Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Odyssey Oddities

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Odyssey Oddities

Since Forrest Fenn announced that his treasure had been found, people have continued to ask me if I found it, or if I know anything about it.  I have to answer that I don’t know! I really haven’t been following the story for a while, and I’m not following it now.  Even though I have my own theories about how to solve the poem, I’m not discussing details here.

Instead, as we wait for the exciting news about who found Forrest Fenn’s treasure, where Forrest Fenn’s treasure was found, and what the solution was, I’m jotting down a few things that have intrigued me.  Things that kept us searching in one particular area. I say “we” because I have been happy to share thoughts with certain others.

Please note that if you were one of these “certain others”, you will recall that I said that I would share information for you to use for yourself. If you have been sharing with others, I will find out (I am a treasure hunter!) and I will not be happy, especially if you passed it on without giving credit…

Some will remain nameless for the time being, but Wade VanLandingham in the US has been a fine treasure hunting colleague and friend. On my six transatlantic trips to the Rocky Mountains, I have also been joined by a British film-maker, who brings along a very creative and positive mind.

While any good solution should only be based on the poem, as our own did, there are things that have popped up in Forrest’s writings that are just so unusual that they are worth pondering.  Yes, they may be coincidences or time-wasting “in-jokes”,  but they are undoubtedly unusual.  And it’s unlikely that I could have stumbled upon them if I wasn’t already focused on one particular area – the Enchanted Circle, New Mexico.

These are just a few of the strange and interesting things that we have found.  I’m not prone to flights of fancy, I have successfully found lots of treasures by applying logic and reason, along with just a little creativity.

As you read this, bear in mind that Forrest said there were no red herrings in his hunt and he had no desire to mislead, so are these things genuine, weird, or inadvertent coincidences?  Jokes?  Private messages?  Will we ever know? Where scrapbooks are mentioned, they can be found at

The golf riddle (don’t be deterred by this, it gets interesting later)

As I said, I’m not discussing the poem in depth, but since Forrest has urged us to first find “where warm waters halt”, wouldn’t it make sense if the poem told us exactly what “warm waters” are?  Wouldn’t we need a few ingredients, so that we could be fairly confident?

The second stanza of the poem can easily be a reference to playing a hole of golf. That may not be Da Vinci Code level grand or mysterious, but Forrest supposedly designed the puzzle for rednecks, and he did declare that the most significant moment in his life had been on a golf course.

Begin it where warm waters halt (begin a hole of golf at the tee box, and tea is warm water)

Not far but too far to walk (you “drive” the ball, over the fairway.  A fairway is not far to walk, a “fair way” is a long way to walk)

Put in (you “putt” the ball into the hole).

If this were a traditional cryptic puzzle, there’s enough here to be reasonably confident that it’s confirming what warm waters are – tee/tea. I think this is as far as I will go with the golf analogy.

Forrest makes a big  thing  of green, black and green teas in the chapter “Tea with Olga” in his book The Thrill of the Chase.


(again, bear with me on this one – they get better)

On one blog, Forrest randomly wrote the bizarre message:

This has to attract our attention because he says that his PO Box halted (what?!) and how it halted.  Warm waters halt in the poem, so it’s logical to equate “PO Box” or just “box” with “warm waters”.  But how, and why Extra Strength Tylenol?  That medicine certainly doesn’t help with dizziness.  Did Forrest notice that the words that stand out on the typical box have initial letters that spell TEAS, and in the correct order?  And doesn’t tea become warm water when the hot water meets the cold cup?

Scrapbook 107

There’s lots of intriguing stuff here, but I will limit my thoughts.

Forrest uses the term “Homo sapien” (sic) which means “wise man” and since we are supposed to have been wise in the poem, it makes us wonder if we need to be wise like the wise men who followed the star.

But the major things that made me jump here are…

We had already settled on the area focused around Red River. I imagined that the arc of stars on the $5 bill in Forrest’s composed image could be overlaid onto the arc of the Red River.  When I asked my colleagues to compare, Wade agreed that it did fit – and better, corners of the items in the image could be overlaid onto coloured mountain peaks in the area – the same tea colours from “Tea With Olga”.  I checked for a Mr Puceet anywhere in the US, there isn’t one.   Of course the name is just TEECUP backwards – teacup. 

It was only later that I noticed that the items that corresponded with the peaks could also be linked to the colours themselves:

The letter corner was on Red Dome peak (“red letter”)

The pen was on black mountain (black pen)

The $5 bill corner was on Greenie Peak (“greenback”)

Still later, it suddenly struck me why the city name “Florence” hidden under the pen made sense.  If the peak really was Red Dome, then of course!  The most famous Florence – in Italy – is difficult to imagine without its red dome!

But the one key thing that kept me looking around the Enchanted Circle was something that made me leap out of bed with a sudden realization.  I just had to check something that I remembered as I was drifting off to sleep.  I was repeating this sentence from this scrapbook to myself:

A cab brought me home and I’m resting comfortably by Tesuque and my warm little fire, but I guess they towed my car to the Walmart parking lot.

There was no logic to Forrest’s actions that he described, and the choice of words was unusual. But a name just jumped out at me, the name of a remote obscure place that I had seen many times as I scoured the map.

A cab brought me home and I’m resting comfortably by Tesuque and my warm little fire, but I guess they towed my car to the Walmart parking lot.

