Twin Cities ‘SPOT Treasure Hunt’

As a grand finale to our SPOT the Holiday’ promotion this month, we’re holding a one-of-a-kind LIVE treasure hunt in Minneapolis! The prizes, outlined below and including a SPOT Messenger Device with a year of service, create a generous treasure chest of equipment and gear, from Salomon shoes and water bottles to a unique balaclava perfect for the dastardly cold Minnesota winter months. Indeed, this last contest is geo-specific, and you need to be in the Minneapolis area to participate. (GJ readers outside the area participated in our online treasure hunt earlier in the week: For the Minneapolis event, read below for info on the prizes and the rules.

Find the orange SPOT ball hidden somewhere in Minneapolis to win!

The Prizes!
Our ‘SPOT the Holiday’ Treasure Chest will include the following gear prizes: A SPOT Messenger Device; a 21-ounce stainless steel Hydro Flask; the Talus ColdAVenger Expedition Balaclava; Klymit’s Kinetic Khameleon Vest; the Barrier Series Long Sleeve Top from SeasonFive; KT Tape Pre-cut Strips; Salomon’s XT Wings 2 trail-running shoes; and the UltraSil Sling Bag from Sea to Summit. Total value of prizes = approx. $700!

Treasure Hunt Prize Package!

The Treasure Hunt!
Over the next few days, as long as it takes for someone to find it, we’re going to post clues, photos, and maps to let treasure hunters narrow in on the location of a hidden orange SPOT ball. The rules are simple: The first person to find this orange ball in Minneapolis and call the phone number on the ball to confirm will win the prize chest!

In all, there will be four maps, four photographs, and four clues posted on the blog here over the next few days. The first map/photo/clue is below. Check back often to make sure you don’t miss an updated post, and also monitor GearJunkie’s Facebook and Twitter pages for clues and updates. Good luck!

The orange SPOT ball is hidden somewhere in the highlighted area of the map above.
CLUE: The ball is in a crack of a dead tree near water.
Map No. 2 (ball hidden somewhere in highlighted area)
CLUE: There is a current near.
Map No. 3 (ball hidden in highlighted area of map)
CLUE: Looking south at the stump (with SPOT ball hidden inside); note structure through trees on hill behind.

UPDATE (5:45pm, Jan. 1, 2011): We have a winner! Local orienteers and adventure racers Justin Bakken and Molly Moilanen of Minneapolis-based Team WEDALI found the orange SPOT ball at approximately 4:45pm on January 1! Huge congrats! Bakken and Moilanen used an innovative technique to hunt the public parklands of Minneapolis and locate the SPOT ball before anyone else.

First-place winners Justin Bakken and Molly Moilanen with the orange SPOT ball

We talked to several treasure hunters over the weekend. Most people went out on the hunt Saturday morning after they’d seen a second map and at least three clues. Bakken and Moilanen narrowed the criteria and guessed that the ball would be hidden along Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Creek. (It was.) From there, the pair got on Google Maps to virtually “drive” the parkway along the creek via Google’s Street View feature. The pair saw a building on the computer screen that matched something in one of the clue photos. They then descended on the creek and searched a ravine near Lyndale Avenue until they found the ball. Nice work!

UPDATE (10:45am, Jan. 2, 2011): Contest is OVER! This morning, two parties located the orange SPOT ball within about an hour of each other, and we’re now going to have to award a second- and a third-place gear package. Great job and congrats to Veronica Jaralambides and Chris Polston (2nd place) and Pete Crabtree (3rd place)!

To anyone still on the hunt, the ball is no longer in its place. But there are two paper notes rolled up and stuffed into the crack of the stump where the ball was. If you find one of these notes, you’ll know you were in the right place. . . just a bit too late. Thanks to all who went out on the hunt.

Veronica Jaralambides (2nd place) and Pete Crabtree (3rd place) showing off their find

For anyone curious, the fourth and final map/photo/clue is here posted below. Feel free to seek out the hiding place just for fun today if you’re itching to get outside and move on this icy, gorgeous Minnesota day!

Map No. 4 (ball hidden in highlighted area of map)
CLUE: Looking north at the stump (where SPOT ball was hidden inside); note walkway through trees behind.