Forrest is Awarded…


by dal



In March of 2014 True West Magazine honored Forrest with their second annual “True Westerner” award for his contribution to and preservation of America’s Western Heritage.

Forrest was chosen because of his work in Santa Fe as an author, collector, entrepreneur and artist and also for stoking “the national media fires with his $1million hidden treasure hunt”.

Forrest received this award in pretty good company. The inaugural award went to the irascible Larry McMurty and talented Diana Ossana in 2013 for their work as authors and screenwriters who together turned Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain into an award winning screenplay. Not a work that portrays the classic vision of America’s western landscape. Certainly Bob Boze Bell, the editor of True West Magazine uses a wider lens when seeking candidates for his magazine’s heritage award.

While Forrest, to my knowledge, has not turned in a screenplay, his contribution to the heritage of the American West is none-the-less towering..although largely undocumented. He has helped, nudged and sometimes dragged artists into their own glorious spaces. Books he has authored on established artists have uniquely framed their experiences for the rest of us to comprehend. Forrest is both a respected admirer and a gifted promoter of the artistry of others and in doing so has diversified the market, increased the value and expanded the availability of works by the well known as well as the lesser appreciated. He has become the necessary angel of many artists and craftfolk of the wide west, tirelessly encouraging and pointing.

Forrest’s True Westerner Award

Certainly Bob Boze Bell is a wise man to have recognized Forrest for his contribution to America’s Western Heritage…and if you ever have a chance to visit Forrest’s home, I’m sure you will be wildly enthusiastic about his stunning collection that preserves a meaningful and beautiful portion of our magnificent western heritage.



Forrest Gets Mail – 16

Dear Mr. Fenn,

I have an 11 year old son named River. Last year sometime he said to me, “I wish there were still treasures left to find”. I found this to be a telling part of his personality. He wasn’t taking about money. He was talking about the adventure, the purpose, something bigger than himself. I agreed with him. I always wished I were Indiana Jones when I was little and that there were still mysteries to solve and adventures to be had, by normal people. That you didn’t have to be someone special or have special education to be able to go do this amazing thing. I had never heard of your treasure until today and I’ve spent all morning reading about it.

Here is River, age two, teaching my brother to fly

I’m home schooling my son this next year and your poem just became part of his curriculum. I believe this treasure is out there, but for me in just excited to have something for my mind to ruminate over. How fun. I don’t know about you or your life, but now I want my son and I to read your book together- to show him there are still treasures to be found and adventures to be had. Thank you for the chance you’ve given so many people for that. Is it true you can figure all of this out remotely by looking on a map?? I wish I were more familiar with the terrain as I was born and raised in Alaska 🙂

Anyhow, I hope this finds you in good health. I hope reading of others odyssey’s has brought you as much satisfaction as searching for it has brought them.

I plan on studying your puzzle. Feel free to update me on any new clues haha! Maybe someday we will go rescue your box from its watery grave. Until then, thanks again for the adventure.




The Moby Dickens Book Signing…

Moby Dickens Bookstore in Taos, NM

SUBMITTED March, 2017
by dal


Moby Dicken’s Bookstore was a 30 year fixture on the Taos scene. It closed it’s doors in 2015 but not before Forrest held a book signing there in November of 2013. After the book signing event Forrest took the stage and talked about his book and answered questions from the crowd. Many searchers feel it is one of the most revealing interviews Forrest has given. Toby Youris shot a video of that event and posted it on YouTube. Unfortunately he removed it from public view recently. Word is that Toby intends to monetize that video, so perhaps it will return. At any rate it has been unavailable for some time. I had an audio recording from that event transcribed. Below is the result. It certainly is not as good as watching Forrest on the video but it is better than staring at a blank spot on YouTube.

Toby’s monetized video is now available HERE.
There are some other bonus materials available when you rent or purchase the video..

Forrest Fenn at Moby Dickens Bookstore in November of 2013.

Forrest: Well, I always thought I deserved a throne. I’m very glad to be here. I want to thank Jay and Carolyn and Dorothy for bringing me up here. Jay asked me to say a few things about my treasure’s story. Is there anyone here that knows about the story? Who in this room has not heard about my treasure story? That’s pretty good. 1n 1988, I had cancer and they told me I was going to die. That’s a good way to start off a talk. They gave me a one in five chance of living three years. A lot of things were happening about that time. I was selling my gallery in Santa Fe and I had a lot of clients that were coming to see me to do different things.

It just so happened that Ralph Lauren came to my house. He collects antique Indian things like I did. He didn’t know that I had cancer. We were standing in my library and I had something that he wanted. It was a beautiful Sioux Indian bonnet with white ermine skins hanging on it and split antelope horns. It was a wonderful thing. He wanted to buy it. I said, “Well I don’t want to sell it.” He said, “Well you have so many of those things. He said you can’t take it with you.” I said, “Then I’m not going.” We laughed and changed the subject.

That night I started thinking about that. Who says can’t take it with me? Why do I have to live by everybody else’s rules? If I’m going to die of cancer, I’m going to take some stuff with me and I made up my mind. I bought this beautiful little treasure chest 10 inches by 10 inches and 6 inches high. Wonderful Romanesque thing, an antique scholar told me that it was probably Romanesque 11th or 12th century. Maybe it held a Bible or a Book of Days, but it was wonderful, had a great patina on it. I started filling it up with things I thought would be attractive. There are 265 American gold coins, mostly eagles and double eagles. There are some middle eastern gold coins that date to the 13th century. There’s a little bottle of gold dust in there. There are hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets, mostly from Alaska, Placer nuggets. Two of them are so large that they’re the same size as a hen’s egg. They weight more than a pound a piece.

In this chest I put hundreds of rubies. There are two beautiful Ceylon sapphires. There are eight emeralds, lots of little diamonds, Pre Colombian wakas, 2,000-year-old bracelets and a tirana and sinew necklace that dates probably 2,500 years old. The finishes on the necklace are made out of quartz crystal and carnelian and semi-precious stones.  I told myself I wanted it to be visual enough so that when a person found the treasure chest and opened it for the first time, they would just lean back and start laughing. I showed the chest to a number of people in Santa Fe and that’s what they all did. I invite you to go look for the treasure chest.

My plan was … If I was going to die of cancer … They said I had a one in five chance of living three years. They told me I had a year probably anyway. I decided I knew where I was going to hide the treasure chest. I told myself with my last gasping breath I was going to go out there and fling myself on that treasure chest and let my bones go back to the dirt. It was a great plan. The trouble with it was that I got well and ruined the story.

I told myself just because I got well didn’t mean that I could not hide the treasure chest anyway and I did that. In my book, The Thrill of the Chase, there’s a poem in there that has nine clues in it. If you can follow the clues to the treasure chest, you can have the treasure chest. I thought about that a lot and when hid the treasure chest I had to make two trips because the thing weighs 42 pounds. It’s small but gold is heavy. When I hid and was walking back to my car, I started laughing out loud and said, “Forrest Fenn, did you really do that?”  I had a hole card. I told myself if I decided later if I didn’t want to do it, I could go back and get it. The more I thought about it, the more I said, “Yeah this is perfect.” Why can’t I influence somebody a thousand years from now, a hundred years from now? Okay, next weekend. If you can find it I think it will be worth your while.

