Cities of Gold


Cover of "Cities of Gold: A Journey Acros...

Cover via Amazo 







So I read another Douglas Preston book this spring.  (I bought this one, Mr. Preston.)   It was a departure from his horror/thrillers I’d read previously, but this non-fiction book was fascinating in another way.

He decided to retrace the steps of Coronado from the border of Mexico to the Pecos Pueblo in search of the Seven Cities of Gold.  It turns out that it was a bit of a wild goose chase for Coronado, but people will believe what they want to believe when it comes to treasures of gold.  Time hasn’t changed that.

Preston smoothly wove massive amounts of history into the story of his trek on horseback through some very harsh lands.  He’s also made use of the experience in some of his fiction, i.e. ThunderheadTyrannosaurus Canyon, and others.

Tyrannosaurus footprint from Philmont Scout Ra...

Tyrannosaurus footprint from Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s see.  Did Mapsmith call Dal foolhardy?  Well, let’s just say it takes a certain mix of courage, stamina, and not too much information to undertake some adventures.  Which is why the glory goes to the brave.  Kudos to all of you.  Lacking two of the above, I’m just happy to get the vicarious thrill when I read about your adventures.
Pecos Glazeware Bowl, labelled as serpent desi...

Pecos Glazeware Bowl, labelled as serpent design, Pecos National Historical Park From the ruins of the Pecos Pueblo in in San Miguel County, New Mexico.


Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cabinets of Curiosities, and Serendipity III

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Fertility Frog Pipe Bowl

Yesterday was annual artifact ID day at the local museum.  My last springs finds were designated likely Matanzas of the Mid-Archaic age, pushing 6,000 BP (before present).  Curiously, the older the artifacts, the fancier the stonework.  Mostly I had a lot of flakes and some ‘blockies’, a new term for me, meaning just a rock, not a prehistoric artifact.

As I browsed the museum, lots of things reminded me of Forrest Fenn and the Chase.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

No surprise there;  it invades the mind.   [Not unlike the virus in the Preston/Child book I was in the middle of reading.  More on that in a moment.]

The frog, of course.

The stone faces — think one of his bronze jars.Stone Faced

Mackinaw Cache

Mackinaw Cache

A cache, not the Fenn Cache.

Red ochre…..

Red Ochre

Surveyor’s Compass…Surveyor's Compass

This strangely shaped stone piece…….

Curious Stone

And, okay, not a Clovis in a Mammoth (on Forrest’s bucket list), but how about a spear point that nicked a bison’s rib?

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at 'water low'

Bison Kill found in Illinois River at ‘water low’

Lots of interesting maps and letters on the walls, showing the moving Indian boundaries, the Military Land Grants on the (then) frontier, settlement of Illinois from the south toward the north.  (I’m awaiting a copy of An Illinois Reader, editor Walton.)

Cover of "Fever Dream"

Cover of Fever Dream

Back to the book —  Fever Dream — the finding of which was in itself, serendipitous.  Think second-hand shop.  It was an advance reader’s copy.

I was most of the way through the book before yesterday’s outing.  When I came to this cabinet, I did a double take.

Carolina Parakeet

Carolina Parakeet

Yes.  The extinct cornuopsis carolinensis, or Carolina Parakeet.

What were the odds!  The bird and the artist Audubon play an intriguing role in the thriller, which I went right home to finish.

Happy hunting!  Or should I say Chasing…..

Audubon's Parakeets

Audubon’s Parakeets

Enhanced by Zemanta

Inquiring Minds

Arches in Shadow

Another Q & A with Forrest Fenn

I’d been considering lately what other questions I could ask Mr. Fenn.   I know clue/hint type questions are out, as well as topics he’d like to keep private.  What to ask, what to ask?

One item that piqued my insatiable curiosity came from a recent comment on another blog —-  Douglas Preston was originally going to write the ‘Thrill of the Chase’ story.

Wow.  Was that true?  Was it going to be 85% fiction or 85% memoir, I wondered.Underground

I’ve read four of Preston’s books now, and I’ve got to say …. Well, I think I won’t.  Just be prepared for a little horror with your mystery/thriller reading experience.

Click on the Q & A Heading/Round Two to learn more.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

TorchDon’t you wonder if THE POEM would have been easier to solve if someone else had been the one trying to keep the secret?

