Featured Question with Forrest Fenn and The Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt: Jungle Experience

thrill of the chase treasure hunt forrest fennDear Mr. Fenn,

What other events, wildlife encounters, or thoughts in your resourceful mind might you share about the night you spent in the Laos jungle? ~Kim

P.S. I’m glad you were okay! 🙂

Thank you Kim,

I enjoyed the Laotian jungle. I spent the night under tall trees that had orchids climbing their sides as far up as I could see. It wasn’t hot or cold, and it didn’t rain, but it sure got dark. Small animals scampered around making scratching noises, but generally the jungle was damp, which deadened many of the sounds.

I knew that tigers and cobras were in the jungle with me, but I figured a chance encounter would be rare.

My biggest threat was behind me.

My airplane was burning and things were happening fast. There was the real possibility that I would be hurt in the ejection or on the landing in the trees. A broken bone would have been bad. Bullets had shattered my canopy so there was a threat that my ejection system wouldn’t work. That meant I would have to go over the side and manually pull the ripcord on my parachute. I really didn’t want to do that. And there was a remote possibility that a bullet had impacted my tightly packed parachute, and jammed it. If that had happened my worries would have been over.

I was about 1,500’ above the trees when I squeezed the two ejection triggers. For the next few seconds I was just along for the ride. Several procedures worked automatically, a cannon in a telescope attached to my seat blew me out of the airplane. At the end of the telescope a rocket fired and propelled me up another 150’. Then a “butt kicker” strap reeled in and forced me away from the seat. I was still going up when my chute deployed, and luck was with me when it hung up in the trees. I was 18” off the ground.

Looking back now I must say that I enjoyed every second of that experience. The next morning a Jolly Green Giant rescue helicopter hoisted me up on a cable about 260 feet through the trees, damaging my body enough to get me a Purple Heart. Then it was up and away to Nakhon Phanom, Thailand, for a cup of coffee, some scrambled eggs, and a needed nap. Things just worked for me Kim, and it can’t get much better than that. f


Best of luck with all you seek!  Always Treasure the Adventure!



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23 Responses

  1. Sparrow says:

    Thank you Forrest and Jenny. Wow, what an experience. “A broken bone would have been bad” is an understatement to say the least. The Lord was really watching over you that day! We’re all so glad you made it out of there alive and well. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  2. Jake Faulker says:

    Training, preparation & repetition can increase the odds for a person.
    Good luck doesn’t hurt either.
    Shock & roll.

    • Sparrow says:

      Very true. When David killed Goliath I’m sure it wasn’t the first time he had used a slingshot. But I think in David’s case he’d say luck had nothing to do with it. 🙂

  3. pdenver says:

    Thank you for the “Featured Question,” Jenny, Kim, and Mr. Fenn. Your biggest threat was behind you? That was quite the ordeal you went through. Glad you were able to get out alive and enjoy the coffee, scrambled eggs, and a nap. I would consider getting back home even better.

    • Kim says:

      I enjoyed his response and inspired by, “My biggest threat was behind me.”

      I spent the night on the side of a mountain after searching for his treasure. Really, I had gotten lost in photographing the landscape rather than searching and, thus, ran out of sunlight. Unprepared to stay all night, I had limited shelter from the cold wind that blew up and through a ravine from a canyon below. As it whipped by sounding like a train, I comforted myself by thinking how at least I’m not sitting at home bored.

      I would not even remotely compare my experience to Fenn’s, but I did think of him and wondered what all might have transpired that night in a dark, wet jungle.

      • Brad Hartliep says:

        Well , to be honest Kim, you’re ordeal in the Desert was just as meaningful, to you, as Laos was to Forrest — you both survived. I used to sleep out on the ground, camping, when I was out on multi-day hikes, but I don’t think I could do it anymore, without a sub-zero bag, or an Arctic Parka, as I get too cold too easily .. I grew up in the Desert, and night-time temperatures can very quickly drain the human body of heat, so, being unprepared, you were in real danger. Forrest’s danger came from the Viet-Cong finding him, or the B-52s blowing him to smithereens, but not the weather ..

        You should write a story about your Night on the Mountainside ..


        • Kim says:

          Hi Brad,
          Yes, I’ve read and watched videos of what Forrest has said about the Laos experience and it’s amazing everything went so well. I was curious of the little details he might share about that night not yet revealed, and he did not disappoint. I would have a story to tell; however, I’m afraid I couldn’t tell a story without a specific setting (It was in a top secret location that the poem led me to). Somewhere in the Rockies, north of Santa Fe…? lol I bet you have some interesting camping stories to tell. It’s awesome to be in the solitude of nature.

  4. Strawshadow says:

    Thank you Jenn, Kim and Forrest,
    Interesting how hindsight can change ones perspective of events.

  5. JDA says:

    I am glad that your biggest threat – Tigers and cobras – are behind you. Close call my friend – stopping just 18″ from the ground, and possible broken limbs – wow.
    Many times in life, I have felt that I was “Just along for the ride” – Those moments are scary.

    Thanks for sharing your experience Forrest. JDA

  6. JC1117 says:

    That experience sound absolutely exhilarating!

    I’m happy that you made it out alive, Sir.

    Lions, tigers and cobras…Oh my!


    Ok…in all fairness…no lion. Tigers and venomous snakes…of any kind…are treacherous enough…without the lion.

    It’s always fun to see a new QUESTion and Answer.

    Thanks, Forrest and Jenny and Kim.

    • tighterfocus says:

      JC, your comments piqued my interest, but I’m afraid to thoroughly explain why.

      I’ll give you a small hint, though: In the poem there’s a word that is “close to being” a Spanish word that hints at the location of the TC. I realize that I’m not providing much
      help here, and I don’t like to tease. But I also don’t want to jeopardize my own chance
      of getting to the TC before anybody else. Thanks for posting.

  7. Nate Beck says:

    Riveting story Forrest, and I enjoyed reading it very much!

    Thanks for that!

  8. Mindy says:

    You enjoyed every second? Even Arc Light?

  9. OH! says:

    That is definitely a flight scenario that nobody would want to re-experience.

  10. Kim says:

    Thank you Mr. Fenn! That is an amazingly positive perspective of your ordeal. You never cease to amaze us! Have a wonderful day!

  11. C.M.R. says:

    Just another days work for f.

  12. WiseOne says:

    Forrest, That’s One Exciting Jungle Experience! I’m glad you’re here today and able to share it.
    Thank you for service and all your stories and pictures over the years. You’re the BEST. 🙂

  13. Point Foot says:

    Thank you for the story Forrest! I don’t think in my lifetime I will experience anything like what you have. I am thankful you lived through it all and are able to share about it with us. I enjoy your stories and learning about some of the expeiences that have touched your life. I am also grateful you were so inspired to give us all the gift of your treasure hunt. From my perspective I can’t help but feel you have lived a very blessed life!

  14. Lean Bread says:

    It is. such a beautiful story. Thanks Mr. Fenn and Jenny. The Jungle can be rude without moving into beds. Poor Animals. Hope you don’t get a MGP.

  15. Onuat says:

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about this. Still trying to find the hint in it. 🙂

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