Forrest’s Surprise Words: What You Know For Sure

the thrill of the chase forrest fennSurprise words from Forrest:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”  ~Mark Twain


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




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193 Responses

  1. Jenny Kile says:

    Love the Quote, Forrest! Thank you.

  2. Iron Will says:

    Faith is believing in what you know just ain’t so.

    • JohnR says:

      Maybe I’m biased, but that, look up ^^^, there, is fantastic. All of em.

      • Spade says:

        Hello John.
        It seems like I’ve seen you some place before. Anyhow, I trust you have a good solve, by perhaps you need to be more bold in your approach though. Good luck.

        • JohnR says:

          Hello Spade,
          Yes, I think it’s best to be patient yet still motivated. With no confirmations nor progress one “solve” is as good as any other. They appear to be all the same. Not the one. Well, good luck to you also.

  3. The Wolf says:

    The quote actually came from the Big Short. Twain has never used these words…

    • nmc says:

      “If you’ve seen The Big Short—and you should, it’s great—you’ll know that the movie opens with a quote from Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Are you sure?

      • DoubtingThomas says:

        “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble,” which must be why The Big Short opens with a fake Mark Twain quote.If you’ve seen The Big Short—and you should, it’s great—you’ll know that the movie opens with a quote from Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

        It’s a perfect quote for the film, only it does not appear in any of Twain’s books, essays, letters, or speeches. Because Mark Twain never wrote it or said it or anything like it. The closest he came is “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so,” which appears in Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar and is a long way away from the quote that opens The Big Short.

        • nmc says:

          Josh Billings apparently coined it, but as a lesser known humorist, it was attributed to Mark Twain (according to

        • Thomas says:

          You can doubt me all you want, lol! , but while you guys are just chatting with each other, Forest is talking to me in a with a code only I understand. If you look back to comments on the last surprise word, I’m talking to Jake, I believe Forest wrote his poem but changed the words around by the story “Half Way To Heaven” . Alright, I worked to solve Fenn’s poem, everything worked. Later I run across an old story in a Cowboy Reunion book called half way to heaven, that story took me to the very same spot. This was just to crazy, if I didn’t see the author I would have thought Fenn wrote it. Forest wrote this surprise word knowing you guys would catch him with a Make Twain quote, duh! Now my solve follows the story but, I at the last of my solve was looking around a Hugh granite rock because it looks more like a blaze to me then the spot the story took me to. I under stand now Forest, it’s in the bubbly springs out in the paster in the open like the story said, and he read my comment about getting in trouble by my wife if I was to return out there! What I know is for sure means, don’t change the ending of the story it’s right there in front of me, I know he copyed the story, follow it!!!!!

    • The Wolf says:

      If you look at the cover of the book in which the movie was based on: The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine written by Michael Lewis who also wrote Liar’s Poker (disturbing link to the Chase). There is a giant hook baited with money.

      Makes one think and wonder if the greed that drove housing prices to insane levels on the belief they would continue to rise forever, isn’t synonymous with The Chase. We have seen many examples of how greed drives our decisions to take crazy risk in The Chase. Is this the message or are we, the chasers, being baited by the money hook?

      I suggest watching the 1948 film “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” with Humphrey Bogart (also spoofed on a Simpson episodes: “Three Men and a Comic Book” and “The Burns Cage”). This classic movie clearly illustrates how gold fever can turn ordinary men into a crazed lunatics.

      • nmc says:

        All good, but my question (are you sure?) was directed at your comment ” Twain has never used these words…”. I was just curious why you made that statement.

      • MartinS says:

        Or “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. That was a good one.

      • Crow says:

        The Wolf, Exactly – a hook baited with money. IMO it was a hook baited with a bronze box. As with most lures, the fisherman catches his fish and retrieves his hook with the bait. What people will do for money or even the delusion of money – risk everything. This goes with the comment about ff’s writing not being within the 85% who write truth. There was also a comment from Coolkid about a communication that never happened. IMO, ff is a fisherman and Indulgence is a mighty fine lure. This thread is mega creepy because someone wanted me to view The Big Short and I couldn’t get an Internet connection to do so. — Now, I really want to see it 🙂 The only problem with this thread is that if Indulgence is bait – it was supposed to get people to go outdoors and experience/appreciate nature – instead, the value of Indulgence may have the same negative result as the gold fever which I think was stated in one of the last news articles. IMO the truth about weather or not it turned ‘ordinary men’ into crazed lunatics would only be known by each ‘ordinary man’ and each ‘crazed lunatic’. 🙂 Wonder: did Indulgence overshoot the original intent?

