Questions with Forrest Fenn and The Thrill of the Chase

600px-Circle-question-blue.svg[1]Questions with Forrest Fenn and The Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt


(go to archive page 1) 

Forrest Fenn continued to offer his time to those interested in him and his Thrill of the Chase. In this segment, I share Questions that are asked by other searchers, and Forrest’s replies to these inquiries. The segment allows us to all take part in hearing and learning more about the things wondered about Fenn and The Chase.

This particular segment went from May 23rd 2014 to July 8th, 2014, and then from there continued with Featured Questions with Forrest Fenn.

Click on the following links…..If you are interested in

Six Questions with Forrest Fenn (2013),

Six Questions More with Forrest Fenn (2014), or

Six Questions Yet Again with Forrest Fenn (2015)

Six Questions with Forrest Fenn: Over Five Years of the Thrill of the Chase (2016)

Questions with Forrest Fenn on The Thrill of the Chase and more

page 2 (last Q of segment, first below)


Question posted 7/8/2014: (Close the box for the last time) 

Dear Forrest, facing death in the ways you experienced must have had an impact on how you lived your life. I realize you share some of this in your books. But do you feel you would have thought to hide the treasure if these life threatening events hadn’t happened? ~Emily M.

Well I just don’t know Emily. Maybe my year in combat made me more tolerant, more forgiving perhaps. Sometimes, when I’m in a conversation now, and things are said that I know are incorrect, rather than confront, it has become my nature to just smile and enjoy the small victory that comes with being quietly smug.

Hiding the treasure was something else. A few weeks after they told me I was critically ill I wanted to strike out at the tradition that proclaims when a man dies all of his spiritual being halts. At my secret hiding place, as I was closing the chest for the last time, I felt part of me slip inside and become part of the treasure, or at least I thought I did. I’m okay with that now.f


Question posted 7/7/2014:

(Although the question was previously asked if the treasure location remained the same as the one Forrest had plotted to have his bones rest beside (and the answer was YES), this searcher wanted to know if it was the EXACT same spot. Forrest shares a bit more on these thoughts)

Is the chest hidden in the (exact) same spot that you would like your bones to be found, or is it a short distance away for reasons beyond your control? ~ Phil

The spot is the same, but in less than two months I’ll be 84 and that means many of the things to which I once aspired are no longer available to me. I still anticipate, but I may be unable to grasp such a transient pleasure before my trail shows signs of growing too weary for the journey. To make that success would be the boldest move I ever made and to that end I just want it all the more.f


Question posted 7/6/2014:

Forrest, you talk about the clues being difficult to solve (opposite being easy) yet that the solutions are simple (opposite being complex). Yet when I read the stories of other searchers, I often think that their solutions to the clues tend to be either easy solutions or made out to be very complex and over-thought. Are there any suggestions you would give in approaching the clues and solving them? ~Craig

Craig, there is no substitute for thinking and planning and observing and looking at maps, unless it’s the desire to keep it simple.f


Question posted 7/5/2014:

Mr. Fenn, Did you choose the hiding location purely because it was special to you, or were there other considerations? (I’m not talking about logistics like transporting yourself there, ease of access, not being spotted). ~Michael Monroe

Thanks Michael. The spot where I hid the treasure was in my mind from the time I first started thinking about the chase. It is special to me and there was never another consideration. I was going to make it work no matter what. In my reverie I often find myself stealing away to that place and I will always consider it to be mine alone.f


Question posted 7/4/2014:

You told a reporter that there are three or four clues in the second stanza. Were you telling the truth? ~Alison R

I don’t know what it is about girls but when I say something they automatically ask if I’m lying. Shame on you Allison R. I promise you that I get more things right than most reporters. If you were here I would make you take a dose of castor oil. Besides, if I lied to the reporter what makes you think I would tell you the truth?

