Who hasn’t read books about pirates and treasure chests of gold?
In the past few years, there has been a resurgence for television viewers interested in lost treasures and the expeditions to find them. On television, there is The Curse of Oak Island, where Marty and Rick Lagina are searching on an Island in Nova Scotia for a treasure, and John Gates who has dedicated several episodes of Expedition Unknown on finding treasure, including “The Secret,” about a cryptic book of riddles and illustrations. For all the inclined couch hunters, there are numerous other options.
A long time ago, The Edmonton Journal ran the Great Journal Gold Rush contest in which they printed carton drawings with abstract items and red herrings that ultimately led to a park where a $5,000 voucher for gold wafers was hidden. Readers and their families became treasure hunters.
Presently, for anyone who wishes to go out and explore, there are hands-on hunts in several cities in Canada and the United States. GoldHunt ran their first hunts in June of 2019 in Edmonton and several other locations, each for a chest containing $100,000. With a map, the participants solved the riddles to find the treasure. Yes, maybe this is not the best adventure for myself, as I use a wheelchair to navigate and the world is not entirely accessible, but something compelled me to give it a try. With a team, we started to explore the riddles, but before we could be out searching, it was solved.
When news of a second GoldHunt was released, of course, I wanted another chance at the chest. While $100,000 would be amazing, the treasure hunt was more than the money. Hunting was about using my brain to find the answers to the riddles and their physical locations. The search was about exploring and learning more about the city in which I grew up.
The hunting process was different in GoldHunt 2. Participants were provided an Inception Map with sixteen riddles. Once those were solved, the participants advanced to the next level of four riddles, and then ultimately to the final riddle. Additionally, the YEG map was released on a Saturday afternoon instead of at midnight. This difference has made the treasure hunt more accessible and allowed us the luxury of time.
The first day of the hunt, I was researching online and was able to decipher some possible locations for the physical search. The second day of the hunt, my team and I were out exploring the locations where we believed the riddles led and had confirmation by others walking with their phones and maps in hand.
For me, the experience of trying to solve the riddles has been a rollercoaster adventure. During the hunt, I have learned about the city and been able to visit some amazing river valley locations in which I would have never known. Each solved riddle revealed a nugget of history and places which I had yet personally discovered. While my team has not advanced as far as we would’ve hoped – argh – I know the answers are there but have yet to be cracked. I’m hoping we will have time to discover their location.
Shout out to GoldHunt for an amazing summer adventure searching for gold and discovering the local treasures along the way.