When Forrest Fenn is feeling really, really good—to where his playfulness outruns his restraint, he will give additional clues about the location of his hidden treasure. Over the past year or so, I have become privy to some of these extra bits of information because that’s what we “sleuthy guys” do. I’ll give you five of them—by which I mean clues, not sleuthy guys.
1. “It’s not in Nevada.” This is a response Forrest gave to a woman when she requested that he come out to Nevada to collect the treasure for her because she couldn’t manage it alone. It’s a reasonable answer to a somewhat sneaky request but it’s my belief that this is more than a well timed put down. It’s a real clue and, who knows, he might continue to name places where the treasure isn’t hidden and eventually things will get narrowed down to something manageable. For a long time my guess for the next area cut out of the running was “Virginia.”
2. “It’s hidden over 300 miles west of Toledo.” Not long after the “It’s not in Nevada” thing, Forrest tossed this one out. As the crow flies, this clue puts the dividing line between where his treasure is and is not almost exactly in the middle of the Mississippi River. That’s good because not only is Virginia now not in play, it eliminates another dozen or so of those states I didn’t much want to go to anyway—not that there is anything wrong with them. It’s just that I would rather go north and west as opposed to north and east and Ohio obviously doesn’t match up to those places that have elevation changes of say…more than a hundred and five feet . . . and rivers that don’t catch fire.
3. “Take a sandwich.” When I first heard this clue I said to myself, “This is really going to be easy. You get up in the morning, have breakfast, go out looking, find the treasure, eat your sandwich and you are back by dinner.” Not the case. “Sir Conan” Dal (lummifilm.wordpress.com) almost always takes a sandwich and he is still out there looking. Nevertheless, this one remains a good clue because of what it doesn’t say. For example, it doesn’t say, “Take a tent, a bedroll, a change of socks and food for eight days.” It’s a sandwich—just a sandwich although you might want to consider taking pepper-spray along if your sandwich resembles a freshly made Egg-McMuffin™ and you are taking it into bear country. Bears love Egg-McMuffins™ as well as Southern Baptists and Young Republicans.
4. “Take a flashlight.” I don’t have much to say about this one because, for me, any time a flashlight is involved things get scary. It’s because I had a couple of aunts not much older than me who loved to scare the crap out of little kids and they did it with flashlights in dark cellars. In any case, this “clue” could give new meaning to the very first line in Forrest Fenn’s poem: “As I have gone alone in there…” Does that mean a cave? A tunnel? A haunted house? Or it could be that “…in there…” isn’t a clue at all and the treasure is hidden in a dark recess where a flashlight would be needed even if you didn’t have to “go into” anything. But then maybe he just wants us to see where we’re going after dark even if we have no idea of where it is we’re going.
5. “If you had its coordinates, you would be able to find the treasure.” This ‘extra’ clue could be a game changer except . . . well, you know . . . it’s probably not. Still, like all of you who already knew of this clue, I immediately set off on a search of Forrest’s entire Memoir for numbers (as well as to REI in search of a new GPS.)
And find them I did! REI must carry ninety different kinds of GPS’, each one more complicated, and pricey, than the other. I immediately chose a yellow one, and then I went looking for numbers in his Memoir and found everything from the number 1 on up through 9 and then 0; and in any order and number of numbers you could imagine. After a month or so of this, it occurred to me, sadly, that my new GPS may have been an impulse buy because this clue could have nothing at all to do with the hundreds of numbers found in Forrest Fenn’s Memoir. As of now, my interpretation of this “clue” is that it is a very polite swipe at the geocachers who wander the world hiding jellybeans, old hotel keys from Brazil and embarrassing photographs of their Ex in used plastic pill bottles for other people to find. After all, Forrest was right; anybody can find anything if they have its coordinates and a GPS. Of course, and I am only guessing here, maybe it’s his way of saying “Geocaching is for sissies, and if you want to find this treasure, you will have to do it the old-fashioned way.” Certainly I would never say such a thing myself because I really do love my new GPS.