The Forrest Fenn Cryptex: Only 95 Variations To Go…

The Fenn Cryptex. Back in the olden days, I had access to computers that would calculate the solutions for me. I’m using the keyword “treasu,” from the longest word in the poem and subtracting the repeated letters m”r, e, and s.” Coincidentally, it’s nine letters long. Fenn seems to use the numbers 3, 6, and 9 more often than is coincidental.


I am Forrest Fenn.

The Place of PeaceI am Forrest Fenn.

I was born in 1930, and have lived during times of great difficulty and great promise.

I am a man of the real world, and not an imaginary one.

I am a man of unshakeable commitment; to my life, to my work, to my service; but most especially, to my family.

I am a man of the outdoors, as was my father before me. From him, I learned to love and respect nature.

I am a man of the past and the future. The present is only a river-washed stepping-stone between them.

I am a man of words and letters. And, if I have to make up my own, I do.

I am a man of contrasts. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not.

I am a man of eclectic tastes and interests. Enough to fill more than a single  lifetime.

I am a man of action and adventure, big and small, but, always with an objective.

I am a man of direction. I know where I am, where I’m going and how I will get there.

So…where would I hide a treasure if I had a treasure that wanted to be hidden?

I would hide it where the ancients and mountain men could appreciate and understand.

I would hide it in place that is magical in its simplicity.

I would hide it near my home, if my home were the mountains and along the river bottoms where dreams and fantasies alike go to play.

I would hide it in the past, and in the future. The present is only a river-washed stepping-stone between them.

I would hide it in The Place of Peace.

I am Forrest Fenn.

A Message of Desperation

forrest-fenn-hidden-treasure-clues_300_200This morning, I received the following email via the form on the Contact Page on this blog.

dear sir’
is there treasure out there to get and where they at write me back please
write me soon please Thank you?

It is transcribed verbatim. The name indicated it was written by a woman, and she will remain anonymous.

The first time I read the email, I quietly laughed to myself, thinking, “It ain’t that easy, lady.”

Upon further reading, though, I inferred a sense of desperation – “write me back please write me soon please.”

I wondered what could be running through her mind.

The need for the certainty of the treasure’s existence, for one. Easy enough. But, it’s location? Seriously? I decided to write her back. The following is my response.

Dearest M**********,

Thank you for your email. I’m going to answer your questions as best I can, and make recommendations about what you should do.

I, and many others, believe the treasure does, indeed, exist. It was hidden by a gentleman whose name is Forrest Fenn. He describes the treasure in one of the last chapters of his book, “The Thrill of the Chase.” In the book, he also says that he hid the treasure “…in the mountains someplace North of Santa Fe.” He also provides the treasure hunters with a map, of sorts, in the form of the poem. It’s printed in the book, but you can easily find it online, including on “The Poem” page on my website.

Fenn receives hundreds of emails every day. Some of them ask where the treasure is hidden, and others write that they have found it. As of today, Fenn says that the treasure has not been found.

In order to find the treasure, you must interpret the nine clues Fenn wrote into the poem. I, and many others, believe the first clue in the poem is “Begin it where warm waters halt…”

There are likely tens of thousands of people from all around the globe looking for the treasure in the mountains North of Santa Fe. Some of them for more than three years. I began my search about a year ago, and I don’t think I’m any closer to finding the treasure today than when I started.

But, to show you how difficult Fenn has made it to find the treasure, it turns out that when he wrote “in the mountains someplace North of Santa Fe,” he meant the Rocky Mountains running from Northern New Mexico through Colorado and Wyoming to Montana.

In a recent interview, Fenn said, “Well, you know…let me put this in perspective. So many people have decided they’re going to take a picnic lunch out on Sunday and look for the treasure…or something to do over spring break. I’m lookin’ at a hundred years down the road…a thousand years, maybe ten thousand years down the road.”

So, to answer your questions: yes, there is a hidden treasure and – I don’t know where it is. Because, if I knew where it was, I’d go get it.

So, here’s what I recommend.

If you can afford it, buy Fenn’s book, “The Thrill of the Chase.” If you can’t afford it, start reading the various blogs and forums dedicated to the search. There’s a list of links to them on my blog  in the navigation bar on the right side of the page. You should also view some of Fenn’s interviews on YouTube. They’re easy enough to find by searching for “Forrest Fenn.” Read the poem. Not once, but once a day…at least. Then you need to start doing your own research to determine “where warm waters halt” or what “the home of Brown” looks like.

