Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty Two…






Forrest forwarded this to me with few words, which is not like him at all. I think parts of it made him nervous.

Mr. Fenn,
You likely don’t remember me but I wrote about a month and-a-half ago to praise you on your book The Thrill of the Chase.  In my email, I mentioned that my husband and I would be visiting New Mexico (for a business trip, which would include a quick search for your treasure, beginning at 32 degrees latitude at the southern border of NM and working our way north.)   Well, we took the trip and, as you know, we did not find the treasure.  There was some disappointment of course — I was secretly certain that I’d interpreted your clues accurately — but that disappointment was quickly dispelled by what we did find… amazing sites and interesting history.  Because of the book, I truly believe that our eyes were open a bit wider and our minds that much more receptive to the stories and histories we learned.  So, although we didn’t find the treasure, it was a wonderful trip.

I write again to give you a bit of an update.

I’ve reread The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far To Walk umpteen times now.

I laugh now when I think back to the first few times that I read The Thrill of the Chase.  At that time, I was enamored with what I thought were the simple, gentle musings of a fellow harkening back to his younger years .  To me it was a collection of amusing stories, life lessons, and inspirational insights.  It was imperfect yet sweet.  Now, I simply think that the piece is genius and calculating, thick with creative license (remember non-fiction only has to be 85% accurate), multiple layers and ciphers that redirect the reader to entirely different end points.  It is not a collection of short stories culminating in one book; it is a collection of riddles culminating in what could be three or four books, depending upon which layer you’re on.  Pictures contain hidden letters and numbers, the meaning of words and sentences are altered by either a phonetic re-read or a reorder or substitution of letters.  It’s flexible and supports unsuspecting readers as they continue down the wrong path.  It’s the literary version of the Butterfly Effect.  And it is the reason everyone has different starting points, different ending points.   It is brilliant… and addictive… and the reason why I question everything I read (hmmmm, I wonder what that’s supposed to mean), why I’ve read Hemmingway and Salinger and why I know that Robert Redford actually has written a book.  It’s the reason I know your Grandpa Fenn’s name and about the YMCA (thanks to my love of genealogy), and the countless other tidbits of information I’ve garnered along the way.  It’s the reason why I may just go for it and search for the “missing appendix” behind the hardcover and binding…

And it’s the reason why I’ve never squinted so much in my life!  My flashlight’s batteries are now dim and my eyes are nearly crossed.  I never used “reader” glasses before but over the past several weeks have found them to be quite helpful.  My rock hounding loupe (my husband and I are rockhounds) is constantly at my side and I eagerly await a new one, which I ordered off Amazon, with a stronger magnification.  Then perhaps I can learn your alphabet (I do know that L = Y, as in YMCA) and I’ll hopefully soon make sense of what appear now to be random numbers and letters and superimposed images cleverly hidden behind the innocent photographs of your youth.  Until I can figure out the alphabet, my “solve” begins by Hebgen Lake and winds up at the Thumb Basin in Yellowstone. Perhaps yet another victim of the butterfly, or perhaps my route will change, but right now it is the path that I’m on.

Regardless, it is a fun ride and I just want to thank you for this perfect puzzle.




Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty One…





Here is a story from the 1941 Alaska Miner..
So what do you think?
Can a porcupine actually throw his quills or not??

A porky swats with his tail, and it stands to reason that if some quills find their mark other quills would fly, caused by the sudden stop of the said tail. The skin of a porcupine is not attached to the animal’s flesh in the same way that a banana is not attached to the peeling, which means the quills are loosely hanging in the skin. Now, that’s everything I know on that subject and it graphically explains why bananas can be so dangerous. f


Scrapbook One Hundred Sixty…




Hello Forrest,

I hope this email finds you well and ready for winter!

I’m delighted to say our film ‘The Lure’ about your magical hunt will have it’s world premiere in New York in November.

Here’s a link to the festival:

And to the film’s site, with a short teaser trailer:

The film couldn’t have been made without your support and contribution, so I’m thrilled to be able to share it with the world.

We’ll be doing a tour of the south west at some point, so I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, feel free to share.

Thanks once again,


Scrapbook One Hundred Fifty Nine…




I love your story Kristen. Once again I am reminded of why I wrote the book and hid the treasure. f


Mr. Fenn

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,


That’s my son, Jack, and my niece, Jessie Leigh. She caught that whopper but then bolted like a spooked horse when Max (with Gallatin River Guides) tried to get her to touch it.

PS…After 18 months of chemo there is currently no evidence of any cancer in my body. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Scrapbook One Hundred Fifty Eight…





Here’s a long forgotten photo that I discovered in an old laptop. It shows the treasure chest at a time when I was still deciding what it should contain.

The two round objects in the center are 300 year-old gold and silver hunting case minute repeater watches. They came out, as did the large gems. The gold coins and nuggets were removed from their plastic containers and are now residing in the chest beside the little jar that contains my autobiography.

Months later, when the chest was almost full, I added two 5” round Pre-Columbian gold “mirrors,” the Tairona fetish necklace, and my revered turquoise row bracelet. Then I closed the lid, and that was that. Now the treasure is hidden in the mountains, patiently  waiting…f