Of all the movies I’ve ever seen, The Goonies is still one of my favorites. I love the idea that you could be goofing off in the attic with your friends on some rainy day and suddenly stumble across a secret map that leads you on a booby-trapped journey to a pirate ship full of treasure. How awesome would that be?
That’s probably why I was so intrigued by a recent newspaper article. Forrest Fenn, an eighty-two-year-old multimillionaire, created his own personal treasure chest after he was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer and given little chance to survive more than three years. That was over twenty years ago, and Fenn has been adding to his treasure chest since then. Finally, three years ago, he buried the chest somewhere in New Mexico. Or so he claims. While some friends and skeptics doubt that Fenn really parted with his treasure, he himself says it’s out there and ready for the taking. All you have to do is find it.
To help you in your quest, Finn has written a poem with a set of clues. He tinkered with the poem over the years until he was satisfied that they provided enough information without making the search too easy. His motivation for creating a treasure hunt is that he wants to give kids a reason to put down their cell phones and video controllers and go outside. He must figure there’s not much more exciting than hunting down a chest full of gold.
You can find the clues in his autobiography, Thrill of the Chase, which also tells his life story and how he came to acquire all those riches. I haven’t purchased the book, but I’m tempted. Did he really hide his treasure chest after spending all those years adding to it? Would I be able to solve the riddles and find the secret location? Would it be worth the risk now that the New Mexico government has warned treasure seekers that they can’t keep the gold if it’s hidden on public land?
Even with that caveat, I’d love to try anyway. Who knows, one of these days you might just find me on a plane to New Mexico, embarking on my own Goonies adventure.