        • Mike W says:

          I would say, there’s three levels of knowing. Knowing it is not, not knowing it is or is not, and truly knowing it is. One has to be careful to know, which knowing applies, at all times. When there’s proof, there’s likely truth but in any case certainty is always the devil sitting on your shoulder. So I am definitely one to practice a skeptical eye. Sometimes believing and having faith is all you need to be happy.

          That sunset is so beautiful it brings a tear to my eye…

        • Lia says:

          So Crow, it sounds like you are implying ttotc is simply a lure without a real treasure. Is that your opinion?

      • Strawshadow says:

        Money is the wrong motivation IMO. And the treasure of Sierra made was a classic, the end with the gold blowing off into the wind had me ROFL. As far as gold fever, I have seen it in person, people go crazy even people with lots of money go crazy. I don’t see it any different than the people who are in love with money, that’s what they live for. I don’t believe this is what the chase is about. There’s nothing wrong with wealth and hard work and the people who make they’re living mining for gold are some of the hardest working people I know. As far as risk, no risk no reward. Wolf, what were those Eskimo figurines you shared with us a few years ago made of I forget? My two cents.

      • Brad Hartliep says:

        Read ‘The Gold Bug’ as well .. And there’s a story by Louis L’Amour ( I think) about a guy who digs out underneath a rock looking for Gold and wondering of the Rock is gonna fall on him .. I can’t remember the name and I can’t find it ..


    • William says:

      You’re correct Wolf! Twain never said it so I’m lead to believe Forrest is saying in a wise sense that people are misquoting him lol

      If I’m right how do we compete with Forrest that thinks 10 steps ahead of us lol

    • Coyote says:

      The meaning seems crystal clear. Those who insist on bragging about having his poem solved are wrong. That the quote is falsely attributed to Twain is just all the more telling. A message within a message to reinforce that you may think you have it all figured out, but you might actually be all wet.

  4. decall says:

    Probably goes with the 85% – 15% non fiction rule. It’s hard to know what misconceptions we hold tightly to.

  5. Chesney says:

    So please forgive me if I am taking this “out of context”. Mr. Fenn, are you saying someone has this all figured out, but seem to be dragging their feet? That is what I get from this. Thank you Ms. Kile and Mr. Fenn!

    • nmc says:

      Sounds to me he’s saying (through Mark Twain) that certainty in a wrong solution gets you into trouble.

    • MartinS says:

      Chesney – How do you get that from this? “It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” seems to imply that someone would think they have it all figured out, but they really don’t.

      • John Boy says:

        Might be me but I am not sure. I will know the beggining of September.

      • Chesney says:

        As my Father likes to say, “Just hide and watch”. Sumbuddy is close, closer than most think. Perhaps that, is what this is all about. Not me, but someone might get their “ducks in a row” and do it! Aweful strange “Weekly Words” lately.

    • LawlessSolve says:

      I agree!

    • Crow says:

      Chesney, ‘Dragging their feet’ is an assumption. It implies delaying with incompetence or intent. There are other reasons beside ‘dragging’ like health issues or sudden family issues or weather issues or perhaps it is just ff himself dragging out the summer. Or maybe a Plan B has to be used for special circumstances. Or perhaps ff is ‘bracing’ everyone to hear the solve.

  6. MS girl says:

    Jenny and Forrest, I found something interesting on this Mark Twain quote: It is an article “Three Ways Over Confidence Can Make A Fool Of You” It comes from FORBES Magazine January 8. 2013 issue and sums up Mr. Fenn’s nod to Mark Twain very successfully! This is so true and happens almost daily in all of our lives. This is to let us all know not to get too cocky nor advance through the clues and solves until we have looked at all angles and move with somewhat confidence in our meanings and interpretations of the clues. Thanks Forrest for keeping us Grounded and Humble in our thoughts and ways as we move towards our Quest to Find your Treasure!!!! As always, still in chase and see you in the funny papers…. Ms. Girl

    • MS girl says:

      I was talking about myself on the being cocky!!! If I offended anyone I am truly sorry and should have not said we but I. Anyway Mr. Fenn is masking his words in other terms when he means something else like the butterfly and flutterby! What about plain and plane ;same words, just different meanings and spellings and rearranging the words to make sense. That is kind of what he stated about not knowing what we know being the truth!!! By goodness I think I got it, one word means something else and mistaken identity in the words are how he has written things look once and see it and then look at it again this time with another way of explaining it!! Oh well, back to the chase and good luck. Here we all go again……. Ms. Girl

  7. 23kachinas says:

    The Nuance of Normacles

    A nuance plays curious and light,
    not sure of physics or flight.
    What can anyone really plan anyway?
    When each of us sees a new sunrise and sunset every day?

