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The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
06-10-2013, 06:57 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
My son Jordan and I arrived in C-Springs and we rented a car and drove to the Taos area.  Our plan was to search the Enchanted Circle area of Taos.  We plan to hike, fish and of course pick up the treasure at some point do to my sure fire method of solving the poem.  I first learned about the poem from the Today show.  It took me 3 days of pretty hard work to get all 9 clues and I had some time on my hands because I needed Jordan to get the time off work.  During that time I decided to research some cool hiking and fishing areas, as well as test my spot to see if I can find any back up spots. After I finished, I had amassed a total of 10 possible areas to search, all of varying clue solutions.  This article covers my number two and three ranked spots.  I was so sure it was there I was already planning what to do with it, planning press releases, drafting a poem for Forrest, etc. Just like the three stooges writing checks just because they bought a lottery ticket! 

My search began with Where Warm Waters Halt (WWWH). I was searching for these waters in the Wheeler Peak area because a nearby mountain is called "Bull of the Woods". I found this very small pond on the other side of the mountain that was spring fed. It was called Blake's Lake (near Williams Lake) at about 13,000 feet elevation. interesting thing about this lake (other than it is named after my youngest son) is that at some point past the pond the water just disappears underground for a while and then reappears further down the canyon. Ah, what a wonderful fulfilment of the "Halt" criteria!  If you follow the canyon down 4000 meters (that fits the too far to walk criteria) it intersects Long Creek ("The Long Ride Home" from the book) in the middle of the Taos Ski Valley.  I think maybe Fenn is using his humour here to use this area by stuffing it right under everyone's nose. That would even explain why he knows the treasure is still there.  Further to the strength of such an area is that it is owned by the village and my research stated that anything found on municipal lands, you can keep.  I am thinking, that Fenn is a genius, he even thought of that aspect.  Now I had to look for the home of Brown, so a quick search in the village directory indicated that UPS (co-located with USPS) was right at that intersection between the two creeks. I think to myself, no one would ever think of that, and if you did, it would be so hard to associate. My secondary search area is now rapidly gaining strength. 

200 meters up Long Creek there is a fork in the creek which meets the "no place for the meek" for this climb is quite steep.  I figured heavy loads could be the bridges crossing the creek and the water high are the cascades of small waterfalls along this creek.  Now I just have to find the blaze.  During this search I noticed the Taos Ski Valley has a helicopter pad and the creek running below it led to Heli-pad Falls.  Forrest mentions helicopters over 10 times in his book and he used a helicopter to get to his special spot in Vietnam.  This either gives more strength to my area or perhaps the "brownout" effect produced by helicopters is the home of Brown. At this point I want to re-read the book to see if any other subtle crews come up.  I noticed that the streets in the village mostly have animal names. As I read the book, I kept track of the number of times the 35 streets came up.  Over half of them did at least once, but I noticed he talked about getting "switched" a lot and there is a street named "Switchback". I noticed "coyote", "Phoenix",  "Katchina" and "bull" were mentioned more than once. I found that these street names all occurred on the right fork side of the creek (does not work for the "end is drawing neigh" theme but a heavy coincidence none-the-less. One word that keep suspiciously coming up was "Chipmunk". I was initially disappointed until I looked at a different village map and found "Chipmunk Ln" right in the middle of all those other streets.  It was like a bread crumb trail leading me up that right fork.  The heavy loads must be all the bridges that cross the creek and the bread crumb trail ends at the "Phoenix-Switchback" road where it turns into "Bull of the Woods trail" ("in the wood").  I had that Eureka moment! He hid it under that road (perhaps a rock tunnel) and that is why he states "in the wood" because when you are in the tunnel you would be in (or under) the wood.  Also no one would think of looking there and it would be easy for a 80 year old man to stash it. The Blaze has to be in that tunnel where the creek crosses the "Bull of the Woods trail".

