2021 Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt of 2021 was the year of the bear made out of stone. Who knew there were so many rock formations scattered throughout the Wasatch Front that resembled bears? Learning from out mistakes in 2020, John and I set out to make this hunt a little harder.

The most important clue is always the first one. We didn’t really see anyone even close until a few weeks in when we released the “Bonus Clue” in the email changing the words to “Where Sailors Rest.”

Once again, the response of the community completely blew us away and for 3 weeks we felt like we were in the eye of hurricane as we tried to respond to thousands of dm’s and absolutely loved following along so many peoples adventures.

The 2021 Winner

Rumors of the chest being found had us working extra hard this year. A few days before the chest was found, John sat a mile away in his car with a spotting scope and guided me up the mountain while we talked on the phone. It felt like a special operation as he guided me around groups of treasure hunters on the trail.

When John called me early on the morning of 4th of July weekend, I thought it was another false alarm until he showed me a screenshot of someone with the chest under their arm. We hurried over to the trailhead where we met his wife and daughters waiting for Andy Swanger, the winner of the 2021 Utah Treasure Hunt. He had been searching that area the day before and decided to skip work because he just couldn’t push away the “good feeling” he had. Can’t argue with those feeling you sometimes get.

We didn’t know this until later, but it turns out Andy is a veteran and him finding the chest over the 4th of July weekend was poetic and beautiful. We wish him and his family the very best.

ABC4 covered 2021’s treasure hunt extensively and wrote numerous articles as they followed along.

The Solve

Begin your search where hikers rest, majestic slopes all facing west

This is the most important line of the entire poem. Originally I had written “where sailors rest.” But after consulting with John, we decided to change it to “Where hikers rest” to make it a little more difficult. This line refers to “Canyon Cove” the neighborhood where the trail is found.

Through the tunnel of emerald green, follow the river creek or spring

I think everyone understood this line to mean a canopy of trees as you follow the trail and that was correct. The funny side note is I didn’t know if the water was a river creek or spring so I wrote the line to reflect that. Some people have said because I used the word “emerald” it was another clue because the name Heughs is Irish. That is one of many unintended coincidences that happened this year.

When the black bird clicks turn to port, if you reach the end you’ve come up short

One click = 1 kilometer. As the crow flies (black bird) after one kilometer you turn left (To Port) onto the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Most people hiking Heughs Canyon end at the waterfall. If you reach the end you’ve come up short.

Begin to climb when your path swings north, picking your way back and forth

After you turn onto the BST, you are mostly headed west. When the trail turns north, that is when you begin to climb. There was a double meaning in the word “swing” because you begin to climb when the golf course comes into full view. Another crazy coincidence is the plaque of the miner swinging a pick. I didn’t even know this existed until I started seeing pictures of it all over. A lot of people began to climb at the plaque but doing that would put you just a little too far west of where the chest was.

Soon you’ll find you’re not alone, greet the bear made out of stone

I have gotten a lot of flack over our bear/llama. When I first saw the rock formation, I immediately thought of the Coca Cola bear sitting down enjoying a nice cold drink. I definitely admit though that there were way better bears out there than ours.

Along the bottom of the cliffs is key, the chest awaits beneath the tree

Once you greet the bear/llama you follow those same cliffs around east and you will find a small alcove. The tree we hid the chest under had been long time dead. One group of hunters literally had lunch on top of the chest because they were looking for a beautiful live tree.

With treasure in hand enjoy the views, the sun kissed reds and salty blues

This was the other line we changed from the original poem. I thought it would be clever to end the poem with “sun kissed reds and orange hues.” Another play on words with hues. But once again we thought of last year and how smart people are. I changed it to salty blues because of the BST and the fact you can see the great salt lake.


Who knew there were so many rock formations throughout the Wasatch Front that resembled bears?

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