A New Book…


Posted in September 2013

by dal


I think everyone who reads this blog is well aware of Forrest’s hidden chest of gold and his, The Thrill of the Chase memoir where his beguiling poem was originally published. Further, by now, we have all struggled over this line in his poem-

Not far, but too far to walk.

What does it mean?

It’s been three long years between the release of that work and his newest work, Too Far to Walk. His beautifully illustrated, latest title should be in reader’s hands by mid-September and I think it’s fair to say it is highly anticipated by the folks who believe it’s about time for  new clues from Forrest. The Today Show pledge of monthly clues from Mr. Fenn has become just one more hollow promise in a decade of empty promises. Forrest however is not a hollow man. Four months ago he told us he was going to cut back on email responses so he could devote more time to his new book. He promised he would have it finished by his birthday. It was finished early and is now in the bindery. He is a man who believes his word is still important in a world where words, entire constitutions can become meaningless overnight.

Three years after Forrest’s poem and book were published, he says that his chest is still resting quietly in the “mountains north of Santa Fe”. On this blog, at Stephanie’s chat room, in Richard Sauntier’s thoughtful writings and on dozens of other locations on the web, in the press and in bars and kitchens across this world from Santa Fe to Shanghai the poem and even Mr. Fenn himself are constantly undergoing surgical-like analysis and endless reinterpretation. Someone, some day will find that chest and once again, prove Forrest’s word.

In that regard, the hope of course, is that this new book will provide additional clues to interpreting the puzzle of the poem. It does seem likely there are connections between the new book and the hiding place of the treasure. After all, there is a stunningly detailed map of the search area nested inside, and the new book takes it’s title from a line in the poem itself, “Not far, but too far to walk.”  Forrest, always circumspect about the treasure’s hiding spot, has not denied that hints may be found within the new book’s covers. This is an encouraging message for those of us hopeful for any morsel of a clue.

The potential for clues is not the only reward this creative story collection offers. For those looking for more splendidly crafted tales about Forrest, Peggy, Skippy, June, Marvin and Lillie, this collection serves them up like fresh baked, buttery cinnamon rolls on a crispy saturday morning. Comfort reading. Stories to make your heart relax and your mouth turn upward. There are 48 delicious dollops to warm you right down to your phalanges. The grand majority have never seen ink before. A few saw the light of day on Forrest’s blog before they were enhanced and added to the book. One appeared on another website many years ago and has been rewritten to include the latest ideas. So although every single story is not brand spankin new, by far, the majority are and the others have all been improved since they were first published.

It takes more than words these days to share a good story and Forrest knows that. Each of his stories is embellished with photos or drawings, or both. In fact the book is generously peppered with germane illustrations. My personal favorite is a photo of baby Lana Sue being tossed far into the sky by her dad Skippy. She displays an oscar winning joyful grin on her face. Even as she is ten feet in the air Lana has no sense of peril. She trusts her dad implicitly. Forrest’s caption is “Lana Sue plays with her dad, Skippy Fenn”. There is also the illustration of Peggy in “The Bullet”, Forrest’s first car. All you can see of Peggy is the very tippy-top of her head because the passenger seat was missing from the car and Peggy is sitting on an apple box for the long, uncomfortable ride home. The illustrations provide a very important sense of place to Forrest’s cast of characters.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Yellowstone country after just finishing up with the BBC film crew. I received an urgent email from Forrest. He and Susan and Lou were working on the cover for Too Far to Walk and wanted a very specific photo as quickly as possible. I was in the right place at the right time. Forrest sent a photo like the one they wanted. It had to be of a gravelly stream bed. It had to include some grassy shoreline. The water needed to be clear and pristine. The aggregate colorful and scoured clean. The image had to be framed vertical. The light would need to reflect gingerly off the cool trout sustaining liquid.  I walked up and down many beautiful stretches of trout stream for most of three days looking to capture what they had asked for. I probably took a hundred photos. I edited them down to the best 5 and sent them off to Forrest’s design team. I am very proud to say that one of them was chosen and appears on the cover of Too Far to Walk. Here is what Forrest wrote about a three day hike in that lovely scenery, fishing and camping along that special place on the Madison River where this photo was taken-


The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that some day I would make the 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.

Whether you are a reader of richly plaited stories or a searcher cropping for new clues, Too Far to Walk is sure to please.

Find out more about the book, read an excerpt and consider buying a copy here.


82 thoughts on “A New Book…

  1. Great write up on the new book…….Looking forward to getting my copy. I really like the story of how your photo got on the cover…….That really old song just popped into my head:

    “I keep getting richer but I can’t get my picture on the cover…….”

