Featured Question with Forrest Fenn and The Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt: Toponymy or Geography

treasure huntDear Forrest, What’s more important in solving the search, a greater knowledge (“knowlege”) of Toponymy or Geography?  ~Chris

I don’t know how Toponymy can help you at all Chris (I had to look that word up). But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure. f


Below are some other Questions and Answers you might find interesting:


Featured Question: Warm Waters and Geography

  • Someone unfamiliar with your poem receives a message that says “meet me where warm waters halt, somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe”. Would they be able to work out where to go? If they can’t, would they need the whole poem, another stanza, or just a line or word to help them on their way? ~Phil Bayman

There are a few words in the poem that are not useful in finding the treasure Phil, but it is risky to discount any of them. You over simplify the clues. There are many places in the Rocky Mountains where warm waters halt, and nearly all of them are north of Santa Fe. Look at the big picture, there are no short cuts. f

  • Mr. Fenn, Is there any level of knowledge of US history that is required to properly interpret the clues in your poem. ~Steve R

No Steve R, The only requirement is that you figure out what the clues mean. But a comprehensive knowledge of geography might help.f


Question posted 6/25/2014:

  • Hi, Did the same 9 clues exist when you were a kid and to your estimation will they still exist in 100 years and 1000 years? Thanks ~Ron

Thanks Ron, thoughtful questions. The clues did not exist when I was a kid but most of the places the clues refer to did. I think they might still exist in 100 years but the geography probably will change before we reach the next millennia. The Rocky mountains are still moving and associated physical changes will surely have an impact. If you are in the year 3,009 it will be more difficult for you to find the treasure.f


Featured Question: The First Clue

  • Dear Forrest, You’ve written an excellent poem that leads us to the location of a fantastic treasure. What do you feel is one of the main reasons it hasn’t been found yet? Thanks so much ~ jenny

Jenny, Most of the searchers are very bright and make intelligent comments, either by email or on the blogs, but there seems to be more attention paid to the blaze than to the first clue. Perhaps that’s why the treasure hasn’t been found. f


Featured Question: Wet Physics

  • Mr. Fenn,  In your interview with New Mexico True Stories, you mentioned that you know that the treasure is wet. I checked out the date of that interview and it looks like you said that in a February, which could mean that you knew that it had snowed or rained at the site of the treasure chest, or simply because of higher water. Now we are in mid-summer, and if we assume that no storms have passed through recently, would you know that the treasure is wet now? ~Thanks, B

Yes B, physics tells me the treasure is wet. F


Question posted 7/1/2014:

  • Mr. Fenn:  In the past when you have said that several people had figured out the first two clues and then went right past the other clues, would you say that they got lucky and just happened to go to the correct starting area, not fully understanding the poem, or would you say that they did indeed solve the first two clues by understanding the poem and clues? C

Searchers have routinely revealed where they think the treasure was hidden and walked me through the process that took them on that course. That’s how I know a few have identified the first two clues. Although others were at the starting point I think their arrival was an aberration and they were oblivious to its connection with the poem. Playing a hunch is not worth much in the search and those who start out by looking for the blaze, are wasting their time.f


Question posted 6/29/2014:

  • Forrest, Did you intend for there to be 9 clues, or did it work out to be just right with 9? ~ halo

Nice thinking halo, I didn’t count the clues until the poem had been finalized. Although I changed it a few times over the months I think the number stayed about the same.f


Question posted 6/28/2014:

  • Your words and actions say you are a friend and lover of the environment “more than most.” Do you follow Leave No Trace and did you while hiding the chest? ie stay on established trails. ~Buddy

Buddy, I think you’re trying to get me in trouble but that’s where I am most of the time anyway, so I’ll answer your questions.

You may as well ask me if I love the air. I don’t know but, I certainly am an appreciator of nature. “Leave no trace” is a rhetorical statement not intended to be taken literally. For instance it is not feasible for you to not leave a footprint somewhere or a dry fly snagged high on a tree limb, left by your back cast. But I agree with the philosophy of the phrase. I dislike seeing beer cans scattered around when I am fantasizing that I am the only person who has ever been in that spot.