A lady reporter from Texas, called me on the phone and said, “Mr. Fenn who is your audience for this strange book?” I said, “My audience is every redneck in Texas with a pickup truck, a wife with 12 kids, who lost his job. I said, “Throw a bedroll in the back of your truck and go look for the treasure and take the kids. Get the kids out of the game room away from their little playing machines and let them breathe the sunshine and the things that the forest has to offer, a wonderful opportunity.” I just this last week passed 25,000 emails from people and probably 15,000 of them have told me, “Mr. Fenn we’re not going to find the chest, we know that, but I want to thank you for getting me and my kids off the couch and out in into the world.”

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to talk too much, I would entertain some questions if anybody has one. Yes sir.

Male: Did I understand that the proceeds from you book are going to cancer?

Forrest: I’m having trouble hearing him. Can somebody help?

Male: Did I understand that the proceeds of your book are going to a cancer foundation?

Forrest: Let me explain that to you. Dorothy Massey at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe owns these books. Jay bought them from Dorothy. The deal I made with Dorothy was that she can have the books but she has to leave 10% of the gross sales aside for a cancer fund. I think we have about 50,000 bucks or something in that fund now. We’re looking for somebody that we can feel proud about helping. If I had my way, we’d find some little minority kid that can’t afford what it takes to get well and spend our money that way. I don’t know whether that will happen or not, but that’s the plan anyway. Is there another question?

Female: I have one about the poem. If you follow the poem precisely will you find yourself switching back?

Forrest: If you follow the clues in the poem precisely would I what?

Female: Will you find yourself switching back, making a loop?

Forrest: This gal’s dangerous. Would I find myself switching back? I think I can say no to that without giving away too much of a clue.

Female: Okay.

Forrest: Nobody is going to happen on that treasure chest. You’re going to have to figure out the clues in the poem and go to it. There are several people that have deciphered the first two clues. I don’t think they knew it because they walked right on past the treasure chest. I’m not going to tell those people who they are because one of them particularly would faint I know and tear the countryside up trying to figure out where they’d been. It’s an opportunity to … Doesn’t have any downsides I think. Everybody wins if you go out looking for it. Another question?

Female: Given that your simply gave it away. You gave this treasure away to the cosmos and to whomever. Did you have any heart wish of how the treasure might be used for good?

Forrest: No. I don’t feel like I’ve given it away. Whoever finds it is going to earn it. Once they find it and have it in their possession, I’m out of the picture. They can do whatever they want to with it. You can’t … I don’t want to make rules for people after the fact. Yes, sir.

Male: How would you know it hasn’t already been found?

Forrest: I’ve been asked that question. I really don’t want to answer the question because that would be an answer that I don’t want to reveal, but I can tell you that no one has found the treasure. Yes, sir.

Male: When do you think the treasure would be found? Do you think it’s a 10 year, 100 year? When do you think it will actually be discovered?

Forrest: Why don’t you ask me how deep is a hole?

Female: Okay, how deep is a hole?

Forrest: It’s not predictable, but I think this last summer … I’m guessing, but I think there were 35,000 people out looking for the treasure chest.

Male: Are you concerned that once it is discovered that your private spot will be exposed to so many people that it will no longer become special?

Forrest: There’s all kinds of case scenarios. If a person finds it and he doesn’t want the IRS to know it, then maybe the spot will never be revealed. In my opinion, the type of person that’s going to find the treasure chest is the type of person that can’t keep it quiet. I’m not worried about that really. Yes, ma’am.

Female: You said that it took you two trips to hide the treasure. Did you hide it two times or did you carry it the second time?

Forrest: I hid the whole thing in one spot, but it took me two trips to get to that spot with the weight of the treasure chest.

Male: From the car to the spot.

Forrest: Very special spot.

Female: Could you tell us more about what’s in your book like it’s not just the poem but it’s a memoir right?

Forrest: It’s a memoir. I never did go to college. I prayed for D’s in high school and nobody ever listened. I graduated because my father was the principal. I never did read the great books. I talk in my book about Hemingway and other writers that are very internationally celebrated and so I went down to the book store and I got a couple of those books and I started to read them.  I told myself, “These things are no good.” For Whom the Bell Tolls, I read about a third of that thing and threw it in the trash. I started to wonder, “Why does everybody?” … You may think those are wonderful books. I’m little bit weird. I’ll have to admit that.

JD Salinger died. Diane Sawyer’s talking about how wonderful he was that he wrote books and put them in a vault so nobody could see them. I told myself, “This is my kind of guy.” I went down and I bought Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. I thought I was going to like that book because I’d never heard of the guy. I said “Everybody thinks the book’s pretty good. He’s nobody so it must be a pretty good book.” I started reading it and I read a little bit. I put it down and started thinking about it. I read some more. It took me about a day and a half to finish that book, and I wasn’t ready for it to end when it was over. I started telling myself, “You know if this is a good book … If Catcher in the Rye is a good book, I can do that.” It’s nothing but a guy talking to himself really is what it is.

I said, “I can do that.” I started writing my memoir. I started remembering … I would encourage all of you to write your memoir. You don’t have to edit it. Send it to the Library of Congress. They love those things. Start with your earliest recollections like I did. I remember when my grandmother told me about when she was a kid in Fort Worth watching the Comanche and Kiowa Indians run through their barnyard trying to catch chickens. I have two daughters that are in their 50’s who don’t know who Clark Gable was. I wanted my kids, my family, my grandkids to know something about my family. Something about me and my wife and what we’ve done and where we’ve been, kind of a peek back into our lives. At the same time, I was thinking about my treasure chest. How do I bring all of these things together?

It was 15 years from the time that I got cancer until the time that I hid the treasure chest, 15 years. The poem in my book is something that I changed over and over again. When you read the poem, it looks like just simple words there, but I guarantee you I worked on that thing. I felt like an architect drawing that poem. The original version of the poem said, “Take the treasure chest, but leave my bones and go in peace,” or something like that. Then I got well and I ruined that story.

I believe very strongly in that. I started making bells out of bronze and little jars. The jars I put my autobiography in the jars and seal them up tight. I’ve buried eight of those things way out in the desert and in the mountains. Nobody knows where. I couldn’t even go back to them because I’ve hidden them so well. Who says I can’t influence the future? Who says can’t take it with me? I don’t believe in those things.

Which is best? Laying on the ground on a treasure chest, your bones rotting in the sun or laying in a hospital room with tubes down your throat and your nose and machines everywhere? People running out watching you all the time. Which would you rather have?

Female: The desert.

Forrest: That’s my philosophy. Anyway I’ll admit I’m a maverick in that area. My father had pancreas cancer. They gave him six months to live. 18 months later, he was still fishing up in Yellowstone in those lakes and fast streams. One night about 10:00 at night he called me on the phone. I was in Santa Fe and he was in Temple Texas. He said, “Forrest I just want you to know that I’m getting ready to take 50 sleeping pills.” I said, “Dad I’ll be there first thing in the morning.” I had an airplane. He said, “That’s too late.” It was too late.

