The Newsweek Story…

As everyone except Lady Gaga probably already knows, Tony Doukoupil wrote a story about Forrest and the treasure for the August 20th edition of Newsweek, plus a different (but similar) Newsweek story just for iPads. Later  Dokoupil said on CNN that he thinks he knows where the treasure chest is located but he will only tell us in the Newsweek iPad version of the story.

Tony Dokoupil, senior reporter, Newsweek Magazine

Aha…the American way..I have to own a specific device and pay money to see the “special” story.  It’s all about paying to read Newsweek. I can get the on-line version for free on The Daily Beast. It’s the same as the printed edition. But the iPad version of Newsweek has “added” or “enhanced” content that you can’t get in the print or on-line editions. Specifically it has more photos and a VIDEO where Tony Dokoupil tells viewers where he thinks the treasure really is.

I don’t know how long this link will work but for right now you can watch the video that was originally intended only for iPad distribution here:

I have transcribed the video below so that when that link goes away you can still read the report as text.

What I want to do in this blog is examine the Dokoupil report and review his hypothesis about the location of the treasure. To start, here is a complete transcription of Dokoupil’s report from the iPad video.

TONY DOKOUPIL REPORT-FROM NEWSWEEK, iPAD VERSION VIDEO,  AUGUST 20, 2012

I’m Tony Dokoupil. I wrote this week’s feature on Forrest Fenn ah, the collector and a man who has buried a million dollars in the mountains north of Santa Fe and invited the public to find it.

Treasure hunters are looking in New Mexico and Colorado. Ah, I happen to think that the treasure is in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. Two paragraphs ah, that I found in a long unpublished family history seem to point to the Firehole River. Forrest wrote a 24 line poem which he says contains everything you need to find the treasure. I ah, have my own interpretation based on my reporting. Ah, and I offer it to you now.

Forget paragraph one and forget the bottom of the poem (the two last paragraphs). It’s filler. The three paragraphs in the middle are what matters. The first missing clue is “where warm waters halt”. The Firehole river is ah, a river that is fed by geyser water, hot geyser water. He used to bathe where that geyser met the cold stream water. So where the warm water of the geyser halted, he used to take a bath as a boy.

“Canyon down” is ah, a description of the approach to the river. Ah, you have to take an old freight road which is also referenced in that paragraph.

The “home of Brown” is a, a clue that people think it’s the Brown Hotel in New Mexico. Some people ah, think its the Brown Mountains in New Mexico. There is a Moreno Mountain Range. I think more likely it means Brown trout. And the Firehole River is full of Brown trout.

“Just heavy loads and water high”. I think it’s a reference to the bridge, that again, Fenn references in his unpublished family history. You are waist deep in the water and there are heavy loads above on the bridge.

And then the reference to the “blaze” which has also been confusing to people. He intentionally put that BIG word in there to throw people off. I think “blaze” is a reference to the geyser that produces the hot water that marks the treasure.

A few tips or advisories. Some things I learned ah, in looking into Forrest Fenn’s life.

First of all he didn’t necessarily bury the treasure. He’s careful not to use that word.

He also expects water and fire damage. Something to keep in mind.

Number two, don’t get to creative. Forrest was about 80 years old when he put this chest in the mountains. Ah, so go only places where you can imagine an 80 year old person going.

And then a wild card. Just a thing that I heard that I think is interesting and I’ll pass on to you is that, Doug Preston, ah, the writer is a good friend of Forrest Fenn’s and he says that he swears he remembers Forrest telling him that he’s worried that people will find his car. So when Forrest puts his body next to the treasure and dies he’s afraid that people will find his car and the location of the car would be Northern Arizona University. So there could be some significance to Northern Arizona University.

So I leave it to you ah treasure hunters ah take it or leave it. Ah, and good luck on the trail.

——————————–end————————-

Next I’d like to take his hypothesis and look at it line by line. This is obviously based on my own twisted bias about this particular location as a potential location of the treasure as well as my personal concerns about Dokoupil’s reporting.

