Santa Fe Proclamation….

MAY 2015


Santa Fe Mayor’s Proclamation to Forrest

As most of you heard, the Mayor of Santa Fe proclaimed Friday, May 29th to be “The Thrill of the Chase” Day in Santa Fe. He and the city officially recognized Forrest for his contributions to their community through his philanthropic endeavors and increased tourism due to The Thrill of the Chase. The formal presentation of this Proclamation took place Wednesday afternoon, May 27th, at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe.  I was fortunate to be able to attend…here are a few pictures from the event…

01 collected works bookstore (800x533) (2)

02 the stage (800x533)

03 the proclamation(800x533) (18)

A few searchers showed up for the event…it was like a mini-Fennboree as we huddled in groups and discussed Fenn’s poem and our ideas as we waited for Forrest and the mayor to arrive…

Here are Lana, Bajaau, and Radcrad (Roger) with new-searcher-from-Chicago Karen in the background

04 Lana,baja,radcrad (800x533)

Below photo: Bajaau, Lowi, Lana, and Radcrad … (Lowi told us her search area…I needn’t worry!)

05 lowi group (800x533)

Below photo:  Local Santa Fean Elizabeth and her son Josh…Elizabeth also took pictures which I hope she will share with Dal to post…

06 elizabeth and josh (800x533)

Below photo:  New to the search, Karen and her son Garrett who arrived from the Chicago area to spend a few days searching for the treasure…they were refreshing and fun to talk to…so much enthusiasm …and they confirmed a few of my previous search areas that the treasure chest is NOT there…or is it and we missed finding it? Hmmm…

07 karen and garrett (800x533)

Below photo: The man and woman talking to Forrest are CBS News Senior Correspondent Barry Peterson and his wife Mary Nell who are in town for the CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood segment that is currently being filmed at Forrest’s home. I asked when it would air and the fellow said probably in a couple weeks…look for it on your TV next month. (Is FF drinking milk?)

08 CBS and ff (800x533)

Forrest was kind enough to pose with most of us searchers/fans individually for pictures…he’s such a rock star…

09 ff and cynthia (800x533)

Below picture: Forrest and Bajaau … I believe ff just told Bajaau where the chest is hidden…Bajaau’s gesture  reads “I don’t think so because I’ve already looked there…”

10 ff and bajaau(800x533)

Below picture: Radcrad (Roger) shaking hands with Forrest after ff told him “something”…

11 ff and radcrad (800x533)

The Mayor of Santa Fe finally arrived and greeted Forrest near the stage…I believe that’s ff’s granddaughter Noah in the background  holding ff’s great-grandchild (different mom, the little girl would be Noah’s niece.)

12 ff and mayor greeting (800x533)

Below picture: The mayor is handing his TTOTC book to Forrest to sign while someone hands him a drink…may be water, may be vodka.

13 major handed drink (800x533)

Below picture: Peggy (ff’s wife who secretly whispered to me she wishes I would find the treasure so this fiasco would end!), Zoe ff’s oldest daughter holding the little one, Noah ff’s granddaughter and daughter of Zoe, the mayor Javier Gonzales, and the back of ff’s head.  (Holy moly, I need ff’s family tree to figure out all these people…hopefully I got it right…not sure, though.)

14 mayor and family (800x533)

Below picture: Mayor Javier Gonzales smiling as he watches ff sign his book…he thinks just because he’s mayor, ff will give him a clue…

15 signing 1 (800x533)

Mayor Gonzales squinting to see what that circle, omega looking drawing is above the inscription……holy moly, I think ff drew a picture of where the treasure chest is hidden…and it looks like my primary search area…not to worry, though, as the mayor probably doesn’t have time to go look…but I do!

16 signing close (800x533)

Below picture:  The mayor conducting the official ceremony with Forrest standing at his side to accept the Proclamation

17 mayor speaking (800x533)

Below:  Forrest and Mayor Javier Gonzales exchanging a handshake after the mayor’s speech

18 handshake (800x533)

Below:  Forrest speaking… thanking the mayor and the city for their recognition.

19 ff speaking (800x533)

Below:  The official ceremony comes to a close…Forrest is whispering to the mayor (facing away from us searchers so we can’t read his lips) … hmmm, did ff just give him another clue?

20 almost over (800x533)

Below:  The ceremony is over… Forrest is holding his Proclamation…both guys are really smiling…Forrest is happy because he can go sit down or go home now…the Mayor is smiling because he thinks ff gave him some clues today…

21 the end (800x533)

I hope this little document and pictures help bring some of you along as yesterday’s event took place…it was a wonderful ceremony to attend in person, and I am fortunate to live close enough to attend such happenings…my intent was to both inform and entertain you. My words are “in my opinion”…whatever  words Forrest exchanged between individual searchers and the mayor are between them, although I like to speculate and stir the pot, so to speak…

To Forrest and Dal: Thanks for informing us of this event…I feel privileged to have been able to attend …



Crook County Cache….