Cabresto Park!  Wasn’t that a place right next to Greenie Peak, a place that I had already identified from this scrapbook?  A quick check of the map revealed that it was!  What are the chances of finding all of the parts of this place name in the right order in a single sentence?  Practically zero! This discovery, more than any others, has committed my time for several years.  It would be so funny (or sad) if this is all just a coincidence, or more worrying – a private joke that I was not in on.

Anyway, what’s the significance of these mountain peaks?  They are tea-coloured, and teas are arguably “warm waters”.  Drawing an X between them lands on Red River Pass. 

Red is warm (a warm colour)

River is “waters”

Pass means to die, to halt. 

So we have teas (warm waters halt in a teacup) leading back to “warm waters halt” (Red River Pass).  That would be neat.  It’s the sort of self-confirming puzzle that I would feel very satisfied with if I had written a hunt.

Scrapbook 116 Peek-A-Boo Art

This is eccentric, to say the least.  Forrest showers while wearing his jeans, and has to remind himself not to stand in the nude.  Right….  Oh Forrest, you are so funny, people say!  But seriously, is it funny?  And if it’s not funny, does it even make any sense?  Literally, I don’t think so.

But the elements are interesting.  A marble background, Forrest’s email address (mail), nude and standing.  Forrest knows art, he is world-wise.  He would surely be familiar with the great works of art, a “marble statue of a standing male nude”. 

The most famous marble statue of a standing male nude is Michelangelo’s David, who was originally commissioned to stand… on the roof of the Duomo in Florence, which just happens to be where the Red Dome is.  David was supposedly positioned to stare towards Rome, which would make even more sense of Forrest’s words.  David never made it to his intended position near the red dome.  There is “no nude standing there watching”.

Outside the box thinking

In “Our War Effort” Forrest claims that “She said her father’s barn was full of spider webs and wanted to know if our government could use some, thus the phrase, “think outside the box,” was born.”

No it wasn’t, and he would know that.  The most accepted origin of the phrase “outside the box” is the 9 dots puzzle – you have to work out how to cover 9 dots in a square with just 3 straight lines.  People find it difficult to solve because they don’t think of extending the lines outside the box.  If you do, it’s easy:

And Forrest’s story is not entirely untrue – spider webs were used during the war!  In bombsights and gunsights:

Do you see a pattern here? Exactly!

Stick men

I have spent many happy hours looking at maps of the Rocky Mountains, and there’s only one place where I have found a pattern of rivers and creeks that fits the general shape of Forrest’s stick men. The area where we were looking.  As I have done some flying myself, I know that pilots become good at seeing pictures in the landmarks, which helps to make them memorable as navigation features.  Once you see the man in the pattern of creeks in the upper Red River Valley, it’s difficult to un-see him. Here’s one of his versions – look at the rivers to the left of the sketch:

Scrapbook 126

I was not the only searcher to be very annoyed, having spent some time “deciphering” this image, to see Dal write some months later that he had composed the image himself – it was not Forrest’s doing.

But I was more intrigued than annoyed, because what Dal said didn’t make sense

It was relatively easy to find the reversed image of the landscape behind Forrest, (Stella Lake, with Wheeler Peak in the background) but it was much more difficult to find what many people still think is a stone “stele” in front of Forrest.  Here’s the crazy thing, and you need to pay attention…  Dal said that he found the image of the “strange looking pillar-stone” himself, but… it would have been practically impossible for him to stumble upon it without using very specific search terms, and certainly not the words that he used to describe the strange object.  How do I know this?  Because we found the image of the stone (again, reversed) on a little-known UK blog:

At the time this scrapbook was published, you’d be incredibly unlikely to find this image without using the search terms “gate post”, because this is what it is – at least how the blog author describes it.  If Dal can prove that he found this image himself, as he claims, I will give him one of my pieces of eight coins.  So, Dal was being misleading about this, and Forrest allowed Dal to mislead.  Why?  Why did Forrest feed this “gate post” image to Dal, and not admit it?  It seems like a trivial thing, but if you really think about it, it isn’t. As Sherlock Holmes said, the little things are infinitely the most important.

Is it a coincidence that the image can symbolize two phrases related to keeping a secret? 

“Between you, me and the gatepost”

“Keep it under your hat”

What’s under the hat? A mountain peak, adjacent to Wheeler Peak.  It just happens to be that Red Dome in NM is adjacent to another Wheeler Peak.

The bear in the image is a Brown bear, and again – at the time it was difficult to find this without using the term “brown bear”.  Home of Brown.  Coincidence?


As I said, I only stumbled upon these things because I was already looking in certain areas, and with a certain “solution”.  You could look at this positively, and say that we have found “confirmers”.  You could look at it negatively, and say it’s all “confirmation bias”.  I have tried to judge these things as objectively as possible, and concluded that they (especially the Cabresto Park and Red Dome connections) are more than just coincidence.

These represent just a fraction of the unusual things that I have discovered, but the other things will remain confidential for the time being….

For those who are feeling a little lost, with no treasures to seek

For the past few months, I have been wearing my hunt-setter’s, rather than hunter’s hat. I have created some treasures that you can go looking for right now, in the great outdoors, but from the comfort of your own home. Please take a look, enjoy, and do let me know what you think!