Stairway for horse and rider

This and That (Updated)

Don’t be left out in the cold
Intrepid's Accommodations in the Boundary Waters near Canadian Border  (NOT where warm waters halt)

Intrepid’s Accommodations in the Boundary Waters near Canadian Border (NOT where warm waters halt)

Only 9 more days until someone’s lucky number gets pulled  out of Forrest Fenn’s cowboy hat —  at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe  —  2 pm Mountain Time, January 7th.

Toby will be broadcasting a live feed. Sign up at his blog, A Gypsy’s Kiss.

Latest numbers from Dal’s blog:


{Updated–$17,999.09 as of 6pm January 2,2014.  Way to go, Chasers!)

Click here for more on Raffle for Rennelle.

Click here for a list of the contents of the prize jar.

Next item of business—  Intrepidy

(NOT to be confused with my daughter, Intrepid or the crazy guy in the airplane….)

Forrest sent me this just before Christmas.   Very cute.  You may have seen this on the other blogs.  Are there hints in it?  Cautions?icy waterfall

A fun read, in his words —

“This is one tough gal. I asked her not to join the marines because it would not be fair to the enemy. f”

Click here:

And finally.  What have I been doing over Christmas break?

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trying to fit in a couple more Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child thrillers.

Wind, Sand and Stars

Wind, Sand, and Stars, front

Yes, it’s the title of a book by the author of The Little Prince.  Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot not unfamiliar with the Sahara.Dive Bombers Daily Drover

I’d only learned of the book back in high school because of a friend in the next town reading it in french class.  (My little school only offered 2 years of spanish.)

I stopped at 2 libraries yesterday to find a copy of The Little Prince.   The 2 copies at the first one were nowhere to be found.  The second library, rather new and planted absolutely Too Far for anyone To Walk to, had none.  When I said I thought it was a classic, he said they didn’t really carry the classics.  Something to do with only putting brand new books in there, ones with tracking chips.  New World.

I stopped at my friend’s.  She looked for her french and german copies but thinks her sons may have them.  Not that my french and german are that adequate anymore, but there are on-line translators, right? (See Forrest Fenn’s Scrapbook # 47.

Okay.  I do have a copy or two myself—-in a box, in a barn, inaccessible at the moment, and I wanted to read it now.

I’d tried my Kindle, but it wasn’t available for download.  Last stop last night on my way home, Barnes and Noble.  Yay.


It’s a new translation.  New cover.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Choice:  Paperback.  Hardcover.  Set with recording by Viggo Mortenson.  Very tempting that, but I went with the cheapest version.

Okay.  Why go to all this trouble for a book I read ages ago?

Let me try to explain how mind mind works:

Mind Map …..   Free Association …..  Word Play

Case in point —-

Since Forrest used the word “fling” in his talk at Moby Dickens,

and reading the story of the sunken storage jar in Too Far To Walk,

and my earlier reading of Thunderhead, with its kivas,

and remembering the snakes writhing in the Indiana Jones movie,

Plant in White Sands National Monument, New Me...

Plant in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA. The plant’s roots hold a pillar of sand in place, while the surrounding sands are shifted by wind erosion.

and someone I know opening the door to an old underground bunker at White Sands, intending to descend until he saw the floor moving; again, a mass of writhing snakes,

and finding a place called Snakeden Hollow,

and buying snake boots after stirring up a snake while morel hunting, actually, I should use a hiking staff instead of my bare hands to rake through leaves next to fallen trees next time.

Oops.  Getting off point there …. but, okay.  You get the idea.

So, I couldn’t remember the details of the story but I knew there was a snake and a star and a desert involved in the sad conclusion of The Little Prince.

the little prince

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well….”

So, back to “fling”.

I know there’s been a recent notice to disregard what Mr. Fenn might say in interviews, just rely on the Poem.  I think Dal believes, maybe Forrest said somewhere, that the treasure is hidden in the original spot he had chosen to rest his bones.  I know he’s said it’s a place “dear” to him.  And somewhere he mentioned desert.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

Can I reconcile all these ideas?

Not easily.  I think it would take me more than four Xanax, a staff, and snake boots to fling myself into anyplace that might have a ‘moving floor’, even if there was a certain treasure chest in the middle of it.

“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”

English: Saint Exupery monument in Tarfaya Рус...