    • Thanks Goof-
      You’re the real lensman on this blog…all those great header pictures that appear at the top of the pages on this blog are Goofy’s…FANTASTIC pics!!

  2. You are a gifted writer Dal and should definitely write a book some day!

    I too loved the story of you trying to get the perfect picture for Forrest’s cover. Is that you in the picture or did you have someone posing for you?

    • Dave-
      I guess I wasn’t very clear about that…
      It made more sense at 2am..
      I’ll go back and rework that sentence..I wasn’t referring to Forrest..I was thinking about government..

      • You can just eliminate that phrase Dal and leave it as an all encompassing thought. There has been much more than a decade of empty promises, and not just from government or politicians!

  3. I have always enjoyed fishing the Madison. So clear and clean…a little shallow but with nice hidey-holes for trout. I haven’t fished up there for many years but your description took me back. Can’t wait for Forrest’s new book. It will be a good read, as always.

  4. Dal, you have a great talent, thanks for this intro to the much anticipated book.

    The thrill continues!

  5. Dal, Thanks for your most eloquent addition to the endless tidbits of info that you pass on to all for our perusal.The new book sounds great,and congrats on your contribution to it….

  6. Dal,
    You are a talented author as well as film-maker, screen-writer, interviewer, seeker, …. Thanks for the great intro to what’s coming!

  7. Hello all,

    Fairly new to the Chase in that I started looking this June. How does Forrest know that the treasure has not been found? Might there be a tracking device in the chest?


    • Jimmi-
      No one knows for certain how he knows and he won’t say. There has been a lot of discussion about ways he might know. Your idea is as good as anyone’s..

      • Thanks for the reply Dal–guess I will just keep looking. What a wonderful thing Forrest has done.


  8. A map? I’m looking forward to the new book. 🙂

    Til then,

    ? riddle me this…?

    With an iMpressiona-B-le shining, silver-lining, he likes Paul Simon and love’s 2 sing “my name is Al” If its not too far to walk; then here’s 1_4__Th_e

    ?(…)-(.)? << woleb eht emoh fo nworB??

    I°f° °you° °c°an°f°eel° °me° on this? Hit me up.


  9. Tomorrow, the wife and I will find out if it’s “Not far, but too far to walk”. We arrived at our final “Chase” site a few days ago and decided to treat this trip as if it was meant to be.

    Strange, I was all excited about going out the day after we got here, but then changed my mind and said “No, this time I’m going to treat this like a fine wine and savor it for a few days before going to the location”. If it’s there great, but if not it will again be a memorable trip for us.

    One part of me wants to feel that I have learned a lot about a very intelligent and unique gentleman, which can only be concluded by finding the chest. Yet, another part of me doesn’t want to end the dream of thousands of people, who have worked so hard on searching for it, to suddenly come to an end. However, I feel that hiding the chest, to be found during his lifetime or thousands of years from now has always been Forrest Fenn’s objective. I also believe that Forrest Fenn has enjoyed following us in our adventures and has gotten a good return on his investment. I’d say that a million dollars to move so many people in the “Thrill of the Chase”, proves that he is truly a marketing genius.

    Whether or not any of us find it, or it remains a true mystery as to it’s location, it will definitely remain a legend. A legend that will be told over and over in history. He has claimed his place in history and that is the greatest accomplishment of anyone’s life.

  10. Just ordered the new book! Looking forward to next years search. Got to colorado 3 times to a spot called Woods Mountain. Google it and look in the center of the field on the right side at the base. See if you can see the shoes and the rock circle peace sign. Joining the rest of the “it has to be there crew!”

  11. Wendy-
    Please use my link-
    The deal I have with Forrest is that he will sign all my preorders…
    I do not know if the bookstore has an arrangement with Forrest.

    I will even advance the booty a tad…
    If you want an inscription in your book…
    If you order before Saturday..Forrest will inscribe your book..

    An inscription would be something like…
    “Wendy, Never stop searching…Forrest Fenn”

    So write your inscription..or leave it up to Forrest if you prefer…
    Just tell me you want your book inscribed..and to what name..
    It will come to you with a nice thought, personally inscribed and signed by Forrest…

    You should make your inscription request in a separate email to me after you make your order…

    I will make sure the inscription info gets to Forrest..Forrest will inscribe your book. The shippers will send it off to you…

    You can’t get service like that from the bookstore…lol…


  12. I’m so upset right now. I just finished Too Far To Walk and it was great reading! But…as I was turning one of the pages, it ripped right from the binding. 🙁 ( I am not a violent reader) I want to read it again and look at the pictures but I am afraid that I am going to lose that page eventually. I think it was a signed book too, or does everyone’s say Forrest Fenn under Too Far To Walk on the 2nd page?

