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…
Forrest Fenn lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he started an art gallery, raised a family, collects artifacts, writes books and has made a small fortune. He has hidden a million plus dollars of this fortune, in gold and gems in a small bronze chest somewhere in the wilderness between Northern New Mexico and the Canadian border.
The chest is said to weigh about 42lbs and much of the gold is collector’s gold, ancient Aztec amulets along with rare coins and ingots. For those who like collectors coins, this would be an incredible find.
His book, The Thrill Of The Chase, (a memoir he published in 2010) in which he recounts (among other things) his decision to hide this treasure, has set off a frenzy of gold hunters and diggers in this area in the years since he published, with many rushing out to get their hands on metal detectors for gold before heading out.
Every now and again he’ll drop a few more “clues” to the media (the main clues are hidden in a poem in the book) which serves to excite the by now exhausted treasure seekers – and send them back outdoors trekking wilderness trails in search of the bronze chest that could be anywhere.
Some people take this treasure hunting very seriously and have rebuilt lives around it. One of them is Katya Luce.
An adventurous sort to begin with (she’s been a Hot-Air Balloon Pilot, a singer-songwriter who traveled coast to coast playing Colleges and Coffeehouses, a Craft Service person on Film sets, an airline flight attendant, and most recently, an underwater model swimming with whales and dolphins in Maui), Katya came to New Mexico for a wedding in 2013, met Forrest Fenn and Treasure Hunting became her newest passion.
Katya is now one of the most prominent Treasure Hunters seeking the golden reward that Fenn says he has hidden somewhere North of Santa Fe in the Rocky Mountains.
After seven months of searching, Katya returned to Maui, packed up her personal belongs, and moved to Taos in order to continue her quest.
In the past year, Katya has been sought out by many production companies, wanting to film her on the hunt. She is featured in a full length documentary by Moxie Films, and in an upcoming segment of Expeditions Unknown on the Travel Channel, along with being included in several newspaper and magazine articles about Forrest Fenn’s treasure.
She has had close encounters with a mountain lion and a large diamondback rattler, after which she learned to start carrying a big walking stick. Recently a huge lightening bolt struck ground within 70 ft. of her, just as she returned to her car from a long search. Clearly, this treasure hunting business is not for sissies!
Katya now lives in Taos and when she’s not traipsing through rough terrain, is a make-up artist for Film. For more information about Forest Fenn’s treasure, I’ve included a link to his book, The Thrill Of The Chase, below this post.
1st Stanza of Fenn’s poem at top of page.
Photographs of Katya on the hunt, by Bill Curry