Fenn’s Clues and Hints: Intentional, Accidental or Incidental?

I copied the following lines from the “Cheat Sheet” page on Dal Neitzel’s Blog:

Q: Are there clues in “The Thrill of the Chase?”

Fenn: “Yes, because the poem is in the book.”

Q: Are there clues in “Too Far to Walk?”

Fenn: “Yes, because the map is in the book.”

Q: Are there subtle hints in “TTOTC?”

Fenn: “Yes, if you can recognize them.”

PIC_0080Fenn has also said, “The chapters in my book have very subtle hints but are not deliberately placed to aid the seeker. ”

And, on more than one occasion, Fenn has said that there are hints (he’s careful not to use the word “clues”) sprinkled throughout the book.

He’s also written (in emails), “All of the information you need to find the treasure is in the poem.

Therefore, I have come to following conclusions:

  1. When Fenn intentionally gives us a clue, it’s…well…bull puckey.
  2. Any other clue or hint to finding the treasure, outside the poem, are accidental or incidental to the written word or the conversation.

Here’s what I mean.

If I go over any of the clues of which Fenn has preceded with any variation of the phrase “I’m going to give you a clue (or hint),” they have no real value. At least to me. I could go on searching, following the clues in the poem, and knowing none of the following would have made a difference to me:

  • It’s not on top of a mountain.
  • It’s below 10,200 feet.
  • It’s above 5,000 feet.
  • It’s not in Idaho, Nevada, Utah or Canada.
  • It’s 300 miles west of Toledo.
  • It’s at least 8.5 miles North of Santa Fe.
  • It’s not in a graveyard
  • It’s not associated with any structure.

…yada, yada, yada.

I believe:

  • There are at least hints, and maybe clues, in everything that Fenn has written or recorded.
  • Those hints and clues were purely accidental or incidental to what he was writing or the conversation he was having at the time.
  • He was surprised to have noticed them or to have them pointed out to him, post hoc.

For, a classic, example, associating the phrase “too far to walk” with the phrase “about 10 miles” in the preface of “Two Far to Walk” was purely accidental. It also, in the grand scheme of things, may be totally meaningless. But, it wasn’t intentional.

I also believe that there are incidental hints or clues in may of the recorded interviews, with value, as long as they are not preceded by the phrase cited above.

I find nothing written or spoken by Fenn in which he has said the equivalent of “I intentionally placed hints (or clues) (in anything) other than the poem.”

So, where does all that leave me?

Here: Fenn hid a treasure someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe and wrote a poem containing nine clues that, when correctly interpreted, will lead me directly to the treasure.

8 thoughts on “Fenn’s Clues and Hints: Intentional, Accidental or Incidental?

  1. I put the “cheat sheet” together in an attempt to curb the rumors, miss-quotes, and outright lies that were being made around the web. Hopefully it helped some.

    You make some good points here Toby, I think we generally agree about things and about being so-called “poem purist”. Not that other information isn’t helpful, but the poem is the main source of information.

    What people must understand about Fenn is he is a self proclaimed hustler and promoter. He made his money buying stuff and then convincing someone else it was worth more than he paid for it. As he said in one of his interviews, pay him $250,000.00 and he would make you a famous whatever you want to be. Searchers have to decide what is helpful and what is nothing but marketing propaganda.

    He has made some confusing and sometimes contradictory statements. I know he intends to be vague, witty, charmingly homey, and a tad aloof while handing out information; that is the slick talking Texas horse trader and marketing genius in him speaking. I don’t think he was prepared for the type of scrutiny he has received because of the web. He is used to talking one on one, to mostly rich people, relieving them of a chunk of their bank account. He could spin his tales and work his magic without worrying about being scrutinized……..Not so in today’s world. He seems to want to be involved with the search and enjoys the battle of wits with the searchers but doesn’t like having his feet held to the fire.

    I’ve never met Fenn and some think I don’t like him, but that’s not true. I honestly think we would like each other given a chance, but even if we were friends I wouldn’t let him get by saying some of the things he has without a challenge.

    As far as incidental or unintentional clues it may be the clue he didn’t give vs. the ones he did give……..When people were digging up old out houses he came out with a clue and said not to do that; when folks thought it was in a cemetery the clue said it was not in a cemetery and not to be digging up graves; but when the fellow got in trouble for digging a small hole on the side of the road he came out with a lengthy rant about how it was wrong to charge him……….So is it buried beneath the blaze on a pull-out along a road that overlooks the whole poem?