Now I am getting really exited. After we searched our primary area, we headed to the Taos Ski village at about 2:30; plenty of time to just walk up to that spot and pick up the treasure and still be back before dark, right!? We arrive, verify the clues and found the UPS store, etc.  I drive up to the bridge and my heart sinks when I discovered there is no bridge, just a series of culverts. I park and look inside of culvert; nothing seen so I run up the creek about 20 meters and find a small cave [Image: IMG_1910_zps67abcf1d.jpg.html?sort=9&o=100]- could this be it!? My heart races, I pull out my flashlight (aha, that is why he said to bring it) and remove the snow and I be "brave" and climb in. The cave has a small nook and a pile of dirt where he could hide/burry the treasure too - Mayday-Mayday-Mayday! Where is the blaze? The floor was covered in clear ice [Image: IMG_1912_zpsf0fdc4e7.jpg.html?sort=9&o=95]- this is the perfect spot but no blaze and no treasure.  I return to the car and I fight back tears as I put on my sunglasses, I don't want to let Jordan notice my sadness.  At this point we decided to walk from the base up the creek [Image: IMG_1969_zps6183955d.jpg.html?sort=9&o=106]and see where else it intersects "Bull of the Woods" trail.  It is definitely not a place for the meek, the altitude is 10,000 feet and a lot of snow still remains and this up hill climb requires many stops to catch our breath.  Finally we come to the creek-trail intersection and HOLY COW my heart stops, is this it? I look down at an aspen tree (the tree known as "brave") and there is the blaze a perfectly carved "F" right at the base of the stream. look all around but there is no sign of the treasure.  Please don't tell me he buried it in that stream!  I look around and find another blaze nearby - this one is an "cave man", in fact this place is a mecca for blazes.  Now I am not so confident.  We continue all the way up to the snow line; we stop at the cascades and drink deep the aura of moment.  Beautiful, calming sound of the gently rushing water - enough searching let us enjoy this for a while.

At around 6 pm, I decide to pack up and leave but I will check out Heli-pad falls for one last search. Jordan is catching a cold so he stays at the car.  It is only 400 meters but it is almost straight up, slipping and sliding up the shale rock requires many stops to plot the next path and to catch much needed breath. The waterfall is spectacular but no way is anyone in there right mind climbing up here (especially an 80 year old man) thank goodness I brought  my 406 Personal Locator Beacon just incase.  

I start to feel really depressed as I succumb to the fact this search is over, and my dream is dead; when I realize that this experience is all part of the "thrill of the chase", one must ride the emotional roller coaster to truly run this adventure.  I quickly snap out of it and realize that tomorrow is another day and the sun will rise. Thank goodness we planned a lot of other hiking and fishing… now I will focus on spending time with my son.

The next day the sun did rise and we awoke but Jordan was starting to get a really bad cold; plus I think all that hiking took a tole on his body. We picked up our fly rods and headed towards Valley of the Pines. We soon came across a pristine pool of crystal clear cold water headed by a small dam. fished for an hour or so and took some photos and headed off to Valley of the Pines to check out number 5 and 7 on our list. Of course expectations have been drastically reduced and we are now just living the adventure at this time and it is much more enjoyable with out all the extra pressure since I have stood down my public affairs personnel!

There were two locations I wanted to check out there; one was linked to the Tea with Olga story. Three colors (red, black and green) of tea translated into Horseshoe Lake as where warm waters halt. Forrest had a small story about how much iron goes into horseshoes, but I could not verify the source or temperature of water thus it was a weak connection to the clue. However, if you follow the East Fork River canyon down where it joins the Red River to the Valley of the Pines, there are a lot of Brown homes (log cabins) but nothing in particular I could liken to the home of brown. None the less, the "Red" River flows down through the village and has two tributaries flowing into it. One would be very similar to the Vietnam waterfall story with a meadow (number 7) and the other was "Black" Copper Canyon(number 5). We now have two of the three colors and I am hopeful some ground work would reveal the "green" connection. If you travel up the creek up with out a paddle you go under some power lines (heavy loads) come across a small pond (water high) that has two more creeks feeding it. I believe this pond is called Maggie's pond. This land is not part of the Carson Forrest so I am feeling there may be something here; however, it is heavily posted with private land signs. My research indicated there was an old mine further up the creek. I carefully traversed the creek until I located an historic mine. It was all locked up but around the corner there was a small cave, larger than the one I found yesterday, perhaps 40 feet long. Oh my, could this be it - the first line of the poem states "as I have gone alone in there"? Out comes that handy flashlight he keeps telling everyone to bring and I am thankful I heeded that advise. I carefully crawl in and it has a strange recognizable stench and I place my shirt over my nose and laboriously breath through it, as I shine the spot light on every square inch of the cave. I do not feel comfortable and I start to wonder again - this must be where I must be "brave" and endure the "cold". I quickly search and get out, and in a weird way I am glad I do not find the trove because I might have just left it there, as any more time in that cave could not be tolerated. I take a few photos and enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the small stream while I imagine how the old prospectors and miners would have processed the ore from the mine. I now head back as it has been an hour and Jordan is probably starting to worry. I follow the other stream back and find the powder house that was once used to store the explosives to blast the ore out of the mine. I arrive at the car and Jordan is in a trance playing games on his iphone - so much for getting out into wilderness!

