Featured Question and Weekly Words from Forrest: Backup Plans

forrest fenn fechinForrest, when you started your gallery in Sante Fe, did you have a backup plan as to what you would do if it did not take off? Or did you avoid having thoughts like those? ~Thanks Mark J

Mark J,
I was never organized enough to have a back-up plan. Initially, our art future traveled on very hard days. We just lumbered along feeling our way, replete with mistakes. Eventually, our efforts began to take on a more polite expression and the last fifteen or so years we were able to coast. f


The above Featured Question is also Weekly Words from Forrest for July 22nd, 2016. The complete list is here:

Weekly Words From Forrest Fenn

and the link to Featured Questions is here:

Featured Questions (category)


Best of luck with the Thrill of the Chase and all that you seek! Treasure the Adventure!

Follow MW on Social Media:

You may also like...

132 Responses

  1. Marked says:

    I just found this blog. Thanks for the great website.
    Mark G.

  2. JL says:

    As one who has tried it is very hard to get a business off the ground, there are many pitfalls and not much help in making it easier. I always fell back on what my grandfather told me, ” You are better off selling peanuts on the street corner then working for someone else”.
    Wise words from him and FF.

  3. Thank you Forrest and Jenny, for the extra weekly words

  4. MartinS says:

    Somehow I can relate to that. Well, the first part anyway. 🙂

    Thanks again Jenny and Forrest!

  5. 23kachinas says:

    I imagine Tesla made a thousands of mistakes on the way to his discoveries.

    “Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Tesla

  6. Dan says:

    Thanks Jenny, Mr. Fenn, and Mark J…I look forward to these words weekly!

  7. Bailey says:

    I always have a backup plan when I’m searching for Mr. Fenn’s treasure. In the unlikely event that I don’t find the it on a treasure hunting trip . . . I plan another treasure hunting trip.

  8. Mark J says:

    Thanks for the response!

  9. Onuat says:

    Yep..That’s me,lumbering along,replete with mistakes. 🙂
    Good morning . Thanks Jenny ,Forrest and Mark J.

  10. Helen says:

    Can somebody in possession of a Fenn Filter please tell me what…

    “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression ”

    …means, when translated into plain English?! 😉 We can *guess* at it when it’s in context, but let’s imagine finding it on an old, yellowing, creased slip of paper, hidden somewhere in the hollow of a tree in a forest North of Santa Fe. What was the writer intending to convey?

    • Buckeye Bob says:

      Probably something along the lines of things relaxing for them. I imagine there was a lot of stress in the early going until they got their feet underneath them.

    • Mark J says:

      I think he means “sophisticated/professional appearance”

      • Helen says:

        Thanks Mark J. Would you mind writing out the whole Fenn sentence, translated as you read it, into plain English?

    • Chamer says:

      I guess it depends on whether you found it near WWWH or somewhere else. If it was somewhere else I guess it has nothing to do with this conversation. Kind of like finding a rock in a cave I guess.

    • Chamer says:

      Something just Dawned on me, maybe he is talking about the behavior on some of the boards lately.

      • E.C. Waters says:

        Yep. That’s how I interpret it through my Fenn Filter. I can relate to the lumbering around replete with mistakes part, as well as not being polite.

    • anna says:

      Maybe FF is saying they built their own lumber homes by hand until they could afford more expensive homes of “polite expression.” Who knows? When it comes to interpreting Forrest – it’s a constant guessing game for me. Strike up a teepee in his yard 🙂 I’ll camp on his lawn until it dawns on me.

      • Helen says:

        Anna, thanks. Wow, that is out of left-field! What exactly is a home of polite expression? Secondly, would you mind writing out the whole Fenn sentence, translated as you read it, into plain English?

      • lia says:

        Thank you Mr. Fenn Sir. Always a pleasure when you check in on Fridays! For some reason I’m stuck on 44 capital letters in your poem today. I think there’s capital to be found. hopefully I expressed that in polite fashion. If not, forgive me. I’m simply a cowgirl who lived in a log cabin as a youngster.

    • DPT says:

      Helen, I believe it means things became easier because they got better at it thru experience. Just like learning to walk or ride a bike, your efforts will pay off. You will become more polished.

      • Helen says:

        Thanks DPT – interesting! Another interpretation of the seemingly straightforward phrase “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression “. Wow, I did not expect quite so many different views when I began this experiment – I appreciate it.

        • BW says:

          Helen, that is the beauty of this chase!

          • Helen says:

            BW, I’m not sure I follow. Are you able to expound on this? What is the beauty of the chase?

            • BW says:

              Helen, I have never expounded on anything in my life! I’m quite the wallflower, so I’ll give your words back to you to explain.