    All I know is if the waterfall is there,
    I’ll stop for a minute and stare.
    Drop a few sage leaves into the flow.
    And keep watching for Normacles.

    * A Normacle is a Miracle that is waiting for you everyday if you are willing and aware to see it.


  8. Joe Sparrow says:

    I kind of see it like this: The poem leads you in a certain direction. Pretty soon you believe you “know for sure” it has to be in that area. So you begin making things fit your scenario–so instead of continuing to the correct location, you try to make everything fit the scenario you have chosen. So, “what you know for sure” is getting you into a lot of trouble.

  9. Mark J says:

    I think I am too paranoid to know anything for certain. I have found though that if you state an obvious error with confidence that people will believe it’s truth.

  10. BW says:

    Well, I don’t know what to say about this surprise word, except Jenny that sure is a pretty picture.

  11. Buckeye Bob says:

    It might be worth thinking about what kinds of things “trouble” can mean.
    Dangerous animals,
    fast flowing water (and depth).

    Remember, Forrest was 79 or 80 when he hid the treasure.
    He made two trips from his car in one afternoon in doing so.
    He carried 20+ pounds on each trip.

    I think this is just another warning for people who think the treasure is hidden somewhere that’s hard to reconcile with those facts.

  12. Buckeye Bob says:

    Oh, and another thing. Forrest had “gone alone in there and with my treasures bold.”
    “Gone alone”, so lets not assume too dangerous of a trip for an 80 year old man, even of good health.
    “Treasures bold”. Bold refers to the treasure, not your solve.
    So lets be smart out there, and safe.

  13. RealitySucks says:

    Wow. Talk about the kiss of death to all those certain they know where the chest is!

    To Mindy, Wolf et all, the game is up!

    Trouble awaits you if you are foolish enough to venture forth

    • Mindy says:

      Read the words carefully. It only applies to those who think they know, but don’t. He wasn’t speaking to those who think they know, and DO, actually, know. 🙂

      He is playing today. 🙂

      • JL says:

        He plays every day, I think ………….. but maybe I just don’t know. The only guy I know who turned the whole world into one big sandbox.

      • Chesney says:

        He always likes to play… Do I Blame him? Nope! Lol… nothing wrong with a little “Reverse Psychology”, to get the day started. Y’all be safe out there… Good day!

      • Mindy says:

        And actually it’s only the kiss of death to those that are truly wrong.

        I get that there’s overconfidence, and yes, I might be not precise enough and too dumb to put the pieces I’ve found together and retrieve the treasure. But Forrest can’t say I’m wrong or even attribute the surprise words to me, because I haven’t told him what I’ve done or what I’ve found. I will tell The Wolf, though, because he’s smarter than I am and will put whatever money he makes from the treasure to good use.

        But really, it’s my opinion that F is playing around today. It’s all about fun, after all, isn’t it?

        And wrong or right, I can say I’m having the time of my life while learning more and more about the world around me, and giving me ideas about how I can contribute to making it a better place, if only for one person.

        Changing the world into a more positive place for our kids is part of what this chase is about, right? It starts with us, but doesn’t end with us.

        The contentiousness on the blogs disturbs me. Clearly, the chase is no longer fun for many. Clearly, there are people whose greed motivates them to “play dirty,” using multiple screen names, attempting to hack computers, and do whatever it takes, no matter how slimy, to be “the one” to get to the treasure first.

        I’m not perfect, but I have enough morals and traditional values to know that the greed will come back with a ferocious karma bite in the butt.

        It’s okay to view the chase as a competition of sorts, but the hating, underhanded dirty tactics, and mud slinging were not part of Forrest’s original plan for the chase. That is maybe one thing he didn’t think of when he tried to think of everything. Especially since one of the underlying themes of TTOTC is unity, brotherhood, and friendship/love. I don’t think he planned on blogs full of old biddies, do you?

        And yeah, maybe I’m a little or a lot cocky, at times. I know that can be annoying. But that’s who I am–sometimes. You don’t have to like it, or like me, but you don’t have to try to hack my email, or play good cop/bad cop in an effort to “catch” me in bad motives, either. I don’t go around slamming everyone else who has an idea. I don’t hate anyone, and I’ve always tried to be fair. I always try to be helpful.

        So, that’s my thoughts, and right or wrong, I’ve met a lot of good people, and most importantly, I’m having fun. 🙂

        • Chesney says:

          Mindy, try not to let others bother your thoughts. You are “Living the Dream”, that is what counts. If someone finds Indulgence today, life is full of exploration and adventure. You have the right mindset. Happy Trails…. Be Safe!