Next we follow the 578 highway towards Wheeler Peak and investigate areas 8 and 9 but nothing can be found to verify any of the clues, so we head towards area one. While en route we investigate area 6 but we cannot locate the access so we just fish instead. This is the life! We pack up and head to area one and re-search some areas that I felt were under searched on our first scan. Jordan is now very tired and falls asleep so I go it alone again. This is not as much fun but the scenery is so spectacular, that feeling soon goes away. Since Jordan is ill I decide to turn in early and get an early start the next day.

The next morning Jordan is still under the weather but since the day is so inviting, I head out with the promise to be back by 10 AM - of course I bring my PLB. I arrive at area 6 and I really am just going for an enjoyable hike in this place that keeps calling to me. There are only 3 clues linking it to the poem but I just can't resist. I finally find access to the area (third time lucky) and take some really cool pictures and I return a half hour late. After a much needed sleep, Jordan is feeling refreshed and we head to the Red River Fish Hatchery to catch some Brown trout. We hike down the Pescado trail, do a little fishing and talk to some hikers. After a very enjoyable afternoon we decided to head back and search a couple of spots I feel I missed during day one at the Taos Ski Valley. On the way, I marvel at the nearly infinite number of hiding spots along this trail and realize that perhaps an area can never be searched too much. At this point, I remind myself that I am on a mission here and that I need to be cognizant of my surroundings, so I start scanning for blazes all the while thinking that this is pretty tough searching with the countless number of nooks and crannies that Forrest could have hidden this treasure.

I climb over a small hill, look up and instantly freeze. I run the gauntlet of emotions as they rapidly flash through my mind - I am dumbfounded. Could this be the blaze that no one has been able to locate? It can't be; this has been searched too thoroughly, yet this is too obvious. I am totally perplexed. This obvious looking, yet unique blaze is about 70 meters away. move closer and closer, while at the same time I attempt to figure out what exactly is this pareidolia. It appears to be a statue or a rock formation that you would see guarding the treasure in an Indiana Jones movie. I pull out my camera and take several shots from varying distances. I stop, gaze and let my imagination run wild. After a brief moment I snap out of my trance and I ask Jordan what he sees and he believes it is a Centurion statue. I run up the hill and quickly look down beneath it, around it, on top of it and pretty much everywhere I can think of, but no treasure. I climb on top of this odd looking structure and I sit and contemplate whether this is the blaze, while I enjoy watching Jordan fish. From this vantage point I again take in the beauty of this magnificent place, which helps alleviate the fact that I cannot find the trove. When Jordan finishes fishing, I point out a few places from my perch for him to search but to no avail; so we pack up and head out to search those last two spots at Taos Ski Valley. While en route, I conclude that if Forrest would have put the trove near that blaze, it could be anywhere and possibly even buried. I am really not convinced of the poem's solution that guides me to this blaze anyway because it just doesn't feel right. That solution would have me come up from the Red River/Rio Grande confluence from who knows where "where warm waters halt"; and there really isn't any water high and the heavy loads are not unique or convincing.

When I arrive at the Taos Ski Valley for my second time, I attempt to climb to the top of Bull of the Woods trail where it over looks the village from about a thousand foot vantage. In this area there are some old mines, maybe some caves and I ponder whether the scar (left by previous mining) on the side of the mountain could be the blaze. Unfortunately I picked the wrong time of year and the route is filled with half melted snow that every step results in me sinking up to my knees. Since I do not believe in torturing myself more than I necessarily have to, I decide to go to an alternate search area and I walk up the Bull of the Woods trail until it crosses the long creek. Perhaps it is under the foot bridge that crosses the creek. To me it would make sense for the trove to be "in the wood" where water is high. It takes about 15 minutes of up hill trekking to reach this destination and to no surprise - I cannot find the blaze (let alone a bridge - the stream is only a foot wide here) and I can cross this off my list of ever shrinking places to look. I then finally decide to search the gap between the fork in two creeks in the middle of the Taos Ski village. This is very steep terrain for a village. I again marvel at the cascades and take time to enjoy them thoroughly from this privileged vantage point. Satisfied that I have searched the area to the point that I am confident there is no blaze here, I can now concede this trip is now a scenery seeking vacation and off we go to visit the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. At 660 feet above the Rio Grande River, it is the tenth highest bridge in the USA. I have always dreamed of going there and we were not disappointed. What a beautiful area and we thoroughly enjoyed this location as long as we could. We finally head out and complete the Enchanted Circle route stopping at Angle Fire (what a cool name) and Eagle's Nest Lake. There is an interesting waterfall down river called "Maverick Falls" - in his book, Forrest refers to a maverick having the confidence to find the treasure. I strongly encourage anyone who visit the Taos area to complete the Enchanted Circle because of the variety of scenic mountain views and unique animals along the way.

