On The Hunt…Part Two

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MAY 2013

On Saturday after Irene, Marty and Margie headed for home Forrest and I started working on a new series of interviews and some demos for this blog.

Forrest and Tesuque. Forrest is the one on the left.

Forrest and Tesuque. Forrest is the one on the left.

I’ll add links to each video as I get them edited.

We started with a fly tying demo. Do you know how to make a lure to attract a hungry trout to your line? Forrest does. Remember he was a fishing guide in Yellowstone starting when he was twelve. He made his granddaughter promise that she would only fish with flys she tied herself.

ffwoolleyworm

A Woolley Worm…or maybe it’s a Squirrel Tail…

Forrest says that you only need to know how to tie two flies to catch trout all season long, a Woolley Worm and a Squirrel Tail, and he shows us how to tie both…

Fly tying in the Fenn household is a family event. Even Cody helps out.

Cody volunteers some precious tail hair for a fishing fly

Cody “volunteers” some precious tail hair for a fishing fly

Next we went out to Forrest’s very own pottery shard pile in his backyard where we got the lowdown on southwest pottery making and decorating. You’ll wish you had a shard pile in your backyard.

The shard pile is full of lessons about southwest culture

The shard pile is full of lessons about southwest culture

From the shard pile we moved to Forrest’s book collection where he shows us some of his extremely unique books. I love his books. I think you will too.

Signed by Fredrick Remington and given to President Teddy Roosevelt.

Signed by Fredrick Remington and given to President Teddy Roosevelt.

From books we moved over to Forrest’s lab where he showed us some amazing finds from his pueblo at San Lazaro. This was a lot of fun as Forrest pulled out marvel after marvel from his beautifully maintained collection.

A lovely bowl meticulously puzzled back together

A lovely bowl meticulously puzzled back together

So what do you think this is and when is it from?

So what do you think this is and when is it from?

One more interview before I had to leave. The subject was his new book. Will it have clues? Will reading it make me smarter?

Forrest in his favorite chair talking about things we'll want to hear about

Forrest in his favorite chair talking about things we’ll want to hear about

230PM Sunday, April 14th. Mile 2,126

Forrest and Peggy wish me a smooth trip home. They are terrific folks.

Forrest and Peggy in they Foyer. Finally, everyone has gone home.

Forrest and Peggy in their foyer. Finally, everyone has gone home.

On the road again. There is a spot I want to check out in Utah that I’ll pass by on the way back to Washington State.

Look at this road. It’s begging me to let the truck explore it.

Man. I get really sucked onto a road like this. I just know it's going to take me somewhere good!

Man. I get really sucked onto a road like this. I just know it’s going to take me somewhere good!

So I do. Off we go. I am as happy as I can be. The road is old but unruffled. My windows are down. Spring is in the air. The horizon looks spectacular. Esmerelda is running smooth and has a big grin on her face. She loves this kind of traveling. Not certain where we are or where we’re headed but it sure looks interesting.

Fascinating topography

Fascinating topography

Then I see another road that looks even more tempting. Esmerelda tells me to go for it.

The road less traveled

The road less traveled

Then it happens. Stuck good…I have no one to blame but myself. I pull out the ice axe and start digging poor old Esmerelda out.

Stuck fast in middle of nowhere, Utah.

Stuck fast in middle of nowhere, Utah.

Stuck again. Gotta stop doing this on my trips.

Stuck again. Gotta stop doing this on my trips.

It takes three hours to extract Esmerelda from her predicament. No Yellow Hat comes to my aid. The situation is worsened by the fact that her left front wheel is just a few inches away from a massive red ant colony. I consider them for a moment. thousands live in that hill. Maybe tens of thousands. I have to dig Ezey out without upsetting the ants because I well remember being swarmed and bitten by those little creatures in the past. They are not like the peaceful black ants we have at home. These guys attack and their bite hurts like a bee sting. Some folks are allergic to them. I am not but I still want no trouble with them.

Arrgh...red ants

Arrgh…red ants

The day is now nearly over. I am covered in sand. Esmerelda is covered in sand. The only thing left to do is find a shower for me and a carwash for Ezey.

On the way we pass a tourist trap empire. I have always planned to stop here some day. I still want to. Today is not the day.

A favorite family stop for years in red rock country.

A favorite family stop for years in red rock country.

Home at midnight on Tuesday total mileage = 3,553. No treasure but a lot of great memories. And Esmerelda gets me there and back once more.

My take away from this trip is..”Take the road less traveled but be prepared to spend a little extra time in the trenches.”

dal…

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…

New Video Interviews With Forrest…


A month ago Forrest graciously allowed me to interview him on video. He spoke on a variety of subjects including his years as a fighter pilot, his Santa Fe gallery, his San Lazaro pueblo, collecting, and much more.  The interviews are certainly for those searching for his treasure but they are also life stories from a fascinating individual.

There were no direct questions asked about the treasure. But, the more you know about Forrest and what drives him, the more likely you will be to figure out where the treasure is hidden. Its simple logic…knowing everything you can about Forrest will help you understand and discover. These videos provide an exceptional opportunity to learn more about Forrest Fenn.

The interviews are edited up into bite sized clips ranging from a couple minutes to about 8 minutes in length. Please feel free to explore the site. Bookmark it and check back because more clips will be added as soon as they are edited.

Remember, Forrest Fenn is the remarkable man who hid a million dollar treasure, gave us clues to find it, told everyone to look for it and…keep it!!!

Listen close…

http://www.lummifilm.com/sfi

Good searching.

dal…