My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn…


Introduction: If Forrest were to condense everything he has said over the past nine years into one short interview, I imagine that it might sound something like this. The words are all his, but I have selected and organized them in a manner that I feel best conveys the essence of his message.
– David Thalheimer


My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn

The spot where I hid the treasure was in my mind from the time I first started thinking about the chase. It’s a place that I have visited a few times. I have fond memories of that place. It is special to me and there was never another consideration. No other hiding place was ever seriously considered. I was going to make it work no matter what.

I took it out and put it at a very secret, and a very dear place…private…and I walked back to my car, smiling. Telling myself, yeah. I really felt good. I had done something that I had dreamed about for a very long time. In my reverie I often find myself stealing away to that place and I will always consider it to be mine alone. If I had it all to do over again the results would be the same, and I can’t think of anything I would change. If I was standing where the treasure chest is, I see trees, I see mountains, I see animals, I’ll smell wonderful smells of pine needles, sage brush. The treasure is hidden in a place where I would not mind spending a few thousand years. I am almost umbilically attached to the spot, and as I approach 89 years my desire to be there is still strong.

I didn’t need a map or any information to write the poem. Everything was in my head. It took me a while to get the wording exactly how I wanted it. Counting the clues and hiding the chest came later. It is not likely that anyone will find it without following the clues, at least in their mind. In my mind, studying the clues is tantamount to using a road map to get from one place to another. It’s hidden in a pretty good place. Nobody is going to happen on that treasure chest. It’s difficult to find but it certainly isn’t impossible. But if you’re gonna find the treasure, you’ve got to solve the riddle that is in my poem, the nine clues that are in my poem. No one has any secret information that will take them to the hiding place. It’s in the poem for all to see.

The clues did not exist when I was a kid but most of the places the clues refer to did. I think they might still exist in 100 years but the geography probably will change before we reach the next millennia. I am guessing the clues will stand for centuries. That was one of my basic premises, but the treasure chest will fall victim to geological phenomena just like everything else. The Rocky mountains are still moving and associated physical changes will surely have an impact. Who can predict earthquakes, floods, mudslides, fires, tornadoes and other factors? The immediate landscape will probably remain about the same for as long as time has to go. If you are in the year 3,009 it will be more difficult for you to find the treasure.

I have always said the poem will lead you to the treasure if you have the right map and know where to start. The first clue in the poem is ‘Begin it where warm waters halt’. Searchers continue to figure the first two clues and others arrive there and don’t understand the significance of where they are. I know of a few searchers who have been reasonably close to the treasure, but there is no indication that they knew it. Some may have solved the first four clues, but I am not certain. Until someone finds the treasure they will not know for sure that they have discovered the first clue. There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts. Your destination is small but it’s location is huge.

There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure, but it is risky to discount any of them. It is straight forward so there is no need to over-think it or look for commas and misspellings as clues. It was not written with the idea of fooling anyone. Some searchers overrate the complexity of the search. Knowing about head pressures, foot pounds, acre feet, bible verses, Latin, cubic inches, icons, fonts, charts, graphs, formulas, curved lines, magnetic variation, codes, depth meters, riddles, drones or ciphers, will not assist anyone to the treasure location. It seems like the longer one thinks about the search the more they complicate the problem. No specialized knowledge is required. My Thrill of the Chase book is enough to lead an average person to the treasure. The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help. I would advise new searchers to look for the clues in my poem and try to marry them to a place on a map. The more detailed maps are most useful if you have the right map, but I’m not sure I needed to tell you that.

[How many clues can be solved by someone just thinking and searching the Internet from home?] All of them, in theory, but not likely in practice. It’s not a matter of trying, it’s a matter of thinking. The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental. My guess is that the person who is successful will very quietly solve the clues and walk to the treasure with a smile on their face. I think that person will be positive in their attitude and deliberate in their actions. I warned the path would not be direct for those who had no certainty of the location beforehand, but sure for the one who did. No one is giving the treasure away. Whoever finds it will have paid their dues and earned the prize.

I applaud those who are staying in the search, and enjoying what nature has to offer. It is important that the mystery and intrigue of the story continues to excite families and motivate them to get out into the mountains. That has always been my goal. I will reiterate that the story is real, the chest is where I left it, and it is not in a dangerous place. If you can find it, you can have it. When somebody finds that treasure chest, everybody’s going to say, ‘My God! Why didn’t I think of that?’

T. S. Eliot said:
We shall not cease from our exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time





65 thoughts on “My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn…

    • I agree, wish I had thought about doing something like this. What an interesting and creative way to take Fennspeak and have fun with it while also giving the reader an essay of sorts using f’s own words. It would be equally interesting for fenn to give this a read and comment on how it’s “put together”. Thanks David, appreciate your efforts on this.

    • Since I know what part of the country you live. It will come to you in due time.

  1. I enjoyed seeing it all again almost like it was the first time. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Nicely done! Thanks for putting it all together in this style. Reads very well.

