Stories of unlikely treasure discoveries will always awaken our curiosity and evoke excitement. Indeed, in an effort to replicate the good fortune of others, many of us have become adventurers ourselves, scouring the Earth for lost relics with the potential to change our lives. These pursuits can, at times, feel like more trouble than they are worth, but when do you decide to throw in the towel? Well, if you’re as unlucky as the hiker in this story, probably a long time ago.
Earlier this week, a concerned resident alerted Park County, Wyo. rescuers to the possibility of a hiker in danger. He said that a woman disappeared into the forestry, her vehicle waiting three days for her return. The woman appeared ill-prepared for this journey, her provisions no more than a small bag, sweat pants, and a thin jacket.
Authorities searched the national database to discover the owner of the SUV. We imagine, though, that someone had already guessed the lost hiker would be Madilina Taylor of Lynchburg, Va., and we are certain that no precognition was involved. That’s because this makes the third mission to rescue Taylor from this same area in three years.
TIMELINE OF RESCUES
June 26, 2013: Taylor and boyfriend Frank Eugene Rose Jr. were rescued after spending four days lost in the woodland. The couple was discovered in the Big Creek area of Star Hill Ranch. With high waters barring them from crossing Big Creek, the two remained stranded, and suffered from exposure.
Thankfully, they were okay.
June 14, 2015: Taylor and Rose were airlifted from this same area. Taylor was then taken to receive medical attention for the broken ankle she suffered while traversing the area.
Thankfully, she was okay.
Authorities urged the two not to return to the forest without proper training. The two were also told they would be arrested if discovered, once again, on private property.
On Monday, rescue officers performed a helicopter sweep of the forest. The officers checked all those spots that Taylor and Rose were known to frequent. After two hours the search was called off because rescue personnel had no way of tracing Taylor’s path.
But, maybe she is lucky after all.
Nearly ten hours later, Taylor walked out of the forest near Grizzly Ranch. She said (and here’s the kicker) that she was aware of the search efforts, having seen the helicopter, but decided she was not lost so she kept on. It wasn’t until she ran across grizzly bears three different times that she decided to call it quits.
Ranchers gave Taylor a ride back to her SUV, where she vowed to drive East and never return.
There is speculation that Rose had accompanied her on the trip; there were, however, no signs of him (which is either a sign of his developing better judgement or indication of something very disturbing happening).
Hopefully, he is okay.
FENN’S ELUSIVE TREASURE
What, though, could have prompted Taylor to take on this unforgiving wilderness for a third time? Author Forrest Fenn. Six years ago, Fenn claimed to have hidden millions in treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountain area. In fact, he wrote two books providing clues to its location for seekers like Taylor and Rose.
Every year, Fenn revealed, treasure seekers get lost while searching for his treasure.
“It’s always a concern but what do you do about that?” asked Fenn. “A man goes hunting in the woods and gets lost, who do you blame? The man? The game? The fish? Who?”
According to Fenn the treasure chest contains 20.2 troy pounds of gold coins and nuggets. It also holds rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, with a few pre-Columbian bracelets thrown in for good measure.
Despite never revealing the true value of the chest, and never having had it appraised, he assures the public that it is no hoax.
Fenn says that it was the recession that motivated him to hide the treasure—he wanted to inspire hope. “I wanted a man and his wife to get their kids off the couch, out of the game room and out in the mountains looking for treasure,” he said.
He plans to take the secret of its location to his grave.
Fenn’s 24-line poem published in "Thrill of the Chase," gives clues to the whereabouts of his treasure:
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.
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;
There'll be no paddle up your creek,
Just heavy loads and water high.
If you've been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.
So why is it that I must go
And leave my trove for all to seek?
The answers I already know,
I've done it tired, and now I'm weak.
So hear me all and listen good,
Your effort will be worth the cold.
If you are brave and in the wood
I give you title to the gold.
On Wednesday, Fenn’s treasure was featured on an episode of the Travel Channel’s “Expedition Unknown.”
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