A New Mexico Solution…

by Morrison James Tayn-

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.

(1.) “Begin it where warm waters halt”
Solve: Warm waters halt disease.
Location: “10,000 Waves” Spa Resort – Hot water Spa at 3451 Hyde Park Road, Santa Fe.
Note: This spa has been there for 30 years using the traditional Japanese Hot water therapy.

(2.) “And take it in the canyon down,”
Location: Follow Hyde Park Road (Ski Basin Road #475) in a canyon, towards the mountains
Note: You enter the canyon “down” before Hyde Park road ascends.

“Not far, but too far to walk.”
Instruction: 8 miles up to Ski Sante Fe Mountain
Note: 8 miles walking up 3600 feet, takes over 6 hours

(3.) “Put in below the home of Brown.”
Solve: In spanish “Home” is “Casa” and “Brown” is “Cafe”.
Location: Take the Winsor trailhead (#254) below the “Casa Café” at Ski Santa Fe Mountain, off of the parking lot.
Head towards the Borrego (#150) / Bear Wallows (#182) trail loop via Winsor Trail (#254).
Note: The trailhead is 10200 feet. Fenn, as per Dal, has said the treasure is specifically below 10,200 feet.

(4.) “From there it’s no place for the meek,”
Solve: “Borrego” is Portuguese for a gentle or meek person.
Location: At the trail fork of Borrego Trail (#150) & Winsor Trail (#254) continue on Winsor Trail (#254)

(5.) “The end is ever drawing nigh;”
Location: Consider a left off of Winsor Trail (#254), Bear Wallows Trail (#182)
Note: “Nigh horse” is on the left. The “Nighest route” is the most direct route. Creeks are “ever drawing” water

(6.) “There’ll be no paddle up your creek,”
Location: Investigate the shallow creeks along and off Bear Wallows and possibly Winsor trail. Head “up” creek.

(7.) “Just heavy loads and water high.”
Solve: You “bear” heavy loads and a ship “wallows” or rolls from side to side in water high as per Oxford Dictionary.
Location: Search Bear Wallows Trail (#182) for the blaze, most likely located up a side creek.

(8.) “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,”
Instruction: Look for a possibly “white” marked boulder 200+ feet up a side creek.
Note: Fenn says seekers have been within 200 feet of the treasure and describes, in triplicate, blazes as being “white”.

(.9) “Look quickly down, your quest to cease,”
Note: The chest is not buried but most likely covered or hidden in a hollow tree, root hollow, or rock crevice and it is “wet” as per Fenn, signifying it may be placed right in a shallow creek.

But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that 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,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.

Map (Road in Black, Trails in Red)

(10.) Shortcut:
Bear Wallows Trail (#182) and Borrego (#150) are accessible from a small parking area, half way up Ski Basin Road #475.

-Morrison James Tayn


Winter Thoughts….

by Tom Terrific


“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”
-Colin Powell

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
-Jonas Salk

“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for real.”
-Tupac Shakur

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
-Albert Einstein

Forrest Fenn a retired Major USAF, noted art dealer and antiquities expert hid a bronze treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM. Forrest said he hid the chest when he was 79 or 80. So 2010 is my opinion of the date and probably on his birthday since he turned 80 on August 22nd of that year.

I was born in New Mexico and live in northern New Mexico spent most (except Navy during Vietnam) of my 70 years collecting anthropologic artifacts, fishing, hunting, exploring, Kayaking, rafting, backpacking etc. I am well versed in local Native American Lore, understand and speak Spanish at an acceptable level, also have a CDIB card and I am a tribal member of the Muskogee Creek Nation.

What I have compiled here is a reading and opinion of the treasure map poem of Forrest Fenn AKA (also known as) “ff” or “f” and how the local and indigenous people view his words and their meanings.

In his map written in poetic form, I will make an effort here to back up my opinions with the corresponding statements where ff and others are concerned, some of these statements were not written down, but I have witnesses to verify they were said, starting in 2010 through today.

ff has said there are 9 clues in the poem, per page 132 “Thrill of the Chase” AKA TTOTC, furthermore he said on page 133 there are “hints” sprinkled in the TTOTC Book. But in my opinion he has never mentioned that there’s  not only 9 clues inside the poem, but  there are almost certainly HINT’S in his poem as well, although to my knowledge he has never said that.* If the poem is in fact a map (pathway) to the Treasure then like most maps it could (should) have a key or legend to be understood. On the “Mysterious Writings’ blog on Feb 04, 2014 under “Six Questions Jenny Kile quoted  ff   “It is interesting to know that a great number of people are out there searching. Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.  The treasure may be discovered sooner than I anticipated”.  Also stated this quote to Jenny Kile:  August 15, 2015 * “It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Is someone doing that now and I don’t know it? It’s not what they say on the blogs that may be significant, it’s what they whisper. f.”  Did you ever think how often giving your kids a “hint”  is like that, a whisper, sometimes it speaks louder than telling them the answer they need to choose?

Often a map’s key or legend is at the beginning so one doesn’t get lost in the details, that is IMO our case here,  hints and clues that described the translation of poetry into geographical places, rarely, if ever has that process been done. Looking in the first stanza we even see him use the word HINT, it should become apparent to you that knowing the difference between a clue and a hint is valuable.

The first 4 lines set up a hint of what the “Hidey Spot” is or may look like because it starts with the word AS, as he may have gone there with someone else in the past, I believe that someone was his father.

Background for that statement comes from this experience of the 2 leaders and members of www.nmtreasure.com.:  In November of 2013 an Emmy Award winning film crew called www.moonshots productions.com were hired by “Animal Planet Network” to film a pilot series of reality actors for a possible long term production based on Treasure Hunting. My brother and I were selected along with 3 other members of our group, a young couple who were already actors and my wife who is also a native New Mexican. Eric Hartman ehartman@moonshot-productions.com  and his assistant Dave, film crew were all part of the www.moomshots.com  who interviewed Forrest in November, 2013, Forrest told them “His father would know where he hid the treasure.”  Eric and Dave told us what ff had said to them on that following November day in 2013 just prior to our filming.

Moonshot’s passed this info out but not many people seem to know about it, this may have happened because ff would not sign a contract as an actor with them for “Animal Planet Pilot Series” this lack of approval by ff may have caused a problem for more filming. Everyone in our group signed contracts before they filmed us, there was about 11 hours of video made of us cracking jokes, speculation of the meaning of the clues and hints, and just capturing the beauty of Northern NM. My wife who has a great voice even sang the State Song,” O Fair New Mexico”. We all thought this would be a regular feature on Animal Planet.

Primarily we took the film crew along the Rio Grande Gorge and into Taos and the Angel Fire area near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Moreno (Brown) Valley at The Black Lake.

