As Utah residents hike the Wasatch Mountains to find a hidden $10,000 treasure, officials this week issued a warning after some of the fortune seekers required search and rescue assistance.
Dozens of groups have taken to the mountains to search for the treasure, but some have had trouble doing so safely, according to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team.
John Maxim and David Cline are the mastermind's behind the buried treasure. The two men hid a $5,000 treasure chest last year in a similar fashion, which was found within four days. With such a positive response from the previous year, the two decided to do it again, but this time they upped the ante on the prize, according to NBC Utah affiliate KSL-TV.
A printed poem with clues about to where to find the treasure was posted on Instagram on June 19 to kick off the hunt, with the caption, "2nd Annual Treasure Hunt. $10,000 hidden somewhere in Utah. First person to solve the poem and find the chest keeps the spoils."
The post explained the "rules" of the hunt and encourages their followers to share, repost and also check back in each Friday for new clues until the treasure is found.
“If anyone feels like it’s getting a little bit dangerous, we say it’s probably not there,” Cline told KSL-TV.
But that hasn't stopped people from getting hurt while in pursuit of the treasure.
On Saturday, more than 20 search and rescue crew members were called to help a family of four that had set out to find the treasure after a boulder fell on one man's foot, according to KSL-TV. The 49-year-old man was unable to walk back down the mountain himself, so instead he was carried down by the search and rescue teams over the course of five hours.
On Sunday, the SLCO Sheriff's Search and Rescue team issued a statement on their Facebook page expressing their concern for the amount of unprepared treasure hunters they encountered hiking the backroads of the mountains.
"Our team ran into several other groups of hikers all looking for the same treasure, most were unprepared to be in the backcountry and asked our team for water on the trail," the post said. "Please make sure that you're going into the mountains prepared with the 10 essentials at a minimum, don't hike alone, and let family or friends know where you are and when to expect you back."
The search and rescue crew has advised treasure hunters and hikers alike that their biggest concern should be lack of water, but they should also be fully equipped with flashlights, food, proper footwear, back-up batteries for their cell phones and a hiking partner.
Groups searching for the hidden treasure have seemingly encountered challenging terrain, but the two men who kicked off the hunt by hiding the treasure say that they did so in an area of terrain that is not too rough, according to the local news station.
It's unclear how the men were able to come up with $10,000 to give away. As of Monday, the treasure has not been found, but local officials say they are glad people are getting outdoors.
“We’re glad that people are getting out and they’re hiking around and they’re exercising,” Wayne Bassham, commander for the SLCO Sheriff’s Search and Rescue crew, told KSL-TV. “If they need our help, we’ll be there.”