2 Apr 2015


The story Treasure! was written following a vacation to Michigan. We had stopped by my sisters to see their new house on the lake and enjoy some time together. My brother-in-law, who is mostly kid himself, had hidden a ‘treasure’ on the island in their back yard. When the kids heard about it they decided it was time to take out a canoe and go on the hunt.

When we got back to Maryland I wrote this story, added a treasure map, and sent a copy back for their enjoyment. I took the events of the day, added some descriptive names, and colored in the details. The result is a memorable story about an event my kids enjoyed with their cousins, and I hope it will stay with them for years to come.

Treasure in Michigan
Where in the world is treasure found?

The Story Begins

The sun was falling into the western sky. The treasure seekers reviewed the final clues, took a radio from the mission director, and pushed Discovery from the dock. With swift, sure strokes they glided through the calm water, over the sandy bottom, and toward their goal.

Discovery on the loose!

This evening was the culmination of intense planning and good fortune. The team came together from as far away as Maryland synchronizing their visits and covering their intentions with stories providing perfect alibis. Some were ‘attending graduation parties’, others ‘on vacation’. They had arranged a casual dinner near the site then excused themselves after the main course with just enough time to make a run for it. The host and other dinner guests never suspected anything unusual, and if things went just right they would be back in time for dessert.

Treasure Map
A detailed treasure map

On the hunt….

Helmsman set a course for the leeward side of the island where they would beach Discovery and stage for the push around the southern coastline. At the bow was Power Stroke, a paddler who was dragging the team forward with each mighty pull. Amid-ships Map Master and Tactician were putting finishing touches on the plan. After an intense discussion it was settled. They would travel light, and when they reached site papa tango two they would push inland following previously discovered clues towards the target.

They arrived without incident, right on schedule. The landing zone was quiet and they got ashore with out being spotted. After securing Discovery and their gear they started hiking. While on the move they carefully observed their surroundings for any signs that the mission had been compromised. Fortunately all was clear. They arrived at papa tango one without incident but had some problems finding the trail towards the next way-point.

The team spread out looking for the trail. Map Master found telltale signs of a path and they were off again. Finally, papa tango two — dead ahead. The team started marking off the clues then begin a grid pattern search. They continued for what seemed an eternity. No dice. The team split, one squad going back to the LZ for dual use paddle/spade gear while the other squad continued the search. When the squads came back together they risked breaking radio silence for additional support from the mission director. More searching. Running out of time. Painfully, a decision to abort.

The team slumped back to the boat and paddled back to the docks. The timing was good and the hosts didn’t catch on. They would have one more try, and desert was magnificent. Home made strawberry/rhubarb and raspberry/blueberry pie, outstanding.

Treasure Hot Wash
Hot wash & planning for a second run…

Another Try

Later that night, during the mission hot wash, the team surfaced several ideas for a second attempt. Now that the route was mapped Helmsman and Power Stroke could be swapped for more effective search capability and the team reinforced with heavy equipment and sapping expertise. By adding Diviner and Sapper the team would have a better chance of success with only a minimal increase of risk.

Treasure Island
Treasure Island in the misty morning.

The day dawned cool with a hint of rain and whispers of mist floating on the waters. The newly constituted team boarded Discovery and pointed towards the LZ. They arrived without incident and Diviner homed in on the target with guidance from Map Master. Sapper kicked off the dig with #2 heavy and within minutes Tactician lit up the airwaves with a success report.

The trip back was uneventful. The team split the treasure, and with teary farewells parted company to return to their mundane undercover roles. Stay tuned for the next adventure, rumor has it that it may be the Allegheny wilderness!

Originally Published Apr 2015 on HubPages now here… The events recounted are from 2010, names changed to protect the innocent :-).