              “Another interpretation”…….”so many different views”

              • Helen says:

                BW, sure. I asked for help in interpreting this apparently simple phrase from Forrest,

                “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression”

                Posters were kind enough to submit the following interpretations – i.e. different views:

                1. Buckeye Bob : “Probably something along the lines of things relaxing for them”

                2. Mark J : “sophisticated/professional appearance”

                3. Chamer : Talks about the note rather then the words, and thinks that Forrest is referring to the boards rather than his gallery.

                4. Chamer : Seems to be thinking that it means “our efforts began to take on a more thank you” – not sure what that means.

                5. E.C. Waters : Agrees with Chamer (No. 3)

                6. anna : Talks about “they built their own lumber homes by hand until they could afford more expensive homes of “polite expression”.

                7. lia : Talks about something that she perhaps communicated to Forrest, and seems to think that the “polite” was relating to that.

                8. DPT : Thinks it means “things became easier because they got better at it thru experience.”

                9. Huck : Says “Sounds like he went from bland to buff”

                10. JL : Thinks it means “they ran their business efforts like they were dealing with family, being accommodating.”

                That’s 10 different interpretations of this apparently simple phrase, just because of the strange way that it is worded. I think we can agree that the phrases in the poem are so much more difficult to interpret. So….

    • decall says:

      Smile…. ff has mentioned the smile a time or two.

    • Lia says:

      Helen, you asked, “Can somebody in possession of a Fenn Filter please tell me what…

      “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression ”

      …means, when translated into plain English?! ”

      I would enjoy asking Peggy Fenn or one of the grandchildren if they readily understand Forrest’s intended meaning in a normal course of conversation, or if they too walk away confused. Personally, I have no idea if ff enjoys our state of confusion…he doesn’t often choose to clarify.

      • JL says:

        Hi Lia,
        The architect derives a cockeyed sense of ambiguity with his creativity.

        • Lia says:

          JL, the truth in your statement is as understated as Skippy…playing Captain Kidd:) Out of curiosity…. And given threats against his granddaughter, do you think Forrest now hopes the puzzle to his treasure chest is solved in his lifetime? In the past he voiced ambiguity and his hope for a 1000 year concealment, but as a loving grandfather he must be concerned what the future holds for his family when he’s unable to control circumstances. He’s confusing to me no matter how hard I try to understand him as a human being. Yesterday, I had opportunity to do one last quick ground search of a well mapped search area and found myself instead drawn to the place Forrest, Peggy, & Joe were photographed along the Gallatin River in Montana – just hoping to understand his feelings. I know the area well and am certain I was close – north of Covered Wagon Ranch, south of Pulpit Rock. There was a very old wooden cross – auto accident marker along the river juxtaposed against the delight of a sweet little family learning to fish in the safety of low summer waters. Brought back so many memories for me – camping and playing along the beautiful, clear, emerald Gallatin. I visited Red Cliff & Swan campgrounds for old times sake, in case I’m never there again. Because my childhood memories overlap his along the Madison, Gallatin, west Yellowstone, Spanish Peaks – it’s hard not to mix my own memories with this chase.

  11. Helen says:

    Thanks Buckeye Bob. I appreciate your guess and imagination, but that wasn’t really my point. I understand it, in context. I’m asking what it actually means, in plain English, i.e. what it comes out as if you parse the sentence to extract its real meaning. It escapes me.

    • Huck says:

      Sounds like he went from bland to buff

      • Helen says:

        Thanks Huck. Would you mind writing out the whole Fenn sentence, translated as you read it, into plain English?

        • Huck says:

          Arrr efff frt b gan2 tayk Ana moor polight xpress on. I love pirate jargon. But honestly I just keep coming up with Baffert and feel like discussing the odds.

        • Huck says:

          Helen you’re a saint. And I love trips around the world as well as the color of the sun. Love to all!

    • JL says:

      I interpret it as they ran their business efforts like they were dealing with family, being accommodating. Forrest and Peggy seem like they treat everybody like family. So if you take the business part out they started to take a more accommodating lifestyle.

      • Helen says:

        Thanks JL. Would you mind writing out the whole Fenn sentence, translated as you read it, into plain English?

        • JL says:

          “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression ” =

          after awhile or our work began to take on a more accommodating manner.

          Soon as your not looking Helen I am going to jump out the window and ride that rusty old slide to freedom.

          • Helen says:

            JL, Ha! No lesson or test here! Though there is a potential purpose to my question.

            • JL says:

              will you potentially be accommodating that purpose to the class?

