The New Map…

Posted in october 2013

The map in "Too Far To Walk"...

The map in “Too Far To Walk”…

The new map is a thing of beauty. I get email from folks wondering if the map was left out of their books because they can’t find it. I puzzled over the location of the map when I first got my book too.

How am I ever going to find the treasure when I can’t even find the map.. 🙂

It’s very tightly folded on the very last page of the book. It does not look like it but that page unfolds and the map is inside.

I understand Benchmark will be offering a limited edition 24×30 unfolded wall map in the near future…very cool! I’ll keep my eye out for that..


A Fenn Celebration…

Posted in october 2013

By Elizabeth

The Loretto Inn, Santa Fe

The Loretto Inn, Santa Fe

Well, the Book Signing Bash was fantastic!  The Tesuque Room at the Inn and Spa at Loretto was packed with friends and fans of Forrest.


My family and I arrived about five minutes after five and the place was already full of happy people.  As you walked in, there was a long table where Forrest was signing books.  His youngest grandchild, Piper, helped him by writing down the name of the person for whom he was signing the book.  It was quite noisy and difficult for Forrest to hear.  At the end of the table were most of the books that Forrest had written, which were also available for purchase.

Bob Haworth was up on stage playing … mostly background music.  My three children and I waited patiently to say hello to Forrest.  We had met him on one previous occasion at his home.  He is always kind and gentle and has a twinkle in his eye.

There was a nice buffet and alcohol and soft drinks for everyone.  It was a very festive atmosphere and everyone was excited to be there.  It was easy to spot the treasure hunters from the long-time friends.  The treasure hunters were looking around the room more and had their books in hand.  The long-time friends were busy catching up with one another!

Around 5:45pm Forrest came up front and thanked various people who helped him with his book and then he thanks Bob Hayworth for coming.  Forrest didn’t talk long, but rather turned it over to Bob.


Bob said that he and Forrest went back a long ways … and that Forrest asked him to write a song about his book … and to include the Inn at Loretto.  Bob laughed and said, “It’s not easy to write a song about a book, but I’ve done it once before … for the Thrill of the Chase”  (or something to the that effect!).  Anyway, he sang his song and it was terrific!  Then Bob went on to sing many, many more songs. He even played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on his saw!  It was very enjoyable.

I’m sure it was an exhausting evening for Forrest … he was very generous with his time and trying to visit with everyone.  I did manage to get a few photos with him.  One of his granddaughters took the photo of me and Forrest.  I jokingly told her, “He forgot to smile.”  She said, “Yes, he never smiles!”IMG_2050IMG_2044
It was a grand time … I hope that those of you not able to attend can appreciate the event through my words and my photos.


Tarry Scant…Part One


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March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path. 

Khalil Gibran


So I thought I’d try and look at one of the phrases Forrest wrote in his poem which seems to be a source of confusion for some searchers…”tarry scant”.
This is found in the fourth stanza of the six stanza poem.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

The entire stanza appears to be a set of directions based upon the searcher having found the blaze…

“Tarry” could be either a noun, adjective or verb, depending on it’s use in the sentence.
As an adjective, tarry is spelled the same but pronounced differently and has a completely different meaning. We’ll explore that meaning a little further on. I believe Forrest is using the word as either a noun or a verb and it wouldn’t matter much which it is because the meaning of the line would not change.

To me, in non-poetic English, the stanza reads one of two ways:

Once you’ve found the blaze,
Look directly down and you’ll see what you’ve been searching for,
Don’t be tempted to linger there and stare at the marvelous chest,
Just take it and go with my blessings.


Once you’ve found the blaze,
Look directly down and you’ll see what you’ve been searching for,
Don’t be tempted to linger there and stare at the marvelous view,
Just take it and go with my blessings.

In either case the basic message is the same:
Don’t be mesmerized by what you see. Just grab the chest and go.

So for me, “tarry scant” simply means to “move on quickly”.

But to others it has meant different things. This is particularly true when Tarry is used as an adjective. In this case it is pronounced differently and comes from the root, “tar”…that thick, black sticky stuff. If you google “tarry” you will find a number of interesting and occasionally disgusting uses for the word. “Tarry”, is a physicians term for blood in your stool. As in. “You have a tarry stool.” In this case “tarry” comes from the root “tar” and means “black colored”, as a stool might be if it had dark blood in it. Which, of course brings to mind “tarry scat”…looking a great deal like “tarry scant”…But enough of the word’s use as an adjective.

For me, the words “tarry scant” were not unusual principally because of my parent’s influence…or more precisely, my mother’s. I was born of parents only a very few years younger than Forrest’s. My mother, being my main influence through childhood, was a native midwesterner and had a vocabulary of words that included “tarry” and “scant”. She would often tell me things like “don’t tarry after school today”, or “you can stay there til four o’clock but don’t tarry on your way home. I never had to look that word up. I knew what it meant and I knew I better go home directly after school or I’d be punished. My mother was not a great collaborator. Her parents were German and Pennsylvania Dutch and mediation was a word probably not in her vocabulary.