Because Forrest had said to the film crew that “His father would know where he hid the treasure chest” AKA (TC) We started to examine that statement with a magnifying focus on what this “allegedly” privileged info meant.  Since this info was never shared with the public we read a lot about what ff had said about his father, ff said according to Taylor Clark of California Sunday Magazine 07/15/15  “I thought I was gonna die,” Fenn explained recently in his feathery Texas drawl. “I kept asking the guy who gave me radiation what my chances were, and all he would say was, ‘Mr. Fenn, you’ve just got an uphill battle.’” Two years earlier, Fenn’s father had also been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and he had taken what Fenn saw as the dignified way out: a handful of sleeping pills. Facing that fate with terminal cancer 1987-1988 ff somehow survived and recovered. His suicide pact was similar to his fathers, except the place would be in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, NM at the same place where the TC is hidden now.”

Suddenly a set of very large gears began to click and moved heavy loads in my mind, these gears were as big as a Steam Locomotive’s Transmission, knowing In fact Forrest father, William Marvin Fenn had told Forrest this; “Grab every banana,” his father used to say while they were out on hunts together, baffling his son.
One day ff’s father elaborated: “He said, son, the train doesn’t go by that banana tree but one time, so you reach as far out as you can, because every banana you don’t grab is a banana you’ll never have.” This, according to Newsweek Magazine writer BRENT HUMPHREY. ff admits he never understood exactly what that meant, but perhaps he does now. I think you get where I am going with this if you are studying ff and his memoirs. On page 42 of the “TTOTC” ff said “The Katy Rail Road tracks were about half-mile from our house and late at night I could hear the steam engines puff and the engineers blow their air horns. It was a soothing sound and sometimes I think I can still hear when the wind is out of the east.” From an early age Steam Trains in my opinion were fascinating to ff, pulling heavy loads and filled by water (towers) high.

 Admittedly ff has worn many hats in life, one of the earliest was fishing guide as told in “Thrill of the Chase, page 124, he, along with his father and brother all worked at a trout fly fishing store tying flies and fish guiding for pay. ff naturally became aware of how to catch trout and because of that experience  he would certainly know of each state’s fishing regulations, which were published (Game and Fish Proclamation) each year in the 4 possible TC states; Mt, Wy, Co and NM.

We now come to what I and many searchers think is probably the 1st Clue in the poem, but remember we have already received in the first stanza what is IMO “hints” the words “AS, HINT, BOLD, NEW and OLD.”  What may be the 1st (actual) “CLUE” after those “hints” may be “Begin it where warm waters halt” from line 1 of the second stanza (WWWH). Since I too have fished since childhood in New Mexico, and Colorado, there is only one place where I have ever in my 70 years heard those exact words “WWWH”, and that is in the New Mexico Game and Fish Proclamation, which stated for many years on the various rivers or mountainous streams at a certain spot: www (regulations) halt and (then) cold water regulations begin.

Next is the descriptor and IMO possible 2nd clue, second stanza line #2 “take it in the canyon down” only one definition of canyon exists and only one commonly used for down, and the Rio Grande to my knowledge is the only major river that goes South (down) out of the Rockies, it starts near Telluride, Co and travels east toward Alamosa, Co then almost due south to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico at Brownsville, Tx along the Old Mexico border a distance of 1885 miles.

According to NM Game and Fish at one time 1950’s through 1990’s
Where Warm Water Regulations Halted” on the Rio Grande was at the bridge in Embudo (funnel)NM  near the old Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road Station. The Rio Grande is AKA also know as: RIO BRAVO (brave river) in Old Mexico.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embudo,New_Mexico

you are now at that point near the bottom of the Rio Grande Gorge just over 5,800 feet. Since we think we got wwwh and canyon down, our opinion was to consider the next line as a hint, the jury is still out, but the line “Not far, but too far to walk” seems simple enough to us at www.nmtreasure.com, you either drive from there at Embudo, or you take the “Train” after all it is too far to walk.

Possible 3rd clue from line 4 of poem, second stanza says If you “Put in below the home of Brown,”  yes the Rio from the Embudo northward is a world famous producer of monster size BROWN TROUT, regulations change and fishing for Browns from there is rouged, treacherous and almost impassible, possible matching our next line and perhaps 4th clue, line 1 stanza three says “From there it’s no place for the meek” the poem does not “insist” (from there) that we go there, just that it is simply scary, just examine it on Google Earth, it is hard to imagine a rougher terrain to walk so let’s ride the train and when it stops we will grab every banana.

“The end is ever drawing nigh” possibly 5th clue, line 2 third stanza, so if we had put into the Rio Grande at Embudo and traveled up no place for the meek (gorge) (canyon) to its end, near Telluride, Co we would have to make a turn to the left, or “nigh” at Alamosa, Co and why did this clue include the word Drawing? DR is the initials of the Denver and Rio Grande RR which splits at Embudo, NM and up the tracts you could either travel to Chama, NM or Antonito, Co.  Both are 90 miles away from the city or limits of Santa Fe, NM. So Why 90 miles see answer below.* Also there are only two places where this Denver and Rio Grande Rail Road still has passenger travel one is rebadged  the Cumbress and Toltec scenic RR and the other is Durango and Silverton

We shall concentrate on the Cumbress and Toltec because its tracks follow the course of the ‘Pinos (pine) river” all the way to Antonito Co. Near Manassa, Co where the Pinos (Pine) empties into the Rio Conejos, and the Conejos empties into Rio Grande at Alamosa, Co. Interestingly it is exactly 90 miles from inside Santa Fe city limits according to Google Earth to Chama, NM and Antonito, Co and most importantly 90 to the “Toltec Gorge.” 90 seems to be an important number, mentioned at least 3 times in TTOTC Book page 57 it was 90 feet of water in Cozumel Mexico that Skippy, ff’s brother tragically drowned in and was also how far ff had to fly Olga’s Ashes, see page 116 of TTOC but a careful study of the Thrill Book on page 51 you realize who is on that page, father and Skippy, then notice the postmark which is circled shows (only) the #141, oddly there are 19 postmarks in the TTOTC Book, but all the rest are on even # pages, ask yourself what the statistical odds of that being accidental hint, over a million to 1? Now what is the sum of 141 minus 51? 90 again!

Now what does the name “Toltec” suggest and the name “Cumbress”?  Perhaps important ideas may come to your mind once you know what these names are famous for; ff said he felt like an “Architect” after he constructed the poem, well in Old Mexico and throughout North America the ancient “Toltec’s” were the “greatest builders”, famous for their “ARCHIECTURE”, and “Construction” now the term “Cumbress” in Spanish means Summit, which is 10025’ at the highest point on these Rail Road Tracks. The lowest point on Denver and Rio Grande is a little over 5,000’ According to Google Earth.

Where have we heard those numbers before?  http://dalneitzel.com/cheat-sheet/  first line:  TC is located between 10,200 and 5,000 feet.

The next line and could be 6th clue which says “There’ll be no paddle up your creek” “Just heavy loads and water high”. These 2 lines from the third stanza are both part of this 6th clue in my opinion we no paddle, IMO too far to walk, so just ride the train which will go up “our wooden creek” with coal powered locomotives that use tall water towers to fill the locomotive boiler tanks, are you with me so far? If you look at the links I sent, you will see many of those water towers, and since those Rail Road Tracks were built in 1870’s thru 1890’s and carried commodities like copper, gold, silver, coal, lumber, and livestock etc.  Just what more proof do we need to infer “just heavy loads and water high.”

