Happy 85th Birthday, Forrest Fenn!

The Fisherman

The Fisherman

Another year has gone by with no one finding his hidden treasure, but there’s a great tribute to him over on Dal’s site.

morning in mountains

Wishing him many, many more years of “not missing his turn.”

From “Beowulf” (The Other Beowulf)

A Year In Verse

From “Beowulf and the Fire-Dragon”:

Hold thou now fast, O earth,now men no longer can,
The treasure of mighty earls.From thee brave men won it
In days that are long gone by,but slaughter seized on them,
Death fiercely vanquished them,each of my warriors,
Each one of my people,who closed their life-days here
After the joy of earth.None have I sword to wield
Or bring me the goblet,the richly wrought vessel.
All the true heroes haveelsewhere departed!
Now must the gilded helmlose its adornments,
For those who polished itsleep in the gloomy grave,
Those who made ready erstwar-gear of warriors.
Likewise the battle-sarkwhich in the fight endured
Bites of the keen-edged bladesmidst the loud crash of shields
Rusts, with its wearer dead.Nor may the woven mail
After the chieftain’s deathwide with a champion rove.
Gone is the joy of harp,gone is the music’s mirth.
Now the hawk goodly-wingedhovers not through the…

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The Sonnets

Forrest Fenn is writing poetry again.  I’d love to watch over his shoulder and see him at work. Is it a messy process with lots of words crossed out?  Or does he compose it in his head and only write what works? Does he adhere to form or formula?  Or is he a free spirit, free verse wordsmith?

English: Title page of Shakespeare's Sonnets (...

English: Title page of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Photo credit Wikipedia

Apparently William Shakespeare  worried about leaving a legacy.  At least the young man narrating the Bard’s first  dozen or three sonnets did.  He stood gazing marvelously in the mirror, pondering, and concluded that he’d just have to get married and have a son. {Okay.  That’s more abbreviated than even a Cliff’s Notes version.} But, it made me think of the last chapter in Forrest Fenn’s Too Far To Walk where he gazes with marvel(?) in his mirror in a closing poem.


“Oh very young.  What will you leave us this time?” Cat Stevens

Riddle Me This

Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 8.20.42 PM Is the poem a riddle?  Not a classic Who am I or What am I, but Where am I?

 In which case, the first stanza would say something like I, the chest, went in there empty and then I went in there filled.  Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Which raises the next question—the critical point of it all—in There, aka the Secret Where.

If Forrest wrote the poem as if it was a classic riddle, he might have imagined himself as the box personified and given clues accordingly.  Does this hold up? Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 8.19.41 PM

So, if the bronze chest is speaking to you, (no, I haven’t gone ‘um die ecke’, not yet anyway), and says “Take it in the canyon down”, “it” can’t be the chest, right? Or, then again, “take it”  might mean carry the chest .  Different train of thought….Screen shot 2014-10-06 at 8.20.28 PM

More wordplay?  Google –How to Write a Riddle Poem, etc.

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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)


Where Do I Begin…

Clues, bei Syke

Clues, bei Syke (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Where to begin?

Where did Forrest begin when he wrote the poem?  With the first clue, or the ninth?

“I knew all along where I wanted to hide the treasure so I didn’t need a map or any information to write the poem. Everything was in my head. It took me a while to get the wording exactly how I wanted it.  Counting the clues and hiding the chest came later. It is not likely that anyone will find it without following the clues, at least in their mind.”                                                                  Forrest Fenn 


{So, in my mind, it sounds like it’s possible to solve this treasure hunt from a distance, which is good news for people in the Midwest, or Europe, or any other of the xxx countries you visitors are from.)  

Also,  maybe the number of clues isn’t so important??  I don’t know.}IMG_0106

As the Munchkins always said, it’s best to start at the beginning—

Green Rainbow

—We know what lies at the end.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure ChestΩΩ

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.)

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….


66,000 Links


Stair rail “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
– Henry Miller

Dinkelsbühl_stadsmuur_stadtmauerDinkelsbühl_stadsmuur_stadtmauer (Photo credit: duitsland-reisgids.nl)

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ― Frances Burnett, The Secret Garden

This was once carved in stone above a fireplace in Wisconsin.  I only remember the first stanza—

It may be never, it may be soon, 

But I hope that it will be some afternoon.

I’ll hear a step on the creaking stair.

I’ll open the door and you’ll be there.


Keats's Grave, by William Bell ScottKeats’s Grave, by William Bell Scott (Photo credit: Martin Beek)




Kindness is the golden chain by which society ...

Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE ( 1749-1832 ) (Photo credit: frank carman)

Image taken from page 288 of 'Goethe's Italien...Image taken from page 288 of ‘Goethe’s Italienische Reise. Mit 318 Illustrationen … von J. von Kahle. Eingeleitet von … H. Düntzer’ (Photo credit: The British Library)

“Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and — if at all possible — speak a few sensible words.” ― Goethe


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Whatever you can do...Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Whatever you can do or dream you can do … Begin it now (Photo credit: symphony of love)

[I’ve been in the garden, waxing poetic, and not having any luck solving the clues in THE Poem…..]








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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“Hear me all and listen good”

Up the hill

Up the hill 

English: Mark Twain (penname of Samuel Langhor...

English: Mark Twain (penname of Samuel Langhorne Clemens) in the lab of Nikola Tesla, spring of 1894. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain





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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!}}

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