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Medallion Hunt Park Destruction
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s4xton
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003

Posts: 1070
Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:01 am    Post subject: Medallion Hunt Park Destruction Reply with quote

I'm not here to ruffle feathers with Medallion hunters, and hopefully I can still get my point across without doing so.

My friend Garrett (swilltater, as I've mentioned in some cache logs) and I went to Phalen last night to give ourselves a chance at the Medallion Hunt, and were appalled to see the type of destruction people have done to this park.

First off, we decided to check out the area where KB's "127 failin'" cache was, to find that the entire area was ripped apart. Freshly broken branches and ripped off bark was strewn all over, and a lot of the small trees on the area were damaged or killed in the process.

Empty cans (that were fresh with the scent of cheap beer) were found much more frequently than any other trash in the park.

The most appalling thing, was the log that I'm sitting on here from the above mentioned cache site, was completely stripped of it's bark and bare.

Everywhere we went around Phalen, we found branches that were snapped off, and downed and rotted trees that were taken apart and tossed around the area. Some of the areas that are usually grassy during the non-winter months were brown ripped apart by rakes.

It was a very interesting sight to see, honestly. Garrett and I were a bit ticked that we didn't bring a camera.

Point being - this would be a rather hot story for the press, and I'm surprised I haven't seen much about this yet.

I have nothing against medallion hunters -- and I was a hunter last night myself -- but I think the Pioneer Press, Cub Foods or another sponsor should publicize something similar to Geocaching.com's CITO and general good practices when hunting in public parks. Perhaps having a story run about it with photos would bring enough publicity to the situation for this to happen.

Lastly, it serves a strong argument about geocachers and geocaching practices in comparison to the much more publicized hunt in the parks.

Thoughts? What about those of you that went out to Phalen recently? What did you think?

-Aaron
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Medallion Hunt Park Destruction Reply with quote

s4xton wrote:
I'm not here to ruffle feathers with Medallion hunters, and hopefully I can still get my point across without doing so.
Thoughts? What about those of you that went out to Phalen recently?

I wasn't there because I am no good at finding caches, nevermind ones that I have little idea of where they are, but here's a cache went missing in the process...

Buddy Cache by whatsagps

It's really sad to see IMHO.

Silent Bob
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1145
Location: Champlin, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a similar, if smaller scale, experience last week at Newell Park hunting for KB's Boreas Rex XXIII cache. From the moment I pulled into the parking lot it was obvious that hordes of people had recently descended on the park in search of the medallion. I didn't see the kind of destruction that S4xton is reporting at Phelen, but the place did look like a herd of buffalo had stampeded through. And, of course, the cache was MIA.
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berg0449
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 63
Location: Maplewood, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

..

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Minnesota
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Joined: 31 Jan 2004

Posts: 18
Location: South Metro

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m in complete agreement, Aaron.
I was there on Wednesday. The damage was terrible. Pine trees with the lower branches torn off, small evergreen trees cut down, live trees stripped of bark (killing the tree), people digging up the grass with garden hoes and coffee cups/pop bottles littered around. I left in disgust.

I’m sure the majority of the medallion hunters are respectful of the parks. But, I also wonder why this mayhem is allowed and left out of the press.
Jon


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Marsha and Silent Bob
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minnesota wrote:
But, I also wonder as to why this mayhem is allowed and left out of the press.

It's sponsored by The Pioneer Press? Wink

Silent Bob
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s4xton
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003

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Location: Minneapolis, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be in better interest for the Pioneer Press to run a story about it before the Star Tribune does. I think the situation is certinaly deserving of a story at the level where the big Twin Cities papers or local TV news would get a reporter and a photographer out and publish it. Wish I had reliable contacts with the media.

