Fenn hasn't been out in the Rocky Mountains, north of Santa Fe, to check on the chest since he hid it, but he knows it's still there.
My guess is that the prize is not inside, but with Fenn; which explains why he checks to see if someone has found it and requests they provide proof of what is inside.
Fenn has more clues posted here:
I would rather believe it contains a note requesting that Fenn should be contacted by the lucky one.
These are all bearer instruments. You may not know if it's found. 79-80 is 2009-2010. If he had a cellphone, there's a trail for some enterprising telcom worker or NSA analyst to follow (base station->sector->signal strength if not outright location). Presumably he drove there, maybe some ALPR database to mine.
I don't have the time to dig this up, but banking law forbids unknown parties to access safe deposit box in major banks. Sure you can give the second key to anyone you want but when they showed up at the bank, they will have to show their ID that matches name on the list of people you gave permission to access the box (at least that's how it is at Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo - I don't have boxes at other banks). This is part of KYC (know your customer) routine for banking institutions.
All he needed to do is leave a will-type of letter in this chest and directs you to bring this letter to his lawyer and that will do it.
I'm executor for my aunt. She has a safe deposit box at a bank to which I have her key but I'm not on the list of people allowed access. They would have allowed me to open the box and remove a copy of the will if that was the only place it existed (that was also the situation with my dad) but otherwise I would not be allowed access.
Interestingly the agreements I've signed specifically disclaim any responsibility for gold, silver, cash and similar items.
At least one person died looking for the Fargo treasure, and that was made up.
The urban legend that she died looking for the treasure however, was turned into a movie:
I heard a great radio story that went into detail a while back, but I can't find it. I think maybe it was Snap Judgement?
Do you have links to it, proof it's fake, the related death, etc.?
(Attempted to Google "Fargo treasure" but it appeared there were a number of different Fargo treasures.)
Yes, I would hope it's obvious that a fictional treasure is not real. Difference between your example and mine is the source is claiming it's real, aware people are dying, and spending money to help look for missing people.
It's especially funny when the story involves poltergeists or other paranormal elements. At least Fargo could plausibly have actually happened.
It adds that apart from the name changes "the rest has been told exactly as it occurred."
A blatant lie, not at all in the manner of "based on a true story".
"The persons and events portrayed in this production are fictitious."
Nobody reads the tiny print in end credits. Viewers were told in opening credits that every detail except the names was true.
Someone went looking for the buried money and got themselves killed as a direct result of the statement in the opening credits.
Movies that are actually intended as works of fiction (even if inspired by real events, and even if—well, given the purpose, especially if—including some characters retaining the names of those in the real events doing some of the things they actually did) have it.
From reading the article I immediately thought that maybe Randy Bilyeu did find it and decided to disappear.
"What? You have GPS. Why can't you search Google Maps on your phone?"
Explaining the difference between cell towers and satellites in orbit is hard to do when the asker has no idea how cell phone infrastructure works. Which is pretty much everyone.
If I had to guess, the location is within an 8 hour hike (12 miles at that age) of a road or jeep trail. Between that and the water clue, I think the field is considerably more narrow than the 5,000ft map in the article.
dang. I think i got bit by this gold bug ;)
Say it's filled with coins: he could have carried the empty chest and its contents separately, distributing the load. He could have also made multiple trips.
> Not far, but too far to walk.
So he took a car to some area, and then drove a motorcycle (or snowmobile) twice to the spot? If you're taking a vehicle why do you need 2 trips, though.
he's also alluded to the meaning in the opening of one of his books what "not far, but too far to walk" is and said in an interview that "it doesn't take a genius to see what he meant".
I wonder if you couldn't take it pretty far with a motorized contraption.
You could also hire some help that you're reasonably sure isn't experienced in mountaineering, and has no reason to believe they're carrying something valuable. Then, even if they discover the contents, they will be unable to return to the scene.
Also, it might be much less than 40lbs, assuming the treasure consists mainly of rare coins and gemstones, and not so much gold nuggets.
