Finding Donkey


The trail to my Ass began at the toilet!!



Park Sign

At a toilet in Mt. Gilead State Park that is. The title may sound kind of harsh, but it will all make sense as you read the following story.

My Donkey

Anyways, at some of our canoe outings, when Harold would start rambling about his theories and such, I would get out Donkey, AKA My Ass, and start making him talk like "Harold". Basically he makes a raspy sound but doesn't really say anything. Well on our last outing of 2007, I had Donkey (My Ass) out "talking" and Harold got a little angry. When I put Donkey back in his stable (my possibles box) and walked away, mean old Mr. Harold abducted Donkey. I did not notice Donkey missing until later in the week. (Harold didn't think I would miss him until next spring, wrong!) When I telephoned Harold, he laughed at me and said that Donkey was safe but was going to have some kind of surgery. I pleaded for his safe return but to no avail. Emails were sent out and back and forth and even relatives of Donkey plead for his safe return. At the Annual Planning Meeting in November Harold produced a new donkey that he said was Donkey's cousin. Again I was assured that Donkey was doing just fine. The emails died down around the Holidays and I was resigned to the fact that I would not see Donkey again until spring, if ever.

January 19th 2008 was a winter outing at the Hocking Hills area. My family and I were in Florida and could not make the trip. I got a phone call from the folks at the outing later in the day and Harold and Laurie were there. I had been told that they could not make that outing so I was kind of surprised at hearing Harold's voice.

Monday morning, the 21st, after arriving back home, I received an email from Harold that said;



The "Donkey" that is AKA "Your A _ _ " is safe and waiting for you to find him. The photograph below is the key to the trail that will lead you to "Your A _ _ ". If you know where this is, send me an email and I will give you the next clue that will lead you to the promised land. In the event that you are not familiar with the location, geographic coordinates can be provided.

I recognized the picture as a restroom at Mt Gilead State Park. His reply:

Very observant of you. Start there and search the fourth tree from the rest room.

I was home on holiday that Monday so the wife and I went to the park, which is only 7-8 miles from our house, and tried to find Donkey. Little did I know that there are two restrooms exactly the same construction in the park. I searched all around the one I knew and after multiple phone calls to Harold; I realized that we were searching in the wrong place. We found the correct restroom and looked but it was getting late and we gave up Tony Toy

The next Saturday we were out early trying to find Donkey. There was close to two inches of snow on the ground and it was chilly. We found the first clue in a nice wooden tea box along with a new Tony toy and GPS coordinates for another "Cache" spot. The cards in the box stated: "The beginning of Tonys' search for his Ass. It's a scavenger hunt that never seems to end." I put the numbers in my GPS and off we went, to the other side of the lake. We searched for an hour and could not find anything. I called Harold over and over and he tried to explain what the terrain should look like. It did not match. Harold read the coordinates directly from his GPS and something was not right. Harold, being a map person and a surveyor, had his GPS settings on hddd mm ss.s I use the settings that uses hddd mm. mmm

After changing settings, we were a third of a mile off. Alice and I hiked further around the lake and walked right to the next spot. Here we found a hollow tree and inside was a baggie and a card with coordinates for yet another "Cache". It read: "You will be wired in a hole." We called Harold again to tell him that we were on the right track and he said that when we got to the next cache we would be "home free".

Puzzled by that statement we went off to yet another "Cache". This one was close to the kids sledding hill. I don't know what the kids thought, but Alice and I ignored them. We found another wooden tea box that was wired into a hole inside a large half dead Willow tree. The card inside said "Isn't this fun?" Go to these coordinates, add 10 paces and look for a "hanger." I typed the coordinates into my GPS and it said that we had to travel 7.32 miles due west to the next spot. That distance and direction could only be at MY HOUSE. I called Harold and told him of my opinion. All he could do was laugh. Then I knew why Laurie and Harold did not go to the the Old Man's Cave hike with the rest of the club. Now it was starting to make sense. They were at our house, hiding stuff, while we were enjoying the warm weather in Florida and the rest of the club was at Old Man's Cave. I just do not know why my guard dog did not chew them up and spit them out. I may have to shoot that damn dog!

Big Tree

We got home and I started right in looking. The coordinates put me in the field across the road but still close to some pine trees I have. I looked in the trees and found the next clue. It said "Keep looking." Then I found Donkey's cousin, wired to the same tree. Inside of him was another clue card, "Your Ass is having tea in the garden." it said. Another set of coordinates and off I went. We have six raised garden beds and the GPS kept putting me between the garden beds and the pine trees. It was a cloudy day and some of the caches we found were off by 50 feet or so on my GPS. I called Harold, again, and he had to tell me that next cache was buried in the first garden bed. Because GPS's are not accurate down to 0 feet, I would never have pin pointed the exact spot. Not until spring when I planted the garden. After digging in the FROZEN dirt for a while, I found a tea tin and the next clue. "Not here, 18 meters due west." 18 meters? I had to use the internet to convert meters into feet, then get a 100 foot tape measure out to measure off 59 feet. I started digging in the FROZEN dirt a second time and low and behold, I found another tea tin. Written on the baggie that surround the tea tin was these words...TONY"S ASS." I cut the tape holding the lid on and there he was.......

HOME AT LAST WAS DONKEY, AKA MY ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Inside Donkey's base was a little note saying "Help, I'm a gelding." I suspect that is why Donkey doesn't "talk" anymore. At least he is home and looking forward to many, many more canoe trips with me and his fellow canoe friends. All except that mean old kidnapping Harold dude!!

Donkey, his Cousin and The New Tony agree that despite being hidden under leaves, wired to a tree, and buried in the garden, a good time was had by all. And to all a good night!!!

View All Pictures From the Hunt