Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America’s Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt
Part thrilling puzzle, part character study, 100% bonkers adventure story. This was a “just trust me” recommendation from my husband Will, who’s followed the Forest Fenn treasure hunt for years. I’m so glad I picked it up—because once I did I couldn’t put it down. Fenn launched the hunt in 2010, when he hid treasure worth several million dollars deep in the Rocky Mountains and pointed would-be hunters to a poem with nine clues for finding it. Barbarisi became a treasure hunter himself, becoming deeply enmeshed in the close-but-combative Fenn community. Though many believed the hunt was pure myth and the treasure didn’t exist, a Michigan med student found the treasure not long before the book went to print, which provides a nice resolution to the story.
“Daniel Barbarisi plunges into an adventure from another era when he goes in search of buried treasure, guided only by a cryptic poem, a mischievous art collector, and the footsteps another pursuer who died on the quest… Every page draws you deeper into this no-man’s-land where fortune—or tragedy—awaits.” —Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run
When Forrest Fenn was given a fatal cancer diagnosis, he came up with a bold plan: He would hide a chest full of jewels and gold in the wilderness, and publish a poem that would serve as a map leading to the treasure’s secret location. But he didn’t die, and after hiding the treasure in 2010, Fenn instead presided over a decade-long gold rush that saw many thousands of treasure hunters scrambling across the Rocky Mountains in pursuit of his fortune.
Daniel Barbarisi first learned of Fenn’s hunt in 2017, when a friend became consumed with decoding the poem and convinced Barbarisi, a reporter, to document his search. What began as an attempt to capture the inner workings of Fenn’s hunt quickly turned into a personal quest that led Barbarisi down a reckless and potentially dangerous path, one that found him embroiled in searcher conspiracies and matching wits with Fenn himself. Over the course of four chaotic years, several searchers would die, endless controversies would erupt, and one hunter would ultimately find the chest.
But the mystery didn’t end there.
Full of intrigue, danger, and break-neck action, Chasing the Thrill is a riveting tale of desire, obsession, and unbridled adventure.