UTAH (ABC4) – After 17 days, the $10,000 Utah Treasure Hunt is over.
The treasure chest containing the cash was recovered at approximately 3 p.m. on Monday near Heughs Canyon Trail in Holladay by Andy Swanger of Draper, as confirmed first with ABC4.com by the buriers of the treasure, David Cline and John Maxim.
Cline and Maxim, along with the winner’s family, were there to greet Swanger at the beginning of the hiking trail as he made his way back to the parking lot with the chest, and the money, in tow.
“She wasn’t with me, but when I told her, she got the kids in the car and met me at the trailhead with everybody,” Swanger explains.
“It was just so fun to see the kids run to him once they spotted him with it,” Cline recalls of Swanger’s descent back to the trailhead. “It was just so awesome.”
The treasure hunt, which received national attention at the peak of its excitement, kicked off on June 19 with a cryptically written poem posted on Cline and Maxim’s Instagram accounts. The two friends added additional hints and clues to further clarify where the treasure lay hidden in the weeks that followed.
“I’ll be honest, I kind of lucked into it,” Swanger explains of the series of events that led to the discovery. “There was a memorial plaque that had a picture of pickaxe on it and it would have led you right to it if you went up the hill right there, but I kind of came to it the back way.”
When the hunt first began for the treasure, Cline and Maxim, who both held a similar stunt last year involving $5,000 that was found in the Rocky Mount Trail Head area by Cameron Brunt, interest grew to an incredibly high level.
Cline tells ABC4.com that he and Maxim were receiving over 1,000 direct messages each per day with would-be treasure finders expressing their appreciation for the hunt, telling stories from the trail, and begging for additional information to find the money.
“It’s grown into this crazy thing and I just never would have even imagined this,” Cline told ABC4.com on July 2.
Now that it’s over, Cline admits he’s happy to have the weight of hundreds of folks looking for money in the wildness off his back.
“It kind of got bigger than I anticipated and it was kind of stressing me out,” he explains And so, I think it was perfect. Hopefully, everyone that went out had fun and enjoyed getting outside and trying to solve the poem but yeah, for me personally, I can’t speak for John but I’m, I’m kind of relieved.”
Swanger says that his lucky find on Monday was his fifth time searching for the treasure. With his winnings, he and his family are planning to pay some bills and head off on a vacation to one of the happiest places on earth.
“The kids really want to go to Disneyland, so that’s kind of the plan.”