Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, there is a treasure chest worth over a million dollars.
All you have to do to find it is to crack the code of a poem.
Sounds simple but what will it really take to get it?
When I was a child, I often filled my time with reading books about treasure hunting. My favorite one was a series of books called Famous Five.
I was in love with the old looks of maps. I remember taking a brown piece of paper and stealing my mom’s lighter to burn the edges of it to make it look more rustic. Then, one of my friends would hide a “treasure” and draw it on the map for the rest of us to go find.
It brought out the adventurers in our restless child spirits. We crawled under tree branches, rolled in the mud, and climbed old walls for hints as to the treasure’s location. We were on a mission to find what was hidden.
The stress free childhood started to fade when I stepped into my preteens and early teens. Cell phones became more common and we all got one. Meeting my friends at our neighborhood playground after school was replaced by phone texting.
Once I got into high school, chasing boys became a priority. My adolescent years were all about finding a place for myself in this world. That included a lot of experimenting with my rebellious spirit. Sometimes I wonder how my parents didn’t go absolutely crazy.
Soon after all the teenage drama, I had to start taking responsibility for my actions. It seemed everyone around me was following the unwritten rule: Go to college and find a good job after.
In order to achieve what was expected of me, I needed to tell my inner child to shut up, the little girl who wanted to find new ways to spend time outside with her friends. She wanted to be creative. She wanted to be inspired by simple things. I had to tell her to go away so I can focus on a career and a source of income.
I didn’t even realize that, during the years I was trying to follow society’s rules, the little girl was still waiting for me to invite her back into my life. She quietly reminded me of her presence when I met my husband whom, although ten years older than me, is still a child inside.
When he first told me about a treasure he had spent all winter researching and then had driven 700 miles to find, I laughed and sarcastically told him that was very mature of him.
A few months later, we were on a longer drive and started talking about this treasure again. The story suddenly became more interesting…
The man who had hidden the treasure is Forrest Fenn, a now 86-year-old millionaire and retired fighter pilot who owns an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he decided he wanted to leave his legacy behind, so he buried a chest full of gold nuggets, rare coins, and jewelry worth over a million dollars.
To help us find it, he wrote a six-stanza-long poem. Every word is a clue of where the treasure might be. According to the poem and other clues he’s given, it is hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, between New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana.
Upon learning about this, I had to wonder: Why would a successful art dealer bury all of his wealth just for the sake of his legacy?
Then it dawned on me: He used his wealth to get people outside.
He hiked into the Rockies and dedicated his gold to all of the people who are too busy trying to follow society’s norms that they forget to look around and find pleasure in simple things. He did it to set our inner children free. He did it for me and other people like me, who only now remember how it felt to be digging through dirt and having the time of our lives.
Whether we are interested in gold or not, spending time in nature will help us find the treasure that our soul is longing for. It is our chance to disconnect from computer and phones screens. We can let our worries and stress be blown away by the wind.
Let’s remember that we all once were innocent children who didn’t worry about meeting society’s expectations. Nature is the best place to reconnect with our inner child. Finding him or her will allow us to become more creative and inspired to fulfill our true life purpose.
Now, I am only a few weeks away from going searching for Fenn’s treasure with my husband. But this adventure is not about finding the gold that’s inside of a chest. It is about opening the door to my adventurous inner child who was hidden in a dark corner of my heart for so long. It is about being present in nature with the person I love the most.
And that is the best treasure this old man could have left behind for us.
You’re probably wondering where we’re going. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you until after we’re done searching. If you can crack the code of the poem, I would love to hear about your thoughts on where you think it might be. Then get your hiking boots on and head out to the Rockies.
Author: Eva Gisburne
Image: Author’s own; IMDB
Editor: Callie Rushton