So now the next gear we have left to click is the “If you’ve been Wise and found the Blaze” IMO the blaze IS the Rail Road Tracks themselves I am sure it was blazing fast in the 1880’s and remember tracks are always face one way, UP! Our 7th possible clue. When asked on Mysterious Writings on April 29, 2016 “Mr. Fenn, Which direction does the Blaze face? North, South, East or West?  Foxy I didn’t take a radial off of the blaze Foxy. I’m thinking it may not be any of those directions. f”

The next shift IMO is the 8th  clue. “Look quickly down your quest cease” One of the most spectacular views along the Cumbress and Toltec Scenic RR  is called the “Toltec Gorge”, it is one of the deepest and most stunning gorge’s in the Rockies, it certainly will impress you to see it and view the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and Tombstone Memorial and Plaque which was erected in 1880 at the top of this sheer 600 ft cliff  right where the huge steam locomotive is balanced daily at the mouth of the tunnel, it’s  an absolute drop into the Rio De Los Pinos, See the sign below it reads: Passengers are requested not to throw any rocks into the gorge as fishermen are liable to be below. “”,  just  imagine that this could explain   “Look quickly down your quest to cease,”

9th and final clue may be “But tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.” IMO this photo of the Toltec is a marvel gaze, I feel the TC is near. Also duplicating go in peace thought, IMO Memorials and Tombstones make peaceful places

If you have read ff’s chapter in TTOTC Book, “My war for me” when he describes the mysterious water fall and clearing that beckoned him to visit, the place where some of those brave French soldiers who died in the Indo China war in 1947 were buried, see in TTOTC page 91 he mentions arranging an army helicopter ride and visiting that clearing where the little stream dropped so mistfully onto the rocks below.  If you use Google Earth to follow the narrow gauge tracks into the Garfield Memorial tunnel you will understand just how you must travel through a similar environment, a small river with many waterfalls, falling like a mist far below with clearings and pristine fishing, you are near the border of Colorado and New Mexico, see sign, I took photo in June 2016 and the one immediately above on September 30th 2016 I was in standing on the RR tracks for both at the border, trivial fact this train which follows the Pinos River  loops back and forth from Co into NM 11 times on its journey.

From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, from May thru October. Entrance to Garfield Memorial Tunnel has this huge granite tombstone  marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel this marker or RR tracks? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel.

 From 1970 through the present day the Cumbress and Toltec Rail Road has been carrying passengers from Chama, Nm to Antonito, Co, and vice versa, May thru October. Above tunnel has a huge granite tombstone memorial marker at the entrance, imagine how many souls could have been within 500 feet, if the TC was hidden in or near the tunnel? If you are brave, even fool hardy you may walk through the tunnel. See photo, if you stop in the middle of the Garfield Tunnel it’s exits (entrances) look like “Omega signs” one on each end < Ω tunnel Ω >.

See Rail Road Tracks on the right photo below, I was on top of the tunnel here, river below almost 1000’ drop from this vantage point.

Is it possible that Forrest and his father or other family members had ridden that Scenic Train? Perhaps even fished the Pines River 600 feet below? Is it also reasonable to think that Forrest almost certainly flew over or nearby the Toltec Gorge on his many trips into Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado? Use Google Earth to draw a straight line to Cody, Wy home of Buffalo Bill Museum, from Santa FE, NM. Do you still think it is out of the realm of possibilities? Target acquisition was what he did in Nam, now I propose he found Rocky Mountain Rivers to explore and fish, especially the ones close to home only 90 miles away from Santa Fe which he could easily journey to, fish and return home the same day.

Now I shall skip to the final stanzas and try to analyze the final “HINTS” IMO, not clues: Per TTOTC Forrest was 2 years older than his sister June and 2 years younger than brother Skippy, he was right in the middle, now the middle of Cumbress and Toltec RR is Osier Station, Co, it is 2.2 miles from Osier to Garfield memorial tunnel, on page 95 TTOTC Forrest was at that beautiful Waterfall and clearing in 1968 on December 22nd  and ff’s birthday is August 22nd , per Dal’s site, look at  page 110 of the “Thrill” Book it states that 20 students and 2 teachers filed into ff’s gallery? #22 was also the name of a very disturbing and enlightening book about pilots, their stress and their almost suicide missions:  “Catch 22”. Also #22 appears several other times in his TTOTC Book like the 22 turquoise beads on the bracelet he will buy back? But I digress; “So why is it that I must go” A line that reflects the feelings of the protagonist in Catch 22, and this line as well “And leave my trove for all to seek? The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.” They seem like lines straight out of Catch 22, and speaking of pilot stress, how much weight did ff loose in his tour in Vietnam? 22lbs perhaps? Per page 131 TTOTC ff says 20 troy oz of gold was in the chest? The whole load was 42 lbs, so minus 20 lbs and Viola! There you have 22 Lbs for the TC itself, Folks, I do not make this stuff up!  If you still do not believe read on….

Forrest responds:
“I am a very simple person and you want me to have copious meetings with lawyers, preachers, undertakers and your family. What is wrong with me just riding my bike out there and throwing it in the “water high” when I am through with it? You don’t know how many man hours I have spent on that subject. Thanks for the input but I think you should mobilize your club and hit the trail searching for the wondrous treasure. Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train. When you find the treasure please come sell me the great turquoise and silver bracelet that is in the chest. I wish now that I had kept it. f”

Duh…Forrest say what? : “Besides, I’ll probably get hit by a train!”
IMO climb the water tower ladder and hide the bike inside so no one will ever find it! This man has thought of everything, or so he said.

Treasure Hunters, Can You Hear Me NOW???

If you are riding the train from either direction, it won’t stop and let you off at the Garfield Memorial Tunnel and it becomes very dark in there so you might wanta take a flashlight, now contemplate your navel or stomach because at Osier, Colorado 2.2 miles away, the train stops, passengers disembark at this, the halfway point and eat a sandwich? Just sayin, where have we heard that before and who said it..?

By car travel up Hwy 285 from Santa Fe, NM to Antonito, Co and take a left and go about 8 mi to a town called “Mogote”, Co, turn another left there and cross the Conejos River and head for Osier Station near Toltec Gorge on Farm rd 103. From Osier is 2.2 miles distance as as a crow flies to Garfield Memorial Tunnel, but over 3 if you follow the RR Tracks, it is pretty level and easy walk, the view is spectacular!  Ice out and snow melt is about first of June. Stay on the RR tracks, walk in the wood uh duh, unless you hear a train a commin!

Somewhere near there could be his secret where. The mystery of why, only Forrest knows but it is tantalizing to imagine that ff was in this place.
Tom Terrific, Terrific as in “Enthusiastic”


A Method to the Madness…Finding WWWH

by Cynthia


Forrest has stated many times: “Start at the beginning so figure out WWWH.” Or simply, “Start at where warm waters halt.” Followed by “WWWH is the hardest part of the poem to figure out.” Yes, Forrest…we understand. Any searcher who has placed their feet on the ground traipsing from their parked car to what they think might be a good solve for where their warm waters halt , understands. I doubt if any of us know for sure if they are one of the searchers who knowingly, or unknowingly, was within 200 feet of his treasure. I’m in that boat…and I feel like I’m sinking fast.

