One Last Out-of-State Recon for 2017

One of the disadvantages of living in one of Fenn’s Rocky Mountain states is not having travel costs as an excuse not to head out and look for that damned treasure.

If we had to, we could be in Brown’s Canyon (CO) in 5 hours, Sinks Canyon (WY) in 11, and Gardiner (MT) in 14.

We promised ourselves a return trip to a couple of the out-of-New Mexico (out of 7 total) recons we’ve been on this year. Seems to us that this is as good a time as any, considering snow has fallen on Yellowstone, and a serious Autumn is ever drawing nigh. And, being retired, it’s not like I had a bunch of party plans anyway.

So, we’ll be out of pocket for several days, although our vlog will still release on Wednesday of next week. Who knows, we might even have another mini-treasure for you to find.

Yes, I realize this is the antithesis of my “The treasure is in New Mexico” theory, but, in all honesty, I’m taking my fly rod and a bunch of #14 Frenchie Nymphs with me. There are a river full of Cutthroat Trout up there that could use some catchin’.

Like Fenn says, I’m feeling like my elbow needs some room.

How Long Will Forrest Fenn’s Trasure Poem Live? Not Long Enough.

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Poem in "The Thrill of the Chase."

As a result of research we have conducted during several of our most recent recons, we have come to the conclusion that Fenn’s Treasure Poem (and, inherently, the alleged nine clues in the poem) has a limited life.

We believe some of the directional clues in the third stanza will be neutralized in as little as 25 years. We believe they will all be completely neutralized in as little as 100 years.

We further believe some of the environmental clues in the fourth stanza will be neutralized in as little as 100 years, although some, e.g., the blaze, may live as long as 1,000 years.

We believe that, although it was not necessarily done with intent, we are confident that Fenn would have been aware of the treasure poem’s limitations.

Fenn has often indicated his desire for the treasure to remain hidden for 1,000 years. Fenn has never indicated that the value of his treasure poem has the same longevity.

It is very likely that if one of your grandchildren finds the treasure, they will have accidentally stumbled upon it. Unless, of course, you have passed on your notes, your solutions, and your desire to seek fame and fortune.

Perhaps someone can ask the question of him at his book signing at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe on November 2nd.

Click here to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for an upcoming video on the subject.

Why Fenn has “gone quiet.”

Shelley and Forrest, Santa Fe, May 18, 2017

There is much discussion in the various forums about how Fenn has recently, for lack of a better way to describe it, stepped back from the search. Surprisingly, to me, some have come to the conclusion that his standing down is due to the possibility that one or more of them has either “solved the poem” and Fenn has become aware the solution exists, or that the treasure has been found, and not announced.

I can assure you with a high level of confidence that, as of this writing, neither of those conditions is true.

No one has solved the poem.

The treasure has not been found.

The 200 foot rule still stands four years after he first said it in 2013. (Made more amazing by the fact that the “200 footers” have not returned to locate the treasure.)

Prove me wrong. Prove the treasure’s been found. No excuse or “explanation” will be good enough. Because, excuses equal bullshit.

In our opinion, Fenn made a conscious decision to step back from the search after the events of May 18, 2017 at the screening of “The Lure,” in Santa Fe. I was there and saw it all. I spoke with him that night about it. I exchanged emails with him for a few days afterwards.

His decision was reinforced by the media and community activity associated with the loss of the second searcher.

In addition, he’s 87. He suffered a bout with cancer. He’s missing a kidney. The end is drawing nigh. He’s done everything he needs to have done to ensure the treasure is one day found. Short of providing geographic coordinates, there is nothing more he can say that will make a difference in finding the treasure. Or, not.

He can, effectively, and comfortably, retire.

Let him go.

Why did Forrest Fenn put strands of his hair in the sealed olive jar?

The simplest answer: So his hair could be used as a basis for DNA testing to prove, without equivocation, that it was the owner of those strands of hair had placed the treasure in its hiding place.

That also means it is very likely that Fenn’s autobiography end’s with a paragraph something like this:

“I, Forrest Fenn, wrote this autobiography, placed it in this olive jar, and sealed the olive jar with wax. I, Forrest Fenn, placed this treasure in its hiding place with the expectation that, someday, someone would find it. I, Forrest Fenn, am of sound mind. I, Forrest Fenn, make this decision freely. I, Forrest Fenn, transfer the title of ownership of this treasure to the person who finds it. I, Forrest Fenn, have placed strands of my hair in the sealed olive jar with the expectation that they will be used for DNA testing as evidence that the preceding statements were written by me.”