Dokoupil’s report will be in red text and my own thoughts in blue. Hopefully that will help separate what Dokoupil and I each say.

Let’s start here-

Treasure hunters are looking in New Mexico and Colorado. 

Not a criticism just a reminder that these are not the only states being searched. I personally know that folks are looking in ALL the mountain states and I even know a searcher looking in Alberta. The search is not limited to just Colorado and New Mexico. Forrest has eliminated a couple of States in added clues he’s handed out. Some searchers have received additional clues that may be meaningful or may be meaningless. Others have used their own intuition to rule out certain states. But unless you have heard more from the Mysterious Mr. Fenn, it’s important to remember, Forrest said the treasure is located “in the mountains North of Santa Fe”. That includes more than just two states.

I happen to think that the treasure is in Yellowstone Park in Wyoming.

This is a reasonable guess. Based on other lines in the poem, on information gleaned from Forrest’s book, The Thrill of the Chase, and from stories on Forrest’s blog. Forrest has said that the treasure is hidden somewhere special to him. We assume that Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is special to him because he spent all of his summers as a youth in, and around the park with his family. However it’s certainly not a foregone conclusion that this is the ONLY place Forrest thinks is special. What about the place where the Fenn Cache supposedly came from or maybe a place where Forrest and Peggy spent their honeymoon or where Forrest caught his first trout or bagged his first mountain lion….you get my drift.

Two paragraphs ah, that I found in a long unpublished family history seem to point to the Firehole River.

Again, a reasonable guess. But you don’t have to have read Forrest’s UNPUBLISHED FAMILY HISTORY to find information about the bathing spot or even where it’s at. There is a story on Forrest’s blog called River Bathing is Best. It’s about his favorite bathing spot which is where a particular hot spring, called Ojo Caliente, drains into the Firehole River in Yellowstone. I visited the spot, took photos and wrote a story about it on this blog. You can read both stories yourself. Forrest’s is here and mine is here.

Dokoupil changes at this point to talking about Forrest’s poem.

Forget paragraph one and forget the bottom of the poem (the two last paragraphs). It’s filler. The three paragraphs in the middle are what matters. 

I think this is very shortsighted. There are at least two clues in the last paragraph. By the way  Tony, a paragraph in a poem is called a stanza or a verse.

The last stanza in the poem:

So hear me and listen good,

Your effort will be worth the cold.

If you are brave and in the wood

I give you title to the gold.

What about the 2nd line that mentions “cold”? Does this imply that you’ll get cold finding the treasure? Is it in cold water?  Is it on a snow covered peak? Do you have to cross cold water to get to it? If you take the line seriously it is a clue to the location of the chest. How, is the mystery!

What about, being brave and in the wood? Does this mean you will have to be brave to find the chest? If so, it tells us that the chest is not likely to be found simply or easily. Earlier in the poem Forrest tells us that “it’s no place for the meek,”. Is he simply repeating himself with the “brave” remark or is this new information?

Grant Wood, American Gothic…perhaps the treasure is in the house

And “in the wood”. What does that mean? In a copse of trees? In an old wooden building? Maybe he means in the Grant Wood painting American Gothic. Maybe it’s in the house in the background. Your interpretation of what it means is critical and it’s likely a clue.

The first line in the first stanza also gives us a hint. Forrest writes:

“As I have gone alone in there”.

We know from the word “alone” that Forrest did not have any help. No one helped him carry the 42lb chest into it’s hiding spot. He did not use a pack horse either because if he did, he would not have been alone. Given this, we know that it’s unlikely the chest is hidden a two day hike away from the nearest parking place. Forrest, at 79-80 would have been unlikely to make an arduous journey carrying the chest.

So my point is that there are clues all through that poem. Read it carefully if you are serious about finding the treasure.

The first missing clue is “where warm waters halt”. The Firehole river is ah, a river that is fed by geyser water, hot geyser water. He used to bathe where that geyser met the cold stream water. So where the warm water of the geyser halted, he used to take a bath as a boy.