Begin it where warm waters halt.. canyon down = Yellowstone (known to be dear to Fenn), waterfall
Not far, but too far to walk... There'll be no paddle up your creek .... Just heavy loads and water high. = Seems obvious to be a raft through rapids
Put in below the home of Brown = refers to brown trout, good fishing spot
He could have then packrafted to any subsequent point down the river or any trail connecting, taking as many days as he needed to extract himself after the deed was done.
Perhaps it is even intentionally in a place where it is relatively easy to get to, but difficult to get out of.
It's also easy to believe that (assuming this is real), the X spot could be fairly isolated while the put-in and take-out are trafficked to the point where getting a ride back to a car might not be a big deal.
That's not how that works. Please don't try that with your helicopters.
I'm imagining a helicopter with the same controls as a current one, but where the "balancing" act is done by computer. It's stable by default, and the human inputs controls to ascend, descend, rotate, or tilt in the desired direction. So a human could take their hands off the controls in a stationary helicopter and it would stay stationary. If the human wants to fly forward, they push the cyclic stick forward, and that's it, no need to compensate in the other controls.
Is this just not done because fly-by-wire would make helicopters even more expensive or less reliable? Are there any fly-by-wire helicopters today?
After writing this question I decided to do some web searches and came across http://aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/23977/why-not-si... and a Wired article about a fly-by-wire helicopter: https://www.wired.com/2012/02/electrons-dominate-new-sixteen...
I'm looking for a description of what it's like to fly from a pilot. Haven't turned up anything yet.
Could this be adapted to a full-size craft? Possibly, but that's a serious engineering task that would involve a lot of development and testing.
For that reason, I think it is exceeding unlikely to think a 78 year old man, ill with cancer, would invent and equip a 3-axis fly-by-wire guidance control/autopilot system for a helicopter so he could rappel down and hide a treasure while a helicopter hovered overhead. Then after securing the treasure, he would presumably climb the rope to re-enter the craft, disable the attitude hold then fly away.
This sort of thing is best left to the James Bond films.
Here's a pretty good one. It appears to be constant 3-axis compensation, although he alludes to newer helicopters that have made it much easier.
Anyone can search the FAA Airman Database to look up pilot ratings.
I just searched and he is not listed.
It is out there, but don't make assumptions about what/how Fenn did his thing. That man can accomplish some impressive feats.
Like many, I've casually followed the story over the years, but in the 5280 article, the reporter interviews Fenn in the context of the manhunt. To me, Fenn comes off as someone whose obsession with his own eccentric idea of a "game" overrides the very real life-and-death situations created as a result of that game.
The NPR article is surprisingly blase considering the dangers involved.
Reading the poem, the first place that popped into my head is Brown's Canyon National Monument, just outside of Salida, Colorado.
It's just 3.5 to 4 hours north of Santa Fe, is an area with multiple hot springs (Mt. Princeton, Poncha Springs, etc.), and downstream (Arkansas River) you go through Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal George.
It's just an amazing area on this Earth.
There is a rail line there, so if you are squeamish about whitewater, it probably wouldn't be difficult to portage around the 12 named rapids on that section of the river. You could probably park at Hecla Junction and reach the search area by land.
Below Widowmaker (IV) rapids is an intermittent creek bed ("no paddle") to the west, that runs into some trees surrounded by big boulders ("heavy loads").
I'd start at 38.668777 N, 106.055444 W and follow the dry creek bed up to at least 38.670606 N, 106.063440 W, myself, but I'm not likely to ever visit that part of the country. If you find the chest there, send me a gloating postcard.
The place appears to be surrounded by ATV trails within 200 feet, so it's likely the guy just claimed "someone has been within 200 feet" because people are within 200 feet of it frequently, just from riding the trails.
The only detail that really matters in terms of whether someone can ever even find it is whether it is buried. If it's buried with no markers, the odds of stumbling upon it even with a metal detector are so incredibly low.
Also, 200 horizontal feet does not account for terrain. 2/3 of the way across a football field is not equivalent to 200 feet across a hedge maze.
I believe the reason my mind first went here is because of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn - in the climax of the film Spock analyzes Kahn's movements and informs Kirk, "his pattern suggests two dimensional thinking."
Underwater was actually the first thing I thought of. Why a bronze chest, after all? Gold doesn't corrode, and bronze doesn't float.
