After 10 years, a search that led an estimated 350,000 treasure hunters on a wild chase around the Western portion of the U.S. came to a close this weekend. One lucky individual found a treasure estimated to be worth between $1-$5 million that's been hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains since 2010.
Forrest Fenn, an 89-year-old art dealer, author and Vietnam veteran who hid the treasure, confirmed to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Money Magazine and the TODAY Show on Sunday that an individual located the loot just a few days ago. Fenn says the man, who was "from back East," does not want his name disclosed, adding that the treasure hunter confirmed the find with a photograph. Fenn did not reveal exactly where the treasure chest — which is reportedly nearly a foot long and filled with rare gems and coins — had been hidden all this time.
"I don't know. I feel halfway kind of glad, halfway kind of sad because the chase is over," Fenn told the the Santa Fe New Mexican.
THE TREASURE HAS BEEN FOUND
It was under a canopy of stars in the lush, forested vegetation of the Rocky Mountains and had not moved from the spot where I hid it more than 10 years ago. I do not know the person who found it, but the poem in my book led him to the precise spot.
I congratulate the thousands of people who participated in the search and hope they will continue to be drawn by the promise of other discoveries.
So the search is over. Look for more information and photos in the coming days.
The search for Fenn's buried treasure captured the imagination of thousands of Americans, many of whom devoted years to the search after Fenn alluded to the loot's location in a cryptic 24-line poem he wrote in his 2010 self-published memoir, "The Thrill of the Chase."
But the search for Fenn's treasure has not been without controversy. Some seekers have given up their jobs to join the hunt, while others claimed the entire enterprise was an elaborate hoax and have filed lawsuits.
In interviews, Fenn says he gathered the treasure during his own, at times controversial, explorations in the Southwest, reports Vox. He originally planned to take the treasure up to Rockies and die beside it after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. But he survived and eventually hid the chest and launched the search in 2010, during the height of the Great Recession. "Lots of people [were] losing their job, despair was written all over the headlines and I just wanted to give some people hope," he told ABC News.