After years of being so close, Dale Miller completed the 12th annual Nevada Day Treasure Hunt this year.
“It feels good to have worked so hard and to have finally found it,” he said. “It felt like someone was always one step ahead of me.”
Miller, 35, a fourth-generation Nevadan born and raised in Reno, participates in the hunt each year.
“I love Nevada history,” he said. “This is hands-down my favorite time of the year. I look forward to it rolling around every October.”
Miller found the medallion Wednesday afternoon behind a small stone house in Crystal Peak Park in Verdi, following the clue that alluded to the 5,000 earthquakes in that area known as the Verdi-Mogul Swarm.
“Today was the first day I was confident that I had enough information to go out and look without just wandering aimlessly,” he said.
Off of work, he took his 2-year-old daughter, Dylan, to the park to look around.
“At first, I thought I’d found a geocache,” he said. “Then I flipped it over and recognized the printing on the bag. I couldn’t believe it.”
Miller found the medallion on the eighth day of the 15-day hunt, organized by the Olson family. It coincides each year with the Nevada’s celebration of statehood.
The first person to find the treasure, a small acrylic square containing a Nevada Day Treasure Hunt medallion, receives a $1,000 prize.
Miller typically checks the clues first thing in the morning, then mulls the meaning.
“They’re very multifaceted,” he said. “They can point you in three different directions at the same time. You have to figure out what angle you’re going to go after.”
Even when he doesn’t decipher the clue, he said, it’s never a waste of time.
“I learn things about our state I never knew.”
He often teams up with his mother-in-law, Louise. However, not everyone in his family is as fascinated by the hunt.
“My wife is really happy the treasure has been found, regardless of who found it,” he said. “Now, I can shut up about it.”