Term & Conditions

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To be eligible to participate in the treasure hunt and claim the cash grand prize… 

  • Click here to order your copy of The Hope Chest: A Memoir and Treasure Hunt for The Heart Strong.
  • Immediately after your purchase, you will receive an email that includes your receipt/proof of purchase, and a unique registration number associated with your Searcher account. Follow the instructions in that email to create your own password and become an official participant in the hunt for the Hope Chest!
  • Your copy of the book will be shipped to you immediately after purchase.
  • Once you receive The Hope Chest, read it carefully! Review the photos and artwork, digest the narrative, and study everything cover to cover.
  • The book’s narrative and imagery provides hints and clues that will lead you to four tags that must be located sequentially. Each tag is affixed to an immovable object, and is located somewhere in the search area depicted on The Hope Chest

Tag #1 is green.
Tag #2 is red.
Tag #3 is blue.
Tag #4 is black.

NOTE: You must confirm location of all four tags in this order!

  • All four tags are engraved with the Hope Chest symbol (HC) and a passcode. As you find each tag, take a clear and identifiable snapshot of yourself next to it, confirming that you personally found that tag.
  • Return to this website and log in to your Searcher account. Then upload that photo of you next to the tag, along with the passcode for that tag.

NOTE: Please do not post any of your Hope Chest tag photos to Facebook or other social media. This will only diminish your own chances of solving the hunt.

DO NOT remove, alter, or damage any Hope Chest tag you find during your search!

  • After entering a tag’s passcode (and uploading your confirmation photo) through your Searcher account, you will be presented with a poem that leads you to the next tag. Repeat this process to find all four tags.
  • When you confirm the location of Tag #4, you will receive the final poem to solve. This poem will lead you to the final resting place of the treasure capsule.
  • The treasure capsule is a silver, cylindrical container (approx. 18” long) buried 2 to 3 feet deep somewhere in the Hope Chest mapped search area.
  • When you have obtained the treasure capsule, it is yours to keep—along with all the contents inside. It contains specific items you will need, plus detailed instructions on how to contact Cris Dotson directly in order to claim the cash grand prize.
  • The value of the cash grand prize is illustrated in real-time on the capsule ticker on the home page of this website.


The official winner of the cash grand prize is the first (and only) person who is able to contact Cris Dotson by following the instructions within the treasure capsule. The finder must also have provided photographic evidence confirming that they personally located all four tags, as described above.

As the Huntmaster, Cris Dotson created this treasure hunt so that Searchers will explore the region, enjoy the great outdoors, and learn about the geography, history, and unique characteristics of the mapped search area. This is not an armchair treasure hunt!


Violation of the following three rules will result in immediate disqualification from officially participating in the Hope Chest treasure hunt—and from claiming the cash grand prize.

  • Unless you are personally invited by Cris Dotson, please do not visit his property.
  • Please do not reproduce elements of The Hope Chest book (by scanning, taking screenshots, etc.) and sharing them on the internet.
  • Please do not publicly reveal the locations, remove, or alter the appearance of any of the four Hope Chest tags hidden within the mapped area.
  1. The Hope Chest treasure (i.e., the cash grand prize) is safely secured in an FDIC-insured bank. The money is not in the possession of Cris P. Dotson, his family, or any affiliated party.
  2. The treasure capsule is not buried within 5 miles of Cris Dotson’s home. Likewise, all four Hope Chest tags are not hidden within 5 miles of his private property. Trespassers on Cris Dotson’s property will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.*
  3. The treasure capsule is not buried on any individual’s nor any company’s private property.
  4. The treasure capsule is not hidden in, around, or beneath any kind of structure (e.g., gazebo, outhouse, shed, etc.).
  5. When searching for the four Hope Chest tags and the treasure capsule, please do so conscientiously. Respect nature, the outdoors, and others who enjoy the landscape on which you tread. Especially, be careful to not disturb or destroy anyone’s private property.
  6. Dress appropriately. Stay hydrated. Wear sunscreen. Take mosquito/tick repellent. You get the idea—be prepared!
  7. Be mindful of searching during inclement weather or dangerous environmental conditions. Consider enlisting a search partner and using the buddy system when exploring remote locations.
  8. Be cognizant of the wildlife and indigenous plants and trees in your explorations. Hornets’ nests, snakes, and poison sumac all thrive in their environment. Please respect their ecological right to be there. Be careful not to get stung, bitten, or end up with a painful rash.
  9. Use common sense and your best judgement. Do not venture into any risky situation. By design, this treasure hunt does not put anyone in harm’s way. The hunt is meant to be adventurous—not dangerous!
  10. Think before you explore! Ensure that you have studied the clues in The Hope Chest that will prepare you to take any equipment you might need to solve the hunt.
  11. A metal detector will not help you find the buried treasure capsule.
  12. You will need to physically dig up the treasure capsule. Afterward, please fill in the hole to restore the area to its condition as you found it. (Leave no trace!)
  13. Ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged when searching. You’ll need it for safety, to take confirmation photographs… and to contact Cris Dotson when you find the treasure capsule!
  14. Learn, analyze, investigate, explore, and… HAVE FUN!

* Violation of this rule will result in immediate disqualification from officially participating in the Hope Chest treasure hunt—and from claiming the cash grand prize. Furthermore, any perceived harassment of Cris Dotson’s family or of other Searchers participating in the hunt will also be disqualified.


Hello Searchers!
Below are some reminders to help you out on your quest…

  1. YOU MUST BUY THE BOOK. Your purchase will automatically register you as an official Searcher for the Hope Chest.
  2. If you do not purchase The Hope Chest, you will not be qualified to receive the cash grand prize—even if you are the fortunate person who finds the treasure capsule.
  3. No part of the Hope Chest treasure hunt will bring you within 5 miles of Cris Dotson’s home. Trespassers on his property will be subject to arrest and fines.
  4. Do not damage anyone’s property. Be respectful to others, to the environment, and to its wildlife!
  5. You will have to dig up the treasure capsule once you have located its specific burial spot. Bring a shovel!
  6. Using a metal detector will not help you find the treasure capsule. Neither the capsule nor its contents contain detectable metals. Save yourself the trouble of lugging around a metal detector during your search!
  7. The treasure is not buried inside, beneath, nor in the immediate proximity of a man-made structure.
  8. The four tags are color-coded, and you must locate them in order: green, red, blue, and black. Once you locate the black tag, your next objective is to solve the poem provided and find the treasure capsule.
  9. Do not remove or deface any of the four tags, or you will be disqualified.
  10. Do not share any of the tag passcodes with other Searchers on social media, or you will be disqualified.
  11. The treasure capsule contains a few valuable items, including some cash in case you need gas or food, or to use at your disposal for safety concerns. One essential item is a laminated card with instructions for contacting Cris Dotson directly.
  12. You must provide photographic evidence that you have personally visited each location of all four tags. Entering the passcodes alone will not suffice to make you eligible. Cris Dotson wants to you enjoy the thrill of the chase… to learn, to inquire, and to EXPLORE!
  13. Once you have confirmed these requirements, you will be the proud finder of the Hope Chest—and will be awarded the cash grand prize as valued at that time on the website ticker.
  14. Be safe, be smart, and good luck!