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New Mexican art dealer who hid $1M treasure in the Rocky Mountains shocked that it was found

Treasure chest filled with gold hidden decade ago
Missing Treasure Hunter
Posted at 12:09 AM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 07:37:02-04

DENVER — A treasure chest filled with gold coins and precious gems has been found somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, between Montana and New Mexico.

The man who hid that treasure chest 10 years ago won't say who found it, nor will he say where it was hidden.

Forrest Fenn, a New Mexican antiquities collector, hid the treasure as part of a treasure hunt.

"The country was going into a recession and everybody was losing their jobs," he told Denver7 by phone. "I wanted to give somebody some hope. That was one of the reasons. The other was that I wanted kids to get off the couch and go up to the mountains."

Fenn estimates that hundreds of thousands of people have been searching for that treasure during that 10-year span. Four people lost their lives in the process.

"Nobody should have risked their lives, but certainly there were some tragic losses, and I'm very sorry for that, but I think, generally speaking, it's been a good thing," he said. "I think a lot of people have really enjoyed the mountains. I get emails from them, and they say they're going to keep coming back."

Fenn provided some clues to treasure hunters in a poem he wrote as part of his memoir. It's titled "The Thrill of the Chase."

Among the clues: "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."

Another clue: "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."

Fenn was apparently not expecting that it would be found.

"I'm actually a little bit shocked, because I hid it in a pretty good place and lots of people over the years couldn't find it, but this man followed the clues in my poem and they took him right to the treasure, and that is what it was all about," he said.

Some people were beginning to doubt there was any treasure.

In 2017, two young men told Denver7 they thought the story was made up. Fenn told ABC News a year later, "When somebody finds that chest, they're going to be shocked."

He knew there would be a reaction if someone found it, but he wasn't necessarily anticipating what's happened.

"My phone is ringing every three minutes," he said. "I'm overwhelmed with reporters. I try not to be rude — you can probably see that I'm struggling."

With that, the 89-year-old collector closed the chapter on the great Rocky Mountain treasure hunt.