My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn Part Two…


Introduction: This is part 2 of my imaginary interview with Forrest Fenn. 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. You can find my first imaginary interview on this page:
– David Thalheimer
My Imaginary Interview with Forrest Fenn, Part Two

I hid the treasure in a place that is not especially difficult to reach. There isn’t a human trail in very close proximity to where I hid the treasure. I made two trips from my car to the hiding place and it was done in one afternoon. I will say that I walked less than a few miles if that will help. People will be surprised when they find out where it is. Stop arm chairing that thing to death and get out in the trees where the box is, but before you go, look at the poem as if it were a map, because it is, and like any other map, it will show you where to go if you follow it’s directions. The clues will lead you to the treasure and, whether it’s buried or not, you can find it if you find the blaze as a result of starting with the first clue. That’s what you have to do.

I don’t know that anybody has told me the clues in the right order. I think part of the problem is, they don’t focus on the first clue. If you don’t know where the first clue is, you might as well stay at home because you’re not going to find the treasure chest. You can’t go out looking for the blaze and expect to find the treasure chest. There’s 10 billion blazes out there. Although many have tried, I doubt that anyone will find the blaze before they have figured out the first clue. So you have to start with the first clue and let it take you to the blaze. Google Earth cannot help with the last clue.

Searchers have routinely revealed where they think the treasure was hidden and walked me through the process that took them on that course. That’s how I know a few have identified the first two clues. Although others were at the starting point, I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem. Playing a hunch is not worth much in the search and those who start out by looking for the blaze, are wasting their time. Playing a hunch is nearly always fraught with disappointment, especially if the stakes are high. A searcher who guesses through life is destined to carry a thin wallet. And to many searchers I should also suggest that you take another look at your mistakes. The answers may not be nearly as complicated as you are making them.

I cannot tell you how many searchers have identified the first clue correctly, but certainly more than several. I cannot imagine anyone finding the treasure without first identifying the starting point, although many seem to be preoccupied with later clues. To me that’s just expensive folly. Searchers have come within about 200 feet. They figure the first two clues but they don’t get the third and the fourth and they go right past the treasure chest. I don’t know that anyone has been closer than 200 feet and I don’t think they have. No one is looking AT the right spot. You can’t have a ‘correct solve’ unless you can knowingly go to within several steps of the treasure chest. Otherwise you have a ‘general solve.’ A good solve is frequently lost in a poor execution.

What surprises me a little is that nobody to my uncertain knowledge has analyzed one important possibility related to the winning solve. A hypothetical example of a “what if” might be, what if I was looking so far ahead that I neglected to notice what was beside me. It seems logical to me that a deep thinking treasure searcher could use logic to determine an important clue to the location of the treasure. Fresh eyes and new thinking might provoke a winning idea.

I think kids may have an advantage. Don’t expect me to explain that, but sure. Their eyes are better. They’re more agile, they have more energy. Children have the greatest imagination because their thoughts run free. Why should a kid take a back seat in the treasure hunt? Bloggers have quoted me as saying that a child could walk up to the treasure. I don’t think that’s an accurate quote because a three year old girl would have a problem without some help. Remember, I was about 80 when I hid the chest, and had to make two trips.

Many are giving serious thought to the clues in my poem, but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key. That poem was really written by an architect. Every word is placed in there strategically, and you can’t ignore any of the nouns in that poem. In each one of my books, I’ve made up words and I corrupt words. If everybody knows exactly what you’re saying, or what you mean, then who cares what the word is? And so that thought permeates, manifests itself in the poem. Well what does that word really mean? Does he mean what it says it means and so that adds, that puts a little dessert on top of the cake. But the poem is straightforward. There’s no tomfoolery in that poem. Try to simplify it if you can. That’s good advice. There is no substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps, unless it’s the desire to keep it simple.

All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem. If a person reads the poem over and over and are able to decipher the first few clues in the poem, they can find the treasure chest. It may not be easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. I could go right straight to it. All that will be needed are the clues, some resolve, a little imagination. You just have to think the right things. Imagination isn’t a technique, it’s a key. Emblazoned upon some of the bronze bells I’ve buried are the words, “Imagination is more important than knowlege.” If I had spelled that last word correctly it would not have had the profundity of meaning I wanted. To misspell the word emphasized my point that having knowledge is, in fact, not as important as being resourceful.

