Where the Wild Thyme Blows



I know a bank where the wild thyme blows….

Wm. Shakespeare

No wild times in Santa Fe next month.  The Fenn gathering at the Loretto Inn and Spa has been canceled.

I’d like to have attended, and not just to meet the competition, though that in itself might prove fascinating.

And not that it would have been really wild, but you never know.

English: Wild thyme in the flower bed of a &qu...

English: Wild thyme in the flower bed of a “garden à la française” in the park of the castle of Champs-sur-Marne (Seine-et-Marne), France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Favorite Fennisms



A year ago, I set off on my first hunt for the Fenn treasure.  I’d hoped to wait until I had a complete solve, but I knew that the snows come early on the northern Rockies.  I was confident that the chest was hidden somewhere north and west of Yellowstone, but couldn’t rule out the rest of Wyoming, so off I wandered, with Mr. Waterhigh’s blessing (and/or his desire that I find the gold.)IMG_0267

I emailed Forrest from West Yellowstone and entertained him with my story of not having the right shoes at the waters at the Continental Divide in YNP.

Forrest’s response—

“You’re having too much fun.”


I next emailed him from the Gallatin Valley to wish him a Happy Birthday, and he invited me to Santa Fe for a cup of coffee.



a.)   Should I stay on course and hike to a ‘water high’ with just the grizzlies for company, or

b.)  should I skip my night at the hot springs, which I really wanted to visit, and set my GPS for Santa Fe?


Forrest said,

“Life’s short and getting shorter.”




Really.  It was an easy choice.

Besides, I can always go back to Montana with Mr. Waterhigh.

(We spent our 24th or 25th or 26th anniversary there. Next month is our 35th, but he’s tied up this year….)

I was somewhere in Colorado before I got ahold of  Mr. W to tell him of my change of plans.  He suggested I pull the old Colombo thing as I was leaving.  You know, pop back in the door,  “Oh.  Just one more question, Mr. Fenn….”  and hope to catch him off guard with the perfect question.IMG_0403


I didn’t, of course.  I was pretty much speechless….

So, I did find treasure south of the mountains when I got to meet the remarkable Forrest Fenn.  All in all, it was a fantastic trip/chase.

Possibly my favorite Fennism is found in the Epilogue of his book, The Thrill of the Chase

“And what I’ve learned that’s most important is that both countries and people should know enough to just leave other folks alone and do a better job of protecting our planet.”



— By the way, his 84th birthday is next Friday, so why not surprise him with a “Happy Birthday” wish from all 304 of you blog followers.

(He’s in the phone book, otherwise I wouldn’t post his address–

1021 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe, New Mexico)

DON’T just show up in his driveway!  I’m thinking cards, flowers, chocolates, …. No wait.  That’s me.


The Architect

English: A rough-sawn hemlock timber frame hor...

According to Forrest Fenn, the poem was written by an architect.

1900 barn

Barn built by Rich brothers in 1900 on the family farm



I saw this cool post on ‘poems that look like what they’re about’ and, of course, thought of the Thrill of the Chase treasure poem.

Is the poem a map?


Old barn in a valley



stone barn

Some things are built to last, like the poem—

—or the treasure’s resting spot, good for thousands of years.


Some things come crashing down—

—like your hopes if/when someone else finds the bronze chest.




(Unless you’ve stored your treasures where they will not rust or be stolen.)

Don’t Miss Your Turn

Wrong turn?  Road not taken?

Wrong turn?  Road not taken?

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson





A Master of Education

The Ties That Bind --- Iowa City

The Ties That Bind —
Iowa City

Cover of "Journal of a Trapper: A Hunter'...

Cover via Amazon

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that Forrest Fenn has probably taught more children, and adults, than his father, whose life’s work was education?

In spite of any disadvantages to being the son of the school principal, a key bonus was the three month summer recess that the Fenns spent in Yellowstone.

The annual 1,600 mile journey included a 50-mile side trip to a one-room school house on a dirt road in Wyoming to see an inscription:

He Who Teaches a Child Labors with God in His Workshop.


Forrest began his self-education as a youth.  After reading  Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell at age 16,  he set out on horseback to retrace/reenact part of the experience.    (See “Looking for Lewis and Clark”,  p. 59 of The Thrill of the Chase {TTOTC}.)

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

He began his teaching career even younger, guiding grown fishermen around the rivers and lakes in Yellowstone country when he was “a young teen.”

College vs experience —

 “Who would you rather have working on your car, a man who just graduated from four years of mechanics school or a guy who has been working on broken cars for four years?”

Marvin Fenn, p.7 of The Thrill of the Chase.

Does Forrest still, at almost 84 years of age, regret not having a college degree?

“I still think about education sometimes, especially now that it’s too late to get any.”  p. 9 of TTOTC

(Not entirely true.  Every June, another septa-, or octa-, or nonagenarian is in the news in cap and gown receiving their long-desired diploma.  But I suspect Forrest would {still} be utterly bored sitting in a classroom where he’s smarter than anyone else in there, including the instructor.  If you doubt his scholarship, check out his expert knowledge on pottery, pueblos, geology, history . . . .you get the idea.)

