Six Questions with Forrest Fenn: Author of The Thrill of the Chase

The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir is Forrest Fenn’s eighth book.  Placing smiles on those who read it, the book certainly demonstrates Forrest is following his philosophy; “We are all here for the pleasure of others.”  The book shares thought-provoking stories from his life, and conveys valuable lessons which can be realized by others.  As an avid collector, discoverer, and seeker of ‘lost items’, he experiences the thrill of the chase in his own life.  In wanting others to know this joy, he included a poem in his book which, when deciphered, leads to a hidden bronze chest filled with gold and various precious treasures.

Although busy excavating an old Indian Pueblo, nearby where he lives in Santa Fe, and thoroughly appreciating more of his already 82 years of living, he took time to answer the following Six Questions.   I am thankful for his wise sharing of words and hope you enjoy.


  • 1Q)  I am sure you are aware The Thrill of the Chase has captured many hearts and ambitions of those who have read your book.  Are you happy with the way the search for your hidden treasure is going?  Do you have any regrets; or more importantly, would you like to see anything different in the ways people are chasing the prize?

It was fortunate that two writers, Irene Rawlings and Margie Goldsmith, liked my book enough to review it in national publications. Those stories gave it ignition. The hidden treasure story in the book provided enough propulsion to keep it in the public view long enough for word of mouth traffic to broaden its desire across America and beyond. I am more than pleased with the way it has been accepted.  What I didn’t expect was the number of people who immediately started searching maps and using Google Earth to locate their special spots. Many have read my book multiple times looking for additional clues, or even hints that might assist them in the hunt.


  • 2Q)  You mention one of your most cherished items in your collection is the first arrowhead you ever found.  Over the years, what are some other relics you were most thrilled to discover?  And why?

I found that little arrowhead when I was nine and it sent me on a lifelong journey of adventure and discovery. I wondered who made it and caused it to be resting at my feet for 1,000 years, waiting for me to pick it up. I still feel the excitement of that day.

In the Saharan desert of Libya I discovered thousands of war relics left over from the tank battles of WW-II: burned out tanks and shell casings were everywhere. And in close proximity were stone projectiles and crudely made hand axes that could have been 30,000 years old.  I was looking at conflicts piled on top of conflicts. Who can imagine how many…


  • 3Q)  Relating to the previous question, since you continue to explore, is there an item which you would love to find still, but just haven’t yet?

There are so many bits of history that I would like to find: a Clovis point between the ribs of a Mammoth, a letter written by my father to my mother before they were married, a special fishing spot on the Madison River that no one alive knows about but me. The list is as endless as the search.


  • 4Q)  I think I read (but, correct me if I am mistaken), that although you would love the treasure to be found, the discovery of the chest would end the exciting mystery and adventure for those actively seeking, and this would be missed by you.   Would you rather the treasure stay hidden for many more years, or are you in hopes that the chest will be found soon?

I am ambivalent about the treasure being found. When it is discovered I hope it is by some deserving person who is emotionally involved and has been rewarded by the other mountain thrills that come with the chase. If it is not found for several hundred years that would be fine with me.

One thing is certain, when a person discovers that beautiful bronze chest and opens it for the first time and sees the bracelet with hundreds of rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds, and the 265 gold coins and hundreds of placer nuggets, he will be in awe. It is easy for me to predict the expression on his their face.


  • 5Q)  From receiving feedback on hunter’s ideas and methods about how to discover the location of the chest, do you feel confident your method in hiding the chest will eventually be understood and the chest be found?  Please know, I am not asking for any specifics.  My question is more like, do you still feel your poem will lead someone to the treasure?

The person who finds the treasure will have studied the poem over and over, and thought, and analyzed and moved with confidence. Nothing about it will be accidental. T. S. Eliot said:

We shall not cease from our exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time


  • 6Q)  After reading your book, and sensing you have found a sincere peace and purpose in your life, but knowing others still struggle with this ultimate find, I wonder, what would your advice be to others for realizing the contentment it seems you now know?  Do you feel the thrill of the chase (not the hunt) is vital?

