Eccentric multi-millionaire Forrest Fenn has sparked a mini gold rush in the mountains north of Santa Fe, NM, as amateur and professional treasure hunters follow his clues to find a buried treasure chest that contains gold nuggets, gold coins, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, historical jewelry and a micro-sized copy of his biography.
Motivated by a cancer diagnosis that gave Fenn only a few years to live, the former art dealer and gallery owner decided to make this treasure hunt his legacy. The 82-year-old hoped that the treasure said to be worth $1 million would inspire people, particularly children, to get away from their texting devices and look for adventure outdoors.
Fenn’s self-published 2011 memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, recounts his rags-to-riches story and includes a 24-line poem (seen below) that contains nine vital clues — that when cobbled together — will lead to the trove.
Fenn, whose cancer diagnosis was 20 years ago, is reveling in the buzz generated by his story. He’s been featured in the national media, sparking a rush of treasure-hunting hopefuls heading to the mountains north of Santa Fe. He reported having received 13,000 emails from treasure hunters, as well as 18 marriage proposals.
Could this all be a publicity stunt to sell a lot of books? According to novelist Doug Preston, Fenn’s treasure is the real deal. "I've seen the treasure. I've handled it. He has had it for almost as long as I've known him. It's real. And I can tell you that it is no longer in his vault," Preston told The Huffington Post.
Recently, Fenn offered two new clues to be added to the ones revealed in the poem:
Clue #10: The treasure is hidden higher than 5,000 feet above sea level.
Clue #11: No need to dig up the old outhouses, the treasure is not associated with any structure.
Fenn’s Treasure 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 ever drawing 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.