Joe Medallion's Treasure Hunting Tips - 2013 Edition
In a matter of days, we'll all be once again scouring parks at 3am in search of the ever-elusive medallion. Only a handful of groups, somewhere around 60, have the honor of laying claim to the title of "Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt Finder". However, for the 2013 hunt, that's all about to change. No longer will the honor go to a group of hunters; the official rules state that there will be one and only one winner. In order to collect the full prize, the single finder must have his or her own registered button. If you find it and don't have a button, you've either got to forego the full prize, or put an awful lot of faith in someone who does.
This leads us to the first tip for the 2013 hunt. Buy a button. Register it in your name by the appropriate deadline. If you expect to be hunting with your kids, it won't hurt to have one registered in their names too, just in case. Even though the rules for minors have been in place for years, its a little unclear as to how it will be handled if the puck is found by someone under eighteen.
Does this rule change mean you should go solo this year? Absolutely not! Out of the thousands of people who search for the medallion, only one will find it. The odds of being that one are stil pretty slim. I've said it before the greatest treasure mostof us will ever find is the camaraderie and the friendships that are created through this crazy hobby.
Tip number 2: Know the parks. During the summer of 2012, Coolerheads were responsible for finding six medallions associated with suburban treasure hunts: Little Canada, New Brighton, Woodbury, Hugo, Cottage Grove, and White Bear Lake. Yes, none of these are in Saint Paul, but what did we learn from the 2012 hunt? Saint Paul is not the only domain for these hunts. Half of those cities are within Ramsey County. We were also very active searching for medallions in Roseville, Vadnais Heights, Columbia Heights, Rosemount, and Hastings, and yes only a couple of those cities aren't "offlimits" for the Pioneer Press. Still the point is this: knowledge is power.
By spending time hunting in these parks you get a feel for the lay of the land. It takes time and gas to spend as much time as we did hunting this year, so we understand if you don't want to participate in those hunts. However, in the off-season, take some time to familiarize yourself with parks that you may not normally consider. Be observant. Look around for cues that a clue writer might take, because one year, that cue might be your key to finding the medallion. And hey if you get the chance, participate in some of those hunts. They're a lot more low-key than the Pioneer Press hunt.
Tip number 3: The perpetual tip. Get out and dig. I repeat, get out and dig. You're not going to find it in your car driving around, or on your computer. Yes, the Cooler Crew site is a treasure-trove of treasure-hunting information, with information on 108 different treasure hunts at the time, plus 1166 different clues. But it can only get you so far. Besides your shot at glory, you'll meet new hunters. One of the trends of the past few years is that people don't share their noodles nearly as much on the board as they used to, preferring to noodle in person. Everyone has their reasons but a lot of it is that they just aren't sitting at the computer; they're out in the parks.
In the meantime, explore around coolercrew.com. I try to add new functionality all the time as I'm able to, and one of the new things this year is the ability for you to go in and rate clues on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. I did this before for the 2006-2011 hunts, and only I could do it. Now, anyone with an account on this site can do it and the results will be averaged together in real-time. Observant viewers will note that the URLs have changed for the various treasure hunts. As of right now, treasure hunts have become first-class citizens of the content management system here. Every piece of data regarding a hunt is now part of the system as opposed to external information. This doesn't necessarily mean much for you, the user, but for the webmaster, it eliminates a massive maintenance nightmare. Right now, the only pieces of information not contained within the system are related to city and county boundaries as used in the map of hiding places, and some park information which really isn't used at the moment.
This leaves the discussion board archives as the last bastion of content not contained within the core of the Cooler Crew management system. That all will come in time, hopefully before next year's hunt. In time, that will set the stage for a forum directly on coolercrew.com if we desire it!
Good luck finding the medallion, and have fun out there!