They say the journey is the reward, but screw that old platitude. Why settle for returning home with a snow globe and a few memories, when the pay-off from your next trip could be a great big box filled with gold coins?

Like a story ripped from a kid’s adventure book, all you need to do is find the treasure chest that US author Forrest Fenn stashed somewhere in the Rocky Mountains six years ago. As for clues, there are nine of them in a poem that Fenn wrote in his memoir, The Thrill of the Chase.

Over the course of his travels as an art dealer, Fenn accumulated an incredible collection of historical artifacts and a healthy bank balance. Diagnosed with cancer in 1988, instead of writing his will, he started drawing up plans to leave some of his fortune inside a bronze chest to secure his legacy and inspire people to explore the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, which he’s done throughout his life.

“When I started putting precious things in the chest I felt like I was on a roll,” Fenn said. “Since the chest could hold only 600 cubic inches of treasure I was careful to put only the best and smallest things I could find.”

Some of those objects include 265 gold coins, a jar of gold dust from Alaska, two ancient jade sculptures from China, 254 rubies, a 2,000-year-old necklace and two gold nuggets that weigh almost a kilogram each.

Some of those objects include 265 gold coins, a jar of gold dust from Alaska, 254 rubies, and two gold nuggets that weigh almost a kilogram each.

As word of the booty has spread, it’s estimated that tens of thousands of people visit the region each summer trying to solve the mystery and get their hands on the goods.

Ironically, Fenn ended up beating the cancer that inspired him to hatch his crazy plans. So rather than dying next to the chest, like he’d originally imagined, now he gets to observe as people from all over the world try and decipher his riddle.

“I’m the only one who knows where the treasure is and I will take that knowledge to my grave,” the 86-year-old said. “I have done my part and I first thought that if I was sorry I hid it I could always go back and get it. I was never sorry. At this point I am nothing more than an interested bystander.”

If you feel like joining the search, all the info you need to get started is on Fenn’s website here.

Image: There’s gold in them thar hills! The beautiful Rocky Mountains, where Forrest Fenn hid part of his fortune.

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