Forrest Fenn buried a treasure worth $2 million somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, and now two men have died trying to find it.
The New York Times reports a Colorado pastor who went in search Forrest Fenn’s buried treasure was found dead Sunday by New Mexico authorities after his family reported him missing. He is the second treasure hunter found dead since the hunt for Fenn’s riches began.
When Fenn published his memoir The Thrill of the Chase in 2010, he wrote about burying a bronze chest filled with “265 gold coins, hundreds of gold nuggets, hundreds of rubies, eight emeralds, two Ceylon sapphires, many diamonds, two ancient Chinese jade carvings, pre-Columbian gold bracelets and fetishes, and more.”
A poem provided 9 clues to the whereabouts of the treasure:
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.
With only Fenn’s words to go on, an estimated 65,000 people have joined the search, knowing only that the treasure is buried somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe, higher than 5,000 feet above sea level. But now, with two dead in search of a treasure that may or may not actually exist, the victim’s families along with the chief of the New Mexico State Police are asking Fenn to call it off. They believe Fenn is “endangering lives for his own selfish reasons.”
“Life is too short to wear both a belt and suspenders,” Fenn told the New York Times. “If someone drowns in the swimming pool we shouldn’t drain the pool, we should teach people to swim.”
Fenn said he is thinking of ways to make the treasure hunt safer, and is expected to make that announcement soon.