Solving Clues in a Poem Could Lead to $2 Million Treasure Buried in the Rocky Mountains
Finding buried treasure is rare but it has been done.
Millionaire and adventurer Forrest Fenn set a real life treasure hunt in motion in 2010. Seven years later, it’s turned into more of a wild goose chase. Thousands have embarked on the adventure to search for a Romanesque chest he hid in the Rocky Mountains. It was filled with 20.2 Troy pounds of gold valued close to $2 million — and all have come back empty-handed.
The search is aided by clues provided in Fenn’s 2010 memoir, The Thrill of the Chase: A Memoir.
“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,” Amazon wrote about the book. “Forrest has said that if he were younger, he’d go back and get it himself.”
The idea for the treasure hunt dates back to 1988 when Fenn was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer. He considered leaving behind some clues to a treasure chest he would hide in the wilderness. His plan was to take his life with a bottle of sleeping pills. With his cancer in remission, the plan was put on hold — until it was resurrected by the Great Recession.
“There seemed to be despair everywhere. I wanted to give people some hope and something to believe in,” Fenn told Business Insider.
A sequel to Fenn’s memoir, Too Far to Walk, which was published in 2013, is rife with more hints about the treasure’s location. It includes a map that depicts the treasure to be somewhere between Santa Fe and the Canadian border at an elevation above 5,000 feet. The book also has a poem that includes nine clues advising the reader to “begin it where warm waters halt.”
Fenn’s passion for collecting treasure began when he was 9 years old and found his first arrowhead in a plowed field in Texas. He still claims it as the most treasured object among his collection, which can be found in the Old Santa Fe Trading Company. He opened the business dealing and collecting art after his stint with the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
“It was a thrill that started me on a long journey of adventure and discovery,” Forrest Fenn wrote on his website.
Is the treasure hunt from Forrest Fenn real?
Is this a hoax or just a rich man’s desire to recreate a family dynamic?
“I wanted to give the kids something to do. They spend too much time in the game room or playing with their little hand held texting machines. I hope parents will take their children camping and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. I hope they will fish, look for fossils, turn rotten logs over to see what’s under them, and look for my treasure,” Forrest Fenn told Business Insider.
The hunt for the buried treasure has become an obsession for many, and it still continues. One person even lost his life in pursuit of the treasure.
“Randy Bilyeu was a 54-year-old retired mechanic who had moved from Florida to Colorado to look for the bronze box full time. He was last seen alive on January 5 . His car, a raft, and his little dog were found near the Rio Grande south of Santa Fe,” NPR reported.
Seekers have started blogs that state the rules of treasure hunting, while others write Forrest Fenn every Friday asking him for a further clue. They are featured on a website – Mysterious Writings.
“Mr Fenn, I am reading that several people have been lost while looking for your treasure,” Mrs. SRM and her son wrote on June 16. “On Monday we will go on our first search and we are a little apprehensive. Since you are the only one who knows where it is hidden can you give me some advice that will help keep us safe?”
The answer to her question – unlike the whereabouts of Fenn’s hidden treasure – can be found here.