Joelcam? Wink

-Aaron
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hardware
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Jan 2003

Posts: 157

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

several thoughts:

while they'll receive far more letters than they'll ever be able to print, you can submit a letter to the editor to the pioneer press. sure, the medallion hunt is the PP's baby, and somebody may step on the toes of the editorial department, but maybe not. for the purpose of a letter to the editor, keep it brief. long-winded rants will only be edited anyway, and that's the editorial right of the paper, whether letter writers realize it or not.

find out the newsroom's phone number and call it ASAP. you may reach somebody who doesn't care and ends up hanging up the phone without giving your idea another thought, but you may also find somebody who is intrigued by this and wants to learn more. or that person may deem your news tip worthy of consideration, and pass it on elsewhere. follow up by e-mailing the news department through whatever address you find on the paper's web site.

alert the strib as well via the same channels. i don't pay attention to how little or how much coverage they give to the medallion, but the big dailies love to write about the other when it's negative. the PP is merely a sponsor, so perhaps the interest in this isn't as high. you may reach a deaf ear at one paper, and an interested party at another, but you can't know until you call.

call the local TV stations. tell them what your concern is. perhaps they won't care, but perhaps they'll see it as a great story, since they'll be able to do a pointless live shot at the park in the dark during the 10 p.m. newscast.

in all cases, give your name and number so you can be contacted for follow-up info, should there be interest from any or all of the papers/stations. be prepared to be a subject of the story, since it is your concern. it may also provide a chance to express your opinions about geocaching and our parks, but don't bank on that. keep your main issue in mind. (it is worthwhile, however, for the media to know why you're concerned about pilaging of the parks.)

you may never hear one word about this anywhere other than this board, or you may interest greg vandergrift (sp?) at kare 11. about 5 years ago i passed along a news tip to the major dailies and two of the four broadcast stations. kare 11 followed up, and i wound up being interviewed for a story that kare 11 aired.


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Lyverbird
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Joined: 17 Oct 2003

Posts: 443
Location: Annandale, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not whitnesseed this with my own eyes, but as I watched the news this morning, I asked myself, why we can't be in state parks? In 12 days, mostly the last 3 days, more damage was done to parks in one city, than caching has done, since it started, across the entire country.

Surly some one in our group, (Yes, you again JCam) might have video footage of said distruction and might also have contacts in the needed area. Perhaps some sort of stroy could be put together?
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Joelcam
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Joined: 03 Oct 2003

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Location: Roseville, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the number for starters... 612-330-2502. It's the anonymous news tip line for WCCO-TV. If you call, tell them if you were out there or saw it on TV and were disappointed in the lack of care for the park. They may want to ask to talk to you for the story (ie. being on TV) so if you're not interested in that tell them so if they ask. I'd keep geocaching out of the story as we'd want to distance ourselves from this group.

I pitched the story to my assignment desk on my way out of work this morning after I saw how many beer bottles and cans were littered over the north side of Lake Phalen. The hill everyone was on is destroyed. I don't know if they are doing the story yet or not.

Is the rumor of Maplewood banning the hunt in their city true?
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berg0449
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Location: Maplewood, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

..

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Lyverbird
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Location: Annandale, MN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, start phoning. I just got off the phone with that number joelcam left. They are going to pitch the story and the chap I spoke to seemed egar to go with it. He said one of the overnight camera men, (Hi Joel Laughing ) had brought it up and had talked of the distruction and litter, beer cans and bon fire's. I got the impression on the phone that this could easily be a go. A few more calls would probably help though. I did not mention geocaching or this board. Just that I had seen it on the news and was disgusted. I would have been arrested if I had caused any small portion of the damage that had been done there, in one of my local parks.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2438
Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I carefully planned this post, it could easily be the longest one on the entire site. Instead, I'll drop in tidbits as I think of them, and hope in the end it all makes sense.

The "clue" writer for the past two hunts threw tradition out the window. In the not too distant past, if a person could correctly interpret the clues, it would be possible to find the medallion after just a few clues. Luck has always played a part also, of course.

In 2003 and 2004, the hunt was purposely drawn out to 12 clues. Both years resulted in very dangerous situations. The hiding spots were not easily accessible, mass hysteric "newbies" appeared from nowhere, and this year was probably an actual riot.

A classic hunt was the one in Highland Park, on which I based my "Cherished Bounty" cache. Each clue defined an area, or lined up with other clues, and brought the successful clue-solver closer to the prize.

My next two posts will contain comments from revered medallion hunters.
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King Boreas
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clue #1
Say it ain't so, Clueless Joe,
And all who prattle and bark.
Stop yer clue-bashin', if treasure's your passion,
Go you look in an area park.

Explanation: A playful counter-rip on people who ripped last year's clues, who were ably led by a popular, winter carnival-connected columnist. This clue says the treasure is in an "area park.'' This differs from the usual "city park'' clue, because Phalen is both a city park and part of the county regional park system.

