No Hoax Folks…


by dal


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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait! There’s more!


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

It’s a lot of should try it too…




172 thoughts on “No Hoax Folks…

    • Dal, I have enjoyed the chase now for over three years, and I believe wholeheartedly in Forrest dignity, and his honesty. I also believe you’d make a great detective. I can’t wait to open the chest and prove those shallow thinkers wrong. Best wishes on your search…..gil

  1. I think I shall share this Post with co-workers who claim to be in the naysayers club. Thank you for articulating the facts, Dal. Good job!

  2. I can name 142 people that didn’t see him hide it. And come up with 92.4 reasons that any “normal” person wouldn’t do it. f is out of the norm. Bless him, I believe he did it. That’s all I need.

  3. He’s taken everyone on the journey, even if only a few ever make it to the destination.

  4. Where’s the faith? Have a little faith in someone. Have a little faith in the way things are supposed to be. There are angels in this world and good people still. Go to Fennboree and you will see it there. Dal, you did a great job of writing that. I believe Forrest with all my heart and mind and will be out searching again in September and thank Forrest that I will be. He gave us all a great opportunity and if you don’t want to join in, then don’t, but leave us who do believe alone.

  5. I’m having tons of fun with the chase and is a nice diversion…I will continue to seek!

  6. Forrest has a mind that someone with only 162 IQ couldnt understand. Genious vs. brilliance as they spun from different worlds. Forrest has the best of both and is obviously favored in the artistic passionate one, which cldve pushed his drive and possible 162 or whatever blah blah blah IQ to do just so.
    Thats my take . Also I want to say one thing..and after this i think I am done saying.
    Jus so ya know..
    Forrest said contentment is key, however he himself was not content. If he was, would he have buried the treausure? What wld be the need? You would only bury or “hide” a treasure if u are lacking something somewhere or in need would you not? He said his books were not important up until he buried the treaure.. Was that his need?
    I do feel Forrest is somewhat of a Savant but also in seeing his personal notes, I feel he is somewhat of a narcissist which in turn was his drving power to do this.
    Some on here are too scared or polite to speak up, Im not.
    Forrest , you said yourself, you have to know you to know you.
    Hey, I am not quid quo pro jus status quo..
    Let the game continue.

  7. Wait….What?!
    I thought the whole reason was a medical study !!! you mean to say there’s a million plus buck out there in the Rockies ~ for real?
    Dang… A fellow can’t trust anything he reads anymore….

    I have figured out there is no treasure.  This is a medical study being done by Dr. Fenn concerning the use of riddles to help delay the effects of Alzheimers Disease.
    We are the case study to prove his theory that by doing riddles helps your ability to keep your mind healthy.  This will soon be published in the PubMeds that are available to all doctors.  The population at large will only get a brief overview of the complete study, which will more then likely not help much.
    Looking forward to receiving your memoir, researching has been a lot of fun for my son and me.  He is very excited about our trip.  Which I think will be in June for 2 weeks.
    I am concerned about one thing about the quest, should I carry a firearm (as laws permit)?  Its more to do with safety with wildlife there, then protecting from other people.  But I guess that wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
    Hope all is well
    I hid the treasure chest at the first onset of dementia. I knew I had a disease so I made myself a note that revealed the exact location because I wanted later on to give some additional clues. Now I don’t remember where I put the note. Maybe if I search my fishing box I can find what it is that I was looking for. But why would I want to fish in this weather? I’ll go ask my wife Phyllis where my tool kit is.”

  8. A very fine essay; thank you.

    Douglas Preston told me that he picked up the chest, opened the lid, admired the contents, and reluctantly put the chest back in the vault. If Doug said it, I accept it as a fact— if anyone else had said the same thing I would remain skeptical.

