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.

Here Are the Nine Clues in Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Poem


  1. Begin it where warm waters halt.
  2. Take it in the canyon down.
  3. Not far, but too far to walk.
  4. Put in below the home of Brown.
  5. (From there) it’s no place for the meek.
  6. The end is ever drawing nigh.
  7. There’ll be no paddle up your creek.
  8. Just heavy loads and water high.
  9. If you’ve been wise and found the blaze, look quickly down, (your quest to cease).


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.