English: Saint Exupery monument in Tarfaya Рус…

Gimbles and Gymbals

Cover of

Cover of The Jabberwocky

“‘Twas brillig and the slithy toves

did gyre and gymble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogroves,

And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son.””

from Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

—Fenn knows someone who has the entire book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland memorized.

Gyroscope with arrows

Gyroscope with arrows (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to Toby’s video, I got to enjoy Forrest Fenn’s  book signing event in Taos last month at Moby Dickens.  Fun and, as always, fascinating to hear the man himself.  He reminisced,recited poetry, and remained cryptic when it came to where the treasure lies.


Gyroscope-9-4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New insights?  Yes and no.  “Fling” was new to me, but then I have no trouble in finding clues in everything he says or writes.  I suffer from mental gyrations following each and every post.  Tabasco?  Mace?  Curlers?  Head spinning.

Also, hearing him talk about the deal he made with his granddaughter regarding med school expenses reminded me of conversations I had with Intrepid.

As high school graduation approached, her friends were all getting piercings and tattoos up the wazoo.  She was inclined to follow suit, until I asked her if she wanted help with college.  A deal was struck.

She got early acceptance into the only school she applied to, (UW-Madison

English: University of Wisconsin "Sifting...

English: University of Wisconsin “Sifting and Winnowing” plaque Located on Bascom Hall, University of WIsconsin Photographed July, 2002 by Daniel P. B. Smith. Copyright ©2002 Daniel P. B. Smith. Licensed under the terms of the Wikipedia Copyright. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

) ((I was very jealous.))

One time, when she was home on break, she asked what would happen if she got a tattoo.

Me:  You’d turn that gift into a loan.

Her:  Oh.

Me:  Anything you want to tell me?

Her:  No.

At one point in those years, she was set to join the military because they would pay for med school and she’d get good experience.  I suggested she wait until she got accepted into med school before taking that route, because once she joined she may not get the choices she expected.  Or something like that.

So, she waited.  Got into med school and through it, on student loans.  Now, this was a surprise to me— the interest rates go up the higher your level of study does.  Undergrads, the lowest, and med/dental students the highest, like 7 to 8 per cent.  How, I wondered, could this be, in a time when banks pay you virtually nothing on your savings?

Early forms of stethoscopes.

Early forms of stethoscopes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, she is now in a 5 year residency, and owes about twice what our first home cost.  I think there are underserved areas that are willing to trade tuition for services, kinda like Rob Morrow’s character ending up in fly-in Alaska in Northern Exposure.  She does love to travel.

About the tattoo(s)?  She’s now old enough to know what forever means (longer than the life of her loans), and if she wants the rod of Aesclepius indelibly inscribed on her body, she’s earned the right to choose it.


Aesclepius (Photo credit: santanartist)

{{Note to self:  Let Dal know that, if by a slim chance my entry won his contest over at Thrill of the Chase, not to ship the prize.  I need a way to convince Mr. W that I have to return to Santa Fe!}}

Related articles

Today in Taos

Mr. Fenn signing my TTOTC.

Mr. Fenn signing my TTOTC.

Forrest Fenn, author of The Thrill of the Chase and Too Far To Walk and many others is signing books at 4 pm today at Moby Dickens Book Store in Taos.   (Still jealous . . . .)

Thanks to Toby for taping the event.  I look forward to watching it.  You never know when a new clue might slip out.    Ω Ω

Peppers drying near Taos, New Mexico

Peppers drying near Taos, New Mexico (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)

Ask Me No Questions and I’ll Tell You No Lies

“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”

Enzo to Andreas from The Dane

Cripple Creek, Colo., under martial law, 1894

Cripple Creek, Colo., under martial law, 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to Stephanie and Toby for sharing Tuesday’s book signing Q & A in Santa Fe.  It’s the next best thing to being there.

Forrest Fenn was being Forrest Fenn—

a)  generously giving a new clue:  The treasure is not above 20,000 feet.**  Not that any of the mountains appearing on his map in Too Far To Walk are nearly that high.

I remember wishing while out west that my car had an altimeter so I’d know when I was over 5,000 feet  (a previous clue.)

b)  sealing his lips when asked for too much information.


2012.07.17-IMG_5034 (Photo credit: martin_kalfatovic)

It looked like the entire trio (Fenn, Preston, and McGarrity) had a wonderful time.  Thanks again!

