Treasure Map, Page 133

I am a lazy idealist, so if something is easy it’s ideal and therefore I think the treasure is wherever is closest to where I live. I’m in the New Mexico camp for a lot of reasons: Forrest might be lazy like me, New Mexico is where he has chosen to live and retire, and he’s slinging his book out of a store in New Mexico. Before he declared the search to include all of the Rocky Mountains, it was just mountains north of Santa Fe. He has also said he intends to “go out into the desert” to die (I’m paraphrasing that) and that seems to fit the bill here.

Most importantly, though, is the map with the picture of the coins and frog on top of it on page 133 of The Thrill of the Chase. That’s New Mexico, specifically a map of the New Mexico Territory circa 1889. I found this very same map in an antique store today, check this out:


If you line the counties up they fit perfectly. This version is the Tunnison’s version, the one in the book looks slightly less detailed and could be from 1883, the store had another one that looked much more like Forrest’s but I bought this one because it is color coded and I like that.

I’ll update here if I find anything awesome on the big map!


Adventure Time! Dry Cimarron River/Folsom

The Dry Cimarron River
is a questionable spot for me, it doesn’t look or feel terribly mountainy and it seems too far east to be part of the Rocky Mountains, although it’s a close call. The elevation is certainly high enough to satisfy that criterion and this place has pretty awesome history to it. Most importantly, Folsom Falls, a spot along this river, was the first thing that popped up in my mind when I read the poem.

There are two Cimarron Rivers in New Mexico, the wetter Canadian one and the dryer Arkansas one. Today we’re checking out the dry one. It starts at the far northwest end of the state at the confluence of the Cimarron River and the Carrizozo Creek. The original spanish name, Rio de los Cameros Cimarron, River of the Wild Sheep, and the old American explorers’ name, Red Fork of the Arkansas are relevant to the first WARM WATERS clue (warm can also mean wild and red).

So now you’ve got your warm waters AND also your halt: the river is called the dry river because it flows into the sand, underground and continues through an underground channel until it pops out again. This can also work for the clue “there will be no paddle up your creek”, because you don’t need a paddle for a dry river bed.

Here’s another possibility for “warm waters halt”,

“In 188?, two Dallas investors put together nearly $50,000, a huge sum in those days, to build a majestic hotel just east of town. They were hoping to make it into a mineral springs resort, much like Hot Springs, NM. The hotel was built on the edge of a gorge, and they planned to build a dam to create a small lake for fishing and canoeing. The building was absolutely incredible and would have been an eye catcher even in the biggest of cities. Two weeks from completion, the investors began to feud with each other and dropped the project altogether.”

There are numerous
in the area, the one that roughly leads to Folsom Falls is
Tollgate Canyon
: “Tollgate Canyon offers a little history and the strangely striking Folsom Falls (AWESOME fishing spot, fyi), a waterfall that flows over large, black lava rock.” This canyon has some awesome history to it, a bandit named
Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum
used to set up camp there with dummies with guns so he looked like he had bros backing him up and robbed people passing through. You can still see the old ruins of the stone tollgate that used to charge you seventy-five cents to avoid having to brave Raton Pass. Ketchum was a big shot outlaw and he was hanged in Union county after they caught him robbing a train in the area in 1899.

The most badass thing I’ve learned about this particular treasure hunting spot is that Folsom is the home of the Folsom man, one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the history of forever. Here’s where George McJunkin discovered some bones and spearheads/arrowheads now named Folsom points that were later discovered to prove that ancient man used to stomp around these parts circa 8000 BC. Later on they threw up a museum in Folsom dedicated to this find and who started it up? Mrs. Venita Brown: Booykasha, another clue. “Put in below the home of Brown”. Proper Noun Brown.

No place for the meek? The Dry Cimarron was notorious for indian attacks, it was the route for the Dodge Gang to get to their hangout in the Pecos, there were robberies-a-plenty! And although a dry river doesn’t sound like a scary place, there was a big flood in 1908 that did the town in: Sally Rooke, a telephone operator, bravely gave her life by refusing to leave her station and continued to call and warn residents throughout the flood.

