Special Featured Question with Forrest Fenn: The First Clue First

forrest fenn treasureDear Forrest,

As a deeply felt thanks to all the Forrest Fenn Treasure Hunt searchers that voted for MysteriousWritings, I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a special question to help us celebrate the win of Blog of the Year.

My simple question would be:

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


Congrats Jenny.  

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




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155 Responses

  1. pdenver says:

    Thank you for this week’s “Special Featured Question,” Jenny and Mr. Fenn. I thought there was more talk about what the first clue is, but admit I speak of one blog only. Hmmm. Now, this has me thinking.

  2. Chesney says:

    If you don’t know where you are, or where you are going…. any path or trail will lead you there! 🙂 Thank you Mr. Fenn and Ms. Kile, I wish everyone here too be in Great Health! Once again, Congratulations, you both worked very hard to achieve this award!

  3. cluesfromphilly says:

    WWWH = where friendships (warm waters) end (halt) – like the mason dixon line ect.


    HOR New and Old = new landscape vs old landscape, new country vs old country ect.

  4. JDA says:

    I believe I know what you are saying Forrest. I hope to know soon. JDA

  5. ROLL TIDE says:

    Makes perfect sense to me. I totally agree Forrest.
    It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.

  6. JL says:

    This could be a key statement but it is more like let go of my eggo. You must start out every morning with a good breakfast, you can’t start with lunch because dinner would then be at noon and breakfast would be at dinner. I dont think you can break a fast at the end of the day but I could be wrong, maybe you could if someone were to invite you for dinner.

  7. Jonsey1 says:

    “Moving forward with F…A Capitulation”

    Coming Soon to a Box Office near YOU!

  8. LitterateOne says:


    Warm waters halt is not the first clue, where is.


  9. Jacob says:

    “…but only a few in tight focus with a word that is key.”… Aka- The first clue. If you don’t have that, you might as well stay home and play Canasta. lol. All in my now very humble opinion after 3 empty but enlightening searches. And I have to say, this search has got me out into the backcountry that my father took us hiking in as kids. My greatest fear is that if I don’t find indulgence I will sit at my office job and live out my days doing nothing substantial with this life the lord has given me, overcome by the daily grind of bills. It is hard to be complacent when my mind and soul has had a taste of what life should feel like, an adventure. Out in the middle of nowhere is the only place I don’t feel completely alone at times, because in that solitude I find not only myself… but also God’s work, untouched by the selfish hands of men. 🙂 And on that note, have a great day everyone! 🙂

    • BW says:

      Jacob your name serves you well. You wrestle with where you belong.

    • SDawn says:

      “God’s work, untouched by the selfish hands of men.” That was beautiful, thank you for phrasing it that way. Also far, far too rare.

      May Blessings of all kinds be yours today and always.

    • Lost says:

      For nothing is a secret, that shell be made manifest; Neither anything hid, that shell not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17

      • Ellen says:


        “Not till we are lost, do we begin to find ourselves” (Henry David Thoreau)

        …and somehow, your above comment brought me also to: “As it was (so it shell be)”…Don Francisco

  10. GEYDELKON says:

    The wife and I are heading south of Santa Fe this weekend, taking our 3 dogs along for the ride.

  11. 23kachinas says:

    Clues are so easily forgotten. No wonder the blaze is so popular!

  12. Ramona says:

    As always, thank you Jenny and Forrest. Congrats to al who make this blog special.

  13. Kim says:

    Family is a treasure. Why don’t you just call them, Forrest? Love!

  14. Crazyfamily says:

    Hi Jenny, thanks again for a great blog. This seems to imply that some have found the blaze and have become preoccupied with it. Is this a correct assumption?

    • Buckeye Bob says:

      Crazyfamily, I don’t think so.
      For one thing, Forrest has said:
      “Casey, I did not take the measurement, but logic tells me that if you don’t know where the blaze is it really doesn’t matter. If you can find the blaze though, the answer to your question will be obvious. Does that help?f”

      So this implies pretty strongly that if you’ve found the Blaze, the treasure chest called “Indulgence” is in an obvious place and you’d have found it too.
      I could be mistaken, but that’s how I read that.

      • Crazyfamily says:

        He did say “more attention paid to the blaze” and not the later clues as he used to say. Well, what if the blaze is somewhat ambiguous, like the sun? The sun is 92.96 million miles from the treasure. That doesn’t really help much does it. But if the blaze does something else when you’re standing in the correct position that’s different. Maybe something happens when viewing the blaze from the location of the first clue or vice versa. I think it’s a reasonable question, and would clarify things just a little.

