One last post before I depart. I couldn’t help myself.
Much has been written, and spoken, about the image of the map ghosted onto page 133 of TTOTC. It is rather enticing, and many, including me, have spent hours with magnifying glass and eye loupe over it hoping it would be rife with hints, or clues, and perhaps an “X” that marks the proverbial spot.
One of the easier-to-read articles on the subject is found in Richard Saunier’s blog, “Mountain Walk,” entitled, “Forrest Fenn as Cartographer.” Saunier is not what I would call a prolific blogger, but when he writes, I read. His entries are interesting, informative, entertaining, thought-provoking, and witty.
(As I write this, I am reminded that one of the characters in Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” is Jacques Saunière, one in the long royal blood line of Christ…in the movie.)
Like everyone else, I took more than a passing interest in the map.
Although hardly legible, the “N” shape in the road leading from South to North is easily recognized. If you open a current map of New Mexico you’ll see that the route in the center of the TTOTC Map tracks along current Interstate Route 25 from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, segues Southeast through Glorieta Pass, then North again through Las Vegas and towards Raton and the New Mexico/Colorado border. If you have made the trip from Albuquerque to Denver as often as I have, you curse the damned switchback every time you take it. (There is another, shorter by 40 miles, more Western route North to Denver via US 285, but it’s slower, since most of it is two-lane road rather than interstate. It is, though, far more scenic.)
The route dates back at least to the Spanish explorers, and likely before them, to the Ancient Pueblo Tribes since Glorieta Pass is the Southernmost (in New Mexico) West-East traverse of the lower Rocky Mountains.
Knowing a little about graphics, publication design, the Google machine and maps, I quickly found a copy of the map onlne. You can see it here. Right click on the image and you can download it to your desktop.
I printed it out, and played with it for awhile to see if there was anything helpful in it. It defines the Rocky Mountains very clearly and shows many of the geographic features uncluttered and unencumbered with contemporary map imagery. It puts a whole new perspective on the phrase “in the mountains North of Santa Fe.” And, as far as I can tell, the only “X” North of Santa Fe is at the end of “Colfax,” and I think it’s outside the search area anyway.
I pinned the map (magnetically) to my search mission whiteboard.
It reminds me that this search is about simplicity rather than complexity, and imagination rather than thought.
And, that could have been the end of the story.
Until today, when I went to visit with a friend and client at the Flying Star Cafe at the corner of 8th and Gold in downtown Albuquerque. There, inside the front door was the same antique map, enlarged, used as a foundation for the restaurant’s promoting its “local” resources.
I’m sure you can understand my concern when I realized one of their red-flagged pushpins not only answered the question “Where’s the beef?” but pointed DIRECTLY at one of my search solutions.
Where’s the beef?
Pooping somewhere near the infamous Fenn chest.
It gives new meaning to the phrase “buried treasure.”