Here’s my problem with it.

Proof of “ownership” via DNA testing would only be meaningful if the following two conditions existed:

  1. Fenn was still living when the treasure was found.
  2. The treasure was found before Fenn published “The Thrill of the Chase” in 2010.

If Fenn was no longer living when the treasure was found, a DNA sample would be irrelevant.

If Fenn hid the treasure after he published his book, a DNA sample would be irrelevant, regardless of when the treasure was found.

To put it another way, if Fenn hid the treasure before publishing his book, and if someone found the treasure before he published his book, the strands of hair would have value. Otherwise, they are meaningless.

Bottom Line: We believe Fenn hid the treasure before 2009/2010. That he had the foresight to place strands of his hair in the olive jar support that hypothesis.

New Mexico State Police Chief Call’s Fenn’s Treasure Hunt “Stupid.”

We do not agree.

We do not believe a “treasure hunt” is capable of being stupid.

Each year, millions of Americans enjoy the outdoors. Some of them die in the process, and the majority of those that die, do so as a result of a set of bad decisions they made. It was not the fault of the kayak or the river, the 4WD vehicle or the rocky slope, the cliff or the rope, or the rattlesnake, the cougar or the brown bear.

We ended up having to stay the night, and spending most of it watching the rain flood our exit route.

The news that Wallace left a receipt in his car for the purchase of a rope later found at the scene indicates to us he was already in the middle of the chain of bad decisions that led to his death. The Orilla Verde, a place we’ve been to more than once, hosts thousands of individuals and families who camp, raft, kayak, fish, hike, take pictures, make paintings, and search for petroglyphs and other artifacts. They’re chasing their brand of the thrill. Evolutionarily-speaking, it is in our nature to do so. They come home safe, and sometimes tired and sunburned. Occasionally, one is lost to nature, and sometimes their own bravado. It is not nature’s fault. It is not the fault of their sport or avocation. Nature is, and all the activities above, are, incapable of being stupid.

If you have Fenn’s email address, we strongly recommend you to write and urge him not to call off the chase. Also, ask him not to change the conditions or terms of the chase. New clues be damned. 

In the meantime, when you go out to search, take Fenn’s advice: “Don’t go where an 80-year-old man couldn’t carry a 42 pound box.”

Our advice? From our experience in the outdoors for a variety of reasons and a variety of interests: Be prepared, don’t go alone, don’t be stupid.


Here’s the article from today’s Albuquerque Journal:

Albquerque Journal
By Edmundo Carrillo/Journal North
Published: Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 7:49pm
Updated: Monday, June 19th, 2017 at 11:01pm

SANTA FE — It appears that a second Colorado man has lost his life looking for Forrest Fenn’s treasure in New Mexico near the Rio Grande, spurring New Mexico’s State Police Chief Pete Kassetas to call the treasure hunt “stupid” and implore Fenn to finally call it off.

New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas

“I think it’s stupid,” Kassetas told the Journal on Monday. “If there is indeed a treasure out there, he should pull it. He has the moral obligation at this point to stop this insanity. He’s putting lives at risk.”

Fenn, a Santa Fe author and antiquities collector/dealer, published a poem in an autobiographical book in 2010 said to include clues on where to find the treasure. Interest in the treasure exploded when Fenn appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” in 2013. The poem includes reference to “warm waters,” a creek and “water high.”

State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo said 52-year-old Paris Wallace of Grand Junction, Colo., last had contact with his family June 13 and was reported missing the next day. Wallace’s wife told officers that he went to New Mexico to look for Fenn’s treasure — a chest with over $1 million worth of gold coins, jewels and artifacts that Fenn says he hid somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe.

Wallace’s car was found Thursday around 2:30 p.m. near the Taos Junction Bridge on N.M. 570 near Pilar, Armijo said. Sunday, State Police recovered a body in the Rio Grande about seven miles downstream. Authorities were still trying to positively identify the body Monday. But Armijo said “all evidence thus far indicates the deceased is Paris Wallace.”