Well I think we all guessed that. But what's with having to take a
shot at someone every year? Is the cluewriter really that
sensitive? This is supposed to be a family event. Why not try and
keep things positive?



Clue #2
Jughead has spoken, look for the token
We'll make it worth your while
Like Archie, you seek an object this week
As green as the Emerald Isle.

Explanation: In homage to the Archie & Friends comic (No. 7Cool, which was based on the Pioneer Press Treasure hunt, we hid the medallion in an actual, real donut with gooey green icing. In the comic version, the searchers were supposed to find a plastic green donut. They found it among books in a library. Token suggests nearby Arcade Street, and isle refers to island in the park.

This clue is the essence of what irritates me about these last two
hunts. "an object as green as the Emerald Isle" should be a riddle.
You solve it, you feel you're onto something, and you get excited to
go out and hunt. This business of just picking random words out of
context and giving them other meanings is ridiculous. How do you
know which words to pick out? How do you know which other meaning to
give it? All you can do is feel like you're guessing at the right
answer. You never get the excitement of feeling like you've figured
something out. And as far as hiding it in a real food item, that has
to rank up there in terms of being bone-headed with hiding the
medallion under an inch of melting snow on the baseball diamond at
Merriam. I'm undecided at this point about which was more stupid.



Clue #3
"Help me!" you say. "Any time. Any day.
It's neither here nor there."
A quite clever device, but beware false advice.
Prank? Perhaps. All is fair.

Explanation: Take the first word in each line, put them together, and it reads, "Help it's a prank," which refers to our prankish ploy of borrowing the green donut from the Archie & Friends comic book. More importantly, it's an anagram - clever device - for "It's Phalen Park."

Ok, is that it? I saw that mentioned early on, but you see so many
anagrams these days that I figured it was a coincidence. But not a
bad clue. But what about the false advice and being neither here nor
there? Maybe they just don't like to mention the subtle explanations
of the clues lest they seem too hard.



Clue #4
East Side, West Side, take your honey for a ride
To a stony and sandy place
Come one, come all, ever following the bouncing ball
To the swift belongs the race.

Explanation: Stony and sandy place refers to all the Depression-era stonework and the beach on Phalen Lake and the sand traps at Phalen's golf course. The medallion is on the West Side of Phalen Lake, and the park is in St. Paul's East Side. Bouncing ball refers to the nearby green handball courts, and ride to the road and bike paths by the lake.

Nothing wrong with this clue except for what handball courts?
Everyone knows the bouncing balls were on the mural and they pointed
north. I mean gee, even if that wasn't what I originally intended as
a cluewriter, might as well put it in the explanations. Now if this
was supposed to be a clue as to where in the park it was, again it's
pretty bad because everyone is going to focus on the mural. I never
even saw anyone mention any handball courts.



Clue #5
Go to the place, it's no disgrace,
Where the girls shall be happy to dance
Don't look in the rough, but if you want the stuff
You may have to get dirt on your pants.

Explanation: The place is the Bible, which is quoted on the old stone monument dedicated to the conservation corps in Phalen. "The girls shall be happy to dance" refers to the beginning of Jeremiah 31:13, the later lines of which are inscribed on the monument. "Shall" hints the Bible reference. The rough line warns hunters away from nearby Phalen and Keller golf courses. Dirt on pants hints that the medallion is on the ground.

Ok, this is the clue that gets the Ann Bilansky (the woman who ran
and ran last year and neared the finish with a walker) award this
year. Like anyone would have ever figured that out.



Clue #6
Take your bow, don't aim low,
Be steady on your feet
Take a stand with your fiery band
And prepare for the coming defeat

Explanation: Street clues and topographical hints. "Don't aim low" refers to medallion's location just down from a ridge and "stand" to the trees where the medallion is hidden. Band, bow and stand suggests Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood and his merry band, which in turn leads you to Sherwood Avenue near the park. The park is one of few to have an archery range. Coming defeat suggests failin' - the aural equivalent of Phalen.