There is an appropriate quote in the Duveen biography by Secrest: “They never knew that it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.” I see my memoir as being a story that was ordained by some unknown hand. It came to me at age eighty as though my entire life had been waiting for that moment. The bulk of the book was written in six weeks and phrases that I had never thought of before, suddenly appeared on my computer screen. I said in the forward that the book wrote itself. I had written seven books before this one, and it seemed that none of the lines crossed where they were supposed to, metaphorically speaking.

I don’t feel qualified to give advice but a few ideas that I would like to say have guided me are:

Stay in your job only if you love it.
Get out in the mountains and turn a log over to see what’s there.
Avoid those things that distract you from your self esteem.
The key word is contentment. If you can find it, everything else has already fallen in place.




Thank-you, Forrest. Your answers are beautiful.  I definitely love the quote, “They never knew that it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.”   But then I love many of the quotes you have used, or words you have written yourself.  One such (from your book) comes to mind, “Time had taken them apart but it eventually brought them back together.”

Not only do you leave gold nuggets for us to search for in the mountains, but you leave them in your sharing of thoughts. No one, who reads the book, can say they couldn’t find treasure.


Thanks again for the Thrill of the Chase.

Forrest Fenn’s Website

Forrest Fenn’s The Thrill of the Chase



Six More Questions with Forrest Fenn  (posted Feb. 4th, 2014)

Six Questions Yet Again with Forrest Fenn (posted Feb. 4th, 2015)

Six Questions with Forrest Fenn: Over Five Years of The Thrill of the Chase (posted Feb. 4th, 2016)



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65 Responses

  1. astree says:

    Fantastic interview, Jenny. Thank-you. Really enjoyed the comment on Contentment, as well.

    Interesting, too, how Duncan and Forrest both had interests in history. Not just the logistical and political viewpoints, but much more to the essence.

    As in mention in “The Priory Paradox” of the unseen hand, and the comment in “The Atbash Cipher”, it was quite a pleasure to read the comment.

    “They never knew that it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.” I see my memoir as being a story that was ordained by some unknown hand.

    Some years ago, on the West coast of the United States, a Master (not in the Mysteries, but related) gave to the class that “it not about arriving in San Francisco, but everything one can see on the drive up the coast from Los Angeles”.

    • jkile says:

      Thanks astree,

      Mr. Fenn’s responses hold such wisdom, I am sure I will go back to them many times. I am so grateful he took the time to share them. He’s a treasure.

      And, yes, I agree, so many of his comments struck strings to a similar music being played. I, too, had to smile at ‘contentment’. It would seem, just maybe, it is the philosopher’s stone. Lol!

    • Steve Latterell says:

      “They never knew that it was the chase they sought and not the quarry.”….
      Read “Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse on this thought as well.

  2. dal says:

    Forrest has created a dream for thousands of individuals not only with the possibility of obtaining gold but also with the possibility of understanding something greater about this country and themselves. He has done much more than create a hunt. He has created an adventure.

    • jkile says:

      Elegantly said, Dal. Your excitement for the chase was part of the reason I finally got the book; the depth of excitement of which you just so well stated. Those thoughts permeate in your writings.

      I am happy to be part of the chase….but a little afraid of bears, snakes, coyotes, and other creatures…..My only hope is that they don’t want to take part in the thrill of the chase.

  3. michael p says:

    For me some of the greater reward was the curiousity I had of watching the people enter onto the Bus at different stops along the chase. Dal, Stephanie, Ronald, Jenny. The list grows on and of course Forrest being the Bus driver and I feel he kind of knows the folks he picks up along the way. Emotionally involved is an understatement as it is more of a marriage and a good one at that with laughter and tears but most importantly always looking for a new post from someone especially the Bus driver. For me the feeling I get is like Christmas morning looking under the tree with anticipation of what is in those gifts. I just hope that there is a gift for the Bus driver. Oh what the heck, he can have mine. michael p.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Great interview. I wanted to chime in on the wild animals like bears as I was personally given some great advice from Forrest on this point as it’s been a great worry of mine as well. He said as long as you bring someone with that is slower than you….you should be fine. I’ve kept this advice from my husband for personal reasons…so please *shhhh* if you see him out and about with me.

    • jkile says:

      Hi Stephanie, thanks.

      I have enjoyed reading about your adventures, too! You all seem to be having so much fun. (and your secret strategy is safe with me. Lol)

      @ Michael P, your bus analogy is a wonderful word picture.

