One day in 2010 an 80-year-old man took a chest weighing some 40 pounds and hid it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Inside the chest was a treasure trove of gold coins, antiques and diamonds worth an estimated $2 million. The elderly man invited all and sundry to try and find his stash – but only he knew where it was. And the sole clues as to the booty’s precise whereabouts lay in an enigmatic poem that the man wrote.
This man of mystery is Forrest B. Fenn. The son of a school principal, Fenn was brought up in Temple, Texas. His memoir, the aptly titled The Thrill of the Chase describes his family as having so little money that they only ate meat on a Sunday. We’ll hear more about Fenn’s memoir later.
Despite the reported poverty of his childhood, Fenn and his family enjoyed annual vacations in the rugged splendor of Yellowstone National Park. There, he and his brother got into various scrapes. The two of them even tried to build and launch a homemade plane once, which was a portent of things to come in Penn’s adult years.