Finding the rock was no walk in the park last week, but Pablo Velasco and his team finally tracked it down on Saturday.
Well, it was almost a walk in the park -- it was a hike. Velasco, along with his sister and father, Maira and German Velasco, found the rock in some bushes next to the bench at the top of the Dakota Ridge trail.
Velasco only started looking for the rock on Friday, when he first learned the hunt even existed. It was the "rest" part of Friday's bonus clue, "I went hiking! And when I got to the top, I needed a rest before tumbling back down the stone steps," that clinched it.
"We went up Dakota Ridge, the three of us plus my dog Wookie. We were looking for it and we didn't know exactly where it was. We knew it had to be on the trail and we searched the stone steps and it was the last clue that gave us the exact location -- taking a rest before tumbling back down the stone steps. So my dad was the one that really pushed us to get to the top again and do a search. He crawled -- literally crawled -- in the bushes and found it. We couldn't believe it when he pulled it out."
On Friday, Velasco also had the help of his girlfriend, Gillian McGinnis and a friend. They hiked up the ridge that day, but it started to rain, and they had two birthday parties to go to.
It turns out Velasco can't resist a good treasure hunt. At the second party, they talked with other people about looking for the rock and got motivated to do some research.
Going off the "Road to Wellville" and "I was feeling down, so I went up" clues, they did some Googling and came across stories about tuberculosis and sanitarium patients hiking the areas trails. (The name Sanitas comes from sanitarium.)
"With excitement that we had, we decided to go the next day," Velasco said.
In fact, they tried to go up again at night, but realized it would be too dark for an effective search and postponed until the early morning. McGinnis was busy on Saturday, but German Velasco, a lover of treasure hunts himself, joined the second day's search party.
"My dad was the one who really pushed us to the top again," Pablo Velasco said.
All of them plan to split the prize money, and Velasco said he'll let everyone duke it out over the RiotFest tickets.