After his time as a fighter pilot —

Instead of all of those medals, I wish I could have been given a college degree in survival or at least an honorable mention for just having lasted it out.”  

“My War For Me”  begins on p. 73 in TTOTC

            —  he served by teaching others to fly.  When he left the Air Force and began an art gallery in Santa Fe, his  knowledge sharing continued.

Bronze Moose

Bronze Moose Why is it cold?

 Read about school visits in  the chapter “Teachers with Ropes”, p. 109 of TTOTC, and smile.

Imagine signs that say “Please Touch.”


After the Gallery was sold, and he began serious investigation of his San Lazaro pueblo, he continued to share, to teach, giving underprivileged (I’ve forgotten his term) teens archaeological experiences at the site.

A Fechin

A Fechin

On Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase,  if you click on  Forrest Speaks, you can watch a video, How to Be an Artist, his recipe for success for a watercolorist in need of money.  Sound knowledge, freely shared.

Another fun video there is Woolly Worm, where he patiently teaches how to tie a fishing fly.  (He makes it look easy.)

I doubt that we’ll ever know the full extent of his generosity of time and talents.  You know, don’t let your right hand know what your left is doing.


But, Forrest Fenn has gotten more kids and grownups off the couch and out in the woods, searching and researching any and every little bit that could, just maybe, somehow, with imagination, might possibly help solve one of his nine clues.

Cody Rainbow

Cody Rainbow

And not just for the gold in the chest at the end of his rainbow….



If You Recognize This Person….

only child

only child 

If you know who this person is, let me know.  I’ll drop off the photo, etc., next time I’m in New Mexico.

This pic made me think of the twins in Forrest Fenn’s bookToo Far To Walk, which made me wonder about a couple more things which may remain mysteries.  Ah, well.



Back to the Chase—Dal’s blog is in overdrive lately since he officially dropped out of the hunt for Fenn’s treasure.  Lots to keep up with over there.

Another great addition is over on Jenny Kile’s blog.  Forrest is answering searcher’s questions at the rate of more than one a day.

Love it!

English: Stout Arch, Mystery Valley, Monument ...English: Stout Arch, Mystery Valley, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona, USA Français : Stout Arch, Mystery Valley, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona, États-Unis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Me?  It’s raspberry season.  This year– raspberry ice cream made with organic cream and sugar.  Small treasures….


Pieces of Eight


The Spanish dollar was the basis of the United...

The Spanish dollar was the basis of the United States silver dollar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aaargh!  Am I the only one who thought pieces of eight were made of gold?

There’s been a lot of pirate talk on the Thrill of the Chase blogs lately, and some pirates have already departed on their quest for the Forrest Fenn treasure hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

English: The two Manila galleons-the "Enc...English: The two Manila galleons-the “Encarnacion” and “Rosario” during the five battles of La Naval de Manila in 1646. Original illustration by John Ryan M. Debil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So while I sit patiently in the Midwest trying to decode the clues in the poem, I continue to decorate my mind with new and possibly-never-useful facts.  But then again, Mr. Fenn said nothing is too small to know  (I  still need to find his exact words on that.


I. A. Wadsworth 25 cents (twenty-five cents) p...Even though where I grew up “two bits” was not uncommonly used in place of “quarter”, for some reason I always pictured pieces of eight  as heavy gold coins.  Wrong.  The Spanish gold coin was the “scudo” or “escudo” and equaled 16 reales (royals).

English: Spanish doubloon stamped as minted in...English: Spanish doubloon stamped as minted in 1798 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Spanish 8 reale coin was silver, and sometimes cut when smaller coins (i.e., a picayune was a half reale) were scarce.  Hence, 2 bits,  four bits, etc.  One bit equaled 12 1/2 cents, which is coincidentally why, up until August of 2000, the New York Stock Exchange reported value changes in eighths.

Wait.  Why base the NY stock market on the value of a Spanish coin?

Well, for starters, the colonies were forbidden, on pain of beheading and/or drawing and quartering, from making their own coins.

Secondly, the Spaniards had been reaping(?) the silver from Mexico to Chile since at least the 15th century.  Spanish “Milled” or “Pillar” dollars were minted in places like Mexico City; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; and, of interest to seekers of the Fenn chest, Santa Fe de Bogota, Columbia.  (Quote: ” …in the mountains north of Santa Fe.”    How far north, some have asked.)

English: Detail of Pillars of Hercules from Ta...

English: Detail of Pillars of Hercules from Ta…

Holy Pompeii Pillars!  I mean, Pillars of Hercules, at the Straights of Gibralter, gateway to the New World, as seen on the obverse of the coins milled in the Americas.

Back to the stock market question.

