Balmy, albeit sloppy, conditions Monday meant even the younglings could partake in early efforts in the annual Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt.

No one had found the medallion as of publication of this story, but discovering the prize isn’t to be expected after only two clues.


“It’s so hard to get them all outside in the winter, so this is good,” said Shannon Buck as she and husband, Nate, wandered Como Park with their children, 10-year-old Bella and 8-year-old twins Judah and Gwyn. The family home-schools their children on St. Paul’s East Side. “To come out for the hunt, it’s like a field trip to learn about the history of the parks,” Shannon Buck said.


The kids kicked at snowbanks — and played Pokemon Go with a tablet — while Nate Buck scanned the landscape. “You do mental note-taking on these scouting trips,” said Buck, a veteran hunter. “Of course, I do like to get in and dig if I think I’ve got something.”


Not far away, Skylar Sanftner and Jace Clepper, both 3, wasted no time in driving their plastic spades deep into the first snowbank they encountered as soon as fathers Steven Sanftner and Bob Clepper set them loose. The boys didn’t speak but set to work at a dizzying pace as grandma Susan Sanftner hustled after them.

The men, members of the Cooler Crew hunting team, said they appreciated the warmth but feared what is coming: snow and some level of freeze.

wxThere’s a lot bad about that.

For one, fresh snow will most likely bury the medallion. That means that keen hunters who decipher the clues early might easily be within inches of the prize and never find it.

Second: The recent melt has rendered all manner of depressions in the still-frozen ground as small water bodies, some appearing to be knee-deep. Not fun, to be sure. But then a few inches of snow? Followed by cold?

“I’m a little worried about this,” said Sanftner. “You see, I don’t do well if there’s snow on the ground and the medallion is in ice.

“I’m the guy that dug it up at Snail Lake and another guy found it the next day. Yeah, I’m that guy.”


The year was 2015. The medallion, hidden at Snail Lake Regional Park, was encased in ice, which Sanftner apparently knocked aside one night but didn’t notice. Steve Worthman found it the next day.

Sanftner hopes this year to break the hex.

“I figure it’s been a long time coming for me.”

Copyright 2017 Pioneer Press.