  5. May you always feel the love and happiness you feel in your heart always,,I hope with all my heart you health will get better! You sir,truly make people feel alot of what you feel,I have read what is on the net,,and short stories on your site,it truly fill with love and experiences you have travel threw your life,,I feel your next calling will be a world wide teacher of life and how to enjoying it! Take Care and I hope you are feeling better and get well soon,anything is possible,,take care.

  6. Trey says:

    I just heard about this chase. I have never been out of the State of South Carolina. I was injured while working and have spent years learning how to walk without back pain. My wife had a stroke about six months ago, and was also told she had cancer. We have never been on a honeymoon or even been outside the State of South Carolina. We are saving up to take a trip out there, but we don’t know where to even begin this hunt. I have ordered the book and read the poem. Does anyone know where to start? I keep hearing about Sante Fe but we are not sure. Life takes on a new meaning when you don’t know how much time you have left. We are looking for an adventure. It would be great to find a treasure, but even more than that to find a purpose and to find each other. Thank you for any help. Trey

    • Jenny Kile says:

      Hi Trey,

      You are right to question Santa Fe. Forrest has said he has hidden the treasure in the ‘Mountains North of Santa Fe.’ Later he specifically said the ‘Rocky Mountains’; which do extend into Canada.

      He has also said to start with ‘where warm waters halt’….to Think of where that might be and work from there.

      best of luck..

    • Forrest or somebody once said; I don’t think any one will draw you a map, I personally have thousands invested just in gasoline, but I suggest study the TFTW and THE CHASE and you may save thousands in gasoline; the books and the map sure help a lot. See you out there, just wave if you need help.

  7. So, I guess it is not in southern NM? Darn, that was my first choice. Anyway…I will keep on guessing. Thanks for the opportunity to dream of a real treasure!


  8. Eric S says:

    WE FOUND THE BLAZE! But didn’t find the treasure. Maybe it’s been found already. . .

    The blaze shows a box, it appears to show some running men, and the letters I and D. I posted a picture here:
    Forrest Fenn Treasure Found Maps

    Does this look like a blaze that Forrest would make? It seems to be similar to the ones in his back yard in NM that are posted on this blog. Any ideas? Looking quickly down didn’t work so well. I guess I was looking for an F or FF blaze.

    • I am perty rough as you will find out; Begins now: Eric, I don’t know how to brake this to you any other way except to say; Your brain is like a leaf, you read the words, but you lack imagination and unfortunately there is no school to teach you, it must come from God so for you ; you must pray for imagination; a lot David, I mean Eric S. I have never wished a leaf goodluck, but in your case I will; GOOD LUCK

  9. Neb says:

    Think like an Indian, Native American.

  10. irene says:

    Hello everyone that is out and about or in and around the internet searching and researching for this amazing treasure! This is such a wonderful idea the Forest Fenn came up with, yeah the treasure is great but getting folks outside walking around seeing nature! I can see it all this coming summer people all over Northern New Mexico , Colorado and further up. I am interested on how many of you have come to the conclusion that you have a good notion where to look only to find another better place. hahahehe. Well I hope whomever finds it deserves it and has a great story to tell. Keep journals everyone as this would make a wonderful book. Strike out and find your adventures. I am even if I only have a stick and a spoon.

  11. KenW says:

    Just joined the hunt this past week, and I must say, I’m already addicted to the whole concept of this search. It’s been cool reading all the posts about everyone’s experiences and I hope to be able to share my adventures and ideas one day soon too. My work is moving me from the east coast to Colorado this summer and I see that as a very timely and fortunate event.

    I remember when I was a kid, my father used to keep us entertained on long car trips by asking ‘brain teaser’ questions and he would never give us the answers until we figured them out for ourselves. The experience, as a 10 year old, of focusing on a task for many hours and considering words, phrases, and ideas from as many angles and perspectives as my young brain could imagine most definitely changed the way I think and helped make me what I am today. That’s the real gift Mr. Fenn will have given anyone who really commits to this search. You’ll see some fine scenery and have some wonderful experiences for sure…but your mind will be more powerful and capable than before…and that is truly a treasure.