              • Helen says:

                JL, there’s nothing arcane about the purpose. Here we have an apparently straightforward statement from Forrest. I say apparently, because if we gave this to somebody who does not speak Fenn, they might just consider it to be gobbledegook. So far, I can see three responses to my question, and everyone translates Fenn in a different way, and he’s (probably) not even trying to be cryptic. In the poem, he *is* being cryptic – he’s said that we need to “decipher” it.

                If we can’t agree on a plain statement from him, what strategy do we use to decipher his poem? Guessing? Imagination? Something else?

                • Helen says:

                  Update – four responses, all different.

                • JL says:

                  Maybe someone should just ask him, or you would probably just have a better chance of trying to slip into his mind and steal his thoughts.

                • JL says:

                  Helen, your experiment sparked a thought in my feeble mind.
                  What if F speaks like the backward bicycle? If you wanted to hide something in plain sight using words what if the way we interpret what he says needs to be switched 180 degrees out and take the opposite meaning? the casual read would take it at face value but in fact they would be going 180 degrees in the wrong direction, the exact opposite of where they needed to go. You would still be following the poem precisely according to the opposite meaning.

          • Sherry says:

            What is the business part?

            • Helen says:

              JL, then you have discovered part of my purpose! I don’t want to be prescriptive, but it’s satisfying to know that I have encouraged at least one person to look at the world in a different way!

              Now then, what does “your effort will be worth the cold” really mean? Does it make sense if you just take it literally? Really?

              • JL says:

                Helen you ask some really tough questions and the slide looks like a good escape. What is sense to one person is garbage to another? Perhaps your experiment just shows that our thoughts are ours alone and that no matter how articulate you are in trying to relay those thoughts into words the message gets lost in translation.

                • Helen says:

                  JL – no, I don’t think so. It’s perfectly possible to write a very clear message, even if it’s a hidden clue. Cryptic crossword puzzle writers do this millions of times every year. What is sense to one person does *not* have to be garbage to another. In fact, in general it shouldn’t be. Clear communication is essential for progress. Bizarre communication is great for leading/misleading (e.g. as a tool in neuro-linguistic programming and sales) but not so great for leading someone to a solution.

                • Sherry says:

                  Then, what is a girl to do?

                • JL says:

                  So in that context Helen, you are implying that FF is very articulate and cryptic but he is leading one towards the solution and not trying to lead them away. Are you being *cryptic* in the use of your *?

                • E.C. Waters says:

                  @Helen, I’d enjoy your perspectives if you’re into neuro-linguistics and semantic analytics. Since 2013, I’ve been conducting my search off of this body of knowledge, including adding a Spanish thesaurus and my own algorithms of partial / combinatorial token transformations to homonyms. When you asked about a Fenn Filter, mine is only as mature as what I believe he is implying, and so far I have been wholly unsuccessful in finding the box (including the one he said to get back into as per a recent post here).

                  By the way, Helen, did you know your name is my blaze?

                • BW says:

                  I wonder if Helen has a middle name?

    • Chamer says:

      A polite expression would be thank you in plain English.

      • Helen says:

        Chamer, would you mind explaining? Are you saying that the sentence

        “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression ”

        can be translated as

        “our efforts began to take on a more thank you”?

        What does that mean? I’m confused 🙁

        • Chamer says:

          I’m going to have to excuse myself, and say, I was up for 43 hrs. straight and sit here on 5 hrs. sleep. Interesting conversation, check back later.

        • JC1117 says:

          That’s an interesting translation, Helen.
          Of course, there are many other polite expressions that could be used in place of “Thank You”.
          I found this cute, little picture which shows some other polite expressions which could be used.
          The picture looks all skiwampus because you’re supposed to print it out and fold it into a small book…I reckon.
          I suppose most people wouldn’t call it a book, but I sure would.
          There’s a lot more wisdom in that little book than many books which are much larger.
          I’m going to print my copy right now and write my name on it. There’s a nice little space for that.
          I’d hate for someone to find my Polite Expressions Book and think it doesn’t belong to anyone…
          …and throw it in the trash.

          Thanks, Forrest and Jenny and Mark J. Please keep up the Good Work. I thank You, kindly.

      • Sherry says:

        Oh, yes, and, thank you. But, if I’m not supposed to send it back to Forrest, what am I supposed to do with it? I never planned to go MIA.

  12. Jake Faulker says:

    “We just lumbered along feeling our way”
    Must have been a heavy load, on your minds.

  13. Chesney says:

    Thank You Mr. Fenn, Ms. Kile, and Mark J. I try to always have “A Backup Plan”, but I tend to be creative to sustain, as well. It takes money to do anything, if you are creative it’s not impossible to adapt.