Randy Bilyeu

In January 2016, another Colorado man, 54-year-old Randy Bilyeu of Broomfield, disappeared while searching for the treasure along the Rio Grande west of Santa Fe. His raft was found soon after, but the body wasn’t recovered until about six months later, in the river just north of Cochiti Lake.

State search and rescue crews, made up of about 1,000 volunteers, were involved in the searches in both cases. Kassetas voiced frustration Monday with having to take volunteers away from their day jobs to look for people who’ve gone on a treasure hunt that he said Fenn should put an end to. “Every time this happens, we send people out into the wilderness, taking valuable time and effort to find these individuals,” the chief said. “Those resources are better used elsewhere.” Kassetas said he plans on contacting Fenn personally to ask him to call off the hunt.

Fenn on Monday declined to answer emailed questions from the Journal about whether he should call off the treasure hunt, how many people should die or be injured before he calls it off or whether he plans on releasing more clues on the treasure’s whereabouts. “I don’t care to answer your questions, sir,” Fenn wrote.

Last year, he told the Journal, “As with deer hunters and fishermen, there is an inherent risk that comes with hiking the canyons and mountain trails. The treasure is not hidden in a dangerous spot, and I have said that no one should search in a place where an 80-year-old man could not hide it.”

Fenn did tell Westword, a Denver weekly, on Monday that his “heart is heavy” with the news of Wallace’s death. “I pray for his family, his friends and his congregation,” he said. He added, “Yes, there is always some risk in whatever you do, but millions of people successfully hike in the mountains each year.”

Sacha Johnston, a Fenn treasure enthusiast from Albuquerque who helped coordinate a volunteer search for Bilyeu last year, said Monday that Fenn should “absolutely not” call off the hunt. “People die driving to work everyday,” she said. “Should people stop driving? I think it’s a matter of care and proper planning. You should never go anywhere hiking alone. My deepest condolences to (Wallace’s) family. I hope they’re able to find peace.”

Linda Bilyeu, Randy Bilyeu’s ex-wife, has said that she believes the treasure is a hoax and reiterated Monday that the hunt should end. “I’ll be critical until this madness ends,” Bilyeu said. “Another family is left behind to grieve. This treasure hunt will forever haunt my daughters and grandchildren.”


Complete article here: https://www.abqjournal.com/1020299/another-fennn-treasure-hunter-is-missing.html

Additional Thoughts on Our Video “Forrest Fenn DID NOT Hide a Treasure in 2009 or 2010!”

One of the challenges of producing video is that it establishes our state of mind at a specific place in time. And, after watching the video, it is inevitable one will expand their thinking on the matter. It has happened in this case. I will continue to update this blog post as new thinking, either ours, or someone else’s, arises.

6.10.2017 The olive jar plays an important role in whether or not Fenn hid the treasure before 2003. Fenn has described it as containing at least two items for certain, 1. a miniaturized copy of his autobiography, and 2. some hair from his head. There may be a third, as he indicated in the 2013 “Everything is Stories” interview; an “IOU” for $100,000, giving a reason for the finder to let Fenn know the treasure’s been found. The IOU made sense. The biography, knowing Fenn, also made sense. The hair makes sense in only one case. It provides the DNA evidence that Fenn hid the treasure if there was a chance the treasure would be found before he published the book. It is the only situation in which the hair is relevant. Since the treasure will be found after the publishing of the book, and either before or after his death, it is irrelevant.

6.1.2017 Fenn confidant, Dal Neitzel (his blog is at http://www.dalneitzel.com) didn’t quite believe me when I said on video that Fenn did not hide the treasure in 2009 or 2010. He was so convinced that he decided to prove my thesis wrong by contacting a Fenn-family member who happened to be a trusted friend of his, Skippy’s son, Crayton. In his blog post, Neitzel says he wrote Crayton an email asking, “What year do you think it was that you saw it in his home?” – referring to the treasure, and apparently having been told that Crayton had seen the treasure at some time.

Crayton’s response was, “Our best guess is that it was on his dinning room table in 2009.” Neitzel accepts it as if it were an answer to the question he asked. It is not. Read both the question and the answer carefully. Effectively, Neitzel asks, “…what year did you see the treasure,” and Crayton responds, “…it may have been on his dining room table in 2009.” It may very well have been, but it does not answer the question Neitzel asked. Nor does it indicate that Crayton “saw the treasure in 2009.” In addition, I’m sure you could imagine why the “it’s a secret if the other person is dead” guy is highly unlikely to have left a treasure chest with an estimated value of millions on his dining room table.

