Have You Ever Participated in a Treasure Hunt?

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read over the last 10 years was Ready Player One, largely because it’s a treasure hunt. A mysterious inventor creates a world, offers some clues to a huge prize, and broadcasts it to the world.

Ready Player One is fictional, but there are also some real-world treasure hunts. One of the most famous began in 2010, when author Forrest Fenn hid a treasure chest containing an estimated $1 million in gold and gems somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He announced the treasure hunt in his autobiography, which contained a poem full of clues, saying that he wanted to “inspire people to explore nature and give hope to people affected by the Great Recession.”

I remember hearing about this years ago, and after the treasure wasn’t found right away, I wondered if anyone would ever find it. But sure enough, it was recently announced that someone–Fenn doesn’t know exactly who–did indeed locate the treasure, which appeared to be in good condition.

I love that Fenn did this, and I love that he designed the puzzle well enough that it wouldn’t take someone too long or too short to find it. You can’t really playtest a treasure hunt like you can a tabletop game, but Fenn managed to find that sweet spot.

This isn’t the first real-life treasure hunt, and I really hope it isn’t the last. The world needs more magic, in my opinion.

Have you ever participated in a treasure hunt? What type of treasure hunt would inspire you to participate?


7 Responses to “Have You Ever Participated in a Treasure Hunt?”

  1. Cameron Art says:

    I live in the same state as Fenn (New Mexico) and actually had the pleasure of meeting him once in Santa Fe. I poured over that riddle for a few months but never ended up going out to search for it. So cool that someone finally found it all this time later!

  2. Cody Simonsen says:

    Ernest Cline, who wrote Ready Player One, built a real-life treasure hunt into his book involving a secret URL leading to several challenges ending with the requirement to set a world record. He awarded a DeLorean to the winner. Kinda neat.

    I also seem to remember there was something like this from a car manufacturer. They left a car- I think the commercial showed a red SUV looking vehicle? in the forest/mountains somewhere and the first person to find it got to drive it away. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong though…

    I’ve never tried one of these, but I think it would be pretty cool!

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Cody: That’s great! I recall hearing that he gave away a DeLorean, but I didn’t know it was part of a series of challenges.

  3. This is some crazy timing. I’m launching something like this on Friday! Check out themap.link and you’ll see!!

  4. Joe P. says:

    Geocaching is essentially small scale treasure hunting. Geocaching is more about the journey and the location than actually finding the loot. You are actually supposed to leave something in the cache.

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