  14. DPT says:

    Wow, thank you Forrest and Jenny.

    I believe this tells me a lot about the chase. Searchers, look at the words and meanings. Find out what it means in plain English like Helen is alluding to above.
    Forrest is telling us of the chase I believe from beginning to end.
    Start at initially and look up the words to know what they really mean. Like art. means to BE, ME. To exist. It means Where you appear to be. Where do you Stand! Look up Be!!
    Now move to lumbering. means to move heavily or clumsily. To move lamely or limp like the definition of halt. Lumbered root word is lamo or Limp. Think of Skippy and Forrest limping with one leg and the car. By the way they should of buried Skippy Standing up in that story. Does everyone know Forrest has a statue of an elephant in his backyard? Talk about moving clumsily or waddle with walking. And did you know the british meaning of lumber is junk, trash such as litter. Litter was Forrest call sign. Now look up replete. Means to gorge or fill up, abundant, full. And mistake means to mis-take. Its a Fault or error. Put these things together, heavy, clumsily, faults. To me the this describes a Blunder. meaning of blunder is make a mistake, move clumsily or haltingly, botch, utter something stupid, go blindly, eyes closed. Hmmm

    Next is our expressions became more polite. Polite means to polish or shape. I think this says, Now you can move more freely, easier.
    And the last line for 15 years to coast. Look up coast searchers!!! Whoa. Coast is the border or frontier, slope, glide and slide. It is also the land that borders the water. Also called the LITTORAL!! Litteroral is the zone or region between( think middle) the high and low tide( think water high), of a shore or coast. Also called Intertidal(IN) which means the shallow water near the shore, between the high and low water mark. The chest could be wet depending upon the tide or high water mark of a lake.

    To sum it up it is the existence of being, to learn to stand, then walk, then run, then fly. We must adapt, to go from not knowing in life to standing on our own then gliding or soaring.

    Hope this helps sumbody.

    Now to match it to geology and geography, help is always appreciated;-)

    To those of use in tight focus this weekly words speaks volumes. Thanks Forrest

  15. 5-leaf blaze says:

    Then I shall stop at all 40+ stops and coast 🙂
    I do music/art myself, but I am certain it is too crazy for most people to stomach.

  16. spallies says:

    Thanks for the weekly words to ponder Jenny, Forrest and Mark J… Forrest, glad you were able to get those first hard days out of the way and coast through the last 15 years…

  17. Forrest Fenn says:

    Helen, I get no satisfaction from writing as if my thoughts were formulated. If you don’t understand my meaning, I hope you would at lease understand my intent. Sometimes, in the still of myself, my nuances do not evoke the presence of an author, but of a scribbler. Sorry for the confusion. f

    • JL says:

      Mr. Fenn If I may be so bold, you seem to be a fine example of ficklism Forrest. Get it ff just an attempt at humor sir no harm intended.

    • Helen says:

      Mr Fenn, thank you. We both know that you are a wonderful and evocative author, certainly not a scribbler. My simple point is this – if we can’t agree on what you mean when you are *not* trying to hide something, what strategy do we use when you *are*?

      • Jeremy P. says:

        I think the answer would be obvious, Helen. Try a strategy where no one agrees with you 🙂

      • Mike Forni says:


        I have been “actively studying” Forrest for the last 4 months. Passive reading and analyzing a single phrase is probably not a good strategy to understand Forrest…. Forrest is EXTREMELY complex. Your method will lead you down a hollow hole….. CONTEXT is everything. You need to grab every banana you see to understand Forrest. You can take a sentence written by “anybody” and apply the same method above and you will get 10 different answers. Your crossword example does not apply to the “test” you conducted above. The writers/readers of crossword puzzles have common lines/boundaries. Your sample (people who responded to your question above) do not share those same rules and understanding. You will get the same results as above by taking a sentence from any other poet. Context is our only hope to solving Forrest. Studying pictures, analyzing drawings, listening to videos, reading Forrest’s books (and the books he references), reading and understanding other solves, thinking, listening and doing it all over again and again. There are no short-cut to understanding Forrest or the Poem. To solve the Poem, you need to solve Forrest. Nothing Forrest has done has been easy. He has explained to us many, many times on his approach to life. He has worked very hard to gain knowledge, experience and success (flying airplanes, running an art gallery and being an archeologist) eventually he got to enjoy the fruits of his labor (“efforts began to take a more polite expression”). This is derived by understanding Forrest (context is everything). I hope this comment helps. And good luck with the Chase!

