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Everything But The Blaze -- Madison (Nine Mile Hole)

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  • Everything But The Blaze -- Madison (Nine Mile Hole)

    (Repost of an earlier thread, which I deleted. I broke this down into sections to preserve all the images.)

    I first heard about Forrest Fenn's treasure in January, 2021. By then, the treasure had already been found, the finder identified, and Forrest Fenn had passed away. Talk about being late to the party! What interested me most, however, was Forrest's poem and how it pointed to the treasure location, which remained a mystery.

    If the actual solution is ever revealed, my guess is that 90% of it will be old news for those in the search community. By that, I mean comprised of ideas that were proposed widely, but dismissed incorrectly. You'll be "underwhelmed" is what Jack said, I believe. Here then, is my best solution, which includes everything but the blaze.

    Begin it where warm waters halt (Begin where the Firehole and Gibbon rivers end)

    Waters in nature are almost always cold. This includes rain, creeks, rivers, lakes, and oceans. The only warm waters in nature are those fed by hydrothermal features such as hot springs and geysers.

    The greatest concentration of hydrothermal features in the Rocky Mountains are in Yellowstone National Park. In fact, there is no greater concentration of such features anywhere in the world!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	ThermalSprings.png Views:	9 Size:	1.60 MB ID:	281618

    Within Yellowstone, hundreds of hot springs and geysers concentrated in the Upper, Midway, and Lower Geyser Basins drain into the Firehole River. Hundreds more in the Norris Geyser Basin drain into the Gibbon River. These two rivers are extraordinary warm waters.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	YellowstoneThermalAreas.jpg Views:	11 Size:	127.7 KB ID:	281616

    Warm waters halt where the Firehole and Gibbon rivers end. The water doesn't stop moving, or abruptly drop in temperature. The two rivers simply end where they merge together to create the Madison River. The area is commonly called Madison Junction.

    And take it in the canyon down, (And proceed down Madison Canyon,)

    From Madison Junction, we can travel east, toward Gibbon Canyon, or south, toward Firehole Canyon. It's several miles before Gibbon Canyon truly takes shape, and this is an upstream direction. Firehole Canyon takes shape much sooner, but this is also an upstream direction. Neither is ideal if we're supposed to take the canyon down.

    The other option is to travel west, through Madison Canyon. This is not only the closest canyon, but also the most prominent. From the vantage point at Madison Junction, the grandeur of Madison Canyon is immediately appreciable. Most importantly, this is the only option that provides a downstream direction of travel.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	MadisonCanyon2.png Views:	9 Size:	1.26 MB ID:	281617

    continued on next post
    Last edited by Vertigo; 05-01-2021, 01:05 PM. Reason: Formatting

