The Great American Lonesome

Skull Bridge

Skull Bridge

The other day a visitor stopped by my page and left a comment concerning the location of the treasure.  He was pretty detailed in his descriptions and quite honestly, it sounded perfect.  Of course, that’s coming from me,  the worlds worst puzzle solver ever.

I was a bit concerned really, because it was so detailed, and most people when talking of their thoughts and ideas don’t usually give out exact locations.  It’s one thing to talk of general area’s and possibilities but to give Longitude and Latitude of exactly where you believe the treasure is hidden, well, it’s a bit unusual.  Most of the Fenn Treasure Seekers that I’ve had contact with are kind with their ideas, but highly protective of their particular spots, as they should be.

So I emailed him, thinking maybe he didn’t realize that I get a lot of people stopping by this page looking for clues  to where the treasure is and that by leaving those comments someone is likely to get out there before he has a chance to find it himself.   I’m very generous like that, and also I never want it to be said that I found the treasure by mooching someone else’s spot…

He emailed me back and gave his unwavering consent to leave the comments as they were and also for me to go look myself.  He had his reasons and I won’t go into those here as they are his reasons though I might touch on them in a later post.

Anyway, it came about that I had some time this weekend, Saturday to be specific; so with permission from the wife, I hopped in the truck and drove the 3 hours up to Forest Road 151, just past Abiquiu, NM and Ghost Ranch.

I’ve been up this road a few times in my life, in fact one of the first times my wife and I drove to Durango for a weekend was by this route, as you can see from these very steamy pictures of her and I in 2007.

Irma and I - Ghost Ranch - 2007

Irma and I – Ghost Ranch – 2007

I know, we’re like one of those hot couples from a Mexican Soap Opera…

Irma and I Ghost Ranch - 2007

Irma and I Ghost Ranch – 2007

Okay, enough of my excuses to put random pictures of me kissing and groping my wife in here…where was I?

Oh, yeah, driving up there.  Forest Road 151 is just past Ghost Ranch on the left hand side.    The particular spot specified was about 10 miles or so.  I guess.  I didn’t really pay much attention.  The road itself would be a bit spooky for folks not used to driving down mountain roads, as it winds up down and around deep drop-offs.  During winter, such as now, there is snow and ice cradled in the shadows.  Caution is always advised and especially here.  The Grey Ford that sped around me like his butt was on fire is proof enough to be wary of not just the road, but the other idiots on it.



Arriving at the parking area you can see the river rushing below. This is pretty well maintained area and is right on the route for the Continental Divide Trail, which winds all the way from Mexico up to Canada. It’s on my bucket list of things to do when I have the time, money and spirit to do so and I highly recommend reading some the trail journals, written by hikers who hike it.  (The Appalachian Trail is also on my list..)

Continental Divide Trail

Continental Divide Trail

The previous mentioned commenter, Bill, suggested that the treasure would be on the Island just here. The google map of the location does not do justice to the sheer size of the tear drop shaped island.

Chama River

Chama River Island from the Bridge

Another River Shot

Looking the other direction

I hiked around  a bit, looking for the best place to cross.  Not as easy as you might think, given that there was iced edges, freezing water and an out of shape smoker involved.

A few pictures of the area for your enjoyment.

These tracks didn't lead to the treasure....

These tracks didn’t lead to the treasure….

Another River Shot

Another River Shot

And another

And another

And Another...

And Another…

Ice on the edge of the River

Ice on the edge of the River

More Ice

More Ice

And still more...

And still more…

And yet again, ice

And yet again, ice

My tracks in the snow

My tracks in the snow

Looking across the river to the island

Looking across the river to the island

A short video of me singing “Islands in the Stream”. (With all due respect to Kenny Rogers)

DSCN0515I considered for a long time whether or not this was a good idea.  In my youth, I have many a story of surviving things I shouldn’t have survived and many things done that I shouldn’t have.  Husband, father and son am I all. Some of these relations may not appreciate me dying in a freezing river.  I sat on a rock and considered this while throwing down some Big Red, chewing on some trail mix and huffin’ on a cigarette.

When I got up I half convinced myself that I’m too mature to be doing dangerous things, and while retracing my steps the way I had come I picked up a couple of good-sized walking sticks, punched my maturity in its large, red nose, said a little prayer to God for my own stupidity and stepped out on to a wet boulder.  Not sure how long it took me to get across.  I paid careful attention. (My maturity was hurt, but not dead)

There have been plenty of times I’ve limped out of the wilderness wondering how I made it off the cliff edge, away from that angry herd of buffalo or jumped into a snakes den and didn’t die.  This may have been just a river, with minimal possibility of death and destruction, but if nothing else my experiences have taught me that carelessness and stupidity do not always go hand in hand. Point being, I took my time and didn’t just dive right in.   Anywhoo, I made it to the other side.

