Since Monday morning, I have been wallowing in my sorrow over not finding the medallion. I have also been trying to catch up on my sleep. You see, some St. Paul lifers will do crazy things when the Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt rolls around. We will stay up until 3 a.m. researching the history of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and our beautiful parks throughout Ramsey County. We will go treasure hunting in the middle of the night when it is -22 °F. We will bundle our children up in their winter gear and bribe them with a new set of Hot Wheels tracks if they find the medallion for us. We will walk into a bar dressed in snow pants, scarves, jackets and mittens while carrying shovels in order to get the next clue 30 minutes before it is published online. When the hunt is on, we are prepared to live, eat and breathe the hunt. And when we are able to get a couple of hours of rest before another day/night of hunting and noodling, many of us even end up dreaming about the hunt and the meaning of the clues.
Yes, the hunt will consume you. And when it’s over, you will struggle for a few days as you try to figure out how to move on with the rest of your life. You will look over your notes and the meaning of the clues that have been published in the Pioneer Press, and you will hit your head on the wall for reading too much into some parts of the clues and for not focusing enough on other parts of the clues. You will encourage your kids to draw treasure maps of where they have hidden their toys throughout the house in order to keep your spirits up. You will even discuss making matching shirts with your husband for next year’s hunt and believe that wearing matching shirts with your fellow team of hunters will somehow increase your chances of finding the puck.
Yes, I am having a hard time accepting the fact that I left Como Park five hours before the medallion was found. Honestly, I thought the hunt would have made it to Clue 10 instead of Clue 9. I was confident that hunters were looking in the wrong spot after Clue 9 was published. My noodling skills led me to an interesting discovery. Did you know that a torpedo is also a name for an electric ray? Did you know that Como Park has a solar-powered electric car charging station near the lake and pavilion? And near that car-charging station, I found a group of five trees in the middle of a roundabout. Because stars have five points, I drew a star in the snow, connecting the trees. I was certain the medallion was in that spot. It was away from ‘Thin Ice’ signs and not on the golf course. It was near the star-spangled banner that beckoned to me as it flapped in the wind. Schiller could have certainly been gazing in that direction as he stood through the storm. And the solar (soul to soar) panel for the electric car charging (green) station was just a few feet away. Yes, I was certain I was close to pinning the correct spot down. And I was certain Clue 10 was going to lead me to the puck that I had determined would be in a pair of jeans or a jean pocket. Well, I was right about the puck being hidden in a jean pocket. I was wrong about pretty much everything else though. We never made it to Clue 10.
The hunt was exciting and made this dreadful Minnesota winter bearable for a few days. I exercised my brain and learned more about this beautiful city and the lovely Como Park. I made some precious memories with my family while hunting together. And I was able to get out of the house with my sister and spend some quality time with just her — no kids. We even met a member of the Cooler Crew while awaiting our next clue at The Original Gabe’s By The Park. Yeah, we met our first Treasure Hunt celebrity!
I’m still trying to cope with the end of another hunt, but there is always next year. For now, I can go back to being a somewhat sane person who will focus on her real priorities and responsibilities in life.
Did you hunt for the medallion this year? What is your favorite part of the hunt? How are you coping now that the medallion has been found? Maybe we should start a support group.