My students have a question for you. Since you have spent much time in the west around Yellowstone, do you have any personal experiences with cattle ranching and cattle drives?
Many years ago, my good friend J. Evetts Haley (the writer), invited me to help him brand calves on his ranch in the panhandle of Texas. It was 103 degrees in August and they built a big fire to heat the branding irons. There was no cooling breeze. After the cowboys roped a calf, it was my job to run up and throw the poor thing on its side. I think every one of those critters kicked me in the nose. After the branding, the calf jumped up and ran off, and I had to do it all over again. That day was so hot and sweaty I lost 6 pounds. All of my aspirations for being a rancher were used up that day and I never wanted to see a branding iron again. Please tell your students to study hard so they don’t have to grow up to be a cowboy. f
Snow covers the north end of the Rocky Mountains so it’s time to shut it down for this season. New Mexico and parts of Colorado are still snow free and temps in the 60s. Good hunting, but please don’t search in the snow or mud. And remember, the temps are down in the low 20s in places. f
In July of 2017 Perry Stone pushed out a video on YouTube claiming he had found Forrest Fenn’s treasure hiding spot…not the treasure mind you…just the spot where the treasure was hidden. The chest was not there. So of course Mr. Stone believes that the chest had been found and removed.
These are not unusual claims. I would say there have been a few dozen such claims that I am aware of since Forrest hid Indulgence. A minority have become videos that still float around on YouTube giving the impression that the chest has been found and the chase is finished.
It seems these folks have a difficult time admitting that their solution was wrong and led them to a place where the treasure chest is NOT, instead of where it is. So, rather than admit defeat they often decide that they were correct, but someone else got to the location before them and removed the chest. What is so interesting to me about these claims is that as far as I can tell no two of them are in the same location.
Today, Forrest was asked by a reporter in Denver if Mr. Stone’s claim was true. This is Forrest’s generous response:
I enjoyed Mr. Stone’s well-presented video. He is a far thinker and has a knack for analyzing. There are half a dozen other videos that were made similarly. The treasure remains where I hid it about 7 years ago. It is interesting that the film makers are so positive while leading their viewers to where the treasure chest never was. I compliment all of them and am reminded that it’s all about the thrill of the chase. f
When I said the treasure was not hidden in Utah or Idaho it was my plan not to narrow the search area further. But in the light of a recent accident, and in the interest of safety, I feel it necessary to alter that plan.
The treasure chest is not under water, nor is it near the Rio Grande River. It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice, and it is not under a man-made object.
Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure.
Please be cautious and don’t take risks.
My guess is that in the last 7 years more than 250,000 people have searched for the treasure without suffering any serious injuries. I invite you to add your name to that list. The search is supposed to be fun. f
I am writing you tonight wanting to thank you. I have just recently discovered your story about the hidden treasure and it brings me a sense of adventure and motivation. I love everything about it. The best thing though is its bringing together a once torn apart relationship with me and my mother back together again . So thank you for that .
We recently had a birthday celebration for my nephew and she attended for the first time in a long time . We hadn’t talked very much over the years due to decisions and choices she choose to take when I was in my youth. Grudges and bad feeling and really just being stubborn I never made any attempt to reach out and make our relationship better. So sitting around the party I brought up your story and I promise for the next four hours we talked about what it would be like taking a trip and searching and the things we would see along the way and how much our lives would be so different if we were to ever find the treasure.
In those brief hours talking about it for a moment I had forgotten all the bad things she had done the bad things I had said and it was just us again mom and son no worries in the world . We talked about it throughout the night and even into the next morning when she called me . I feel your story has gave us a starting over point in life with our relationship and I just want to thank you for that Mr. Fenn.
Even if we never get to take a chance to search for your treasure you have helped me find mine again so thank you again.
I have seen in recent articles that you are getting a lot of pressure to end the search for your hidden treasure. I would be lying if I said that this email is not an attempt to dissuade you from ending the treasure hunt. I will keep it short, but I would like to tell you how your treasure hunt saved my life.