I respected him because he wanted to do things on his own terms. What’s wrong with making your own rules about things? He could have gone in the hospital and withered away for another three weeks or a month. That’s no way to live. All of these thoughts manifest themselves in my treasure chest. The thrill of the chase, I keep going back to the thrill of the chase. You can think I’m crazy if you want to. A lot of people have said that. It’s something that I believe in. That treasure chest I’ve said is in a very special place to me. If I get another disease, on my last dying gasp, I’m going to throw myself on top of that treasure chest. Then I’m going to dare you to come find me. Bella, do you have a question?

Male: Mr. Fenn, we actually have one that sent to us. Since you were speaking about the poem, Dal Neitzel has asked if you would kindly read the poem of which I happen to have a copy of said poem.

Forrest: That damn Dal Neitzel’s always getting me in trouble.

Male: I’m just the messenger.

Forrest: He think he’s safe because he lives on a little island, Lummi island out of Seattle. I’ve got his number though.

“As I have gone alone in there, and with my Treasures bold. I can keep my secret where and hint of riches new and old. Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk. Put in below the home of Brown. From there it’s no place for the meek. The end is ever drawing nigh. There’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high. If you’ve been wise and found a blaze, look quickly own your quest to cease. But tarry scant with marvel gaze just take the chest and go in peace. So why is it I must go and leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know. I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak. So hear me all and listen good” … I may have to read this thing. “So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold. If you are brave and in the wood. I give you title to the gold.”

I view that as a challenge. There are so many things in life that are wonderful. There are so many things that are not wonderful. I think this world’s in trouble. I don’t need to tell you that. I think we need to … My father used to tell me, “Grab every banana.” He told me that a 100 times. He and I collected arrowheads together. We were thinking about going out to a friend’s farm with newly plowed to look for arrowheads, but it was drizzling rain. I didn’t much want to go, but my father did. We were discussing, he said, “Grab every banana.” I said, “Father, you’ve been telling me that for years.” I said, “I don’t know what you mean.” You know what he said to me? He said, “Now that you asked the question, maybe you’re old enough to know.” Pretty profound huh? He said, “The train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time.” He said, “You should reach out and grab every banana on the way back.” I thought that was pretty good. Let me tell you, I’ve grabbed a few bananas in my time. Grabbed a few lemons too. Yes, sir.

Male: Are you familiar with the poet Robert Service?

Forrest: The what?

Male: Poet, Robert Service.

Forrest: No.

Male: You’d give him a run for his money.

Forrest: Thank you, thank you. I like poetry. I can walk down the street and see something and I quote poetry to myself. I did that coming up here today in the car with Dorothy Massey. It’s a little … I’ll read you a poem from Alice in Wonderland. “How doth the little crocodile improve his shiny tail and pour the waters of the Nile on every shiny scale? How cheerfully he seems to grin. How neatly spread his claws and welcome little fishies in with gentle smiling jaws.” I like that.

You may not know who Senator Al Simpson is, Senator from Wyoming, retired. He can quote the entire book from Alice in Wonderland. Yes, sir.

Male: Do you want to say anything about the accumulation of that treasure and why [those specific things were [inaudible] must have been a big piece of the pie.[inaudible] Or is that too personal a question.

Male: He’s wanting to know, on the accumulation of what you put in the chest, were they personal type items? How hard was it for you to put some of those items in there? How did you determine what you placed in there?

Forrest: Thank you for asking that question, sir. I wanted that treasure chest to be part of me. I wanted … If I’m going to take it with me, I don’t want it to be a bunch of abstract items. I put things in that treasure chest that are very dear to me. One of them, probably the cheapest thing in that treasure chest is a wonderful little bracelet, has 22 prehistoric turquoise beads in it. The beads were found by Richard Wetherill. The first day that he discovered Mesa Verde and climbed down into the ruin from the canyon top. He picked up those 22 little turquoise beads. In 1901, when Richard Wetherill was excavating Mesa Verde, there was an Indian working for him that made a bracelet out of those 22 little turquoise beads, disk beads. They call it a row bracelet. It was made about 1902 or so. When Richard Wetherill sold it to Fred Harvey of the Harvey houses, and years later that whole Harvey collection was given to the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

I won that bracelet in a pool game with Byron Harvey who was the nephew of Fred Harvey. That’s how I got that bracelet. I have an association. It’s the only Indian bracelet I ever had that fit me. I used to walk down the street showing off that bracelet. It’s worth about $350. It was special to me.

Female: Have your grandkids ever tried looking for the treasure?

Forrest: What’d she say?

Male: Have your grandkids ever tried looking for the treasure?

Forrest: No, but I’ll tell you an interesting story. Some of the emails I get from people, I got one last week from a lady about your age. You must be 11?

Female: Nine.

Forrest: Nine? She said “Mr. Fenn if I find the treasure chest do I have to share it with my brother?” I get all kinds of emails. This one lady said my truck is not very reliable. She said, “If I go in the mountains on the way to your treasure chest and my truck breaks down, will you come and pick me up and take me the rest of the way?”

Female: Do you think kids will ever find your treasure? Do you think kids have a shot at trying to find your treasure?

Male: Do you think that kids will ever find the treasure?

Forrest: Do I think that kids …? You worry me a little. Yeah I think kids may have an advantage. Don’t expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. They’re more agile. They have more energy. Why should a kid take backseat in the treasure hunt? Is that your daughter there?

Male: Sure is.

Forrest: She’s dangerous. Okay, more questions. Yes, sir.

Male: You put a lot of people, a very bold, exciting adventure. It seems you put yourself on an adventure watching all these people. Are you enjoying that?

Male: He said that he put a lot of people on a bold and exciting adventure and yourself. How are you enjoying watching all of this adventure around you?

Forrest: “Well tell me not in mournful numbers.  Laugh is but an empty dream. For the soul is dead that slumbers and things are never what they seem.” I’m enjoying it, yeah. I didn’t expect it … I always figured that the treasure chest was a bomb. I didn’t know that I had a fuse until Dorothy came along and a couple other people that started giving publicity to the book. Now it’s out. No matter what happens now, it belongs to the ages I think. Sure, there’s a … People talk about, “Mr. Fenn is that your legacy?” You know, I don’t like philosophy of that. I don’t like … Once a person dies, that should be the end of it. If you want to say something kind about me, say it me while I’m alive. Don’t wait until I die. Let’s not talk about legacies. Yes, sir.

Male: When you had cancer and you got well and you decided to hide the treasure, do you think maybe fate … Maybe you got well so you would hide the treasure?

Forrest: I believe that there’s a higher hand someplace. I don’t know what it is, but I think that I’ve lived a charmed life. Here’s a little kid from a small town in Texas, made D’s and F’s in high school. Joined the Air Force as a private, became a fighter pilot.  When I was 27 years old and a fighter pilot in Germany, I went down to supply and checked out an atomic bomb. I signed a form. I owned that atomic bomb, 61 kiloton bomb. The bomb at Hiroshima was 17,000 tons. This was 61,000. I thought that if I can do that from my background, then look at what other people can do from their background.

I had a hard tour in Vietnam. I flew 328 combat missions in about 348 days. I was shot down twice. I took battle damage a few times. I lost some roommates. I lost 22 pounds and didn’t even know it. When I came home, I was tired. I was tired mentally. I was tired physically. I wrote a story that’s in my memoirs that’s called My War for Me. If you don’t do anything else, read that story. I think it’s 7,500 words, but I’m very proud of that story. It tells … In my new book, ‘to far too walk’. Do we have a copy of that?