    • JDA says:

      I agree with your assumption Crazyfamily. Some??? At least one anyway.
      Buckeye Bob, an interesting quote, but I doubt that it will be that simple.
      To me all of clue #5 = “If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, Look quickly down, your quest to cease, But tarry scant with marvel gaze, Just take the chest and go in peace.”
      To me, there are a number of things yet to be solved after you find the blaze.
      Does “Look quickly down” mean – Look at your feet? I think not.
      Does “But tarry scant with marvel gaze” mean don’t stand around gawking? I think not.
      Is there more to , “Just take the chest and go in peace” than what meets the eye? I think so.

      Just the mutterings of an old geezer with only two working brain cells, and one misfires often.

    • nmc says:

      That was my interpretation as well, but you’ve expressed it much clearer.

    • Lia says:


    • Lia says:

      Crazy family, while reading posts at Dal’s blog I read one of yours from 2014 telling others that until forrest fenn became their god, they would never find the treasure. It wasn’t stated with sarcasm, and quite honestly was a comment that shocked me. Is that what you think it will take?

  15. Joe Sparrow says:

    What in blue blazes? I haven’t a clue what this is all about. But thanks for the new words anyway

  16. SL says:

    23 kachinas,
    Yes, and without a doubt.


  17. Point Foot says:

    What in blue blazes. I think I may be stumped.

    Clearly he went in somewhere and left it. And that somewhere likely fits him too. I know Fenn says what he means. The challenge is to not misinterpret what he says. I believe I can speak for anyone who has gone BOTG that we have all misinterpreted things he has said.

    What about where he is quoted yet we don’t have a recording? It could be scorched in a forest fire and its exposed to rain and snow. Did he really say that? A possibly unreliable source is listed as quoting him. Lol really? How can Forrest not be laughing. I’m laughing thinking about the number of times he has turned me in circles on many searches. I think I’m going to have to watch and listen to all the interviews again before next season.

    And then there are the stories. He says to read the poem and then read the stories in the books looking for hints. And he emphasizes doing this many many times. Are there hints in every story or just some stories?

    I remember one story about shooting money on a tree stump. I think someone hit it from 100 yards away. That is really far. I think maybe I could hit something 10 yards away but 100 yards!? That is too far for me. Has anyone figured any hints from this story? And then there are all the other stories. This could take years…. Oh wait it already has!

    At least I can say I have enjoyed every trip so far. If you haven’t I believe you have the wrong mindset. I have funny adventurous stories from every trip and I will continue my adventurous trips even after it is found. I just may go to more places not in the Rocky Mountains.

    May we all enjoy finding secret beautiful places out in the wilderness. There are so many secrets waiting to be found. And some day someone will find Fenn’s secret place where the treasure chest is resting. And that person I believe will not find it by chance.

  18. Strawshadow says:

    Thank You Jenny and Mr. Fenn.

    • Strawshadow says:

      This one is playing tricks with my mojo. I, for one, am beginning to see where lack of trust might play a role in my secret disposition. Funneling through my notes brings out one in particular, questionable at best, but built upon a firm foundation. My Mom always said I had a funny way with words. I would trade anything for her friendly way of expression. If this sounds self centered, it is, unless your clueless.

  19. astree says:

    So curious, thanks Forrest and Jenny.

    42 words, and 42 characters in the last sentence. Looks like a good day for 42, too 🙂

  20. C.M.R. says:

    Does anyone else have, an excavated coulee, Brave mound, and a wood at the end of their solve? Wait, that means I’m tending the blaze, shoot.

  21. Stubber says:

    /emote in before someone thinks it was directed at them lol
    The first clue is in stanza one, without it you won’t have the correct wwwh

  22. Spade says:

    Most of the searchers are very bright and make intelligent comments, either by email or on the blogs, but there seems to be more attention paid to the blaze than to the first clue.

    If you read this carefully he may be saying “there seems to be more attention paid to the blaze” by (Forrest) himself, not by searchers. If so maybe because Forrest knows the first clue will lead you there.

    Oh by the way I’m going to drink that caster oil on the top shelf next summer, all 2 liters. Or better yet maybe top shelf tequila and Mountain Dew. Whoa!