Like many of you wiling away the days until the snow melts, re-reading TTOTC for the hundredth time, and trying to sleep while Fenn’s poem loops through your head, I wondered if there is an easier way to find a warm water spring that is not indicated as “warm” on a map. One of the conundrums I’ve noticed since the Little Girl from India appeared on MW is that since she can solve the first two clues and WWWH is probably one of the first two clues, then doesn’t that mean “it” (the warm waters) has to be identified on her map? Here is a picture of a section of the map and spring just upstream from the Red River Fish Hatchery near Questa, New Mexico. This is my story…to prove my point, maybe.

I am a map person. I have always loved road maps. When we, my family, traveled by car over 50 years ago (as interstates were still being built), I was the kid in the back seat holding the road map, squished in the middle between a brother and sister who honestly didn’t care about maps, or where we were going. They were idiots, I thought at the time.

How can a person not care where they are going and not be anxious with anticipation of what is just around the next bend? I always kept an eye on where we were to make sure my dad didn’t miss a turn…he never did…he was born with a “compass in his nose”, so to speak, and I think, luckily, I inherited the same gene. Now my entire wall is covered in large National Forest maps, and I couldn’t wait to head north to one of them, where the springs are marked by small circles, no names attached.

Saturday, Feb 4th started off just as the weatherman predicted…sunny, blue, cloudless skies with temperatures to reach the low 60’s in Albuquerque, unseasonably warm for this time of year. Molly and I hit the road…it was time to put my theory to test. I thought it might be easiest to find a warm water spring in the winter when the creek banks are snow covered. If a spring had warm water, the snow should be melted around it, right, making it easier to spot? While researching fishing spots in New Mexico, I had read that the lower portion of the Red River is popular in the winter-time because the springs above the fish hatchery helped keep the water warmer there than in other fishing places. So by deduction, I assumed that at least one of the two springs I circled on the map had warm water.

The ride up through Santa Fe, Espanola, and Taos was uneventful. It was the weekend and, despite the beautiful day, there was little traffic. I had been to the Red River Fish Hatchery 4 years ago. I smiled as I remembered my first honest to goodness boots-on-the ground search…. I was such a rookie back then. I thought I had nailed Fenn’s location and the poem would be pretty easy to follow to the loot! (I hope you all are smiling as you read this.) Boy, was I ever wrong!

Today’s search was different…I wasn’t in a quest to find Fenn’s trove but to find the little circle on my map marking a spring. I was searching for where the warm waters halt…

I parked at the far end of the hatchery, hoping no one would notice the empty truck sitting there unattended, with no one visibly walking amongst the various tanks of fish. Molly strolled freely while I snapped a few photos. Then I grabbed her leash and steered her to the path along the privacy fence, containing the off-limit properties to folks like me. We moved rapidly along the path of footprints in the snow, quiet, stealth-like, hoping no one would notice us.

The end of the path led to this property, a private residence surrounded by more fence. It looked like a lovely vacation home, or week-end retreat. A sign said “Beware of dog”. I laughed, and whistled…I wanted to see the dog. None showed up.

The narrow path now opened up into an old road. It was still partly snow covered, and where the snow had melted, the slick mud made the walking messy. But, when you are a Fenn treasure hunter, the condition of the trail does not matter. I dismissed the thought of Molly’s muddy feet and my disgustingly muddy hiking boots inside the clean truck later. We were on a mission…I couldn’t let it matter.

Within 10 mins or so we came upon a footbridge crossing the river. The snow looked quite deep on the other bank where most of its days were spent in quiet shade. There didn’t appear to be a path upstream on that side…we’d check it out on the way back.

In another 5 minutes or so I could see a spot of tiny green leaves peeking through the brush along the river. I knew it had to be the warm spring.

We carefully made our way down the short embankment to the green vegetation growing in the water there. The water trickling from the mouth of the spring was tepid, not nearly as warm as I had anticipated. But it was warmer than the river water…does this count? I didn’t know.

I poked around in the spring’s brush while Molly poked around the edge of the river. I was sort of disappointed but felt I proved a point, sort of. The snow had already mostly melted on the sunny side of the river, but the green vegetation growing in the tepid water did help identify the “warm” spring before I got to it, and I didn’t really need to touch the water to know it was “warm”. But mostly this supports my theory that the place where the warm waters halt can be marked on Little Indy’s map, but still not be identified as such. I mean, yes, you know it’s a spring, but there are a gazillion springs in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, so you have to solve the poem to identify where the right one lies; hence Forrest saying, “WWWH is the hardest part of the poem to figure out.” Capiche?

After a few more photos of the spring, we headed back to check out the footbridge before hitting the parking lot. Along the way, I noticed a few things I wanted to mention to someone…(please don’t mention this to other searchers, insert smiley face here.)

Look at this next picture. Notice how the sunny side of the river is desert-like with its rocky, sagebrush covered terrain, but the shady side has more trees and is more mountain- like. Is this why Forrest sometimes says “walk out into the desert…” and other times says ”in the mountains…”? This place looked like both.

And although I don’t think this particular section of the canyon is where Fenn’s treasure chest is hidden, I think it is “like” the place where it “could” be hidden. The spring was maybe, at the most, a half mile from the parking lot at the hatchery. Look at the path…easy, not dangerous. Take your kids and let them play in the water. No wild animals to eat them, you, or your dog. This is CNF land…so not private property as long as you don’t jump that fence. No one pointing a gun in your face because you are trespassing on their land. The road to the hatchery is open all year long since fishermen fish the river year round. (Remember, Fenn originally thought he was going to die where he hid the chest. Would he limit it to a seasonal place…one where the roads were closed due to snow for 4 months a year?) And, it’s not a busy place crawling with people, but there might be an occasional passer-by, especially if it was summer.

If any readers are freaking out now because I gave away their solve, relax. This particular stretch of canyon was written about and searched to death 4 or 5 years ago. I didn’t discover it … some earlier searchers used the tailing ponds and Pope Lake as their solutions. I prefer using an actual warm spring as my warm water. But, IMO, this is not the right one.

By the time we reached the truck, it was after 1:00 but still enough daylight to drive into the town of Red River and continue our exploration of the river itself. As I approached the Moly Mine on Rt38, I stared at the movement ahead… Holy smokes, after dozens of times driving through this area, I was finally going to see the mountain sheep. I parked along my side of the highway, turned off the engine, and watched, and took photos, and watched some more. I was in awe… Molly was not. After a quick glance, she curled up in the passenger seat and took a nap.

I hated leaving the sheep but had an agenda I wanted to finish. So on we went…into the town of Red River, a sleepy little old western ski town, a dot on the northern stretch of the Enchanted Circle.