The Firehole River with Ojo Caliente Hot Springs pouring in on the opposite bank

I am pretty familiar with the Firehole. It is a fascinating river, quite different from the rivers I grew up with in Michigan. It’s name tells a lot about it’s peculiar make-up. Dokoupil is wrong in his assessment of the river and his layout of the surrounding geological features. To begin, there are certainly geysers that drain into the Firehole. But most of the features around the river are hot springs, pools and mud pots, not geysers. The river begins at Madison Lake with a temperature that could well be described as cold at about 54 degrees. But then the river runs north and passes through three geyser basins in the park. By the time the river reaches Fountain Flats, where Forrest’s bathing spot is located its about 22 degrees warmer. When I was there in May I measured 76 degrees at a place just upstream from Forrest’s bathing spot.

So, it’s water is quite warm. Often times it’s much too warm for Brown trout and they head up into the Firehole’s tributaries to cool off.  My point is that it’s hard to imagine Forrest’s line “Where warm waters halt” being this place on the Firehole or any other place downstream from Old Faithful because the river here is already warm, heated by the hundreds of hot geological features along it’s banks that drain into it. Now, if Forrest had said “where hot water halts” the starting place could be here or hundreds of other spots along the Firehole where HOT water from springs is cooled by the warm water of the Firehole. 

“Canyon down” is ah, a description of the approach to the river. Ah, you have to take an old freight road which is also referenced in that paragraph.

This is the Freight Road. It’s pretty flat. The bridge ahead crosses the Firehole River. Forrest’s favorite bathing spot at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs is just outside the photo on the right.

Where is a “freight road” referenced in the stanza? This is really weird. The freight road that Dokoupil refers to is about as flat as a road can be. There is no canyon that it travels through. But even if it did, Dokoupil’s further description makes it geographically impossible for this to be correct. I’ll come back to this later.

The “home of Brown” is a, a clue that people think it’s the Brown Hotel in New Mexico. Some people ah, think its the Brown Mountains in New Mexico. There is a Moreno Mountain Range. I think more likely it means Brown trout. And the Firehole River is full of Brown trout.

The Firehole River is, in fact, a good place for trout, but only some of the year. When the water gets to be too warm the trout move up into the tributaries of the Firehole where the water is much cooler. Late spring is a time when you’ll see trout fishers on the Firehole. Truth is, other than that short time of year most fishers are elsewhere. And things seem to be getting worse for the Firehole trout. The temperature of it’s water is increasing and the Park has even taken the precaution of cutting back considerably on that river’s fishing availability to relieve pressure on the trout. Adult Brown trout prefer water in the 54-66 degree range. The Firehole around Fountain Flats was 76 degrees, in May this year. That’s 10 degrees warmer than Brown trout prefer. When Forrest was a kid the Firehole wasn’t quite as warm. Geologic activity since then has made the water warmer. There are many other, much higher quality fishing streams in and around YNP than the Firehole. If Forrest wanted to describe a place where Brown trout live, he would have placed the chest in a different stream than the Firehole.

“Just heavy loads and water high”. I think it’s a reference to the bridge, that again, Fenn references in his unpublished family history. You are waist deep in the water and there are heavy loads above on the bridge.

Well here is another “weird” idea that can’t geographically be possible. And why is Dokoupil ignoring so many other clues..like “Not far but too far to walk”?..It’s obvious…they don’t fit. If he uses the other clues he cannot possibly still be at the bridge which is about 50 feet from where he started…but more on that in a moment.

And then the reference to the “blaze” which has also been confusing to people. He intentionally put that BIG word in there to throw people off. I think “blaze” is a reference to the geyser that produces the hot water that marks the treasure.

Ojo Caliente Hot Springs is a magnificent blue-green pool of treacherously hot water on the bank of the Firehole River.

What BIG word? Is he talking about… “blaze”?  I think Dokoupil is barely treading water right now. His report is beginning to turn into illogical nonsense. And what geyser? As mentioned earlier, there is no geyser in this spot. Not for at least two miles is there a bone-fide geyser. And “hot water” does not mark the treasure. Where does the poem say that? We begin our search where warm waters halt…that’s the start…not the end!

And all this weirdness comes to a boil here. because Dokoupil has just started out his search at Ojo Caliente hot spring and finished it at the SAME PLACE! 

All I can imagine is that Tony Dokoupil must have spent all his time as a youth hiding under his bed rather than looking for treasure, following maps or watching Indiana Jones movies.

If you are just starting out looking for the treasure please don’t trust what Tony Dokoupil says. Many of his ideas make no sense.

Tony, Tony, Tony…

dal…

23 thoughts on “The Newsweek Story…

  1. I’m not a poet, so thanks for the stanza schooling(I knew the word, but now exactly the definition). I’m not a journalist though…journalist should have known something like that for sure. I thought that was the oddest thing…it’s in either in New Mexico or Colorado? Let’s get rid of a few of the paragraphs? Blaze is a big word? Well, I guess if he doesn’t know stanza…and that has 6 letters…blaze with 5 is more than he can handle. I bet he’d be fun to play scrabble with. I have had some good ideas about Yellowstone, but never thought that was one of them. Maybe I’ll blog about an interested thing I saw in the book that has to do with up there. Good blog though Dal…

    • No poet here either. Stanza and verse is something I learned between doing what I was REALLY good at in grade school….staring out the window…ha!

      Stephanie has a great blog called “What’s a Blaze” with very cool video and photos about her search for the treasure at:
      http://whatsablaze.wordpress.com

      Thanks Stephanie…

  2. As always, I enjoyed reading your blog, Dal. Particularly because I was gobsmacked by Tony’s TV arrogance in saying that he knows where the treasure is hidden but chooses not to go get it. Is he nuts? Or maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t know and is just “bombasting.” I’m guessing the latter or he wouldn’t still be checking in to work at Newsweek and The Daily Beast which, as we know, doesn’t employ any fact checkers. I don’t mean to be harsh in my assessment but here it is: Tony is a nice guy (with a new baby–Congratulations, Tony) who just doesn’t have a clue. And, in the rush to get a sensational story, he missed the entire point of Forrest Fenn and the Thrill of the Chase.

    • Gobsmacked…very cool word. I think I’ve only heard it once or twice before and I certainly would have died without ever saying it if you had not written it here.
      Yeah…what’s going on? Maybe Tony makes so much money being a senior reporter that he doesn’t need what he claims to be a million dollar treasure. I agree about not getting facts straight. Tony told me that Newsweek no longer has fact checkers. I guess we can expect lots of stories with gobs of inaccuracies out of that news magazine in the near future. Are they becoming “People Magazine” where facts are a luxury not a requirement.

      • LOL Dal. I honestly kept trying to give him the benefit of the doubt…but just couldn’t. I’ve been told to bite my tongue which I’m not really good at…but I think I’ve done as best I can. Maybe it has to do with that the best parent Tony had, brought him all over looking for hidden drug money per an article he wrote about his life. So maybe his ethics are a bit skewed. I just can’t believe someone would twist such a wonderful story like Forrest’s to be negative. Then the biggest thing that angers me is what your whole last blog touched on. I feel he manipulated his own story into possibly causing harm to Forrest and his family so that he’d have a future story. I just hope people are smart enough to think for themselves….I mean what kind of person offers complete strangers the adventure and possibility at fortune that Forrest has? That speaks volumes right there….Also, love gobsmacked Irene. I love love love words.

  3. I agree….. With it all, but I am most mad that Tony’s crazy story now has sent careless people to Yellowstone to dig up the river. People who don’t have time to buy and read the book (they might have even missed from the story that there is a book at all) and are just going to take Tony’s analysis and go searching (probably digging). It almost reminds me of a movie, or a book :). Hopefully all of this will be forgotten over the winter and come spring it will just be those of us out for the thrill of it. I have mentioned to a couple of you, that I love searching for my “spot” and figuring out what interpretation of clues will work… I find myself wanting the clues to mean something, but then at certain spots they work but with a totally different meaning. I also love how this is forcing me to think and learn about so many new things and places and ponder how the clues might work with the things I discover. I want to think my interpretations are better than Tonys…. If only I could get out there to search!