Scant was also a word she used often enough and that I felt immediately comfortable with when I read it in Forrest’s poem. My mother would say things to me like, “There will be scant dessert for you  young man until you eat all those beets.” There was little room for negotiation in a warning like that. Scant meant small…as in “next to none”. With dessert it meant exactly “none”.

A few years later I would learn about “scanties”. They being the scandalous, brief underwear a brave catholic schoolgirl would occasionally “show off” to a small admiring society of altar boys after Sister Mary Linus’s 7th grade class.

But I tarry…

“Move on quickly”, it’s just my interpretation..or taking after my mother I might say..”the only correct interpretation” 🙂

Would anyone care to comment with a counter-argument?


A New Book…


Posted in September 2013

by dal


I think everyone who reads this blog is well aware of Forrest’s hidden chest of gold and his, The Thrill of the Chase memoir where his beguiling poem was originally published. Further, by now, we have all struggled over this line in his poem-

Not far, but too far to walk.

What does it mean?

It’s been three long years between the release of that work and his newest work, Too Far to Walk. His beautifully illustrated, latest title should be in reader’s hands by mid-September and I think it’s fair to say it is highly anticipated by the folks who believe it’s about time for  new clues from Forrest. The Today Show pledge of monthly clues from Mr. Fenn has become just one more hollow promise in a decade of empty promises. Forrest however is not a hollow man. Four months ago he told us he was going to cut back on email responses so he could devote more time to his new book. He promised he would have it finished by his birthday. It was finished early and is now in the bindery. He is a man who believes his word is still important in a world where words, entire constitutions can become meaningless overnight.

Three years after Forrest’s poem and book were published, he says that his chest is still resting quietly in the “mountains north of Santa Fe”. On this blog, at Stephanie’s chat room, in Richard Sauntier’s thoughtful writings and on dozens of other locations on the web, in the press and in bars and kitchens across this world from Santa Fe to Shanghai the poem and even Mr. Fenn himself are constantly undergoing surgical-like analysis and endless reinterpretation. Someone, some day will find that chest and once again, prove Forrest’s word.

In that regard, the hope of course, is that this new book will provide additional clues to interpreting the puzzle of the poem. It does seem likely there are connections between the new book and the hiding place of the treasure. After all, there is a stunningly detailed map of the search area nested inside, and the new book takes it’s title from a line in the poem itself, “Not far, but too far to walk.”  Forrest, always circumspect about the treasure’s hiding spot, has not denied that hints may be found within the new book’s covers. This is an encouraging message for those of us hopeful for any morsel of a clue.

The potential for clues is not the only reward this creative story collection offers. For those looking for more splendidly crafted tales about Forrest, Peggy, Skippy, June, Marvin and Lillie, this collection serves them up like fresh baked, buttery cinnamon rolls on a crispy saturday morning. Comfort reading. Stories to make your heart relax and your mouth turn upward. There are 48 delicious dollops to warm you right down to your phalanges. The grand majority have never seen ink before. A few saw the light of day on Forrest’s blog before they were enhanced and added to the book. One appeared on another website many years ago and has been rewritten to include the latest ideas. So although every single story is not brand spankin new, by far, the majority are and the others have all been improved since they were first published.

It takes more than words these days to share a good story and Forrest knows that. Each of his stories is embellished with photos or drawings, or both. In fact the book is generously peppered with germane illustrations. My personal favorite is a photo of baby Lana Sue being tossed far into the sky by her dad Skippy. She displays an oscar winning joyful grin on her face. Even as she is ten feet in the air Lana has no sense of peril. She trusts her dad implicitly. Forrest’s caption is “Lana Sue plays with her dad, Skippy Fenn”. There is also the illustration of Peggy in “The Bullet”, Forrest’s first car. All you can see of Peggy is the very tippy-top of her head because the passenger seat was missing from the car and Peggy is sitting on an apple box for the long, uncomfortable ride home. The illustrations provide a very important sense of place to Forrest’s cast of characters.

A couple of weeks ago I was in Yellowstone country after just finishing up with the BBC film crew. I received an urgent email from Forrest. He and Susan and Lou were working on the cover for Too Far to Walk and wanted a very specific photo as quickly as possible. I was in the right place at the right time. Forrest sent a photo like the one they wanted. It had to be of a gravelly stream bed. It had to include some grassy shoreline. The water needed to be clear and pristine. The aggregate colorful and scoured clean. The image had to be framed vertical. The light would need to reflect gingerly off the cool trout sustaining liquid.  I walked up and down many beautiful stretches of trout stream for most of three days looking to capture what they had asked for. I probably took a hundred photos. I edited them down to the best 5 and sent them off to Forrest’s design team. I am very proud to say that one of them was chosen and appears on the cover of Too Far to Walk. Here is what Forrest wrote about a three day hike in that lovely scenery, fishing and camping along that special place on the Madison River where this photo was taken-


The river experience cemented my connection to that special country and I promised myself that some day I would make the trip again. That day never came for me, and my disappointment still casts a lonesome shadow across the Madison River. For me now, it’s just too far to walk.

Whether you are a reader of richly plaited stories or a searcher cropping for new clues, Too Far to Walk is sure to please.

Find out more about the book, read an excerpt and consider buying a copy here.