        • Joe Sparrow says:


          I think you’re absolutely right. If the fun goes out of the searching then you shouldn’t be doing it. I have had so much fun in the last week or so reading and re-reading the poem. And it truly does cause you to learn many new things. I’ve learned new things about the Rockies, the American Indians, settlers, botany, etc. etc.—-it leads you in so many different directions. It is really great fun. I am really glad that Forrest did this!

        • RealitySucks says:


          Don’t take it personally!

          Its the same with Forrest taking a swipe at MDavis19 for thinking out of the box

          Instead of direct communication, Forrest loves to give public corrections but always leaving some doubt as to the intended target to prevent accusation of a direct attack.

          I personally think he is talking to you just like he said you should take care of your mom instead of wasting your time with the chase. Its not that your dumb but as with 99.9999% of searchers out there you are never going to come close and the chest may never be found in any event. I think Forrest is genuinely concerned abut you and your mom but thats just my opinion.

          The wolf sure is smart but his long winded solutions dont inspire me with much confidence that he has what it takes to come up with the correct solve. As Forrest said the poem is straightforward and the solution therefore should be simple. Again just IMO

          Hope things work out for you and your mom

          • Mindy says:

            Wait…what? When did F say I was wasting my time searching for the treasure and not taking care of my mom?

            What?! Really? Nearly ALL my spare time is taking care of my mom.

            I don’t know where you are getting this info, but it’s extremely inaccurate.

            • Mindy says:

              And really, I would love to know where you got that info from, because it surely didn’t come from FF.

            • RealitySucks says:

              Did Forrest not tell you to take care of your mom?

              I remember reading it somewhere in the past

              Sorry If i got it wrong

              • Mindy says:

                I don’t think you read that anywhere. And he definitely didn’t say it publicly on any blog.

                You said that he said that I should take care of my mom rather than wasting time on the chase.
                That’s a lot different than simply saying I should take care of my mom.

                Regardless, he never said anything about my mom on a blog.

                That’s the kind of comment that plants malicious misinformation in people’s heads.

                • The Wolf says:

                  It appears ReallySucks, really sucks at comprehension and definitely needs to learn to listen good Mindy. Another clueless comment from a clueless seeker. Just play your own game and ignore the noise.
                  The Wolf

                • RealitySucks says:

                  Calm down Mindy, nothing malicious is intended I assure you

                  He told you personally to take care of your mom in an email, yes or no? (I never said he wrote it on a blog but I do recall you stating that somewhere)

                  As for wasting your time on the chase well thats how I interpret his current words if you are indeed the intended recipient of them which is a good possibility?

                  Anyway it does not matter what I think, its whether you think Forrest is talking to you with these current words. Remember you are claiming to have a 100% correct solve (on your bog) and you have attracted a lot of critics and gotten your self into trouble on the blogs so you must decide if those words are meant for you. I dont blame you for whatever mistakes you made as to err is human and I’m not a critic of you. We all make mistakes so forgive and forget I say

                  All I can suggest is when you have a week or two spare and your mom is being taken care of then you should check out your purported spot and put an end to any speculation right or wrong. Just my opinion and nothing malicious intended

                • Mindy says:

                  No, I never said anywhere on any blog or anywhere that Forrest said to take care of my mom. He did not say that in an email, either, for the record. So, that was fabricated by you.

                  As for “getting myself in trouble,” who did I get myself in trouble with? Other searchers who seek to post negative things after every comment I make? Big whoop. I’m hardly “getting in” any kind of trouble.

                  Critics don’t scare me. Lol.

                  Like I said, Forrest is speaking to those who are sure of their solve and are wrong. He can’t know I’m wrong, because I haven’t told him my solve.

                  It’s my opinion he’s having a bit of fun, and I’m all for that. 🙂

              • silentfly says:

                Realitysucks, don’t take it personal, its not that your dumb or anything, I mean nothing malicious intended, but your quit a piece of work aren’t you.

        • Crow says:

          Mindy, I like your comment re: greed and getting bit in the butt. Without true morals and integrity, one is set up for the ‘greed’ and gets sucked into a delusion.

        • Brad Hartliep says:

          Mindy, you’re a lot smarter than you think you are. I’d keep Wolf at the long end of a stick and not tech him any new command prompts ..


      • Strawshadow says:

        Yes Mindy, you are probably right:) I apologize for misunderstanding you earlier, Internet communication can be a difficult intrepretation at times. Good Luck to you.

      • Diggin gypsy says:

        I agree

    • The Wolf says:

      “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” Leo Tolstoy

      Leo. Leo, you are wise…

      • Strawshadow says:

        Well said Wolf, and you missed a Leo or two which also makes perfectly good sense.