APRIL 2015


I know many of you are familiar with the legendary Fenn Cache. An impeccably preserved and intact collection of 56 Clovis era points in various stages of completion and made from a wide variety of stone. The cache was first unearthed about 1902. No one knows exactly where. Forrest has written about how he obtained the cache and he published a book written by George Frison and Bruce Bradley focusing on the magnificent tools and the materials used to create them. He also wrote a scrapbook about the cache for this blog. You can read that scrapbook HERE.

But Forrest has been instrumental in preserving more than one Clovis Cache. The Crook County Clovis Cache is a collection of nine tools unearthed in 1963 in northern Wyoming. This cache was discovered by Harold Erickson during oil exploration activity.

Clovis points have a distinct flaking pattern that separates them from the flaked points of other cultures. Many are also found with a distinctive composition known as “red ochre” affixed to them. They are some of the oldest evidence we have of humans in North America. Those who try to piece together the colonization of our continent require access to these earliest human artifacts. Sophisticated techniques for dating and analyzing prehistoric artifacts are still evolving. Re-examination often turns up new evidence of the way early peoples hunted, lived, interacted, and more.

Forrest is lionized by many archaeologists, anthropologists and other students of  prehistoric North Americans for two important aspects of his cache collections.
First, for keeping the artifacts intact. Many collector/profiteers have separated out the various points from other caches  and sold them off individually. But to archaeologists, paleontologists and anthropologists it is extremely valuable to have the entire collection of points intact, to be studied as a whole as well as separately.
Second, for making the cache available for observation and study. Many collections owned by individuals and institutions have been locked away and privileges to study them are more often than not, very difficult to obtain. Forrest, on the other hand, has made his collections accessible. He has even packaged up his collections and shipped them to distant archaeologists so they can examine them in their own labs.

In the years after 1963 Forrest was able to obtain the Crook County Clovis Cache but the exact location of its unearthing faded into obscurity when Harold Erickson died. No one knew, any longer, the precise location of the spot where the nine points had been unearthed by Erickson. Knowing this place and being able to examine it could lead to more knowledge about the prehistoric Clovis peoples.

One of the folks who became interested in this lost location was the respected and renown archeologist Ken Tankersley Although the cache is staggeringly beautiful and an archaeologically important collection to view, it would be even more valuable toward understanding Clovis culture if Ken could examine the spot where it was removed from the earth. But how could that be accomplished? Tankersley had twelve clues that could lead him to the spot. Sound familiar?

He collected data on the likely location for several years. “The more data I collected the more daunting the task seemed.” he said.


In 2002 Tankersley wrote a book about the mystery and adventure of locating the spot where the Crook County Clovis Cache was unburied.  He wanted to tell the story of prehistoric North Americans based on found artifacts and the Crook County Cache was a key element in his story. It is an engaging read of both scientific and creative thinking…both novel and thesis…a wonderful read!!

The book launches with a forward by non-other than Forrest’s good friend and prolific writer, adventurer and documentarian, Doug Preston. Doug does a fascinating job of setting out the  landscape of ruthless archaeological dictators and professional frauds that much of the available literature about Ice Age North Americans was based upon during the first half of the the 20th century. There were scams, there were mistakes, there were misinterpretations and the facts were hard to find. Where there is potentially large profit there are always unscrupulous profiteers who care little about truthful provenance and more about making a big and fast buck.

Tankersley then picks up on Preston’s theme and writes a humdinger of a detective novel about how he, Forrest and two other scientists went about finding the original location of the Crook County Cache. We meet Forrest, Tankersley, C. Vance Hayes, a geoarcheologist and member of the National Academy of Science and Jack Holland who operates the Holland Lithics Laboratory at the Buffalo Museum. We watch and listen as they assemble information and root out the cache’s home and the home of the mysterious “red ochre” affixed to the points. It is a rich book with illustrations and color photos, that give life to the fascinating story of the Crook County Cache to explain clearly how those artifacts fit into the  intimate diorama of prehistoric North Americans.

Here are a couple of comments readers made about Tankersley’s book-

“This is a very entertaining book on one of my favorite subjects, the First Americans. When it comes to books about the First Americans, there are usually two kinds of books; straight research books and archaeological site reports. This book is not like either of these. This book is filled with stories about the players involved in the search and artifacts found of the First Americans. It is easy and entertaining to read. The author holds the readers’ interest by telling the every day stories about a variety of subjects centering around the First Americans. My favorite story was about the fake Clovis Cache that some scoundrels tried to sell to Forest Fenn.”