Sorry Alison, I’m off my soap box now. No, I was not lying but I don’t remember a reporter asking me such a question.f


Question posted 7/4/2014:

Forrest, What’s the minimum number of clues that we need to solve to find the treasure, assuming that we follow the clues in order? `Serge Teteblanche

Just one Serge, the last one.f


Question posted 7/3/2014:

Hi Forrest, you said it was a man who came physically closest to the treasure, but who has come mentally closest, like, who seems most likely to interpret the clues correctly – man or woman? ~Lily McG

She’s playing the gender card folks but I’m wise to it. Perhaps all searchers think they have been mentally close to the treasure but that doesn’t matter much when you get to the bank.  A man has been within striking distance but so have some women. That’s probably not a good subject to discuss considering the volcanic effect it could have in certain blog arenas. I wish someone would ask me a question that I would feel comfortable answering, like what color is a daffodil.f


Question posted 7/3/2014:

Dear Forrest, Is it true your sister, June, married your friend Donny? Were you resentful of June taking the “spotlight” from you by being the youngest and only girl and then marrying your best friend? (If that is true). ~Jmbguidy

What spotlight is that about which you speak JM?

My sister did marry Donnie and it was almost as big a surprise to me as it was when I learned they were divorcing. I was on the periphery of all that by then because I was trying to survive being a private in the Air Force. I was never close to my sister in later years. Part of it was geography but we were philosophically opposite. She was a sugar and honey liberal and I’m a trying to recover salt and pepper conservative. I supported June for a few years and looking back on it now I realize that I could have been a better brother. When she died I became the last living member of my family.f


Question posted 7/2/2014:

Do you think that someone who is sure about the location of the home of Brown could reverse-engineer where warm waters halt? ~Ben Raylor

Thanks for the question Ben.
If you are sure about the location of home of Brown why are you concerned about where warm waters halt? But to answer your question, sure you could and a few searchers might throw in some gas money for a percentage of the take. Good luck.f


Question posted 7/1/2014:

In your dictionary, what’s an aberration? ~Serge Teteblanche

I don’t have a dictionary but my personal definition is “Something different.” I like that word.

When I was a kid there was a commonly used word. Crean, and it described the condition a car could get into when it ran into a ditch and the frame twisted a little, preventing the doors from opening. Modern autos are more sturdy so I guess that word was retired. I can’t find it anywhere now.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 7/1/2014:

Dear Forrest,

You tell us that we should find “where warm waters halt” before trying to solve any of the other clues. Imagining that we haven’t seen the rest of the poem, and all we have to go on is:

a. “begin it where warm waters halt” and
b. “somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe”

Do you think that we can confidently determine the starting place for your treasure trail? ~ Steve

No, if all you have to go on are those two clues you cannot proceed with confidence. Look at it this way. If you were making a cake and you left out a few ingredients, would you achieve your goal?

Your question reminds me of another:  You leave home and walk a straight line for a mile, turn 90 degrees left and walk a curved line for a mile and shoot a bear. Then you turn 90 degrees left again and walk a straight line back to your home. What color is the bear?f


Question posted 6/30/2014:

Mr. Fenn, when you said not associated with any structure did that mean all 9 clues or just where the chest sits?

Thanks, d

Yes d, it means the treasure is not hidden in or about a structure. Google “structure” for more information.f


Feature Question posted 6/30/2014:

“Mr Fenn, of all the things you have done in your life, what is it you regret the most?” ~ Matt

Answer posted 7/2/2014 in Any Regrets? Mr. Fenn 


Question posted 6/30/2014:

In The Thrill of the Chase, you mentioned the taste of a porcupine. What do you think tastes worse than a porcupine? ~ cooper

Good question Cooper.

One of the ways my father used to discipline me was to make me ingest a tablespoon of castor oil. That was a very effective deterrent and the punishment I hated the most. He saved it for when I did something really bad, like forge his signature on my report cards. The smell was terrible and I wasn’t allowed to hold my nose while it was being dispensed. But you can’t smell while you are holding your breath so I could do that and no one knew.

Once I hid the dreaded bottle of castor oil behind a bunch of stuff on the top shelf in the pantry, and although I got a spanking for doing it. it was a morale victory for me.f


Question posted 6/30/2014:

Hi Forrest, I would like to know if the blaze can be found during the day without a flashlight. Thanks, Ron

Perhaps your question is wrought with trickiness Ron. Are you really asking if the blaze could be in a cave where it is dark during the day, thus the need of a flashlight? If there is no subterfuge intended in your question then I would say yes.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 6/29/2014:

Dear Forrest:
Since beginning on my journey with “The Thrill of the Chase”, I have found myself having a new appreciation for poetry. I have noticed in your book (“The Thrill of the Chase”) and heard in your interviews/book signings that you have quoted poets from Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) to William E. Henley; from Omar Khayyam and T.S. Eliot to your friend Evetts Haley.
Could you possibly provide a “short list” both of some of your favorite poets and your favorite poems? Have some poems been meaningful to you for a long time and others perhaps have been added to your “list” more recently?
Thank you,

Thanks Ellen, I like your questions.

