Part one – What do those clues mean…?


The usual response I get from folks when I talk about Forrest’s hidden treasure chest and show them his poem is, “What the heck does that poem mean?”

This is usually followed by “I have no idea where to start. Where does warm water halt?

Then, when I tell them that Forrest has said that it is hidden in the mountains North of Santa Fe, they sort of implode. “That includes Canada,” they say. I agree and add that it also includes the Alps and even the Urals.

This post is intended to help new folks get a handle on how to start thinking about where to look…and just as important..where not to look. Just remember these are my own stupid ideas and none of them have worked for me…yet!

Forrest says that there are nine clues in his poem. I first read it in November of 2010. The same with his memoir “The Thrill of the Chase”. I worked all that winter trying to weave the hints from the poem and the information in the book together into a place where his treasure was hidden.

First I had to make some assumptions about the kind of place where Forrest would hide his treasure. Some of these assumptions are based on information from his book. Others are my own ideas based on who I think Forrest is. Remember, these are just assumptions. Not fact. Nothing I know for certain. Just my own attempt to condense what I have learned about Forrest into information I can use to find the treasure.

Here were my assumptions at the time about where the treasure is hidden:

1. Special place to Forrest

2. Trout related…probably a trout stream or near a trout stream

3. Beautiful place

4. In the mountains North of Santa Fe

5. In a place where it will stay for a thousand years if no one finds it

6. Not on private or tribal land

A great trout stream in the mountains...

Okay, so I am looking for an attractive trout stream. I know it needs to be special to Forrest but there is no way I can gauge what “special to Forrest” really means because I don’t know how he thinks. But I believe that there is a more or less universal standard for beautiful and Forrest was a gallery owner and dealt with images of the west. His definition would probably not be too terribly far from my own. I don’t think he hid his treasure in a dump or an industrial area or off the side of the freeway. I believe its near a stream… a trout stream, and a pretty one.

It also needs to be In the mountains. This is one of my first conundrums because what exactly determines if something is “in the mountains”? To me, all of northern New Mexico is in the mountains. But that does not mean Forrest believes the same. He could mean just the places higher than 8,000 feet. Because I don’t know what precise definition he uses I must accept the widest definition. In my home in western Washington State that would mean everything above about 4,000 feet. In New Mexico, if I apply the same definition, it would mean the entire width of the state above Santa Fe…even Farmington.

In all of North America this could mean anywhere in the Cascades, Rockies, Coast Range, Appalachians, Adirondaks and so forth. But from his book, Thrill of the Chase, I feel I can also eliminate places he doesn’t mention. Like the Adirondaks for instance. In fact, when I read the book there were only a few places that are North of Santa Fe where most of the stories take place.

Even though folks tend to “give-up” when they read that Forrest hid his treasure “somewhere in the mountains North of Santa Fe”,  I don’t think its that intimidating.  Others feel that such an area is immense…too large to search…and it is. But I think I’m right when I say that you need to read his memoir and when you do you will see that there is no mention of Vancouver, BC or Portland, ME or Geneva, Switzerland. In my opinion you can rule those places out…and many more.

My last assumption is that its in a place where it isn’t likely to be disturbed for awhile. So not a likely place for a tractor to be plowing or the gas company to be laying pipe or the highway department to build a bridge.

Now I have an image of the place I am looking for. Its a pretty trout stream in a relatively remote location on public land….I hope…

Next, I can start applying the hints in the poem and see where they lead…

Oh…by the way..take everything I say with a grain of salt because even though I’ve looked in more than a dozen different places, I have not found it. I don’t think I’m any kind of an expert about finding this treasure. I’m just hoping to give folks who are confused about how to start, a bit of a push.

Continued in Part Two.


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32 thoughts on “Part one – What do those clues mean…?

    • I think its hard to tell, particularly in B&W what kind of trout many are. Some are definitely Browns. Also see some Rainbow and Cutthroat. Those and more are found in NM and points north. I don’t think there is any hint to be had by IDing the trout.

  1. I have been thinking about the “searchers have been within 500′” statement. I know there has been a lot of discussion about it. Some how I keep thinking that forrest is talking about the first two clues only, and not saying that searchers have been within 500′ of the treasure. Some, myself included, have just assumed that he meant both. I posted this comment here because there weren’t many comments to sift through and it seemed like a fresh place to talk about what those clues mean…

    • If you remember Forrests first job in the Air Force was Radar Tech. Flying under 500ft is “flying under the radar as to be undetected.” If he knows that a few searchers have been within 500 ft of the treasure, it means that they were picked up on his radar.

      • I was a radar/avionics tech and instructor for a # of years… sometimes flying under the radar takes on a whole new meaning… ! This was just a comment to keep the ball rolling, so to speak…

    • When he said the 500′ people didn’t understand the significance of where they were… That makes me think they sped through a bunch of trails in the area without picking a specific one based on clues. Then they told him where they had unfruitfully gone.

  2. I wish I could join the hunt…I’ve read the poem…I’ve read and studied the clues, and they all bring me back to one place. FF…..your an amazing man & adventurer. Follow Fenn’s clues in the thrill of the chase… them, they lead you on an adventure and point to one place!!!

    • My husband thinks it’s a hoax, he’s not interested in the Chase. I however love the thrill and will eventually join the hunt by late spring or early summer….just need time to work on him to be my hunting partner… Hope I’m not too late….I’m not giving up…..thanks MaggieMay….Your right, why can’t I join the hunt??