The response, while not an outright lie, is as diversionary as “Why are you making such a big deal out of that, Ritt,” or “I tell people that I was 79 or 80 when I hid the treasure,” or “I was never good at math, but that’s the way I remember it.”

And, it worked. Neitzel accepted it enough to post a long entry on the matter. And, his readers accepted it as “proof.” It is not. If anything, it’s substantiation of what we’ve vlogged.

Fenn was a successful fighter pilot and a successful businessman. He was never good at math? Puh-leeze, ninja.

5.26.17 (Thanks Dan) Is it possible that Fenn could have made two trips to hide the treasure; one in 2001 – 2003 to hide the chest, and a second sometime later (including 2009 – 2010 to put the contents into the chest? That would resolve the “…I made two trips from my car to hide the treasure..” (My quotes, not Fenn’s.) While all the other possibilities remain in place, including the claim that some “…had seen the treasure…” after 2003.

5.27.17 Forrest once said that his father, Marvin, would know exactly where he hid the treasure. His father would have seen Fenn’s “special place.” The implication is: Marvin would have been there. Marvin would have been 80 in 1983, four years before his death. Could it be that Fenn took his father to his “special place” one last time before his father’s death? That would resolve the question of “…don’t look for the treasure in a place where a 79 or 80 year old man couldn’t go.” (My quotes, not Fenn’s.) And, certainly, it would make the location very special to Fenn, because of the love and respect he has for his Father’s memory.

 

Shelley Carney Interviews Tomas Leach, Director of “The Lure” | Santa Fe Center for Contemporary Arts | May 18, 2017

“The Lure” is a feature length documentary about some of the men and women enchanted by Forrest Fenn and the treasure he’s hidden “…someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe.”

The interview was conducted in a classroom very kindly provided by the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, which sits adjacent to the Santa Fe Center for Contemporary Arts, where the film was screened to a full house on the evening of Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Mr. Fenn, several of his family members, and at least three of the searchers in the film were present.

Shelley and I give the film a hearty “thumbs up,” as Leach navigates his way, equally adeptly, through the various wilderness areas to which he’s taken, and the strongly felt (and expressed) emotions of the searchers. He seems to have found a healthy balance between the two.

Leach’s cinematography was subtle and thoughtful, and the audio was enviable, as it was as good, if not better, as I have heard on any film of this genre (and budget). The film was well edited with only a couple of scenes that could have used a little extra cutting but moves along smoothly, and at a consistent pace. In all, it was a very engaging story, well told, in a technically astute manner. Our compliments to Mr. Leach.

In conclusion, should you get the opportunity, see the film. If you’re not searching for the treasure before, we’ll bet you’ll be after.

Click here for more information on Tomas Leach and his film.

Where, Exactly, Are the Clues in Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem?

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Poem in "The Thrill of the Chase."

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem in “The Thrill of the Chase.”

Three things.

First: I have, and perhaps not for the last time, come to a conclusion that the nine clues in the poem are exactly in the following order, and that each complete sentence represents a single clue, i.e., “Begin it where ware waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk.” is one clue, not three. To wit:

  1. As I have gone alone in there and with my treasures bold, I can keep my secret where, and hint of riches new and old.
  2. Begin it where warm waters halt and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk.
  3. Put in below the home of Brown.
  4. From there it’s no place for the meek, the end is ever drawing nigh; there’ll be no paddle up your creek, just heavy loads and water high.
  5. If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, your quest to cease, but tarry scant with marvel gaze, just take the chest and go in peace.
  6. So why is it that I must go and leave my trove for all to seek?
  7. The answers I already know, I’ve done it tired, and now I’m weak.
  8. So hear me all and listen good, your effort will be worth the cold.
  9. If you are brave and in the wood I give you title to the gold.

 


Second: The first clue in the poem indicates that Fenn hid the treasure in New Mexico.

Third: The poem is not a map.

Shelley and I will explain it further in our next vlog, due on April 26, 2017. I’ll add the link to the video on this page, once the vlog is published.

t.


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