Searching for Forrest Fenn’s Gold

| July 9, 2013 | 0 Comments
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In 2010, cancer-stricken millionaire Forrest Fenn buried a chest containing three million dollars worth of treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe. Clues to the chest’s whereabouts, the 79-year-old states, are hidden in the text of a memoir and poem he published that same year. Thousands have searched, to no avail. “The treasure is still out there,” Fenn insists.

“There’s something about the sight of massive amounts of gold that really gets to you,” renowned thriller writer Douglas Preston mused over the phone. A long-time friend of Fenn’s, Preston saw the treasure before it was hidden. “When you open the lid… it was all thrown in willy-nilly, just these huge heaps of massive gold coins, gold nuggets the size of hens eggs, jewels, gold bracelets, gold ornaments from South America, and everything glittering in the light.”

Forrest Fenn buried a chest containing three million dollars worth of treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe

Forrest Fenn buried a chest containing three million dollars worth of treasure somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe

I called Fenn at his home in New Mexico to request an interview. I imagined him with the warm, expansive voice that accompanies a nod and a firm handshake. Instead his molasses Texas drawl came out surly. I could hear the tightness of his jaw. I could hear him squinting. He sounded hounded. It was obvious that his plan had taken on a life of its own and begun to oppress him. He agreed to the interview and hung up. The next day he wrote to cancel. He claimed he was “worn out,” but that I could ask him questions via email. He also sent me the contact information for some of his friends.

At the top of Fenn’s list was Dal Neitzel. Dal is the curator of a popular blog about the Fenn treasure and a master of what he likes to call “maritime salvage and exploration.” I gave Dal a call at his home in Washington. We spoke first of his other expeditions: recovering ships from the 1400s through the 1900s all over the world.

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