I tell another story that’s an aberration to My War for Me story. I’ll [00:30:00] tell you briefly about that. I was laying in the wet jungle in Laos. I just jumped out. My wife got a telegram saying that I had been shot down and no parachutes had been seen. I’m lying there trying to decide what to do. I had a radio. If I call the rescue people, they would probably come get me and I’d go home. It was Laos in those days, 1968 was pretty wild country. What if the helicopter comes in to get me and it’s shot down and two or three guys are killed? Now where am I? I haven’t been rescued and four guys have been killed. Those things were preying on my mind.

I was 38 years old. I was a perfect human physical specimen. I had graduated from the jungle survival school in the Philippines. The jungle was never hot. It was never cold. Fast running water, drinkable water was everywhere. I had two guns. I had a knife. Under every log in the jungle is nourishing food if you’re willing to eat it and I was. I figured that I could walk to the South China Sea in a month or six weeks. So the question is am I going to take the challenge that will never in a million years be offered to me? Or do I remember my wife and two kids at home? So what do you do? I decided it wasn’t fair to my family. So I used my radio the next morning. They came and got me and nobody was killed taking me out. One of the things in my life that I think I’ve been not gifted of course, but I hate to use the word luck, but I believe there’s a higher hand yet. Tomorrow I’ll get run over by a train, but I believe in karma and some of those things.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m probably the most spiritual person around. That’s the way I define it. I hate to get on my soapbox. Yes, sir.

Male: I’d like to know more about your new book.

Forrest: My new book, ‘too far to walk,’ in my preface I explain where I got the title to the book. Dal Neitzel who put me on the spot a while ago, three days before we went to press … I own my own little publishing company, it’s called a One Horse Land, a Cattle Company. Two days or three days before we went to the printer, I didn’t have a dust jacket. I sent Dal Neitzel an email. I said, “Go to the Madison River in Yellowstone Park. There’s a very special place I’m going to tell you about and take a photograph of the water.” Stand on the bank. Put the flowers in the photograph and send me the photograph. He did that and sent me the photograph. My designer here in Santa Fe put the shadow across it. Two days before we went to the printer, I was still writing this book.

When a writer sends a manuscript to a publisher, two years later they’re thinking about going to the printer. We did this in two days, a byproduct of having your own people working for you. People that designed this book and helped me are wonderful. Same people that did that book for me. Some people you can never thank enough.

Male: We’ve got a question from your online fan base that we got to address to.

Forrest: Who is it?

Male: This one’s anonymous.

Forrest: Okay. Boy I’m in trouble now.

Male: Was the car you walked back to after hiding the treasure rented?

Forrest: Was it rented?

Male: Was it rented?

Forrest: You know that’s the first time I’ve been asked that question. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about that. That’s why I told people that I hid the treasure chest when I was either 79 or 80 years old, because I don’t want the exact date to be known because I’m afraid somebody will go check the rental car records and how many miles did Mr. Fenn put on a truck or a car. I don’t answer those kind of questions, but shoot that person that sent that email.

Female: Back to The Thrill of the Chase, outside of the poem, approximately how many hints or clues are in the book? Would you say 10 to 20, 20 to 30?

Forrest: How may clues?

Female: How many hints?

Forrest: There are nine clues in the poem. If you read the book, there are a couple of good hints. Then there are a couple of aberrations that live out on the edge. Yes, ma’am.

Female: You say there’s nine clues in the poem. The poem has more than nine lines. Can you share with us which are exactly the lines are the clues?

Forrest: Which of the 24 lines are clues?

Female: Yes.

Forrest: Little girl I already know you. You’ve been out looking for the treasure.

Female: I’m trying to help everybody else.

Forrest: She already knows what the clues are. No I don’t want to do that.

Female: Okay.

Forrest: She’s scary too. Have I talked enough?

Male: No.

Male: I don’t have a question, but I just want mention since you’re so interested in information that the gentleman that emailed you from Lummi Island.

Male: Dal. Dal Neitzel.

Male: Lummi Island is on the far side of a reservation that’s called Lummi Reservation. He has to go through the reservation every time he goes home to catch the ferry to go out to his island. Just an interesting fact I thought you might be interested in.

Forrest: I didn’t know Dal until after I’d written my book. He came to Santa Fe because he wanted to talk to me about the book and the poem. I didn’t know the guy so I didn’t want to meet him at my home. I met him at the Collected Works Book Store in Santa Fe. He introduced himself to me with a fictitious name. He had some ulterior motives related to that. After a few minutes of conversation, I learned that his name was Dal Neitzel and that he had worked with my nephew Crayton Fenn who’s a professional deep sea diver. He found the Agamemnon, Lord Nelson’s flagship, and brought a canon up off the {?} … He has a website that’s as wonderful pictures. I don’t know what the website is, but Dal Neitzel was working with my nephew when they found I think 79 17th century sunken Spanish galleons off of Uruguay.

Dal Neitzel, his water runs deep, and he’s a really neat guy too. He runs a blog. I think he controls that whole blog. It’s very interesting. I read his blog so I can learn a lot about myself. Your friend isn’t laughing.

Male: Coming from the online site again, I’ve been asked to ask you, how many people have told you they’ve discovered the unintended clue in ‘too far to walk’ and how many were right?

Forrest: I haven’t had anybody tell me the answer to that clue. If you read my preface it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, I think what they’re talking about. There are clues in my new book that can help a person. Did I answer that question? Did it have two parts?

Male: Yes, no that was it. Now here’s a really obscure one. Is it possible to locate the treasure chest without ever leaving your computer and Google Earth?

Forrest: No, it isn’t. Did I really say that?

Male: I believe it got caught on tape.

Forrest: There’s not a picture of the treasure chest on Google Earth. Was that your question?

Male: Yes, I think that will suffice.

Forrest: Google Earth doesn’t go down far enough.

Male: Yes, sir.

Male: Tell us about the children’s little book that you have planned.

Forrest: The children’s book that I have planned?

Male: Yes, sir.

Forrest: There’s a lady that contacted me. She’s written several children’s book and she read both of my books and she said, “I want you to write a children’s book with me.” For some reason she thought I was a child, I guess, the way I write my books. I said, “Okay.” We’re thinking about that. I would like to do that. I’m not a natural writer. I struggle when I write. I think my prose looks easy, but sometimes … I said just today, “Sometimes when I get to the end of a sentence trying to write the end of the sentence, I forgot what the front part of the sentence was.” I may be running out of words.

I have three books in my computer that I’m really proud of. I would like to finish one. The main one is a book called Closet Stories of Taos. It’s about the artists and the characters, but it isn’t an art book. It’s a gossip book. It’s about Long John Dunn. That wasn’t his name at all. His name was Vigil [Vehill]. He killed two people in Texas, both of them justifiable, but the Court didn’t think so. They convicted him of first degree murder and gave him life in prison. The Sabine River down in south Texas overflowed and they let all the prisoners out to stack sandbags to protect the house and John Dunn jumped in the river and floated on a log “far from the reach of Texas Rangers”, he said. It’s a wonderful story about John Dunn.