There was a much celebrated musician who owned a very valuable Stradivarius violin. Once he played in Carnegie Hall to a packed crowd of black ties and bodice-laced dresses. The audience was rapt, enthralled, mesmerized. It was the greatest music they had ever heard.

At the conclusion of the concert, a standing ovation lasted fifteen minutes as the violinist accepted the accolades he so richly deserved. When everyone was finally seated again, the performer took the violin and smashed it over a chair, sending splinters careening into the second tier. A bourbon hush fell over the stunned crowd as the musician raised his bow and announced. “That was not my Stradivarius, it isn’t the violin, it’s the violinist.”

I forgot what the question was…oh, now I remember.

In contrast, for me it’s not so much the poet as it is the words. There are a few poems located somewhere in the back of my memory where I can pull them out on occasion, mostly for my own enjoyment. Much of the time I don’t remember who wrote the words because I am not cultured enough to care, if the truth were known. An exception is Invictus by Henley, as you observed.

There is poetry for all occasions and sometimes I startle even myself with words that I can remember. As we all know, words can both sooth and alarm your pulse, and that’s what makes it so interesting.f


Questions (from a group of four treasure seekers) posted 6/29/2014:

Uncle Ferguson asks: “Is the chest actually/directly visible when you “look quickly down with marvel gaze”, or is it camouflaged in some interesting way? Also; you show a penchant for stretching the rules in some of your TTOTC stories – is this what’s meant by ‘no place for the meek/brave/bold’ — should we prepare to risk some authoritarian’s wrath in our hunt?”


Maddox asks: “How much of an influence would you say Treasure Island, Huck Finn, or other books/poems have had over your treasure hunt – (both the creation and execution of it)?”

None at all Maddox.

Mr. Hall asks: “Are there any false clues/red herrings intentionally laid within the poem?”

No sir Mr. Hall.

Michael asks: “When we find the chest, as I’m certain we’re bound to (or at least, our chance is as good as anyone else’s), would you be interested in buying it off me and/or paying me to put it right back and thereby keep the chase going? I promise a price that’s under the Backpacker Magazine $7million estimate” 🙂

Perhaps Michael, but you had better hurry and find it because I’ll soon be 84 years old. Send me an email instead of a letter.

Finally: thank you for the chase!!

You are welcome. 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 6/28/2014:

“Is the map that needs to be used to discover where warm waters halt found online or in paper form? or both?” ~mdc777

C’mon now agent 777, a map is a map. The more detailed maps are most useful if you have the right map, but I’m not sure I needed to tell you that.f


Question posted 6/27/2014:

If you could change one thing in life, Forrest Fenn, what would it be? ~ Scout

I would alter the gene in all Homo Sapiens that gives it the propensity to fight.f


Question posted 6/27/2014:

Is any specialized knowledge required to find the treasure? For instance, something learned during your time in the military, or from a lifetime of fly fishing? Or do you really expect any ordinary average person without your background to be able to correctly interpret the clues in the poem? ~mdavis19

No specialized knowledge is required mdavis19, and I have no expectations. My Thrill of the Chase book is enough to lead an average person to the treasure.f


Question posted 6/26/2014:

Can the blaze be pre-determined by the poem or can it only be determined at the search area?- becky

Becky, you are a rascal to ask that question and I have been sitting here for about fifteen minutes trying to decide what to say. Well, it has been thirty minutes now and I think I’ll pass on the question. Sorry.f


Question posted 6/26/2014:

Has anyone seen or mentioned the blaze to you?  ~Stephanie

Thanks Stephanie for the questions. I have read them several times very carefully. They appear subtle on the surface but they aren’t. A yes or no to either question would give too much away, so I’ll pass. Sorry, and I’m aware that some searchers will pick me apart for this answer.f


Question posted 6/26/2014:

You have mentioned sealing a bottle that is included in the chest with wax. What was your reason for doing this? Were you concerned merely for damp conditions or is the Chest hidden in water? ~ Izcajun

Thanks for the questions Izcajun.

