Gold Rush

About a year or so ago, Nathan and I discovered Geocaching. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting with a GPS. We created an account at the free website, and started using the app to find local caches, no matter where we were.

Then, this past spring, I happened upon an event taking place in Balboa Park called the Diamond Dash. It was a large scale scavenger hunt, sponsored by a jeweler and a new app called SCVNGR. The goal was to solve challenges at certain locations throughout Balboa Park using the SCVNGR app, as many as you could in a certain amount of time, and the team of 2 that got the most points in 2 hours of time won the grand prize, which was a pretty large diamond ring.

I was intrigued, so I sent in my “Application” for Nate and I to get a spot in the Dash, and we did!!!!! (Along with about 1000 other people). We did the Diamond Dash, and it was fun, but we didn’t win anything…didn’t even make the top 10.

Then, two weeks ago, I got an email about another one of these “dashes”, again sponsored by a jeweler (Gems and Gold) and run by SCVNGR. This one was the Gold Rush. One Grand Prize winner would get $5,000 worth of gold, and the next 5 placing teams would win $1000 worth of gold. It was set in Oceanside in North San Diego County. Again, I was intrigued, Nate agreed, and so I applied and got a spot for the 2 of us.

We headed up to Oceanside Saturday morning. As we drove up there, we realized that neither of us had ever spent any time in Oceanside EVER. I wondered if we would be at a disadvantage, but Nate reminded me that the SCVNGR app had a map that plotted the locations of the challenges, so we should be in good shape.

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We got to the Oceanside City Center Plaza, registered, got our bright gold tshirts, and waited for the start of the Gold Rush. This one didn’t seem to draw quite as many people; I think there were 300 in all that came out.

Well, the horn sounded, and we were off. Nate pulled up the app and the map of the challenges. We quickly plotted a path as we headed to the first challenge. The challenges all involve finding the answer to a question at the location and sending the answer through the app to get the points. As we neared the first challenge, we got the answer and quickly moved on. And by quickly, I mean we ran.

We’ve been training for a 1/2 marathon, and when Nate asked “Do you want to run?” as we started off, it was a no brainer. We could totally jog this thing for 2 hours. So we did.

We ran around Oceanside, Nate navigating and reading aloud the challenge, me finding the answer. We were doing WAY better than we had done at the Diamond Dash, and were feeling really great. We were communicating well, we had our roles to play, and I didn’t even take it personally when Nate snapped at me for a moment while he was trying to add up the puzzle to one challenge. Best marital therapy ever!

We were checking off challenges one by one, and got to our final few on the map. We missed one (couldn’t find the answer for the life of us), but moved on…and then, before we knew it, 2 hours were up and the hunt was over.

We made our way to the after party, feeling proud of ourselves. We had so much fun and did really well. We grabbed some water and started munching on free appetizers while chatting with other teams around us. After talking to other teams, we weren’t real sure how well we actually had done, as a few teams said they had completed all the challenges.

The host of the Gold Rush hushed everyone and started calling the winners. “Sixth Place!” he shouted as he dialed the number. Suddenly, someone in the crowd would squeal and go collect their prize. This continued through 5th, 4th, 3rd…

“Okay, now we’re going to call the 2nd Place team!” he shouted. At this point, I had decided we weren’t going to place, but was okay with that. It had been a great day with Nate, much more fun than the previous one we had done, and I had no regrets. I looked down at Nate’s phone…and it was ringing…

“Uh, Nate?? Your phone…”


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Nate picked up, and sure enough, we had won 2nd place in the Gold Rush! Unbelievable!!!

We couldn’t stop laughing the entire time. We’re still a little in shock.

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