MapCarte 313/365: The thrill of the chase wall map by Benchmark Maps, 2013

MapCarte313_fennMaps of imaginary places are highly sought after as works of art and are used frequently to illustrate works of fiction in print and on film. indeed, MapCarte has already included three exquisite examples for Winnie-the-Pooh (MapCarte 14/365), Treasure Island (MapCarte 36/365)and The Hobbit (Mapcarte 247/365). But sometimes the imagination is based in a real world and supports the readers quest to find something amongst the rocks, trees, pastures and streams. Author and collector Forrest Fenn’s remarkable book ‘The Thrill of the Chase’ was published in 2010 and explored not only his life but also his secretion of a large treasure chest somewhere in the Rocky Mountains north of his home in Santa Fe, NM.

Fenn has placed $1 million in gold and gems inside a bronze treasure chest and hidden it. The book and a poem he wrote provide clues to its whereabouts and he promises that the finder of the chest can keep the contents. this, then, is a real world search for hidden treasure and what better way to augment the search than provide a map. Benchmark Maps, award winning publishers of maps and atlases, worked with Fenn to produce a fold-out map which was incorporated into a more recent book ‘Too Far to Walk’. They then produced a limited edition fine print poster of 100 copies, each personally signed by Fenn.


Benchmark’s beautiful cartography is brought to bear on the map with a layout that frames the Rocky mountains as the detail fades from the background; the shape of the natural features over-riding any administrative jurisdictions. Colours are used to delineate the public lands and typography is selected to match the feel of a treasure map. At this scale there’s no way one could use it as a map to genuinely search out the treasure but just to look at the area and ‘know’ it’s in there somewhere is part of the thrill. Of course, x doesn’t mark the spot but the map includes the poem Fenn wrote that contains clues.

A beautiful map that accompanies a fantastic real-world search for hidden treasure. This is cartographic treasure and as a limited edition print simply adds to the story.

As of the date of writing no-one has found the treasure. You can read more about the map on Benchmark Map’s site here or on Forrest Fenn’s website here.