This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Forrest Fenn, author of “The Thrill of the Chase: a Memoir,” as well as “The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo,” “Teepee Smoke,” “The Beat of the Drum and the Whoop of the Dance,” and “Historic American Indian Dolls.”
The memoir includes the true story about his secret treasure, along with an outrageous dare. “Unlock the clues that are scattered among these pages and you can go home with a bronze chest that is so full of gold and precious jewelry that it's almost too heavy for one person to carry,” challenges Fenn, adding that the book is dedicated to anyone who has known the thrill of the chase. Forrest Fenn describes the 11th century treasure chest and the magnificent jewels and gold that he has hidden in the mountains north of Santa Fe, and offers clues for treasure-seekers. Fenn has spent most of his eighty years in similar pursuits of passion, and now wants others to share in the thrill of that chase. That's why he concealed the cache. All that will be needed are the clues, some resolve, a little imagination and luck.
Last month, Fenn (along with author Slim Randles) was awarded the 2012 “Rounders Award” by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for “Individuals who have lived, promoted, or articulated the Western Way of Life." This award, named for the classic novel by Max Evans "The Rounders" (later made into a movie and a television series), was first awarded to Evans himself. Other recipients have included historian Marc Simmons, recording artist Michael Martin Murphey, and artist Pablita Velarde. Forrest wrote to Max Evans about receiving the award, "I'm not sure I deserve the Rounders Award, but then I had cancer and I didn't deserve that either..."
For many years, Fenn was the owner of one of Santa Fe’s finest art galleries, the Fenn Gallery. After retiring from the Air Force in 1970, Fenn built the art gallery in Santa Fe that he and his wife ran for 17 years. Even though Forrest had never studied art, and at the time had never owned a painting, the Fenn Gallery became known as one of Santa Fe’s finest art galleries, with a collection that ran the gamut from Native American artifacts to world class oil paintings by Nicholai Fechin and other masters.
Since retiring again in 1988, Fenn’s energies have been directed toward excavation of a large Indian pueblo, and writing books about art and exploration. Fenn is a gifted storyteller who believes that the “story” about a painting or an object, can often be as important as the thing itself.
Interview by Lorene Mills
This morning I received my 5,057th email, and I've kept all of them.
I paid $25,000 for a beatiful Flemish chest that I think dates back to 1150 AD.
I started going to gun shows and buying gold nuggets and gold coins. About 6 months later I had 20.2 troy pounds of gold in that chest. And jewelry that had emeralds, ceylon sapphires, diamonds, a braclet with 240 rubies, spanish emerald ring, 2 ancient jade carvings of faces. I took the chest out and I hid it.
The kind of person that will find it is the kind of person that can't keep it quiet. So I expect I'll know about it (if it's found).
I had the bomb, but Newsweek Magazine lit the fuse.
He saw a sign for Red Canyon, which is the canyon we went up on horesback for a week.