I recall tales of WW2 military units tasked with cleverly camouflaging things. Technology has progressed. You can now take a photograph of terrain and print that exact photo onto a cloth which can then be epoxied over a fiberglass form and decorated with local surface features.
So I could make a fake fiberglass rock large enough to cover a 10" cube, perfectly camouflage it with a custom print shop order and about $80 in supplies, and anchor it to the ground. You might not realize it was a treasure cache even if you tripped and landed with your face one meter away from it. But that's not necessary if you just control sight lines.
If the clues were sufficient to pinpoint the location with 1m precision, it would be acceptable to hide something so well that you would have to be within 1m to notice it. A buried treasure would require this magnitude of precision.
If the clues give 10m precision, I'd expect that the target should blend in a bit, but still be detectable from 3m away. A buried or submerged treasure marked with an obvious blaze could get away with this magnitude.
At 100m precision, you actually need to be sort of obvious. At 1km precision, it should be painted hunters orange and shoot fireballs into the air periodically. At 10km precision... you probably should have taken some of that treasure and hired Will Shortz or some other professional puzzlemaster as a consultant.
>For further clues, you have to read the poem in his self-published book, The Thrill of the Chase.
He might actually make money on this, lol.
No wonder he has a million to throw around!
What if someone found it long ago, not knowing that it was part of a scavenger hunt, and decided to hide their discovery?
Actually, looking at the wikipedia page  for it, it seems to be from August 20, 2016.
There's at least one forum  where people post reports of their search. He's probably just keeping an eye on where people say they've gone looking for it.
If he does then that's how to find the treasure. Detecting electronics is a lot easy than detecting a metal box.
This was an interesting choice, since the hell caverns in the same game are randomized and it's impossible to get through them without the guide.
I imagine most people would do this, at least the kinds of people who would hunt $1m lockboxes.
As a side note, I wonder if you can DIY ground penetrating radar light enough to be carried on a drone. Imagine a few drones shooting electromagnetic waves at the ground and waiting for a reflective ping from a metal box. You could probably cover a lot of ground with a few drones running everyday for a few days. If you can figure out how to filter out the false positives, you can probably just find this thing via radar. I imagine an old man doesn't have the ability to dig very deep and this thing might only be a couple feet underground, so within some reasonable sensing specs.
edit after some googling:
Working ground penetrating radar drone for $500 here. Heck, its even FCC legal! Its a IG42-SB4 robot which can drive for 3 hours on stock batteries, so maybe double that battery pack and you get 6 hours of non-stop sensing. Just a few of these should cover every human walkable path in a matter of days, perhaps a couple weeks at most (guesstimate).
Looks like he uses this visualization library from the US Navy. I'm no expert but I imagine something like this would be able to show a treasure chest-like box very easily once you have all the data. Cubes don't exist in nature so once you see something cube-like in your data, go on a hike. If you're clever you can have your drones pipe their data via 4G every five minutes or so, shoot it to your desktop, and look at this data in almost realtime. Or if you're especially clever use CV to look for square-like shapes in the data and to alert you when they pop-up. Now you can tell that drone to go back to double-check and to scan from different angles. If it really, really looks like a cube from different angles, then go on a hike and enjoy your million bucks.
> If you find and keep property that doesn’t belong to you that has been lost or abandoned (treasure trove), it’s taxable to you at its fair market value in the first year it’s your undisputed possession.
This means that it's just counted as regular income. If you find a few million dollars, that puts you into a pretty damn high tax bracket.
I'd probably just declare it and take the 40% haircut. I got a couple thousand dollars from renting my guest room to a woman who was divorcing her husband, and I've barely touched it. It just sits in a shoebox. Cash is such a pain in the ass to deal with.
Does GPR detect objects underwater?
Seems like you only need a camera for your drone, looking for man-made markings near waterways.
Only one of the treasure hunters will find the treasure (or possibly no one will). If people are in it for a profit rather than for the "thrill of the chase" and to enjoy the mountains then they've only themselves to blame when they come away empty-handed. If the treasure is no longer there, for the majority of treasure hunters nothing has changed.