  23. Fenngshui says:

    Thank you Jenny and Mr. Fenn. Congrats to Jenny for your blog award and dedication to your followers!

  24. Stubber says:

    I read the first stanza to one of my grand daughters (she is 3) and asked her what she thinks. She told me she goes alone to the bathroom now because she is big. I laughed, but then I realize that Forrest dislikes being naked in his bathroom, he even shows the grain in the marble and how it looks like faces watching him. Plus we can’t forget that Forrest hates the skylight Peggy put in there, its a design flaw.

    I guess maybe we know what “treasures bold” means now, lol, the family jewels!

    On a serious note, the bathroom is one place where people do things like think, sing, read, etc. Certainly if if in private bath what you do will be secret.

    I suppose if you are looking near a hot spring it might be helpful, I am not, because water changes state to steam there, so its beyond warm LOL.

  25. Iron Will says:

    I believe the first clue to be the first 2 lines in stanza 1.
    As I have gone alone in there, and with my treasures bold.

    Unlike some posters ^, I actually know what that means. But alas I cannot say… for to do so would unleash a firestorm upon something or somewhere that could end the Chase. And to be honest, I have reserved that right for me.

    • JDA says:

      iron will
      I guess at last count, there was somewhere between 65,000 and 100,000 people who will disagree with you, and will each claim that they have reserved that right…I among them. The hidey spot is going to be pretty crowded iron will….and I will elbow my way to the front if I have to…Just joking.

      Was it Abraham Lincoln who said something to the effect of, “Better to keep your mouth shut, and have people think you a fool, than to open it, and let them know it.” JDA

      • Stubber says:

        JDA, I think Will is probably a teenager, he certainly acts that way. Pay him no mind, go look at his past solve where he thought Fenn’s corpse was in a tree in West Yellowstone, MT.

        • ROLL TIDE says:

          Stubber ,
          You say you have grand daughters. Does this set a good example for them, assuming that you do indeed teach them the proper ways of respecting others ?
          Have you ever been wrong about anything?

          • Stubber says:

            I’m never wrong. Don’t worry about my grand children, they are already ahead of the game. I wish you luck when you grow up Roll.

            • ROLL TIDE says:

              Stubber ,
              Now who sounds like the teenager? Great come-back, it was so original !
              Jenny runs a respectable site here, I’d think the least we could do is help her keep it that way.

      • Iron Will says:

        This is all just my opinion so do not take it so dearly to your heart…

        I notice the gray hair in your pic, yet I will attempt to enlighten you regardless JD.
        First , there are millions who are trying to break Forrest’s poem. You simply stated the ones actively going out and searching.
        Second , life is about confidence. I don’t care what those millions are thinking about the Chase. I only care about what I’m thinking. If you do not believe you are going to emerge the winner in this contest… then you should just get out of the game… or stay home and play Canasta.
        Third , Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead Well someone most have talked, because now three know.

      • ROLL TIDE says:

        That adage predates Lincoln. It has been around in one form or another, far longer, although, Lincoln did indeed quote it.
        Nevertheless, I find it humorous that you would quote that to someone else. Aren’t you the guy who Forrest was giving direct hints to every time he posted something on this site ?
        How soon we forget . . .

    • Stubber says:

      So Will, you stopped looking for his corpse in trees? I doubt you even know what clue means, get over yourself, you failed years ago 😀

  26. Stubber says:

    By the way, the easiest way to “grab all the bananas” is to be in the banana belt.

    • Stubber says:

      I mean in *A banana belt since there are more than one in the Rockies

      • LitterateOne says:


        There is only one banana on that tree, and the train only goes by it once.


        • Stubber says:

          Where did I say tree?

          • LitterateOne says:


            You didn’t, but I believe I know where “the” tree is, and there is only one banana to grab.


            • Point Foot says:

              If you know where “the” tree is then the question of the hour is why is there still a banana to grab?

              • Kee Muncaster says:

                Hey Forrest, ok I did what everyone said to do and grabbed all but 1 of the bananas. The last one was too high. Now I have a bunch of bananas but what good are they? I can’t eat them. The only good it’s doing is keeping the other searchers from finding them. I am not sure how this is going to help me get any closer?

                So now I have dismantled the Rockies, picked the bananas, and saw the X. I feel like the Karate Kid , confused as to why I am doing all this work for Mr
                Miagee and still no treasure! Lol!