    • Chesney says:

      I apprwciate all of uour scribblings, Sir. Thank you for all you have done past, present, and future! I hope you and everyone is in Great Health! In a month you turn 68! 😀

    • DPT says:

      Forrest, I always appreciate your thoughts. I am a doodler as well. Most people call me a simpleton. There is tranquility in the simple things in life. But others think I am a fool. Either way I enjoy life as I see you do.

    • E.C. Waters says:

      Oh Fenn. Once again, all of my theories are set afloat. And now ablaze. I guess I’ll just keep waiting on ships that never come in.

    • Iron Will says:

      LOL I have had polite expressions from the beginning of the Chase, and because of that, did not see the meaning behind this Q and A Forrest. Now that I took the time to “read” it, I must say… very nicely said 🙂

  18. Squat Cobbler says:

    Mr Fenn, I think your teasing me. Does this mean I should “back up” away from the blaze and search. Or does it mean I should go “back up” to the blaze and search?

  19. FenngShui says:

    Did Mr. Fenn hide something? I believe it is just casually resting.

    • Helen says:

      FenngShui (clever name!) – Forrest has told us that he did hide something. He hid the location of his treasure, in the poem. If you think that the location is not hidden in the poem, and that it is just “casually resting” there, then I suppose that you have trillions of places to begin, where warm waters halt.

      If you’re being literal about the treasure itself, then of course it could be resting anywhere, casually or not.

  20. Spoon says:

    Ah, Helen, you are good. I’ve wondered where you went – haven’t seen you posting in a while. I believe you’re one of the few that gets it. Or at least has the mindset to get it. I suspect that you are not at this as doggedly as you’d like to be; that’s probably good luck for the rest of us. You probably would have it all figured out by now.

    Like most of his statements, they are probably next to impossible to determine without some context. To me that’s the real beauty of this incredible puzzle that Fenn created. I think that each clue is almost unsolvable without the context provided by having solved the previous clue. He’s said that in order to find the treasure a person need only solve the last clue, but in reality, without the ones preceding it, forget about it!

    • Helen says:

      Spoon, thank you. I suspect you’re right 😉 Fortunately, the things that keep me away from this are equally, if not more, exciting and worthwhile. You make a good point about context. The challenge is to find the right context for the first couple of clues, so we’re still faced with the problem of differentiating cryptic clues from Forrest’s eclectic and unique writing style. When we discover the solution, will we feel compelled to slap our foreheads, or Forrest’s?


      • Spoon says:

        I think when the true solution is revealed that some, like you, will slap their heads and say, “Wow, that was a good one!”, over and over again. Others will look at it and say, “that was impossible” or “he totally misled everyone”. I fear that many will go away ticked off and that would be a real shame. The one who finds it will have slapped their forehead hundreds of times along the way.

        • Helen says:

          I hope you’re right about the auto-forehead slapping, Spoon.

          Anyway, nobody has answered my question yet. What does “your effort will be worth the cold” really mean? These poem words resemble Forrest’s phrase in this scrapbook. I asked about the phrase in this scrapbook, because so many are making unexamined assumptions about the similar line in the poem. Does it make sense if you just take it literally? Really? No, it doesn’t.

          • Spoon says:

            Everyone has their theories. If you want to know mine I would only tell you offline.

            • Helen says:

              Spoon, no thank you, I don’t want to know anybody’s theories about what the line means. I’d like to know if there is any way that “your effort will be worth the cold” can be taken literally, as it is. Many are saying that it means we need to somehow suffer the cold to be rewarded with the treasure, but the line does not say that at all. Maybe in Fennspeak, but not in English. Metaphorically, the line can be interpreted dozens of ways, but that’s not what I’m asking about.

              I have a favored interpretation of this poem line. It’s not literal (as written) and it’s not metaphorical. It doesn’t tell me where the treasure is, but it makes me feel more confident when I am looking in certain places, if you can understand that.

              • Chamer says:

                Do you know something about the cold that I don’t get? I just get, come back when it’s cold or don’t go near the cows…lol

              • Spoon says:

                I get part of what you say and not the rest. I don’t understand why it would make you feel more confident, but I suppose that’s because I don’t know your interpretation. That probably means we don’t have the same interpretation. I don’t believe that this Weekly Words bears any relationship to that line in the poem. But I think the way you’re approaching the problem is the right one. Nice chatting with you. Take care.

              • Kim says:

                I think he put a lot of effort into a relationship but still got a cold shoulder. Or he worked hard all winter to have fun all summer. Now I feel happier.

              • Mindy says:

                Hi Helen,

                I think many of Forrest’s expressions can be taken extremely literally, although not in the way most people are likely to interpret. I have heard somewhere that Shiloh said if you tell Forrest to go through the doorway or “go in the door,” he will say, “That’s impossible. How can anyone go IN (or through) a door?” I’m paraphrasing there as its been quite a while since I heard that.