  12. Jeff says:

    I am sort of new to this. I have had a location picked since my first read. As I have gone along it is getting more refined. I am getting close to making my second trip to look. My first trip was a waste because I was blocked by winter conditions the first trip. It will be sometime before I can search again. One thing I get a chuckle from is my wife telling me I am crazy yet having no opinion on the hundreds or thousands of other seekers! I am always taking a marker to put in place of the treasure if I find it. “You found the spot but it is not here now.” type thing. I would like to know I solved it either way.

  13. Iam says:

    Anyone interested in partnering up? Send me an email.

    • Tom Gregory says:

      I would be delighted in helping you find this treasure, I am a Native New Mexican and my brother and I have a web site

      Thx Tom Gregory, Hunt Guide
      PS Please read about us after you watch the video click on important document highlighted in orange.

  14. posey nelson says:

    Does anyone know what time of year, or season, Mr. Fenn hid the treasure? Thanks.

  15. Hey Jenny,
    I was wondering if you or anyone you know has asked Forrest if he was going to release his first version of the poem for the general public? Thanks…..

  16. germanguy says:


    I hate to be a pest, but I was trying to locate Forrest’s comment he made on here, (I believe it was a recent one) where he says “if she remains silent until the spring” or words to that effect. If you could provide a link I will appreciate it very much.


  17. Mark McCurdy says:

    This is a question and not a comment. If I came to Santa Fe could I visit with Forrest Fenn? I have read his book of memoirs, The Thrill of The Chase, and have made two trips to where my imagination and my understanding of the clues in the poem and those sprinkled in the narrative have led me. Like many others involved in this great adventure I think I am looking in the right location. I have shared my understanding of the clues with two of my best friends and we are involved in this adventure together. This summer we plan to go back to the same place and look some more to continue the “tradition”. I read about Forrest Fenn in a United Airlines magazine and thought immediately I want to get in on this treasure hunt. I was flying to Afghanistan for my job as a Govt. contractor and needed some encouragement at the time. The long and the short of it is after studying the poem and maps of NM for several months during my spare time I realized that I should buy the book of memoirs. I eventually found several clues in the book as well as on line, that supported the poem and led me to a specific place. A place where I’m sure Forrest has been. We have not found the treasure yet, but intend to keep going back to the same location searching for it.Due to the great amount of time I/we have spent studying the book and the poem, I have developed quite an appreciation for Forrest Fenn and what he has instigated thru all of this. He truly has a beautiful imagination and I would like to meet him in person. Maybe I could talk him out of a clue or two by bribing him with an artifact. How about a pre- Colombian axe head which I found in a cliff dwelling in an unnamed Latin American country to the south of us? It still has a piece of homemade cotton string on it left there by its former owner presumably a cliff dweller. Who knows, it may help Forrest find out what happened to his big ball of twine which disappeared from his bedroom so many years ago. So, do you think Forrest would meet with me and my Buds if we came to Santa Fe to visit him? I”m sure we would be glad to buy him dinner at his favorite restaurant. Sincerely, Mark McCurdy PS I think my question became a comment. Oh well..

  18. inthechaseto says:

    Hi Mark, I think that any form of bribery – even in jest – will not get you an answer to an e-mail – and therefore – no visit. I know Forrest likes to meet with searchers who are sincere. I would e-mail him a short note asking for a future meeting without asking any questions about the treasure. Good Luck to you.

  19. Yvonne says:

    I became involved with the Treasure Hunt a few weeks ago. My mother had been watching in Search Of The Golden Stallion, Stallion clues on television, when one day she mentioned to me she was in search of the Golden Stallion Treasure. The clues being on t.v every so often during the day. I started helping her and even purchased their book with their clues. This search took place about 1988 through out the U.S. We had maps, picture clues, a couple clues a day on television. I told my mother I thought the golden horse was buried in Tennessee. The hunt had a deadline, no one found the golden horse but later we found the horse was buried in a park next to a baseball field in Tennessee. This was so much fun helping my mother who never ever left her home after losing both her son’s through accidents within two weeks of each other. This treasure hunt made her smile a again even for just a short while, my mother died in 2008 of cancer. Forrest has had an adventurous life and certainly loved his parents dearly. Just reading about his life is a complete joy following his life through his eyes in his book The Thrill of The Chase, Thank you Forrest for the memories. Me and my husband started going to Santa Fe and Taos NM a number of years ago, we fell in love with the area, we went about 4 years in a row loving each year. We are planning a trip soon in hopes of seeing a lot more of wonderful history and scenery available to everyone who can take the time to live their life! From my heart, BLESS YOU FORREST FENN!

