Mixing Nevada history with mystery, the 12th annual Nevada Day Treasure Hunt begins Oct. 7.
Laurie Olson, who organizes the hunt with her family, said the event is fun for the creators.
“In the spring we start doing day trips to different places to learn and do research,” she said. “We have a lot of fun doing that.”
Starting Oct. 7, the Nevada Appeal and www.nevada appeal.com will publish a daily clue about the whereabouts of this year’s treasure. It could be anywhere in Carson City or Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey, Mineral or Washoe counties. Because the Appeal does not publish on Mondays, that day’s clue will be available only online. If you don’t have online access, call the editor at 775-881-1221 to receive the clue. Clues will be given Monday through Friday.
The first person to find the treasure, a small acrylic square containing a Nevada Day Treasure Hunt medallion, will get a $1,000 prize.
The prize is forfeited if the hidden treasure is not found within 15 clues.
The Olsons were avid participants in a similar hunt in Oregon that ran during the annual Rose Festival. When they moved to Nevada 16 years ago, Laurie’s son Jesse suggested they start one of their own in the Silver State. A family tradition was born.
When it comes time to write the clues, she said, the family — Laurie, her husband, Pete, and their grown children Jennifer Walker and Jesse — sits down around the kitchen table and look them over. She said it takes about a month for the clues to be written. Olson’s 88-year-old mother, Joy Samsel, runs the nonprofit organization.
“We work on this all year,” she said, adding that the family researches about places and Nevada history before writing the clues. “By the time we write the clue, we’ve done a lot of prep work.”
The clues draw upon the state’s history, geography and other tidbits.
“It gets easier with experience,” Olson said about the clues, “But it is still quite a challenge to make sure it is not too easy or not too hard. You don’t want to make it so hard people get discouraged — you have to find a happy medium.”
The medallion is inside a leather pouch and hidden on public property. It will not be buried, and searchers won’t have to climb or do anything physical except walk up to retrieve it. Searchers will not have to make any purchases to find it.
Prospective treasure hunters should go to nvdaytreasurehunt.com to read the frequently asked questions and past clues, which contain explanations for each.
The person who finds the treasure should bring it to the Nevada Appeal, 580 Mallory Way, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Players must be 18 or older to participate.