Poem Purists Got it Wrong
If you have ever wondered how brilliant a poem purist is, just ask one, they will certainly tell you.
Poem Purists base their strategy on this one Fenn statement:
“All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem."
They argue that using Fenn’s memoir to help solve the poem is foolish and they will just be chasing rabbit holes.
This is the way I look at it. If Forrest says all you need to get to Santa Fe is a good pair of running shoes. Then he advises, “I suggest you drive, bus, train or fly there because it will make your trip faster.”
Sure, one can walk there but that is no easy task, but if you take his advise the trip will be much more enjoyable.
Yes, all you need is the poem but the clues are so vague, they will produce a near infinite number of solutions, which cannot be verified because there is nothing they can use to verify it. Thus the number of rabbit holes is many times greater than the ones created by using the memoir.
I personally believe that there is nothing wrong with going down rabbit holes as long as the seeker has the discipline to admit they were wrong and then go look down the next one. After all Forrest called it the Thrill of the Chase because we are supposed to fail and learn from our mistakes so that in the end, victory will taste that much sweeter.
The biggest problem with poem only solutions is they are extremely difficult to prove if it is correctly solved. If one follows Fenn’s advice they would:
“Get the Thrill of the Chase and read it; and then go back and read the poem, over and over and over again. And then go back and read the book again but slowly looking at every little abstract thing that might catch up in your brain, that might be a hint that will help you with the clues. Any part of some is better than no part of any.” ~ Forrest Fenn
These are the other references to Mr. Fenn’s memoir that contain hints. He says there are clues in the book as well but I believe they are mainly hints but he sometimes uses them interchangeably:
“The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker.”
“There are also other subtle clues sprinkled in the stories.”
“There are nine clues in the poem, but if you read the book, there are a couple…there are a couple of good hints and there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge"
“And then go back and read the book again looking for hints that are in the book that are going to help you with the clues that are in the poem”
Then there are these quotes indicating his book too far to walk contain clues/hints:
“There are no new clues in this book [too far to walk] but there are some hints.”
“There are clues in my new book that can help a person”
“I have not anyone tell me the answer to that clue, if you read my preface it doesn’t take a genius to figure out I think what they are talking about, but there are clues in my new book that can help a person”
[When asked other than the one clue mentioned, are there any other clues in the book too far to walk] “There is a major clue in the book but I don’t think it will help you find the treasure chest. I will tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book there is a map, and I have said in the that the treasure chest is hidden in the rocky mountain… the map stops at Canada, the Rockies keep going up there but I said the treasure is in the Rocky Mountains which would include Canada, but when this book was printed I didn’t realize that Benchmark Maps stopped at the Canadian border but I don’t think that is going to help you much."
Then Forrest Fenn said this in his annual Six Questions with Jenny Kile:
5Q) Your treasure hunt has inspired people worldwide to discover history, culture and nature, but many people, (even in the US) might be deterred because they don’t live near the Rockies or can’t afford to travel. Should they be deterred? Can a little girl in India, who speaks good English, but only has your poem and a map of the US Rocky Mountains, work out where the treasure is? And would she be confident as she solves each clue, or only confident when she has solved them all?
I wish I had another treasure to hide in the Appalachians. The little girl in India cannot get closer than the first two clues. There are many disabled people who are deeply into maps and geography, and they are having a lot of fun.
This statement is certainly a blow to the poem purists, but I am certain a statements such as, “We poem purists believe that one needs boots on the ground after clue two to solve it,” will rationalize it.
On the other hand, there may be a more telling reason a poem and a map of the Rocky Mountains are not enough. Perhaps clue three is outside the Rocky Mountains and at some subsequent clue, returns to the Rockies. This is very difficult to conceptualize but possible. My gut feeling is clue three may be “home of Brown” and that Brown because it is capitalized is actually a person, who’s is from outside the Rocky Mountains, but their home can be described inside the Rocky Mountains.