  9. Dal, Great article…I, too, believe that those people who know him, and I mean those that KNOW him, not just exchanging an email or two, totally believe the man. I find it very frustrating at times when someone says to my face that the hidden treasure chest is a hoax … said by the people you mentioned above. And written on blogs by people who have never met him or exchanged emails. And I don’t understand why any of these haters are on the blogs anyway, wasting their time on a subject they call a hoax…What I’d like to ask them, and one in particular who has been screaming the loudest, do they/she plan to make a public apology to Forrest when the treasure chest is found? I suspect not…

    • IMO those who know ff enjoy his talents and interactions whether they met him or not. As far as SHE, I guess that you refer to me and do not have the guts to state so. You can ask ff whether or not I am supposed to give you or him a public apology. I have never called him a hoax nor have I ever insisted that there is no chest. You will need to let it be known to ff because I am leaving this blog for a number of reasons. As far as an apology to Forrest when the treasure chest is found – ask ff. Perhaps it has been found, perhaps he has the ‘solve’ with pictures of clues and even one of the chest. Perhaps you jumped to the wrong conclusion. And most importantly – perhaps SHE is the only one who is not interested in $$$$ and decided to leave the chest where SHE found it. Rather than hate the SHE you refuse to name, just ask ff – the one you claim to know so well. Perhaps more than one person can seek, find the chest. It’s his poem, ask him. Otherwise if you have an issue with a particular SHE, take it offline. Good bye, Dal and bloggers. Spotty Internet makes keeping up on an extensive blog difficult. IMO the chest is still where it was.

      • Dang, I had no idea we had another cat fight going on. I need to get out more. On second thought, I’m just fine not being in the middle of a cat fight.

        I’m confused (easily done), Cynthia said the “SHE” told her to her face that the treasure is a hoax. But if you’ve never done that why do you think she is talking about you?

        So Crow are you saying you found the chest, sent Fenn a picture of the chest and he didn’t respond?

        If it’s like the pictures of the chest I’ve received he’s probably rolling around on the floor laughing pointing at the computer screen. Actually, Dal had a great picture that looked pretty convincing but it ended up being part of an old pier.

        Fenn said he’s not going to respond to searchers about their solutions but here’s what you can do. Send in your solution with pictures of the clues and especially the picture of the chest and we can post it here. That will clear everything up and we can all be happy.

        • Yes, I sent it and yes he did respond. From there, you have to ask him. My solve does not fit within the rules of this blog and therefore is not submitted. I think the comments should have been taken offline since they are supposed to be with a ‘known’ someone. I left the chest where I found it – because it is the right thing to do and because the poem states such. I just wish I had a better ‘touch’ with it before the ‘go in peace’. Soon I will have limited Internet – if you wish to communicate: cathmaestra at gmail dot com will be accessible to me. So far all those I spoke with do not believe in my solution (except the property owners). IMO the chest is still there and more than one person can find it. There is no rush because it is there and will continue to be there for all who succeed in the solution. Oh yeah, it is beautiful – really – unique in a way. If I had to place a monetary value on the chest, I doubt that I could. If you want you could get my ‘blaze’ pic (a teaser) from Dal.

          • Well Crow I don’t know why your solution is against the rules of the blog unless you are claiming it is gone or doesn’t exists.

            Remember the guy that was absolutely sure he solved the poem and found the blaze (a little tree that went missing) and had a picture of the chest under the tree. He posted his solution and pictures (I think it was on Facebook). It was obvious the guy was completely delusional. Come to find out nearly all of his solution, including the blaze and location of the chest, was well above 10,200 feet.

            Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You aren’t going to get much traction around here claiming you have found the chest as so many have done before you. So send in your solution and lets see what it’s made of.

          • I’m i reading what your saying right are you saying you found the chest and then walked away from it

        • Hey Goofy
          I thought Forrest or Dal said the only rules to this Thrilling Chase is to decipher the 9 clues and go and get the chest???
          If I’m correct, how could Crowfeast not fit with in the Rules? If Forrest responded why doesn’t Crowfeast just send you the email?
          So easy, so simple. I found 2 million dollars but I didn’t feel right so I left it there. That makes no sense …and then the property owners know it’s there and their not going to get the chest worth $$$$$ and Fame. Again No Sense…..
          Crow feast why don’t you just show your hand,
          you have nothing and that’s what you found….

          • Not that I’m defending anybody. But, why does it matter? If you dont believe what Crowfeast says, so what? As long as we believe the chest is there, you can look for it. That seems simple enough.

      • crowfeast

        perhaps.. perhaps.. so many ‘perhaps’

        perhaps, if my grandmother had wheels, she would have been a bike!

      • Crowfeast, I was not referring to you. I have your private email so if I wanted to talk to you about the treasure chest or Forrest, I would email you directly , as we have done in the past. Relax…go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine. We searchers can enjoy nature and the outdoors without always looking for Fenn’s trove. There’s a plethora of treasure all around us, everywhere in the world.