I made our usual stop at the City Park, a dog-friendly place with dog-friendly accessories, namely poop bags and a trash can to put them in. Molly wandered aimlessly whereever her nose took her, dragging her leash behind her with nose on the ground on the scent of those noisy squirrels. Molly LOVES squirrels…coming here is a treat…we do not have squirrels at home. I used this time to call Michelle and see if she’d look on the Red River city webcam to

see if she could see us. She saw the truck and we discovered there is about a 20 second delay. Why does any of this matter? It doesn’t…but with Michelle directing me to point to align my arm in a direct path to the web camera, I found where it is located. On a pole above the Town Hall building. See the arrows pointing to it in the second picture below. (Slurbs, that black arrow is for you, my dear friend…I want all color-blind searchers to see what I see!)

We continued east on Main Street at the far end of town, going straight where the main road Hwy 38 bore off to the left. Even though this stretch followed the Red River, there was soon so much snow, I knew we would not be hiking to find any more warm water springs.

We did continue to the end of Rt 578, and I stopped to take an occasional picture or 12. I was amazed at the snow depth where the plows made snow banks along the pavement that were 8 feet high. It was a beautiful valley, even more so this day with the snow-covered terrain.

On the way back through Red River, we stopped at the Dairy Bar for a bite to eat. Then mosied on home the 3 hours or so it takes to make the drive.

If you’d like to see more pictures of our day, click on this link:

If you looked at the pictures, you can see the snow is really deep when you approach the end of Rt 578. This is where so many good trailheads begin, trails we used to backpack up to Lost Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Middle Fork Lake, Wheeler Peak the long way many years ago, trails that take fishermen to their special places. Might there be warm water springs along any of these trails or forks of the Red? I don’t know…there aren’t any tiny circles on my map. Will I hike these trails, walk along these streams, search for Fenn’s treasure here? Probably. Will I wait until May when the snow has melted from the last shady spot on these trails? Hardly! I will pack my snow shoes the next trip!

Cynthia and Molly…

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,


Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Three Point Five…


DECEMBER 20, 2016

Crew of the Candy Ann and Forrest after snatching him from the jungle in Laos. This photo was taken on December 21st after Forrest spent the night in the jungle and was rescued by these guys on the 21st.

I am toasting myself with hot chocolate because 48 years ago today I was shot down in Laos and enjoyed all of the fruits such a jungle paradise could provide. It would be my hopeful lot to retrace my steps and retrieve my pistol and Minox camera, both of which were unceremonially extracted from my person as I egressed that location, up through breaking limbs and leafs galore, via a life-saving hoist. But alas, perhaps I shall fail that rendezvous in lieu of, and deference to, demands made by my 86 year-old carcass. I guess my parachute is still hanging in that tree where I left it. I will wish it a Merry Christmas and thank it for doing a great job. Ain’t life grand? f

F-100F  Super Sabre cockpit at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Forrest flying an F-100 Super Sabre.

If you’d like to hear Forrest tell the story of being shot down and then rescued the next day follow the link below to go to a video interview of Forrest filmed by the Air Force Association a couple years ago.


The interview is in two parts. The link to the second part is on the bottom of the video page.


Angel Fire Loop Tour…



11-09-2016 (Day after Presidential election)

I awoke this morning and immediately checked the news…the election results were confirmed from nervously watching the results on the news last night before retiring. This morning’s immediate financial reaction was stocks were dipping, pesos hit a record low, and the value of gold was soaring. Wait a minute! What? Did this mean I should go searching for Fenn’s chest filled with 20.2 troy pounds of gold. YES. YES…but where to go? I didn’t have time to research the poem and come up with new solves. So I stood here in my library perusing the giant wall map of the Carson National Forest and the Enchanted Circle.


I hate to admit that I’m really stuck on this general vicinity, and I’m not ready to completely rule it out as the location of Fenn’s hidden treasure trove. Having spent a lot of time lately researching place names to match his clues in Scrapbook 107, I can’t forget the name on the envelope…U Puceet. Is Fenn saying “up-you-see-it”? Is he telling us to look up…like at a nest? Like at an eagle’s nest? Hmmm…ever since he ruled out that WWWH is not a dam, most searchers stopped going to Eagle Nest, but could it mean something else? Is this still the road less traveled?

I grabbed my backpack, put Molly in the truck, and texted Michelle that I was going on a “drive”…I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed but Eagle Nest would be on the itinerary and I wouldn’t be home before dark. I have really tired of the “low” road to Taos as well as the “high road to Taos” so decided on I-25 and the Santa Fe Trail once again. The best thing about going that way is stopping in Las Vegas for breakfast… I found the first two treasures of my morning at Pedro’s on Grand Street. A personal-size pineapple upside down cake and a peach-filled Danish, to go. The nice lady behind the counter wrapped them up and put them in a sack which I immediately placed beneath the seat to keep Molly’s drool from landing on it. We’d partake of one of them after the next stop… Charlie’s Bakery and Café on Douglas Ave where I picked up a bag of freshly made tortillas that I would take home.



Eating at Charlie’s has always been a treat, too, as it is a “special place” in itself. This next picture is for Forrest… I think I once heard that he likes eclairs.


Back to the truck I went and exchanged the pack of tortillas for Molly. I figured by now she might need a potty break and I wasn’t sure where or when the next stop would be. The walk in the weeds behind the parking lot was successful, and now it was time to eat one of those delicious-looking goodies. I shared the Danish with her… she snapped each bite from my fingers like a hungry pirannha. Then off we went again, my fingers still intact…into the wild blue yonder of northern New Mexico.

I decided to stay on the Santa Fe Trail once again. I really like the idea of Fenn using the poem to lead us from his house to the treasure. Wouldn’t it be funny if the dotted line indicating the Santa Fe Tail on this monument is right? I mean this could be a roadmap to Fenn’s gold!


Traveling north on Hwy518, I stopped long enough to take a picture of Hermit Peak…from the east this time, looking west AT it.


The rolling hills of the highlands and plains to the east of me were just as bucolic. The green fields were fading into their winter brown but still magnificent. I wondered if the driver of the lone truck on the rightside of below photo would agree.


By now I had pretty much made up my mind to do a HUGE loop “tour”. I continued north on 518 to Mora, a fairly small community who earlier settlers called San Antonio de lo de Mora, or “stopping place”. Maybe warm waters halt there as well. Regardless, for anyone interested, look up Mora in The Place Names of New Mexico…there are about half a dozen clues from the poem that fit this area. I found this road plaque on the way to Mora in the picture below interesting. Who knew? I mean about the sandstone “hogbacks”…


I had been through the Mora Valley once prior in a treasure search to reach the upper Pecos Wilderness by way of the Rio la Casa to Walker Flats.



What I remembered most were all the little pink houses…as John Cougar Mellencamp put it,

“Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me…”

How appropriate for this particular day! I rolled down my window to take pictures of a few of these little pink houses…I could smell the wood smoke from their fires used to warm the cool morning air.


Soon I entered the village of Cleveland made famous by its Roller Mill Museum. I did not stop at the mill this trip…I was on a mission. I did stop and take a couple pictures of the old Cassidy & Sons Country Store. This was where I needed to turn and follow the Rio la Casa to Walker Flats, and had a most difficult time finding this building. I mean the building was easy to find…it was the faded name that was difficult to see.