                The phrase “your effort will be worth the cold,” I believe, is part of an instruction. I believe the poem is a set of instructions that one must follow to find the blaze, then the chest, and finally, the treasure. I have some really good reasons for saying that, but even my replying here is sure to get lambasted on the blogs.

                Anyway, I believe there is effort–actual physical effort–required to solve the poem. I believe “worth the cold” has a dual meaning (actually, I believe almost every line in the poem has a dual meaning, and one must figure out both of them to successfully solve the puzzle).

                Cold, in the context of the poem, I believe refers to both a color and a physical sensation.

                The answer to Mark’s question, I believe, is referring to the senses. There are many references to blindness in TTOTC, and “lumbering along, feeling our way,” fits the blindness theme and relying on more than sight to be successful. I believe “Teachers with Ropes” was about a class of blind students, who each held a knot in the rope and were warned not to let go “on penalty of death,” and the drawing depicts them walking across the street (I bet those kids could probably smell and hear that leaky radiator). With the phrase “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression,” I believe Forrest is referring to the ease and contentment that comes after a life of hard work.

                I think that after six years, Forrest has enjoyed arranging words that make him smile at the end of a sentence, and enjoyed watching us struggle to figure out exactly what’s he saying. It is a lot of fun, for sure…

                • Mindy says:

                  Oh yeah, and when Forrest mentions “in the still of myself” and refers to “scribbling,” he’s being extremely literal. Forrest, those words are hard to make out. You scribble very well. 🙂

          • Plato ll says:

            Helen, if you look at that whole stanza it reads as one long sentence. Forrest put a period after cold when in fact there should be none. His whole poem is fill with incorrect punctuation. Read this stanza without the period and you will understand its meaning. I’ll type it out in full. Consider your question answered.
            “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.”
            What he is saying here is if you are the brave one who’s effort finds the cold bronze chest and get into the wood lined chest, then, and only then will you receive title to the gold inside. This is the only interpretation that makes since.
            There are a couple of subtle hints in his book, this is one of them, “bronze is cold” to the touch even within a warm room. Imagine how cold it is when it’s outside.

            Your effort will be worth the cold “if” you are the one to find it. If you don’t find it your effort is worth maybe something but not the cold bronze chest and you will not get the title to the gold. Many people read this too literal, “Oh, it’s got to be cold there, or oh it has to be in the woods.”

            The information you need to find the treasure chest is in the poem. Remember, he’s said this many times, people just don’t listen. “So hear me all and listen good.”

          • JL says:

            What does “your effort will be worth the cold” really mean?

            We could spend all night on this subject, I can think of several meanings to that phrase within the context of the poem.
            The effort is pretty much just that, something you work at, how much effort depends on how hard the task.
            Cold has several meanings to me besides the literal meaning.
            1. you feel cold towards someone or you feel they may be cold towards you or the feeling is mutual
            2. perhaps you have warm feelings towards a person but you can’t let it show in public for some reason.
            3. you have a secret mission that no one can know about and you are not sure what it is yourself you just go do what is required of you and wait for your next assignment, without anything letting you know how your doing or what’s going on.
            4. Militarily you are sent to a hostile environment where no one is your friend and you can not expect help from anyone if you get caught nobody acknowledges you and you are left out there alone in the cold cruel world.
            5. if you are spiritually dead you could be considered cold.
            6. Something happens that gives you a chill like someone just walked on your grave.

            Pick one or all if you would like to discuss further or how they might apply to the thrill of the chase, I wanted to reply earlier but I need to get some work done.

        • Chamer says:

          I guess it is time to get back in the box, see if there is anything in there for me. The last two times I have found nothing, nada, zip. Well, maybe a snickers wrapper or a crumpled piece of paper. Maybe this is the wrong box, wait I hear a backup beeper.

  21. Chamer says:

    Have you ever had something slip miraculously into your mind and shortly later a person confirms it, then this happens 4 or 5 times? How can you explain that. It is like having your eyeballs on something and then someone says look at that. I am beginning to think this has something to do with fruits. Maybe I better go get some more sleep. Oh can anyone tell me how to make a cow jump over the moon? or at least go away

  22. Doug Widdoes says:

    We need better collaboration, but given “winner take all”, its counter to human nature to share given the sharer risks losing everything.

    Here’s my attempt at a first step.