  10. I believe with all of my heart that the treasure is real, and that Forrest is honest and straight-forward with all of us. I think that Forrest must be enjoying the “game” as much as we are, and yet another part pf me feels that Forrest must be tiring of the game – who wouldn’t after six years, and the death of Randy.

    I wish all the searchers the very best of luck. May you all find all that you seek, and certainly – TRY to STAY SAFE


  11. Great job Dal……

    Its not a mans riches, that defines who he is,

    Its the riches in the man, whos willing to give.

    Until next time…. see ya

  12. Dal, that was GREAT – but – as you already know, you’re “preaching to the choir”…lol. And may I add a maxim that many are familiar with: “You can’t prove a negative.”

    • Ha! That’s true Rat…….”Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”.

      And you are also correct that he is preaching to the choir. I’ve nuked all the nonbelievers. 🙂

      • That’s the nice part about a benevolent dictatorship: the filtering of the treasure chest atheists.

        • IMO a negative can be proven. It requires finding another truth – prove a truth that is contradictory to the ‘negative’ and you have proven a negative. Yes, a negative can be proven. The problem with it is that this blog is for those who entertain one option and forbid any and all discussion that another alternative can be true and that at the same time if another option is true that it accuses ff of being a liar/hoax. That is an incorrect conclusion.

      • negative can be proven by setting a hypothesis stating that the negative is not negative and proving that it is wrong.

      • LOL, Goofy, that’s funny and Zaphod and Sharman y’all are cracking me up too. I was wondering the same thing why Crow is still talking when she previously said she was leaving this blog. Guess she feels the need to get the last word.

  13. Good points Dal. I’ve always believed in Forrest and his treasure chest and that he has done exactly as he says. It’s been too much fun and will continue to be for me.

  14. Thanks Dal for taking the time to write this. It is an excellent deposition on credulity .


  15. We are believers & there just nothing about Mr. Fenn to imply a hoax.
    to be a hoax there needs to be a gain at the expense of others.
    Mr.Fenn has all the wealth he could use & wanted to leave a mark.
    oh we have those around who dont believe but we think they are unhappy unimaginative people. With God grace we will prove next season for us. we are out this do to open heart surgery on hubby on wed.

    • Wild birder, my thoughts are with you and your family today. Everything will be ok, keep positive thoughts.

    • Wildbirder, best wishes for your husband’s surgery. Try to remember that one of the worst parts of a surgical procedure is the anticipation before ever going to a hospital. Cardiac surgery has come a long way over the years today’s outcomes are really good. Will be thinking of you guys. Let us know how he is doing.

    • Wildbird……there you are! I was worried that you got nuked! Remember we got in trouble for being off topic and other things? Lol…..but Forrest likes us! IMO……hee hee. No really sweetie. Best Wishes to you and your husband! And find a treasure everyday! Keep in touch. I think they created odds and ends for us! Take care.

  16. Naysayers have no imagination! Such an adventure is beyond their range of possibilities. Oh, the fun they are missing!

  17. Dal, nice write up. I’m just glad Forrest decided to live, otherwise it would feel too much like grave robbing.

  18. Great write up.The first time I saw the Mobey Dickens interview,I knew the chase was real.

  19. Discernment is my spiritual gift…And I have never doubted that Forrest Fenn hid his own treasure for our gain…And his!

  20. Not to mention he enlisted in the Air Force and ended his career there a highly decorated officer, bona fide American hero, pilot of some of the most complicated aircraft of the time. Putting his life on the line and having the tenacity to survive being shot down twice. Who does that?

    Nice job Dal.

  21. To the treasure seekers;

    “You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible”
    – Anton Chekhov

    To the naysayers (including Mr. IQ162)

    “An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox”
    – Lao Tzu


  22. Very nice essay, Dal.

    Asking whether it’s a hoax is really the wrong question. If you assume that it’s not and go looking for it, you will assuredly have a good time. What gets people in trouble is when they think they, themselves, know exactly where it is, and are willing to exhaust whatever financial and personal well-being it takes to retrieve it. That’s the folly. When you think you know where it is, that’s when you should be skeptical.

