A Texas woman in search of buried treasure in the mountains of New Mexico was found alive Saturday after going missing in below-freezing temperatures.
Chanon Thompson, 33, of Carrollton, Texas, traveled to New Mexico’s Santa Fe National Forest Thursday in pursuit of buried treasure promised by Forrest Fenn, an 82-year-old author and antiquities dealer, police say.
Nearly seven miles into the forest, Thompson lost her way, according to police. When her boyfriend did not hear from her the next day, Friday, he called authorities to report her missing.
Using a team of search dogs, technical rescue experts and three aircraft, police found Thompson around 11 on Saturday morning, according to Chief Robert Shilling of the New Mexico State Police.
Thompson, who was not seriously injured and is now resting at home, is just one of the many pulled to the Rio Grande in a modern-day gold rush sparked by Fenn’s announcement that, three years ago, he buried a chest full of “emeralds, diamonds and rubies and sapphires,” in the mountains.
In his 2010 book, “The Thrill of the Chase,” Fenn penned a poem as a cryptic treasure map to where he had hidden the treasure.
“Begin it where warm waters halt…and take it in the canyon down…not far, but too far to walk…put in below the home of brown,” the poem read in part.
Nearly 5,000 copies of Fenn’s book have been sold in just the last three months, says the author, who was inspired to leave a legacy, in the form of the hidden treasure, after a diagnosis of cancer.
“I guarantee you, when someone finds that chest, they’re gonna be shocked,” Fenn said.
Fenn says the purpose of his book and his hidden treasure is not to make money but to inspire people to get outside and feel the thrill of the treasure chase.
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Begin it where warm waters halt
And take it in the canyon down,
Not far, but too far to walk.
Put in below the home of Brown.
From there it’s no place for the meek,
The end is ever drawing nigh;
There’ll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I’ve done it tired and now I’m weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
Forrest Fenn, 82, believes too many Americans spend their free time watching TV or playing video games. He hopes the bounty he hid — a chest filled with millions of dollars in gold coins, diamonds and emeralds, among other gems — will prompt some to explore the outdoors. “Get your kids out in the countryside, take them fishing and get them away from their little hand-held machines,” he told TODAY.
Fenn hid the chest in a secret spot three years ago with two goals in mind: Getting people to fall in love with America’s scenic trails and passing on what he calls the “thrill of the chase,” something he has experienced over more than seven decades of hunting for rare objects.
“The Thrill of the Chase” is also the title of Fenn’s self-published autobiography, which contains an unusual map to the treasure, a poem with 9 clues in it. “Begin it where warm waters halt, and take it in the canyon down, not far, but too far to walk,”
The chest, weighing in at over 40 pounds, constructed in the 13th Century, contains items Fenn has accumulated over more than seven decades.