Who Is Forrest Fenn?
At 85 years old, you'd think Forrest Fenn would be spending his days lounging at home and living out a mundane routine that most senior citizens do. Instead, he is responding to total strangers' emails on a daily basis, managing a blog, appearing on news shows like The Today Show, and giving interviews to reporters who come armed with a litany of questions. It all started in 2010 when this eccentric art dealer and former decorated Vietnam War combat pilot in Santa Fe, New Mexico, decided to hide a treasure chest in the Rocky Mountains, provide clues about its whereabouts, and step aside to let anyone and everyone have a go at it. Hiding the 42 lb. bronze chest filled with rare jewelry, gold, and artifacts was his attempt at giving people a reason to get off their couches, turn off their TVs, and add some adventure and excitement to their lives. With the country deep in the trenches of the Great Recession, he had a desire to give people hope and a reason to focus on something other than their depleting finances and lost jobs. As a self-taught archaeologist, he knew how exhilarating a search for fossils and arrowheads could be, and he wanted others to get out and experience this type of rush. In the six years since he ventured out and hid the chest, he's written a book about its location, countless people have set out in search of it (unsuccessfully), and one person has gone missing in his quest to find (and keep!) the beautiful chest of treasures. To this day it still remains buried (or not, depending on how you interpret the clues!), hidden away, waiting for someone to set eyes on it and claim it as their own.
In Search of Forrest Fenn's Treasure
Reportedly worth more than $2 million, Forrest Fenn's treasure chest is made of a beautiful bronze and weighs over 40 pounds! It supposedly contains rare gold coins, nuggets, figurines, and jewelry that are worth more than the price of gold due to their historical significance. A large part of searching for his treasure is studying a poem (see below) written by Fenn that contains 9 clues to the treasure's whereabouts. In addition to trying to decipher the cryptic clues, it's also been said that reading his new memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, may provide additional clues. While his poem may be about as clear as mud, there are some clues that many Fenn treasure hunters believe to be fact based on things Fenn has said in interviews and included in books. They are:
- There are 9 clues in the poem
- Start at the beginning of the poem
- Location of treasure is above 5,000 feet and below 10,200 feet
- It's at least 8.25 miles north of Santa Fe, NM
- It's in one of these states: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, or New Mexico
- All the information you need to lead you to the treasure is in the poem
- There isn't a human trail close to the hiding place
- Chest measures 10" x 10" x 5"
- Location of treasure is on the map he included in his book Too Far To Walk
If you choose to join the adventure in searching for this hidden treasure chest of gold, be smart about it! The clues and how you interpret them can lead you into desolate, remote areas not frequented by humans. The rocky, unstable terrain of the mountains is unforgiving and temperatures can drop dangerously low in the winter, so it's best to limit your search to warmer days and months. Always travel with a device that has GPS tracking on it so you can be found in case you get lost, and don't go alone! While finding the treasure chest will ultimately make someone very rich, it's not worth dying for.
Ready To Give It a Go?
If hiking into the Rockies with a treasure map, nine clues, and the dream of descending with a bronze treasure in tow sounds like an adventure that's perfect for you, then there are a few things you should do in preparation for your quest. First, read and re-read his poem a hundred times! Study it! Fenn has said that whomever finds his hidden treasure will have studied and analyzed his poem so that they can move with confidence on their quest. Finding it will not be accidental. Also, get to know Fenn. Read his blog. Read his books. Any insight into the man may create a better understanding of him and help lead you to his hiding spot. He is the only person who knows the location of the treasure. He's stated that searchers have come within 200 feet of the treasure but have steered off course. Can you get closer? Happy treasure hunting!