Pam Shetron’s interpretation of Forrest Fenn’s Thrill of the Chase poem:
Begin it where warm waters halt
Board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway in Durango, Colo. Warm waters halt when the steam engine stops at the end of the day. The warm water refers to the heated water produced from the coal-fired engines. (Warm water is defined as any water that has a tempurature above freezing but below its boiling point.)
And take it in the canyon down,
Ride the train down the canyon along the Animas River to Silverton, Colo. From Durango, Silverton is at a higher elevation. However, “take it in the canyon down” refers to a direction, not a lower altitude.
Not far, but too far to walk
The trip from Durango to the shrine in Silverton is 50 miles. This is too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown
The “put in” is where the train stops at 12th street in Silverton. “Put in” is a military term for halt/stop.
Below the “home of Brown”
This line refers to Cement Creek, which is naturally polluted and often referred to by locals as “Brown Gravy.” The creek flows through Silverton above (north of) where the Animas River and Cement Creek meet the “put in.”
From there it’s no place for the meek
Upon exiting the train, you will be on Notorious Blair Street, which is no place for the meek. Back in the day, Blair Street (a red-light district) was filled with gamblers, prostitutes, brothels, saloons and gun fights. Most of the original establishments have been preserved and are still operating today as bed and breakfasts or restaurants.
The end is ever drawing nigh
Going to the “end” of Blair Street brings you to 10th Street. “Ever drawing” is a “drawing” or painting by Eric Sloane, “ever” referring to his birth name, Everad. “Nigh” means on the left when facing north.
There’ll be no paddle up your creek
Going up 10th Street, there is no creek. You are, however, traveling between two creeks: the Cement on your right and Mineral on your left. There’s no need for a paddle.
Just heavy loads and water high.
“Heavy loads” refers to Snowden Street, as in heavy loads of snow, and “water high” refers to Bluff Street, as in river bluffs.
If you’ve been wise
“Wise” is referring to Keystone Street. “Keystone” was King Solomon’s word for the wise. This is the last street before you approach the shrine. The shrine is 500 feet from the access road.
And found the blaze
The “blaze” is referring to a Blazon, which is a coat of arms. The Sacred Heart of Jesus is surrounded by the Lord’s eternal light and is commonly referred to as Christ’s coat of arms. This would be the coat of arms on the marble statue of Jesus at the Christ of the Mines Shrine.
Look quickly down
Bow your head.
Your quest to cease
Your journey has come to an end.
But tarry scant with marvel gaze
“Tarry” — to wait around or delay
“Scant” — a short period of time
“With marvel gaze” — “marvel” is to be wowed; gaze is to admire the beauty
Just take the chest and go in Peace
To take the chest, metaphorically, is to take the Sacred Heart (eternal love of Christ). And go in peace to love and serve the Lord.