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Local treasure hunt offers real gold and real adventure for families

COVID-19 has turned even the most well-traveled and adventurous families and individuals into hermits. However, a group of entrepreneurs who met on a mission to Peru are offering a chance of a treasure for those willing to have their social distancing with a side of outdoor fun!

In fact, the group behind The Treasure Dash (thetreasuredash.com) gives family members time to pause the digital adventures found on phones, tablets and game consoles and trade them in for real-world, flesh-and-bone adventures where loved ones get outside and interact with nature — and each other.

“Earlier this year, we decided to launch a business that gives individuals and families a fun option for getting outside, especially with all that is going on in the world right now,” says Logan McCune, one of the five founders of The Treasure Dash. The Treasure Dash is an adventure race for families and individuals driven by a fictitious storyline. There are two separate dashes — one for families and a more difficult dash for individuals more used to adventure racing — that each offers a treasure of gold for the first one to reach it. The real gold treasure waiting to be found is worth at least $500 to $1,000 each.

“The storyline for the Utah dashes is based on old legends of lost Aztec gold in Utah,” Logan says. “The website has a fun background story based on a fictitious secret society founded in ancient Egypt to protect the world’s lost treasures, a society that still exists today.”

The story invites adventurers to join the ranks in helping the secret society find the lost Aztec treasures.

When a family or individual registers for The Treasure Dash, with its accompanying $50 cost per household, they receive an email that offers some initial investigative tasks that prepares them for the dash.

“These tasks may include studying online the history of the treasure that the dash is based upon, to learn some of the real history and to be ready for any clues that may be based on this history,” Logan says.

The Treasure Dash in Utah, which is the first of many planned by the company, officially begins on the evening of Oct. 23, when another email is sent that includes all the clues necessary to find the treasure. The organizers believe most people will begin their outdoor search the morning of Oct. 24 and anticipate that it may take a day or two for both treasures to be found.

“They should be prepared for exploration, a bit of hiking or walking, and a lot of fun and adventure,” Logan says.

The first family or person to find each treasure gets to take it home and keep it. Others who find the treasure’s hiding spot but discover the treasure is not there anymore are invited to take a selfie in front of the spot and send it in. If it is verified that they are in the right place where the treasure had been hidden, they will receive a voucher for free ice cream on the way home.

The family-friendly “Sphinx Dash” is for all ages and its treasure will be hidden in a fairly easy location to get to. The “Advanced Dash” treasure will be hidden in a harder – but still safe – place to hike to. Both locations of the hidden treasure are within a one-hour driving distance from the Greater Salt Lake area.

The idea for a family-friendly treasure hunt company came from one of the founder’s personal experiences making similar history-based adventures for his children, nieces and nephews during family reunions.

“I’ve put together hunts in places like the Oregon Coast and, most recently, last year in Hawaii during a family reunion out there,” Logan says. “All of the kids – and even the adults – in my extended family had fun doing them and it was great for me to see my family members enjoy the experience.”

In fact, all five founders like a nice legend or tall tale, so the chance to tell a story, bring families together and provide a healthy entertainment option drew them in. The two races in Utah are the first of several planned around the country. The group is planning dashes in Austin, Texas in November and in San Antonio, Texas in December. Next year, the group plans to have Treasure Dash adventures in Washington State, Peru, Costa Rica, and other US states — and even more dashes in Utah and Texas.

If you’re interested in a family-friendly adventure the weekend of Oct. 23 around the Wasatch Front, sign up now at thetreasuredash.com.

Visit thetreasuredash.com and use code UTAHVALLEY360 for 20% off. 

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