Secret Trust Adventure Revealed: Deciphering the Weekly Challenges

In the previous post, I discussed how to decipher the poem and painting in the Secret Trust Adventure to find the treasure.

In this post, I will explain the solutions to each of the weekly challenges. If you are still looking for the cache to grab a 3D printed Secret Trust Adventure commemorative medallion and do not want any help, stop reading now. Spoilers lay ahead.

Week 1: Columbia Crossing River Trails Center

The hunt began at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center. To complete the challenge, you downloaded this PDF. Next, you used Columbia Crossing River Trails Center’s current exhibit (available until August) to answer its questions.

Here are the solutions.

The solution for week 1 is 081.

Week 2: Domain Lancaster

Week two of the treasure hunt had you visiting Domain Lancaster’s three locations in the order that the buildings were constructed. The answers could be found on their website. The correct order was Otto79 (1756), State & Main (1852), and Warehouse210 (1870).

Each building had a series of numbers with a blank space on display in a window. Here are the numbers and which building it was on display.

Otto79: 0628186_
State & Main: 0_101729
Warehouse210: 031_1818

The next paragraph had what appeared to be a throwaway line. However, it had three big hints on solving the number problems found in the windows.

As you travel across the county, this charted trip will have you driving through the city but not a bridge.

The italicized words above were the hints. I bolded them here for improved visibility. These numbers were not math problems but important dates in Lancaster history.

Otto79 was bridge. The longest covered bridge in the world between Wrightsville and Columbia was burned on June 28, 1863, or 06281863 to stop advancing Confederate forces. As a result, they turned west, and the Battle of Gettysburg was held a few days later.

State & Main was county. Lancaster became a county on May 10, 1729 or 05101729.

Warehouse210 was Charted City. Lancaster became a charted city on March 10, 1818 or 03101818.

When the missing digits were put in the correct order, the solution for week two is 350.

Week 3: Go West, Young Man

Week 3 did not tell you directly where to go. Instead it had you solving this riddle.

Despite declining the President’s offer to survey the west, he finished his career in the West by traveling east. Not to put too fine of a Point on it.

The answer was Andrew Ellicott. He was asked by President Thomas Jefferson to survey the Louisiana Purchase. Ellicott declined but offered to train the person who would, Meriwether Lewis.

Later, Ellicott served as the Commandant of the West Point Military Academy until his death in 1820.

Ellicott lived at 123 North Prince Street for 12 years. In the window was this number sequence.

It is the Fibonacci sequence. It is a series of numbers where the next number is the sum of the two previous numbers, starting with 0, and 1. Therefore if you add 55 and 89 you get the answer of 144.

With that number, you can unlock the next page which had you applying an Ottendorf cipher (4-2-2) to a nearby stone plaque commemorating the former Lancaster Moravian Church cemetery.

The first digit in the Ottendorf cipher refers to the line. The second number is the word on that line. The third digit is the letter in that word. However, in this instance, 4-2-2 converts into the number 9 and not a letter.

The solution for week three is 9.

Week 4: ‘the brave loyal Normal boys’

Week 4 had you visiting the “the brave loyal Normal boys,” which is a Civil War monument on the Millersville University campus.

Next, the instructions said to look east towards the Model and enter the town north of Mechanicsburg (all lowercase). The word “Model” referred to the “Model School and School of Practice” across the street.

The town north of Mechanicsburg is Fredericksburg as indicated on the monument.

With “the brave loyal Normal boys” located, you were instructed to download this PDF and find the answers to the questions. This involved wandering around this section of campus, checking buildings and signs for the answers. Here is the document completed.

The solution for week 5 when rotated 180 degrees is 6.

Week 5: What time is it?

Week 5 instructed you to stand beneath the clock that Rhoads had built. To complete this week’s challenge, ring the bell during business hours and order a pine float.

The Rhoads mentioned here is Henry Zahm Rhoads. In 1868, Rhoads bought the old “Lamb Hotel” at 38 West King Street. He had the property converted into a new store and installed a public clock between the second and third stories of the building. Today, 38 West King Street is home to Max’s Eatery.

The second part was ordering a “pine float,” which is just a glass of water with a toothpick. However, your order had three toothpicks instead of the traditional three.

The solution to week 5 is 3.

Week 6: White Chimneys

Week 6 had you traveling to White Chimneys and completing the following four steps.

  1. Visit White Chimneys.
  2. Listen to one of my favorite songs en route.
  3. Search the main courtyard for the 🔷s.
  4. Solve this equation: (🔷 – 1) ÷ 2 =

If you walked around the courtyard, you would have found 15 of these diamonds under the soles of your shoes.

‘Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.’

Some quick math turns (🔷 – 1) ÷ 2 = into (15 – 1) ÷ 2 = into 14 ÷ 2 = 7.

The solution to Week 6 is 7.

Final Challenge: Vinegar’s Ferry

To unlock the final pair of GPS coordinates, you had to locate the mysterious stone-carved arch belonging to the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland on the Susquehanna River near Vinegar Ferry Road in Marietta. Click here to learn more about the enigmatic petroglyph.

To the lower right of the arch is what appears to be a six-character (one letter followed by five numbers) serial number. A damp sponge wiped over the dry rock helped to clarify the image. The serial number was C82130.

With the next page unlocked, it gave you the last two sets of GPS coordinates. Number 7 was 365 and number 8 was 907.

With all the challenges completed, you now have the GPS coordinates of the treasure, which was 39.907350, -76.365081.

There you have it. The solutions to each of the weekly challenges explained and deciphered. If you want to read how everything you needed to find the treasure was actually contained in the poem and, to a lesser degree, the painting, click here.

P.S. Will there be a treasure hunt next year? YES! Look for it spring 2022.


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