It’s about Harsh [McHorris] who owned the first car dealership in Taos. Teracita Ferguson and there’s a great story … I don’t know whether I could tell this story in this mixed company, but I will. There were two guys down on the plaza walking around one Sunday afternoon. There were accosted by two women who wear hoods over their faces. They wanted these two men to go over to LaFonda Hotel with them because they had a room over there. These two guys didn’t want to do it. I’m not going to mention their names, but in my book I do. The two women turned to walk away and one of the men lifted the hoods of these two women. One of them was Teracita Ferguson and the other was Georgia O’Keeffe. My book is really a gossip book. It’s stories about Doc Martin and the artist. Great stories about Gas Borden, Fechen and Sharp and Couse, and Victor Higgins and some of the others.

Male: Questions? Okay then I will ask another from the online world.

Forrest: Will you quit going back to the computer?

Male: Okay, this will be the last one. Other than the one you’ve mentioned, are there any other hints in ‘too far to walk’ that would help solve the nine clues?

Forrest: There’s the major clue in the book, but I don’t think it will help you find the treasure chest. I’ll tell you what the clue is. In the back of my book, there’s a map. I’ve said that the treasure chest is hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Here’s a treasure chest of the Rocky Mountains. If you knew where the treasure chest is hidden, you could find it on this map. The map stops at Canada. The Rockies keep going up there, but I said that it’s in the Rocky Mountains which would include Canada. When this book was printed, I didn’t realize that Benchmark Maps that made this map stopped at the Canadian border. That’s a clue, but it’s not going to help you much.

Female: That’s not the clue.

Forrest: What did she say?

Male: She said that’s not the clue.

Forrest: There are no clues in this book, but there are some hints. What I tell people to do, if you’re really serious about looking for the treasure, get The Thrill of the Chase and read it. Then go back and read the poem over and over and over again. 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 to help you with the clues. Any part of some is better than no part of any. I don’t think that will help you much.

Male: If someone does find the treasure and they reveal themselves that they have found it.

Forrest: If somebody finds the treasure what?

Male: If somebody does find the treasure, and spoils your plans to cast your bones on the chest, will you find a new location and do it again?

Forrest: How do you answer a guy that asks a question like that? I don’t think so. I mean I’ve had my run.  A lot of things you can’t plan. Making plans is antagonistic to freedom. I used to tell a story in my ‘too far to walk’ book about in Santa Fe I had a Piper Malibu Mirage. It carried lots of fuel. It had 43 foot wingspan. I could go out there all by myself. Push the hanger doors open because I didn’t want anybody to help me. Crank that airplane up. Get permission from the tower to take off and head north and then turn my radios off. I had no idea where I was going to land, what I was going to see. I didn’t even care. I had six or seven hundred miles before I had to think about that. I had GPS and I had maps. I’d find a little town up in Wyoming or Idaho or someplace in Montana and look on my map and see if they had a rental car or an airport. If they did, I’d land and rent a car and go out and sit by the lake or the river. I did that.

I tell a story about that in, I think it’s Lander, Wyoming. The little Popo Agee River runs through lander. How can you not stop when little Pope Agie River runs through a town?

Female: My best friend who passed away a couple of months ago, she lived in Lander.

Forrest: She lived in Lander?

Female: Yeah.

Forrest: I’ve been to Lander a few times. It’s a typical little town. You have to love Lander. That’s grassroots America. As a matter of fact, I have a granddaughter that’s pre-med at Texas Tech University. I told her that I would pay for all of her college to get a medical degree if she would promise me that when she graduated and got her license that she would go to a little town like Lander. Set up a shingle and make house calls. She has to do that for two years. She promised me that she would to that. That’s where I am with this whole thing. Yes, sir.

Male: Forrest, did you have nine clues before you wrote the poem? Or did nine clues appear after you wrote it?

Forrest: They’re contiguous.  I knew where I wanted to hide the treasure chest, so it was easy for me to put one foot down and then step on it to get to the next foot. That’s what I did. I changed it over, I don’t know how many times. I looked up the meaning of words. You know, we really don’t know what some of our words mean. For instance what does the word several mean? S-E-V-E-R-A-L, what does that mean?

Male: Many.

Forrest: What?

Male: Many.

Forrest: No. It means more than two, but not many more than three. Isn’t that a way to define a word? More than two but not many. I doubt that anybody in this room knows that. I mean I wouldn’t know it except I’m a writer and sometimes I look things up. There are lots of words in the English language that we can’t define. Consequently we use them erroneously. How the hell did I get on that subject?

Female: Is there anything in the chest you would like back?

Forrest: Is there anything in the chest that I want back? Yeah, I want my little bracelet back. I’m glad you asked that question. Her name is M A C I. Anyway, I’ve had about 35 men or people send me an email that says I found your treasure. I’m looking at it. Of course, I don’t believe it, but I write them back and I say congratulations. I say, “Will you sell me my bracelet back?” They say, “What bracelet?” This one guy said that to me that he had my treasure chest and I said, “Well I’m interested sir, did the hot water affect the patina on the treasure chest any?” He said, “Thank you,” and hung up. He thought I had given him a clue and he’s going to go out and look in all the hot water up and down the Rocky Mountain. Everybody has their own gig. I keep saying that, but I believe it. Yes, ma’am.

Female: Have you left comparable treasure to you grandchildren sir?

Forrest: Do I have comparable treasures for my grandchildren?

Male: Yes.

Forrest: My family is taken care of. I’m another maverick in that area. The last thing I want to do is make my kids or grandkids wealthy. I was in the art business for so many years and I saw what inherited money can do. It’s the thrill of the chase. It’s the thrill in doing it yourself. I bought all my grandkids cars when they got their driver’s license. I’m paying for all their education. Then they’re on their own. First of all, I’m really not that wealthy. I mean I can live on the interest and that’s the definition of a wealthy person, I guess. Lots of things … I have everything I want, but I don’t want very much.

Female: How did you come out with the title ‘too far to walk’?

Forrest: You have to read my preface. I explain it in my preface. Let me read it to you. I’ll read the dedication.

“This book is dedicated to all who have pushed me against my will and made me a better person.”

Here’s my preface. “I put a small, rubber dingy in the Madison River a few miles from West Yellowstone Montana and fished downstream to Baker’s Hole. That part of the river was in the quietly forgotten western edge of Yellowstone Park. There were no roads, no trails, and no rangers to tell me that I wasn’t supposed to do that. The river distance was about ten miles, and the best fishing was in the bends where the water turned greenish deep and beautiful. The small boat containing my camping gear was tethered to my belt and as I leisurely walked in the quiet river, I spent three days there casually casting my fly and enjoying the solitude. The river experience, it cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that someday I would make that trip again. That day never came for me and my disappointment still casts a lonesome shadow across the Madison River. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.

That’s where I got the title. Yes, sir.

Male: Forrest, may I suggest that you tell the audience, those of who aren’t searchers.

Forrest: What?

Male: Tell those in the audience who are not searching why the phrase too far to walk is so important?

Forrest: I didn’t say it was important. That part of my preface I think is a metaphor for my entire life. Looking back, I’ve done some things that I’m not going to brag about, but I’m also not done some things that I wished I had. As a matter of fact in ‘The Thrill of the Chase’ I talk about writing my obituary. My, what do you call it?