    • Greg says:

      I remember that book about the Golden Stallion, I was just a kid (15 or 16), I had a big atlas of the US and found clues EVERYWHERE – none of them accurate, but it was fun.

      I just found out about Mr. Fenn’s quest, and am going to dive into it (though for health reasons, plus having only one leg, I doubt I’ll be able to do much actual searching/hiking in the mountains – in the spirit of the chase, I’ll try to at least go outside and study the clues in Nature!). I love the community that I’ve discovered around this quest, usually when hidden treasure is involved, folks are not so friendly, let alone sharing and helpful. Like how many people have been killed over the Lost Dutchman’s Mine? Anyway, thanks from a newbie. Good luck to you all.

      And to the creator of this wonderful website, as a longtime searcher for the Philosopher’s Stone (or Philosophers’ Stone, depending on who you read), I love it!

  20. Just checking in to see whats new. Can’t wait till summer and I can go on my first “on the ground” search. Have a feeling its going to be an interesting summer.

  21. Sam says:

    Why can’t brown trout could be home of brown? they were first introduced in the nez perce creek tributary to firehole river so that could be home of Brown ?

  22. Thanks in favor of sharing such a nnice opinion, paragraph is nice, hats
    why i have read it entirely

  23. deek says:

    Iread the treasure could be in montana,wyoming,colorado or new mexico and could be driven to two times in one afternoon,is this possible

    • JDA says:


      Forrest made two trips in one afternoon from where he parked to the treasure site.

      He could have spent three days driving, or one day flying from Santa Fe to some location, then driven to the parking spot, and then made two trips in one afternoon. Just my thoughts. JDA

  24. Crack Pot says:

    my ant Francis nick named me DEEK, because I didn’t have a girlfriend and didn’t want one, but I was only 6, I would cry and run away fast when she started asking me about girl friends. I liked frogs and fish and pecans and wild black berrys, ouch I just got my little finger stuck with a BRIAR, it’s bleeding again, yesterday I cut it with daddys pocket knife while he was at work, I was bad, he told me not to mess with it. I am sorry, I always regret doing thinks he tells me not to do, so why do I do it, I just don’t really know. What will I do bad tommarrow I wonder, will I get caught I wonder too.

  25. here are the letters left over after the cross out for clues 2 through 9: YIE (yield), but if you add clue number one i get: AYIE (might be tower of blabber); the answer to what is (it) in the poem; “yield to Gods will or this could be the title Forrest is trying to tell us”, but only a Genius like me could have arrived at (it) 9 way (Pet Vaccinations). New Idea, a dog collar that lights up when it’s time for your pets vaccination. No one will figure out what the code word is for a long time.

  26. are there people out here in this country that feel sorry for HILARY over working herself and give her the presidency out of sympothy; i am afraid so, the same people that voted for food stamps i would think, getting something for nothing like playing professional football which is fun and getting over paid so you can not salute our flag; keep your sorry ass in the locker room until the song is over; get attention another way and not when you are some kids HERO, you have no empathy for kids who look up to you and your long running legs and not your brains which are shorter than your legs.

  27. I read your Robin story; you caused me to see for the first time (lightning swords being drawn from pretend sheaths made of the clouds, thanks for that blaze, even marvel too. Stormed beaches at Normady summond up pirates and catching crabs at Folley Beach, S.C. (low tide pools). P_38 airplanes reminded me i am to old to pee straight up in the air 38 inches at 67 years old. Robin became Robin Hood of the sky forest. All the metals i saw for the first time on a 25ft. high beautiful totem pole with fighter planes carved in the wood too along with the metals Robin earned and i saw people sitting all around the pole praying and chanting verses and reading poems about Robins heroism, some people said they were asking God for help because this man certainly must have know God and there was a lone CHAIR off to the side facing the pole from the East where the sun comes up in the morning, the chair was made of solid Gold and the Nam Forrest Fenn was enscribed on the chair and the words; He certainly DID, he was my friend.

  28. pdenver says:

    I like your “Featured Photo,” Oh! 🙂

  29. C.M.R says:

    I miss the Chase and Chat of the old days.

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