The Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt and Six Questions with Jeremy Parnell

treasure huntingNinth in a series on Six Questions with searchers of the Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt. Questions are asked and then answered by those who are enjoying Forrest Fenn’s dare! (Read how you can participate


1) When did you first hear and learn about the Treasure Hunt?

When I first learned of Forrest Fenn, I was caught in the awkward years between youth and the midlife crisis. I was staring down a benchmark birthday, and looking for adventure. It was early in 2015, and I watched the video for the NM tourism department. I was hooked immediately. All I knew at the time was that it is “above 5,000 ft” and not in an outhouse. Minutes later I had a spreadsheet of all the places in the US higher than that — I didn’t even know it was supposed to be the Rocky Mountains.


thrill of the chase treasure hunt2) What inspired you to become involved and begin searching?

A few months before learning about the Chase I found myself on two seemingly unrelated adventures. First, I decided to go camping in Washington DC. There’s a little known national park called Greenbelt, just 10 miles from the museums and just a mile’s hike from the trains, only $16 a night for primitive camping, showers, and a great way to visit DC on a budget. You park your car, camp, and take public transportation all over town. So I drove out there and spent a week visiting the Smithsonians.

The second trip was to a convention in Las Vegas for work, staying at the MGM Grand for a week. The two trips couldn’t have been more different, but they were taken so close together that I couldn’t help but connect them in my mind. I remember thinking: “Well, that’s America. You’ve done seen it all now!” Along comes Forrest Fenn, a true American treasure, and I started reconsidering what constitutes the Great American Adventure. That thinking keeps me going.


thrill of the chase treasure hunt3) What is your most favorite part about the Treasure Hunt so far?

Forrest never tells you how well you’re doing. You’re left to your own devices to measure your success, both rational and imaginative. You have to challenge yourself.


4) What is your least favorite part about the Treasure Hunt so far?

Forrest never tells you how well you’re doing. You’re left to your own devices to measure your success, both rational and imaginative. It’s challenging.


treasure hunt thrill of the chase5) What is the best or most unique thing you found while searching for Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest?

I dragged my dad and two brothers along for the journey, driving out of central Kentucky, past Louisville and through Indiana, through Illinois, past the Great Arch in St. Louis and the Mississippi River, through Missouri and Kansas and windmills and buffalo, both the plains and mountains of Colorado, and into New Mexico.

We saw elk, prairie dogs, mule deer, big horn sheep, foxes, a gigantic beaver, horned lizards, small snakes, large hares, trout, birds of prey, and a dead hawk. We slept by the Rio Grande. We visited a pueblo lived in continuously for over 1,000 years. Actual tumbleweeds blew across the roads straight out of an old western movie.

None of these are unique sightings for treasure hunters. They’re available to us all. Still, from the east, so many of these were new to us. Just before leaving on our adventure, I learned that it was elk calving season, and didn’t know what that was. So I spent some cramming sessions learning about how the elk go mad in spring and watched Youtube videos of elk mauling cars.

We were certain we were going to run into them in the mountains and get slaughtered. One New Mexico night, driving through a mountain pass, we turned a corner and up on a ledge above our car was a majestic male elk, towering over us like the Grim Reaper Great Prince of the Forest, one happenstance away from jumping and crushing our car. We thought we were dead. That was unique, at least to us.


6) What more would you like to say?

Thank you, so very much!  Like most people, I always thought that if I met a genie and they granted me three wishes, I’d use the last wish to wish for more. I also like hanging out at Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” threads, so please feel free to AMA me in the comments below. I promise to give a thoughtful and honest answer to whatever you ask.”

Thanks again! : )

And Check out his Website:



Hi Jeremy!  Love your story and your answers.  Laughed at answers 3 and 4.  So true.  Thanks so much for sharing.  

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32 Responses

  1. Jake Faulker says:

    “You’re left to your own devices to measure your success”
    So true.

  2. Sparrow says:


    Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. Jeremy P. says:

    Boy, this guy is clearly a pompous… oh, wait, it’s me!

  4. pdenver says:

    Thank you for sharing, Jeremy P. Will your family members be joining you on your next search whenever that may be?

    • Jeremy P. says:

      Thanks pdenver! It’s definitely a family affair, if I go searching again. In the first photo, from left to right, is my dad (sitting on a rock, wearing bear bells), my older brother, my younger brother, and me. The photo was taken at about 10,800 ft. in NM. My younger brother lives in the Low Country of SC, so he suffered a little bit of altitude sickness and swears I was trying to kill him. I don’t think I can convince him to go back! My older brother is a chef and enjoys the cuisine of NM, so I think I could talk him into it. My dad just likes being around his sons, which we are extremely grateful and try not to abuse… though, there is a reason he was chosen to wear the bells and the red jacket. We were afraid he’d wander off. 🙂

      • pdenver says:

        It’s a great photo of your Dad, brothers and you. I’m sure it will be one you’ll look back on with a smile. Hope you’re able to go out again.

  5. SL says:

    You’ve been blessed with one, great sense of humor, Jeremy. I always look forward to your opinions and words of wisdom.