Female: [inaudible]

Forrest: Yeah, I wish I could have lived to do the things I was attributed to. See there? She feels the same way about that. I had my gallery for 17 years in Santa Fe and I had no education. I’d been a fighter pilot all my life. When I opened my business I didn’t have a painting, knew nothing about business, knew nothing about art. I had to start from scratch. My first two shows I didn’t sell so much as a book. I finally told myself … I had a little bit of money left that I had saved 20 years in the Air Force. I said “I’m going to spend this money advertising and if that doesn’t work I’m going to slam the door and go do something else.” It started working for me.

I learned to play monopoly in my art gallery. Every time I sold a painting, I took the profit and bought two paintings. Then I took the profit and bought four paintings. Over a period of time, it took me two years before I could finance my gallery out of accounts receivable. I learned a lot along the way. There’s so much to learn. I learned that when I needed somebody to work in my accounts receivable and accounts payable office, that’s a very important job. In a business, everything depends on cash flow.

This lady came to see me. She wanted to work for me, and I needed somebody in accounts receivable and accounts payable. I said, “Let me think about it overnight.”  About 8:00 that night, I went to her house and knocked on her door. She let me in. I wanted to see what kind of housekeeper she was. If there’s stuff laying all over the floor, she’s not going to work in my accounts receivable. I want her working as a salesman out front. Different personalities have different … I’ve always said that salesmen like school teachers have shelf lives. It’s about six years. Dorothy will say that’s not true. If you own you’re own business it’s a little bit different.  I learned a lot in the art business. I learned a lot about people. I learned a lot about business and I learned a lot about life.

So many writers, I don’t want to be critical, but I know so many writers that are so much better than I am. Everything is researched perfectly. Everything is correct. The commas are in the right spot. You go right down the center line. I told this writer today, she should be writing Encyclopedia Britannica’s. It’s no fun to read. Everything’s there but it’s no fun. I said how are you going to know where the edge is if you don’t go out there and look? I never wanted to go down the center line. I want to bounce off the curbs. I think I’ve done that. I got caught a few times.

If I had my life to do over … I said in one of these books, if I had my life to do over, I’d change nearly everything. Why do the same thing over and over again? You read in these different magazines. They ask a question, “What would you change in your life?” “I wouldn’t change anything. Everything’s been perfect.” I think that’s such a thing to say. Why do the same thing over again? Nothing wrong with slamming a door and starting out new again.

“Out of the night that covers me, dark is the pit from pole to pole. I thank whatever God’s may be for my unconquerable soul.” I think that’s a good place to stop, don’t you?

Male: I agree.

Forrest: Thank you.


Forrest Gets Mail – 14

I love emails like this one from Diane. Makes me wish I could go back to the starting place and experience all of the things I might have done, but didn’t.

I have a technicolor picture of me running through the brambles with Diane.

It is comforting that the treasures chest thread has brought so many of us together in a kindred way. I feel like I know that girl who played with hobos. f


My grandfather was a train engineer.  He used to do a big train whistle out of town so my grandmother could hear to let him know he was on the way, and she’d tell me to take off running. I would run like the dickens through the bramble, and meet his train on the edge of Lewistown, Mt., and he would stop it to a complete halt, then let me on, and I got to drive the train all the way through Lewistown, Mt., then I would hop off, with the train building steam and run back to grandma’s house.  Never fell once.  I remember the train would slow down slow, then come to a complete halt like how I think warm waters halt.

One of my favorite things to do is go in to town and have lunch with the “young hobos” who hop the trains out of Colorado Springs.  My Sunday hobo church.  They grab food from people coming out of the cafes and eat it up like morsels form heaven.  Took me only a day to adjust to their routine.  They are brilliant poets, just like Forrest.  A few are banjo players, and they are peaceful, but not for the meek.  They are totally free to ride the rails to the next adventure, and I live vicariously through them, as I also love the rails.
I’m new to the chase, and am having fun studying my stacks of maps, and the poem, and I giggle a lot when I wonder- “What would Bubba do?”



Forrest Gets Mail From a Middle School Class


Thank you Karen,

I will try to answer the questions for your students. I received about 30 emails and was a little overwhelmed. That’s why I didn’t respond to more than I did. My answers follow the student’s questions and are in bold type.

I can see by the first question that your students probably are not asking what they want answered. I will answer the questions as presented and not judge them. I will also leave your students with a poem. It is not a reflection on anyone, or the questions, but something for them to think about.

Today as I went up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, oh how I wish he’d go away.


Can you describe the first and last time you visited your secret fishing spot?
Yes, I went in my car both times and the sun was shining.

Also you said gold. In the canyon we are guessing the sunset make the rock look like gold is this significant to the place where you hid the treasure.
I am sure the rock would think so.

Does the 4 line in each stanza have a significance to when you hid the treasure.

Would you please give us a list of all your friends/superiors in the Vietnam war?
There are several hundred. Would you like the names alphabetical?

Could you also tell was time of year you hid the treasure?
Yes, it was summer.

We have a guess about where the treasure is hidden, and we were wondering if you could give us some feedback on it.
Yes, I think I could.

We believe that the treasure is hidden near agua fria peak, New Mexico.
I think that is very interesting.

Our group also thinks if it is not hidden there, then it might be hidden some where near Cimarron canyon.
The canyon is very long so if you go searching there please be prepared.

Our final guess is that the treasure may be along road 156 in Wyoming. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help us in our class!
You cannot solve the problem by starting in the middle of the poem. You should start with the first clue and then solve the other eight in order.

What is your favorite thing about the place where you hid the treasure?
It is in a place that is dear to me.

When was the first time you went to the place where you hid the treasure?
I don’t want to answer that question. It is more of a clue than I want to give.

What is your favorite outside activity?

When was the last time you went to the place with the treasure was hidden?
A few years ago.

Did you name the poem The Thrill of the Chase?
No. I forgot to name it.

Were you close to your father?
I think I was closer in my memory of him than in practice.

Does Bighorn Canyon,WY ring any bells in your past?
Or does Black Canyon,CO ring any bells?
What do you mean by “ringing bells”

What is the emphasis of “where warm waters halt”?
I don’t understand the question.

What does “warm” mean to you?
It means being comfortable.

Where did you mostly go during your lifetime?
Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States.

When did you find this spot to bury the treasure like year?
I have not said that I buried it, and I don’t want to reveal when I discovered the spot. It is too much of a clue.

Does a blaze mean the treasure?
Not in my dictionary.

Why did you hide the treasure where you hid it?
I love the way you worded that question. I think you are going to be a science fiction writer. The answer is in my book, TTOTC.

What inspired your passion for art?
I have no passion for art. It was only a business to me.

Who was your biggest influence growing up?
My father and my football coach.

Why did you choose the specific riches in the treasure?
Because I needed them to put in the treasure chest.

Have you ever revisited the place you hid it?

How did the Vietnam War affect you?
It made me more forgiving, more considerate, and more aware that we need to leave other people alone.

What time of year did you hid the treasure?

Is there is specific reason that halt and walk are the only words that do not follow the  rhyme scheme?
Yes, I was limited by my ability.

What is your favorite place to be? or river?
In my home in Santa Fe.

Where was your favorite place? Why?
Why don’t you ask me how deep is a hole? I cannot single out one to be my favorite.