    The people who claim it’s a hoax expend exactly the same brain power spent by those running around saying they know where it is, baiting people with no evidence to back up the claim. Hoax, not a hoax, do the real work and prove it.

    Ultimately, tilting at windmills is a very fine profession.

    ( psst… It’s totally real 🙂 )

    • In my opinion, there is a real chest. It is filled with real treasure. It is really in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe. Someday, you may find it.

      That said, these are the words you should carry with you when you go searching:

      “Half the things I believe are true, I made up. The other half someone else did.” – Jeremy P.

  23. Watching the Chase develop has been an enlightening case study in human behavior. Cool stuff and very interesting…
    Indulgence(the bronze chest) is real and still out there waiting for the right searcher to get it.

  24. Thanks for all your efforts Dal. I feel the recent events of Randy have put a damper on the chase. It is very unfortunate we lost a searcher, but I strongly feel it was all in poor judgement. Forrest has given the world an opportunity and a beautiful gift for all to seek. He has loyally served our country by every day putting his life on the line. Later with dedication, hard work, and wit had become a very trusting and successful art collector. From everything I know of Forrest he has been nothing but honest and honorable. With the chase IMO he sees something… A place beautiful and poetic. He has given all of us an opportunity to find out what and where that is. So why is it so hard for some to just trust in him? Wealthy people often offer up millions of $$$ to charities to better our communities. Forrest has done just that, but on his terms. To get people back to nature and appreciate the beauty our planet has to offer. So all the glass half empty naysayers take a look at the world around, reflect and reboot. Hopefully all can find happiness at the end of their rainbow.

    • Jake,
      I am curious on your thoughts as to how the month he hid the chest would help you in your search. Ice? Snow?, etc…. or is there more? Thanks


      • William,
        If I knew which month he hid it, then that would be the month I would go search for it. It would make sense to me that month would be the easiest month to get it.

    • While I think it is no advantage to me in knowing (‘in my mind’), or disadvantage to you in you not knowing, (again, what I know may be different from what is truth), I believe Forrest hid the chest on the occasion of his 80th birthday, August, 2010.

      My main clue is in a arbitrary anecdote by Forrest about a friend he said, “threw himself a surprise birthday party.” FF asked him, “how could it be a surprise after he planned it himself?” He said, “I was surprised at being 80.”

      Aside from accuracy or credence of that rendition, my focus is to see that this is a phrase — ‘surprised to be 80’ — that stuck in Forrest’s mind from some experience he had. I go (around judging individual people 🙂 by the things people remember more than the things people forget; asking, ‘why did that person remember that unusual line of words?’

      I’m interested in what you have or gain in knowledge, Jake, as I say your answer is August.

      Within a day or two +/- the 22nd.
      Which followed after a few months he’d thought of preliminaries, getting travel and timing figured out, the day he did it (or it was done), came as a surprise to him. He didn’t pick the date so much, rather it picked him and it came time to do it.

      “… done it tired and now am weak,” rings a tone of finality often heard among 80-yr-olds and sticks in mind then by its repetition; (younger ears hear the bell less often, it’s a sort of a dogwhistle frequency that plumb evades them … thinking they know death comes later. Later there is no later.)

      • Wendi;

        You just may have something there. Wouldn’t it be a fitting coincidence if someone finds the treasure this week-end or next?

        I happen to believe that you are correct in the fact that the treasure was secreted in August or early September.

        I guess that we will not know, until the treasure is found, and Forrest tells us when he secreted it.

        Good luck – may you find all that you seek, and TRY to STAY SAFE.


        • It isn’t really something I thought up on my own. August-Sept is kind of where other people’s guesses converge, and it makes practical sense.

          Let’s go farther. Is it said somewhere he did definitely NOT fly a plane from Santa Fe? To where he rented a “sedan,” drove out (arriving by noon), hiked and hid Indulgence, returned the rent-a-car, (by sundown)), then flew home.
          So, did it in an afternoon.

          Or take 3 days?
          Fly in one day, stay overnight.
          Drive out and plant the prize next day. Hang out.
          Next day fly home.
          See? Done in an afternoon.

          • The problem with flight is how do you get a 2 million dollar chest by air port security? And if he hired a pilot that guy would know where Forrest hid the chest…

          • Pretty sure there is no airport security if you fly your own plane and can take off and land anywhere there is enough space. I could be wrong.