Now, in other business—i.e.  Dal’s current contest—

I sent him 2 pictures, so the caption you see goes more with the first one, not shown, which is a shadow of a small wooden chest dripping with (costume) jewelry, and it’s the only picture, shadow or otherwise, that anyone is going to see of my “chest” on the internet.

Secondly, and this shouldn’t need to be stated, the “jewel” I’m holding in picture two is fake, a piece of glass, just so no one gets the idea it would be worth their trip to the Midwest.

If I had something like that, it would be in a vault like this one which happens to be on an island somewhere in the Pacific.  Just

**  A better clue, the treasure is not over 10,200 feet, appeared in a separate article recently.

Tonight in Santa Fe

Ready, set, . . . .

Ready, set, . . . .

Hi to all the searchers in Santa Fe tonight for the triple book signing at Collected Works Bookstore.  (Yes, I’m still jealous. Someone, give Forrest a hug for me. )

And, by the way, I just finished reading Douglas Preston‘s The Codex last night.  Gripping.  —–Repeat to self:  This is not about Forrest, this is not about Forrest . . . .

Maybe I need to start another campfire, but someone mentioned 3 inches of snow.

If you can’t make it to this book signing, Mr. Fenn will be signing Too Far To Walk in Taos on November 2nd.

Another campfire.  Marshmallows.  Cocoa.  My next read?

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate (Photo credit: Sheep”R”Us)

If You’ve Been Wise . . . .


“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.”

                                                             Ralph Waldo Emerson

English: Ralph_Waldo_Emerson_1940_Issue-3c.jpg...

Book Signings & Fireside Chats (Updated)

Twelve hundred miles, twelve hundred miles, ….

Too Far to WalkIt’s too far too walk.  Or drive.  Or fly.  Just to get my  new TFTW book signed.  I can’t fault the shipper.  They were expedient.  Prompt.  Speedy.  Only the book flew out of there before Mr. Fenn could sign it.

I’m jealous of you New Mexicans, Coloradans, Arizonans, and others who live within a couple hundred miles of Santa Fe.  Don’t it make my brown eyes green. 

Forrest Fenn.  Douglas Preston.  Michael McGarrity.  Details for you lucky ones who can mark October 22nd on your calendars —

And now, the blues.  Folk music, rather.   I’m also going to have to forego the chance to have a glass of wine with Forrest and to hear Bob Haworth of The Brothers Four and The Kingston Trio, (am I old enough to remember? almost, maybe) in front of a cozy fireplace in the lounge at the Inn and Spa at Loretto!

The Inn and Spa at Loretto

The Inn and Spa at Loretto (Photo credit: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits)

Details:   Monday September 30th from 6 to 9.  See Stephanie’s blog Chase Chat for the invitation to bloggers

Also, Tuesday, October 1st from 5-7  (you’ll need to RSVP).  Visit Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase, for the actual invitation from Forrest Fenn/Charmay.

My RSVP —-   Regrets.

Where will I be?  Twelve hundred miles NorthEast by East (–ish).   Flyover country.  The Midwest.  Flat lands.

I plan to start a campfire.  (That would be about 6 or 7 pm CST.  Hmm.  Still daylight savings time?  Whatever.)  I’ll crack open a bottle of wine.  Put on some folk music.  Watch the blaze.
Closeup of a campfire

Warm waters blazing a trail down my cheeks….maybe.

My feet are wet from thinking this thing over. . . [See/hear Blue Umbrella lyrics by John Prine.]

Any Midwesterners so inclined may join me in spirit.   Can you play guitar?

Five hundred miles, five hundred miles, oh Lord, I’m five hundred miles away from home.



The prior blog referenced Forrest Fenn’s rescue in the jungle of that “conflict overseas”. ***  He was shot down twice during his service.

To gain some of Fenn’s perspective on those experiences, see his writings on his blog @ Old Santa Fe Trading, and in his book The Thrill of the Chase.  Maybe there will be more in his latest book, Too Far To Walk, which is being released this week.

***   “the conflict overseas” from Sam Stone by John Prine, one of the great singer/songwriters.

Fair & Square

Fair & Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had the opportunity to see Prine at Chicago’s Earl of Old Town ( & other folk legends—Steve Goodman, Bonnie Koloc) back in the day, and also last week when he “played Peoria”.

Forty years on, Prine’s lyrics still resonate.  For example, Paradise:


And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking
Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away