The Spanish silver dollar/real a de ocho was the most common coin in circulation in 1792 when the NYSE was founded.  That was the same year Congress authorized the first Coinage Act, which established the mint in Philadelphia.  Since it was going to take awhile to ‘print’ a lot of money, Spanish coins were made legal tender in 1793 and remained so until 1857, you know, after the California gold rush filled the coffers.  And new regulations.

Next question:  so why are old reales showing up in fields, clay pots, and creekbanks in Illinois?  Like the 1/2 reales minted in Lima in 1755 and Nuevo Reino de Granada (Santa Fe de Bogota), and the 1702 to 1733 (?) vintage two bit piece.

(Hint:  It’s good to look near really old tavern sites with a metal detector.)

Again, a couple answers.  This was the frontier back in the day.  Even before the War of Independence, the French, Spanish, and Brits were all over the place trying to plant flags and claim what wasn’t theirs.  And up the Mississippi were the Spanish Mines—lead, not gold or silver.

And then, consider the sheer number of reales produced—between 1732 and 1821, 1.3 billion eight reale coins were minted at Mexico City alone.  And they didn’t all make it to Madrid.  The Manilla Galleons took them to Asia, as silver was the only commodity the Chinese accepted in trade.

1748 Seale Map of the Pacific Ocean w- Trade R...1748 Seale Map of the Pacific Ocean w- Trade Routes from Acapulco to Manila – Geographicus – Pacific-seale-1743 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Shipwrecks.  Pirates.Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

“Pizzas at eight!  Pizzas at eight!

So, Dal, maybe you should go back to scuba diving for treasure and leave the Rocky Mountain treasure to us landlubbers.

  Just kidding…..

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Bittersweet Revisited (in honor of Memorial Day)

A U.S. Air Force Sikorsky HH-53C Super Jolly G...

A U.S. Air Force Sikorsky HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant helicopter being refueled over Vietnam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was a footnote on the previous post, but I think it deserves more attention——-Forrest Fenn was the rescuee.

Worth the Cold?

Glad to hear of the successful rescue of a searcher who got stuck in the snow out west!  (See Dal’s site, Thrill of the Chase, for details.)

But hey, people.   Could we not be doing things that might keep Forrest up at night!  And his nephew Chip.  And the other heroes.  Just saying.

I’m only hunting morels and asparagas until the snow is melted in Yellowstone.   (Can’t eat ’em, but, you know, it’s the thrill of the chase.)


Clear as a Bell?

Treasure in the Rockies

Treasure in the Rockies

To quell any rumors out there about Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest being found, or pictures of it on the web, and so forth , listen good

“I have not received a photo of the treasure chest. Whoever is saying those things if puffing smoke. Ask them for the proof the offered. If I know that someone has found the treasure I will announce it on all of the blogs and my web site.”

Forrest Fenn    May 1st, 2014

Clear as a bell?

So, if you do happen to find it, send proof positive, like a picture of you holding the chest, wearing the bracelet and necklace with the jaguar, trying to keep a modest smile on your face, along with an invitation to the celebration party….I’d be happy to forward it.

Happy hunting, all!Little Green Frog

Warning from Forrest about a Fraudulent FB Page

I’m sharing a warning that Forrest Fenn had posted on Dal’s site regarding a fraudulent Facebook page supposedly by Forrest Fenn. (There is a legitimate FB page which you can connect with via his blog, Old Santa Fe Trading Co.com.)

Here’s the warning I copied to share:

A fraudulent Facebook page popped up in the past week. The owner makes it look like Forrest is the owner. But he is not. Forrest asked me to announce that the page is bogus..
If you have any way to let folks know the page is not owned by Forrest, please go for it.
The fraudulent Facebook page is here:

This site asks you to “check” your clues by emailing them.

I don’t think so, Buster.

(I thought the Fraudster might have taken it down, but, no, it’s still out there.)

Tribute and Tributary

Champagne Glow

Champagne Glow (Photo credit: pepemczolz)

A toast to Dal Neitzel —   his blog, Thrill of the Chase, recently passed the 2 millionth mark!  Beginner and seasoned searchers go there for the latest and the most useful information on the hunt for Forrest Fenn’s hidden treasure chest.  Thank you.

Dal just added a great story, The Shaft, about one of his excursions last fall that involved a real life character named Harley.  Kind of a LOL, edge of your seat story.  I also think much could be made of the findings, but maybe that’s just my imagination on the run again.

This puts my stats in perspective.  I was so tickled to have passed 250 followers and twenty thousand-some views a couple months ago.  It pales in comparison, but I’m not in competition.  This site is just a feeder stream to the rivers of info on Forrest’s and Dal’s websites.


IMG_0285Okay.  Maybe it’s just a trickle, but it leads readers to more information about the man who wrote the poem with 9 clues


Mr. Fenn signing my TTOTC.

Forrest Fenn signing my copy of The Thrill of the Chase


and his books with hints, the man who hid a treasure trove of gold nuggets, coins and jewels, and the story of his life.

Snow is melting.  Fevers are rising.  Time to get the camping gear ready.

Chugwater Sheep Wagon

Chugwater Shepherd Wagon

Now just where does that warm water halt???