How Now, Brown Cow?

If you read The Thrill of the Chase, you’ll find a story about Forrest Fenn’s childhood Guernsey cow, Bessie. This story goes from page 28-32 in a chapter called Bessie and Me. There is also a photo of the family with Bessie.

As far as I can tell, it is correct to capitalize the G in the name of the cow breed. It is supposed to be named after the island in the UK where Guernseys were originally bred.

Some of you may know that a Guernsey cow is brown, or at least partly brown in color.

So some people might guess this has something to do with the home of Brown in the poem. A quick search reveals that there is a town named Guernsey in Wyoming; but the town is in the far eastern part of the state and way off the official chase map.

There is a Brown Cow dam in MT, but it also off the official map.

I haven’t found any promising instances of Bessie in any of the four states. I probably won’t look too hard.

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More on Brown

This is not the highly anticipated Part 3 of the Home of Brown series that you are eagerly awaiting. Somehow I forgot to type a couple of vital points that were supposed to go in part 2. Think of this as 2a or 2.1 or something

If “the home of Brown” does indeed refer to Joe Brown the gold miner, a couple of things come into focus:

First, since we know that Forrest Fenn takes liberties in his writing, the “heavy loads” in the poem might be a deliberate misspelling of ‘lodes.’ Lodes is a word often associated with ore and mining – such as gold mining.

Second, the “treasures new and old” could refer to the treasure of gold that Joe Brown mined back in the 19th century. Sadly, the information online about Brown and his gold haul is wildly inconsistent. It appears that he found something like 400 ounces of gold in the mouth of Bear Gulch in or near Yellowstone. At today’s gold price, that is over $500,000.

Please disregard the numbers – what really matters here is that you could easily say that Joe Brown found a fortune in the area.

Ok, that was a nice ending – for now!

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The Home of Brown – Part 1

FF has said that if he revealed the location of the Home of Brown, someone could walk right to the treasure. So this is obviously a key clue.

Many people have noted that Brown is capitalized in the poem, so it must be a person or place. Others say that FF ignores or intentionally manipulates rules of grammar as he sees fit, so capitalization is a non-issue.

Brown could refer to brown trout. Forest Fenn is known to be an avid fisherman, specifically enjoying fly fishing for trout. Brown could refer to the brown bear or grizzly. As far as I can tell, neither would be capitalized if proper grammar was enforced.

So what else could it be? At one point, I thought it might be a proper name for a specific trout – like a record sized fish.

Then I found a spot that I had driven past numerous times – the Joe Brown trailhead. I hiked the trail, all the while looking for some type of blaze. This trail just keeps going up, up up. If you “put in” you might be starting the trail. The trailhead is the start of the trail and it is certainly below this trail in terms of altitude.

I didn’t find the treasure there, but it was a heck of a hike. Who knows – maybe I just missed it. I looked pretty hard for trees with some kind of marking but didn’t see any. The only sign I saw on the trail was right near the start. I looked around it, but there was no treasure. It wouldn’t have made sense as a place for his eternal resting place anyway – too close to the road.

I saw some rocks with orange colors. I looked around many of them but found no treasure.

To be continued in part 2!

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