That’s what the tens of thousands of other searchers are doing, probably as I write this response to you. You won’t have any trouble finding information on the treasure and the search, it’s out there on the Internet. Eventually, you’ll find yourself a member of the search community and communicating with hundreds of others.

I’m sorry I can’t give you exactly the answers you sought, but I hope I have been helpful.

Good luck in your search. Come by to visit us here at A Gypsy’s Kiss, and let us know of your progress.



The “Latest Poll” is a Survey!

SurveyI thought I’d switch gears this month for our “Latest Poll.” This month’s poll is a not a poll at all, but a survey of the the community that is searching for Fenn’s hidden treasure. There are ten questions, all multiple choice. It should take no more than a minute or two to complete, unless some of you deep thinkers starting reading something into each of the questions.

The information you provide is saved as raw data, so we don’t collect any data that makes a subject uniquely identifiable. Your privacy is assured. And, you won’t get any unsolicited emails from me.

The survey will be active until midnight, of February 15, at which time the results will be published in their entirety. If you’re a searcher, please take a few minutes to complete the survey.

To get there, click the Latest Survey button on the menu bar above.

Thank you!

Images: Cimarron Canyon Recon

Cimarron, translated from Spanish to English, means “Wild Place.”

Raffle Planning, Live Streaming, and an Item of Intel

AGK20131231Please note the change in time for the raffle drawing from 10am to 2pm MST.

Click here to read the backstory on this article, and to buy raffle tickets.

I spent the morning at the Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe meeting with Forrest and book store owner, Dorthy Massey. We spent some time planning for the “TTOTC Do Good Raffle” taking place at 2pm MST on Tuesday, January 7. After Fenn had chosen the backdrop (in front of the fireplace with the Elk antlers above), we made some adjustments to the lighting and worked out an agenda. The entire event should take less than 30 minutes. Fenn seemed to be in very good spirits, and was happy, and a bit proud, of the results of the effort. You can track the results here.

He said that as of this morning, “over” 760 raffle tickets had been sold, including those to one individual who had purchased $1,000.00 worth! On the day of the drawing, whomever pulls the winning raffle ticket will be able to read the winner’s name to the audience, as Fenn has handwritten the ticket buyer’s name on each one.

I write “whomever” because, unfortunately, while she will be in attendance, Suzanne Sommers will not take part in the drawing due to a contractual conflict of interest. We discussed alternatives, but, as of this writing, I don’t have a name certain to share with you.

I took the opportunity to test the book store’s wireless internet to determine its live video streaming capability, and it passed with semi-flying colors. There was enough bandwidth to broadcast, but with a 17 second delay. My technical team was viewing from their workstations in Albuquerque, and simultaneously communicating with me via cell phone. They told me the moving image and audio were perfectly clear, which surprised me. I was shooting with my Android tablet with the LiveStream Android app for the test, rather than the high-end equipment I’ll be using on the day of the event.

The event is posted at

The event URL is: Use this URL to login to the event on the day of the raffle.

To save yourself some time and frustration on the day of the event, I’m going to highly recommend that you pre-register as a viewer at Registration is free, and required in order to view the event stream. You can share the above link with anyone you’d like, again, recommending that they register before the day of the event.

If you’re unable to view the live event, don’t fret. I’ll be posting the event video on my YouTube channel soon after I return to my facility in Albuquerque.

While at the bookstore, I purchased two books: former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s novel entitled,  “Blowback,” written with Sarah  Lovette and a handy, highly-detailed, and waterproof field guide entitled “The Rio Grande – A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico.” Hoping for some treasure hunting feedback, I showed the book to Fenn. He looked at it, then without any feedback, changed the subject.


The one item of additional intel (sort of) I collected at the meeting: Fenn told me he flew his own aircraft the last time in 2008, at age 78, meaning he was still able to pass his medical. He said that the events of 9/11 had put a lot of pressure on the general aviation community, including requiring him (with over 7400 hours in a variety of types) to attend an annual two-week-long refresher course in Vero Beach, Florida. He sold the aircraft shortly after his decision to quit flying. (He taught his grandson, Shiloh to fly before he could drive, although he (Shiloh) does not own an aircraft.)

Images: Rio Chama Recon

Where DO warm waters halt?

AGK20131226-01As you can see in the attached photo, I’m constantly reverse engineering all, or parts of Fenn’s poem.