 “In his book, Tankersley addresses the problem that plaques museum and private collections, i.e., fake artifacts. I found it interesting how difficult it is to detect fakes. It reminded me of a trip through the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area. At nights around the campfire, the guides would chip rocks to make arrowheads. They would then scatter the newly made arrowheads for unsuspecting guests to find. Of course, the guides would “guide” them to their discovery and in turn would get a bigger tip at the end of the trip.”

If you’d like to win a free, hard cover, first edition copy of this book…
Enter the latest contest HERE. The three top winners will each receive a smear of red ochre, collected by Forrest from the place where the Crook County Cache was hidden and the first place winner will also receive a copy of Ken Tankersley’s book, In Search of Ice Age Americans. You can read more about the prizes and how to enter on the contest page.


Archer’s Book….

March 2015

arherArcher is 18 months old, and a very busy young man.  He loves Bubble Guppies, balls, rocks, and books.  He keeps me very busy, too.  His favorite game is hide-and-seek, and he can climb and run all day long.

I spent some of my winter creating a children’s book for him.  No – I am not a writer.  No – I did not write a book.  I used Forrest’s poem to create a children’s book to read to my son at night.  I used a website, with some cool tools.  There was a very limited library of background scenes and props to use, but there seemed to be plenty to create a treasure-hunt themed children’s book.

Originally, I had used ONLY Forrest’s poem to create the book, but the publisher would not let me make a hard cover book with less than 16 pages.  My son loves to read books, but he also loves to eat them, which means paperbacks are out.  So, I had to get creative, and I came up with a preface for it.  It is only a few lines, and it is not worthy of the poem, but it adds a cute spin to an already fun story.

ttotcIt took me about 3 months to create the book, but only because I would work on it a day and then set it aside for a couple of weeks.  I am sure some of you can do better than me – and I certainly encourage you to try.  The website I used is Story Jumper (, but there are several others out there.
I laughed my butt off once it was done.  It is both cute and hilarious – at least to me.  I have shared the link below for all of you to enjoy.  I hope you get as big of a laugh as I did.

P.S.  There are NO intended hints, clues, or implications in this book or the images.  I used what limited resources were available in their library and tried my best to keep it relevant.  The main character is supposed to be a younger Forrest Fenn.




Forrest LIVE on HuffPost….

February 2015



Tomorrow (Wednesday February 4th, 2015) at about 4:45pm ET Huffington Post LIVE is airing a story about modern day treasure hunters and guess who they are talking to…


He’ll be at home in SF, probably wearing cuddles and talking live via webcam if everything works out…technically that is…

Maybe he’ll hand out a clue…

You won’t know unless you watch…

They tried to get Desertphile on with Forrest but old Desertphile is tied up cowboyin and lives so far back in the middle of Soggy Bottom, NM that he can only get out of there when the road is frozen solid. Unfortunately his internet connection is so slow he wishes he could upgrade to dial-up. Where Desertphile lives snail mail is faster than email. His ISP calls the service Broadbandhahaha!

You can check out Forrest LIVE on HuffPost Wednesday at about 4:45pm Eastern Time here:






Documentary Film Request….

October 2014


leachTomas Leach is a maker of documentary films, commercials and other things photographic who has garnered serious accolades for his very engaging visual portraits of people. He specializes in “street photography”. His work is personal and captivating. He is interested in creating a documentary about searchers who have traveled a long way to get to the search area.

If you have searched and traveled a long way to get there, please drop me an email and I will pass your email on to Rose who is working with Tomas and conducting the research that will hopefully lead to a documentary.

Below are a couple of on-line articles about Tomas and his delicious documentary about a New York street photographer, In No Great Hurry : 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter:

Valley of Fire….

October 2014


boggs02Johnny D. Boggs won an award last year from True West magazine where he was named the best living western writer.  That’s a headful of recognition. He’s also won six Spur Awards for his writing and has at least twenty books out about the west, the Civil War and the Revolutionary War.

This year Johnny penned a new novel in a series of books he’s writing about the character Micah Bishop. Micah is a likable guy, unless your playing cards with him. He has a reputation for cheating at cards and borrowing horses from ranches all across New Mexico (that’s not really bad is it?). He’s not particularly tall, or good looking. He’s not the smartest chicken in the coop and not the best dressed either. I identified with him right away.

BoggsThe book is called Valley of Fire. It begins with Micah in jail, waiting to be hanged when a nun breaks him out to lead her on a journey across the most savage geography in New Mexico in search of hidden gold…beginning to sound familiar?