I continued north and in a few more miles came to an even smaller village named Holman. Then I saw this road sign in the picture below. Holy crap, I had missed my turn-off for Rt434 in Mora to get to Angel Fire. I chuckled and made an immediate u-turn.


Well, hell, I missed the turn onto Rt434 again and I was looking for it. Did fate just hand me four cards and a joker…should I turn around and go home? Was this an omen for something menacing about to happen? Screw it, I turned around once again and this time turned onto 434! I smiled, looked at Molly, and admitted I really wasn’t paying close enough attention to the details, apparently. She wagged her tail…not seeming to care.


In a few miles I was passing the Alpaca Farm…once again, I just stopped in my lane, rolled down the window, and snapped away. This is one of the best things about parts of New Mexico, as well as the other three treasure states…there just ain’t much traffic once you leave the city!


I continued north on the increasingly narrow, twisting road, the broad pastural valley filled with cows and alpacas giving way to the steeper sides of forest as we made our way to Coyote Creek State Park. It was time to stretch our legs and use the bathroom. Oh, there’s a sign there saying you have to pay the $5 daily use fee just to use the toilet… this time, I think NOT. We were like stealths…stretched our legs, took care of business, and moved on.


In a mile we reached the forewarned road construction. I didn’t mind as I chatted with Javier holding the “STOP” sign and marvel gazed at the big-people Tonka toys. I wanted to drive this one…I bet it could help find Fenn’s treasure.


Finally the “stop” sign twisted to “slow”, and on Molly and I went, following Coyote Creek and climbing in elevation as we made our way to the top of the plateau. As we crested the hill, the trees thinned and gave way to this… Wheeler Peak standing majestically off in the distance, the Sange de Cristo range filling the horizon… breath-taking.


So many pictures still to be taken. The entrance to the Angel Fire Country Club…


Deer crossing the street in Angel Fire during the middle of the afternoon…this is why I drive with my camera on my lap.


It was painfully slow driving through Angel Fire as the deer gave way to a few slow-moving vehicles in front of me. I impatiently drummed on the steering wheel, trying to move them faster. By now it was 2:30 and I still had probably 20 miles until I got to Maverick Trail where I planned to walk to the Falls with Molly. JeremyP had posted a really good solve in this area…I really like Touch-Me-Not Mountain.

The slow-pokes turned west and off I zoomed now that I was on Hwy 64. I blazed through Eagle Nest, climbed the hill, and entered Cimarron Canyon State Park, another fee area. I quickly made our way past the Palisades stopping to take a few pictures…


…. drove into the Maverick Creek Campground where we walked to the creek and pond and then on to the parking area at the Trailhead to Maverick Falls. I had never hiked this trail and there were 2 choices…the narrow one beside the big sign that said Maverick Trail, and the one with the chain saying “closed”. I opted for the narrow one. It was mid-afternoon, the day-light seemed to be dimming. This is a fairly steep canyon so the light was giving way to dusk, or so it seemed. I hated this trail from the initial climb up the steep bank. The soft golden leaves of autumn had gotten brown and brittle and slippery, and made the trail more obscure than I liked. I had no GPS co-ordinates and wasn’t positive this was the way to the Falls. Thank God I had Molly on a leash as she hauled my butt up over that embankment. There certainly was no way Forrest climbed up and down this trail with the chest and then the treasure. We went a bit farther since it leveled off but I still had a bad feeling about going any farther this late in the afternoon. A few pictures more, and we turned around. I decided to follow what I thought was the old-logging road now overgrown with vegetation down the hillside that was so miserable climbing up. I figured it would come out where the chain crossed the other “choice”. Well, I was wrong…this trail seemed to end in low-growing shrubs that I easily navigated but it was harder for Molly to bushwhack through. Finally, we reached the truck…

I was hungry so figured Molly must be too…I dug the second of the breakfast treasures out from beneath the seat. I gave Molly bites of the cake while I ate the pineapple slice smothered in a buttery brown sugar glaze, topped with candied pecan pieces and a maraschino cherry in the center. It was delicious, and the perfect mood-enhancer, after that miserable hike.

I was in great spirits again…maybe there was rum in that tasty pastry but I didn’t think so. There was still no traffic as we made our way east towards Ute Park and Cimarron, probably a good thing as I held my 35 mm Nikon up to my face and snapped pictures through the windshield as I drove. Some came out good, others not so much.

I love Cimarron for all sorts of reasons…the giant sign on each end of town says it is “Where the Rockies meet the Plains.” I concur…it also has old and new historical districts, but best of all, it is home to the St. James Hotel, a place where Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and other old-western outlaws spent the night. It is also HAUNTED…supposedly. I stayed there once in one of the haunted rooms. Even got up at the witching hour 2 or 3 am, I forget, and tried to find ghosts and spirits, nada. But we did end up with a reflection of a guy in a mirror slinking sideways in the corner of the bar. The next day when we looked in the bar…there was no mirror. Pretty cool…can’t wait to go back.


We continued south on Rt21 through the sprawling Philmont Scout Ranch, where deer were abundant. I rolled the windows down so Molly could enjoy the wildlife viewing…she understands the word “animals” and seemed to enjoy the first hundred. I enjoyed every last one of them.


We were still on the Santa Fe Trail, and there were frequent signs to remind us. The Philmont Scout Ranch would be a perfect place to search for Fenn’s treasure chest, if it weren’t the Philmont Scout Ranch…private property. So many good clues here, and I especially like the Tooth-of-Time land formation and ridge. What if the word-that-is-key is “Time”…what if that is how we unlock the clues in the poem?

On we went to Rayado where this is one of my favorite non-clues but should defintely be a clue…I mean, look at this. EX spells “X” and there are two upside down omegas.


We passed by the few buildings comprising Rayado, made our way through Miama, and on to Springer where we hopped up onto I-25 for the ride home.

The orange-ish sky was now fading to twilight and the horizon was a dark silhouette to the southwest. I could make out the outlines of numerous antelope along the fence to the west.
The night sky gradually increased in size as the daylight faded to black…

There was almost no traffic between Springer and Las Vegas. The half-moon blazed out my side window and there was a planet as bright as any star in front of me…it looked like a starburst in the shape of a cross. Patsy Cline softly sang Crazy through the radio…Molly slept on her pillow in the backseat. It was a time to reflect…

I thought about all the people who waved or nodded their head when I passed by today…was it because I drive a pickup truck and look like a local, or were they unusually happy? Were they as elated to have the acrimonious campaigns over as I was? The vitriolic spewing of words during Sunday NFL football was almost enough to make me stop watching until the election was over. But I was totally calm now…driving is soothing to me, and it worked. Regardless of ones political persuasion or convictions, I think John Cougar Mellencamp still has it right…

“Ain’t that America, home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses for you and me…”

Eleven hours, 400 plus miles, and 200 photographs later, Molly and I made it home. We are resting comfortably in front of our juniper fire…oh wait, it was Forrest that said that. We are just resting comfortably, happy to be home, and happy to be living in America!

