In the ChaseChat forum, one of the members (SidnCharley) proposed the following hypothetical scenario:
“Let’s assume for a minute that you grew up in a remote corner of the globe never having heard of Forrest Fenn or his secreted treasure. Then, just before he passes, your grandfather hands you a worn out, folded up piece of paper and says, ‘I hope you have as much fun as I did. Now go get the gold!’
After carefully unfolding the yellow paper made brittle by time, your eyes begin soaking up the 24 rhythmic lines which end with this promise “I give you title to the gold.” Just beneath the final line, scrawled in your grandfather’s shaky script, you see the phrase “All you need is the poem.”
Of course this situation is completely hypothetical, but imagine if it were real and there was no possible way to get more information or know anything else about the chase. This means you don’t know it’s north of Santa Fe; you don’t know it’s in the Rocky Mountains; you don’t know it’s above 5,000 ft or below 10,200; you don’t know it’s not in Idaho or Utah (or Canada) and you don’t know it’s not associated with any structure. Also, there are no books (TTOTC, TFTW) to read, no blogs to stalk, no other way to get more information than contained in those 24 simple lines.
Would you ever be able to find the treasure’s precise location? And, just out of curiosity, does this thought exercise help you look at the poem in a different way?
You can find the entire thread (of multiple pages) here. (And, I recommend, that, if you are not already, become a contributing member in good standing of ChaseChat.)
Here are my thoughts on the matter, as posted on ChaseChat.
As suggested in the well-composed SydnCharley missive above, and, moreover by some of the things Fenn has said, I’m a Treasure Poem Purist – I believe all one needs is Fenn’s poem to locate the hidden treasure chest.
I do not deny that there may be hints in the book. But, what if I couldn’t afford the book? (On the other hand, without the book our character wouldn’t even know to begin in the mountains North of Santa Fe.)
I also do not deny that Fenn has given out “clues” on various occasions. But, Fenn, at the October 22, 2013 event at Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe, New Mexico said, “I haven’t given a clue (that) I think was going to help anybody substantially.” Before that, he wrote on Dal Netietzel’s Blog, “I will never give a useful clue in any of my emails or other communications, TV or otherwise, nor will I hint away anyone who might be getting close to the treasure. My silence will never be a hint.”
And, before that, he responded to an email from a group of San Diego searchers with, “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. Good luck in the search.”
That leaves the character above with the entire Earth to wander in search of the treasure. Grampa dint give him no hints worth a damn.
He/she only has two things to rely upon to help him/her:
1. the “instructions” their grandfather’s handed them, and
2. their collected knowledge of their grandfather, and his odd behavior.
To me, that means:
1. While the clues are in the poem, and the hints are in the book, the key is in the man. Know your grandfather and you know the treasure.
2. WWWH is not only the first clue, it is, by an order of magnitude, the most important clue.
3. There is an implication that the location, on a map or by reference, of WWWH is glaringly obvious. (Your grandfather knowing that without it being glaringly obvious, you’d have to wander the Earth for the rest of your days.)
4. According to Fenn, a small number of searchers have pinpointed the first (and second) clue, and then they walked right past the treasure chest.
Thus, it was glaringly obvious to them what the man meant when he said, “Begin it where the warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down…”
The question I’d like to ask one or more of them that located the first clue: “How much of what was in the book, other than the poem, did you use to help you determine where the warm waters halted?”
Apparently, we should be looking at the Forrest, and not the trees.