The Manitou Days Medallion Hunt was created by Burnet Realty in 1980 and is the oldest continuous suburban treasure hunt in the Twin Cities Metro Area. The event was the brainchild of real estate agents Jan Rapheal and Sandy Espe Sorenson. They enlisted the help of Jack Moser, then clue writer for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt. The reigns were passed to real estate agent Jan Holtz from 1995-2012, before they returned to Sandy Espe Sorenson in 2013. White Bear Lake native, Chad O’Leary, has written the clues since 1995.
The 2019 Medallion has been found!
Congratulations to Kate Peck, of White Bear Lake, on finding this year's medallion. The discovery came just before 3:00PM at Lakewood Hills Park The wooden medallion had been glued to the end of a broken branch and slid back into the trunk of the tree. An account of Kate's find, as written by her, is posted below. Can you relate to her thought process?
Thank you to for all who participated in this year's difficult pursuit!
An explanation of this year's clues can be found HERE.
"The clue writer asked me to write a brief description of how I found the medallion, specifically where I had been concentrating my hunt. This made me laugh out loud because I had been everywhere looking for this medallion and the story isn’t brief. I started at Bald Eagle Park (near Benson airport) and went several places from there … Division Avenue, White Bear Bar, the memorial on Clark Ave, South Campus (once known as Mariner). Along with a great team of friends and family, I went up and down, back and forth several times. I finally stopped at the Chamber to pick up a map, and when I mapped those places out, I realized it made a perfect line. I haven’t read the actual clue explanation yet and don’t know if that was intentional or not. As my friend Joel said, “It’s remarkable how we can make anything mean anything.” It’s the references to The Odyssey that really got me. I knew they were important, but couldn’t figure out how. As somebody who LOVES this time of year in White Bear Lake, I’m an avid reader and studier of the clues, so I was looking for wordplay. I got hung up on the total nonsense of the stanza with “Murray and Lauren emitted a sigh —“ I felt this had to be some sort of wordplay and wrestled with it for awhile. Eventually I googled “maleas” and my heart started racing when it connected with The Odyssey. However, Google spelled it in a variety of ways and told me that it was a variety of things. This is when I pulled out my old textbooks (I’m a Language Arts teacher) and refreshed my memory on the journey of Odysseus. Topographically speaking, this brought me back to Bald Eagle Park because there is a peninsula that looks much like the cape. I headed up there on Wednesday morning convinced I was going to find it, but I learned that peninsula was a wetland that I could access without a boat. I recalled Zeus sent a storm (near Cape Maleas) that blew Odysseus off course toward The Land of the Lotus Eaters, and was really irritated that I knew I had figured out something HUGE, but couldn’t figure out what it meant. I was actually driving to Bald Eagle Park on Wednesday when the clue dropped, and my husband and I turned around after I read it because it didn’t make any sense. I posted on Facebook that this clue brought me to the Washington Square Bar & Grill for a glass of wine, and I wasn’t kidding. Before going to bed, I texted my friend Jana to ask her — in total disbelief — if she thought it was possible that the medallion was back at Lakewood Park. We both adamantly agreed it wasn’t possible, but then we kept texting each other about how Mike was clearly a throwback … and then we started seeing all these other connections. We both agreed that a good night of sleep was needed and were texting each other again bright and early in the morning. It was not long before we were both absolutely convinced it was back at Lakewood. She had spent sleepless hours scouring last year’s clues, and she pointed out similarity after similarity. I then told her I was starting to think Lakewood is where the lotus eaters are, and the medallion didn’t have the will to leave."
"I made a playdate with another clue hunting dad, who happened to be home from work, and we headed out with our littlest kids in tow. Having scoured this park forward and backward last year - and totally looking in the wrong spots - I felt like an expert. I also revisited last years’ clues/explanations. So I felt it was pointing toward the baseball fields, Bergeron Lake, the lines of trees (pine and otherwise), and the frisbee golf course. When I found the wall, I knew I had found something good. It even lined up on the map with the “wall” I felt the clue writer had made all the way up to Bald Eagle Park/Benson airport.
We all looked as well as we could with little kids, but they were getting tired and we had to get home. My oldest daughter had arrived home from her morning orchestra camp, and my younger daughter was napping. I was debriefing with Rosemary and she pointed out that she could babysit and I could go back. This struck me as a brilliant idea, so I went back armed with gloves, a rake, and bug spray. I started at the north end of the wall, and began working my way down. I was looking everywhere, but various clues ( coupled with the fact that the clue has been found under something for several past hunts) were leading me to think I would be standing and it would be in a groove.
The wall led me to this big tree and I just knew I had to climb in and look around. I rubbed my hands up and down the bark looking for something loose, and all of a sudden I pulled a stick out of a hole in the tree. I looked inside the hole, saw nothing, and started to put the stick back. Thankfully I noticed the bottom of the stick had a really interesting design and took a look at it. I really wasn’t expecting that - and I almost put the medallion back in its hiding spot!
The last - and most important thing - to note is that even though I was alone when I found it, I had a great team of friends and family with whom I could not have done this without! Jana Guggisberg, Joel Giese, and John Spielman (friends), Mary Alice Divine (my mom), Joel Peck (my husband), and Rosemary Peck (brilliant child of babysitting age) were all incredibly valuable when it came to figuring out this hunt and finding the medallion. I should also shout-out to my 3-year-old daughter who has been excited every day and night to “go on an adventure” while we hunt.
The next time one of my students asks why classic literature even matters, boy will I have a story to tell!"