From the other island

From the island

Standing on the island looking toward the bridge

Standing on the island looking toward the bridge

No reason

No reason

The first thing I did was do a perimeter check. I walked around the island admiring the view. Then I began a criss cross pattern, keeping a look-out for any type of something that might be considered a blaze. I mostly paid attention to the rocks.  If there is gonna be a way to find this treasure in a thousand years, it won’t be carved into a tree. Though I did glance at the trees I passed by because you never know.   The only sign of anything I found was a rusted coke can and an old fire pit.

The only evidence of a "Blaze" I found on the island.

The only evidence of a “Blaze” I found on the island.

Here’s a video of nothing but walking the width of the Island, just for the purpose of showing how wide it is.

More of the river

More of the river

That's pretty

That’s pretty

Standing Tall on the Island

Standing Tall on the Island with my river crossing sticks

I didn’t find the treasure and to be honest with you, I had no expectation of finding it. I’m sure, for Bill, this is the ideal spot, I just don’t see Forest Fenn putting his treasure here and or going here to die.  I was glad to get away and back into my element again.  I grew up in the backwoods of Texas and being out in the lonesome is treasure enough. Which I reckon, is Mister Fenns plan anyway, that, and as someone eluded to me recently in a not so subtle way, to stick it to the Feds by getting every warm body that has the heart out searching for lost treasure and driving the Federales nuts.  That said,  don’t use metal detectors on Federal Property unless you’re sure what the law says.

I may write later about the idea of some that Mister Fenn didn’t actually hid anything.  I will state here, I believe that there is a box, filled with treasure somewhere out in the American Lonesome. I’ve never met Mister Fenn but I like to think that people have integrity in what they say and do.  That may be naive on my part. I try to do that so I expect others to also.

Just as I expect someone who shares his life in writing and work the way Mister Fenn has and not discounting the fact that he is a Texan, to know what honor is.  Just between me and you, if I had the money and resources Forest Fenn has earned,  I might do the same exact thing. Hide a treasure then tell the world to get off their asses.

I don’t know that I believe any one will ever find it on purpose.  This country is too high and too wide with too many places just out of sight.  I may be wrong, but I think back to the kind of directions I used to get sometimes while living in rural Texas.

“You’ll find what you’re looking for, a jump and hop yonder way, just past the yella dog, then take a right where Ole Man Jones used sell his honey. From there it’s a snakes track to the Wheelwrights barn and if you aint found it after that, just come on back and we’ll have a glass of  sweet tea and think it over a bit.”

Mister Fenn knows where the treasure is and if you follow that Poem you’ll find it too, but if you don’t know who Ole Man Jones is, or how far a jump and hop is or if the yella dog died, you’re gonna be out a while.

I’d suggest, like I plan on doing, have a glass of sweet tea, think it over a bit more and whatever your plan, whether you know exactly where it is, or are just out looking, enjoy the scenery.

Forest Road 151

Forest Road 151

Well.. hellooo there handsome.

Well.. hellooo there handsome.

Hawk Looking for a Meal

Hawk Looking for a Meal

DSCN0549 DSCN0558 DSCN0561

Sunset driving south toward Santa Fe - Pretty

Sunset driving south toward Santa Fe – Pretty

Categories: forrest fenn, hiking, love, Treasure hunting | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “The Great American Lonesome

  1. Totally awesome post! I’d say you found the treasure with Irma in 07′ If she was with you it’s no wonder the Ice has melted as you could walk to Island in January. Your pictures are wonderful. I continue to tear into the book, finding many weird things that make no sense….

  2. Tom

    I love the Article and love the location, i think it’s a great place to look for it, you know many people say New Mexico has been over run looking for it but I couldn’t DISAGREE more, case in point I went hunting this past year and ran into a hunter that had been hunting the area for over 20 years, the area we were hunting was a good size but not big by any stretch of imagination, we were hunting a water hole that we had found scouting earlier that month, it was in a secluded wooded corner off a trail, but maybe 300 yards off a forest road, and he never knew it was there,he finally ran into it by accident and was shocked it was there. Now were looking for a box maybe 20×20 in size in a massive search area, considering Northern New Mexico alone is huge, my hunch is that Mr. Fenn is so smart and tricky that he either hid it right under our noses in literally the mountains North of Santa Fe or it’s so far away that it will be a very very long time before someone finds it!

