Inspiration: Real life treasure hunt in New Mexico

Apologies for all the treasure hunting posts. Not sure what’s going on out there.

We’ve said it before; the best inspiration for your next campaign is usually real life itself. Forrest Fenn, a former fighter pilot turned multimillionaire, has hidden a chest full of old gold coins, diamonds and even emeralds somewhere in the wild in New Mexico. His reasons are twofold; he’s old and want someone else to benefit from his earnings, and secondly; he’s hoping to get people to get out more. I like his thinking!

“Get your kids out in the countryside, take them fishing and get them away from their little hand-held machines,” – Forrest Fenn to the TODAY show.

treasure chest forrest fenn hunt new texas

The Thrill of the Chase
The chest was hidden three years ago, but has yet to be found even though the treasure hunt have attracted thousands of treasure hunters to the area. No wonder; the chest supposedly contains millions worth of gold! It’s a literal modern day gold rush. If you’d like to pack your bags and head to New Mexico, be sure to pick up Fenn’s book: “The Thrill of the chase”. It’s a memoir, but also contains a poem that Fenn says contains nine clues to where the treasure is hidden.

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 canyons 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 answer 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.

Multimillionaire fighter pilots don't lie.
Multimillionaire fighter pilots don’t lie.

The contents
Just a hoax you say? Not according to Fenn’s friend, Douglas Preston who saw the chest before it was hidden. “That gold is out there—I held it with my own hands. Some of the most wonderful things in the treasure are enormous gold nuggets the size of hen’s eggs, weighing more than a pound each, and worth several times their bullion value. He included things that would survive a long time, and that would be interesting and unusual. And the chest itself is quite rare; it’s a Romanesque lockbox from the 12th century, and with the gold and jewels inside, it weighs 42 pounds.”



A true game master
It’s enough to make people dream of finding the treasure. Though some complain the clues are too difficult, that certainly hasn’t stopped others from searching. Here’s an article with some interesting stories of the treasure hunters. Though most write Fenn for clues, others ask him why he would do such a thing. I’m personally a fan of his answer:  “I wanted to create some intrigue and adventure and maybe a little mystery,” Fenn explains. Sounds like a real life game master to me. Hats off!


Read it all here in the Huffington Post!