On maybe my 50th time through The Thrill of the Chase, I decided to list all the colors that Forrest Fenn mentions in the text thinking that, just maybe, a clue would appear that could be the secret to interpreting everything. Here is what I found:
The “red,” “black” and “green” of “Tea with Olga,” the “yellow” and “purple” flowers that grow just about everywhere in the Rocky Mountains, and the “Brown” found in his clue-laden poem which everybody, including me, has taped to their bathroom mirror.
There is another “red” as in “Red Canyon,” the site of one of his many misadventures. And then there is his first love, “Bessie,” who was “fawn” colored (which I’ll call “brown” to make things easier).
Then, if one were of a mind to, one could include “ruby,” “silver,” “turquoise,” “emerald,” and “gold” all of which are in his treasure chest, as well as the “copper” clankers in the “bronze” bells he forged instead of watching Dancing with the Stars like any normal American.
A couple of references to “white,” one “crimson,” another “black,” a “yellow” Cadillac and a “brown” paper bag appear but all of these seemed material to the stories he tells and therefore probably meaningless as clues so I’ll let them slide.
And then there is “Ovaltine.” I don’t actually know if this one is a real color but if “chocolate” and “coffee” are colors, why not “Ovaltine?” Not to worry. I decided to skip it because I never really liked the stuff anyway.
Forrest mentions “Orange Crush” as being a heavy hitter in his bottle cap collection but since, for reasons unknown, I have always been a Baltimore Orioles fan, I find it hard to include “orange” in anything I think might be important.
The only “blue” I found was in “blue-gill” which has to be the all-time favorite catch of any young fisherman. They (by which I mean the blue-gill) will bite on anything including an eighth of an inch of worm left for two days drying on a #10 hook and they will fight you to the finish if you try to take it away from them.
When I finished with all of this, and after thinking about it a bit, I had eliminated every color except “red,” “black,” “green,” “purple,” “yellow,” and “brown” which I soon began calling the “Fenn Rainbow.” And then I asked myself if I had ever been any place in the Rocky Mountains where these six colors, in any way, were found fairly close together.
After reviewing my entire life history with emphasis on ages 20-25 for no other reason than I suffer from short term memory loss and have no idea where I’ve recently been like say, over the last 50 years, I decided that yes, I had been in such a place and couldn’t wait to consult with Google Earth to find it. I did and that place appears below.
Now, I think I know the question you are asking, but the question I am asking is, “Is all of this information good enough to forsake August in Santa Fe with its sunny mornings, afternoon showers, mushroom hunting, mild temperatures, Indian Market and really, really great skies just to look for Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest?”
Not really, so I decided that I would only do it if Forrest Fenn himself had ever had an interest in that part of the world.
A short search showed that he did and probably still does have such an interest. The area covers about 150,000 acres that will require a good look. Of course 150,000 acres sound like a lot but that’s an area close to 50 miles long and five miles wide that can be reduced considerably by making up responses to the clues in his poem. Besides, 150,000 acres is a whole lot fewer than the 150,000,000 acres of the previous post which would amount pretty much to all the public lands in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah.
So, I’ll do it—especially since looking closely at beautiful places rich in history is why I signed up for this gig in the first place. Besides, my two and half year-old grandson wants to go along. It’s going to be a great, great vacation.
See you at the end of the “Fenn Rainbow.” All you have to do is figure out which end we’re looking under.