They meet up with Micah’s arch enemy…a fellow by the name of Fenn (I kid you not)…who also has an interest in this gold hunt…

Everyone heads out to get the gold in a place that is “Too far to walk” and Micah is convinced that the lord works in mysterious ways.

Now, I’m not going to say a whole lot more about this book but you need to know that Johnny and Forrest are friends. Does that mean there might be a hint or two in this book? Maybe.

You also might benefit from understanding that Boggs writes books that feel like entertainment and  specialize in information. I guarantee that you’ll add a few words to your vocabulary and learn some things about New Mexico, nuns and surviving in the desert, when you read this book…oh..and you’ll have a rip-snortin good time too…

That’s, Valley of Fire by Johnny D. Boggs.

I read the Kindle edition…


Forrest on NBC Today Show…


Forrest appeared on the Today Show on Wednesday morning, February 27th, 2013. You can watch the video here:

I don’t know how long that link will last and you have to put up with a 30sec commercial before the clip comes up.

You can read a web version of the story and watch the video here:

Once again, good luck with the ads…

On Thursday, February 28th Forrest appeared on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. You can see that clip here:

and on Friday morning he will be back on the Today Show…LIVE with a clue. We’ll add a link to that when it becomes available.

If anyone is looking for how to get Forrest’s memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase”, which has additional information about the treasure and Forrest’s legendary life.. It can only be ordered through Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe. You can order on their website or phone in. They send them out very quickly. The book is not available anywhere else. Forrest makes no money off the sale of this book. He wrote and published the book himself and gave it to Collected Works to sell. 10% of the price goes to a cancer fund. So selling books does not generate any revenue for Forrest. Rather the books are beautifully illustrated and printed and must have cost him a fortune to have designed and printed.

The Thrill of the Chase by Forrest Fenn

The Thrill of the Chase by Forrest Fenn


The Collected Works bookstore website is at:

Their phone is 505 988-4226



Forrest’s website is at:




Rumors Abound…


Trying to squash a rumor is like trying to unring a bell. ~ Shana Alexander

I thought we’d try to explore some of the rumors and mysteries going around about the chest…it’s hider…it’s location. Many of these rumors and mysteries started with stories that have misquoted Forrest. Perhaps you have an opinion on some of these…or others. If so, feel free to comment. Please understand that not all rumors can be squashed. Forrest rarely remarks on rumors except to say that searchers should only believe the poem and what he has written in the book. There is a wealth of material both written and recorded using Forrest’s own words. There is also material surrounded in quotes which Forrest never said and never penned. So be careful what you believe.

Lets begin with a very misleading quote that appeared in one newspaper and two on-line journals in 2010. This was very soon after Forrest made his first public announcement and gave his first interviews about the existence of the chest. Those articles are still around today because, what once appeared on the web…stays on the web.

The chest is in New Mexico – Some searchers believe this to be an actual quote from Forrest. But it is not. According to Forrest this quote is inaccurate. Forrest has tried to correct the writer’s mistakes and has often said. “I never said it was in New Mexico.” In fact, he has written and said, “The chest is hidden in the mountains north of Santa Fe.” Although Forrest has never said that it is in New Mexico, conversely, he has never said that it is not in New Mexico.

The chest is in the Rocky Mountains – Forrest first narrowed the location of the chest to the “the mountains north of Santa Fe”. Later, he said “the Rocky Mountains”. It is not in the Appalachians nor the Cascades nor the Coastal Range nor the Sierra Nevada Range nor the Brooks Range. Wikipedia’s definition of the Rockies include only the mountains highlighted on the map below. This is the commonly accepted geographical region of the Rocky Mountains. Forrest would know this although he might be counting on us not to know it. Many people believe the Rockies extend into places geographers do not. The Rockies extend from Northern New Mexico northward to northern British Columbia. The Rocky Mountains do not exist in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, California, Saskatchewan, Oregon or the Dakotas. It’s also important to realize that the lines where the Rockies end and start are fuzzy. Please keep that in mind if you start ruling out areas that are very close to the Rockies or because the first source you looked at said that such and such a range is not in the Rockies even though it is very close. Forrest has also said that the chest is above 5,000feet and below 10,200 feet.

The Rocky Mountains. From Wikipedia.

The Rocky Mountains. From Wikipedia.

The chest is in Colorado or Wyoming or Montana or New Mexico north of Santa Fe – More recently Forrest narrowed the resting place of the chest to be in one of four states. There is a map of these four states in the back of his book, To Far Too Walk. He has stated that the chest is somewhere on that map.

At least 8.2 miles north of Santa Fe – Forrest stated on another blog: “The Treasure chest full of gold and precious jewels is more than 66,000 links north of Santa Fe.”