[Image: IMG_1921_zps05a496c7.jpg.html?sort=9&o=97]

After we returned to our cabin, Jordan and I grab a beer, sit back and calmly reflect on our awesome journey, as we peer out the window overlooking the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. What a thrill this experience has been! As we prepare for bed, I pull out my camera to review our adventure and try and figure out what the heck that blaze really is that we found earlier this morning. I think it is pretty cool that no one else has made mention of it and at the same time I now fully understand how searchers can be so close to the treasure and not find it. Before I totally let this go, I think about how we got here in the first place. I concede that I prematurely abandoned my primary search area for a more imaginative location, and by doing so, I opened up a cornucopia of solutions where just about anything can match the nine clues. I conclude that way too many solutions come forth if you let your imagination go unchecked. Perhaps my initial instinct was rational but became mis-guided once I abandoned the consistency and discipline needed to form a solution. Since I have come to terms, I feel I can walk away from this adventure truly understanding Forrest's intent.
06-10-2013, 07:31 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)

So are you saying that you are not going to search anymore. So did you make it to Maverick Falls because that was the 2nd place I searched in 2011 but I failed to search above the falls at that time but I think now it was never there to begin with. Also not to be critical but you seem to use alot of man made things as clue solutions and to me I think all the clues are natural things that probably will be there hundreds of years from now or if they are not natural they have enough history to keep the clue alive, but just my thouhgt. So I think you where wise in that you did other things while you where there and I think that helps because the chest can disappoint when you don't find it and if you do other things it makes it more worthwhile like you did. After going to this same area and using Eagle Nest dam as the place that wwwh I think now to me even that is too man made to use as a starting point. So I hope you keep looking and if you are near by let me know even if it in Santa Fe because I would enjoy meeting you.
06-10-2013, 07:56 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
Hey Tim,

Very good observations and I will cover exactly what you are talking about in my next story and I will explain why I aborted area 10 Maverick Falls. I promised my wife that I will only search once unless I am going to either pick up the treasure or that New Mexico is an excellent place to vacation. We will see how that goes! LOL

The Wolf
06-10-2013, 08:14 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)

<div class="bbcode_quote_head">Quote:
<b>Quote from The Wolf on June 10, 2013, 20:56</b>

Hey Tim,

Very good observations and I will cover exactly what you are talking about in my next story and I will explain why I aborted area 10 Maverick Falls. I promised my wife that I will only search once unless I am going to either pick up the treasure or that New Mexico is an excellent place to vacation. We will see how that goes! LOL

The Wolf

Well at least you where brave and I hope I am not too critical, looking forward to the next

story and I think it is important that you discussed were you went wrong and to me is more valuable if someone tells me that than where they think it is. So I won't make the same mistakes maybe.

Maverick Falls was a bear to get to because you either had to bush wack your way up the creek or drop down into it from a pretty steep canyon. Was not far but brushy and I should have checked above the falls and around the area above but I was new to the chase and was not thinking and was stuck looking around the falls. But the area fit really well but now to

me it was a place a 79 year old would have had trouble getting in and out of.

I also did Lost Creek and that was worse.

Funny that you mentioned that you would not search until you pick up the treasure. I also swore that I would not go out till I was 200 percent sure it was there but that will be very hard to find an area like that so that is where I am at.
06-10-2013, 10:23 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
We had a blast exploring, fishing and Fenning! I have more photos that I will post later when I finish this story.
06-10-2013, 10:52 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
I just looked through your whole photo album. Thanks for posting this. I have that excited feeling deep in my belly as I sit here in my windowless office beneath the fluorescent lights. I'm tempted to hop in my rig and drive just drive till I'm on fumes, buy a jacket on the road, drive-thru meals, sleep at a rest stop til I wake up, hike, search, live! It's killing me!
06-10-2013, 11:29 PM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
Loved your story and the pictures!!!!!!
06-11-2013, 12:29 AM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)

We stayed at Red River (3 Bear Lodge) since we came from Colorado we staged up north. Sorry for the late reply, I can only post once every 5 min (which is probably why VGBOSS is not here - LOL)

The Wolf
06-11-2013, 01:28 AM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
Beyond awesome story. Thank you.
06-11-2013, 01:51 AM,
The Wolfs Adventure (parts 1-3)
Tomwhat - go for it. What you have said is how I feel too and life is about living everyday like its your last. I am a cancer survivor so it is trips like this that makes life so much fun!

Stephanie and Jen - you are welcome, I have more photos that I am saving for the last part of the story. Sorry it is so long.

Desertphile - you are most welcome. I enjoyed your story and your YouTube video as well. Too bad about the deer.

The Wolf

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