                • Awingit says:

                  Ah the Mr.Miyagi Method.

                  How does all the teaching you have been through allow you to get the last banana.

                  Maybe you had to learn how to fish before being able to catch one.

  27. Muset says:

    Some people have figured out the first clue.. those people shouldn’t need to re-visit clue 1 when trying to determine the blaze… right? Or.. no? I need another six months..

  28. JC1117 says:

    Hello, All.

    Lots of interesting comments here. It’s also interesting that Forrest would “go out of his way” to make this statement. Of course, it’s not exactly new…but something about it makes me think he’s actually saying, “Hey, Sherlock…what was your first clue?” LOL.

    Always something new…and old…to ponder.

    Thanks for the question, Jenny…and for the answer, Forrest.

  29. Stubber says:

    Forrest is simply pointing out that many people skip stanza one. Without Stanza one you could not be sure you have the correct place where IT begins.

  30. Wayno says:

    Sometimes you have to go first to start blazing a trail for others and yourself to follow…. Congrats! Thanks Jenny and Forrest.

    • SDawn says:

      Perhaps sometimes “blazing a trail” is following the way YOU should go. Whether or not anyone else follows, or even understands why/what/how, it is your trail. If someone else finds inspiration in witnessing it at the time or later, well and good, but they will still have to do their own walking on their own trail, every person is a unique individual. The best we can do is look for the trailblazes that have been left along the way, but you are still going to place your feet on the trail in the way that is unique to the way you step, is that not so?

  31. Ken K says:

    I have spent so much effort to find the location that I think I have missed something. I have paid small attention to the first stanza. I think maybe, that is the most important. To some.

    It needs more thought. You are only immortal for a limited time.

  32. E.C. Waters says:

    Perhaps my bright starry-eyed friend Estrella will just be an asterisk in the history of the chase. That might make me shout to the four winds.

  33. tr_hunter says:

    Dan told me things I don’t like. I’d better up my game. soon

  34. Strawshadow says:

    Dan is mean, EC is funny that leaves IW in the middle.

  35. Iron Will says:

    Pdenver, I don’t ever remember telling anyone my middle name. But if I did, then KUDOS to you. 🙂

  36. 5-leaf blaze says:

    Hmmm… so how would one go about asking all those people who have the first and second clues solved… to mix their clues with this/these person(s) and go fetch this thing? I am just stamping my feet I guess.

    • SDawn says:

      5-leaf blaze, your comment made me smile, you’re funny. My dog loves to play with thrown tennis balls, he’s great at catching. Almost always brings it back and drops it at your feet for another throw. Maybe you could teach him to play fetch for you. (No hidden messages here, BTW – just straightforward mild sarcasm. Cleverness and innuendo is overrated IMHO – but that’s just me.)

      • ROLL TIDE says:

        I don’t know how to break this to you but, the poem, the book, the scrapbooks, and the weekly words, All are the epitome of cleverness and innuendo.

        • SDawn says:

          Roll Tide, I agree with you wholeheartedly. What I said was that cleverness and innuendo are overrated in my opinion but that’s just ME. Not being skilled in either, I find it best to express myself simply and clearly without trying to be clever or layer implied meanings through innuendo; it usually comes across distorted whenever I try. As seems to have happened here. I was just making a little joke about “fetching” because it made me think of my pup’s eagerness to fetch-and-return his ball. Mr. Fenn is skilled in the use of both cleverness and innuendo, so much so that this search has been going on for 6 years without anyone finding the bronze treasure chest. Though I do wonder at how much people manipulate the poem through grids, anagrams etc. when I thought he said the poem is straightforward and he wasn’t playing any word-games when he wrote it. But I am a newcomer here, I understand some have been involved in this treasure-hunt for years. I only learned about it less than a year ago, and I don’t know why different people have taken the various routes to trying to solve the puzzle that they have. I mean no insult to anyone, most especially Mr. Fenn, I only referred to myself when stating cleverness and innuendo were overrated. For me, they are – proof being my little post having raised your hackles a bit, evidently. Again, I meant no insult to anyone here and ESPECIALLY meant no disparagement of Mr. Fenn, I think his poem is a masterpiece of creation and layering of meanings and truths.

          • ROLL TIDE says:

            No offense was taken on my part, and no, you didn’t raise my hackles any. I apologize if that’s the way you took it.
            I suppose I didn’t understand your comment well enough before I replied.