100 links = 1 chain
66,000 links = 660 chains
1 chain = 66 feet
660 chains = 43,560 feet (660 x 66) = 8.25 miles

300 miles west of Toledo – Forrest has stated that the chest is “more than 300 miles west of Toledo.” He has also said “300 miles southwest of Toledo”. He has since admitted that this is a relatively worthless clue and will not help anyone to locate the chest. He has also recently said that by “west of Toledo” he meant “generally”. In the same way that the chest is “north of Santa Fe”.

I was very confused by this clue when I first read it from Forrest. I felt that all of the Rocky Mountains were generally west of Toledo, OH. So it was hard to imagine how a clue like this could help. It just seemed like a “non-clue”, in the same category as “not in Nevada”. Then one day I had a conversation with Forrest. I mentioned my aforementioned reasoning for believing that the clue was generally useless. Forrest lit into me. He explained quite strongly how West was 270 degrees and not a general direction…as in “it’s over there”. After that conversation I went home and located every Toledo I could find in North America.  It occurred to me that to Forrest, as a military trained pilot, West would mean exactly 270 degrees. How could I not realize the import of that clue from the start? I dutifully drew a line 270 degrees from each Toledo and closely observed where these lines crossed the Rockies. I plotted and applied the clues from the poem. I looked for how following the clues in the poem could land me near one of these westerly headings in the Rockies. One line actually crossed a place I had been considering. I was excited. I sped out to this place. I searched. I moved north and south of the line to allow for miscalculation or improperly calibrated GPS. I spent five days exploring the area for any kind of blaze…none was to be found. I returned home and recalculated all my lines and set out once again to find a place where warm waters halt and etc. that could lead me to a place near one of my lines in the mountains…but  I was skunked again.

Then one day another searcher shared a note Forrest had sent about the “more than 300 miles west of Toledo” clue. In this note Forrest confessed that the clue was, in fact, “worthless”. So I wasted a lot of time drawing 270 degree lines out of a bunch of Toledos only to find out later that Forrest meant nothing by this “non-clue”. In my opinion Forrest is like the Navajo “Coyote” character. He is a trickster. But the clue is real because not only is the chest hidden in the mountains more than 300 miles west of Toledo…but also because all of the Rocky Mountains are generally west of Toledo (OH) by more than 300 miles.

Searchers have been within 500 feet of the chest – Forrest did say this and he was quoted in the Hemispheres story in January of 2013 by Margie Goldsmith. Some people think that this would be a huge clue to any searcher who was told this.  Is it in fact a huge clue…?

Forrest has said the chest weighs about 42 pounds. The laws of biology pretty much demand that a 79 or 80 year-old man is not likely to haul that kind of weight very far on foot. So my guess is that the chest is probably within striking distance of some kind of road. That being the case, how many people do you think have driven down that road and passed within a reasonable proximity of the treasure, never dreaming it was there? Mr. Fenn is pretty frugal with any new information about where the treasure is hiding. Further, there is no reason to assume that the searchers who were within 500 feet of the chest were ever told by Forrest just how close they actually were. It may have been you. If this is a clue, I don’t see how.

Folks have had the first two clues correct – Forrest did write this as a comment on my blog in the story “Stephen Returns to the Blaze”. His exact quote from the comment is as follows:

“some folks correctly mentioned the first two clues to me in an email and then they went right past the other seven, not knowing that they had been so close”.

My interpretation of this is that a lot of people write Forrest with their ideas for the clues in the poem. I think some hope that Forrest might say something like “By golly, you’re right. You’ve guessed it.” Of course Forrest would never say that but my point is that Forrest hears a lot of ideas that searchers have for the clues in the poem. And at least some of them have gotten the first two clues correct but then went on to incorrectly state the next seven clues. Forrest keeps telling us that we have to start at the beginning or to start with the first clue. That may or may not be “Where warm waters halt.” Furthermore, he has said that trying to find the chest by starting with trying to identify “Home of Brown”, won’t get you anywhere. He tells us we must start at the beginning and follow the clues in consecutive order to find the chest.

Map in book shows where the chest is hidden – Forrest has said that there is no secret “x” on that map (page 133) anywhere so don’t bother looking for one with a magnifying glass.

Double Omegas in the colophon of the book – It was once relatively common for publishers to add their marks in the colophon of their books. Today, those devices and the colophon itself is rarely used. Since Forrest published most of his books himself and since Forrest is a collector of rare books it would seem a logical guess that the double Omega in the colophon (page 148) of “Thrill of the Chase” is Forrest’s personal mark. This could be, but I have not seen the double Omega in his other books.

