Meeting Forrest Fenn . . .
I first met Forrest Fenn in 1995 while working in an antique Native American Artifacts Gallery on Canyon road called Morning Star. The Fenn gallery was just around the corner. Our Gallery Director; Joe Rivera was close friends with Forrest and would call Forrest each time we got a new collection in. Forrest always had first look and choice.
We also had a fully equipped kitchen and three of us ladies on staff, were gourmet cooks. We would serve up hot lunches every day out in the flower garden on the picnic table. Sometimes we would bar-b-que, and sometimes Forrest was our lunch guest.
It was always uplifting when Forrest’s charismatic presence was in our gallery. The boys would ‘talk story’ about unique collections and origins. Everyone in the Gallery really enjoyed loved Forrest. Then Morning Star sold to a new proprietor and all of the staff was dismissed except for Joe. I then pursued my singer/songwriter passion and made that my new livelihood. I didn’t see or hear anything about Forrest after leaving Morning Star. And I moved to Maui in the year 2000.
Fast forward 18 yrs… I came to Santa Fe in March of 2013 for a wedding and was enlightened about the Thrill of the Chase. I had been searching for 4 months before I decided to reach out to Forrest to let him know that I am one of his dedicated Searchers. I re-introduced myself and shared many of my searches with him. He would always write back and be very encouraging.
Several times we met at bookstores where he gave talks, and discussed more of my search adventures. He grew very concerned for me for the places I’d been searching, as for the most part, I searched solo. When I had the Close Mountain Lion encounter, he gave me advice on how to handle a more severe situation should it occur. I know he is very concerned for everyone’s safety when looking for the treasure, as we Forrest “Fenn-atic’s” tend to go overboard and do outrageous things that jeopardize our safety.
One afternoon, I met Forrest at Collected Bookworks. We spoke briefly, as many people began gathering around like bees to honey to get a moment with him. Forrest noticed the turquoise rosary that I made and was wearing and began inquiring about it. He told me about his antique artifact bead collection and invited me to his home to see it.
Moments later, my girlfriend and I were at the doorstep of Forrest’s fortress. It was 6:30 pm on a cold dark December evening. His gracious wife, Peggy, opened the door and kindly received us in to her home, even on short notice. Forrest gave us a guided tour around the house. My friend and I were awestruck with wonderment for the incredible collection. His collection far exceeds all the Indian artifacts galleries I’ve ever seen. His art and paintings all have stories and personal meaning.
The tour then led to the far private corner of the house to their bedroom. It was getting late and Peggy was turning down the bed. I could not believe Forrest wanted to show off his huge walk-in closet. It was impeccably tidy with a whole row of blue jeans neatly pressed and folded over hangers and a dozen or more crisp blue and white check short sleeved shirts above all the jeans. He was very proud at the fact that there was not one suit in his possession! I joked with Peggy about Forrest showing me his closet. Peggy said; “He knows that he’d better not show anyone my closet!”
Of course, my friend and I could not leave without Forrest gifting us one of his gold coins from the bowl on his huge desk, along with a couple of books he had written.
His wit and sense of humor, and style of story telling has a way of making me thirst for more.
I wish I had teachers like Forrest when I was a schoolgirl. I know my life would have been led down a different road if that were so. I have learned so much about Western history, fish, rivers and land because of all my researching for the treasure.
When I began diving in to “TTOTC”, I talked to so many people and friends in Santa Fe who told me that Forrest gave them the “TTOTC” book when it first came out. I was surprised when they told me that they never once opened up the book and read it. However, much of that changed after they saw the light of excitement in my eyes.
As you all know, Forrest Fenn does not give out any extra clues or hints to his friends or anyone, myself included. He would never wish to detract from our adventures of the Thrill Of The Chase (TTOTC).
I always look forward to my rare encounters with Forrest Fenn and the opportunities to hear more stories about his amazing life.
— Katya aka WildKat