Temple Native Forrest Fenn’s $2 Million Treasure Found in Rocky Mountains
These days, it seems like adventure is dead. After all, when there's not a plague going on, you can jump on a plane and go just about anywhere in the world within a few hours. You'll probably find a McDonald's waiting for you when you arrive, and you'll be able to instantly message your family and friends back home to let them know you're about to eat a Big Mac on the other side of the planet.
Finding a treasure chest full of gold and jewels may seem like something out of an old pirate novel, but it happened last week when $2 million of goodies hidden by a Temple native in the Rocky Mountains was finally found.
A decade ago, 89-year-old famed art and antiques collector Forrest Forrest, who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, packed the treasure into a 22-pound, 12th century bronze chest and buried it somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.
Last week, he received an email from a man "from back east" who sent a photo of the treasure and described the location where he discovered it as being "under a canopy of stars in the lush forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains".
The man who found the treasure wishes to remain anonymous. I guess I can understand that, but if it was me, I have to admit that I'd have shared the news with the world once I had the treasure safely deposited in a vault.
So, who is Forrest Fenn, and why did he do this?
According to FennsTreasure.com, Fenn was born in Temple, Texas on August 22, 1930. He attended the Lanier School on North 8th Street, which later became the Bell County Public Health District Administration building.
When he was a kid, Fenn's family would take summer vacations to Yellowstone National Park, where the boy developed a love of adventure and the outdoors. After graduating from Temple High School (where he met his wife, Peggy Jean Proctor), he attended Texas A&M for a few days before it was discovered that he hadn't actually enrolled in any classes. (I'm sorry, but that's awesome.)
Fenn joined the Air Force and flew missions during the Vietnam War, where he was shot down twice. He also wrote a book about his experiences there, in which he claimed to have discovered the grave of a French soldier who fought in the French Indochina war. He received a number of decorations for his service.
Fenn decided to become a sculptor and trader after the war, creating bronze sculptures and collecting Native American artifacts. Eventually, he started Fenn Galleries Ltd. in Santa Fe and made a name for himself in the art and antiques world.
After battling cancer in the late 80's and 90's, he wanted to leave an impression on the world, which later led to him deciding to pack gold and jewels into an ancient chest and hide it in the Rockies for adventure seekers to hunt for. He hid clues to its locations in a poem he published in a book titled The Thrill of the Chase.
Oh boy, did the treasure hunters show up.
In fact, back in 2018, one treasure hunter, convinced Fenn's Treasure was hidden at his home in Santa Fe, broke into Fenn's house and tried to steal one of Fenn's personal chests. Fenn and one of his daughter's had to hold the intruder at gunpoint until police arrived.
One man even tried to sue Fenn, claiming the entire hunt was a hoax.
Given that the person who found the treasure has chosen to remain anonymous, I feel certain there will be those who won't believe it's been found and continue the hunt, or more people who'll feel it was all a hoax.
I like to believe someone did find and open that treasure chest under a sky full of stars in the mountains. It makes a world currently in turmoil seem just a little bit magical.