  13. No that’s a signed copy. My copy of TTOTC has the pages so battered. They stuck together at one point. I don’t recall licking the pages, so I’m not sure why that happened. I don’t ever plan on selling my copies, but I know what you mean…you want to keep the collectible value of them. Does it sound like it was an actual flaw in the binding process? If that’s the case, maybe they would consider exchanging it or selling another at cost. Those are just my thoughts though….but can’t hurt to ask. If you’re in the Santa Fe area, the book signing is tonight…maybe you can go and ask there.

    • Hi Stephanie. Yippy….glad to know it’s signed! I would LOVE to go to that but unfortunately, I can’t. I live in Colorado. I’m going to keep the book but I am just now getting my son and daughter-in-law interested in the chase. I loaned them TTOTC to read and they wanted to read TFTW when they are done. I am afraid that the book is not going to withstand all of that. I guess I might have to get them their own book. 🙂 I love having them get interested in it with me! It will make for some fun family adventures in the summer! Besides…3 heads are better than 1!
      Happy Hunting!

  14. You’re in such a great place to be able to search. I sort of look at the imperfections I have with my books as battle scars of the chase. I think they add character….and make it worth more. If you do get them a book….maybe you can email and ask if they can sign it. I know he was only signing them up to a certain day…but I bet if you put in a request, he would since they get shipped from his home.

    Maybe we’ll see each other on the trail 😉

  15. So Dal, I take it you never found anything along the Madison by Baker’s hole, or did Mr. Fenn not send you that way>

    • JMC-
      I assume you mean for the book cover photo…

      Forrest did not send me by Baker’s Hole but I have been looking in that location, on and off, for the past two-plus years. I have walked that beautiful stretch of water from the Barns all the way to Hebgen. Not all at once…but rather in intervals…a day or two at a time. I can’t stay away from that part of the park. It draws me. I feel very comfortable there and I think Forrest did as well.

      Forrest did not point me to Baker’s Hole specifically. I think he suggested the Barns area for the shadow photo. He knew I was in the park at that time. But the Barns was loaded with fishers and I didn’t want to get in their way…nor did I want them in mine…so I walked further downstream to a place I had been before. A place where earlier I had been caught on the far side of the river in a sudden and threatening thunderstorm.

      This was the area where the cover photo was taken..a half-mile or more below the end of the Barns Road on the Madison. But Forrest did not send me there. It was a matter of light, river bottom, reflections and river depth that drew me to that particular place. It was the best place I could think of for that photo…not a precise place Forrest sent me.

      But I have searched that area and others both up and down stream. I will continue to look there partly because there are some very nice alignments with what I believe to be clues in the poem and partly because I like the area very much. I feel relaxed and serene there. Not many places allow me that comfort…I also feel there is more to examine in that area…I have not covered it all yet..


      • Up and down the stream is one thing, but upon your return have you tried “within 500 ft” of the stream assuring that you are “in the wood”?

        • JMC-
          No matter how closely anyone searches a large area there are bound to be places missed. The only way to have confidence is if you do the search yourself. I would never trust anyone else’s word that a place was thoroughly searched. I have my own ideas of what the hide looks like but others have different ideas and I may not be looking for what they would be looking for. So, in my opinion, a place could be searched dozens of times and the chest missed simply because no one was looking for the kind of hide that Forrest has used.

          • I’m curious on your ideas. I have always thought rocks. They add additional protection with only needing to stack in order to “hide/bury” something. Additionally adding a large rock on top insures the chest wouldn’t be prematurely opened.

          • JMC-
            Every searcher has secrets. If I responded to your curiosity I would be revealing ideas and opinions that I prefer not to share.

            That said, I doubt that my visions are unique. I suspect many searchers expectations of the hide are similar to mine.

  16. Hey Dal,
    Too Far To Walk Page 237!

    Quite possibly be that “clue” Forrest was talking about that he didn’t know was in the book until it was printed.

    When your at that page think “in the wood”
    Once you’ve found the stump (with a ‘blaze’ on it) look quickly down (or inside.)

    Perfect place to hide or ‘bury’ something. Only need to lower it in and cover with dirt and leaves. Stumps could last hundred of years before being decayed.