Why did you marry?
Because I was able to find a woman who was much better than me, and then spent 63 years hoping she wouldn’t find out.

What is “too far to walk” to you?
It is the name of a book I wrote.

Who were your partners in the Air Force?
I had no partners sir.

When you wrote the poem, were you thinking about fishing
No, I was thinking about the poem.

What was your favorite Hike/Trail Yellowstone.?
Trails are not favorites of mine. I always hiked off trails. Why go where everyone else had gone. The rangers didn’t like that, but I did and I was the one doing it. Do you see my logic?

Did it lead to the top of a waterfall?
Some did but most didn’t.

Where did you catch the Fish that you still have a memory.
In Alaska.

If so, why do you remember that memory?
Because a 900 pound bear also wanted it. Guess who won?

What type of fish did you like fishing for?
Trout, bass, perch and catfish.

What Is Blaze?
Anything that stands out.

How hard was it to write the poem and not give the location away?
It was not hard at all. I just had to stay focused.

In the poem, Thrill of The Chase when you talk about “Not far, but too far to walk” and “Take it in the canyon down,” is it referring to a waterfall.
You guys seem to be hung up on waterfalls. Don’t try to change my poem to fit your ideas.

We were also wondering if you could tell us anything about “The home of the Brown.

“Do you “check” on the treasure every once in awhile to see if it is still in tact.
Do you mean as opposed to being torn apart? I feel sure it is still intact.

And does anyone know for sure where it is, for example, your wife, or closest friend?
No one knows where it is but me.

We are looking into places in New Mexico and we are curious if we are in the right direction.
Go back to the poem and start with the first clue.

When was the last time you have been to where the treasure is hidden?
A few years ago.

Forrest Gets Mail – 12

Hello Mr. Fenn!

My name’s Kenda.  Had a strange thing happen the other day –involves you oddly enough

I watched Destination Unknown “Finding Fenn’s Treasure” on 1/13, Friday evening

I’m a paranormal researcher, I record ghost voices…  been doing it on a regular basis for 10 years now.

Saturday morning -5 am EST, (3 am your time)  I did a recording session.   A voice that sounds an awful lot like you is speaking on it.   It’s not unusual for sleeping people to show up on recording, happens pretty regularly…no rhyme or reason to it actually.



Now, I don’t speak at all during the “answer” parts of the recording, only when asking questions.

Vocally, I’m 99.999% sure it’s you; got the accent, cadence, everything!

Just thought you might find it interesting  –I definitely do

I did a video of it if you’d like to hear it —  (incidentally, I was asking about the existence of Bigfoot at the time –“You” suggested I STOP asking about it considering  “THEY COULD BE FROM THE PRIMATE FAMILY” )


Here’s the link to the video…
FORREST FENN (Pure EVP) Sleeping Forrest Messages

Forrest Gets Mail – 11


Mr. Fenn,
I am a professional poker player living in Las Vegas… im 44 years old and I came to Vegas when I was 19 to pursue a career  in playing Blackjack… (not such a good idea btw) and have been here ever since. I received your book for Christmas (never heard about your story) and I will be trading in gambling on cards for gambling in the wilderness. Should be fun.

I recently purchased 10 books and have decided I need 10 partners and figured the best way to find 10 people I can trust* was to send it off to 10 inmates serving life sentences… figured they have the time and won’t be looking themselves😀😀.

I chose 9 men and 1 woman. I’m thinking my best shot is the Unibomer Ted Kaczynski.. as he is a pretty brilliant guy and also lived in Montana for a number of years… I have 1 question, Has anyone ever told you they were doing this also?

Hope this finds you well,


Chasing Words…


SUBMITTED January, 2017
by dal


People think I am a genius!

Okay…maybe none of you think that…but my mom does.

Truth is…for the last couple of days I have been using a sophisticated, yet easy to use tool that gives me precise locations to hundreds of Forrest Fenn quotes. This TOOL was created by J. C. Merritt, AKA JCM and I find it indispensable. Not only is it a great tool…but I have fun playing with it too…

It’s a sophisticated research document tiled “Chasing Words of Forrest Fenn” This document is 82 digital pages with clickable links to quotes and topics by Forrest that appear digitally in TV and radio interviews, magazines, email, various blogs, websites and forums…This thing is absolutely WONDERFUL!

For instance…today I needed to figure out where Forrest talked about “where warm waters halt”, and what he said about it. So I opened up my electronic version of Mr. Merritt’s book and in the search mechanism I typed “warm waters”.

PRESTO…95 clickable links that will not only take me to where Forrest actually utters or pens the words “warm waters” but includes places where others have quoted Forrest talking about, “warm waters”.

Anyone who spends time trying to dig out the truth from the fiction about what Forrest has actually said is going to NEED this electronic book.

I cannot imagine the number of hours Mr. Merritt has tossed into this project…well…actually I can, which is why I never tried to put one together myself…

Most importantly…it’s easy to use on your own computer…no matter what kind you use…

But I think I’ve yapped on long enough…

Oh…one more thing…

Forrest has not stopped talking or writing yet…so there will be more quotes to add to this document…and if you buy one now…the updates are minimal for future editions…I think I heard $3…

This is great…valuable,,,important if you take the search seriously…

Did I mention that it’s an instant download?…buy it today and get it today..

PS-I am NOT getting money or favors from Mr Merritt for promoting his book. I bought the combined version and paid the full price for it and I love the darn thing. Finally…something useful and beneficial to the chase.

Click HERE to go to Mr. Merritt’s promotion for the book and buy one



No Hoax Folks…


by dal


I have been confronted by a few folks over the past six years who have claimed Forrest’s Treasure Hunt to be a big fat hoax and those of us who pursue it to be as clueless as Inspector Clouseau. “Forrest”, this small band of naysayers squeal, “is pulling wool over our eyes”, “a puppet master yanking our strings”, “a wealthy man teasing us working class stiffs with promises of gold and gems that never existed.”

Their reasoning seems to ride on a few self absorbed claims, to wit:

“I solved the poem but when I got to the chest’s location it wasn’t there, so it must not exist.”


“I am a puzzle master and I have an IQ of 162. The poem is unsolvable therefore the treasure does not exist.”


“No one would do such a thing as hide a treasure worth millions.”


“You all have been looking for that chest for years now. If it was real you’d have found it.”

You get the picture. And for proof that what they proclaim is fact, they offer the following evidence-


But fair is fair…so what proof do I have that the treasure is real?


So where are we? Forrest says that the only proof he could offer would be to take us to the chest, and he isn’t going to do that. So Forrest can offer no proof that the chest exists and those who believe it’s a hoax have no evidence that it does not exist. Is this a stalemate? Forrest’s word against the naysayers?


I think it’s more than that. Although I have no proof that the chest exists I do have some pretty convincing evidence that it does. Listen up!

Let’s begin at the beginning. Did the chest ever exist?

Yes. We have a couple photos of the chest. At least one with some gold nuggets and a lot of gold coins.