Sherwood? Sherwood? Gee, if one is going to mention Sherwood in a
clue, don't you think the Medallion maybe ought to be within a block
or two of that street instead of as far away as it could have
possibly been on the opposite side of the park?! Again this business
of telling us which park, but not where in the park, and in fact
specifically making it harder to know where in the park by giving us
conflicting landmarks with Sherwood on one side and the archery range
on the other.



Clue #7
Still up a creek? Here's where to peek,
Though be wary to avoid a wet drop
This is no foolin' - monster fish are schoolin'
Not far from the wintry crop.

Explanation: Creek refers to nearby Phalen Creek. Wet drop warns hunters away from the recently open water on Lake Phalen where ice castle blocks - the wintry crop - were harvested. Monster fish are on the mural on the side of the lakeside center. Phalen allows fishing.

This clue wasn't too bad in that most everyone was able to make sense
of it, but again, none of this stuff was anywhere near the hiding
area. It's like the cluewriter was trying to purposely lead us to
the wrong part of the park. And here we are at Clue 7 already, and
there still hasn't been a single reference to the area the medallion
was actually hidden in.



Clue #8
Tilt at a windmill, hunt till a standstill
A plump pitcher may hold you at bay
Look it's quite likely not far from old lakely
"What a bunch of malarkey!" you say.


Explanation: All clues refer to names on the 1986 Ice Palace monument near the medallion site in Phalen Park. Tilt at a windmill is refers to "Don Quixote," the book about an errant knight who fights windmills by Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes is a name on the monument as well as Plump, Pitcher, Likely, Lakely and Malarkey. "Old lakely" hints that we are talking about a name and suggests the lake.

Ok, so that tells us the park if you already suspect it's Phalen and
have time to go look at that momument. It still doesn't tell you
where in the park. If there had at least been some reference to a
castle, a monument, or even an inscription, this might have been a
more worthwhile clue. This is yet another clue that as far as I
know, absolutely no one picked up on. A clue that no one figures out
is not a good clue.



Clue #9
Go take a risk, we threw the disk
Where it seems you're far from succeedin'
Unless you are blind, the treasure you'll find
Among plants that are unfit for weedin'.

Explanation: Throwing the disk conjures ``frisbee,'' which leads to nearby Frisbie Street. Far from succeedin' would be again be "failin.'" Blind refers Helen Keller, whose last name is part of Phalen-Keller Regional Park. Not fit for weedin' puts you near the medallion hidden by a wildflower area.

Our first hint of where in the park to actually look, preceded by
several references to things in other parts of the park that seem to
outweigh it.



Clue #10
What could be bolder than killing a soldier?
A crime both evil and grim.
Accused of the deed, but soon after freed
So we name a park after him!

Explanation: Old settler Edward Phelan was accused of killing a soldier, but later freed. The creek and the park were named after him, and his name apparently had more than one spelling.

This was pretty straightforward, though kind of a waste of a clue
after "not succeedin'". Another clue referring to something in the
park near the hiding should have been sufficient to get people to
Phalen and would have been more useful. The hunt doesn't HAVE to go
to 12 clues every year.



Clue #11
Who can measure the lust for the treasure
Between lakes is a donut to own.
Up and then down, not square but round,
Look for the windows of stone.

Explanation: The donut is located between Round Lake and Phalen Lake. It is in hilly terrain. A nearby pump house had its windows closed with stone.

The most useful clue in the whole bunch.


Clue #12
You will be nifty if you remember fifty
The number that leads to the zone
You should be in Phalen. Stop the regalin'.
And go to a bridge made of stone.

It's down Phalen Drive, and should you arrive
Across the street from the golf clubhouse, observe:
The pastry you'll find by leaving the old palace behind
Cross the bridge, on the path, make the curve.

All your hunting hours lead to a sign for wildflowers
Across the path from a picnic table.
Table and sign form a line, with which you must align
Head up the hill if you're able.

Fifty large paces, you're off to the races
From the path to some tumbledown woods.
If you stay on the line, on a side-hill you'll find
Under fallen trees, a green donut, with the goods.

Inside this confection lies plastic perfection
But remember, to keep the hunt credible.
The hunt's heart and soul is inside the donut's hole
It's valuable - but definitely not edible!