For me the poem is closer to literal than metaphorical, and closer to metaphorical than metaphysical. Although, I have sense it contains all three.  When Fenn writes, “Begin it where warm waters halt…” my instinct, and my brain configuration draws me to the literal before even attempting the more difficult (for me) metaphorical or almost impossible (for me) metaphysical.

So, where, exactly, do warm waters halt?

Upon asking the question, I realized I wasn’t quite sure what was the temperature of warm water. A little research indicates there are several ways to define “warm,” ergo there are as many ways to define “warm waters.”

As usual in life, “warm water” means different things to different people. To the chemist for example, “warm” water is 112° F, which is measurably specific. To a game and fish manager it’s temperature that ranges from “about” 55° F (the temperature under which cool water species, like trout, thrive) to “about” 75° F (the temperature above which warm water species, like bass, don’t). When I tested warm water from my kitchen faucet against the inside of my wrist, then measured it, it ws 99° F. Interesting considering normal body temperature is 98.6° F.

The dictionary lists several, but defines the adjective warm as, “Somewhat hotter than temperate; having or producing a comfortable and agreeable degree of heat; moderately hot.” Not very exact.

The National Spa and Pool Institute considers 104° F to be the maximum safe water temperature for adults.  Therefore, spa controls have a limit that prevents heating past 104° F.

But, wait…there’s more. Again, it’s about Fenn.

On one hand, he spent 20 years in the Air Force, most of it as a fighter pilot. My experience with fighter pilots is that they all have a Dr. Jeykyll and Mr. Hyde personality component.

Outside the cockpit, he mimics Mr, Hyde’s flamboyance of inexactitude, a very relaxed look at the physics of life. Close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Very much like the current public iteration of Forrest Fenn, and his responses to treasure hunt related questions.

Inside the cockpit, though, there’s a Dr. Jeykyll concentration on perfection. Turbine pressures, speeds, g-forces, coordinates, directions, distances, radio frequencies, fuel load, weapons count, etc. Want a good example? Count the number of numbers in the TTOTC Chapter entitled “My War for Me.”

Imagine how “…someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe…,” “…not on top of a mountain…,” or “…it’s 300 miles West of Toledo…” would work for a fighter pilot.

So, another questions results.

Which of Fenn’s personalities wrote the poem, Dr. Jeykyll or Mr. Hyde?

I think Mr. Hyde. When Fenn walked away from his aircraft cockpit the last time, he walked away from it in the truest sense of the phrase. He left “exactitude” behind.


Because exactness is an impediment to freedom and independence.

And, if Fenn is anything, he is a high priest of freedom and independence.

So, where do warm waters halt?

Warm waters halt at any boundary where they are literally, metaphorically or metaphysically transformed to any temperature other than warm.

Lukewarm, cool, cold, frozen, hot, or steamed all qualify – and temperature may not be measured in degrees.


If you’ve been wise, and found the blaze…


Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Matthew, Ch 2, Vs 7-10,
The New Testament
King James Version of the Bible

I had a dream.

I dreamed I was standing at the edge of a canyon, hydraulically routed down the geology of someplace in the mountains North of Santa Fe. I was on the Western side of the canyon, facing East, the river below flowing North to South. The sun was low, but not near setting in the sky, casting my shadow across the canyon so that it fell upon the far wall. As the sun set and my shadow rose my ephemeral head eventually I had a dream.pointed to a large star shape in the rock on the East wall of the canyon. It was large enough to be seen without aid, and difficult to discern whether it was natural or not.

Anchoring myself with a rope, and a pair of carabiner clipped to a safety belt, I walked to the edge of the canyon and leaned over. I looked quickly down, and could see the faint, cool outline of a trail switching back and forth from the canyon floor to the canyon rim North of my position. About three quarters up the side of the canyon wall one of the ledges on its side stood out from the others. In a depression on the ledge  laid a brown box. The ledge was high enough above the trail that the box could not be seen by anyone walking upon the trail as it continued North from that point.

By that time the sun had set, and dusk had fallen upon the location. I wondered, for just a moment, whether or not the treasure would tolerate one more night alone, cold, undiscovered and uncared for.

I stood back from the canyon edge, untangled myself from the safety belt and anchor rope, hoisted my pack upon my back, and headed for my campsite. I found a grassy spot near my tent, and using my backpack for a pillow, I laid down to admire the stars in the unpolluted sky overhead. The moon not having risen, the Constellations shown almost in neon. I called their names out to them. They did not call out my name to me.