      • Crow says:

        The Wolf, to be knowledgable is to know that one does not know everything; there is more to learn. Nice Leo Tolstory quote – thanks. I take ‘intelligent’ as an intellect and not as a genius. IMO the biggest problem with the blogs is that everyone knows something with which they are not willing to part and that knowledge is preventing a success in the chase. It is almost like: go back to the beginning and start over, I guess.

  14. Muset says:

    I feel like I must apply all of Forrest’s advice to my own ideas; and so now I need to figure out how far to back-pedal..

    I’m not getting the point in the big picture..

  15. Jake Faulker says:

    Kinda reminds me of something I said a few days ago.
    Overconfidence is an invitation to failure.
    Thanks Jenny, Forrest & Mark.

  16. Ramona Queen of Poor Execution says:

    Surprise words and I am surprised. So much fun. Thank you Jenny and Forrest. I think I’m in trouble because I know for sure (^_^).

  17. JohnR says:

    Wow. What a rough day today turned out to be. Smh.

  18. Jamie Jones says:

    Does this mean Minerva is NOT a Tinamou?? Lmao.

    Pay attention to the end of today’s other words….:)

    nope (adv.)
    1888, emphatic form of no, with emphasis on the closing of the lips..

  19. Jamie Jones says:

    Today I looked down at the ground,
    And saw a tinamou running round… circles, looking for pie
    Finding his answers….now where was I??

    • Ricky Nowak says:

      Tinamous are shy and secretive birds. He he he……..

      They are active during the day, retiring to roosts at night. You would like to think so:)

      They generally have cryptic plumage, with males and females similar in appearance, though the females are usually larger.

      They eat more food:)

      They are opportunistic and omnivorous feeders, consuming a wide variety of plant and animal food from fruits and seeds to worms, insects and small vertebrates.

      All your money is green around here:)

  20. DPT says:

    I see this quote a little differently than others I guess.

    I read this comment and think that a word I read and don’t understand I look up the meaning to know what the real definition is. If you assume to know what a word means it probably isn’t so and now in trouble.

    Forrest gave us an example in TTOTC. A butterfly is really a flutterby.

    I think Forrest is saying , if you don’t know it won’t get you into trouble. It’s what you think you know that will get you in trouble.

    • Washaufizzi says:

      Exactly DPT. U hit both nails on the head as dead as a doornail. You may need to re-read your comment to see what you said though. Flutterby is Butterfly and knowing a meaning are two different things. I, means both r relevant in the realization that relativity is real.


  21. Jdiggins says:

    …there’s a golden serenity in knowing what you know…
    Posted by a blogger on this site, spring 2016.

    I find that I only know I’m right if I can’t prove I’m wrong…and only if I can prove I am…correct.

    Success is a product of failure.

    • pdenver says:

      Hello Jdiggins. This is quite interesting. If I remember correctly, someone else said something quite similar to what you just posted. I’m curious. Who posted “…there’s a golden serenity in knowing what you know…”? I like your, ‘Success is a product of failure.’ If I may also include, “Success is a product of working hard towards a goal.” Think of the gold medal winners in the Olympics. Was it due to failure or working hard? 🙂

      • Jdiggins says:

        Jazz says:
        May 4, 2016 at 1:53 am
        I walked out on my balcony looked up at the stars then went to bed there is a golden serenity in knowing what you know. Sometimes life is a piece of honey comb, if you know where the hive is ZZZzzzz

        There you are, pd!
        I think working hard is the way to overcome failure. Without failure, how can we know true success? 🙂

        • pdenver says:

          Hello Jdiggins. Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it. You pose a good question. We’re taught to know what failure is, and have experienced it by knowing what it is, but not necessarily have to experience it in everything we do. Gosh, that was a mouthful. 😉

    • JL says:

      Boy Howdy does that bring back some fond memories…………..

  22. Bailey says:

    What if we don’t know anything for sure? lol

  23. Brian says:

    This quote was attributed to Mark Twain before the film, “The Big Short”, came out. I sent him that quote. So, the question of Mark Twain being the true source falls on me, not Mr. Fenn. In any case, It’s a commentary on the nature of our search for the treasure. How many times have you thought you “knew for sure”? I know I’m guilty of it. So, as usual, try not to read too much into it. It’s a quote. Not a clue.


  24. Seannm says:


    I think this quote may refer to Forrest’s response to a question:

    Do expect that people will somehow *know* for sure once they have found the first clue?
    No, many people have found the first clue but they didn’t know it. Until someone finds the treasure they will not know for sure that they have discovered the first clue.