  • #2
    Not far, but too far to walk. (Driving will be most practical.)
    .
    Too far to walk is a relative distance. For a young, healthy person, it might be anything greater than 10 miles. For an older person with bad knees, it might be anything over half a mile. There is no significance to these numbers; they're simply examples.
    .
    Fortunately, we don't need an absolute distance at this time. The author of the poem says it's too far to walk, so we trust him, and choose a faster mode of transportation. There's a paved road through Madison Canyon, so driving makes sense.
    .
    How far we drive will be determined by the subsequent clues. However, I don't anticipate having to exit the park. If Yellowstone is the special place where our quest begins, it very likely plays out there in its entirety. This places some potential bounds on the final spot.
    .
    Click image for larger version  Name:	BoundariesLabeled2.png Views:	10 Size:	993.4 KB ID:	281628
    .
    Put in below the home of Brown. (Wade into the Madison River below an epic fishing hole.)
    .
    Imagine if "Brown" was not capitalized. In that case, "Put in below the home of brown" could mean, "Put in below the brown colored home." Clearly, Forrest did not want to steer us that way. Brown was capitalized to preclude that interpretation.
    .
    Brown must be the name of something in nature. It could pertain to geology, hydrology, flora, or fauna. Between Madison Junction and the West Entrance to Yellowstone, there aren't any obvious features named Brown for each of the first three categories.
    .
    However, the area is renowned as the habitat for an aptly named animal species: brown trout. The species is known simply as "brown" in the vernacular of bona-fide anglers. Forrest was an avid angler, to put it mildly, so it's natural for him to use this casual parlance.
    .
    The home of Brown must be a storied fishing hole somewhere on this stretch of the Madison River. If we can locate it precisely with the help of subsequent clues, we'll know where to put in, or wade into, the Madison River.
    ​.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Brown.jpg Views:	10 Size:	161.6 KB ID:	281626
    .
    From there it's no place for the meek, (The rest of the journey is not for the timid,)
    .
    Wading into the Madison River is not for the meek, as the water can be fairly high. In fact, would a 79 or 80 year old man even wade in there? Isn't it dangerous?
    .
    Well, danger is a subjective thing. For someone who's never done it before, certainly. For an outdoorsman and angler, like the one below, not really.
    .
    Click image for larger version  Name:	PutIn.jpg Views:	10 Size:	120.9 KB ID:	281627
    .
    continued on next post
    Last edited by Vertigo; 05-01-2021, 12:49 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      The end is ever drawing nigh; (The Madison approaches constantly on your left)
      .
      We're closing in on the end of the chase. After putting in, the water of the Madison River approaches constantly, on our left side. This limits the location of the final spot greatly, since this can only happen if we've put in before reaching Seven Mile Bridge.
      .
      After the bridge, the road runs along the south bank of the river. If we put in from the south bank, the river draws near on our right. Before the bridge, the road runs along the north bank of the river. If we put in from the north bank, the river draws nigh (on our left).
      .
      Click image for larger version  Name:	SevenMileBridge2.png Views:	3 Size:	1.13 MB ID:	281632
      .
      There'll be no paddle up your creek, (You'll have to fully cross the Madison River,)
      .
      After putting in, we can go upstream, downstream, or across to the other bank of the river. Upstream and downstream don't make sense. If we needed to go in one of those directions, it would have been easier to put in at a different location. Across is the wisest option.
      .
      Just heavy loads and water high. (Where large boulders sit in the water upstream.)
      .
      Stream loads are solids that are transported downstream by flowing water. They range from tiny particles suspended in the water, to sand, gravel, or cobble that rolls along the river bed. Heavy loads are rocks or boulders that sit on the river bed.
      .
      Between Madison Junction and Seven Mile Bridge, the most substantial boulders are found clustered together near a fishing hole called Nine Mile Hole. They sit directly on the river bed, partly submerged and partly protruding out of the water high.
      .
      Click image for larger version  Name:	HeavyLoads2.jpg Views:	3 Size:	303.2 KB ID:	281630
      .
      Nine Mile Hole (around where the boulders are clustered) is the Home of Brown, below which we wade into and cross the Madison River. But which boulders, exactly? Does below mean immediately below the boulders, or some distance below them?
      .
      I'm not sure, so it's wise to cross the river immediately downstream of the boulders. If we find the next clue on the opposite bank, we'll know that we crossed at the precise location. If we don't find it, we can walk down the bank one small section at a time until we do.​
      .
      Click image for larger version  Name:	Father.png Views:	3 Size:	401.6 KB ID:	281631
      .
      If you've been wise and found the blaze, (If you crossed at the correct spot and found the blaze,)
      .
      A blaze is anything that stands out visually from its surroundings. The south bank of the Madison River at Nine Mile Hole is covered in lodgepole pines, some more mature than others. Those that are living reach up toward the sky, while the dead lay fallen on the ground beneath. It's the cycle of life; the old make way for the new. But, I digress.
      .
      What stands out visually in this environment? It's difficult for me to say, having never been there. I suspect if we put in to the Madison River at a precise location below Nine Mile Hole, then we can walk straight across to the blaze.
      .
      Look quickly down, your quest to cease, (Look down from the blaze to spot the treasure,)
      .
      continued on next post
      Last edited by Vertigo; 05-01-2021, 01:01 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        No subterfuge. Just cross the Madison River at precisely the correct location.
        .
        You had it all along.
        .
        Click image for larger version  Name:	Doodle.jpg Views:	6 Size:	77.0 KB ID:	281634
        Last edited by Vertigo; 05-01-2021, 01:00 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Excellent summary! I think a few of us had some variation of this solve.

          Here's my BOTG photos taken while looking for the fishing hole on May 26, 2017. These are all taken from a pull out just above nine mile hole (44.648375,-110.9378889). It did not seem suitable to cross the Madison River at this particular pull out.

          Looking upstream
          Click image for larger version

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ID:	281655

          Looking downstream
          Click image for larger version  Name:	image_25027.jpg Views:	15 Size:	291.9 KB ID:	281643

          Looking directly across
          Click image for larger version

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          Selfie with my blaze (the unusually tall pine tree)
          Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_20170526_123746.jpg Views:	0 Size:	343.1 KB ID:	281656
          Last edited by thehomeofBrown.com; 05-01-2021, 12:52 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            This solve has high probability at this point. Thanks for posting. There is still some opportunity for refinement.
            These are some of the critical things to think about:

            Crossing the river - not something a child could do, and probably difficult for Forrest at 80 years old. Probably very difficult for Jack in early June, but maybe there is the right place to do it.

            Isolation - unless we go back into the forest, we aren't isolated at all. However, Forrest decided that "isolated" was probably not the right word - he changed it to "its a place people would not normally go. So the river is going to prevent most from going there and very few (mostly fishermen) would ever be on the south bank, and fewer still would ever wander into the forest. So perhaps it fits.

            Blaze - not sure what it could be in that area, other than a tree. I've never liked that for a blaze, but I guess maybe.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by thehomeofBrown.com View Post
              Excellent summary! I think a few of us had some variation of this solve.