I said in my book that the solution will be difficult but not impossible. If it was easy anyone could do it. I feel fortunate that my poem said exactly what I wanted it to say. Hiding that treasure chest full of gold and jewels was fundamental to how I feel about living life to its stretched best, and it emphasizes my aversion to seeing anyone be a spectator to today’s opportunities. It was a special time of fulfillment for me and I can still sense now, the elation I felt then. It’s the only time I recall laughing out loud at myself. I have done only a few things in my life that were truly planned. Hiding the treasure chest is one of them. Whoever finds the treasure will mostly earn it with their imagination. And at the end, the one who finds the gold will not feel lucky, but instead, will ask himself, “what took me so long?”




My Church is in the Mountains…


Since I needed something to do to keep myself occupied while waiting to search for the treasure, I decided to write a country song about Forrest’s story. It is based on the original plan where he dies at the end! Sorry Forrest, but in the interest of producing a good country ballad, I had to have you die on top of the treasure.

It is longer than the typical song, but I think it would make a good ballad if someone is willing to put it to music. I don’t know how to write music for this, but I can hear the song in my head, so I made a recording of me singing it. However, I’m not very good, so I’m not prepared to release that at this time. If anyone happens to know a good country singer who could do justice to it, please forward it on. Preferably someone who is already acquainted with the Forrest Fenn story. Maybe it will generate a few bucks to help fund my next boots on the ground!

David Thalheimer


Lyrics to “My Church is in the Mountains”
Copyright 2019, by David Thalheimer (Country music played with guitar and fiddle)

I was just a boy from Texas try’n to do my momma proud,
But I’m not one to follow rules and get lost in the crowd.
My teachers tried to school me but I barely made the grade,
You’d find me shootin’ marbles or just sitting in the shade.

My father taught me everything I’d really need to know,
Wyoming and Montana were the places we would go.
We’d hike and camp and fish and hunt and spend our days together,
Exploring all the wonders there, no matter what the weather.

He set me on a path of new discovery and growth,
Where did we all come from and where do we want to go?

My church is in the mountains where the air is cold and pure,
My church is in the valleys where the water’s clear for sure,
My church is in the forest where the critters jump and play,
Yeah my church is in the mountains where I’m coming home to stay.

I served my country in the war, the one called Vietnam,
We all drank down the Cool Aid as they loaded up the bombs.
I flew real good, they knew I could, hit targets on the nose,
But who I put beneath my wings, only heaven knows.

One day I saw a waterfall so beautiful and clear,
Between the bullets and the bombs, what was it doin’ here?
I had to go back down there to get a closer look,
Found graves of unknown soldiers — that time almost forsook.

Why do we keep on fighting, why can’t we get it right?
Let’s leave our fellow man alone, when will they see the light?

My church is in the mountains where the air is cold and pure,
My church is in the valleys where the water’s clear for sure,
My church is in the forest where the critters jump and play,
Oh my church is in the mountains where I’m coming home to stay.

Went home to the good ol’ USA to start again anew,
Found a place in Santa Fe and somehow made it through.
I hustled high and hustled low and made it on my own,
Dug for ancient treasures that were hidden in the stone.

The wife and kids were happy and for more I could not pray,
Finally, it looked like it was all goin’ my way.

Then the doctors told me — it was likely I would die,
The cancer, it had taken hold, I’d better say goodbye.
But I’m not one to follow rules and do just what they say,
If I’m gonna have to go, I’m doin’ it my way.

My church is in the mountains where the air is cold and pure,
My church is in the valleys where the water’s clear for sure,
My church is in the forest where the critters jump and play,
Yeah my church is in the mountains where I’m coming home to stay.

I got myself a chest of old and filled it up with gold,
And jewels like you have never seen, my story on a scroll.
I took it to the mountains to my favorite secret place,
To lay my old bones on it, which forever they would grace.

They say to leave it all behind, you just can’t take it with you,
But I’m not one to follow rules, to me I must be true.

So hear me all and listen good, this promise I will make,
If you can find my treasure trove, it’s here for you to take.
Just leave my bones to rest here in the rain and in the snow,
Where did we all come from and where do we want to go?

My church is in the mountains where the air is cold and pure,
My church is in the valleys where the water’s clear for sure,
My church is in the forest where the critters jump and play,
Now my church is in the mountains — where I’ve come home to stay.






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