Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'The Thrill Of The Chase:' Adventure Seekers Decipher Poem In Search Of Treasure Chest

This story originally aired March 26, 2016.  

Many children dream of buried treasure and fantastical adventures in search of gold and jewels. Some adventurous adults are following through on those dreams, scouring the western United States for the treasure of Forrest Fenn. 

After serving in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, Fenn became a wildly successful art dealer in Sante Fe, New Mexico. When he was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, he decided to put some of his valuable collection in a chest and publish a poem with clues leading people to its secret location. The treasure, suspected to be somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, is estimated to be worth over a million dollars.

However, no one has found the treasure yet, not even professional treasure hunter Dal Neitzel. As a search and salvage expert, Neitzel has looked for old shipwrecks and downed WWII planes along the West Coast. However, these days his main exploit is Fenn’s treasure. Dal has gone out searching over 60 times and he runs a websitewebsite about the treasure from his home near Bellingham, Washington.

Sound Effect's Gabriel Spitzer talks to Dal about his adventures and why he keeps searching for the treasure.

If you want to go out treasure hunting yourself, here is "The Thrill of The Chase" by Forrest Fenn:

As I have gone alone in there
?And with my treasures bold,
?I can keep my secret where,
?And hint of riches new and old.

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.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.
Sound Effect producer Allie Ferguson has been making radio for nearly 5 years. She got her start at KUOW and has since traveled the country working for national news shows including WNYC's The Takeaway and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Allie won a 2016 Gracie Award, which celebrates women in media, for her work at KUOW. She enjoys telling surprising stories about passionate people.