    • oaktreesandmariachi

      I agree Tom. The amount of open space out there is mind boggling if you think about it. Some places you could walk within inches of the treasure and never see it. You may have all the points of the poem right on, but step left instead of right or look at just the right time of day when the light is caught in the trees and miss it.

      But it wouldn’t be a “Thrill” if it was easy.

  3. Tom

    That’s funny you say that because I wrote Mr.Fenn an email about that very subject, if it was easy it wouldn’t be a thrill. Ive been searching two different areas the past year and not sure I have scratched the surface yet in those areas yet, but you know what the funny thing is I actually found a home of brown where warm waters halt lol! I think its a indirect home of brown depending on how you look at it, the home is actually brown and I also found some old newspaper adds from the 1920’s stuck on the walls and some of them were about an artist named brown, so when I saw this i thought I might be onto something, the poem matches pretty well, but there are some things i havn’t figured out yet, theres an island down from it also havn’t searched that yet! needless to say I will be back when weather get’s better.

  4. For Tom….hate to say this but a 20″ x 20″ x (10″ 1/2 the width) just an inch of gold in the bottom would weigh well over a 300 pounds. Fenn’s a hell of a man but even he would have trouble toting that. Even the photo’s pictured in the book are more than the 42 pounds claimed if you do the math based on volume which says they are staged photo’s for effect. Go to the bank, get 265 half dollars and look at the volume…..

  5. Today they played a clip about Forrest Fenn on the Today show. Seemed like there was nothing new and the video clips were just rehashed old stuff seen before. No new interviews or live coverage that I could tell. What I found odd was when a reporter asked if he hopes someone finds the treasure, in classic Fenn form he says he’s “ambivialent” which is you basic non-answer. Saying “yes” or “no” would imply there is a real treasure to be found. So we can look for it to our hearts content and he can claim that he does not care if it’s found or not…..

    Fenn’s epitaph….

    I wish I could have lived to do
    The things I was attributed to

    Could hiding a box full of treasure be one of these things? I really wonder…..

    • oaktreesandmariachi

      I can appreciate Skepticism and even a good conspiracy theory here and there but as I’ve said before, I would like to think I would do the same thing as Forrest. Even now, I hide “treasure” for my sons to find when they’re older. Forrest has stated he made a couple of trips to carry the treasure. Put the box down then carry in the gold.

      I think there’s treasure out there. I think it’s in a rather easy to get to location. Finding it is a different story though.

      Then again, I still think The Lost Adams Gold is somewhere east of Reserve NM. 🙂

      • Tom

        Lol I did mean 20 by 20 inches didnt think needed to expound that one…but don’t you guys just love this story I think atleast it makes uss dream bout greater things we can accomplish in life, for me I just love the outdoors so this is just a natural for me its my medicine.

      • The Lost Adams Diggings is here….

        32 deg 56 min 07.43 sec N 108 deg 59 min 25.91 sec W

        Been there, done that too… actually several times.

        You can see the Zig Zag trail pretty good on Google Earth and even the “bears head” if you know what your looking at. It’s called “Apache Box” It’s a fantastic place…. only one thing missing. Ok there’s trace amounts but no chicken eggs nuggets…

        Nice Indian cave in the cliffs though……

        Clue…. J Frank Dobie got the location from a guy from Morehouse Parish, Mer Rouge, LA.

  6. oaktreesandmariachi

    Tom, I agree. The story itself and and the idea of it is as much an inspiration to get out and look as the actual gold.

  7. Brian

    Like most, I just caught up with the story yesterday from the national attention it has recieved. Certainly no wizard with words or poetry and I’m really bad with puzzles, but just a few thoughts…

    I realize I may be off my rocker, and it’s been said that the clues should be followed in order, but the line: Put in below the home of Brown.

    Has anyone checked the area south of Brown Mountain in CO? I’m not sure how the rest of the clues would line up with this area, as I am not familiar with it. Google maps show roads that lead relatively close to it and it looks like there are some creeks in/around this area, as well as canyons. It also looks to be a 5 1/2hr drive from Santa Fe.

    • Tom

      Hey Brian not sure bout that location I’ve read most of the blogs and no one has mentioned it yet that I know of,so its as good a suggestion as any! My home of brown I found is in NM in a remote river canyon,and there has been other home of browns that people have searched elsewhere,my thinking is brown is a common name so there will be multiple plots and interpretations bout it so good luck!

