Six Questions with Forrest Fenn and The Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt: Double Charmed
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Thanks so much to Forrest for participating in yet another Six Questions. This is the sixth of a series, and so I’m sure we are all going to be double charmed with his answers! I’m so grateful, and always honored to share reflections, thoughts, feelings, views, and replies of his, from not only the Six Questions, but from searcher questions as well. It’s such a pleasure.
Over the years, The Thrill of the Chase has brought much enjoyment into the homes of many. Ultimately, inspiring families to get out of those homes and explore the wonders of nature. Forrest’s hunt reminds us not to let our busy lives prevent us from appreciating the beauty which silently surrounds us. It helps us recognize the overwhelming gifts which are freely given in the world.
Even though there is only one hidden 10x10x5 bronze treasure chest, and this cache of gold and other valuable and amazing artifacts patiently wait for its finder, there has been a tremendous amount of other types of treasures being discovered during the Chase. The Chase is real. It is afoot, and I wish the best of luck to all!
Please enjoy! (and after the Six Questions, Enter your chance to win a Free Signed copy of Once Upon A While by Forrest Fenn)
1Q) Sitting by your fire, enjoying the treasure of solitude, I wonder where your thoughts mainly roam? I wonder, where do you travel in your mind and what pleasures pass through your thoughts? Are they memories of long ago or contemplations of the future? Are they sorrowful or joyful? Do they bend towards contentment or regrets? Would you be willing to share some of your thoughts during your cherished time by the crackling of wood? And also, I know many would love to hear more about your youth? Would you share some thoughts on that too?
I’m probably not different from most men my age. Retirement gives time to just remember and contemplate. I enjoy wondering how my life would be different if I had taken more detours when they were available to me.
When I was about 6 our house burned down. It was rebuilt and my father added a 2-car garage (One side was for his small fishing boat), a barn, and a shed where my mom washed our clothes. We always had animals, and chores kept me busy before and after school. Silver, our Shetland pony, and Bessy, our cow, each had their own stall. A third stall held hay and corn. We had chickens, ducks, and a goat named Billy The Kid.
It was my job to mow the grass, muck the stalls, set mouse traps, and keep water in our small duck pond. Before school each day I milked Bessie, and staked Silver out to graze. Billy The Kid stayed close to Silver so he was easy. Before supper I milked Bessie again and brought Silver in. I loved all of it.
When we went to Yellowstone each summer our house was rented to people who tended the animals. Later, my father sold the part of our property that bordered 2nd Street, and a house was built there. We had to cut back some.
After my father died the property was sold, and the house burned down again. I like to look at the old place on Google Earth. All that remains now are the cement front porch, the garage, and a few pecan trees. Time waits for no one.
I could go on with this Jenny, but already there is too much. Sorry.
2Q) For most, the physical search season is at a halt until the warm waters of Spring begin to flow once again. It’s currently a quiet time which offers opportunity for reflection upon past ideas, solves, failures, and thrills. Previously, you had mentioned a few searchers solved the first two clues, but weren’t necessarily knowledgeable of the fact.
Are you aware of any more progress made past the first two clues? Have searchers homed into other clues or words in the poem? Have searchers been closer than 200 feet to the treasure?
I am rarely told exactly where people are searching so I don’t know if they are getting closer or not. My gut feeling is that someone will find it this summer.
3Q) Since asking my first Six Questions with you on The Thrill of the Chase, back in 2013, you have published two more exceptional books, Too Far to Walk (2014), and just this last fall, Once Upon A While (2017). And of course, in 2015, you published your wonderful biography of the Russian-American artist Leon Gaspard, that you say you worked on for 16 years. But I think all of us would like to know more about those detours you mention in Q1. Would you be able to elaborate on some of those?
My all-time favorite dream was to be a golfer and play on the PGA tour, but I had a 12 Handicap.
I might have done a lot of things after I retired from the Air Force, but running an art gallery, dealing with 14 employees, and an endless stream of Indian traders was too time consuming.
I wanted to be a blacksmith, and had a forge in my art foundry. Most of the wrought iron fixtures in our gallery were made by me. That was fun but making a living at it would have been difficult.
At one time I owned half interest in a real estate business in Santa Fe.
I went to China at the invitation of the Minister of Culture (who had stayed in our guest house). My hope was to acquire their government owned ceramic and bronze antiques, and sell them in our gallery. That might have worked, but would have required a large initial capital outlay, and endless meetings to get answers. The Chinese have a saying, “The tree grows slowly, but the earth is patient.”