To make a long story very short, due to a failed marriage and some other life events I was on the verge of committing suicide. To put it simply the thrill of the chase saved my life. I learned of the treasure, and searching for it gave me a reason to keep on going. Thank you. I haven’t found it, and probably never will, but I have something to strive for at least.
Full disclosure, as I stated above the purpose of this email is to weigh in on whether the Chase should continue. Not that my opinion matters but since I’m writing this anyway I might as well share it.
You have stated very clearly multiple times not to look for the treasure anywhere a 80 year old man could not go, or where a 87 year old man could not go back to. You have also said not to go alone. Some people for whatever reason choose to disregard both of these. That is 199% their own fault, and the only reason I can think of to go alone is because a person is greedy and does not want to share. There are more than enough people in the community of searchers that it is easy to get online and find a group to go searching with( as I have done multiple times).
Just my two cents.
I just want to let you know what your chase has done for my son. He is almost 9 years old and has autism. He has never shown any real interest in doing things until he sound out about you treasure. He now loves to look for it where ever we are.
It is one of the reason he has come out of his shell. He loves the idea of being a treasure hunter. We have made a few “real” trips out west to look for it, but whenever we go camping even here in Michigan, he wants to see if he can find it.
We went to Iceland for a camping trip on spring break this year and had to spend some time looking for your box there. That trip would not have been possible if he had not learned how to camp to find the treasure (we did not find it in Iceland).
The quest has help him see the natural world and enjoy the outdoors, and we are trying to encourage it build on that foundation.
I have wanted to sent this for awhile, but have not gotten around to it.
Thank you for helping my son and me,
I wanted to just say thank you for the weight loss. I am preparing for my
4th treasure hunting expedition and in preparation decided I needed to lose
some weight. I set a goal of 35 pounds for my trip in August. I started in
February and have lost 29 pounds. I have 6 more pounds to go to reach my
My wife said even if I don’t find the treasure she thanks you for the
motivation to get into better shape and lose weight!
Just wanted to let you know you took part in my engagement last year!
Recently, my girlfriend and I took a train from Boston out to New Mexico and then up to Wyoming to treasure hunt in northern Wyoming over the last week. We were heading up towards Jackson, but due to the forest fire, we stuck around in Pinedale, WY.
So under the guise that we were looking for your treasure (I wish we had found that also) I buried a box of my own right along Fremont Lake, WY.
She found it the next day, and in the bottom of the box was an engagement ring. She loved it, and the adventure as well. So thanks for helping in setting it up!
In March of 2014 True West Magazine honored Forrest with their second annual “True Westerner” award for his contribution to and preservation of America’s Western Heritage.
Forrest was chosen because of his work in Santa Fe as an author, collector, entrepreneur and artist and also for stoking “the national media fires with his $1million hidden treasure hunt”.
Forrest received this award in pretty good company. The inaugural award went to the irascible Larry McMurty and talented Diana Ossana in 2013 for their work as authors and screenwriters who together turned Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain into an award winning screenplay. Not a work that portrays the classic vision of America’s western landscape. Certainly Bob Boze Bell, the editor of True West Magazine uses a wider lens when seeking candidates for his magazine’s heritage award.
While Forrest, to my knowledge, has not turned in a screenplay, his contribution to the heritage of the American West is none-the-less towering..although largely undocumented. He has helped, nudged and sometimes dragged artists into their own glorious spaces. Books he has authored on established artists have uniquely framed their experiences for the rest of us to comprehend. Forrest is both a respected admirer and a gifted promoter of the artistry of others and in doing so has diversified the market, increased the value and expanded the availability of works by the well known as well as the lesser appreciated. He has become the necessary angel of many artists and craftfolk of the wide west, tirelessly encouraging and pointing.
Forrest’s True Westerner Award
Certainly Bob Boze Bell is a wise man to have recognized Forrest for his contribution to America’s Western Heritage…and if you ever have a chance to visit Forrest’s home, I’m sure you will be wildly enthusiastic about his stunning collection that preserves a meaningful and beautiful portion of our magnificent western heritage.