    Your thoughts…

  17. djm-
    Could be. But he would have had ample opportunity to look at and preview all the illustrations before they went to the designer. He worked with the illustrator personally requesting and then okaying all the illustrations for each story…so it seems unlikely that he would have missed something as big as the stump…
    The original illustrations are on 11×14 paper and much bigger than they appear in the book. Easier to see any anomalies.
    I think it might be something more along the lines of a typo or some small detail in an illustration or photo that he didn’t see..something much smaller than a big old stump…
    But what kind of little typo or hidden element could be a clue???
    So…I don’t know…has to be something small enough that he missed it the first 100 times he wrote, read and reread the book…yet something big enough that it was noticed by him or by someone he knows after the book was published…
    I know Toby had a list of typos he had found in the book..and I found a couple that were not on Toby’s list. But if those amount to a “clue” it’s lost on me…
    Maybe we should start making a combined list of all the little typos…
    But if it’s a clue revealed in a photo or illustration how would we ever know it was a mistake?

    • I wouldn’t see how a typo could be a clue unless he typed in Brown trout on accident. haha

      • I suppose there could be other interpretations of what Forrest meant by not noticing the “clue” until the book was printed.

        He may have noticed the item…just did not notice that it was a clue…

        In which case your stump could very well be the object that is a clue…

        Is a stump a tree?
        If so, Forrest said something like… the chest is not in a tree but is surrounded by trees. Of course if you go out far enough everything is surrounded by trees…

        • Do you remember when/where ff would have said it was not in a tree but is surrounded by trees?


          • Joel-
            Around 2012 or 2013 Stephanie claimed that Forrest told or wrote her that. But remember the last line of that statement…which neutralizes the entire statement..
            He said…”but of course everything is surrounded by trees if you go out far enough.”

          • I agree, his last sentence does seem to clear it up as much as ff likes to clear things up. Ex. It’s the Rockies, everything is wet. But I’ll still ask Stephanie because I (probably wrongly) see a nuance there that could be quite telling.

  18. “But 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 made this map stopped at the Canadian border so that’s a clue, but I don’t think…it’s not gonna help you much.”

    So I guess that’s it then, the unintentional clue was that the treasure is not in Canada. :-/

    • dijm-
      I don’t think so. The map was in Forrest’s hands long before it was a part of the book. He is the person that told Benchmark what to include and what to leave out. There were a couple of iterations of the map prior to the one in the book. None included Canada, Utah, Idaho or Ohio. I know this because Benchmark created a couple of versions and Forrest asked my opinion about map versions weeks before he choose the final version. We even had a short email exchange about Canada when I saw it was eliminated. In my mind “Not in Canada” is clearly not the clue he did not know about.

      • Thanks for that information Dal. I didn’t think that was the unintentional clue, but I’m still not sure just what it is!

  19. Anyone know what the date was when Forrest first said anything about the unintentional clue?
    Thanks 🙂

  20. I think it was the Nov. 4th, Talk at book store, “Collected Works” Toby has it up on his blog, its about an hour long….I am pretty sure, I am going by memory here. Lots of fun stuff to hear.

  21. I heard Forrest say something like this in the interview:
    – Normally you would not find this clue, it’s an important clue. –
    Dal, was wondering if the dust cover background pic was also approved & picked by Forrest? Looks like it’s very near his bathing spot.
    The dust jacket would be inside the book when closed & may not be considered in the book in a normal way.
    I know I asked this before & could not find the answer.

    • Without having to spend an hour watching that interview again, can you say which clue Forrest was talking about?

        • Ahh, Jake, ok.
          I have seen several “hints” or clues in the book that could be this. So I don’t think it’s on the dust jacket. But who knows? I know I can’t confirm that I do. So it’s open to interpretation, in my opinion.

          • 2 things that get me on this is:
            1 – He didn’t notice it before the book was printed & he went over everything in that book multiple times. How did he miss it?
            2 – He stated it was an important clue, like he has also stated the importance of the 1st clue in the poem.

          • Jake, I have to say that I think Forrest has a little bit of P.T. Barnum in him.
            Sometimes I think he says things with a little extra background in it that maybe we shouldn’t take literally, in my opinion.

            But if that’s not the case, then I can see him going over the book looking for corrections only to what he meant to say with that particular point, and only later realizing that there was more to “that” than he originally meant to say.

          • There are many typos in the book. At one point we were going to have a contest to see who could find the most typos…but Forrest didn’t want to play that game so we didn’t do it.

      • First off, it does not seem likely that there are any clues in the photos on the dust jacket…I took those photos. and there was very little direction from Forrest. Those photos are my own. I took a dozen or so over a couple days and his art director choose that one because it had some color in it from the flowers on the bank.

        Second, Forrest has admitted..I don’t remember where, that his unintended clue was that Benchmark left Canada off the map and he hadn’t noticed until after the map was printed.