I wanted to be a fishing guide, a welder, an archaeologist, a professional helicopter pilot, a literary agent, a museum curator.
I have been pretty good at a few things, but have never really good at anything. My recurring dream is to paint one great painting, write one great country song, one great book, one great poem, and interview Winston Churchill. I have enough to think about in my retirement.
4Q) I’ve mentioned this before, but in your book, The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo, one of my favorite quotes within is, “Each artifact that is not recovered is a book that will not be read”. I suppose my love for old and unique things, the touching of history and feeling the life in them, makes me relate to it. I wonder, is there a mystery you would have loved to have solved by finding the artifact which told its truth?
I excavated five early Spanish keys at San Lazaro Pueblo, so logic tells me there must some wooden trunks secreted in the ruins someplace.
In 1680, when the Indians revolted against the Spanish and killed many of them, the survivors fled south down the Rio Grande, leaving most of their possessions. If we can find a trunk full of documents, we will rewrite the history of the Southwest.
My treasure chest is not hidden at San Lazaro although a few searchers think it is.
5Q) People are valuing the Thrill of the Chase and all that it offers. Thank you for creating an adventure which can spark dreams and embolden lives to explore a life craved. It’s amazing to think how a poem of 24 lines, with reward at end, can inspire so many different things in so many different people.
Numerous searchers are convinced they know where the treasure is, and are close-minded to alternate options. Only one, if even one, of course, can be correct. It seems a bit sad for seemingly so many to be entrenched on a wrong path, even if treasures of a different type can be found there as well. From your perspective, what do you feel causes such blindness or stubbornness?
Stubbornness is sometimes confused with tenacity. There are many avid searchers looking for the treasure who are not blinded by its value. After I hid the treasure I never went back to that spot, and now I can’t.
6Q) I was thinking the other day about how exciting it would be for someone in the future to find your buried bronze jars; not only to prize the small items hidden inside, but to read ‘Imagination is more important than knowlege” (which is on one of the jars). I find your desire to leave things behind for people to discover admirable. No matter whether I find an old valuable relic or unique shaped stone when out metal detecting or on a search, I love them; and so it is easy for me to imagine how awesome finding one of your jars will be.
But this also got me thinking about Imagination and Knowledge, and how best to solve the poem. You’ve said to marry the clues to geographic locations and treat the poem like a map. But I wonder do you feel a person with ONLY imagination or ONLY knowledge is more apt to solve your poem? For instance, an Kid living on the East Coast might have an amazing imagination, but not much knowledge about the Rockies.
How much knowledge do you think a normal East Coast Kid has to have to find your treasure? Or is Imagination enough. As an example, would an East Coast Kid have to become familiar with the western ways, languages, and other manners of the Rockies?
It may be a while before my buried jars and bells are discovered because there is no visible sign that I had been there. None are near populated areas, and landscapes change over time with growing vegetation and blowing leaves. But I am comfortable with the thought that eventually all 8 will be found.
It helps to know something about Rocky Mountain geography when making plans to search for my treasure. Rocking chair ideas can lead one to the first few clues, but a physical presence is needed to complete the solve. Google Earth cannot help with the last clue.
- PS) I come to the end and dread the idea there was something you were hoping I would ask instead of the previous 6. I’m worried there were things you had hoped to comment on, but the questions above didn’t offer the chance. So, I have to add a PS and ask: Is there something special you want to say or what would you like most to say to readers?
Thanks for the opportunity to add a comment Jenny. When I decided to hide the chest, part of my plan was for everyone to get outside to enjoy nature and get healthier. The possibility of finding my treasure was incentive enough to encourage the masses, and that has happened beyond my remotest expectations.
The chest is still where I hid it, and I hope every searcher stays safe in the mountains. f
I am definitely double charmed by your answers, Forrest! Thank you so much for participating in MW’s Six Questions. I know thousands of readers look immensely forward to them each year, and so do I. They help keep the fire burning for finding your treasure chest.
Over the years, I have investigated, worked, and searched for numerous Treasures. Without a doubt, your treasure and the Chase is the best. It is legendary. I often think how incredibly fortunate my husband and I are to be part of such an extraordinary opportunity, and to have met you.
I’ve met so many amazing people and learned so many remarkable things because of the Chase, and other hunts. It is my passion. Thank you for providing us your dare, and thank you readers for visiting and being part of the MW community, as well. You all make it so special.
Best of luck with whatever you seek! Treasure the Adventure!
Enter your chance to win! (Entries received until February 18th)