Recently Forrest Fenn has hit the news once again related to treasure hunter deaths in pursuit of his treasure hidden north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This most recent article confirms the death toll has risen to four officially, but as I speculated in my last July blog post there are likely 6 searchers who have died in pursuit of the treasure. In addition to Randy Bilyeu and Pastor Paris Wallace, Eric Ashby was confirmed to have died in a rafting accident in Colorado in July and most recently Jeff Murphy died when he fell 500 feet from the top of Turkey Pen Pea in Yellowstone on June 9th, 2017.
The newest article now suggests the remaining unconfirmed searchers that died are Mike Petersen who also perished in Yellowstone last June and Jeff Schultz back in April of 2016. These deaths are very sad as the Fenn treasure hunt was intended to get people out with their families to smell the sunshine an appreciate the Rocky Mountains.
There is no doubt a new batch of high energy searchers will enter the chase for the treasure this year and it is important they educate themselves on mountain safety. It is also very important to understand Forrest Fenn hid this treasure when he was 80 years old, so there is no need to venture where an 80 year old won't go. He has said the treasure is in a safe place and the temptation to rationalize Mr. Fenn at 80 is some super human marathon runner. The fact is he, now at 87, says he has to rest after 50 yards of walking and he might still be able to retrieve the chest. So it is easy to conclude the treasure is not too far from a road so no need for lengthy risky hikes off published trails.
For those who own version 3.5 of my book, there is a very detail checklist contained within of Forrest Fenn confirmed facts that will rule out many common dangerous mistakes that new searchers make when coming up with their first search, so please read them before planning to adventure into the mountains this summer. Finally, please remember the Rocky mountains is best searched in the summer, so there is no need to let gold fever convince you to travel any earlier. Be safe!