To see more pictures, click on this link:


Cynthia and Molly


As I Have Gone Alone in There…Hermit Peak…



Another search season is rapidly coming to an end. I’ve been so busy searching for others at their locations that I feel like I’ve neglected myself. This would be extremely bothersome to me, but no. Here it is the second day of November and our temperatures remain unseasonably warm. I knew today would be a good opportunity for Molly and me to take a road trip…a reconnaisance of sort to a new place for me, a new road, a new trail, a new mountain peak. The biggest problem…finding a destination that is new to me but still north of Santa Fe. With each previous search trip and special place scratched off the map of potential search areas, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find that new road.

As I pondered my dilemma, I thought of Chris the math teacher and his logic that the poem starts at Forrest’s house. (Chris is the guy who creates detailed, difficult scavenger hunts.) Maybe he’s right, but the poem needs to lead us from there… I remembered the comment by a guy on one of the blogs. He said “ the word halve sounds like have, so the first line could read ‘As I halve gone” which translates to halve the word ‘gone’ which means go…ne. Go northeast. This works…from Fenn’s old wagon I would take the Santa Fe Trail northeast. But now where?

image1As I perused my maps of the Santa Fe National Forest, I remembered seeing a road plaque for Hermit Peak on my way up Rt518 to Walker Flats. Hmmm, “Hermit” Peak…As I have gone (go northeast) alone (Hermit) in there.


It works…Hermit Peak sits 20 miles NW of Las Vegas, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Molly and I made our way up I-25 to Las Vegas where we took the exit for Montezuma…an equally interesting settlement, with a HOT SPRINGS, a potential place where warm water halts (where the multiple hot springs empty into the cold water of Gallinas Creek.) The only problem…this area is extremely popular, and all private property. We stopped, regardless.


After taking a few photos of the “baths” and creek, back in the truck we went and on up the canyon we traveled, winding our way along Rt65 into the unknown…new territory to me.
It was beautiful!

image4As we approached the tiny community of Gallinas, I enjoyed the various styles of architecture along the river…


… as well as the well-fed horses in the pastures.


And like many small communities in New Mexico, there are the tidy places…


…as well as the not-so-tidy places.

Gallinas was no different.

But the scenery soon turned stunning as Hermit Peak came into view… a glorious monolith off in the distance.

image9image10We soon came to an intersection where Rt65 split from the soon-to-be dirt roads which headed into Gallinas Canyon or Johnson Mesa. I had choices and had no idea which one would lead me to the treasure. We proceeded straight ahead.


Molly and I first stopped at Oak Flats, a small day-use area along the Gallinas Creek. We discovered a deep fishing pool along a rock wall, which would have been “special” if it hadn’t have been so close to the picnic table and pile of litter beneath. What the hell is wrong with so many outdoor recreationists that they have to litter EVERYWHERE? The only extremely clean, litter-free public land I ever see is in our National Parks. I’m always amazed!

After stretching our legs a bit, we turned around and headed back the way we came. But instead of going to El Porvenir, I decided to take a right on FR156 towards Johnson Mesa, just to see what was beyond the curve. Almost immediately was EV Long Campground, where we once again walked down to the creek and splashed in the water, and took even more photos.

Then finally, I turned back onto Rt65 and headed northwest towards El Porvenir, not knowing what was coming. Some of the camps and homes were quite nice for being out in the boonies, and some were not. One had a “bridge” in drastic need of repair. I thought of the line in the poem “From there it’s no place for the meek”… and then I saw Hermit Peak…so majestic, and now closer than I’d ever been.
image12It wasn’t long until we arrived at the turnout/parking area for the Hermit Peak Trailhead. We exited the truck and walked to the bridge crossing Beaver Creek, only to see a sign that said DO NOT use…it had been damaged by a flood or debris. I stopped but Molly waded across the creek. When I called for her to come back to the truck, she came trotting across the bridge…no worries, she had not read the warning so she didn’t know.

image13We drove to the actual El Porvenir Campground where once again we got out and stretched our legs. We found the same trail to Hermit Peak but did not have time to hike it. Maybe next year…


On the way back to Montezuma, we stopped at a dam/reservoir place and took a few more pictures before heading home.

Upon returning home, I checked the latitude of the northern limit of Santa Fe versus the area where we spent the day. Unfortunately, Las Vegas, Montezuma, the hot springs, El Porvenir, even Hermit peak, none of these places are 8.25 miles north of the northern limit of Santa Fe so none of them meet the necessary criteria to make it a viable search spot. Even so, after 7 hours and 300 miles, it was still another great day. It was not a day spent in pursuit of Fenn’s treasure …it was a day spent in pursuit of mine.

More pictures if you want to see them:





Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Three…




Remember the story titled “The Everlasting Forrest Fenn” that appeared in the California Sunday Magazine last summer? The writer, Taylor Clark, visited Santa Fe early in 2016 to interview Forrest. After he wrote the story and his editor approved it for publication it went to a “fact-checker” whose job is to make sure the purported facts in the story are true and not simply the imaginative construction of the writer. So, the fact checker must contact someone who can authenticate the facts in the story. In this case that was Forrest.

California Sunday Magazine comes inside the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Examiner every Sunday, so potentially, a few million eyeballs browse the colorful, photo essay stories they publish.

I was perusing my files and ran across the following note from last May.  I thought you’d find it interesting. Below is the fact-checker’s questions about “facts” in the story and Forrest’s factual replies. Do a little fact-checking on your own. Compare what Forrest wrote to what was actually written in the story. What do you think?

The California Sunday Magazine story is on our Media Coverage page on this very blog…
Look about three links down..


The cancer in your kidney was in more than one spot? 
It was under my kidney embedded in the inferior vena cava, which is the vein that takes blood from the lower body back to the heart. There was just one spot

Your cancer was removed in 1988? 
My kidney was removed in 1988 and also the cancer.

You were shot down in an F100 over Laos? What happened? How did you survive that?
I was shot down twice in the F-100. The first time was in south Vietnam and the second time in Laos. I crash landed the first time on a small airstrip and walked away. The second time I parachuted into the jungle and was picked up by a helicopter the next day.

You’ve searched for artifacts in deserted canyons?
Deserted canyons is not a good phrase. I have looked for artifacts in the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.

You’ve sold moccasins to the Rockefellers and sculptures to the Spielbergs? 
Yes, I sold antique Sioux moccasins to Peggy Rockefeller and Charlie Russell sculpture to Steven Spielberg.

Two years before you were diagnosed with cancer, your father was diagnosed with advanced cancer?
Yes, my father had terminal pancreas cancer.

And he took a handful of pills after he was diagnosed?
My father was given 6 months to live and 18 months later he took 50 sleeping pills

When you talked about facing death, you expressed that you’d rather die alone, but with dignity, and at first, you thought you might take sleeping pills at the site of your treasure? 
Yes, since I was told I was going to die I wanted to do it on my own terms as my father had done.

So it would be fair to say that you sort of see this as a dignified way to go out, rather than sort of dying slowly?
I saw my alternative as being a hospital bed that would offer a temporary postponement with a hose in my nose, tubes down my throat, and needles in my arm. And with friends and relatives watching and crying. That was the last thing I wanted.