    • Washaufizzi says:

      There were those that found the first 2 clues, although I don’t think they knew it and went right past the treasure. What is the most definitive clue that Forrest has given us (that we know 100% for sure)? It is in NM, WY, Co, or Montana. Imho, any logical search would start with looking in the correct state. That is all I have to say about that. What is the second clue? They also went past it correctly, but didn’t know why or how they solved it, at least to say they made it to the next clue and to the blaze. From there, they were obviously off track.
      Pease out,


  25. colokidd says:

    If you haven’t a confirmation then you haven’t a clue.

  26. jamie jones says:

    Does that mean if I don’t know why that pic appears bottom side up then I won’t end up in big fat trouble? Wet does dry really mean anyho?….I mean anyways. I figure if you figure what’s going up or down first….the rest will fall into place. Or out of it.

  27. Jeremy P. says:

    First, allow me to say thanks Mr. Twain for your comment. Huge fan!

    Second, I wanted to share an excellent article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy that describes what constitutes knowledge:

    Many philosophers consider knowledge as “justified true belief”. It goes like this:
    S knows that p iff
    p is true;
    S believes that p;
    S is justified in believing that p.

    There’s a lot of debate on what qualifies as justification, but the other two are pretty straightforward. You can’t “know” something if you don’t believe it to be true, and you can’t “know” something if it the proposition is actually false. Emphasis on the latter (Mark Twain knew his stuff).

    Tons of people believe they know where it is, but only one guy knows what is false and what is true.

    So, sorry folks. You don’t really know anything. It’s much more fun to respond like Forrest and say, “Miss Ford, I don’t even suspect anything.”

    • jonsey1 says:

      Ha! My grandfather WT Jones was a philosophy teacher and author and this made me smile thinking on one of his (my favorite) tangent/quotes….

      The most seductive, the most danger-
      ous, of all fly bottles is one which has a label, printed on
      the inside of the bottle, “I am not a fly bottle. ” Doubt-
      less an exceptional fly now and then escapes from his
      fly bottle, but his period of free buzzing is likely to be
      short; sooner or later he lands in another bottle. As for
      the average, run-of-the-mill fly, the most that can be
      done is to help him come to some realization that he is
      stuck in a fly bottle, and the way to do this is to show
      him other flies in other fly bottles.

      My point is
      simply that as long as humanists think of themselves as
      purveyors of truth, they only offer us rival fly bottles,
      fly bottles that few people today have much confidence
      in. There is no point, as I see it, in loosening one
      paradigm – whatever it may be – if, at the end of the
      loosening process, the fly is only lodged in another fly
      bottle. That is what went wrong in the 15th century”

      I don’t know…he was big on the learning to ENJOY instead of merely ‘tolerate’ cognitive dissonance and ambiguity so.he tried to teach through jokes rather than impose truths.

      Your comment reminded me about that and caused a grin over here. Nest stuff.

  28. Twingem says:

    Reminds me of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” I use that as a driving force to keep me learning and using my imagination to close the gaps and uncover even that which I don’t know I know – yet somehow, I just know.

    Colorado resident not partaking … but perhaps one that should.

  29. Onuat says:

    It just ain’t so,to know for sure. 🙂

  30. Lia says:

    Mr Fenn, I don’t even suspect that I know anything about a correct solution to your poem. The only things I do know is that I’m now further confused about my solution…and I’m humble & kind to others. Glad to hold my head high on something anyway.

    Are you hoping I (and others) quit? Its a serious question from me with all respect to you Sir and no sarcasm intended. I’ve worked hard for years, but quitting is an option.

    • JL says:

      Hi Lia,
      Forrest has said there is nothing wrong with slamming the door and starting over, you would not have to quit. I don’t really like that word much, you could just say you are retired. That leaves your options open for a comeback later.

    • Strawshadow says:

      Lia, I really don’t think it’s directed towards you in the way you perceive it. Perhaps towards others, maybe even me, but not you. And maybe is misunderstood all together. There are things that a person might know that they don’t share with anyone. So maybe Mr. Twain would think a person didn’t know something when in actuality they did it’s just that it was never shared. Don’t know if that makes sense but I do know that nobody knows what another knows for sure. Your a shining star on the chase, hang in there.

  31. Snider says:

    dear Forrest,
    I know, that you know, what I know.
    If only I could know, everything you know.
    I know I would be happy to pay my taxes from finding the chest.
    I would bet you did not know that?
    I know that you don’t know what museum I would like to keep your treasure
    I also know I am still 15% wrong.
    Dam, if I only could know everything you know.
    I know we can have a great time together, after I go public.
    I also know my 4 year old just pissed in him pants, sorry got to go.
    Thank you Forrest!!!!!!