Explanation: Gives directions to a stone bridge across Phalen Drive from the golf course club house. Puts hunters on the path and to a wildflower sign. Asks hunters to align themselves with the sign and a picnic table across the path. Says to go up the hill 50 large paces, staying on this line. On a side hill, under fallen-down woods, the green donut, with the medallion slipped into the donut hole, will be found. A clarifying note that the donut, sitting in snow and dirt and leaves, should not be eaten

I'm still pissed off that it was hidden in such a dangerous area.
I'm shocked no one died in all seriousness. The hill that they
wanted you to climb up and then down the other side was very steep
and very slippery, and if someone did take a nosedive, it wasn't
necessarily going to be a soft landing. With all the dead fallen
trees around, someone could have easily impaled themselves. As it
was, I got hit in the eye with a twig. No damage, but it certainly
hurt, and I slipped a few times trying to go up and down that hill.
Even when I was down there earlier in the day before the rush, it was
hard to get around in there.


So my conclusion this year is that the cluewriter must be fired.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2438
Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clue Explanations Explained!

Clue #1
Say it ain't so, Clueless Joe,
And all who prattle and bark.
Stop yer clue-bashin', if treasure's your passion,
Go you look in an area park.

Explanation: A playful counter-rip on people who ripped last year's clues, who were ably led by a popular, winter carnival-connected columnist. This clue says the treasure is in an "area park.'' This differs from the usual "city park'' clue, because Phalen is both a city park and part of the county regional park system.

Actual Explantion: This is the best clue of the hunt, information-wise. However, I will give my counter-counter-rip with ninja skills and no leadership.

Clue #2
Jughead has spoken, look for the token
We'll make it worth your while
Like Archie, you seek an object this week
As green as the Emerald Isle.

Explanation: In homage to the Archie & Friends comic (No. 7Cool, which was based on the Pioneer Press Treasure hunt, we hid the medallion in an actual, real donut with gooey green icing. In the comic version, the searchers were supposed to find a plastic green donut. They found it among books in a library. Token suggests nearby Arcade Street, and isle refers to island in the park.

Actual Explanation: This is the second best clue of the hunt, and it all goes downhill from here. I could imagine the organizers at some time in the future not hiding a medallion at all and instead hiding a vinyl siding sales staff to take advantage of the thousands of people that they manage to herd into one area bumbling around like livestock.

Clue #3
"Help me!" you say. "Any time. Any day.
It's neither here nor there."
A quite clever device, but beware false advice.
Prank? Perhaps. All is fair.

Explanation: Take the first word in each line, put them together, and it reads, "Help it's a prank," which refers to our prankish ploy of borrowing the green donut from the Archie & Friends comic book. More importantly, it's an anagram - clever device - for "It's Phalen Park."

Actual Explanation: What a prank! A merry prank, indeed! What a prankster! But, well… I'm not sure if mocking ideas is a prank, compared to… disconnecting someone's power in the middle of the night? Whatever. The anagram is valid, but to make it the only piece of information in this clue? Clue 3 or not, way to go! You now have people looking around in the snow for life support devices, and boy scouts.

Clue #4
East Side, West Side, take your honey for a ride
To a stony and sandy place
Come one, come all, ever following the bouncing ball
To the swift belongs the race.

Explanation: Stony and sandy place refers to all the Depression-era stonework and the beach on Phalen Lake and the sand traps at Phalen's golf course. The medallion is on the West Side of Phalen Lake, and the park is in St. Paul's East Side. Bouncing ball refers to the nearby green handball courts, and ride to the road and bike paths by the lake.

Actual Explanation: ...Depression era = stones and sand! ...um, how about the Mesozoic era? Stones and sand? Yup! Palaeozoic? Sure! Why didn't they just refer this one to the bible too? There was stone and sand then, I'm pretty sure. Beaches to walk on, stones to seal tombs.

Let's mention now that your honey shouldn't be taken for a ride anywhere near the cluewriter(s), with their clues becoming so bad that they are certain to have developed mental illnesses that would result in violent and inappropriate behavior should they be spoken to or approached. Also, yet again, an entire line is completely USELESS and is serving no other purpose but to dilute the hunt.


Clue #5
Go to the place, it's no disgrace,
Where the girls shall be happy to dance
Don't look in the rough, but if you want the stuff
You may have to get dirt on your pants.

