Medallion hunters Michelle, Brad, and Katie in summer.

Just about the time our Vikings’ season is over, all of the grass is covered by snow. The mornings of scraping the ice off your windshield have become repetitive. It’s getting to the coldest time of the year. Thanks to the great City of Saint Paul, there’s a week of celebration in the snow. Parents and their families come out of their homes. It’s like a Minnesota version of a hibernation break. After months of being indoors, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and the great treasure hunt are finally here!

This quest has been part of my family’s winter for years—it may be the only time besides holidays that we all get together. The common ground is searching for that elusive treasure medallion: the excitement that the morning paper will be arriving soon, the phone conversations with your fellow hunters and co-workers. It all builds up; you start to figure things out. The streets, the landmarks, and finally the park. The constant reading of the clues gets you writing in verse and speaking in rhyme. The one thing we all believe: “It’s going to be our time!”

Day Seven of Treasure Hunting, 1-30-07

Well, it’s 1:15 on Tuesday morning, and I didn’t last long tonight. The wind was a-howling and a bitter chill has gotten the best of me. I spent about an hour in my spot from yesterday. But my feet kept getting too cold; four pairs of socks did me no good. I think I need some boots and warming pads to keep my feet warmer.

Still, just being out there with the rest of the hunters makes a guy feel right where he belongs: here in Minnesota. Today’s clue gives up the park here in Roseville. The ground is getting packed, and the shoveling has become more like scraping. Tomorrow is gonna be fun. With only two clues left, there should be a pinpoint on which part of the great Central Park I should be looking in.

There were a couple hundred there tonight on the Lexington side. It will be thousands by tomorrow, if the medallion is still in the snow. Reminds me of fishing with my dad. When we would be the only boat in sight. Catching fish like bears. Then the boats would start coming around, closer and closer. Until there was a swarm around us, trying to steal our spot. The hunt reminds me of things like that. You know, similarities. You try to protect your spot like a lion protects its pride. I guess that part is somewhat enjoyable for me. Well, off to bed. Maybe, if lucky, another chance at the dig tomorrow night.

Day Eight of Treasure Hunting, 1-31-07

Day eight was definitely great! With a clue not so true. Hopes that grew as the day followed through. Came to a halt at Lexington Avenue. Yes, these clues have me rhyming and finelining my timing! Hunters by the numbers flocked to the flag east of the parking lot. Armed with new boots, warm clothes, and a headlight and joined by my mother, we picked up the scent of our familiar grounds. Central Park is like our turf after growing up here and walking around the lake for many years. Has us feeling like it’s ours to be had. An hour or so passed, and hunters were cashed, except for those with a bonfire and a drink or two.

The news camera found me again. Not sure which station, but I’ll check it out in the morning to see if I made it again. I want to make a wish. I wish that no one finds the treasure while I’m at work tomorrow. Okay—I feel better!

Brad Yaritz works as a pharmacy technician during the day and as a college student in the evenings. During the Minnesota summer he enjoys playing softball, fishing, and cheering on the Twins. When wintertime comes about, he loves getting involved in the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and cheering on the Wild and Vikings. He currently lives in Roseville.