Local treasure hunters find the $20,000 prizeJul 14, 2022 01:01PM ● By Becky Ginos
Ira Rice, Rachelle Rice and Michael Rose with the treasure box they found on the Ben Lomond Trail near North Ogden. The trio were part of a treasure hunt that led them to the $20,000 prize. Courtesy photo
KAYSVILLE—Finding buried treasure has been the stuff of legends, but for three Bountiful High grads it became a reality last month when they solved a puzzle that led them to the $20,000 pot.
For the last couple of years, real estate investors David Cline and John Maxim have posted a poem on social media with clues to lead treasure hunters to the booty and this year, Kaysville residents Ira Rice and Rachelle Rice and Rachelle’s brother Michael Rose were the lucky ones to find it.
“Last year Mike brought the treasure hunt up,” said Ira. “We tried it out and came close so this year we were determined to get it. Deep down we knew it was a long shot but it fueled the fire to go find it. We jumped right on it to follow the clues that would lead us to the treasure. You could make a number of the clues work so I was feeling a little bit discouraged.”
People were focusing on the latter part of the poem instead of the first part, he said. “We focused on the first part and it seemed like the clue ‘sending a warning’ was about movies. Mike is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and I Googled peaks and found out that Ben Lomond meant Beacon Hill. Mike put that together because Beacon Hill was where they communicated warnings from in Lord of the Rings.”
They scoped out the trail and got really excited, said Ira. “The night before we were all hyped up. We almost went out with headlamps to do a night hike. But instead we told Mike to be at our house at 5 a.m. That took a willingness to get out of bed and enjoy the outdoors.”
“We were meeting at 5 a.m. but I woke up at 4 a.m.,” said Mike. “I met Ira and Rachelle and we drove up to the trailhead. Little did we know there would be road closure signs to the trailhead. We wondered, ‘would they put a treasure on a road that is closed?’ We said ‘let’s try going around to the backside of the (Ogden) canyon.’ We confirmed the road had only recently been closed.”
The trio decided to walk to the trail. “Ira was driving and I found a side trail we could take to that,” Mike said. “We felt really good about this trail. It was only an extra mile, not to the peak but where we thought it would be.”
They found a very small trail and started the hike from up there, said Ira. “From there we made it to the original trailhead and we were going through the poem as we were hiking. The clue said where two birds feed. There were switchbacks that looked like birds that could fit for going around or through where two birds feed.”
Google maps showed from the top looking down was a parking lot, Ira said. “The clue said look down on your faithful steed like a car in the parking lot. We were getting pretty excited. We got to the next part and started heading west to turn from the sun. That fell into our poem.”
Things were lining up, he said. “So we thought, ‘so far, so good.’ The trail makes a heart shape but we weren’t too positive if how we were interpreting it was the way they interpreted it.”
The clue said to wave to the weather at the top of the peak, said Ira. “That’s another Lord of the Rings reference. We kept going and not too long after the fork came back together to a tree that was all alone where the poem said you’ll find the treasure under a stone.”
Rachelle got to the tree first and found one or two stones, he said. “They were not big and she turned them over but there was nothing there. We went up a little farther and it opened up into a big field with pretty greenery and tons of stones like the hills all singing from the Sound of Music,” another clue in the poem.
Ira said they all spread out and started looking under all of the stones they could. “We were getting discouraged and thought we’d call it a day then I saw a little light that flickered off the ground. I caught something that was not natural. I went to look and it was a trail camera. I thought I should go where it is looking. I told Rachelle and Mike, ‘watch this’ and I ran to the rock. I knew there was a good chance we’d found the treasure. I thought, ‘It’s got to be under here.’”
They pulled up the rock and there it was. “We were anything but quiet,” said Ira. “We gave each other huge high fives. We were like 5-year-olds in the backyard finding a treasure. It was so much fun carrying the box down. We were somehow lucky enough to stumble on this.”
“It wasn’t just luck,” said Rachelle. “They’re both smart and methodical.”
They already have plans for the $20,000. “All the girls in the family got Tevas and we’re going to take a trip with the money,” said Ira. “Our oldest son has been battling cancer for nine months. We hope to use that money to take him on a trip. That’s the plan.”
“We just had our first baby,” said Mike. “We’ll pay some bills and go on a vacation we can do with a 5-month-old.”
“We’ll do it again next year,” said Ira. “Doing it together as a family through the highs and lows creates memories that will last a long time.”
“That’s the real treasure,” said Mike. λ