Explanation: The place is the Bible, which is quoted on the old stone monument dedicated to the conservation corps in Phalen. "The girls shall be happy to dance" refers to the beginning of Jeremiah 31:13, the later lines of which are inscribed on the monument. "Shall" hints the Bible reference. The rough line warns hunters away from nearby Phalen and Keller golf courses. Dirt on pants hints that the medallion is on the ground.

Actual Explanation: Unless 'The Bible' is some new nightclub on the "Teens For Jesus" movement (I don't really pay attention), then by this time, I have lost most of my faith in the hunt. We are being manipulated by an insane person and we should look out for the "drink the kool-aid" suggestions next year, to be followed up with the "Hey, let's all commit ritual suicide!" references subsequently.

Clue #6
Take your bow, don't aim low,
Be steady on your feet
Take a stand with your fiery band
And prepare for the coming defeat

Explanation: Street clues and topographical hints. "Don't aim low" refers to medallion's location just down from a ridge and "stand" to the trees where the medallion is hidden. Band, bow and stand suggests Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood and his merry band, which in turn leads you to Sherwood Avenue near the park. The park is one of few to have an archery range. Coming defeat suggests failin' - the aural equivalent of Phalen.

Actual explanation: What's the aural equivalent of "Eat my shorts"?

Clue #7
Still up a creek? Here's where to peek,
Though be wary to avoid a wet drop
This is no foolin' - monster fish are schoolin'
Not far from the wintry crop.

Explanation: Creek refers to nearby Phalen Creek. Wet drop warns hunters away from the recently open water on Lake Phalen where ice castle blocks - the wintry crop - were harvested. Monster fish are on the mural on the side of the lakeside center. Phalen allows fishing.

Actual Explanation: *gasp* a fairly reasonable clue! Too bad we're not grading on a curve! Too bad this does nothing but help refer to the park the medallion is hidden in, which is no better than the rest of the clues. In fact, it does far more harm than good. Instead of progressively getting more specific (within reason), you're forced to do this:

Clue 1: It's on Earth, that's good. Clue 2: Phalen. Clue 3: Phalen. Clue 4: Phalen. Clue 5: Phalen...... Clue 6: Phalen?!!??! Clue 7: *sigh.....*

I must note that 4 out of 5 dentists probably took "a wet drop" to be "a waterfall," but the realm of interpretation is and should be large, and lately, it's as large as you need it to be.


Clue #8
Tilt at a windmill, hunt till a standstill
A plump pitcher may hold you at bay
Look it's quite likely not far from old lakely
"What a bunch of malarkey!" you say.

Explanation: All clues refer to names on the 1986 Ice Palace monument near the medallion site in Phalen Park. Tilt at a windmill is refers to "Don Quixote," the book about an errant knight who fights windmills by Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes is a name on the monument as well as Plump, Pitcher, Likely, Lakely and Malarkey. "Old lakely" hints that we are talking about a name and suggests the lake.

Actual Explanation: By this time in the hunt, aren't we supposed to have fewer general landmarks a quarter mile away and a few more landmarks that assist in reducing the search area, if correctly searching, to a mere hundred acres? “Malarkey” is a very kind word to illustrate what I say about it.

Clue #9
Go take a risk, we threw the disk
Where it seems you're far from succeedin'
Unless you are blind, the treasure you'll find
Among plants that are unfit for weedin'.

Explanation: Throwing the disk conjures ``frisbee,'' which leads to nearby Frisbie Street. Far from succeedin' would be again be "failin.'" Blind refers Helen Keller, whose last name is part of Phalen-Keller Regional Park. Not fit for weedin' puts you near the medallion hidden by a wildflower area.

Actual Explanation: Frisbie Street! I had been searching so long and hard to find a good street reference since the beginning of the hunt! And now, my prayers had been answered!! Answered in the form of a small street WHICH IS COMPLETELY USELESS OTHER THAN TO SUGGEST THAT THE *$@#ING MEDALLION IS IN PHALEN PARK, JUST LIKE THE OTHER FIFTY CLUES.

Clue #10
What could be bolder than killing a soldier?
A crime both evil and grim.
Accused of the deed, but soon after freed
So we name a park after him!

Explanation: Old settler Edward Phelan was accused of killing a soldier, but later freed. The creek and the park were named after him, and his name apparently had more than one spelling.

Actual Explanation: Wow, it's really Phalen? Really? ...naw!!

