Participants in the 2020 Trek for Treasure didn't care the annual event was scaled back by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event drew 250 teams of 750 trekkers who put their best foot forward in "Legends Never Die," a theme that comprised four popular hikes from previous years.
While the hikes may have been familiar, the way in which they were hiked had changed.
"To help keep our participants stay safe, we broke the teams into three different groups so they were hiking on different trails during each two-week hike period," said Mark Pearson, Trek for Treasure organizer and United Fitness Center manager.
"Teams did a great job masking up and socially distancing themselves as they trekked for clues while enjoying the stunning scenery."
Sisters Suzi Rohweder of Concrete and Jo Pemmant of Sedro-Woolley — Team Walkie Talkies — competed in their sixth Trek for Treasure.
"This year's season was shorter by a month and two hikes, due to the COVID shutdown, but it was great being able to get outdoors and still experience what we could," Pemmant said.
In past years, a treasure box with a puzzle/clue as well as a sign-in sheet was normally hidden at the end of each hike. This time around, those clues came by email.
"We didn't have any concerns at all (about the pandemic)," Pemmant said. "When you're out on the trails, there's a bit of distance between people, whether you're walking single file or respecting people's personal space in more open areas."
Traditionally, the Trek for Treasure ends with a final challenge where all eligible teams race against the clock to be the first to find the final “treasure.”.
This year all eligible teams — those that completed all four hikes — were put into a drawing for prizes. A total of 180 teams completed all four hikes.
For first-time trekkers Irene and John Wood of Mount Vernon along with family and friends who made up Team Wood Family Trekkers, the event was a definite hit.
"It was so much fun," Irene Wood said. "We will be doing it again for sure."
In the end, it may have been exactly what was needed for many.
"In a summer where most families were staying close to home, Trek for Treasure offered a fun adventure, allowing people to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors in a safe manor," Pearson said. "Trek for Treasure offered the perfect opportunity for people to get out and exercise while being safe and having fun."