I love your story Kristen. Once again I am reminded of why I wrote the book and hid the treasure. f
I hope this email finds you and your family well. My name is Kristen and I live in Atlanta with my husband and 2 kids. I discovered your book, ‘The Thrill of the Chase,’ about a year and a half ago. Not only was I fascinated by your stories (and highly entertained by your sense of humor and witty writing style) but it also hit close to home. I was 34 and had just recently been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and told I had a 20% chance of still being here in 5 years. At the time my son was 4 and my daughter was 5 months old. So…I get it. Everything you think and feel when you think it’s all over.
I loved reading about the summers of your youth spent in Yellowstone with your family and wanted the same kind of memories for my kids. I grew up in rural Missouri and my dad is a cropduster/farmer and avid outdoorsman but my kids were born in Atlanta and are ‘city’ through and through. You inspired me to change that. I shared your book with my parents and siblings and proposed a family treasure hunting adventure. After they checked my temperature and determined I wasn’t delirious, they all got on board. We studied the poem, but came up with exactly zilch for a solve. We decided to go on an adventure anyway. The obvious choice was Yellowstone. A place we’ve always wanted to see, just never gotten around to making the trip.
Well, we did it. We spent a week in Big Sky Montana. My parents, my siblings, and our kids were all there together. We explored Yellowstone, hiked to Ousel Falls (on a day where a grizzly was spotted on the trail!), fly fished the Gallatin river (THAT was a sight to behold, let me tell ya!), and saw TONS of wildlife. My dad was thrilled that we were finally coming around to his way of thinking.
We brainstormed about the poem at night trying to find our ‘aha’ moment. I am of the consensus that solving the riddle reveals the exact location and just randomly ‘searching’ is a waste of time, but that’s just my humble opinion. So, needlessly to say, we left with no treasure chest but that wasn’t really the point of the trip anyway.
The point of this rambling novel is to thank you. I listened and took your words to heart and was inspired. My family made memories last week that will last a lifetime (see picture below). And hopefully it was just the first of many adventures we’ll have together. We’ve decided Alaska will be our next. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you Mr. Fenn. If you ever find yourself in Atlanta I would love to buy you a cup of coffee. Or maybe I’ll come to Santa Fe and bring your bracelet back if I ever solve that damn poem:)
All the best,
PS…After 18 months of chemo there is currently no evidence of any cancer in my body. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.