In the roughly 1,000 miles between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Canadian border, millionaire Forrest Fenn hid some treasure. But Fenn has given one clue to the treasure’s whereabouts, and if you find it, you can keep it.
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Fenn says that only he knows where the treasure is hidden. He hasn’t even told his wife where to look, saying if he died tomorrow, the location of the treasure will go with him to his coffin. Fenn posted his poem on Instagram and asked that those who seek his treasure study the maps of the Rockies. “Read the clues in my poem over and over and study maps of the Rocky Mountains,” Fenn recently told Business Insider. “Try to marry the two. The treasure is out there waiting for the person who can make all the lines cross in the right spot.”
The chest is nearly a square foot in size and weighs 40 pounds when full. It supposedly contains emeralds, rubies, gold coins, and diamonds. All of the artifacts inside were ones that Fenn, a self-taught archaeologist, amassed during his own sometimes controversial explorations in the Southwest, reports Vox. The millionaire was criticized in the 1990s for excavating the San Lazaro Pueblo Indian site he bought, for example, and the FBI searched his home in 2009 in connection with the sale of artifacts looted from the Four Corners area, though no charges were filed.
Fenn originally filled the chest after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. He planned to drag it into the mountains to die beside it. After he survived, he left it in a walk-in vault at his house for years, where a couple of witnesses confirmed to NPR that they saw it filled to the brim with valuables.
He decided to hide it and launch the hunt years later, during the Great Recession. “Lots of people [were] losing their job, despair was written all over the headlines, and I just wanted to give some people hope,” he told ABC News.
Because four people have already lost their lives searching for Fenn’s treasure, he added a few more safety tips for the remaining treasure hunters. “The treasure chest is not underwater, nor is it near the Rio Grande River. It is not necessary to move large rocks or climb up or down a steep precipice,” he writes. “Please remember that I was about 80 when I made two trips from my vehicle to where I hid the treasure.”
“The search is supposed to be fun,” he added.
If you decide to take on this quest, best of luck to you!