Generally speaking, there are places where one should stay on established trails; Yellowstone is one. However, it reminds me of the worn-out axiom, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.” When I am in the mountains or in the desert, the last place I want to be is on a trail. Ain’t no adventure in that for me. There isn’t a human trail in very close proximaty to where I hid the treasure.f


Question posted 6/20/2014:

  • I have a question for Mr. Fenn: When you hid your treasures, did you take the same path that is described in the poem, or were you able to skip some of the steps because of your familiarity with the area?  Thank you Curtis

The clues should be followed in order Curtis. There is no other way to my knowlege. f


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



Follow MW on Social Media:

You may also like...

54 Responses

  1. Kedar's Mom says:

    My giant size (yard sale rescue) Funk and Wagnalls Comprehensive International Dictionary of the English language Encyclopedic Edition is sure earning its keep. Thanks Jenny and ff.

  2. Jenny Kile says:

    Thanks Forrest and Chris….. nice Q/A!

    • John Boy says:

      Thanks for the past words along with this weeks words. I needed to be reminded that there is no trail in close proximity. There were only 2 waters high left on my list. One I will not be able to go to because the area is closed due to bears. Fortunately for me that one has a human trail leading directly to it. However my first choice of waters high is a 1.1 mile walk one way where there are no human trails. The reminder of that statement confirms to me that I am correct. I will know for sure in 12 days. Thanks Jenny, Forrest and Chris.

  3. ROLL TIDE says:

    BAM !

    “The geographic location of each clue”

    If that doesn’t shut down the ‘agitate’ cycle that has been going back and forth for over six years, then nothing will.

    Each clue is a Geographic LOCATION.

    Even with that said, I doubt that this will suppress that tired, monotonous question of whether each clue represents a physical location.

    I swear, it has made my head spin to see that over and over again.

  4. pdenver says:

    Thank you, Jenny, Chris, and Mr. Fenn for this week’s “Featured Question.” Looks like I need to look up the same word.

  5. thomas says:

    Thanks Mr Fenn, from the beginning to the end

  6. ROLL TIDE says:

    Should have said each clue is ‘at’ a geographic location.
    Coincidentally, I count exactly 9 geographic locations within the poem.
    If anyone else sees it the same way, then that should put to rest the question of what is a clue.

    • ROLL TIDE says:

      For those who operate on the premise that there are no clues in stanza 1 , there is a geographic location found in that stanza… ‘in there’.
      That’s what I see as clue #1.

  7. JC1117 says:

    Another interesting question and answer.

    Forrest’s answer validates what he said previously about not needing knowle(d)ge of US history…since many places got their names from historic events and people.

    Beats me. *shrugs shoulders*

    To make matters worse…I was never very good at geography. All those paralelagrams and areas and congruency…it’s very confusing. I mean…what’s the point?

    I’ll certainly have something to think about for a while.

    Thank You, Forrest and Jenny…and Chris.

  8. Twingem says:

    Always great headlines.

    Now to research.

  9. Strawshadow says:

    Thank you Jenny, Chris and Mr. Fenn for yet another look into the realm of possibility.

    • Strawshadow says:

      As the days grow long and consequent, I am once again reminded of a blush, a blush that goes something like this.

      I am a poet!
      What’s my employment? Writing.
      Is that a living? Hardly.
      I’ve wit though wealth be wanting,
      Ladies of rank and fashion
      All inspire me with passion;
      In dreams and fond illusions,
      Or castles in the air,
      Richer is none on earth than I.

      For I am the blush of illusion

  10. JDA says:

    Thank you Forrest – Very nice Q & A session. Most of the Q & A’s I have looked at very closely. One or two, I was slightly familiar with, but had not studied them in detail…I now will. Thanks again. JDA

  11. seannm says:


    I could have quite a field day with this Q & A, but it will be more entertaining watching everyone scurry about!


  12. You make it sound so easy. Lol..
    Thanks f

  13. Sparrow says:

    Thanks once again Forrest and Jenny.

    Toponymy = to my pony what an endearing word.

  14. thomas says:

    The end is ever drawing nigh, “remember me”, for I will be the guy.

