Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
The second treasure hunt of the year is still going on, and that $20,000 in prize money is still up for grabs. Nearly 700 teams completed the first clue—so far—but there's still plenty of time to join the hunt.
"Once again Utah has blown us away with how clever and intelligent everyone is. It is so hard to organize clues that are easy enough to solve but hard enough that the internet can't solve them within minutes. It is a constant balance we are tip-toeing," said David Cline, one of the organizers.
As last year's COVID restrictions turned so many into social hermits, locals Cline and his business partner, John Maxim, found a way to get Utahns safely out: a treasure hunt with a $5,000 prize. The truth is: treasure hunts are fun and most people would do them for free. But of course, no one's complaining about the cash.
The initial treasure hunt required deciphering a poem, which when solved pointed to a location where a chest full of cash was stashed. It was so immensely popular that Cline and Maxim put together another one earlier this year, this time increasing the difficulty and doubling the cash prize to $10,000.
The current hunt, with a $20,000 cash prize, is still going on. Here's what you need to know.
It is a little different this time
The key change this time around will be the game mechanics. Previously, players had to decode a single poem that led to a treasure chest. For this hunt, participants will first need to go through a series of checkpoints — each containing a clue that leads to the next. These checkpoints will be passed by scanning QR codes with their phones, each placed in specific locations. Each QR code will lead to a password-protected page, and players will know this password from the previous clue they solved.
Another cool new feature is the leaderboard that Cline built — because the only better thing than competition is documented competition. As teams or individuals check in at each QR code, they will enter their email address and be placed on the leaderboard. People will be able to see who has figured out certain clues and who is leading the race to the finish.
The checkpoints are not in treacherous locations
Good news: you will not have to hike the Pfeifferhorn in the snow to get to a checkpoint. For safety reasons and time of season, checkpoints will be at locations in and around civilization that are relatively easy to access. The bulk of the work will be done from the comfort of your own home as you solve each clue before venturing out hopefully knowing exactly where you need to go.
Cline and Maxim are not liable for any injury sustained to person or property should you participate in the hunt. Please be careful.
How and when can I get started?
First, get acquainted with the rules:
1. Keep it to yourself: To maintain the integrity of the game, please avoid publicly sharing solved clues and locations of QR codes. Forming teams is more than welcome though — bonus points if you give yourself a really cool team name.
2. Play fair: This might sound obvious, but don't do anything illegal in your quest for clues. Nothing good will come out of it. Also, please don't sabotage the QR code for the teams behind you. Let's keep it classy.
Take a quick selfie at each QR location so it can be verified no shenanigans took place.
3. Have fun: This one is non-negotiable.
Follow @the.cline.fam and @onthejohn on Instagram. Clues will be released on those accounts during the hunt so it would really behoove you to follow them. Weekly clues will also be released via email, so make sure to subscribe on https://utahtreasurehunts.com and get the weekly clues one day early. Good luck, and don't forget to take your parents out to a nice dinner if you win!
The 1st clue
This is a screenshot taken from Google Maps street view. The first QR code lies on an outcrop of rocks a few hundred feet off the road where the arrow is pointing. You will need to figure out where this is. Good luck!