      • Kee Muncaster says:

        S Dawn, Hmmm. . It’s the strangest thing, I’ve seen this same reply somewhere before only it was from someone else. I guess you both must be roommates and share the same dog.

  37. jerry spivey says:

    I suspect if u figure out the first clue, the rest will fall in place

  38. SDawn says:

    So, the poem itself tells you where to “begin it.” But why so much focus on the blaze, with everyone skipping over or ignoring the first clue, even if they do know what it is?
    He’s absolutely right, you know… if you skip over the first clue, you’ll just get more and more lost. Oh, wait, lost is lost – how could you get MORE lost? Ooops, scratch that “more and more” part, sorry ’bout that.

    So, what’s the first clue?

  39. Chesney says:

    I can’t even contain myself, lately! If you want it, you have to do the work! 🙂

  40. Tim Kertis says:

    Ok … Hear me all and listen good … The first clue is not the second stanza. It is not even the first stanza. It’s the title.

  41. Anthony says:

    Reading all these comments and all of the arrogance is mind numbing. How about instead of spouting off at each other. Ya’ll recognize one very simple basic truth. None of us knows for certain what the first two clues are. For if anyone did the treasure would be in hand. I’ve been trying to find for certain the first clue for about 2 years now. I recognize a lot of the fellow commenter’s solves as ones I have also thought about myself long ago before dismissing it for one reason or another. Throughout the past five years I’ve come to accept the simple fact that I do not know for certain what the 9 clues are or in what form they take. Some people believe it’s a numbers code or GPS coordinates. I once thought the word that is key was only word that is repeated 9 times in the poem. Shoot, guys I’ve even tried to make square knots out of the poem itself to follow the string of “clews” Fact is.. We all don’t even know where to start. Every single time I see a featured question I silently curse the people who did not have the brains to even ask about the first clue. So great is the spell of human ego and arrogance that these people lucky enough to get their question answered and they waste it on trying to justify their own solves instead of entertaining the notion that their solve is crap and ask about the location of the first clue……Don’t even get my started on the cryptic wink and smile comments some people engage in like they have a special secret the rest of us don’t…….. Nothing would make me happier than to let the air out of some of these entitled arrogant know it all’s tires.

    • Anthony says:

      You know. I don’t care anymore. I’m gonna share everything I can recall I’ve done. In the hopes that maybe I missed something and hopefully it can help the puzzle to be solved. None of the following are certainties. I just want to share my knowledge. Up yours, to anyone who wanted to keep any of this secret or too themselves and kudos to anyone this helps.
      1. The origin word of clue is clew. A clew is a piece of string. Forrest talked about his giant ball of string.
      2. Not far but to far to walk is a perhaps a reference to his past. I believe this was discussed in his book after TTOC.
      3. The entire first Stanza COULD be a reference to the memoir itself. If you take the mindset that he is describing a diary/memoir with the treasure being memories and going alone into his head or the past and his heart being where he keeps his secrets.
      4. The word “AND” I believe is repeated exactly 9 times.
      5. Warm Waters. Use to be a phrase that was used to describe comfort and thus weakness. Old thyme frontiers men believed the superstition that warm water made you weak.
      6. Meek is the name of a character in the book the Journal of a Trapper that Forrest Fenn read in his childhood.
      7. The use of the word “IT” few people know that the correct usage of the word IT requires that something before hand had been eluded too. So in the beginning of the second stanza It says “Begin it” In order for “IT” to be used properly in that way something had to be eluded to or described in the first stanza.
      8. HOB. Home of Brown is your general final broad search area. I base this thought off of a Forrest Fenn interview when a woman asked him where home of brown was and he replied that if he told her that she would run off and pick up the treasure for herself.
      9. There is a town called TarryALL outside of a national landmark that by definition is a Forrested Fenn. The place is called Lost Creek Scenic Area inside Pike national forest. The creek is shallow and disappears and re appears 9 times.
      10. Be CAREFUL A few reposts of the poem online do not match up exactly to the poem in the book. I found this out the hard way running a copy pasted version of the poem through word grabber software.
      11. A lot of forrest’s poem I believe is considered in English to be a ” Garden Path Sentence” ( This pursuit taught me that. “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.” Is a grammatically correct sentence.)

      I could go on and on with different thoughts

      The point is we all have something to share. So why not share some of it.

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