Seeking Treasure: The Thrill of the Chase

Treasure chest closeup

My husband pores over web sites, explaining his line-by-line interpretations as he toggles between a Google map and a poem that holds clues to the hidden treasure. He points out canyons and creeks, hots springs and abandoned mines. He has a feverish gleam in his eyes.

I know that look.

I grew up watching It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World roughly every Sunday afternoon of my childhood, sitting next to my father on our seventies-orange couch. So I’ve seen that look plenty of times.

It is the look of a man who thinks he is about to claim a hidden treasure as his own.

It is a look that cannot be denied.

Each night for a week, Randy uncovers additional clues and struggles to convince me that he’s found the secret treasure hidden by Forrest Fenn somewhere between New Mexico and Canada. I get random texts like this one, left vague for security reasons:

Screenshot treasure nugget

Randy makes his case, a strong one, that he knows where the treasure is hidden. He wants to book a flight and search for it out west.

treasure circle quotationI hold back. While I consider myself an optimist, it’s an eggshell optimism, a Cinderella faith that expires at midnight. As I try to think of a synonym for “eggshell optimism,” I realize there is one: pessimism.

Still, I decide to support him. How could I not? He’s convinced he knows where a million-dollar treasure is hidden.


“Honey,” I parry, “all these guys who are professional treasure hunters, you know, they’ve gone out 40, 50, 60 times looking for it, convinced they were gonna find it. The thing is, those clues are vague, and the West is lousy with hot springs and mines, and the clues might not even be for hot springs or mines. The thing is, they could be interpreted a hundred different ways.”

Randy is undeterred.

My older son hears Randy’s theories on the drive home for spring break and texts me his concerns about his parents’ midlife crises, but I assure him I am skeptical:

Steadfast against his family’s rebuttals, Randy opens some new maps, finds some new clues that confirm the location for him.

Randy with The Thrill of the ChaseWe’re flush with free airline miles, so we’re going to hop on a plane during an upcoming weekend. We’ll rent a car and travel to that spot my husband found on Google maps. I can’t tell you where we’re going because it’s a secret, a top secret, and if I’ve learned anything else from It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, it’s that you’d better not let a secret about treasure get out.

We’ll claim our treasure at best, or give it our best try at worst.

Because that look cannot be denied.

Treasure chest

Would you support your partner’s search for hidden treasure?

Update: We went out there for the weekend and didn’t find the treasure–this time. Our search–Up a Creek, but Unsinkable: Weekend in Denver

Update #2: Foiled again! We made a nice vacation out of a second trip out West, though: An Empty Nester’s Tour of the American West

Forrest Fenn’s clues (in the poem at the right): The Thrill Resource Page


About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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25 Responses to Seeking Treasure: The Thrill of the Chase

  1. Abby says:

    I have NEVER heard of this “hunt”. How intriguing! And probably frustrating!
    We took up geocaching about a year ago. Those things are everywhere and usually easy to find. More our speed. For now! 🙂

    Good luck!

  2. It sounds like such a fun hobby! I’m intrigued. If nothing else it’s getting you all out and about and involved which has to be a good thing. I love that the whole family are interested. As long as you keep your expectations low Marcy because I think it’s got to be all about the hunt 😉
    Annabel Candy recently posted..Funny Travel Story: When Your Waiter Gets ArrestedMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Great thought, Annabel. The man who hid it, Forrest Fenn, loves the outdoors and wanted to get people out there exploring.

  3. Geydelkon says:

    Welcome to the Thrill of the Chase. Good luck.

  4. Melony says:

    Oh dear me that was great! I can only imagine the disappointment he felt. I used to watch that every weekend too! It seems it was always on cable growing up. Hehe

  5. Ellen says:

    First, I LOVE that movie!
    Second, what is this poem you speak of and who is this Forrest Fenn?
    Third, I love how you interspersed the texts.
    And fourth, I would be the partner searching for the treasure, so I can’t accurately answer your last question. 😉

  6. Hema says:

    How interesting! I would totally support this! Between my husband and me, I would be the one treasure hunting 🙂
    Hema recently posted..Lost and Found!My Profile

  7. Cathy says:

    Oh, I heard of this! The mountainous West is vast. I don’t know how you could ever pin it down. That being said, if my husband had a crazy idea like this and if we could afford it, I would certainly support him. Life can be so routine, adds harmless fun and excitement (at least until the bandits). You can’t go wrong. If you don’t find the treasure, you’ve explored a new-to-you place with a co-explorer in life. (That right there is my idea of treasure in the first place.)

    Good luck to your husband! (He sounds like he would like Geocaching.)

    • Marcy says:

      Well said, Cathy–What a great perspective! Ha ha about the bandits, too. (I think that worry came from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when they were hired to protect the gold.) We tried Geocaching a few times when the boys were small, and we really liked it. We found ones that had little toys for the kids inside.

  8. soapie says:

    that sounds so cool! and your husband sounds so cool! i bet he and my husband would get along. my husband’s background is in geology so he loves digging for fossils and such.

    i think its awesome you support him in that way. i’ve never gone on a fossil trip but to my husband’s credit, he has taken a scrapbooking/stamping class with me before. he was the only guy in the class of course. =)

    love that you included the dialogue /texts in here, gives us such great context. =)

    • Marcy says:

      I am 99 percent sure my husband would not go to a scrapbooking/stamping class with me. You’ve got a keeper there! Digging for fossils sounds really adventurous, but I guess it must be a lot of tedium with bits of excitement here and there. But, then, that’s how a lot of adventures turn out.

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  10. Teresa says:

    God bless you for supporting your husband! And who knows, one day he might be right! I would definitely do my best to support my hubbies’ search for treasure!

  11. Emily says:

    I have never heard of this! Sounds like you will be spending a lot of money to not find the treasure! Stopping by from the Sharefest.

    • Marcy says:

      We were able to use airline points for the flight, hotel, and rental car, which made it a lot easier for me to agree to. 🙂 Thanks for visiting, Emily.

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