LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — The cache at the end of the Secret Trust Adventure, a real-life treasure hunt created by Uncharted Lancaster and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, was found last weekend by a team of Lancaster County residents.
Donna Longenecker, her two kids and a family friend, all long-time Lancaster County residents, took home the treasure: $1,000 in one-dollar coins and a painting by a local artist, which also serves as a clue in the treasure hunt.
The Secret Trust Adventure entails six clues, released over six weeks, that reveal the GPS coordinates of the loot. Treasure hunters also receive a poem to use in combination with the painting by Scott Cantrell to help figure out the location of the cache.
The poem was key in helping the successful searchers locate the treasure, which they did after solving the clue for just one part of the GPS coordinates, finding the cache in the very first weekend of the six-week-long treasure hunt.
Longenecker says that she and her three teammates spent time at their computers researching different parts of the poem first. “Using those clues and deciphering everything along with our knowledge of local history, that got us close to the area,” she says.
They started searching the area right away, but they had a lot of ground to cover and weren’t able to locate the cache without more information. The first number of the GPS coordinates was all they needed, though, and once they solved for that, “that narrowed down our search and zeroed in on things,” Longenecker says.
Although the grand prize in the Secret Trust Adventure has been claimed, the game isn’t over yet. Adam Zurn, founder of Uncharted Lancaster and a board member of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, explains that the rest of the clues will be released as scheduled, and a new second-place prize of $200 in coins is now up for grabs.
To collect this prize, an individual or team must be the first to complete all six weekly challenges, revealing the full set of GPS coordinates, in addition to finding the hidden cache. Everyone else who locates the treasure will be able to take home a commemorative 3-D printed medallion.
“People were really excited that there were winners, and a lot of people were like, ‘This is still going to go on, right?'” says Zurn. “A lot of people want to get out there and see if they can find that same hidden spot themselves.”
There are five weeks left in the treasure hunt, and it’s not too late to join in. To receive the clues, treasure hunters just have to become members of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.
“It was a lot of fun,” Longenecker says. She also jokes, “It was a lot of research…It was a lot of exercise, also.” Longenecker says she and her teammates are still deciding what to do with their prize, although they plan to donate a portion of the money.
Zurn says he would like to hold a treasure hunt again next year, maybe with some more difficult clues.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new information about the second-place prize in the Secret Trust Adventure.