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The Ultimate Souvenir: Can You Find the Gold and Jewels Buried Somewhere in Santa Fe?

treasure

Buried treasures aren't just for pirate tales: Visitors to New Mexico can now act out their It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World dreams by finding an actual treasure buried somewhere in the hills.

Jeri Clausing of the Associated Press recently reported on Forrest Fenn, an 82-year-old owner of Old Santa Fe Trading Co, a gallery in Santa Fe and author of the self-published a memoir, The Thrill of the Chase. The book details Fenn’s own colorful history from his humble youth in Texas, decorated service in Vietnam, and years of entertaining celebrities like Jackie Onassis in his art galleries, while dropping clues to readers about where he hid a 40-pound chest full of gold, trinkets and exotic jewels. Fenn says the booty is out there, free for the taking, somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe.

Fenn told reporters that he devised the scheme to inspire folks to put down those darn gadgets and get outdoors, but he also seems to have inspired a mini tourist-fueled gold rush. Fenn says that he has recently received more than 9,000 emails from folks heading to northern New Mexico in hot pursuit, while Santa Fe’s Inn and Spa at Loretto even offers a “Thrill of the Chase” package starting at $300 that includes the book and a walking tour about Fenn’s life (“While the hunt may not lead guests to the actual treasure,” the inn’s site concedes, “a delightful dessert at turndown will be the sweet reward for guests staying at the Inn.”)

How much is the actual bounty worth? A friend of Fenn’s estimated to the AP that it could be worth a million dollars, "but [Fenn] is having way more than $1 million worth of fun with this." Wanna get started on the hunt? Fenn's website has a poem that offers nine clues.

See: Seeking Santa Fe.

Photo by YAY Media AS / Alamy

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