        I know…I know…one would think that he would notice something as large as Canada missing from the map…I mean Canada is quite a bit larger than Rhode Island…

        My thought has always been that he wasn’t ready to eliminate Canada at that moment…Maybe he intended to eliminate it somewhere down the line..but not at that exact moment..But Benchmark left Canada off the map and he went with it…

        I don’t think it was a surprise to him..he had seen the map long before it was published in the book. There were several versions of the map from Benchmark and Forrest choose that version. They were all, more or less the same with different degrees of detail, different colors and different fonts.

        So it may have been “unintended:…but not a surprise and not an accident…

        • Thanks Dal,
          Yea, the dust jacket is out. Besides, there’s another picture in the book of the river grass near Ojo anyway that you took along with the Vimeo link.
          I’ll just chalk it up to Canada being missing from the map & I vaguely remember that conversation.
          I just finished my second slow pass on everything in TFTW & can’t find anything abnormal in a desirable way except for the person who wrote it.
          Time to let it go & move on to the next question, whatever that is…

          • DeCall-
            Forrest needed a cover pic. He knew I was out in Yellowstone searching. He sent me a photo similar to the one I ended up taking. He said he couldn’t use that one and asked me to take one like it. He wanted it to look like a good fishing spot.
            FYI- Forrest tells the story quite different than I remember it. He relates the story of that cover in the Moby Dickens Bookstore Interview…
            You can look at that and compare our two stories…
            The photo he sent had the shadow on it..
            I was perplexed at how I could possibly get a shadow that looked like Forrest’s in my pic…
            So I got a walking stick and a cowboy hat and went all over the park looking for the right time and angle and fly fishing stream…
            The light had to be such that I would get a shadow across the river. The river had to have a gravelly bottom. There had to be wildflowers on the bank…

            I had a helluva time getting things to match up and then get the shot without the camera in the photo…
            End of day I sent his art director the shots that I thought might work..
            I got a note back right away that said I didn’t have to worry about the shadow. That would be added after. All they needed from me was the stream side…(head smack)
            So the next morning I went out again..The light still had to be from the correct direction…still needed a good looking stream but I did not have to worry about the shadow…much easier!!!
            I spent most of that day shooting on the Firehole and the Madison. That particular shot is on the Madison but I was the only one that knew it at the time. Forrest’s art director choose that shot based on the wildflowers on the bank and it had the right angle and lighting for her cover plan. That was it..
            As I mentioned, Forrest’s story was a bit different…and I can’t explain why…but he did not send me to a particular spot…of that I am certain..

            I personally think he told the story the way he did to get me in trouble with the searchers…a practical joke..
            He knew folks would think I had been given some instructions about where exactly that photo should be taken and that it would be the place Too Far To Walk…and one of the clues in the poem…
            He was just giving me some grief…as friends often do…
            But he didn’t know where that photo was taken until after it was chosen…
            There was no GPS on my camera so he could not have looked at the metadata to figure out the location…

        • Months ago, when I was working on my first solve, and did not have a Blaze, I thought that the hammer and stone carver’s chisel on page 177 was a hint that the blaze had been chipped onto a boulder.

          I doubt that Forrest had “planned” to have that hammer and chisel there – That, COULD have been a “hint” he had not planned.

          Hammer and chisel no longer valid with my current solve – the same solve I have had for several months now.


  22. Forrest states: “if you are walking long distances in search of the treasure, you’re walking too far”

    Forrest also states: “…I did follow the clues in the poem when I hid the treasure chest, although I hid it before the poem was complete. (Completed?) f”

    I’m curious how everyone reconciles these (seemingly) conflicting statements.

    Do you believe he was literally BOTG at WWWH, and proceeded from there?
    I would say he “put in”, but then what, did he carry his boat/raft up the creek?

    • corepuncher;

      “…I did follow the clues in the poem when I hid the treasure chest, although I hid it before the poem was complete. (Completed?) f”

      Why does Forrest have to follow (all of) the clues physically? He could drive past several of the points, and still be following them – can’t he?

      He drives – let’s say to the “END” place – “The end is ever drawing nigh.” He could then start hiking (walking) the remainder of the clues – which may not be a long distance – “If you are walking long distances in search of the treasure, you’re walking too far”

      Just how I see these two as NOT being in conflict. JDA

      • My impression is that many believe you must be able to start at WWWH and not just “drive” to the spot like Forrest did. I don’t necessarily believe that, in fact it doesn’t make sense (because you’d have to walk too far if you are literally BOTG at WWWH and follow from there.

        • I agree – Some also believe that ALL of the clues are in a small geographic area – I do not – JDA

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