Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ethan. Ethan Wonders, “How long have people been hunting for treasure?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ethan!

We were wandering through the Wonderopolis forest the other day when we happened to overhear an interesting conversation between a parrot and a monkey:

Parrot: *squawk!* Hey Monkey! Do you know what a pirate's favorite letter is?

Monkey: *sigh* Yes. That's an old one. It's arrrrrrgggghhhhhh.

Parrot: *squawk!* Nope! 'Tis the C!

We were in a hurry, so we chuckled and moved on. The whole rest of the day, though, we couldn't help thinking about pirates sailing the high seas.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to check out an old book from the library and discover a map that leads to hidden treasures? If X marks the spot, wouldn't it be a grand adventure to hunt for the hidden treasure?

If you've always dreamed of hunting for hidden treasure, you don't need to wait for a treasure map to fall into your lap. All you need is a poem, a sense of adventure, and a lot of time to search the Rocky Mountains.

In 2010, Forrest Fenn, an eccentric millionaire and retired art and antiquities dealer from Santa Fe, New Mexico, hid a secret treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He had just survived a battle with cancer and wanted to leave a legacy that would inspire and bring hope to others.

He bought a small antique bronze chest and filled it with a variety of treasures: gold coins and nuggets, jade carvings, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, a turquoise bracelet, and other valuables and artifacts. Experts estimate the contents of the chest could be worth as much as $2 million.

Fenn then hid the chest somewhere "in the Rocky Mountains north of Santa Fe." That wouldn't be much to go on, so Fenn self-published a memoir that tells the story of the treasure and contains a poem, The Thrill of the Chase, that provides nine cryptic clues about the whereabouts of the hidden treasure.

Fenn has also provided a few additional clues over the years via a website dedicated to the hunt for Fenn's treasure. For example, it's hidden above 1,500 meters in elevation. It's not associated with any manmade structure, and it's not in a cemetery. It's also not in Utah or Idaho.

That leaves millions of acres of public lands throughout the Rocky Mountains to search. Fenn says it's not in a dangerous place. He claims it's somewhere you could take your kids, but it's also not likely to be found accidentally.

Curious yet? So are others. Thousands of others. Fenn estimates over 65,000 people have joined the search for his hidden treasure. Sadly, hunting hidden treasure isn't without its dangers. Despite Fenn's hints and admonitions, at least four people have died searching for the treasure, which — as far as Fenn knows — remains unfound still.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day will take you deep underground!