    • Strawshadow says:

      Thank You Jenny and Mr. Fenn,
      I do appreciate you sharing Mr. Twains truthful statement. What I know for sure is that you should trust a person until they tell you that they haven’t been honest with you. I don’t think Mr Twain would argue the point. As far as the comments I haven’t read them. Peace.

  32. Squat Cobbler says:

    I’m not dragging my feet, I just dont understand what makes the world go round

  33. astree says:

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” ~Mark Twain

    This one’s giving me naghtmires.
    The first dropcaps in the book (including the “T” from “The Thrill of the Chase”), give TAWIN


  34. Spade says:

    This one is a sounds a little fishy. Forrest post two comment on the same day. One comment he response to twice “nope. nope.” The other comment has no response following it. I believe he’s answering to both comments at the same time. If it looks like fish and smells like fish it’s probably chicken.

  35. Crazyfamily says:

    “If art were to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.” ~John Lennon

    Does it make it less sincere? I think it does. It somehow diminishes the impact by being misattributed.

  36. Thomas says:

    This story is in the 1974 Cowboy Reunion paperback book, Look at the poem too! “Half way to Heaven” ; By Naoma G.Thomas SORRY, stranger you might as well put your map away. Heaven isn’t shown on it and neither is this stop. Look again….. then take the Gallinas canyon road out of Las Vegas, ask anyone you meet and they will probably direct you in this manner. “Just follow this winding road. When you reach the high point don’t forget to park and look back. The valley and dams below you with Montezuma towering in the distance like a medieval castle., make a picture you will never forget. You round high point and Hermit’s Peak rears its stern and austere head.Thus it keeps vigil until you reach the sign that reads “NATIONAL FOREST RESERVE” From there on dive carefully. The stream is infested with mountain trout. Keep driving. Those huge rocks hugging the north side of the road are granite. They won’t fall. Perfectly safe. You wind your way through this for about five miles.The road curves around a big blue granite rock and you are face to face with a cattle guard across the river and a sign which reads; EVERGREEN VALLEY RANCH. From here on your road is ungraded. You dip into the stream here and a chug hole there. Look to your right. Those are real beaver dams ! In the shadows to the left of the mountain is “The Palace ” – a three room cabin. You’ll always find a car with a Texas licence parked there. Just ahead on the right on the banks of the large beaver dam is “River Bend.” Look out ! sorry my friend that’s a bad chug hole. You round another curve and swing up over a slight incline – and there in the fork of Youngs and Eurro canyon is a long rambling ranch. ” Howdy folks.” Charlie Middleton will greet you at the gate with his Texas drawl. “We were just having a cup of coffee.” Nina will invite you in. You enter a long living room carpeted with Navajo and rag rugs. T here is a large fireplace in one end. One Quick glance detects the latest and best books. before you have time to close your mouth and catch your breath , Nina will be serving you steaming hot coffee …… coffee that would put Fred Harvey in the shade! Now it’s time for a stroll around the valley. Right in front of the kitchen door is the ice pond. in the summer it jumping with trout. Walk across the foot-bridge and stroll along the river if you want to forget your troubles and worries. Stand still for a moment and listen …. Hear that strange soft music coming through the tops of the aspens and pines? The trickle of the clear and cold water of the Gallinas is the accompanist. There is a big log across the river. The beavers put it there for people like you. Walk across it and up the slippery bank. There you are , right in the meadow! The saddle horses will be calmly grazing. Careful or you will get your feet wet in the little bubbling spring as you cross the meadow back to your car. No need for farewells. The Middlton’s are very busy people. Just a friendly wave, and you drive slowly back down the canyon with a calm contentment that only nature, mountains air, blue skies. and a nearness to heaven can give. ,

    • Chesney says:

      Thomas, with all due respect Sir… Are you in the “State of Confusion”? You want us to buy that for a dollar? I try to be kind, but the poem is original, just as much as it’s writer. Mr. Fenn does have originality! He wouldn’t have taken 15 years on his poem if he stole it from a book. Anyone could do that In a week! I highlySMH!!!!

  37. Brady says:

    I firmly believe I have solved the poems clues and have made my trek to Montana and I have found what I believe is the site where Fenn hid the chest. I have tried to contact him through an email address I got from his website but have not recieved any response. As I am sure he recieves thousands of emails I am not sure if he read my solve and knows what I found. Is there any other means of contacting him that increases my odds of gaining his ear.

    • Strawshadow says:

      Snail mail Brady and choose your stamp wisely.

