Katt and Forrest at Moby Dickens Bookstore - Taos NM 2013. Photo by Jim Cox

Katt and Forrest at Moby Dickens Bookstore – Taos NM 2013. Photo by Jim Cox

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

8 Comments

  1. David Nelson
    November 7, 2015

    Thought you might like to know that Forrest hid what I am calling a blaze in his book To Far To Walk. If you take off the dust jacket and just open the front cover there is a very nice drawing by an artist. Ronald Regan is there the Alligator the dog that picture. Forrest hid a blaze in there. Something the artist didn’t draw. Forrest added it.

    Reply
    • wildkat007
      November 19, 2015

      Thanks for the tip David! I’ll check that out.

      Reply
  2. e glenn clark
    November 24, 2015

    kat email me for possible location of box

    Reply
  3. Timothy Alkire
    December 9, 2015

    Kat,
    I’ve followed your adventures for a while now and I think you have more common sense than most of the bloggers. How would David know that Forest added anything
    to a drawing done by an artist for him? I’ve read read both books have maps everywhere and the poem, well I’m not giving up to much. What I have found through out the blogs including Dal’s blogs is there are a lot of people helping others but I believe it’s to send them a different direction because they have a good location to search… The only other person that I listen to is Dal. He’s honest and he’s a searcher also. Dal, being a friend to Forrest would like to see the poem solved. I’ll be out in one of the states next spring. I hope to run into you as I would like your autograph as much as I would like to have Forest Fenn’s autograph and Dals.
    Good luck and hope to meet you some day…

    Reply
    • wildkat007
      January 29, 2016

      Hello Timothy,
      Thank You for the email and compliment. Dal is a good person to trust, as well as your own instincts.
      I’m happy to give you my autograph!
      Good luck in your searches!
      Katya

      Reply
    • wildkat007
      February 11, 2016

      Hello Timothy! Thank you for the comments. You sound like you’ve got a good know how to look for the Treasure. With the poem and good maps, you are sure to get on a good track. I’ll be honored to give you my autograph. Best of Luck in the The Thrill of the Chase! Katya

      Reply
  4. Pam
    April 22, 2016

    Great story about visiting Forrest in his home. Did you get to see all the Eric Sloane paintings? My favorite is “Sun and Snow.” Did he give you a copy of his memoir?

    Reply
    • wildkat007
      April 29, 2016

      Hi Pam,
      I did get to enjoy his Eric Sloane paintings. And yes, I’ve been gifted with his memoir and several other great books Forrest wrote. I love his writing style, wit and sense of humor.
      Katya

      Reply

Leave a Reply