I was in New Mexico recently to see family and my brother said he had recently picked up a hitchhiker who had been searching for the treasure. She had started in Colorado and apparently been following clues found in the poems with geological features to travel along the Rio Grande in search of it. She believed based on her searching at the time (this was 1-2 months ago) that the treasure was likely hidden somewhere in Pilar. Apparently she had found marks on rocks in Embudo that led her to believe it was apparently on the other side of a rock formation she was near.
I wouldn't put too much faith in this person's account, but she had apparently been searching for it non-stop for several months and had been led to Pilar by these "clues".
In this case, the riddle might never be solved, and he might die in the self delusion that all the attention this raised is because he is a gifted writer, when the reality is much more sad: he was a terrible riddle author that threw away a million bucks.
Whether or not it's a truly good, solvable riddle may not be the goal in the end – could equally be that he just wanted to give people a sense of excitement and wonder. Maybe that's too generous on my part, though. :)
Well, if he's sold more than 20,000 copies at $55 each then yeah, he'd have broken a million. And if he just kept the treasure then he's golden.
The treasure has been around for so long, and there have been so many attempts at it, I figure there is no way that it has not been discovered yet, if the thing really exists. Maybe Fenn put some note in there that says to contact him for more cash or something, so that he'll know that it was found. I doubt this. More than likely, there is no treasure at all and it is an intentional wild-goose chase and the 'real treasure is friendship'. But that doesn't square with all the deaths people have had looking for it. If the 'real treasue is friendship' then Fenn has real blood on his hands. We all had a great time camping at least.
I think you are vastly underestimating the size of the rockies. The clues are so vague that there are probably thousands of square miles that match the poem description .
Also, I kinda doubt it exists to begin with.
I would bet there is probably more than $1M worth of (naturally available) gold to be found in the Rockies, and it is spread around, so it's much easier to find than a single treasure.
This one has been going on for even longer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Trail_of_the_Golden_Owl
And here we're certain it hasn't been found since only a token has been buried, the real golden owl will be given in exchange of it.
Apparently he has said you don't need to take any big risks to find it. I think that absolves him of any moral responsibility for people dying. You are responsible for your own actions.
Somehow this story reminded me of the movie CrossRoads from 1986.
There are a few books dedicated to "lost treasure" around the Colorado mountains. I bought this one at a used book store a few months ago, and it's a fun read: https://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Tales-Rockies-Perry-Eberhart...
Many of the stories are dubious, but quite a few are legit and still "lost". Lots of stories along the lines of a prospector finding a rich gold vein, or very promising claim, and then hiding it for the winter, but never get back to it for whatever reason. There are also quite a few where travelers hide a "treasure" to protect it from Indians or bandits, but can never find it again.
Many times the locations are known down to a particular gulch, valley, or mountain, and still nobody's been able to find it for 100+ years.
I think knowing the history of an area makes hiking there more enjoyable, and it's fun to peek around for treasure, but the people taking it super seriously are wasting their time, IMO. Probably cheaper and better odds to play the lottery.
Always have a written agreement prior to starting with anyone involved before starting; that is the search crew, land owners, etc.
If the Fenn-treasure-seeker ground penetrating radar drone teams do materialize, they will almost certainly locate archeological sites, which is pretty cool. The algorithms ought to also pick up petroglyphs while searching for blazes.
>Since 2011, 21 people have died in Rocky Mountain National Park, eight of those fatalities coming in 2014 alone. While grim, Rocky Mountain's annual death toll pales in comparison to that of Grand Canyon National Park, which averages 12 fatalities each year... About 150 people die in national parks each year, according to the latest federal data, tracked between 2007 and 2013.
Yet we don't go shutting down the National Parks or accuse the Federal government of bad karma.
Ponytail: We should go to the north beach. Someone said the south beach has a 20% higher risk of shark attacks.
Cueball: Yeah, but statistically, taking three beach trips instead of two increases our odds of getting shot by a swimming dog carrying a handgun in its mouth by 50%!
Beret Guy: Oh no! This is our third trip!
Reminder: A 50% increase in a tiny risk is still tiny.
I wonder how he feels knowing at least one person died because of his actions :(