      • Somewhat the same issue here. My spouse isn’t into the hunt but I hope to be able to get one search in this spring/summer while on vacation.

      • That is what I faced. I figured with my solution, that if I can convince the wife it must be good. Best part was when I convinced my son. Now I know it is good.

  3. Sounds like you’ve done your homework. Maybe I’ll see you on the trail. I’ll be the one with the big smile. Good luck.

  4. Okay Dal,
    I asked this question before. Did Forrest ever say “there are only nine clues in the poem”? I know that he has been asked if there are nine, and he answered “yes”. My point is that if there are more than nine clues, he could still say yes to nime
    knowing good and well that there are more. Just as easy as saying its North of Santa Fe. You know how evasive he can be without giving specifics. I just haven’t found anywhere that he specified only nine clues. Maybe I missed it.. Thanks. Hope your seminar went well…

    • Jeff-
      You have not done your homework and you want people here to save you the labor of looking yourself..
      He said in interviews that are linked on this very blog, in the very beginning “There are nine clues in the poem.”
      It was not in response to any question about the number of clues. It was in response to a question such as “Tell me about the treasure.”
      I have never heard him use the word “only” when saying that there were “nine clues”.

  5. I believe Forrest specifically stated on his site in the poem section that there are nine clues in his poem and if followed precisely, will lead to the end of his rainbow and the treasure. That’s pretty straight forward if you ask me.

  6. hi, I am new here but have been armchairing “Indulgence” since ff tucked her away…& this year I am going to the Rockies to join the search! My chat nick is Quiet 1, and I do hope I can bounce some ideas around? Here is my first one:
    the chest IMHO it I s not on public ground like a park because if found there it becomes the property of the entire USA, read: government.
    I also think that ff wouldn’t want his body to scare anyone, especially children since my understanding is: the site where the chest is the same place that he wants to be, just resting his bones forever, and I *think* that leaving human remains is a big No No in US parks on every level.
    So, would anyone care to comment on my impressions? None of my friends think it exists either so I am desperate to exchange ideas.
    please, feel free to tackle any of my _guesses_ & I hope that this gets some juices flowing!
    thank you & I hope to make some friends here … in the spirit of the chase!!

    Quiet Queen Kali, or just Kali for short~

    • @Kali Hello, I’ve got nonbeliever friends too, you are among believers here! I think the TC is on BLM and ‘your creek’ is ‘our creek’ or lands that are owned by we the people. FF spoke with an attorney and thought of everything, I’m not a trained skilled legal professional but sure seems the advice from an attorney would be stay off of private property including Native and National Parks. Sometimes there is land locked tracts of BLM property surrounded by private lands, takes a helicopter to get there without trespassing or maybe a secret trail following the banks of a water way, IMO. –cholly q

  7. IMO – When ANY body of water merges with a larger body of water, is that not WWWH? A small stream merges with a larger stream, won’t the waters in the larger stream be colder than they were in the smaller stream etc. etc. So WWWH can be where ANY smaller body of water meets a larger body. Am I wrong?

    • @JD Morning JD, I just read your intro, sounds like you’ve found something great to do in retirement! My idea of WWWH is sort of what you describe above but the bigger body of water could be the warm water (if shallow and out in the open) and is cooled when smaller mountain spring run off streams merge with the main body at the home of the brown trout (where they spawn). But, this idea changes and is open to new thoughts! IMO Welcome!

    • In my opinion, the only place warm waters halt are where they bubble up from the ground and do not continue to flow… meaning, warm rivers continue to flow into cold, but yet they have not stopped, wheras warm water bubbling up to a pool does not continue to flow, thus equating to halt …

  8. I believe warm waters do not refer to water at all. I think the treasure is a lot closer to, or in Santa Fe itself. The whole region is one big mountain range. All the clues in the poem in my opinion must be definitive I.e. There is no ambiguity. The additional clues given later by Mr.Fenn are so vague I prefer to ignore them. As we have been told once you find the starting point everything else will fit into place. I have my ideas like everyone else. But should we not consider a couple of basic things; would you as an 79/80 year old drive around for miles on your own with a box containing very valuable artefacts? Me, I would drive, yes,but not too far. Consider Mr Fenn survived cancer, should we not be looking from a more ‘spiritual’ angle to solve the clues?

    • Richard,
      I undoubtedly agree with your summation that a spiritual angle is needed, but I would not discount some of the additional clues. As one example west of Toledo … forget the more than 300 miles part. In the Valles Caldera in New Mexico there is an area referred to as the Toledo Range … Why is that important to me? Most everyone believes the chest is in Yellowstone, yet so many have no idea that Valles and Yellowstone share so many similarities such as being super volcanoes … if one stood in the meadows of the caldera, you might think you were in the Lamar Valley … I guess what I am saying here is that FF’s mentioning his Church is in the mountains … So you see, closer to home, similar to yellowstone and spirtiual all in one … good luck!

  9. Dal;

    I see that this thread was first opened on September 2, 2011. A LOT has changed since then. Since this was written primarily for new searchers, to make them aware of a few key points…I think that we should mention that Forrest has narrowed the search area to NM, CO, WY and MT…Just so that there is no confusion.

    Thanks for the site. Sharing ideas with fellow searchers has been invaluable to a “Newbie” like myself…only three months into the search.

    Good luck to all, and STAY SAFE


    • Lug-
      That would be my belief…that Forrest’s special place is on “public” land..
      BLM, Forrest Service…possibly NPS..possibly State
      But certainly not on any kind of tribal reservation or trust lands
      This is just my opinion…

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