The Tollgate Canyon saw plenty of heavy loads pass through and water high has to be either a fishing or waterfall reference, right? Check and check.


Is it in the wood? Is it cold? I can’t tell but I think it’s an awesome spot to check out. I know other folks have been here but it’s hard to narrow the whole area down to one searching spot. Hopefully this week I’ll be out there but if you can beat me to it, good luck!


Treasure Hunt Part 1: Warm Waters

get-attachment.aspx“Begin it where warm waters halt” is the first confirmed clue in the Forrest Fenn poem that will lead you to glorious treasures. This has been interpreted as hot springs or warm springs, geysers, the areas where warm water fishing waters turn into cold water fishing waters, reservoirs where water of some warm source is dammed up, confluences of a warmer and colder river, the list goes on. It’s important to remember that the poem should be able to stand on its own. Nobody knows what kind of prerequisite knowledge is required for solving this problem, it’s one of those times when maybe knowing too much about history or geography can get in the way of simple reasoning. Forrest has said that you need to be confident in your location and nothing is more important than figuring out a good starting spot. Every word in the line should make sense and fit.

Maybe “warm” doesn’t mean temperature? A quick googling of
says it can mean a few things as an adjective:

1. characterized by or having a moderate degree of heat; moderately hot
2. maintaining or imparting heat a warm coat
3. having or showing ready affection, kindliness, etc. a warm personality
4. lively, vigorous, or passionate a warm debate
5. cordial or enthusiastic; ardent warm support
6. quickly or easily aroused a warm temper
7. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) (of colours) predominantly red or yellow in tone
8. (Individual Sports & Recreations / Hunting) (of a scent, trail, etc.) recently made; strong
9. (Group Games / Games, other than specified) near to finding a hidden object or discovering or guessing facts, as in children’s games
10. Informal uncomfortable or disagreeable, esp because of the proximity of danger

Check out numbers 6,7 and 8, both interesting interpretations. Respectively:

This website says Cimmaron means “rowdy place”: “Cimarron has a history of outlaws, bandits, gratuitous violence and just plain rudeness, and that legacy has shaped Cimarron into a scrappy, scruffy little place.” There are two Cimarron Rivers in New Mexico, one stays entirely within the state, beginning at Eagle’s Nest Dam and the other, the Dry Cimarron River takes off into Kansas. The one that leaves us was
at one point
called “the Red Fork of the Arkansas because of water’s red color”. It’s also called the Dry River because it actually goes underground in some areas. The Cimarron rivers meet two of the alternate meanings of warm and one certainly fits in with the “halt” clue.

Red River is pretty self explanatory for fitting in with definition number 7 but it isn’t dammed up anywhere because it just flows into the Rio Grande and seems too touristy “let’s rent a well appointed cabin in northern New Mexico” place for Forrest.

The Chama River is the money shot according to meanings 1,6,8 and 9. Especially according to meaning numero ocho, according to this totally reputable and scholarly looking website: “”chama” is a term used to refer to a young woman.” But ALSO ALSO:: “The name “Chama” is a shortened version of the Tewa term [tsąmą’ ǫŋwįkeyi], meaning “wrestling pueblo-ruin” (That sounds pretty rowdy and wild to me!) PLUS the spanish word “chamuscar” means to burn, singe. That satisfies a lot of these possible warm water meanings. The Chama River halts at the recently made (1971) Heron Dam, (1935) El Vado Dam and (1963) Abiquiu Dam… Although none of these places actually halt there river, it ends up flowing into the Rio Grande. Damn.

Forrest seems to have a thing for hot springs. New Mexico has a lot of them, although the majority are located in the south. The big own I know if is Ojo Caliente which is just north of Santa Fe. But I’ve never felt like hot springs were the right answer. Hot springs have hot water, not warm waters, plural…

Fishing waters in New Mexico are plural but there are so many potential areas to start I wouldn’t know which one to pick! You can find a fishing map here but if you can figure out a good spot, please let me know.

If you’re thinking along the lines of dams, and I am too, here’s a good list to start investigating. I like El Vado and Eagle’s Nest best.

Good luck finding your warm waters, treasure hunters! Let me know if you find anything interesting!