Medallion hunt enthusiasts strike Woodbury Days goldHastings residents Ashley Wilson and Matthew Koskie found the medallion at 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 21 in Colby Lake Park after the fifth clue.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Hastings residents Ashley Wilson and Matthew Koskie have spent hundreds of hours participating in multiple medallion hunts – Hastings, Red Wing, Rosemount, Little Canada, Vadnais Heights and of course the St. Paul Winter Carnival – so imagine their excitement when they found the elusive Woodbury Days Medallion last week.
The duo found the medallion at 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 21 in Colby Lake Park after the fifth clue.
“We’ve done so many hunts and after so many disappointments and being so close we finally found it,” Koskie said. “The eighth time’s the charm.”
Wilson is the one who actually found the medallion, which was in the southwest corner of Colby Lake Park – just north of Park Crossing.
The medallion was hidden near a paved inlet in tall weeds.
“I had just gotten into the mindset of not seeing anything,” she said. “I looked away and then I was ‘Oh wait, that’s it.’”
Burning with anxiety
Koskie and Wilson, both seniors at the University of Minnesota, split the full $500 prize since the couple had a Woodbury Days button.
Koskie and Wilson said they were pretty sure of the medallion’s general location after the third clue, which hinted that it was off of Valley Creek Road in a park.
Since Colby Lake Park is really the only big park on Valley Creek Road, Koskie said, he had a good feeling that it was there.
“We gave it once over on the trails,” he said, “but we didn’t really see anything.”
Following the fifth clue, referencing the cover of the Woodbury Bulletin’s Community Guide, Koskie went straight to the trail that was pictured.
“I fell into the trap like most of the hunters by going right away to and following the trail featured on the Community Guide,” he said.
While hunting in the area in the morning Wilson and Koskie encountered many wasps, hornets and even a few snakes.
However, another clue from the day kept gnawing at Koskie throughout the day –the reference to “burning up with anxiety.”
“I just kept thinking that burning up had to mean something,” he said.
Koskie eventually solved the riddle after visiting the city of Woodbury’s website and seeing mention of the Burn it Up 5K race.
Koskie actually called the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department to determine where the race began.
“That was it for me,” he said. “I was just kind of crossing my fingers through work.
“We originally had plans but I said we had to ditch our plans and go and look for the medallion and within 10 minutes of getting there we found it.”
Koskie first started participating in medallion hunts last winter during the St. Paul
Winter Carnival where he was within 10 feet of the medallion when it was found.
From there, Koskie was hooked.
“There’s just something about being out there searching,” he said.
In fact, Koskie uses other medallion hunts in order to help prepare him to tackle the St. Paul Winter Carnival again.
“I call these minor league hunts,” he said. “I do them in order to get practice breaking the clues and figuring out where a medallion is likely to be hid.”
In fact, Koskie and Wilson are members of a medallion hunting club, called the Cooler Crew, which frequently comes together for various medallion hunts.
However, the club is really just about bouncing ideas off each other, Koskie said.
“If we see them, we see them,” he said of other group members, “because once you go out there it’s kind of one man for himself.”
Both Koskie and Wilson said their favorite part of participating in medallion hunts is trying to decipher the clues.
“I like puzzles,” Koskie said. “I like to figure things out, so it’s mainly about the mental exercise – it’s just stimulating.”
“I really like deciphering the clues and trying to piece it together,” Wilson said. “I’m not a big fan of bees and bugs, but I do it.”
Wilson and Koskie have actually already started on their next medallion hunt, the Hennepin County Golden Cheese Curd.
The prize is a year’s worth of cheese curds.
“I feel like we’re going to be on a roll now,” Koskie said. “The first one’s the hardest, so it gets easier as you go.
“We’re going to take what we learned and apply it to the next Winter Carnival.”