    Forrest said if you don’t nail the starting point, you’re finished. I couldn’t agree more. So what we need is for a LOGICAL solve for the starting point that is impossible to argue with the logic used to find that starting point. (i.e. 1+1=2)

    Here are the starting points I see, two are in the story/book, and two are in the poem:

    All (first word of the book)
    Started getting bald (page 6 of book)

    Begin it where warm waters halt (Line 5 of Poem)
    Two lines in the poem don’t rhyme (Lines 5 & 7 of Poem)

    If one focuses all of their attention on the above items, you will get a 100% LOGICAL, and indisputable, starting point. I don’t know anyone who can argue with the fact that two words do, or don’t, rhyme.

    The solution reveals the starting point is a city.

    It will help if you define bald. Bald = no hair

    Hoping there are a few others out there who, like me, have solved the first few “way points” (including the blaze) with the 100% logical certainty referenced above, and wonder if they’re the only one!

    • Thomas says:

      What about the first sentence, good starting point right ? As I’ve gone alone in there, ( Forest is a man and a man ALONE is a HERMIT, just northeast of Santa Fe in the search area is Hermit’s Peak. Third sentence, I can keep my secret where, ( Everyone knows you can keep a secret in Vegas, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. ). In the forth sentence he needs you to know that he is not talking about Las Vegas NV. But…. Las Vegas New Mexico because he says, And a hint of riches new and old. The only way to enter into the Hermit’s Peak area is to go to Las Vegas N.M. and ( Begin it at the opening of the Gallinas Canyon at Montazoma N.M. where warm water halt in some very old rocked up tubs, one of the hotspring tubs is named ( cooler then a hotspring ) I could keep going too ,but soak that up for a min. and tell me what you think?

      • Thomas says:

        Las Vegas New Mexico is split in half by the Galliunas river , new town Vegas and old town Vegas, it only has a hint of riches in the new and old town compared to Las Vegas NV.

  23. Ramona says:

    Thank you Jenny, Forrest, and Mark J. Very interesting and as always very fun.

  24. Milan says:

    >>What does “your effort will be worth the cold” really mean?

    Simple. You must witness a special event at the break of dawn – therefore you must wait in the cold.

  25. jjdiggin says:

    I have lumbered along feeling my way, traveling on very hard days.
    I have overcome so many obstacles in my adventures, while at the same time, not seeing others. I must go to resolve my thoughts, which at this time are in scribble. My back-up plans include water and a solar umbrella…and the willingness to not proceed if danger is imminent. There’s a heat wave that threatens my perfect vacation, but ive already stroked out in the heat, hypothermized myself, hiked more than several miles and broken a few rules in my quest. You can’t be meek. Forrest once stated (paraphrased from 2014), “There’s no preparing for poor weather, just poor preparation.”
    I just hope for the best, and prep for the rest.
    Sometimes stupid am i?

  26. Matthew says:

    That really doesn’t answer my question. But if I ever found the Treasure I think I would write a book. Well, not a long book but at least a short page. At least people would hear it for 15 minutes of fame, maybe not fame but at least the message would be viewed if not heard.

  27. Bartleby says:

    Hello Helen, I like your approach regarding “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression”. It’s easy to discuss because it’s right in front of everyone now and it is not a direct clue to the solution, unlike “effort will be worth the cold”. I also feel they are related in a way. It comes down to your point “if we can’t agree on what you mean when you are not trying to hide something, what strategy do we use when you are?”. My proposal in suggestion to an answer to that question is that we can figure out the simpler case and use what we learn to understand the more cryptic case. I even believe that Forrest uses his creative language as hints about what he means in the poem. This is one of his passions IMO and he is sharing it with those willing to put effort into understanding.

    Here’s my first take on “our efforts began to take on a more polite expression”. I believe when Forrest crafts a phrase like this, it means exactly what it says, literally. IMO, it’s an attempt to construct a phrase that is MORE direct and concise than conventional prose. That’s not to say it’s clearer; it’s obviously not based on your polling. But if fully understood, I believe it would be very clear and is probably phrased in a way that could not be rephrased much clearer.

    Here are some ideas based on the most basic meanings of the words he used:
    (1) “The efforts we invested into growing and refining our business practices became more smooth, polished, and refined, and the growing success reflected those efforts accordingly.” i.e. polite being an outward reflection (countenance or manifestation) of polish and refinement.
    (2) or more colloquially “our efforts became increasingly effective and rewarding and smiled upon us more often” reflecting the idea that a smile is a polite expression.
    (3) or anthropomorphically “our efforts took on a more rewarding effect, thus they thanked us more often” reflecting the idea that Thank You is an example of a polite expression and such polite expressions acknowledge and reward socially valued efforts.