          • Yes , exactly. Private plane is a different terminal and lacks the usual security checks at passenger terminals.

          • You could just send it ahead by courier or by bus. Also private charters have way less security scrutiny. I have flown in corporate jets and no screening whatsoever on my carry on luggage. Its a completely different terminal at the air port . So, it is possible, especially for Fenn.

          • I know it seems to be important to a lot of people, to know when the chest was hidden and how it was hidden. I personally think that all we need is the poem, but the book might help. I think the discussion about when and how it was hidden is not necessary. Just my opinion.

      • Aug 21=79/Aug 22=80. I feel he hid it during his birthday bash with his family…up north!
        Won’t say more.

  25. lol….Awesome write up Dal, but I was fine with Forrest just saying ‘I hid a chest of gold somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe’.

    You either trust or you don’t. It’s each person’s choice. I never doubted his statement once.

  26. Well stated Dal. I have no doubt that that the chest is in its hiding place waiting to be found. Sometimes people do something unique and creative just because they can. That is what Forrest did. Now it’s our turn to do something unique, and creative and fun as we seek for it.

  27. Hey! Forrest’s birthday is coming up soon, right? Is his PO Box still valid?
    Maybe we should flood him with birthday cards.

  28. It’s doubtful that Forrest Fenn’s pants are going to catch on fire and hang from any telephone wire.

    Let’s get real!


  29. Very well stated Dal.
    My wife and I have had the pleasure of visiting with Forrest a couple of times at his home. We found him to be both gracious and genuine!
    To the doubters and the ones calling it a hoax I say “Get a life!”
    Being in a constant state of negativity is no way to live!
    They say that actions speak louder than words. Well Mr. Fenn certainly has the actions to backup his station in life!
    That is not a hoax and neither is the treasure!


  30. Nice write up Dal although I’m quite certain some folks would deny the existence of the chest even if Forrest took a hundred people on a trek to recover it and explained the whole poem along the way. I can just imagine the conspiracy theories that would be unleashed! That’s ok. I guess this chase has tempered my amazement at how goofy people think at times (no offense Goofy). Even the “I found it, but I don’t have it” folks are less annoying these days. That old refrain has been made so many times that the only fitting response is a quiet sigh.

  31. Thanks for the BD greetings everyone, but please remember, it’s only my body that’s 86, my mind is still 13. f

    • I wanted to add: I have no doubt that a treasure is REALLY hidden or buried, I do not doubt that at all. My only concern has been that the puzzle might be too difficult to solve. But I intend to keep working on the poem—it’s truly a lot of fun, and you gain a lot of knowledge from investigating the hints.

  32. This is what I have been saying all along. I can read body language quite well… he is not making this up. He gives a hint, he coughs and drinks water. Say it isn’t so! 🙂

  33. I haven’t met or talked with F, but have read a bit about him, seems that if ff has earned the respect of his community, then you should have faith with what he said.
    I was raised by my grandfather, to me a lot like ff, my grandfather has a lot of stories some might not believe or understand but I would take it as truth, he too has earn the respect of his community. I feel some naysayers couldn’t comprehend that type of a man. But I know a man like Forrest. To me I have faith that ff would be genuine.

    Thanks dal nice write up

  34. I am proud to say I have met with FF twice and he is a man of his word…..I have also met Edard (FF’s life long friend) who has seen the treasure box!! This is the real deal folks!!! Thank you for the Thrill FF!!!

  35. For all the nay sayers I say you’re right! He just doing it to get rich off the book and Dal and Goofy are getting rich of all the advertising on the blog!!! –OH WAIT- there’s no advertising on the blog and FF is not making anything off the book- Its must REAL. It will be proven TRUE someday when someone finds it and shows the world all the treasure in all of it’s bright and shinning beauty, even after being exposed to the elements for all these years. Good luck to all the believers who have enjoy the “thrill of the chase”, even if you don’t find it. FF has too much to lose if it were a hoax.
    Me deepest heart felt thanks to Forrest for hiding the chest and for Dal and Goofy and all the great work they do for us in keeping this blog going.
    God Bless and keep safe!

    • You had me going there for a second Not Obsessed – PHEW – Sure glad you added the last part. I still have a chance.

      Good luck in your search and TRY to STAY SAFE


  36. You are an excellent writer, Dal. Thanks for doing that.

    About a week ago we had someone who’d worked on this for all of a week and was so confident that he was asking for advice on whether to move the chest from its hiding place or not. Now yesterday/today we have another person claiming to have found the chest but left it be because it was the right thing to do. Proof? Of course not. Not that long ago there was a guy who’d worked on it for about a week, had it all figured out for sure, drove 18 hours to its “location”, and then turned around and drove home because it was too dark to search when he got there. And I’m remembering back to a woman from Vermont (I think) posting on who had found the chest, taken pictures of it, but was unable to recover it after sitting with it for 3 days. She just needed to make a trip back to the location and recover it. Never heard from her again. There are many other stories which Dal, Goofy and many of you know all too well.

    One thing these people have had in common is that they all sound quite normal, sane and intelligent. And they don’t sound like pathological liars, starved for attention. I’m not criticizing them, but I’d really like to get inside their heads and understand what is going on up there.

    In the meantime, we solve, we study and we search. I don’t know Mr. Fenn, so I have to rely on the testimony of others, which is overwhelmingly positive. More importantly, if this were all a hoax, it might probably be the most elaborate one of all time. It defies logic that anyone would do such a thing, and far more likely that he actually did what he said he did. Tonight I’ll raise a glass to Forrest Fenn: count me a believer.

      • Read the blogs for entertainment.

        What a joke..I found it and left it behind….Lm*o. Lots of drama…gold fever? Someone knows and others are not happy? Even CC is down today.

  37. Forrest.. Don’t say “86”!!.. You’ll be here for long while to come.

    BTW.. Today I contemplated a nice image of Tesuque! We played canasta until he wandered off yonder. I know.. maybe I’ve been drinking too much.

    Hope all is well,

  38. Dal, I really liked your post. You are very good at this, and it is complicated.

    It is inevitable that ‘naysayers’ exist. So? (Well, they swamp you, for one thing.) Someone said, “the only response is a sigh.” I say, too.

    May I ask, in your ‘Motive’ section, when was the disgnosed prognosis said to Forrest that he had only months to live?
    When was his ‘Motive’ (as you see it), seeded?
    If you know the year, that’s what I’m asking, but the month and day info would be wonderful.

    Your answer (the truth) might collapse one of my made-up solves. Just because I see his motivation differently from you.
    Our difference is in the answer of When his motive started? And from that, deduce What started it then rather than at some other time?

    I say motive began when Forrest started working on the poem.

    Keeping in mind that a lot may happen, years go by, between intention and accomplishment.

    IMO. Be prepared, stay alert, be safe out there. ( h/t Hill Street Blues)

    • Wendi-
      hmmm…this is very old info that comes directly from Forrest in every interview where a reporter asks him why he started the treasure hunt…
      Look at the media page and watch some of the news videos or listen to the radio interviews.
      1988 was the year he was diagnosed with cancer…

      • Dal, thanks for straightening that out. I’ve looked a little where you suggest, as time allowed, (which amounts to a fraction of the material, there’s so much to see to keep up), and I saw dates and got confused.
        Thanks again.

      • It was 15 years…that would be 2003! That is what nobody listens to. Their loss! 🙂

  39. Never doubted Forrest for a minute, not even a second! He certainly had the Means, Motive, Opportunity, and an intriguing and interesting, if frustrating, poem to send us on his Treasure Hunt! 🙂

  40. Nice write up, Dal. I would add that many of the items in the chest are very unique and easily identifiable to experts in the related field. For example, gold collector nerds would most likely be able to identify a few of the special nuggets if they every reached the public space, the same for the jewelry pieces and such. Of course the chest itself is one of a kind.

    Given that, there is almost a 100% certainty that if Forrest did NOT hide the chest, that eventually his ruse would be uncovered at some point in the future & thus degrade his character. Obviously he could have melted/destroyed the contents in order to cover his tracks, but that’s getting far into the realm of black helicopters, I think.

    The only sure way to protect his character would be to actually hide the chest, which is also the easiest thing to do vs. melt items, destroy evidence, cover tracks, ect. I also think that the whole TTOTC appeals to Forrest’s boyish nature and playfulness.

    I’m a firm believer that someone, at some point, *will* find this chest.


  41. Hey Dal
    My wife and I believe Forrest 100% and will continue to do so. Losers have to blame someone and here the big name is Forrest. The Major has broad shoulders and dust them of with his hands laugh and continue life as he was..
    I salute you Sir,
    Semper Fi Now and Forever

    13, WOW the trouble I was getting in, I’m pretty sure that you can con-corr ;-]

  43. Dal,
    Great post. I can understand why doubters can be so cynical. My first response to anything that I see on the news is disbelief, or that another agenda is being promoted. As for the Thrill of the Chase and the treasure I have no doubts about its existance.
    Being the cynical conspiracy theorist that I am, I suspect that the doubters have a hidden agenda. Namely to sow doubt in order to discourage other searchers from finding the treasure. Another tactic of doubters is to try and draw you out so that you will tell your solve as proof of the treasures existance. People that have no clue act as if they know it all as a ruse to gain information. As for me, I just respond with a rambling incoherent thought that flows gently down the stream of consciousness. Much like I am doing now….um…lol..

    Anyway, It’s real and it’s a hoot just to get out there and look.

  44. Let the naysayers say “nay”
    Kanafire say “yeah”
    That’s just less people
    In my way!


  45. I believe the chest was hidden. I’m not convinced that somebody hasn’t found it and just wants to avoid all attention finding it would bring. I think that is not likely but still possible.

    That said, what an amazing weekly TV series this concept would make. No setup contestants just everybody who wanted to try competing for a million dollar prize that involved a tough puzzle leading to it. Maybe a million would be too much for a weekly prize but even the local radio station hides a plastic pumpkin every halloween filled with a few hundred in silly gift certificates and it draws a big crowd every year. You would have to figure out a way to follow, or get snippets from people on the chase. Real reality without silly hand picked constants like on the amazing race or survivor shows. I have no idea how it would work but I would watch and try my hand for sure. Better than capturing a silly electronic Poke thing on your phone. Maybe slowly give out clues so maybe some prizes would be found in a week, others would take years.

  46. I for one believe what mr. forrest says is true.he just simply would not lie.this is a man that has been changed,has saw life clearly now.and he simply wants to share,if you can find the treasure.he was taught,if you want something,then work for it.

  47. Of course the treasure is Not a hoax.
    Forrest has enough treasure in his office to fill several more chests.
    I believe him at his word. Integrity and honesty aside, it would be more stressful and difficult for him to fake a treasure than to hide it for real.
    Mr Fenn has the ways and means to be sure.
    It still bugs me when I read someones ramble that the treasure is a hoax.
    The world is full of haters. The are typically miserable people that can’t stand the idea of someone else striking it rich.
    Good luck to all in your search.


    • Yes Sir Randawg… Misery Love Company… let em be like that. You have to feel sorry for the Haters, but they don’t want help. So what can ya do? 🙁

  48. Interesting conversation…I have been in the Chase for about three and a half years. I only chime in on the site occasionally. After hundreds of hours of research, dozens of hours of on the ground searching, and much mental energy focused on the Chase, IMO the chest is real, it does exist and I believe that f really “secreted” it. I also believe it is most likely still there.

    However, I can absolutely understand how some come to the opposite conclusion, particularly those who are dubious of most things that are not prosaic. I mean, this is a remarkable story; of course some people won’t believe it. But I have a question for the rest of us searchers: Who cares? It makes no difference if these folks think it is a hoax. In fact, I say they are doing us a favor. The more people who doubt the Chase the fewer opponents I face in the game. I wholeheartedly believe in the Fenn treasure but perhaps we shouldn’t resist the naysayers, maybe we should even propagate their doubts.

  49. The only reason why I had doubts was that hiding 1 to 3 million is a lot of money. Unless you are worth 30 plus million. But FF probably paid 1/4th or 1/6th of what the chest is worth today. Gold hovered around $400 from 88′ to about 07’ish. So maybe FF investment is around 200k to 400k. Not a ungodly amount. Also, FF may not make money off TTOTC/TFTW but does he make money selling his other books he has wrote? Maybe he has made back 10k to 20k from his other book sales since 10′. But, from what I know, your best sales as an artist happen after your death. Maybe he will make back his investment in his chest, and then some, with book sales after he passes. IMO.