Initially, you weren’t really sure how you’d want to die?
I don’t understand that question. If I had my way I would die under a tree somewhere deep in a pine forest and let my body go back to the earth.

But then one night you were lying in bed when you got the idea for hiding the treasure chest and then leaving behind a poem. Correct? 

But then the whole scheme was a disappointment because the cancer treatment fortunately ended up working?
Yes, I got well and ruined the plan.

However, you still liked the idea of hiding a treasure, so you stuck with that part of the plan?

The hidden treasure includes Ceylon sapphires and Alaskan gold nuggets the size of chicken eggs?
Yes, two nuggets weigh more than a troy pound each, and hundreds of smaller ones. There are two Ceylon sapphires, hundreds of rubles, 8 emeralds and lots of diamonds.

And while some of the things included in the treasure came from your own collection, you bought some of the things to add to the chest?

Even your wife didn’t know when you buried the treasure, correct? 
I have never said I buried the treasure so please don’t say that. I hid the treasure, but that does not mean it is not buried. I just didn’t want to give that as a clue. My wife’s name is Peggy.

You hid it in 2010?
I have never pinned it down that close. I just say I was 79 or 80 when I hid it.

It took you two trips from your car to get all of the treasure to the hiding spot because it weighed 42 pounds? 

So you were 80 then?
I was  79 or 80. I have a reason for not wanting to give an exact date.

And you kept  what you’d done completely secret? 
What I have done is no secret at all. My book describes it. The hiding place and when I hid it are secrets. I am the only one who knows where it is.

And even your daughters didn’t find out until you published your autobiography?
Yes, but I call it a memoir.

How long did it take you to refine the poem included in your autobiography? 
I worked on it for 15 years, changing and rearranging words.

You originally had 1,000 copies published?
Yes, because I didn’t think anyone would want my book.

And you’ve now sold around 20,000 copies?
I gave the books to the Collected Works bookstore in Santa Fe, and they sold them. I have made no money and have not sold any of the books personally

And you gave rights to your book to Collected Works because you didn’t want to be accused of doing this for the money? Is that correct?
No, I did not give the rights or the copyright away. I gave only the books. I didn’t want anyone to say the hidden treasure is a hoax for me to make money on the book.

But the treasure is worth a lot of money, correct? 

So that would be funny if people accused you of trying to make money off of this. 
You are correct. I didn’t even get my publishing costs back.

You added to the gallery a brick-laid plaza, a gold-fixtured guesthouse and a sculpture garden with a scenic pond, correct?
The brick plaza is part of the big guest house. There were 3 other guest houses and the pond has 2 waterfalls.

And you did that by hand? You did that yourself?
No, I had contractors do it for me, but I helped.

And the pond once housed two pet alligators, Elvis and Beowolf? 
Yes, but the name is Beowulf, not Beowolf.

Did you self-publish The Thrill of the Chase? 
Yes, I have self-published all 10 of my books. The name of the company is The One Horse Land and Cattle Company.

Your walls are lined with age-cracked pottery, feathered headdresses and a case of arrowheads. Correct?
Age-cracked is not a good phrase. How about ancient pottery?

You grew up in Temple, TX? 
Yes, born and raised

Your dad was the principal of the elementary school you attended?

As you were rising in the Air Force ranks, you realized you worked best as a schemer, working on your own? 
I was not a schemer, but I knew that if I was to compete with PHDs and aeronautical engineers I had to out hustle them, and I did.

You left when they tried to promote you to colonel lieutenant?
I was promoted to Lieutenant colonel but turned it down and retired. If I had accepted the promotion I would have had to stay in the Air Force two more years, and I wanted out.

How, if at all, did your experiences in Vietnam impact the decision to leave? 
When I was shot down in the Laotian jungle I had a lot of time to think. I kept telling myself that there had to be something better than this.


If you are interested in comparing some of what the fact-checker fact-checked, against what was eventually published in the story you can find a link to the California Sunday Magazine story on our Media Coverage page on this very blog…
Look about three links down..

Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Two…






Forrest forwarded this to me with few words, which is not like him at all. I think parts of it made him nervous.

Mr. Fenn,
You likely don’t remember me but I wrote about a month and-a-half ago to praise you on your book The Thrill of the Chase.  In my email, I mentioned that my husband and I would be visiting New Mexico (for a business trip, which would include a quick search for your treasure, beginning at 32 degrees latitude at the southern border of NM and working our way north.)   Well, we took the trip and, as you know, we did not find the treasure.  There was some disappointment of course — I was secretly certain that I’d interpreted your clues accurately — but that disappointment was quickly dispelled by what we did find… amazing sites and interesting history.  Because of the book, I truly believe that our eyes were open a bit wider and our minds that much more receptive to the stories and histories we learned.  So, although we didn’t find the treasure, it was a wonderful trip.

I write again to give you a bit of an update.

I’ve reread The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far To Walk umpteen times now.

I laugh now when I think back to the first few times that I read The Thrill of the Chase.  At that time, I was enamored with what I thought were the simple, gentle musings of a fellow harkening back to his younger years .  To me it was a collection of amusing stories, life lessons, and inspirational insights.  It was imperfect yet sweet.  Now, I simply think that the piece is genius and calculating, thick with creative license (remember non-fiction only has to be 85% accurate), multiple layers and ciphers that redirect the reader to entirely different end points.  It is not a collection of short stories culminating in one book; it is a collection of riddles culminating in what could be three or four books, depending upon which layer you’re on.  Pictures contain hidden letters and numbers, the meaning of words and sentences are altered by either a phonetic re-read or a reorder or substitution of letters.  It’s flexible and supports unsuspecting readers as they continue down the wrong path.  It’s the literary version of the Butterfly Effect.  And it is the reason everyone has different starting points, different ending points.   It is brilliant… and addictive… and the reason why I question everything I read (hmmmm, I wonder what that’s supposed to mean), why I’ve read Hemmingway and Salinger and why I know that Robert Redford actually has written a book.  It’s the reason I know your Grandpa Fenn’s name and about the YMCA (thanks to my love of genealogy), and the countless other tidbits of information I’ve garnered along the way.  It’s the reason why I may just go for it and search for the “missing appendix” behind the hardcover and binding…

And it’s the reason why I’ve never squinted so much in my life!  My flashlight’s batteries are now dim and my eyes are nearly crossed.  I never used “reader” glasses before but over the past several weeks have found them to be quite helpful.  My rock hounding loupe (my husband and I are rockhounds) is constantly at my side and I eagerly await a new one, which I ordered off Amazon, with a stronger magnification.  Then perhaps I can learn your alphabet (I do know that L = Y, as in YMCA) and I’ll hopefully soon make sense of what appear now to be random numbers and letters and superimposed images cleverly hidden behind the innocent photographs of your youth.  Until I can figure out the alphabet, my “solve” begins by Hebgen Lake and winds up at the Thumb Basin in Yellowstone. Perhaps yet another victim of the butterfly, or perhaps my route will change, but right now it is the path that I’m on.

Regardless, it is a fun ride and I just want to thank you for this perfect puzzle.