    • Good point…It might be interesting to see if the rangers have been keeping a closer eye on Ojo Caliente..I don’t know how to find that out…do you?

      • it’s an interesting game as I live in Ojo. I never had heard about this until I helped a homeless man I found hiking one day not far from Ojo. Though I admire those that quest, I am really on this site to find hiking partners that are quiet and peaceful.

    • I know for a fact your interpretations are better than Tony’s. He decides part of the poem is filler? I thought that was the goofiest thing. I think you have really good ideas. Hope you can get out there this year.

  4. Great job, Dal. Thanks so much for sharing the iPad app…and posting your responses to Tony’s whacked and rather lame (compared to my own, of course) interpretations.

    What I’m finding interesting lately are the “leaked” clues. First, “the rumor out of SFe” about the treasure becoming “unavailable” and now, Doug’s reference to NAU. Both are very “end game” notions. And both are quite worrisome. I wonder what connection NAU/Flagstaff has to do with the book or poem? As FF has said, there are subtle hints scattered within the pages of the book, but I’ve never picked up a scent that would lead me there…..besides, it’s not north of SFe! Wassupwiddat? (not as good as gobsmacked)

  5. Melanie-

    I think Forrest was really, really unhappy with Tony’s story. He felt he was misquoted multiple times. I think he felt that Tony made up “facts” just to make the story more sensational. It’s my opinion that the “unavailable” rumor (if true) is really just a reaction to the Dokoupil story and how Forrest felt maligned by Tony. I asked Forrest about the car story at NAU and he told me that he has no idea what that means …
    Here is what he wrote…
    “I don’t get the car statement and I hope all of those searching don’t go around looking in cars, especially at night.”
    I have also heard that Forrest is working with a biographer. I think that means a book may be out (when?) that tells us more about Forrest’s amazing life.

    dal…

  6. You are ignoring the obvious, he found out where the treasure was from the notes (that only he has) and needs to look like an idiot to throw us off once the treasure spot is found by another and the gold was plucked already. Tony’s writing is always smart, so think like a guy who just found a million dollar cache and needs to present himself as too stupid to have ever found it.

    • Not ignoring anything Shawn. Tony doesn’t have any special information. Forrest did not provide him with anything that would point him to the treasure more than you or I. Tony is a braggart, a boaster. He appears to like sounding like he knows more than he does. That treasure chest is still out there. If a guy like Tony knew where it was he’d have gotten it already. And if he did that he would be showing the world his proof.
      his first “investigative” story was about his deceased father who was a drug hustler and user. He’ll do anything to get his name in the middle of a hot story.

  7. It took me all of 36 hours to eliminate the Firehole, of course if you believe you need to “Put In” below the brown outhouses at the swimming hole then you’re still scuba diving along the Fireholes banks. Good luck with that.

  8. Is/was there such a writing by ff titled “Ramblings and Rumblings: The Fenn Family History”? Or has Tony Dokoupil employed some form of yellow journalism? Anyone out there know for sure, besides ff?

    • Thanks dal. Can you tell me if there are a select few that might have what he wrote, i.e. if he did write anything? I am just trying to determine whether it exists/existed or not.

    • Hey Dal, I have read of a hand full of people pulling quotes from the “Ramblings and Rumblings: The Fenn Family History.” I am just wondering why it’s not available to the public, but only to a special chosen few?

  9. A grave robber? What kind of negative trash is this guy spewing. I can’t believe Dal let trash like is on the site. I were Forrest never speak to this guy again. What’s up with these negative reporters. The have nots wanting from the haves. Bunch of Marxists believe everything in life should be free. Forrest Fenn has done more to protect Indian artifacts and knowledge than 99.9% of people. While no one is perfect this man is intent a quick drive by character assassination.

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