Another idea is that at one time writers used the Omega symbol (the last letter of the Greek alphabet) to signify the end of their story. But typically, only one Omega was used…not two. Forrest has not commented on those marks and so it is possible that they are meant as a clue. I once interpreted them to be a clue to look near the Horseshoe Mine. Others have suggested they are somehow a unifying remark about the burros he saved. I now believe them to signify promises made and the end of a story for Forrest and his closest friend.

Postmarks contain a numeric clue to the lat/lon of the hiding place – Some searchers have tried to use the postmarks printed throughout the book as a numerical code to reveal the lat/lon of the hidden chest. Forrest has not commented on the postmarks. Still a mystery.

Tear in the bottom of the page of fishing photos in the bookSome searchers believe the tear (page 122-123) was placed there purposely by Forrest and is therefore meaningful. Forrest has not commented on that tear. I don’t know what to make of the tear but honestly, is every little oddity in the book to be considered a clue? Still a mystery.

Letters “CE5” on latch of chest – In the photo of the chest on the back of the TTOTC  dustcover one can clearly see the engraving “C E 5” on the latch. Forrest has said that the “CE5” was placed on the chest by him and that it is an accounting code that tells him what he paid for the chest.

The chest is buried – Forrest has never purposely said the chest is buried. He has always attempted to say that it is hidden. He has gone out of his way to correct the language of interviewers who say that the chest is “buried” (on at least two occasions Forrest mistakenly said it was “buried”, but I believe those to be moments when he was simply repeating what an interviewer said and he mis-spoke). Conversely, Forrest has never said the chest is not buried. I personally believe the chest is not buried…but it is hidden from view.

Surrounded by trees – Forrest once wrote to a searcher that the chest was not hidden in a tree but that it was surrounded by trees.  I suppose it is useful to know that the chest is not in a tree but the notion that it is surrounded by trees is definitely not a clue. Everything is surrounded by trees if you go far enough out. This is exactly the kind on non-clue a trickster would deliver.

Special spot – Forrest has said the spot is special to him. I suppose any spot with a million or so dollars hidden in it is a special spot. But I have always thought that the spot was special to Forrest before he hid the treasure there. Knowing Forrest and knowing his background and history will help me know what kind of place might be special to him.

Begin with the first clue – Forrest has reminded us over and over to begin at the beginning. That the clues are consecutive and that starting in the middle will get us no where. Without getting this first clue, he says, we cannot expect to understand the rest of the clues.

Oddities in the poem’s construction – Folks have recognized inconsistencies within the poem. One having to do with rhythm and the other with rhyming. Most of the lines have eight syllables but not all…Is this important?
Line #2 has six
Line #3 has seven
Line #7 has seven

Only one word in the poem does not fit the rhyming sequence. Why is that? Some have suggested that Forrest did this on purpose and in order to get the real clues one has to repair those errors. Forrest has not spoken about the construction of the poem nor about those idiosyncrasies in it. But poetry is an art form, not a science. Many poems never rhyme at all. Further, Forrest originally began writing the poem in 1988 so he has had a lot of time to make sure it’s exactly how he wants it. It is totally plausible that Forrest simply wrote it the way he did because he likes it that way and we should just accept it and move on. Perhaps we should not be trying to alter it. Once when I tried to substitute words in the poem he wrote me back and said “Don’t mess with my poem.”

What does Forrest want to happen with the treasure once it is found? – Forrest shared this note with us that he sent to a new searcher who wrote that Forrest was his idol. I think it illustrates beautifully Forrest’s humor, self-effacing character and desire for the future of the treasure.

“Don’t see me as your idol, set your sights higher. And don’t get old, it’s overrated. If you plan to join the Indiana Jones club you must have the right kind of hat, one that’s been seasoned in the soil and baptized in vinegar and sea salt. Let curiosity be your motor and adrenalin your fuel. If you find my treasure please give a little to someone who must otherwise do without and let the remaining baubles be seeds for your next adventure. Keep me informed about where you are and what you are doing.”

To the point-

I believe that folks who have been looking since the search began in 2010 have no more practical knowledge of the place Forrest is describing in his poem than the person just beginning their search. To wit: No one has found it.

Bottom line is that people have all kinds of solutions to the poem. There is no “one way” to decode the clues. This is certainly by design. The trick is to find Forrest’s spot by decoding it the way he has imagined it. Just because the first way you follow the clues have not led you to the treasure does not mean the 29th or 47th or 123rd time will not. Clearly, the clues in the poem are cleverly constructed. Don’t expect to match wits with a successful poker player, trader and trickster and win in the first round but don’t give up trying to understand his interpretation. Keep thinking about it and keep learning about Forrest and how he thinks.

Forrest has said that the chest is not supposed to be easy to find. Whoever finds it will certainly have to work at it. Remember, Forrest has had since the ’80s to contemplate a description to his spot. We have only had since 2010 to dwell on how to decipher that description.

