Dear Mr. Fenn,
Greetings! I Hope you are well these days. I have enjoyed reading many of your little anecdotes throughout this adventure, so I thought that I would share one with you. I hope that you have some time to read it, and that you find it amusing.
A few weeks ago, I returned from a wonderful trip to the Caribbean. We took the RC cruise ship “Jewel of the Seas” up the Eastern passageway, through St. Johns (VI), Antigua, Martinique, and St. Croix, among other ports-of-call. It was breathtaking, and I feel fortunate to have been able to take a trip like that.
On the way there, a funny thing happened every time I went through security at the airports, and when boarding the ship. Each time I sent my black Colorado Rockies backpack through the xray “tunnel”, the security agents would pull me aside and carefully go through the contents of my bag. Aside from the tangle of headphones, kids books and snacks, I couldn’t think of what could be in the bag that would be causing such a commotion. Eventually, the TSA agents would look at me, then back into the bag, back at me again, and finally they would hand me the bag and send me on my way. Of course I would rummage through the pack each time, trying to find what had caught their attention and could find nothing! I was perplexed at what could be causing such a commotion, but got busy with everything else and forgot about it for the whole week, while we enjoyed our cruise.
A week later, while sadly packing up to head home, I discovered the culprit! In the very bottom of the backpack, hidden in the darkness, was a little memento I had kept from my first trip looking for your treasure chest. It was an old rusty railroad spike, about 6 ” in length. I’m sure you know the kind.
I felt a little bad taking it at the time, but there had been many more lying around, so I didn’t think this one would be missed. It had followed me on all 3 trips to the same exact spot I was shooting for, where I believed that the chest was hidden. I had to smile as I held the heavy little piece of iron in my hand, rolling it around. I really had thought I was right, on that last trip to my “spot”. Could’ve bet my life on it! But I had to have been wrong, because I know you would have never hidden the chest on private property, right under the nose of a nice rancher who was unwittingly keeping guard over it. So I decided the moment that I drove away that I must have been wrong after all – as amazing as a solution I had to your puzzle, I had failed.
And so I had given up on the chase and decided to move on. That reminds me – I always wondered why you called it the thrill of the “chase” and not the “race”. A race implies an actual end point, and chase.. well not so much.
Anyway, back to the railroad spike. So I’m standing there holding this spike, wondering what to do with it. My chase was over, and I didn’t feel like being stopped by security every time on the way back, so the solution was clear. I stepped out on the balcony as the ship passed quietly through the waters, and took a deep breath of the warm, salty air. Then, doing my best Peyton Manning impression, I threw the spike as far as I could into the sea. It slipped beneath the waves without a sound, and that was it. And that, Mr. Fenn is where my quest ended- not on some dusty railroad track in New Mexico, but in the Eastern Caribbean. The rusty spike is now sitting at the bottom of the ocean, thousands of miles away. I can’t help but wonder if maybe thousands of years from now, some diver will discover it. Can you imagine his (or her) surprise? What the hell is this doing here, he would surely ask! But more than likely, no one will ever find it. It will sit there at the bottom of the ocean for eternity. And the only ones that knew it was there at all will be long gone.
So that’s my little story, and I hope I didn’t take up to much of your time. I really loved the chase – it was truly a high point of my life. I do feel that what you did was a good thing, getting people out there and spending time with their families. Thank you again for that. And if someone does find the chest – where I thought it was – then at least I will have the satisfaction of knowing I was right.
That is such a great story, and somewhat unusual. It was for people like you that I wrote the book and hid the treasure.