These photos were taken before the valuable contents were finalized so they do not show all the jewelry or many of the gemstones or other goodies that Forrest has told us are inside it today. We know where and approximately when those photographs were taken by a Santa Fe professional photographer. Further, we have eyewitness accounts from folks who saw the chest before it was hidden. Forrest says that over 100 people saw that chest when it was in his vault. I have personally met at least 10 people who saw the chest in Forrest’s vault before it was hidden. One of them is a close friend who also hefted the chest and agrees that it weighed around 40lbs. My friend tells me that the chest in Forrest’s vault was the same chest that is in the photos. He saw it several times and it usually had different items in it each time he saw it. One day when he visited Forrest it was no longer there.

So we have photos and first hand accounts from eyewitnesses that the chest did exist and that it was in Forrest’s home and then one day it was simply not there. We know without a doubt that the chest with treasure inside existed.

Could Forrest have actually filled the chest with millions of dollars in baubles and artifacts, gold coins and nuggets and then hid it without anyone knowing where?

To answer this question I’ll approach it like a detective…I am looking for Means, Motive and Opportunity.


It does not seem far fetched at all for Forrest to have access to the kinds of items he has described are in the chest. Forrest found, collected. traded, won and bought items from thousands of clients over 18 years in the art and artifact business professionally. Prior to that he traded and hunted items for at least 30 years as an amateur collector. Although he specialized in American western and southwestern items, his collection today includes objects from around the globe. He has owned individual items valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars and collections of items worth millions. Forrest, Peggy and the IRS are probably the only three entities that know precisely how much Forrest has made but his wealth has been estimated by journalists to be well over several million. Forrest had access to items beyond the ordinary. These items would be unobtainable by most of us. Further, Forrest has provided individual photographs and intriguing descriptions of many of the objects in the chest. It seems quite clear he had the means to obtain and fill the chest with the unique and valuable items said to be inside. Even more evidence of the likelihood that the chest is filled with valuable items can be had by viewing Forrest’s collection today. One quick walk through his office will inform even the diehard skeptic that Forrest has collected items worth millions of dollars. His personal collection is filled with thousands of beguiling and extraordinary artifacts.


Nothing focuses the mind like the ultimate deadline…impending death. Remember that this whole treasure hunt was planned by Forrest when he believed he had only a few months to live with an incurable cancer. He was going to take some of his collection with him. His plan was to fill the chest with a few of his favorite pieces, gold coins and gemstones and move it to a “special place” he had known about for awhile and at this spot next to his chest, end his life. He would die on his own terms rather than let the cancer slowly destroy his body and mind. His death bed would become a hidden cache like those left by earlier mountain dwellers, hundreds…even thousands of years ago. Forrest wrote a poem with clues to where he and his chest would be sequestered. His intent was to have folks look for his special place and the finder would be welcome to take the chest and it’s contents.

“….Take the chest but leave my bones alone.”

Forrest was motivated partly by admiration for early hunters, traders and travelers and partly by a desire to give back some of the experiences he has enjoyed.

But then he got well and that ruined his plans. So Plan B evolved. He already had the chest and the artifacts. Why did death have to play a part in the game?


As a child Forrest was given a great deal of freedom to make his own choices. Here are some examples:

Take-off on a horse-riding adventure into the mountains of problem.

Skippy and Forrest cruising north thru four states in a not-so-fine jalopy to work out their own issues and problem.

A fishing guide at 13 responsible for guiding and feeding and getting everyone safely there and problem.

Head off into the woods to log on your own with little in the way of provisions or problem.

These are events that shape your life. No adults to run for when things go backward…you just figure it out and continue on. Forrest was very social yet terribly independent as a teen and those qualities stuck with him as an adult. He often had no assistance in figuring out how to do things. He just worked through it on his own. As a result, he became a very creative problem solver because there was often no one around to seek sage advice from.

As an adult Forrest enjoyed short adventures such as taking off from his military job to look for artifacts and meet up with others who collected and traded. Since Peggy was not always interested in these adventures Forrest often went alone. In the gallery business he would leave for days at a time on missions to acquire paintings or private collections. Even after he sold the gallery his collecting continued and his solo treks to procure items for his personal collection or information for his books took him away from home for days at a time. Peggy and the girls understood this part of Forrest’s character and were comfortable with Forrest leaving for a few days whenever he needed too.

Forrest leaving for a few days, even when he was 79 or 80 would not have raised any eyebrows among his family.  In fact, for Forrest to stop heading out on small adventures would have been cause for alarm since he had been disappearing, on his own, periodically, from childhood. It is perfectly likely that he could have placed the chest and goodies in his car and driven, days if necessary, to the correct location and made two trips from his car to the hidey spot and then driven home with no one knowing what he was up to.

So Forrest had all the needed elements in a good detective novel to complete his mission..He had motive, means and opportunity.

But wait! There’s more!


To a trader or collector whose good name means everything when it comes to business opportunities an excellent reputation is something to strive for and protect. Forrest’s gallery was “Fenn Galleries”. He wanted his name attached to it. He wanted people to know who they were doing business with as well as what that person stood for. In the art business where scandal and forgeries loom large in headlines, trust is supreme. Folks who plunk down hundreds of thousands of dollars for a Chagall or a de Kooning want assurance that it’s the real thing. Yet, there are never any absolute assurances in the art business. Trust and reputation are everything. Folks who have trusted Forrest have invested wisely. His reputation as an honest dealer is supreme…even today, more than 25 years after he sold his gallery.

There are always naysayers and Forrest has been investigated more than once but nothing has ever come of any attacks on his reputation or honesty. Writers Michael McGarrity and Douglas Preston have both said to my face that there is no question in their minds that Forrest is honest in his dealings and that his treasure chest story is absolutely true. In fact, it appears that the only people who believe the treasure chest is a hoax, are those who don’t know Forrest. Perhaps they are skeptics because they know that they would never do anything like this themselves and simply cannot understand anyone who would.


It has been ridiculously tossed about more than once that Forrest created this treasure hunt to line his own pockets, that it is nothing more than a scheme to sell his book, The Thrill of the Chase and pocket the profits. Anyone who has done the slightest investigation into The Thrill of the Chase can see that there is no money in the sales of that book, nor any other, for Forrest. Forrest gave the rights to sell the book to an independently owned, small bookstore in Santa Fe called Collected Works Bookstore. They are the only bookstore that sells TTOTC new. When they sell a copy 10% goes to a Cancer Fund that Forrest started. The rest is theirs. Forrest does not see anything from the sale of those books.

Additionally, Forrest has all the money he needs. His worth is reputed to be above several million. One of his stated goals was to never sell anything where his best client paid him $100. So it’s unlikely that selling a $35 book that probably cost $25 to print and ship was an incentive to “line his pockets”.


What possible value could a hoax be to Forrest? His reputation is already well defined. Forrest’s stature as honest and trustworthy is beyond reproach by persons who know him well enough to voice a worthwhile opinion. A hoax would destroy his reputation forever.

We know the beautiful bronze chest rested in Forrest’s vault because many have attested to seeing it there. We have seen photos of it brimming with gold.

Forrest had the motivation, means and opportunity to hide that chest and therefore, likely did hide it. He has no need for any monetary reward that selling books might bring and he has divested himself of all income from the books anyway.

So it seems that even though we have no proof that Forrest hid the treasure chest, the evidence strongly suggests that he did…and that’s good enough for me to head out into the “wood” and try to find it.

It’s a lot of should try it too…