Protected by Orion’s sword, I fell asleep outside my tent and sleeping bag.

And, I had a dream.

Connections, Synchronicity & Segues

Fenn writes like he thinks.

And, he thinks in compact, self-contained packages (CSCPs*), the current one connected to the previous one as much as it is to the following one. Then, as he moves through his line of thought, he builds cross connections. Eventually, each CSCP is virtually connected to all the other CSCPs. As they age, some of them float out to the edge of his cranial universe, far away enough from the center of mental gravity that they escape, never to return. Some hang on near the edge and are modified by it. They become memory anomalies, or as he calls them, “aberrations.”

Sooner or later, when he needs them, he pulls some of the related CSCPs together to form a new, complete thought.

Then, he writes.

The Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung gave the process a name. He called it synchronicity.

Synchronicity is what leaves Fenn’s audiences with a sense of a mind that’s in constant motion. Eclectic, yet organized. Artistic, yet logical. Organic, yet mechanical. Cunning, yet caring. Twisted, yet aligned.

To me, the synchronous manner in which he thinks, then writes, is what leads to what I refer to as “The Fenn Segue.”

(Segue: pronounced seg-way. Definition: to make a transition without interruption from one activity, topic, scene, or part to another.)

I noticed it the first time in my reading of the chapter entitled “First Grade,” subtitled “Lanier School,” beginning on pg 16 of “The Thrill of the Chase.”

It begins, “My father was a teacher at Lanier School…” There’s a photo of his father captioned, “Mr. Fenn, Principal” on the opposite page.

One could assume that this chapter was going to be about his father. And, for the most part, it is.

olivejarkeyIt is, except for the SEGUE about John Charles whatever, who would sometimes “…bring a little jar of green olives to school and wave that thing…” in Fenn’s face. Description of the jar of olives follows. The first time I read the chapter, I was so distracted by the olive jar segue, that I had trouble concentrating while reading the rest of the chapter. Instead of following my eyes reading, my mind was asking itself the same question Fenn asked the readers, “What was that all about anyway?”

Why would you segue out of a perfectly good story, to tell a completely unrelated one?

Synchronicity. It was not unrelated. It was connected. The olive jar, a CSCP that had traversed some distance out into the universe in his mind, was snapped back into his current CSCP of thought. Lanier School? Probably.

(As I am writing this, I recalled a CSCP of A****** Garcia, the overweight, abused bully two grades ahead of me at St. Anne’s Elementary School in Santa Fe, who would seek me out on the playground and beat the crap out of me. On one of my leaves from the service, I was informed he had killed himself in a car accident on I-25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. He was drunk. He killed his girlfriend in the process, and left his wife and daughters with almost nothing, except unpleasant memories.)

By the way, the previous paragraph was a classic example of a segue.

I’ll bet some of you had the olive jar kid in your lives too. I’ll bet just reading this elicits the memory of your olive jar kid. Don’t have that kind of memory? Then you were probably the olive jar kid.

That, of course, is not the only Fenn segue in the book. The “horseshoe” segue in “Dancing With the Millennium” on pg 135 is a good example. There are several others. Even the “Treasure” chapter beginning on pg 127 entitled “Gold and More,” subtitled “Somewhere North of Santa Fe,” contains a couple, including the dream about Captain Kidd and Gardiner’s Island. He also, in the same chapter, writes that he placed his 20,000 word autobiography in a glass jar, sealed with wax, into the treasure chest.

I felt like there was something important about the Fenn segues. Upon completing my first reading of the book, I returned to its beginning and made notes of each of the Fenn segues.  I especially noted the mention of the olive jar at the beginning of the book and his mention of the jar containing his autobiography near the end.

Focused on finding the treasure, I didn’t think much about it. In the grand scheme of value…well – his autobiography wasn’t an egg-sized gold nugget. Was it?

I didn’t think much about the jar until one day I heard him talking about his autobiography in the jar.

A jar he sealed with wax.

And, a jar he put in the treasure chest before he hid it.

An olive jar.

Yes. He said it was an olive jar.

They key, I believe, to understanding the Fenn Segue is in the olive jar.

* You won’t find Compact Self Contained Packages (CSCPs) in the literature. I made up the phrase to describe how I think Fenn thinks.