“It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Sante Fe”

Toby Younis from the “Gypsy’s Kiss” blog presented a hypothetical scenario to illustrate his belief that Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest is hidden in New Mexico. Fenn wrote in his book, “The Thrill of the Chase”:

“I knew exactly exactly where I wanted to hide the chest so it would be difficult to find but not impossible. It’s in the mountains somewhere north of Sante Fe.”- The Thrill of the Chase, Page 131.

Toby uses that excerpt from the book as the groundwork for his hypothetical scenario:

Let’s say your best friend in Santa Fe called to chat. You discuss a number of things, and one of them was that he was going camping, and doing a little trout fishing, the coming weekend.

When you ask him where he was going, he says, “In the mountains North of Santa Fe.” You tell him you wished you were going with him, and eventually, you end the call.

The following week, you receive a call from your best friend’s spouse. She tells you that he hadn’t yet returned from his weekend outing, and that emergency responders were about to begin a search for him.

She tells you she needs your help, then she asks whether or not he had mentioned to you where he was going camping.

You respond by saying, “He told me he was headed into the mountains somewhere North of Santa Fe.”

She thanks you, and before she ends the call, you hear her shout to the emergency responders who are about to depart, “Look for him in Colorado, Wyoming or Montana!”

Yeah. Crazy, huh?

I like his illustration, but I feel this example doesn’t fairly portray the question at hand. Where exactly did your friend go fishing? I mean precisely?  Let’s say your fishing friend used the majority of the discussion gushing about Yellowstone and the surrounding areas as the best possible spots for fishing. He also brings up pieces of literature that also cover Yellowstone and the surrounding areas during the course of your discussion. This is exactly what Fenn does in his book! I actually own a book mentioned by Fenn in his book titled “Flywater”. One thing that struck me about Flywater is even though it covers areas throughout the United States, there is no doubt the book uses Yellowstone and the surrounding areas as the measure for all other fishing areas. For example:

The Madison is something of a monument in the trout world. For decades, even anglers from the troutless Midwest and south were reared on Madison river tales which trickled down to them through the pages of Sports Afield and Field & Stream. Although increased fishing pressure has significantly altered the experience over the years, in the hearts and minds of many an angler, Flywater is still defined by and measured against the Madison river.

-Flywater, Page 71

If your friend discussed these things in the way Fenn or the author of Flywater did, would it not cause you to pause and consider adding the other states to your area of the search? It certainly does that for me. You certainly wouldn’t be wrong for doing so, though some may say you are making extra work for yourself. I’d rather do the additional work than to do expedient work that leads to empty pockets!

There is also another book Fenn alludes to in his writings that also covers Yellowstone and the surrounding areas. This theme is like a heartbeat throughout the book. Does that mean it’s not in New Mexico? For my convictions at least, it is too soon to tell.

I’m an IT Support guy by day and it is hard to turn off that troubleshooting logic that comes with the job. I feel the need to investigate all options and gather as much info as possible before developing a solution to a problem. The treasure hunt for Fenn’s chest is is no different for me. I’m not willing to commit to a state theory until I know I’ve considered everything and tested those ideas thoroughly. I think taking entire states out of the equation is far too risky without substantial evidence.

I have a suspicion Toby may have other reasons he feels the chest is in New Mexico, but chooses only this example because he is comfortable sharing it. Perhaps it’s because on Page 133 of The Thrill of the Chase you will find a blurry old map used in the background. Not just any map but…a map of New Mexico! In the chapter of “Gold and More” no less…that is certainly something to consider!