I’ll try to update this page over time so check back…


(last updated October 2016)

Tesoro in Versi…


Below is a newspaper article published today in the Corriere della sera newspaper in Milan, Italy and was written by Viviana Mazza.

You can click on it to make it larger. Below that is a somewhat inaccurate translation of the article. Hey…I never claimed to be any part Italian…a friend of mine with no mob connections that I am aware of has provided the translation.

Forrest said that there are “glaring mistakes” in the story…but he didn’t say what they are…so we are left on our own to glean the errors from the truth.

If you have a better translation…and who wouldn’t…send it to me…

Is anyone else excited about the Apostle Mountain theory?

By the way…you can see the web version of the story on the Corriere Della Sera news website which is here.



Vietnam and cancer survivor, Forrest Fenn, a rich gallery owner, has hidden a chest in the land of the Conquistadors: The clues are in a poem. So far, no one has found it.


by Viviana Mazza

North of the city of Santa Fe, somewhere in the forests of the the Rocky Mountains there is a hidden treasure of gold coins, nuggets from Alaska, rings and bracelets studded with emeralds and sapphires, Chinese jade masks, and many small diamonds, all waiting, enclosed in a bronze chest. Who will discover how to decipher the nine clues contained in the unusual map: a poem.

Thousands of adventurers have already tested the poem. Challenging the treacherous waters, sifting through muddy bottoms until they nearly drown, chasing their shadows on land ravaged by the summer heat under threat of death from risky exposure. Defeated, everyone has returned empty-handed.

Only one person knows where the loot is hidden: a cowboy hat wearing Texas collector named Forrest Fenn. He did it because finding treasure is his passion and has always been. As he wrote in his autobiography, The Thrill of the Chase, before he died the eccentric eighty year old wanted the rest of the world to share in his own passion, the “thrill of the hunt”.

The chapters in the life of Fenn read like a robust adventure. From 328 missions and being a highly decorated pilot in Vietnam he made the decision to create an art gallery in Santa Fe where four hundred years earlier the conquistadors had made their capital. In the gallery business he made his fortune. His gallery was frequented by illuminaries such as Robert Redford, Jackie Kennedy and former President Ford. It was guarded by alligators-Beowulf and Elvis. “Bad pets” he admits, “not very loving and somewhat unpredictable”.

The gallery was like a museum except that each of his treasures were labeled with the price. It was a mixture of the real and unreal: historical artifacts from Indians on his shelves alongside walls of fake Modiglianis and Monets from the great forger Elmyr de Hory. There were also many arrowheads from collecting when he was a child.

Several years ago, doctors announced that he was going to die from Cancer. He was given three years to live. This had also happened to his father, who determined not to be defeated by the disease. At 83 he swallowed a large number of pills and with that claimed his victory over cancer with suicide. Fenn, who admired the courage of that choice, was determined to follow the same course. After finding out about cancer he lay awake concerned about the short time remaining and what to do with it. Forrest Fenn decided that he would not die in a hospital bed. He envisioned dying in the desert with a chest full of treasures wrapped in his arms. In that sea of sand, rocks and bushes his body would wither and disappear and one day, an intrepid explorer would find his bones. Perfect plan, except for one thing: his cancer went away.

Since then many winters have passed, giving him 59 years of marriage to high school sweetheart Peggy and the joy of becoming, seven times, a grandpa. He sold the gallery and bought an old pueblo, along with permission to dig there in search of artifacts. But he continued to think of the idea of leaving a legacy to the world. A mystery that could perpetuate his name.

And so, two years ago, he really did it. He bought an ancient box decorated with bas-relief female figures and filled it with gold and gems. He showed it to a friend to have a witness, and he also photographed it. Then chose a hiding place, “difficult but not impossible” he says,  in the mountain range that runs through America for over four kilometers, from New Mexico to Canada. And finally, shrouded in 24 verses, he wrote clues leading to the end of the rainbow.

But his life is not without controversy. The FBI investigated him for stealing priceless artifacts from the natives of New Mexico off federal lands (but he says that for four years the agents have not returned). And “Newsweek” wrote that he was a grave robber and was cursed for disturbing Indian burial sites. This makes him angry. “I am 82 years old. I had cancer, with a probability of survival of 20 per cent. That was 1988 and I’m still alive. I was shot down twice in Vietnam, but I came back without a scratch. For 17 years I managed an art gallery. I have a house, I have no mortgage, and paid for the education of my grandchildren. Tell me, do I look cursed? “.


As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.

Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.

From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.

If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answer I already know,
I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.

So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.