Clue #11
Who can measure the lust for the treasure
Between lakes is a donut to own.
Up and then down, not square but round,
Look for the windows of stone.

Explanation: The donut is located between Round Lake and Phalen Lake. It is in hilly terrain. A nearby pump house had its windows closed with stone.

Actual Explanation: Hey! If you had been doing your job as a smart hunter, you'd already know that it's around this area! So what's more appropriate than to waste yet another clue! I must admit that the windows of stone is a great absolute reference. I must also admit that it's god awful to make it THE ONLY ABSOLUTE REFERENCE OF THE HUNT SO FAR.

Clue #12
You will be nifty if you remember fifty
The number that leads to the zone
You should be in Phalen. Stop the regalin'.
And go to a bridge made of stone.

It's down Phalen Drive, and should you arrive
Across the street from the golf clubhouse, observe:
The pastry you'll find by leaving the old palace behind
Cross the bridge, on the path, make the curve.

All your hunting hours lead to a sign for wildflowers
Across the path from a picnic table.
Table and sign form a line, with which you must align
Head up the hill if you're able.

Fifty large paces, you're off to the races
From the path to some tumbledown woods.
If you stay on the line, on a side-hill you'll find
Under fallen trees, a green donut, with the goods.

Inside this confection lies plastic perfection
But remember, to keep the hunt credible.
The hunt's heart and soul is inside the donut's hole
It's valuable - but definitely not edible!

Explanation: Gives directions to a stone bridge across Phalen Drive from the golf course club house. Puts hunters on the path and to a wildflower sign. Asks hunters to align themselves with the sign and a picnic table across the path. Says to go up the hill 50 large paces, staying on this line. On a side hill, under fallen-down woods, the green donut, with the medallion slipped into the donut hole, will be found. A clarifying note that the donut, sitting in snow and dirt and leaves, should not be eaten.

Real Explanation: They could have completely erased clues 1-11 and written clues with 4 stanzas of nothing but the word 'vibescu'. It would have still come to pass that this would come to the bitter end. Why? Because of extraordinary odds?! How few hunts we have where all 12 clues are revealed! It must be chance at work, yet again!

WRONG.

I would be happy if the Pioneer Press would give the hunt winner a $10 gift certificate to Target, a tee shirt, and the opportunity to get on the parade float to show the rest of the community, "Hey, I won! Hurrah for me, I figured it out," which I might add is not a possibility this year for the winner, either, since the parade was last week. I'd still hunt with the same vigor, and I'd imagine the only people left would be ones I'd rather meet along the way compared to recent memory.

Instead, with a $10,000.00 or more bounty, everybody and their friends who don't know how to park their cars are looking for this thing, and apparently the only appropriate way to accommodate the entire crowd is to water the hunt down so badly that it confuses everyone and becomes an event where thousands of people are herded into an area upon the final clue, and no matter how hard you tried until this point, you have the same chance of finding this thing as John Doe, who heard from a friend of a friend that he could show up and find a prize. Everyone gets a chance, and the winner is equal to a lottery winner, not a problem solver. People go home with the feeling that they were there, and they could have won, and perhaps I'm the only one, but I have a very empty feeling inside because of this turn of events.

Perhaps the Pioneer Press feels that if the hunt is made logically like in years past, people become upset when someone finds it on clue #6 or #7. But, I believe that this is what should happen as the result of good thinking and the blessing of a little luck. You SHOULD have to solve the clues to find the medallion, and a lucky find is to function as a fortunate reward of your skills. The last clue isn't supposed to serve as a climax to the event, but a way of saying, "Hey, numbskulls, can't you figure it out yet? No? Let me spell it out for you, then."

In my humble opinion, there was no reasonable way to locate this year's medallion based on any of the first 11 clues, and even with the 12th, it took thousands of people more than 8 hours to find it. There was little to no landmarking to be done to pinpoint a digging area, short of the pumphouse reference in #11, and by that time it didn't even matter because the last clue was obviously on its way.

To quote a wiser friend of mine in my summary, this is “B” as in “B,” “S” as in “S”.

Let’s hope someone is fired, someone else is hired, and someday in the future, people with the ability to solve problems might have a chance at the hunt, which used to be one of my favorite times of the year.

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arrive...raise heck...leave (SCSA)
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