The real jewel of this treasure hunt? The time you spend together

The real jewel of this treasure hunt? The time you spend together
Many folks, including KATU Web Reporter Shannon L. Cheesman (pictured here), looked for treasure along the beach in Lincoln City on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012. 'Float Fairies' hid 150 glass floats, crabs and sand dollars over the weekend. Photo by Scott Cheesman.

LINCOLN CITY, Ore. - With the sand under our feet, the sound of the waves crashing into the shoreline in our ears and our dogs tugging at their leashes we searched for elusive treasure.

"Where are we supposed to look?" my husband asked me.

"Above the high tide line - maybe in the grass or under some driftwood," I told him while peering into a crevasse at something that caught my eye. I was thinking about those beautiful glass floats - the ones we had heard about for years but had never gone to look for, until now - and how wonderful it would be to find one.

Over the weekend 'Float Fairies' hid 150 glass floats, crabs and sand dollars along the beaches in Lincoln City. It was all part of Finders Keepers, put on by the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The idea is simple - local artists supply the glass art and volunteers walk along the beach to secretly hide the gems. Then it's up to lucky beachcombers to find them.

The treasure hunt is something Lincoln City has done for about a decade now as a way to help drum up tourism. It's a clever way to draw folks to the coast, especially during the cold and rainy winter months, and in our case it worked.

My husband and I decided to give it a shot and on Saturday we scoured about a mile-long stretch of beach to see if we could be one of the lucky ones to find a glass float.

Scott Cheesman searches the coastline in Lincoln City for glass floats on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter

Our strategy was to keep close to the edge of the cliffs where we thought the tall grass, big boulders and random pieces of driftwood would make good hiding spots.

Shiny objects - like the inside of a broken clam shell - teased us. And the garbage we found - like an old tennis shoe, beer cans and strange pieces of plastic - made us wish we had brought some trash bags with us to help clean up the coastline while we searched. Next time, we will.

We walked and looked, and walked and looked some more. We gave up for a little bit to play with our dogs and then tried again. And in the end, we came up empty handed - no glass floats for us.

But we weren't disappointed at all.

You see, we had gotten out of the city and away from our stresses for a day - our shoulders relaxed and our cares were left behind in exchange for the sound of the waves rolling in and the faint smell of salt in the air.

We talked, we laughed, we played. We watched dogs run, kids draw in the sand with sticks, couples hold hands and teenagers play on the rocks. And we exchanged lots of smiles with other folks who were also enjoying the beach on a winter day.

The real treasure proved to be something we didn't know we were looking for - a little boost of happiness and relaxation before we head into the new year.

A young woman hops from rock to rock in Lincoln City as the daylight fades on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012.
Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter

If you would like to try to find a glass float (and enjoy a day at the beach even if you don't find one), more of them will be hidden in Lincoln City in the coming months. Here are the dates when big drops will be done:

  • Jan. 20-21
  • Feb. 8-18 (special drop of 300 antique Japanese floats during Antique Week)
  • Feb. 16-17
  • April 5-6

Also, if you head to the Lincoln City area on New Year's Day, you might find one of three special floats that will be hidden on the beaches there. The floats are larger than the usual ones - nine inches in diameter - and have unique designs (two of them are shown below).

Photo courtesy of the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau.