Not the first time the Treasure Hunt went to final clue

St. Paul Pioneer Press - 02-03-2016

"first in more than a decade"


The 2016 Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt was the first in more than a decade that went down to the 12th and final clue.

Christopher Jozwiak, Phillip Kitzer and Heather Vocke, all of Minneapolis, found the medallion late Wednesday in the woods near the Bald Eagle Lake boat ramp north of White Bear Lake.

The last time the hunt went to the last clue was 2004, when Luis and Virginia Ibarra found the medallion about eight hours after the final clue was published. The medallion was loose in the snow at Phalen Park after apparently being dislodged from the green frosted doughnut it was hidden with.

The doughnut, perhaps eaten by squirrels, was never found.

Jesse Anibas, author of “Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt History,” had predicted this year’s would be the longest hunt on record. “There’s a lot of snow out there,” he said Wednesday.

In 66 previous hunts, the medallion always has been found. The latest it turned up was 5 p.m. on the final day of the 1984 hunt, nearly 18 hours after the final clue came out.

Even before a foot of snow fell on much of the hunt area Tuesday and Wednesday, the clues this year kept hunters scratching their heads longer than usual. After Clue 10, Anibas said hunters still were noodling over Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, Battle Creek and Bald Eagle Lake, among other possible hiding sites.

Anibas said he had a park in mind for his final effort, but he was only about 90 percent sure. He said that while this year’s clues were vague, that is usually the case the year after a short hunt. Last year’s medallion was found after just five clues. The previous 12-clue hunts, the 2003 medallion in Como Park and the 2004 medallion in Phalen Park, followed a 2002 hunt when the medallion was found after six clues.

“The clue writer this year did exactly what we expected him to do after a short hunt,” Anibas said. “If you look back to 2003, the clues were so vague, we never got to Como until Clue 11.”

Here’s a list of other hunts that went down to the final clue, gleaned from the Anibas book, which is available at his website, .

  • 1962: Mr. and Mrs. John Michaud found the medallion about noon in a hard-packed cake of snow on a site leveled out for the future Interstate 35E, just west of Lawson Avenue and Mississippi Street.
  • 1967: Harvey and Rita Etzler found it about 12:45 p.m. in a horseshoe on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Midway.
  • 1970: Linda and Mary Hollanitsch, Kris Rayment, Margaret Anderson and Jerome Wandschneider found it about 11:30 a.m. in a metal vise on the 50-yard line of the football field at Battle Creek Park.
  • 1971: John F. Fastner found it about noon in the wheel of a baby buggy near the shore of Wakefield Lake.
  • 1973: Michael Hurley, Chris and Todd Bunde and Jim Zielinski found it about noon near a light pole north of the Phalen Park Pavilion.
  • 1978: Bev and Diane Gerber and Rita Taylor found it about 10 a.m. in a frozen ball of watered-down milk near the Harriet Island Pavilion.
  • 1981: Frank Klapak and Wesley Etzler found it about 3 a.m. in two oak leaves near the Acorn Park skating rinks.
  • 1984: Kirk Condie found it about 5 p.m. in a broken 45 record near a Newell Park footpath.
  • 1988: Mike and Donny Madland found it about midnight, shortly after the clue’s release, in a chunk of almond bark near the bathrooms at Tony Schmidt Park in Arden Hills.
  • 1989: Mike and Dan Reinartz and Jim Murphy found it about 1:45 a.m. in a pair of white earmuffs between the hedgerows near the State Capitol Veterans Memorial.
  • 1993: Tom and Dan Opatz, Phil Sinn and Mark Nicklawske found it about 12:15 a.m. in a diaper south of the Hidden Falls picnic area.
  • 1996: Charles Kester and Eric Taylor found it the morning of the final day in a Skoal tin near the Harriet Island picnic shelter.
  • 2003: Michael Corrigan, Craig Black and Josh Stender found it about 11:45 p.m., minutes after release of the final clue, in a block of ice near the old fireplace in Como Park.
  • 2004: Luis and Virginia Ibarra found it about 7:45 a.m. loose in the snow after it fell out of its green frosted doughnut between Round Lake and Lake Phalen at Phalen Park.
  • The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt is presented by Fury Jeep.