    I prefer (1), but realize that I’m not saying it is the correct interpretation. Even if it happens to be on the right track as a clarification, Forrest’s actual words are the only correct interpretation. When his meaning is properly understood, the best longer-winded interpretation is likely to be a more clumsy and awkward clarification. It’s just an opinion and a technique I find useful in trying to understand his words. When turning to the poem, I combine this type of thinking with parallel descriptions of physical geography and landmarks. His style is reflected in both types of communication and I believe the goals are the same, to formulate a precise, accurate, and unique description (of an idea, direction, or place) that is clear as a bell when understood, but requires effort or insight to interpret properly. And I should mention the clues in the poem have an added characteristic and thus challenge; imo they are strung together such that later clues cannot be guessed in isolation from earlier clues (no shortcuts) and also some do require insights from experience (BOTG). But IMO, the first step in understanding clues in the poem is the same as trying to understand these weekly words. Nice job in directing a constructive discussion!

  28. Bartleby says:

    I just now read Forrest’s comment above. It may seem to contradict my speculation. Maybe what I suggest as intentional comes natural for him. He knows, I don’t. And I feel he’s consistently sincere so nothing I suggest is meant to contradict him. Thanks for adding to the discussion Forrest!!

  29. Crow says:

    I typically do not have back-up plans. I recall my advisor being concerned that I had “all my eggs in one basket” in my thesis project – no back-up plan. Lots of work was involved and in the end, I succeeded in record time. It is that way with learning something new and not having a ton of money to get professional guidance. Patience, persistence, and youtube can be the answer. Then again, if I needed a back-up plan for the chest, I probably would seek E* for assistance.

  30. Strawshadow says:

    Thanks Mark J., Jenny and Mr. Fenn,
    Mr. Fenns scribblings have such meaning. Also nice to see my thoughts appearing in some of the responses. With the sun still rising out of the east perhaps it’s time to cast into a shadow. Lots to ponder here.

  31. Buckeye Bob says:

    My backup plan is a glass of whiskey for medicinal purposes. After that, I figure I’m on my own.

    Maybe “back up” should be followed with “into the Rockies again.”
    Or with “and start fresh again.”

  32. DPT says:

    Thanks again for the weekly words Forrest.

    I am looking at the last line and trying to figure out how you built your business to be so successful in the first year that you could coast the last 15 years. Seeing as you opened the gallery in 1972 and sold it in 1988. That adds up to 16 years. Wow, either there is a hint in there or you build businesses much faster than I do. You don’t strike me as a person who would rush things then to coast?

  33. Spade says:

    Chris you may be right, he may be saying we need to have a backup plan, as in the first plan did not work and we need to come up with a different strategy to accomplish the same goal, or we need to back-up as in a measurement of distance, I don’t know. If so, where from which direction and how far ( feet, yards or miles).These are things I am not sure of myself and it may be a clue. But until you have a concert solve and confidence, I wouldn’t bother looking because you’ll be looking for a needle in a haystack.

    • Spade, the backup plan may be to go back-up to the spot one (who lives in a coastal state) had looked; perhaps there was an old, petrified fallen tree under which one should feel around on this return trip. If one were to do so, after 15 years of very hard days, perhaps one would take on a more polite expression (smile vs anxiety, fear, disappointment, etc.). Just a thought…trying to connect the dots.

  34. Ben Brown says:

    wish i could go hunting,,,,,but cant,,,,am on ssi my an health isnt to good,,,,,,,,i prob would have been closer to maybe,,,going hunting,,,,,back a few years ago,,,,but wit life,,,,i end up losing every thing,,,,,the thing that hurt me most was watching my girl friend pass away,,,,from kidney failure,,,,an not being able to do any thing,,,,,to save her life,,,,,,but there was one good thing out of it all,,,,am happy camper,,,,that i got to spend 12 an a half years wit her,,,,,an us being able to a few of the the things we use to talk bout doing,,,,an one of em was going,,,,gem mineing,,,,ohhh boy,,,,how she loved it,,,,,an i wouldnt trade that memory away for any thing,,,,,an now iam wishing that i could have did a few more of the things,,,,that we use to talk bout doing,,,,,befor i started haveing these health prob

    • JL says:

      Mr. Brown I thinking happy thoughts and seeing you as healthy enough to go gem hunting again, sorry to hear about your girlfriend but i’m sure she has happy memories of you and gem hunting..

  35. Ben Brown says:

    bucket list foe me,,,,is simple,,,,to be able to do the few things,,,,that me an my girl friend,,,,use to talk bout doing,,,,but then again,,,it isnt as simple as saying,,,,well not with my health prob,,,,an me being fix on ssi

  36. Earnest T. Bass says:

    in the poem; put in below the home of Brown Brown/magnetism, bending light or fly rod or knee or rules.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *