Hints for the hunt were posted at the McCloud Post Office, participating businesses and on the McCloud Hoo-Horn and McCloudians-McCloudites Facebook pages.

A McCloud man took it upon himself to do something special for graduating students in the community by creating a treasure hunt, complete with a prize. After the success of the hunt, inspired by the Redding Rodeo Association’s popular “heist,” Quentin Zahara made a community-wide treasure hunt last week, with a prize valued at more than $700 in gift certificates from local businesses.

Hints for the hunt were posted at the McCloud Post Office, participating businesses and on the McCloud Hoo-Horn and McCloudians-McCloudites Facebook pages.

Although Zahara said the hints were tricky, and he expected people to be searching for days, the treasure was located in an hour by 11 year-old Galilee LeTourneau.

Promptly at 9 a.m. last Tuesday morning, people were out canvasing Main Street, Hoo Hoo Park and other areas around the town. After following clues, a fake treasure was found behind the museum. But the LeTourneau family, understanding the last clue that was written in French, headed off to the “Tree of Knowledge” which they correctly guessed was the big tree that held the library sign and walked 160 paces towards the mountain.

Galilee said she is going to share the $700 with her family and the Dutton family, since they were all looking for the treasure together.

Zahara has announced that he will host treasure hunts twice a year for the town of McCloud. For the next one, planned for Sept. 12, he will split the bounty so more people can win.

Before last week’s hunt, Zahara hosted a treasure hunt just for graduates. He made sure that each McCloud Elementary and McCloud High School graduate received a notice that said, “Let the treasure hunt begin. I, Quentin Zahara, bring forth this treasure hunt for the loot of $50 that is hidden somewhere in McCloud. Follow the three hints over a period of three days, find the treasure paper and bring back to me to claim your prize. Good luck graduates.”

Eighth grader Nathaniel Mero was the lucky winner of $50 after locating the treasure at Hoo Hoo Park.

“I looked all over the baseball field, even,” said Mero.

Mero collected his winnings on the third day of the hunt.

“I was pretty excited. I didn’t want to do it at first because if you don’t find it, it isn’t fun,” he said. “I am going to save the money right now.”

“The kids deserve it and it brings the morale up for the town, especially after losing our town’s events with all that is going on,” Zahara said.

He added that the hunts wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the many people and businesses that donated, including White Mountain Café, Tracie Morin, Siskiyou Brew Works, Reginato’s, One Heart Collective, McCloud Outdoors and Gear Exchange, McCloud Mercantile & Hotel, McCloud Market, McCloud Fireman’s Association, McCloud Fire Department, John Walsh, Hitchcock Trucking, Floyd’s Frosty, Clear Water Coffee and Kitchen, and Black Fox Timber Management Group.