    That was my only hesitation. But even that was a fleeting one. I do not think a man of F’s character, a war hero/veteran, a good family man ect. would hoax people like this. Also, if this is a hoax, where did he put the chest? If he gave it to someone, the secret would already be out. “3 can keep a secret….”

    Maybe the chest is not in MT WY CO NM. I thought for a while that it could be in another part of the country. But I am delusional.

    Maybe the chest is under a Sycamore tree in a ruined church where someone will start their journey to the RM north of Santa Fe….

    • Actual estimates of F.F.’s wealth is at least $30 Million. So yes he has the means to do what he wants. No doubts on my end. I’ve been in the chase almost from the start and this is not my first treasure hunt. I know it’s as Forrest says it is!
      Not that I’ve found it yet.


      • Oh I did not know F’s net worth was that much. Anyway, I doubt he paid/spent the actually worth of the chest. Even if he did, it is still a small fraction of his fortune. Settles my only doubts.

  50. I believe FF is honest enough to do what he said he would do. I also had a rough life logging for 25 years and If FF did that kind of work he is one determined guy IMO. He is also a man with morals to take such a hard job.
    He is rich in experience and a man of good character IMO.

  51. No Brand Folks…

    Unless it’s an ‘FF’ Iron brand. Okay seriously; I’m compelled to add that Forrest appears not to be branding anything. I know it may sound a bit vulgar when I use the word brand; but here I’m talking about the entire package that includes means, motive, opportunity, etc. as Dal points out. I can see no obvious thread tying all of Forrest’s actions together to promote anything other than the the thrill of the chase itself (no not the book) and Forrest appears to be good-natured and encouraging in his challenge. Possession of the contents of the chest may be our most common goal as searchers, however I think Forrest wants us to have and share a nature experience, finding the chest primarily for the sake of our adventure.


  52. 9tter,
    Great comment and agreed. I would elaborate further to say that IMO, more so then just getting out in nature, which I do agree with, it’s about a second chance at life and whatever that may mean to each of us individually. FF was given a second chance and this I believe was his way of trying to give others theirs, before its too late. The chest was merely the means with which to make it enticing enough to do so.

    Just my own added thoughts.


    • It’s interesting that being shot down in the jungle and safely extracted does not seem to qualify for the second chance.

      Personally, surviving having my car ripped apart while I’m in it, by a Bison that I lassoed and tied off to my axle would be my ‘first’ second chance.

  53. Philanthropy means etymologically, the love of humanity, in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing, and enhancing what it means to be human.

    I believe Forrest is a contributor to many through philanthropy. I know I have read several times of his contributions to colleges, organizations, etc. that helps those who may not have other means to do so.

    If this doesn’t reflect his character attributes of honesty and sincerity, nothing will convince the nonbelievers. IMHO

  54. I believe the treasure is real. I also believe there’s a tremendously intricate tapestry Mr. Fenn has woven around this whole thing which will only be known once the treasure is found. I truly hope someone finds it in the near term so the community can see the work of art that is the Chase.

  55. Thanks Dal, nice write up. Many people I have talked with doubt his integrity, some are two faced about it. I had my doubts until I met him in person at a book signing, one look and I knew he was for real. If your not having fun don’t spoil others, go chase Pokemon. Also don’t judge others for doing what they enjoy, and I shouldn’t judge you for chasing Pokemon.

  56. A War For Me – Forrest Fenn

    I remain drawn:

    “They showed their strength when I needed it the most. How do you thank guys like that?”


  57. Hows it going Dal
    A couple years ago. I read up on Mr. Fenn’s treasure. Did not think much of it. 2017 rolls around and I finally read the poem. I find it Intresting, so I do some research. Well, I found some articles and what not online. I start to question things. I start talking to others about this and now they question my sanity lol . But any who I search on! Mr. Dal , your site I stubbled upon and it (you) has more than answered my questions . Your detective work on this hoax is on point . The part about the no income coming from the books was it for me . I grew up exploring the jungles in the Island of Guam and now reside in Tacoma Wa. With that said , I will be exploring, searching and chasing this year and the years to come. I thank you Mr.Dal for your website and I also, would like to thank Mr. Finn on this thrill of the chase. I already have a different look in life. Like when I was child . God bless you and good searching.

    Tony Borja

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