse in the poem. So combine that with fly fishing & zoning in on that in my google search led me to the website below.
However, something about this website seemed off. Something about it just wasn't right. It seemed fishy (pun intended). I was listening to my inner Thomas Magnum detective instincts and my little voice/spidey sense was ringing loud saying, ”Mark I smell a rat.” The author of the website is Ken Sperry. His bio says he has 40+ years of fishing experience, yet he looks like he’s only 40 years old. Ken also rhymes with Fenn and Sperry is a store selling boat shoes. So I think that Ken Sperry is really a pen name for Forrest Fenn the sportsman or the fisherman. And I also believe this website is related to the treasure hunt.
As I looked at the website closer I saw a map of the Madison River and decided to look at it. It’s filled with various symbols indicating different spots and points of interest. When I zoomed in to look at the lower part of the Madison River near Lake Ennis this is when I stumbled upon the clue of a lifetime in my opinion. It was a point of interest on the map labeled with the symbol ( i ). And when I hovered over it, it said FF Treasure.
I thought to myself Oh my god! I think I just found the map to Forrest Fenn’s treasure! I triple checked it to see if I was hallucinating, but it was there every time I went back. I knew what no one else in the world knew outside of Forrest Fenn! Going back to the poem I believe this is what Forrest meant when he said If you’ve been wise and found the blaze. I think the blaze is the marker on the map. I also realized this was bear country- black bears and grizzlies. Naturally I had an Indiana Jones type reaction, "Bears, why'd it have to be bears?" As if that wasn't bad enough there were also mountain lions, wolves, moose, etc. all of which would be more than happy to ruin my day. Okay back to the website- unfortunately I missed, or at least didn't study the next part, as close as I should have until it was too late. Below the map of the Madison River is a link to an app. If you copy and paste it, it shows a youtube video explaining the various benefits of downloading the app such as being able to get directions to various places to fish and points of interests on the map.
I believe this was really a way to get pinpoint directions to the treasure chest. I also believe there was a homing device or GPS inside the treasure chest similar to the scene in the movie No Country for Old Men which had a homing device inside the suitcase filled with money. I believe that’s how the winners beat me on Tuesday April 24th 2018. They had the app with the GPS directions leading them right to the treasure chest and I didn’t. I only had the map- so I was using landmarks like the blue house and the island on google maps. I wasn’t sure if I could cross the Madison River or if I had to hike up the West side of it and that’s what cost me the treasure in my opinion. Once the chest was found I believe there were instructions to turn the GPS tracking device off. Why do I think that? Because I found the app later on Tuesday night and I tried using it the next day on Wednesday April 25, 2018 just to see if it worked. It didn’t work and the FF Treasure point of interest symbol was gone on the app! It's still there on the map on the website, but when one tries using the app the symbol is gone! I think the reason for this is because it was disabled by the team who found the treasure.
So to sum it up. I believe Forrest Fenn’s treasure was hidden near Ennis Lake near the Madison River in Montana. I’m not sure if the town is McAllister, Montana or Ennis, Montana, but it was hidden where the map on the website indicates. I believe it was on top of a small flat gray platform, underneath and lying next to a tree, with a little barbwire fencing to the side of it- perhaps to keep animals away from it. I saw that during my search, but I thought I was too late at the point. I also believe it was found on Tuesday April 24th, 2018 around noon by a team of 3 people in a light blue sedan who beat me to it by minutes. I was in a gray Toyota Camry. I think they stayed in the same hotel as me. Here's why- on my way to dinner on Monday April 23rd 2018 I overheard three people in the hallway talking. They seemed really happy. I wasn't trying to eavesdrop, but fate is a mysterious thing sometimes. One of them said, "I can't believe you put it all together. I had most of it, but couldn't figure it out." I thought to myself, "Oh no they found the map. They have the treasure. It's over." I was really down and frustrated at dinner, but decided to go search the next day anyway. I didn't come all the way to Montana from the Midwest just for a hamburger. On Tuesday I thought I saw them again, we passed each other twice that day- I believe it was the same folks in the hallway, it was hard to see, but that's who it looked like. Once when I was walking on Ennis Lake Rd they drove by me (and when that happened I realized they didn't have the treasure chest yet. Now it was an all out sprint!), the other time was when I was driving on Barn Creek Rd and they were leaving, that's when I thought they had the treasure chest and it was over. Why? Because they had left too soon. You don''t drive 1.5 hours to a place to search and then leave after only 40 minutes unless you've got the treasure chest.
So you're probably wondering well if they found it why hasn't there been an announcement yet? I believe that there hasn't been an announcement yet because the winners are talking to Forrest Fenn as well as their attorneys right now. They also had to drive back home from Montana. I doubt they took a plane or a train back with the treasure. That process takes time. If it was me I'd do the same thing, I would have driven back home, waited until I put the treasure in a safe deposit box, and then sought legal advice as well as advice from Forrest. No doubt the government will try and stake their claim to this fortune since it was on public land, which could result in a lawsuit. I also wouldn't rush and yell out, "Hey look everyone I won the treasure hunt! I've got $2 million worth of rare gold, jewels etc. in my car trunk!" I'd keep a low profile and that's what they're doing right now in my opinion.
So, what was the main theme in the poem? What was the big picture? What was Forrest Fenn was really trying to say? I believe the big picture, main theme of what Forrest was trying to say is that life is an adventure. Go outside and do stuff. He treasured the time when he went fishing with his dad on the Madison River as a kid just like I treasured the time I played catch with my dad as kid. I also believe he was saying that not all treasures are in a treasure chest. Some of the best ones are spending time with loved ones. I’d give anything to have one more catch with my dad, just like I’m sure he’d love to have one more fishing trip with his dad, but unfortunately both of them are gone now. He even mentioned that money isn't everything, but it makes life a lot easier of which I agree 100%. Anyway that’s my theory, I was so steadfast in my belief that I put up my own money and flew out to Montana on Monday April 25th, 2018 to see if I was right. Unfortunately, one team beat me to the spot. One team out of 350,000 people! That's a tough pill to swallow. I finished 2nd despite being a middle aged guy in his 40's who had never hiked, backpacked or even been to the mountains before, much less I did it all by myself. So, not exactly a poor showing for one of the biggest longshots in this contest. The odds in Vegas on a guy like me would have been astronomical! Unfortunately, second in a contest like this pays the same as last- and that absolutely sucks! Just like Butler University in the national championship game a few years ago vs Duke I was a Gordon Hayward mid range jumper and a half court heave away, both shots which missed by mere inches from shocking the world! The guy no one gave a chance to win, with no treasure hunting experience to speak of, almost won it all! Well almost won most of it. Wherever you are dad- I miss you and I love you! This one was for you! Only time will tell if I’m right or if it’s yet, just another flawed theory in the biggest treasure hunt of all-time.