Lorrie Sawyer of Rockingham cashed in on years of “geocache” treasure hunting experience when she located the Daily Journal Golden Seashell over the weekend.
Unfortunately for our other readers, the home health worker originally from Florence, S.C. found the shell before anyone qualified for the $100 second chance drawing.
“I need this money as soon as I can get it, because I’ve got a lot of stuff going on in my life,” the contest winner explained Monday morning after turning in the shell. “I needed this terribly.”
”I was pretty sure our most recent clues would garner us a winner,” Daily Journal Publisher and Editor Rick Bacon said. “We’ve sent in a check request by fax to our home office this morning to help speed up delivery of Lorrie’s check.”
Sawyer explained Monday morning she found the seashell near the Crow Run entrance to Hinson Lake, after Clue #9 steered her there. It read, “The county’s biggest employer has a building that’s quite a sight. If you head north on S. Long Drive, be prepared to turn to the right.”
“I knew the county’s largest employer was either Perdue or the hospital, so I drove by them looking for somewhere to turn,” Sawyer recalled. “First, I got all the way to U.S. 1, and thought, ‘This is too far,’ so I turned around and went to Crow Run.”
She said there were several groups of people in the area of the Moose Lodge looking behind trees and on the ground, but she was the first to look behind the right pine tree at the parking area for Hinson Lake there.
The next clues would certainly have sent even more treasure seekers to the general area. Clue #10 would have referred to the “Moose’s house, while Clue#11 would’ve warned people, “Don’t walk too far beyond the shell or your shoes will fill with goo.”
Clue #12 would’ve given the location away.
Unlike previous winners who combined efforts to find the shell, Sawyer hunted alone and will take the whole $500 prize. She plans to spend it finding a new place to live and paying church tithes.
She credited a passion for “geocaching” she shares with her sister with giving her the insight to follow the clues and find the shell.
“I would like to thank my sister, Tonnie Schamburek, for teaching me to find treasures by getting me into geocaching,” she said. “If you’ve never heard of it - it’s amazing. They have treasure hunts all over the United States, and all they give you is a GPS and the coordinates then you have to read the clues.”
Sawyer said the farthest she’s traveled during a geocache treasure hunt was from Wisconsin to Florida.
“You have to get out in the woods, and really look for the clues,” she explained. “And these treasures will be buried underneath the ground.”
There is no second chance drawing for the “Golden Seashell,” but Daily Journal readers will have another chance to track down some cold, hard cash this fall when the “Golden Football” will be hidden somewhere in the county.
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.