    Enjoy the Chase and your wonderful family. (Dad seems to truly realize his real treasures.)

  6. Sandy says:

    Great Q and A Jeremy. I hope I run into you on the trail again soon…I promise not to try to steal your campsite next time. Say hi to your Dad and thanks for sharing the Grim Reaper Great Prince of the Forest story…I bet that was pretty exciting!

    • Jeremy P. says:

      Haha, indeed it was. Folks, this is the only other searcher I’ve met in person. You all better watch out for her! She’s super smart, and observant 🙂

  7. Yo Yo says:

    Nice write up, Jeremy. I enjoyed reading that.

  8. Buckeye Bob says:

    Nice write up, Jeremy. I enjoyed reading that.

  9. Iron Will says:

    That is a beautiful valley behind the “X” branches 😛

    • Jeremy P. says:

      Thanks IW. There’s a huge field of scree just on the other side of it too. I’ve been encouraging folks to search it, but so far no takers. 🙂

    • Jeremy P. says:

      I’m going to sound like a car salesman for a moment, but what I do to convince you to go out there and test drive a new solve, search that field for me? 🙂

    • Jeremy P. says:

      I also wanted to say that #7 in your ETA checklist over at Chase Chat has a biasing flaw, but is otherwise it’s a pretty good list. #7 precludes the view that the nine sentences in the poem are actually the nine clues, which, if you follow, means that five clues are sufficient for finding the treasure. This is actually the view that I hold, and there’s some compelling reasons for accepting it.

      May I suggest the following wording instead: “Do you feel your ETA was arrived at successfully by following all the necessary clues in the poem?” Five may be necessary, nine may be necessary, who knows, but this wording would make the least assumptions.

      I would have suggested this over there, but I don’t have a CC account.

  10. Moon Shadow says:

    Thanks Jeremy! I love hearing about the lives of the treasure hunters! Blessings to you and your family.

  11. Jeremy P. says:

    You all are awfully quiet. No questions?

    OK, I’ll ask THREE questions from you!

    1) You ask Forrest Fenn to dinner so that you can tell him all about your adventures. He agrees, but says you have to pick the place, though he’ll pick up the check. Where do you go and what do you order?

    2) You’re hiding your own chest of gold and jewels, but, like Mr. Fenn, you want to include something personal, even if it doesn’t have a lot of monetary value. What would you put in that chest?

    3) And for the third question a short story (borrowed from philosopher Frank Jackson)…

    “Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’…”

    Long story short, Mary knows -everything- there is to know about color, short of having experienced color herself. Finally, Mary is released from the black and white room for the very first time.

    When Mary steps into the world of color, does she learn anything new? If so, what?

    • pdenver says:

      Good questions, Jeremy P.

      #1…I think I would be a little stubborn and insist I pick up the check being I had asked him to dinner. He would have to be quicker to snatch the check from my hand. Gosh, this is harder than I thought to answer. Perhaps someplace that had great Italian food. I would go traditional and order spaghetti with meatballs. Another thought would be to find a place that did takeout, and we’d have a picnic in a park.

      #2…Another good question. Years ago, I purchased an oyster from Heritage Square. Inside, was a 7mm black pearl. I always considered it special. I would place the pearl inside the chest.

      #3…Gosh, this one REALLY got me thinking. I’m not sure if her mind would be able to adjust the concept of color knowing she has never experienced such colors. Oh, my head hurts now, Jeremy. 🙂

      It was a lot of fun, Jeremy. 🙂

      • pdenver says:

        Jeremy, for some crazy reason, I keep thinking question #3 is a trick question. Is Mary able to see color, or only black and white, although she was taught what colors goes to what?

        • pdenver says:

          To clarify, some people do not see color, only shades.

        • Jeremy P. says:

          Oh, hey, I didn’t think about that. Good catch! I didn’t say so explicitly, but in this thought experiment she does actually see color for the first time.

          It may still be a trick question though, because the debate is over whether there something new or emergent in the experience of seeing color, beyond what can be objectively known about color. I mean, for example, she already knows that she is going to see something different than black & white. It’s not a surprise. She even knows everything that the experience involves. She just hasn’t experienced it herself.

          Intuitively you may think she is learning something new by having the experience, but on the other hand there’s a question of whether that experience is that thing she already knew she would have, or is it something else, or what?

          It’s a thinker, and I’m not sure there’s a right answer. It’s a thought experiment that comes up in discussions of “qualia”, and there’s debate over whether there is such a thing.

          • pdenver says:

            Good thinking. I had also looked at it as in the eyes of a newborn, too. The baby sees shades, then within the three months sees colors and when the child understands language and associates the colors with such subjects, it’s understood. The child has seen color, then associates word association. The adult is told color and the association, but then sees it for the first time. Interesting.

  12. Kim says:

    1) I’ll go where he’s going and have what he’s having. And I’ll pick up the tab to thank him for his time.

    2) One of the chicken-egg-sized golden nuggets after I find his treasure

    3) Yes. She may have thought about color in black and white shapes and did not know her true perception of color until seeing it–and possibly doesn’t like it as well. Imagination is more important than knowlege.

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