    • I’ve actually dreamed of the moment I find the treasure. I am standing on one side of a canyon, a river flowing through it below. I’m a short walk away from a dirt road and a small parking area. The sun is behind me. I’m facing East and the river is flowing North to South. Across the canyon, I can see the blaze highlighted by the setting sun. I look down, over the edge of the canyon and see the treasure chest on a protected ledge below me. I can also see a trail leading to a small open area just below the ledge. The trail continues past the open area. I watch as hikers pass by on the trail, never imagining that the treasure is above their heads on the protected ledge.

      • That’s a nice dream Toby ! Unfortunately it is only a dream… Just so you know, I too have imagined what finding the treasure would be like. My setting is much different. Very interesting how each searcher sees things from another angle. Thanks for your hard work and how much you put yourself out there. Your blog is very nicely put together.

      • Toby, Know that my comments are always on the light side. They are always submitted w/the intent of showing a different perspective. I do respect your input always. I like your direct approach. Understand that I have traveled far a few times in search of the Trove. That first site is a cold lead. I do not share it because it remains in my ” just in case pile”. If, and I emphasize the word if, I do locate the treasure I will reveal that site as well. I have not read any of Forrest’s books, nor have I purchased them. That was an important decision from the beginning of my “Quest”. I believed from the start that it was imperative to filter out all the excess noise. So far, that decision has proven itself very beneficial in keeping my focus on the “poem”. I use the various blogs to stay in touch with new info from forrest and to gauge other searchers progress. So far, I can say that only a couple of searchers have mentioned my general search area. Whether these searchers mentioned this area through solid research, or just as a response to other guesses, I do not know. I will say that your vision of where the treasure lies, and my imagined one, are starkly different. That fact matters not. We are both determined seekers, with different methods, and I will always look to your input with respect. Lately I have kept researching my general area and feel strongly about my approach. I am considering purchasing both TTOTC and TFTW to see what hints jump out to confirm or ruin my area. What say you?

      • (Having reread my response to your question, I thought it would make a good blog post for today, so you’ll see it later on the main page of A Gypsy’s Kiss. Thank you for the mental stimulation of the question.)

        Ken…I have them both. I’ve read them both, TTOTC more than once. I also have a copy of Fenn’s book on his San Lazaro pueblo excavation, which I’ve read sporadically, especially when I need something to relax me at bedtime before going to sleep.

        The challenge of identifying additional clues or hints in either of the books is made immensely more difficult due to Fenn’s writing style.

        Almost everything he writes can be interpreted by someone as a hint or clue that reinforces their search algorithm, including his editorial mistakes, either intentional or unintentional. Once a searcher makes a decision that something they have read on one of Fenn’s books supports their particular search algorithm, it naturally becomes, not only an integrated part of the current search algorithm, but future ones as well.

        I have fallen prey to it as much as anyone, having convinced myself there is something special about the word “horseshoe” based on one of Fenn’s segues in the book (Of which I will write more about later.)

        I also believe that that fact alone is the primary reason that there is so little agreement in the community of searchers about where the treasure is hidden. ChaseChat and Dal Neitzel’s blog, while very useful, publish thousands of posts in which searchers disagree with other searchers positions on the matter, the majority of them citing one, the other, or both of Fenn’s books to support their position.

        Finally, whenever Fenn is asked whether there are additional hints or clues in the books (independent of the poem), he says “There are a couple of them that might help.” A couple? Might? Either he’s blowing smoke, or we’re all reading way too much into his writing.

        Would I buy the books again?


        I would buy them even if I wasn’t searching for the treasure. I would buy them because they are pretty well written books soulfully composed by and interesting man. I would buy them because they gave me the opportunity to meet him and to have them autographed by him. I would buy them because they are a pleasant reminder of this period late in my life where I can tell people that “I’m a treasure hunter,” (rather than “retired”) when they asked me what I do for a living. I would buy them because the provide me additional insight to Fenn, the man.

        If, in addition, I could get a morale boost by identifying some of what his written as a hint that solidifies one or more of my search solutions, then that would be an added benefit.

        Hope that helps.

    • So is it buried beneath the blaze on a pull-out along a road that overlooks the whole poem? Why yes it is or so it seems to me. The way an architect or a jet fighter pilot might view it.

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