  8. Nice comments (and thanks for the video clip too). Even if FF had video taped a close shot of where he hid his treasure (as was done with cowboytreasure) to remove doubt from the skeptics, there still would remain the hesitant cynics the earth is highly populated with. Better for us more skeptics than hunters. Remember, the treasure is there where it was put until it is not and that’s it, simple…and then, there is no guarentee the rest of the world will ever know if it has been found/removed/taken, when and if it happens.

    • oaktreesandmariachi

      That’s a good point Domino. I like to think that whoever finds it will give the bracelet back to Fenn or at least let him know it was found, but you’re right, the person who finds it might just go silently into the night.

  9. Nobody more than me would like to see the treasure found. I just think that Forrest is jerking everybody’s chain. After all, we’re here for the pleasure of others and he’s lovin it.

  10. Tom

    I just want to reemphasize to all who think this is a great story, (and it is) anyone who is not familiar with the Rocky Mountains is in for a big shock how big and vast and rugged they are, he hid it in a place that will be very difficult to find, (as Quoted) but not impossible which means to me next to impossible, I think it behooves us to have fun with this don’t get to frustrated, and enjoy the outdoors, people who are confident and think they know where it is might be in for a BIG dissappointed, because them darn woods are HUGE lol! so just enjoy the family time getting out there and be careful!

    • oaktreesandmariachi

      Good words Tom. I’d add, that there have been a lot of people, certain beyond a doubt that they had the right spot, only to go there and come back empty handed. Don’t spend your life savings looking for it. Just your vacation money. 🙂

      • exconsinite

        A good point, should we tell Stephanie?

  11. Caroline

    I told one of my sons about FF’s treasure. I thought since he loves the great outdoors and fishes every chance he gets, that he might want to go to New Mexico for a change. He lives in Minnesota, land of a thousand lakes, and is currently building a canoe. His reply to me was, “Mom!, Don’t go on some wild goose chase based on the ramblings of some sick old man!” I laughed so hard, I cried! Like he could stop me.

  12. Goofy_Old_Guy

    I enjoyed reading your posts. I came across your blog awhile back researching Forrest’s treasure. It seems like I know you from reading your posts……I too am a Texan, I just happen to be stuck in California right now.

    From your pictures it looks like you may have married the second most beautiful woman on the planet…….I got the most beautiful; no brag, just fact. You would probably disagree but we’ll just leave that as a disagreement between two Texans. No use in wasting perfectly good bullets arguing about women.

    Our kids are all grown, married, happy, successful; and busy making grand babies. All three of them and their families live in Texas…….Their momma didn’t raise no fools. Too bad she couldn’t beat a little of that good sense into me……Oh well; three out of four ain’t bad.

    My wife sent me the links about Forrest’s treasure. She said, “You’re pretty good at figuring things out and you and this guy have a lot in common; see if you can figure out what this goofy old Texan is talking about”…..Wait, I just realized writing this down, she called me a goofy old Texan…..I’ll forget that, I’ve got a treasure to find.

    I’ve wandered all over the western United States and love being out in the wild photographing the wilderness, but I have a little different view on looking for the treasure than most. I’m looking for the treasure not sightseeing, I’m not saying I don’t love the job, but it is a job…..I don’t want to be like the 1st grade center fielder gazing around totally oblivious to the ball rolling by.

    Forest said, ““It doesn’t matter who you are, it only matters who they think you are”; so he is no doubt a slick talking good ol boy promoter; but like you, I believe the treasure is real. It really does boil down to what you called a Texan thing. I’m not sure it’s worth as much as some say, but I do believe it’s probably worth a look.

    After much research, gnashing of teeth, and many wild ideas deciphering the poem, I think I finally figured it out. Forest is a sly old dog and people will kick themselves when they find out where he hid the treasure. Forrest said, “The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental.”

    What a hoot Forest is……..he is telling the absolute truth. Once I figured out where to start there was no philosophical leaps of faith or guessing; every line in the poem makes perfect since and tells you exactly where to go. I’m putting the money together now for a trip out there. I should have enough in a few weeks. I would love to take you and your wife out for supper. Since I’ll be a rich old guy, I’ll charter a flight for the wife so she can join us; hopefully she won’t hijack the plane and head to Texas to see the grand babies.

    See you soon, maybe.

    • oaktreesandmariachi

      Well, it sounds like you got the right idea. Let me know when you find it, and I’ll take you up on that dinner. Preferably a nice steak house since you’ll be able to afford it. 😉

      Best of luck and be careful out there.

    • John Couvillion

      Hey Goofy Old Guy: Did you find it??

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