Forrest Fenn is a former Vietnam fighter pilot and successful art dealer in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 1988, Fenn was diagnosed with cancer. During his illness, he came up with an idea to hide a chest of treasure for anyone to find. He filled a chest with rare coins, gold nuggets, gemstones, jewelry and a jar containing his autobiography. His intention was to hide the treasure chest and end his life nearby.
However, he survived his cancer and waited until he was 80 to hide the treasure.
The treasure chest is an ornate Romanesque box, 10 by 10 inches, weighing 40 pounds.
Fenn has revealed that the chest is hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, at least 8 miles north of Santa Fe and south of the Canadian border, at an elevation above 5,000 feet. That would put it somewhere in Montana or Wyoming or Colorado or northern New Mexico, in the Rocky Mountain region.
For further clues, Fenn wrote the following poem.
As I have gone alone in there
And with my treasures bold,
I can keep my secret where,
And hint of riches new and old.
Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it's no place for the meek,
The end is drawing ever nigh;
There'll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you've been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know
I've done it tired, and now I'm weak
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
Many people have searched for this treasure and at least four people have died searching for it. There is even a blog-site dedicated to searching for the treasure.
Fenn is now in his late 80s. "Don't look anywhere a 79 or 80 year-old man can't put something... I'm not that fit. I can't climb 14,000 feet." Fenn has declared, revealing another clue.
I suspect Fenn may be urging others to embark on a journey or adventure, perhaps in preparation for a more spiritual death at life's end by believing in something we cannot see but have faith in its existence.
"You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life." Paulo Coelho
Fenn's treasure may or may not even exist, but I don't care -- I have the heart of a gambler and adventurer. I like the outdoors and need the exercise. Plus, I believe I have a good idea where it's located. I may take a shot at finding it too.
"No one knows where the treasure chest is but me," Fenn has claimed. "If I die tomorrow, the knowledge of that location goes in the coffin with me."
Quote for the Day -- "Every treasure is guarded by dragons. That's how you can tell it's valuable." Saul Bellow
Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where the greatest treasures are found by the heart.