When I was ready to put the olive jar that contained my autobiography and two of my hairs in the treasure chest I studied the lid. It was made of tin coated steel, which is not easily oxidized in air or water. Over time those characteristics can break down.

Although I am not ready to say the treasure is not in water, I certainly didn’t want moisture to enter the jar. So I melted a chunk of microcrystalline wax to the point that it started smoking, which meant it was at its thinnest viscosity. Then I dipped the jar in the molten wax deep enough to cover the lid and part of the jar, and held it there for several seconds. I wanted the wax to seal the threads on both the lid and the jar, but I didn’t want the heat to break the glass. After it cooled for a minute or so and the wax hardened, I repeated the process two times, increasing the wax thickness on the lid. The wax was petroleum based and won’t evaporate or deteriorate. When cold, it becomes brittle. That’s why I wanted the threads on the lid and jar clogged.

All I know are the facts, if you want the truth go next door to the psychology department.f


Question posted 6/26/2014:

Dear Mr. Fenn,
The definitions of words seem to interest you. What dictionary, and year of dictionary, do you use for looking up words? ~ wordsmith

Interesting that you would ask that Mr./Mz Wordsmith.

I don’t use dictionaries anymore. I just type the word in Google for a faster response. It’s fun to make up words and play with different spellings. When someone calls me out after noticing the corruption of a word I use, I just smile, especially when I say something that in my mind is correct but in an academic sense it’s a horrible malfunction.

For instance, emblazoned upon some of the bronze bells I’ve buried are the words, “Imagination is more important than knowlege.” If I had spelled that last word correctly it would not have had the profundity of meaning I wanted. To misspell the word emphasized my point that having knowledge is, in fact, not as important as being resourceful. Also, when I make a mistake through ignorance that ploy gives me a degree of deniability that I routinely need.

Now I will test you Wordsmith. Write down the full definition of the word “several.” Then Google it and learn that many of us don’t fully understand some of the words we use every day.f


Question posted 6/25/2014:

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


Question posted 6/24/2014:

“Do you have a favorite artist or piece of work?” ~ Becky

Sure Becky, or my friend Rebecca as I suspect you to be.

There are so many wonderful art objects that for me to pick a favorite is tantamount to shotgunning the world’s great museums looking for an answer. The Pieta in the Vatican, Degas’ little ballerina sculpture in the British Museum, I could go on for a long time.

But there is one piece that sticks in my mind. It’s “Pasqualita” by Nicolai Fechin, the great Russian-American painter. It proves that sometimes it isn’t so much the art as it is the artist, although I’m not exactly sure what that means. It just seems to fit the moment.

The model is a little Taos Indian girl who is leaning against a table and standing in white high-top boots. She holds a bouquet of flowers. Her expression reveals an amalgamation of all the things she hopes to become.

I liked “Pasqualita” so much I put her on the cover of the artist’s biography, The Genius of Nicolai Fechin. There is a sad story in the back of the book about the artist’s ashes that I would repeat on these pages if Jenny thinks it might be appropriate. F

(Well, of course I did.  But like the story will reveal, it too needed its own special place, and so I have created a page for it entitled, A Personal Reflection on Nicolai Fechin by Forrest Fenn.  Don’t miss it! It’s an absolute jewel.  It can also be linked from the sidebar under Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt)


Question posted 6/24/2014:

Did you really say the blaze is a white streak, as has been rumored? Thank you. ~Deb

Thanks Deb, 
No, I did not say that. There is a lot of bad information floating around the blogs and many posts that are not well thought out. One person said (I’m paraphrasing) “He said the treasure is hidden in the trees. Then he contradicted himself and said it was in the sun. How could it be both.” Makes me wonder if that person has ever been in the forest.f


Question posted 6/23/2014:

“Hi Forrest, I would like to ask if you miss flying and what did you enjoy most about it?” ~ Jenny

Thanks for the question Jenny.
I don’t miss some aspects of flying, like the sitting and waiting to get from here to there. But in the F-100 I had 16,000 pounds of thrust in my left hand and when I lit the afterburner the plane almost flew out from under me. I can’t think of any other exhilaration that can match that feeling.f


More questions are archived and are found by clicking on the link below:

Questions with Fenn: Archive 1: posted May 23 to June 20