People continue to seek reported hidden treasure in the Rocky Mountains, despite fatal attempts

Many people have gone in search of a treasure allegedly hidden by New Mexico author and antiques dealer Forrest Fenn, but for some, the chase after an elusive prize has come at a dangerous price.

Fenn, 87, claims he hid a treasure – estimated by some to be worth $2 million — somewhere in the Rocky Mountains in 2010. The only way to find it, he says, is by reading a cryptic poem containing nine clues from his self-published 2011 memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase.” Part of the poem reads, “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.”

A former military pilot turned wealthy antiques dealer, Fenn told ABC News the main reason for creating this massive treasure hunt was to give people hope.

“In 1988, I was diagnosed with what everybody thought was terminal cancer,” Fenn said. “But besides that, we were going into a recession, and lots of people losing their job, despair was written all over the headlines, and I just wanted to give some people hope.”

Fenn claims he hid a bronze chest filled with gold coins and rare artifacts.

“There’s 265 American gold eagles and double eagles. There’s ancient Middle Eastern gold coins. There’s hundreds and hundreds of gold nuggets, two of them as big as [a] hens egg,” he said.

Because of the fluctuating price of gold, Fenn said he isn’t sure of the exact value, “I don’t even want to think in those terms. Writers about this treasure hunt have appraised it between $1 million and $5 million.”

Fenn told ABC News he estimates that nearly 350,000 people have gone out searching. The treasure could be hidden anywhere in tens of thousands of square miles of territory out West, from New Mexico to Montana. Aside from the poem, Fenn has given few clues as to the treasure’s whereabouts, but he says the treasure isn’t anywhere dangerous.

Some skeptics think it’s all a hoax, but Fenn is quick to defend its authenticity.

“The treasure is real,” he…

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