Follow the tracks of the Gospel of Matthew

by Enrico Terrinoni

In this amateur poem, somewhere between the rhyme, the riddle and the ballad, the interweaving of intertextuality and geography of the landscape there is a nod to the long tradition of literary mysteries. This is a tradition that goes from the riddles of the Sphinx and riddle of Samson to the Philistines, those of Venice until Mercantedi  the enigmatic, esoteric Codiceda Vinci.

Clues to the treasure seekers are deliberately ambiguous and intend to create a bridge between the concept of “content” and that of “Geographical mapping” of the territory that hides the secret. As in any enigma worthy of respect, those clues are not obvious and are not easy to interpret.

See the case which is extremely revealing of what is perhaps the biggest clue, “the home of Brown,” in the second quatrain. The name in question, among the most common in the English-speaking world, can easily confuse the reader. Note the case.

So that the references seem viable, it is necessary that our interpretation be the most generic possible. One solution would be a reference to a specific historical character, Molly Brown, one of the survivors of the sinking of the Titanic, which later became known as a philanthropist and activist for women’s civil rights. This reference to a woman leads, in a roundabout way, to another intertextual thought in the poem. This time of evangelical and apostolic nature: that of “the meek” in the following verse (third stanza). Would this be an allusion, more or less directly to Matthew 5.5 (“Blessed are the meek …”). But if related to the history of the Brown lead.

Land topography, a revelation quite interesting, maybe useful to discover the mystery of the poem. In the center of Colorado there is, in fact, a group of mountains called Three Apostles Peaks.  There are valleys, which run among the various streams and are impossible to run with a canoe, just like the one in which mention is made in the poem. In between, two of these peaks is the famous Ice Mountain, which would, in a similar vein with echoes remote and oblique be a reference to another verse of the poem (“Your effort will be worth the cold”) of the last triplet . I wonder, therefore, if the treasure is hidden on the slopes of the Mountain of ice.


After a poor diagnosis Fenn decided to go into the desert with a treasure chest someone would find with his remains.


Forrest Fenn is a rich collector of 82 years in Santa Fe (NewMexico, USA).  He survived 328 air missions in Vietnam and a tumor. He is a happy grandfather, owns a gallery of Indian artifacts, has hidden a treasure and invited fans to find him as Indiana Jones. More than six thousand have taken up the challenge. Unsuccessfully.

If some skeptics suspect that this story of the treasure is a complete hoax, thousands of people – at least 6,416 counting only the emails received so far by Forrest Fenn – these people believed. And having read and reread the poem, they went on the road.

You have to start from the point where you stop the “hot waters” (refer to hot spring, hot springs and rich that the whole area?). Then, we proceed “Down river to the canyon,” to go “close, but not walk” (canoe?) Until a mysterious “Brown’s house.” At that point, there will be no “paddles against the currents, only serious loads and high water” (will touch perhaps continue on foot, placing everything on his shoulders?). You should look for a blaze, which in English can mean more things: an engraving on a wood or a rock? Or perhaps the remains of a fire? Or a white spot on the nose of a horse? Of course there will be a forest, and prepare for the cold. “And be careful – the author recommends – I never said I buried it, I hid it.”

Many write to tell their story. Someone, says the collector, arrived without knowing it, 15O meters from the booty. He imagines that the person who finds it will be a nature lover who lost his job and no longer has anything except his wife, five children and a pickup. But in reality the hunt has been joined by mothers with an unexpected spirit of Indiana Jones, and there is a pair from Chicago who have tried 14 times. When a woman complained because the clues were ambiguous, Forrest Fenn granted, in his way, a “help”: The treasure is more than 300 miles west of Toledo. “Whoever finds it, will have spent time thinking deeply, consulting some maps, and be brave enough to follow their dreams,” he says. But even if no one discovers it for a millennium, it would not be a problem.

And there is an autobiography in my chest, rolled up and stuffed into a jar of olives in order to protect it from moisture. I want whoever finds the chest to know who the fool is who has abandoned that property. ”

Many people, however, send two lines just to thank him: getting my family off the couch for a picnic outdoors, absent fathers who have rediscovered in nature, the relationship with their children. The blue-eyed Texan cited as the century favorite book “Diary of a Trapper” (Osborne Russell) and called the Rockies and also to get a beer.

“There is nothing like sitting under the pine-to simply look … contemplate. I spent hours and hours watching the staging of nature, squirrels scurrying, eagles and hawks in search of food, forms in the blowing leaves. As if to say that the real purpose is hunting and not the prey, “and mirror the immense and ever-changing sky of the West to discover within themselves a desire for adventure that had somehow vanished.”

But it’s hard not to read, every word, as a clue. Do not forget that the treasure is still out there.

Viviana Mazza


Ice Mountain on the Continental Divide in Colorado

Ice Mountain on the Continental Divide in Colorado