      • JL says:

        Airmail stamp? The stamp of approval on the scurrying critters under the rolled over logs? Christmas stamps always work good this time of year, have to use up the leftovers from last year before the new holiday season arrives

        • Ellen says:

          How about the newly reissued 39 cent “Happy Birthday Stamp” for Forrest’s upcoming birthday???

          Also…The National Park Service Centennial stamp sheet, including Yellowstone NP and Bandelier National Monument would be a possible choice…I guess I have to get some for myself…

          • JL says:

            Those are all nice suggestions, but maybe a person should just leave the stamp off, then FF can pay for it or if he chooses not then you get the postmaster stamp ” RETURN TO SENDER”.

    • Shadowman says:

      So Brady, if you have found the site, why do you not have the chest?

    • John Boy says:

      I can assure you there are many reliable ways of contacting FF and they are all available on the net if you do the proper research but I will not tell you how. If you contacted him at and he did not reply to you then he has nothing to say. I am sure he read your email. I feel confident when I tell you it is not in Montana though but that is my opinion.

      • Chesney says:

        That is your opinion… now you are starting to sound like my Great Aunt who swears it is in NM., who I swear has never even read “The Poem”. Mr. Fenn…. where did society get so screwed-up? You are a highly intelligent man, could you Please tell me? How can someone totally eliminate an entire state? Are you the New “Lewis and Clark”? How can one be so bold? Must be an Obama and Hillary Liberal! Rant over… sorry Ms. Kile, if you would be so kind to let it withstand. Kenny

  38. anna says:

    JC1117, Tusen Takk for the Norwegian fijord link. Such rugged beauty and heart stirring lyrics… I would love to visit those ancient, ancestral lands one day.

  39. Dar a Luz says:

    Has anyone thought that…..:)

    • FF says:

      Pace thyself 😉

      • Ellen says:

        @anna…a smile for your ‘Tusen Takk’…I grew up with both this Norwegian thank you and the Swedish ‘Tack sa mycket’ (thanks so much) and now, on occasion, I find myself thinking/saying it sometimes with family.

        @Dar a Luz…I was drawn to your ‘name’…to give to light; to give birth…interesting! Last night, having “faith”, I set my alarm for 2 a.m. to potentially find that the cloudy night sky would open up to show the amazing Perseid Meteor Show. I wasn’t disappointed at all. The stars gave me a breathtaking show of light, and threw in an opening act of one of the best displays of the Milky Way.

        @FF…for me, the words ‘pace’ and ‘peace’ are somehow connected…I believe next month there is an “International Day of Peace or World Peace Day”. Something to think about…

        Perhaps all 3 thoughts are connected…being kind (thanks); pace (peace) and seeing the light or giving birth to stars above.

        • spallies says:

          You mean like this?
          If we took the ” nope nope” answer for the 500 years from now comment and placed it here ”nope nope” to reply to each one of these statements what do you come up with?

          I’m sorry I must not be very smart at all I don’t really understand your question? Do you mean answer every comment with nope nope?

          • spallies says:

            Geez, that didn’t go where it was supposed to… look quickly down and you will see Friends original comment… 🙂

          • Friend says:

            Hi Spalies, sorry for confusion. I wrote my question past my bedtime….
            An example could be me saying ” it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
            Then Forrest would reply “nope.”
            Possible meaning could be, “what I do know is so.”
            Hope that helps,

  40. Friend says:

    I was Curious about something and wanted some feedback from some brilliant minds. If we took the
    ” nope nope” answer for the 500 years from now comment and placed it here to reply to each one of these statements what do you come up with?

  41. Woody Bogg says:

    Just remember to enjoy the things you do and do the things you enjoy. There is a time and place for everything. Nope I haven’t been doing some of the things I’d like to but nope I haven’t stopped thinking about when I may be able to!!!

  42. Woody Bogg says:

    I don’t know what to do with some of the things I know and I don’t know what to do about the things I don’t know. The things I don’t know don’t bother me as much as the things I do know so I won’t worry about the things that ain’t so. Although there is no such word as ain’t>

  43. Washaufizzi says:

    In other words, fact might not be as factual as we assume. When is a fox not a fox? When it’s not a fox. Hmmm, I can think of some other analogies. This is killing me. I need to get back on my horse and go.


  44. thomas says:

    When do we hear something new from Forrest?

  45. SL says:


    Several attempts to post at Dal’s this AM – All failed.

  46. Ramona says:

    What I know for sure is where the hidey spot is and it is so. Take that Mark Twain!

  47. Ramona says:

    P.S. I humbly reserve the right to say “I told you so”. 🙂

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