"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, www.wintercarnival.mysite.com .
The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt is presented by Fury Jeep.