              Here's my BOTG photos taken while looking for the fishing hole on May 26, 2017. These are all taken from a pull out just above nine mile hole (44.648375,-110.9378889). It did not seem suitable to cross the Madison River at this particular pull out.

              Looking upstream
              Click image for larger version  Name:	image_25028.jpg Views:	25 Size:	230.6 KB ID:	281655

              Looking downstream
              Click image for larger version Name:	image_25027.jpg Views:	15 Size:	291.9 KB ID:	281643

              Looking directly across
              Click image for larger version  Name:	image_25035.jpg Views:	29 Size:	344.7 KB ID:	281657

              Selfie with my blaze (the unusually tall pine tree)
              Click image for larger version Name:	IMG_20170526_123746.jpg Views:	0 Size:	343.1 KB ID:	281656
              Amazing photos, thanks! I think you and others had close variations of this solve, and probably very early on. However, most chose not to cross at this location.

              I know you hiked the south side of the river via Seven Mile Bridge. Did you spend much time searching the south bank in this particular spot?
              Last edited by Vertigo; 05-01-2021, 01:39 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Must Listengood There are places the Madison can be crossed relatively safety even in June. I saw people cross in late May more than once. I never crossed the Madison River directly, but instead went down to seven mile bridge and hiked the south side a couple miles back to the far end of the river bottoms just below Nine Mile Hole. This was a difficult hike and would not have been a suitable path for Forrest to hide the treasure. Although this does raise the issue of Forrest's statement about there only being one way in. Forrest also said he took the most direct route. Straight across the river is pretty straightforward if you know where to cross safety. Kinda like Indiana Jones stepping out in the canyon and there was an invisible bridge to support him.

                Comment


                • #9
                  thehomeofBrown.com Thanks for those pics.

                  I put in your coords. Is this where you were?

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	1 Rudy spot.JPG Views:	0 Size:	703.0 KB ID:	281675

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I said this before but apparently my post got deleted. Jack said that it would have been safe enough to take an 8-year old child with him on the day that he found the treasure. Is there any place along that stretch of the Madison River where it would have been safe enough for an 8-year old child to cross on June 5, 2020?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thehomeofBrown.com View Post
                      Must Listengood There are places the Madison can be crossed relatively safety even in June. I saw people cross in late May more than once. I never crossed the Madison River directly, but instead went down to seven mile bridge and hiked the south side a couple miles back to the far end of the river bottoms just below Nine Mile Hole. This was a difficult hike and would not have been a suitable path for Forrest to hide the treasure. Although this does raise the issue of Forrest's statement about there only being one way in. Forrest also said he took the most direct route. Straight across the river is pretty straightforward if you know where to cross safety. Kinda like Indiana Jones stepping out in the canyon and there was an invisible bridge to support him.
                      Good info - I have questions:
                      1. Do you have a picture of the alleged Fenn Rock that appears to be directly across from your blaze tree (See my GE photo)?
                      2. Did you ever make it on the south bank all the way to the blaze tree?
                      3. How difficult would it be to hike back into the forest - it looks pretty tough with fallen trees and underbrush?
                      4. Do you have any video of the area?
                      5. Where is the best spot to cross the river closest to your picture location?

                      Across from the Fenn Rock seems to be an excellent place for the treasure. I'm not sure if that is really the Fenn rock right where you were, but if it was, it seems you may have been at the right place.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vertigo View Post
                        Did you spend much time searching the south bank in this particular spot?
                        In this first solve I had deemed the entire south side of the Madison River "below the home of Brown" so I went to the various pull outs near Forrest's fishing hole looking for something that "stood out" as a blaze. I justified using the tall pine tree as it was close to Forrest's fishing hole. I photographed my blaze from the nearest pull out and attempted to hike in the next morning from seven mile bridge after judging the water too deep to cross. I made it as far as the area on the downstream edge of Nine Mile Hole. I never hiked quite as far upstream as these photos from the pull out, but I got pretty close.

                        By this point I had judged the area as incorrect because of the terrible difficulty in reaching the spot. It also seemed pretty exposed to me because of the volume of Yellowstone traffic on that road. But it does easily explain the 500'/200' searchers. Only the bold crossed the river. There are no shortcuts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Redneck Girl View Post
                          I said this before but apparently my post got deleted. Jack said that it would have been safe enough to take an 8-year old child with him on the day that he found the treasure. Is there any place along that stretch of the Madison River where it would have been safe enough for an 8-year old child to cross on June 5, 2020?
                          I didn't know Jack said that. Great question.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Must Listengood View Post

                            I didn't know Jack said that. Great question.
                            Me: Would it have been safe to take an 8-year old child with you to the treasure location on the day that you found the treasure?
                            Jack: Yes

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Redneck Girl View Post
                              Is there any place along that stretch of the Madison River where it would have been safe enough for an 8-year old child to cross on June 5, 2020?
                              Yes. Local fishing guides can direct you to where there is underwater footbridges across the Madison River. I've never used one, but there are searchers who have found them.

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