  3. That about sums it up in a nutshell, doesn’t it?

    Very nice. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thats awesome thanks for sharing! Then read the book over and over and over again 🙂

  5. Dog gone good IMO – That makes it seem so simple.
    Now why can’t we figure this out?

    • wwwamericana, who is this “we”? Please do not be all-inclusive of everyone on the blog. Certainly do not include me in “can’t” attitude. Why? Because I can. I can do it. I can figure out f’s riddle. I can move with confidence. I can move through the wood while brave. I can make mistakes and have 20/20 hind sight. I can adjust where needed. I can,

      • Slurbs – I thot about that before posting – should I use “I” or “we” but since the treasure has not been recovered as of yet, I choose the latter. Several may have solved a riddle but have they solved the correct one?

        Thank you Cowbell for your support. People are really getting “ouchy” on here. Makes one wonder if they should dare to make a statement.

        I know alot of us are “flying by the seat of our pants” – IMO.
        But as time goes by, we shall see. At least I hope so.

    • americana- we cant figure this out because gold fever wont allow the mind to separate treasure and chest.

      i think.

  6. Thanks David Thalheimer for writing such a beautiful synopsis of Forrest’s key statements, and thanks go out to you Dal for publishing it. I salute the two of you…and I salute all of the searchers out there who have been moved by Forrest, and his “The Thrill of the Chase.” JDA

  7. Thank you to David Thalheimer for putting together an excellent, and succinct, summary of Forrest Fenn’s quotes about the treasure hunt. Nicely organized and easy to follow.

    The only thing I would have changed is to zap those tiresome four lines by T.S. Eliot.

    Ken (in Texas) 🙂

  8. Boy O Boy, I sure would LOVE to know what is the RIGHT MAP to use.

    Seems the Treasure will never be found without that RIGHT MAP.

    Just an observation.

    Nice message Dave and Dal. Thank You.

    • I hear you there Pauly T. Finding the correct map may be key, but then there’s the matter of reading it right. g

  9. David T, this reads like the outline of the “Big Picture” and expressed with uncanny accuracy, Kudos you have put a lot of thought into this, but more importantly you have put “feelings” into it as well, the TS Elliot quote is all about where you start from and how you view your surroundings. It is about HOME, to Forrest and us. 1314 North Main to him in the beginning, sorta like where we feel “Warm”.

    Normally I would write something short and sweet about home and the Rockies, cause I am terrifically enthusiastic about saving the Rockies, but I just would like to put in a few words that are not IMO, but a fact, well actually they are not words, they are numbers, 104.4100 degrees is the easterly Border of this, Fenns geographic structure, 116.050 degrees is the westerly border, 35.7500 degrees is the southerly border, and 49.0000 degrees is the northern border. These are the actual limits in a geographic square, but ultimately the trick as you are pointing out is some where in those numbers are his emotions, like it is home for Forrest. That is not an opinion it is a fact, between those co ordinates is the exact spot, to the 4th decimal that somehow we are trying to find, the one who gets smarter all the time has a reasonable chance to see that and go straight to the chest, thank you google earth.


  10. That’s sounds good, and imagine he would type it with an Underwood typewriter! p.

  11. Nice collection of his statements. I suppose the only thing missing is the whole consecutive/contiguous thing.

    I still have a hard time squaring…

    “…the treasure chest will fall victim to geological phenomena just like everything else. The Rocky mountains are still moving and associated physical changes will surely have an impact.”


    “The immediate landscape will probably remain about the same for as long as time has to go.”

    And I agree with Amy sweitzer that correct definition of ‘wood’ is meaningful, but am sure he won’t explain that any more than he’ll say what or who Brown is.

    • 2013 HDNET Jennifer London
      *In the poem, which you say has nine clues, there are references to water, there is a reference to Brown’s house. Who’s Brown?*
      “There’s references to wood.”
      Fenn just adds that in without provocation. I’ve always thought about him saying *references*(plural) in regards to wood.

      • Although there is at least one other reference to wood in the poem I think f just added that in the interview as a little embellishment

      • Ken, good catch, but wouldn’t that wood then be woods, now I once asked Forrest if the blaze was a living thing, if it was, wood is correct for plural expression. TT

        • Tom Terrific – Or:

          ‘T•here•S referenceS to wood’?

          Still workin’ “IT”, Forrest, and Miss Ford.

          ‘t’ marks a ‘ford’ on a river rafting map. Thank you Kevin Costner in “Dragonfly”. Love you in the new “Yellowstone” series, which just started their new season. I am wearing that ‘Y’ hat.


          Big Smile.

    • Or how about-“the finder will not know they have the correct WWWH until it’s found” with “the one who finds it will go with complete confidence.” How do we have confidence without being sure of the correct WWWH?

      Great write up. Thanks for sharing. Be safe everyone.

