When was the last time you went treasure hunting? At summer camp? Digging through a Cracker Jack box?
Last week, thousands of budding treasure seekers were so inspired, they crashed the website of a multimillionaire art dealer from New Mexico. His name is Forrest Fenn. He is 82. And he claims to have hidden a chest filled with millions of dollars worth of gold coins and gems.
Which may be the first time a treasure map made more money than the treasure.
"If I have a motive in this," Fenn told me Friday, "it's ... to get kids off the couch and away from their game machines and to smell the sun and have a little fun out in the trees."
He doesn't want fame. He has no plans to reclaim the chest. He simply wants Americans moving, exploring, seeing the beauty of the environment.
And maybe digging it up.
I think Fenn is fascinating. A self-admitted thrill seeker, he joined the Air Force, flew missions in Vietnam, stayed in the service for 20 years and later became a successful art dealer. He also survived a cancer scare. They gave him a 20 percent chance to live.
He beat it.
"After that, I thought, I've had so much fun in the last 75 years finding things, if I've got to go, let me leave a heritage for other people to do as I did," he said.
And so Fenn, a lifelong collector of things -- precious and quirky -- stuffed a chest with gold and jewels, carried it to a secret destination and hid it forever. He hopes others have as much fun searching the land as he's had.
Now. I can hear you screaming. GIVE US SOME CLUES! Well, first of all, I have read Fenn's poem, and if you think, based on that, you can spot a location in the fifth biggest state in the country (nearly 122,000 square miles) good luck.
Here's a sample:
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.
From there it's no place for the meek
The end is ever drawing nigh;