UTAH (ABC4) – Hundreds, if not thousands, of would-be treasure finders have taken to the Utah wilderness in search of $10,000 that a pair of friends have buried somewhere on the Wasatch Front.

However, those who are looking for the small fortune, led by clues that John Maxim and David Cline are leaving on their Instagram accounts, will have to compete with the lucky discoverer of last year’s $5,000 treasure.

“Right now, I’m just trying to figure this new treasure out. I feel like it’s almost my duty to go out and find it, just so I can hold on to my title,” Cameron Brunt says to ABC4 with a laugh.

Last year, after the riddle indicating where the chest containing $5,000 lay buried was posted on social media, it took just four days before Brunt was able to locate and unearth it. Brunt went out looking for the prize twice and says on his first time out on a hunt, he was about 50 feet away from where he eventually found it near the Rocky Mouth Trail Head in the Draper/Sandy area.

Courtesy of Cameron Brunt

Finding the treasure was “a wild day,” he recalls.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was totally surreal, it was a really weird feeling to actually find the treasure,” Brunt remembers.

After reading the clue that pointed in the direction of Wasatch Boulevard and Eagle View Drive in Draper, Brunt was led to Rocky Mouth Trail Head, which was known for leading hikers to a scenic natural waterfall. Continuing to follow the poem’s clues, he hiked past the waterfall, past a grove, and to a steep, rock-covered slope. From there, he poked around in every opening he could find, dueling against a couple of other treasure seekers in the immediate area until he found pay dirt.

“It was just barely peeking out from underneath this rock and I really had to bend over and get down to actually see the treasure, but I saw that there was loose dirt that had recently been disturbed and they had kind of like put a bunch of rocks and dirt back in there to kind of conceal it,” Brunt describes of the actual location where he found the treasure chest.

Once he realized he had it, Brunt pulled out his phone to record the discovery. Another treasure seeker nearby noticed the commotion and offered to hold the phone while Brunt dug out the chest and broke the lock holding it shut with a rock. After seeing the cash for himself, and messaging Cline on Facebook to let him know it had been found, Brunt made his way down the trail with the chest in tow, gathering all sorts of praise and bewilderment from other treasure hunters and hikers. He remembers coming across a family with small children who were also out treasure-hunting and giving each of the kids one of the plastic coins that were included with the money in the box.

“That was cool to kind of share the treasure with everyone else and take pictures with people there,” Brunt reflects.

The money made a big difference in his life as well. Just days prior to the beginning of the hunt, Brunt was let go from his job due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the extra breathing room that the $5,000 gave him, he obtained his real estate license, following in the footsteps of the friends who left money in the mountainside.

“It was for sure critical in my life,” the 30-year-old says of finding the treasure.

This year, Brunt is hoping to recapture the magic of that wild day by finding a treasure that has doubled in value. Of course, the interest has grown considerably, and the clue is much more difficult to decipher.

“They’ve definitely made this year’s a lot harder,” he explains. “I have nowhere to start whereas last year, I read the poem and I immediately knew where to go.”

While he doesn’t want to give too much of his proven strategy away, Brunt’s advice is to read the instructions on the clue closely and follow the directions exactly.

No matter what happens, Brunt is excited for another go at finding buried treasure in the Utah mountains.

“I can’t wait to see who finds it, and hopefully it’s me, but I’m also up against a lot bigger crowd and people a whole lot smarter than I am.”