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Fenn Treasure Hunt at Yellowstone National Park Goes Wildly Awry

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By Tim Binnall

An Indiana man hunting for the infamous Fenn Treasure wound up having to be rescued from a canyon at Yellowstone National Park when his search went wildly awry. The worrisome incident reportedly occurred earlier this month when Dave Christensen and an unnamed friend journeyed to the site with the belief that the now-notorious cache of riches hidden by eccentric author Forrest Fenn could be found there. However, the treasure hunter's quest took a troubling turn that led him into a rather perilous predicament.

The ill-fated treasure hunt began with Christensen and his companion riding snowmobiles to the edge of the massive Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. He then proceeded to drop down into the gorge by way of a rope, but lost his tether to the top at some point along the way. For reasons unexplained, his fellow treasure hunter tasked with watching over the descent failed to lower more rope down and, after two hours of trying to escape the canyon, Christensen eventually called park rangers for help.

Although he now argues that he could have easily gotten out of the situation had rescue workers simply sent down some additional rope, this assertion is disputed by one witness who described the treasure hunter being stuck "like a turtle on his back in that heavy snow." Christensen was ultimately extracted from the canyon after an arduous four-hour-long rescue operation and subsequently issued a pair of misdemeanor citations for the dangerous misadventure.

Strangely enough, unlike many others who go in search of the elusive riches, Christensen claimed to have a more altruistic reason for his mission. "I am not a quack, nor have blind lust for hidden treasures," he wrote to the Superintendent of Yellowstone after he had been rescued from the canyon. On the contrary, he said, his goal was to document where the treasure was located so that authorities could find it and bring the treasure hunt to a close.

"I had to do this. The story has to end," he declared, "too many people are getting hurt and killed." If that was indeed his genuine motivation, one can't help but note the irony in that Christensen himself narrowly avoided becoming the fifth person to perish while searching for the treasure as one member of the rescue team observed that "this guy was lucky he didn't die." Be that as it may, the incident apparently did little to quell Christensen's quest. Noting that he could be banned from the park for the next five years, the man merely mused that "I’ll just have to wait to find the treasure."

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