  12. Thanks, again, David for sharing this with the search community. Like I mentioned before, this is the most concise piece of writing using the important information from Forrest over the past years. Every new searcher should use this, and us veteran searchers should read it as a review, and to spark a renewed enthusiasm into our brains. It provided me with inspiration as I prepare for my next boots-on-the-ground. Cynthia

  13. Here’s a guy who is attempting to connect the lines…
    I really like the ‘Imaginary interview’… But where’s the imaginary Q&A section of the Interview? It would be fun to hear the questions you might present relating to the information. Or are you keeping that to

    Side note; If you were to ever write a book on your experiences with the challenge {TTOTC}… this is how you should start chapter 1.

    Two thumbs up!

  14. David, thanks for sharing that. The best and most helpful searcher post I’ve seen in a while.

  15. While I think it’s risky to take statements out of their original context and piece them together into a curated piece, I think this is really well done. In fact, I couldn’t imagine it being done better. Great work!

  16. Fairly accurate and very easy to read and understand. I’m glad you split it up into chunks.

  17. I think one of the most important lines here is the final Fenn quote (just before the T.S. Eliot). I think that one gets ignored or treated as a throwaway, but David, thankfully, found it worthy of inclusion. The emphasis, perhaps, should be on the “My.”

  18. Bravo Zulu (BZ) David! A lot of dynamight in some of words and I’m sure Forrest is smiling.


  19. That was great. I would have liked to have read about the clues in the book quotes and the ones about the proximity to the chest. The 12 feet one? I think?
    Thank you very much. Loved it!!!

  20. David,
    Nice arrangement of “f’s” writing!
    -at the very least, I thinks it will help to jump-start the search season.

  21. Thanks for sharing this compilation, David Thalheimer. A brilliant effort and enjoyable read, but you did leave out a lot of hints he has thrown around like “key” and “architect.”

    He also said there were a “couple” of good hints in TTOTC (11/2/13), but in the same interview asked, “[W]hat does the word ‘several’ mean?” Think about it. What does the word “solve” mean? (The word is a hint in itself.)

    I can confirm that the T.S. Elliot poem is a hint, or he would not have used it.

    Someone posted once that Fenn was “feeding us answers to clues like handing out candy on Halloween.” Here is an example of how sly and witty the man is. In the following sentence, there are three (3) separate hints, but you will never recognize them until you have solved the poem: “[O]nly a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

    Concerning WWWH, he has hinted the word “geography” several times. Huge hint.

    I believe the biggest hint he has ever given was when someone asked, “Does a blaze mean the treasure?” He replied, “Not in my dictionary” (2/8/17). Huge hint.

    A good map is not Google Earth but a government topographical map in color that gives the names of canyons and creeks and shows all state roads, county roads, country roads, dirt roads, railroads, tramroads, crossroads, byroads, abandoned roads, closed roads, high roads, low roads, and the “roads less traveled” that have made all the difference. (Frost)

    In the beginning FF suggested there were no riddles in the poem (4/26/14). Someone educated him on the definition of riddle because he changed and later said, “the riddle that is in my poem” (5/8/17). How many riddles are in “the riddle.” There is one riddle in the poem, and you will not find it with boots on the ground.

    All, of course, IMHO, because I have not found the TC.

    • Georgia Hunter – Why does your name remind me of Diggin’ Gypsy?

      How about ‘blaSe’ then, Forrest, for a ‘mean’ to the ‘t•reasure’? From the archaic Medieval meaning. In the Merriam Webster dictionary. Seeing a $ ‘Sign’ in my ‘Secret w•here’.

      I don’t need to go do ‘Several’ and ‘Solve’, or ‘f•e•w’, now, do ‘Eye’? Except to Say that ‘Solve’ anagrams to ‘S•Love’.

      Tears running from my ‘Eye•S’ from giggling, Forrest. Like ‘t•hat’ of a small child; like ”Nelika’S’ grandson’S. Love those pics and videos.


    • David Thalheimer – Did you know your name means:

      Beloved dale, of the bright and illustrious home?

      Love word etymologies. And I love that ‘Dale’ is in there. Is that a nod to the HOD, my beloved Big Ball of String?

      Epic compilation of quotes. Wouldn’t you agree, Forrest? Beowulf ‘wood’. ‘Eye•M•O’.

      Love, The Kitten

  22. Well done, very nice “in a nut shell” type way to explain to my friends and family what I have been looking for and the rationale behind it.

  23. Very impressive David. Great job in capturing a rolling sense of a contextual aromatic essence without a hint of fake news. I logically suspect ff would be proud of you.

  24. Alrighty then fellas. I understand the concern.
    But you gotta admit it was brilliantly funny.

  25. Good thing you didnt imagine that forrest told you where the treasure is. You would have tokill yourself.

  26. Turns out that the moderator is incapable of comedy and as such can be tricked.

  27. Very nice work, thank you! I ran across this website a while back and have found it quite useful. For those that haven’t seen it, I think its worth checking out, its a searchable index of Forrest Fenn’s comments:

  28. Seeker: Good idea (about a Q&A session), but I’m not sure that I want to give out my interpretation of Forrest’s answers (or non-answers). Too much room for error!

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