Hiker Seeking Forrest Fenn Treasure in Montana Triggers Search
The third time was not the charm for a treasure hunter seeking the famous Forrest Fenn cache, a multi-million dollar haul said to be hidden in the Rocky Mountains by the famous art dealer and author.
On Monday, July 18, a Park County resident called to report seeing a woman exit a dark green 2001 SUV and go up the Jim Mountain Trail the previous Friday, according to a post on the Park County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.
“He said she appeared to be ill equipped for the back country having been observed wearing sweat pants, a light jacket and carrying a small knapsack. The resident further advised that the vehicle was still at the trail head and to the best of his knowledge, hadn’t moved in three days.”
It was determined that the vehicle belonged to Madilina L. Taylor, age 41 of Lynchburg, Virginia. Park County officials are familiar with Taylor. Two years ago, on June 26, 2013, Taylor and her boyfriend, Frank Eugene Rose Jr., 40, also from Lynchburg, had to be rescued from the Big Creek area of the Star Hill Ranch after being lost in the forest for four days. They were suffering from exposure and unable to cross Big Creek due to the high water level. SAR was able to evacuate both victims to an awaiting ambulance, according to the sheriff’s office.
They returned to the area a second time. On June 14, 2015, Taylor had to be airlifted from the same area after falling and breaking her ankle.
“It was during this incident that Rose and Taylor admitted they were in the area both times looking for the lost “Fenn Treasure.” The Fenn Treasure is a treasure reportedly worth one to three million dollars hidden by art dealer and author Forrest Fenn. Fenn claimed to have hidden the treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and wrote two books detailing clues as to its whereabouts,” according to the sheriff’s office.
They were warned in 2015 not to return to the area without proper training and survival skills and told they’d be arrested for trespassing if caught on private property in the future.
On Monday, in response to the latest report of Taylor being overdue, SAR immediately began an aerial search of the Jim Mountain trails as well as the areas that Taylor and Rose had previously been found.
“After nearly two hours in the air without spotting Taylor the search was called off. There was simply no way to determine which direction Taylor went or if she was even still in the back country,” according to the sheriff’s office.
At around 10 p.m. Monday night, Taylor emerged from the backcountry in the area of the Grizzly Ranch. She was unhurt and had seen the search plane, but didn’t signal it because she didn’t consider herself to be lost. She did say that she had three separate encounters with grizzly bears during her time in the forest and that she “had had enough.” She was headed back east with no intentions of ever returning.
Taylor was given a ride by the ranch owners back to her vehicle. Although not seen, officials suspect Rose had also accompanied Taylor this time as well.
Fenn has offered clues throughout the years about where the treasure could be hidden, including a poem in his self-published book The Thrill of the Chase.