  15. Kedar's Mom says:

    Having the right tool for the job….priceless. : )

    • Passenger says:

      Kedar’s Mom — you always make me nervous. I think you ought to spend more time with Kedar. I hope he’s not litigious 🙂

      • Kedar's Mom says:

        He’s getting older now(23) and I treasure every ride. Got new shoes yesterday, can’t wait to hit the trails. Take care Passenger it was nice to hear from you : )

        • Passenger says:

          Sounds like those new shoes may lead you to victory… If you get stuck out there, hit me up, I may have a few ideas.

          • Kedar's Mom says:

            The open road is calling…but it’s gonna have to be patient. Good things are worth waiting for. I am already wealthy for I have things money cannot buy.

  16. HeadedDown says:

    Place names provide the most useful geographical reference system in the world.

    But this is like a kids pirate map. Go to the big rock, turn left, walk 10 paces turn right, walk to the other big rock. Boom there is it. Next to a big rock.

    This is a great question and answer. Like the don’t use logic statement. Thanks.

  17. 23kachinas says:

    All I can think about is surface tension. If water can hold memory, then the treasure knows itself to be treasure because it is wet. Maybe it has Forrest’s DNA too because water can hold the electromagnetic charge of DNA information.

    Water Memory: https://youtu.be/R8VyUsVOic0

  18. Chesney says:

    Thank You Mr. Fenn, Ms. Kile, et. al.

  19. Alsetenash says:

    Interesting sentences. IMO-with the second sentence starting with the word ‘but’ following the start of ‘I don’t know’ automatically makes me rearrange the second sentence of words placement. When a sentence starts with ‘But’ it is an automatic habit of mine-to rearrange the words without changing the meaning of the sentence.

    So, I did it this way automatically ,right or wrong.

    From Quote:

    “But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure. f”

    To my rendition as this:

    But it would be a map to the treasure if you knew the geographic location of each clue.

    So, finding the starting location by Toponymy is not helpful. But being at the right location, a word or words used in the poem could be based on the sites historical reference . It could only be one word , maybe two or a shadow of a third. This would only be seen as plausible by a person if they could find reference to this at their area of search. If not at all recognized as such, then this idea can so easily be a dismissive hint .

  20. Point Foot says:

    Thank you Forrest and Jenny! It’s always a pleasure to see new posts. It sounds like Forrest is telling us all to get our treasure maps ready for when the snow finally melts!

  21. Dear Forest, my wife and I or planning a trip to find your T. Box, I wrote you once before,my wife is recovering from brest cancer,you or on her bucket list,hope to here from you soon,Larry and Dottie Richardson.

  22. Jdiggins says:

    10 questions, ten answers. Hmmmm…Maybe there’s something were missing…???

    • Jdiggins says:

      Things that make you go hmmmmm:

      Your hair in the morning,
      Your dog getting fatter on diet food,
      Forgetting what you were thinking about,
      Every word of forrest fenn! 🙂

  23. Jake Faulker says:

    How many different ways does he have to spell it out?

  24. Ramona says:

    “But if you knew the geographic location of each clue it would be a map to the treasure.” I’ve got the map. I’ll sell it to you, maybe I’ll even give it to you. Just ask. Thanks Forrest and Jenny.

    • Jdiggins says:

      Hi Jake.
      Patience is a tough one isn’t it! I’d have been a doctor if…
      Anyway, whatcha askin’ fer that map? I got one too. I might buy yours if I end up lighting a fire with mine. Have easter plans Ole friend? I do. 🙂

  25. Jdiggins says:

    Sorry, @ramona re the map, etc..

  26. Brad Hartliep says:


    A whole new meaning to Water High ..


  27. Dean Grover says:

    The treasure is not the way of a rich man still making money selling maps, and books.
    Rich people are greedy, and love attention. What do you expect.

  28. AU Dowser says:

    It’s in Durango colo by the river that’s at least some of it

  29. Jdiggins says:

    It’s always in the last place you look…

  30. E.C. Waters says:

    Another search method blown to h___. Multi-lingual toponymy was my favorite.

  31. Jdiggins says:

    Who cares what words/toponymy I use as long as you know what I mean?
    In other words, as long as we understand each other, I could call a mountain a hole, or a pepper an ice cream, long as we both know it is hot.
    Just a random thought as I review…

Leave a Reply

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