Brennon reached out through our Facebook page. He’d been with his girlfriend for some time and was ready to ask the biggest question of his life. Through their time together, she’d mentioned that she’d love to be proposed to in a grandiose style scavenger hunt. He told us that he is much more of a right brain style of person which is why he’d like us to build a sunny southern California proposal. We agreed.


The Prep

It started with a scouting trip. I will never run an adventure where I hadn’t personally scouted each and every location a week or two in advance. This serves two purposes:

1. It gives me ideas for nuances to put in the clues or exact locations to hide boxes and envelopes.

2. Sometimes google maps isn’t accurate*

We met at Balboa Park. This is a favorite of mine because there are so many wonderful locations. We chatted and walked around, took pictures and made sure we had a game plan. After that, I traveled to the locations he had noted in our survey and took 1,000-2,000 pictures. Two weeks later, the Adventure was set to go. For this particular adventure, I really wanted to do a box within a box within a box (I called it “Boxception.” It’s akin to the Russian Matryoshka dolls) so i made sure we had some beautiful, diverse chests that could all fit inside each other. The final box contained the ring box which sat atop a GPS tracker. We use a GPS tracker during every adventure to make sure we can be exactly one step ahead of the target and ensure that the adventure runs according to schedule.

The Adventure Begins…

1:00 pm - The Drop

As with most of our clients, Brennon had some prep work to do. He worked with his soon to be brother in law to make sure that his girlfriend and her sister (who would be accompanying her)were both ready to go at the sister’s house at the correct time. Our target was under the impression that she would be babysitting all day.

At exactly 1:00pm, the doorbell rang and the Adventure was afoot! They had a large chest with a big padlock keeping it shut. Sitting on top were two envelopes addressed to each target and a Mexican army cypher. A Mexican Army Cypher is a fun way to code a message. You must line up letters with a number on the wheel and it helps decode the message. Inside their envelopes were messages talking about the goal (Open the box) and an easy way for them to learn the cypher and head to their first destination!

1:15 pm - The first key

For our first location, we like to make it simple and close. The idea behind this is similar to the first level of a video game. They’re learning the controls and It’ll get harder from here. The key was sitting in a little box full of other ornate keys on a table in the middle of a quaint park. Once they grabbed the key, they took it back home.

1:30pm - The second box

Once they arrived home and unlocked the large padlock on the chest, it opened to reveal her favorite snacks and a beautiful wooden box with a small heart shaped combination lock. Also included was a smaller box with a cryptex inside. In the envelope, it instructed her to go to the place where they first said “I love you” and look beneath the orange blossoms So they headed to their next location.

2:15pm - Balboa Park

The targets parked the car and headed to the location of the next clue. Once I saw them pick it up (we monitor each dropped envelope to ensure a random person doesn’t take it) I headed into the main square. Their envelope instructed them to use different statues and artwork to fill in the blanks and then head to the large pond and wait for instructions. Once there, I was planted as a street musician with a ukulele and an open case for tips (I made $7.68 in the 20 minutes I sat waiting and playing. I also had a friendly tourist film me with his iPhone for about 45 seconds).

Once the targets arrived, I handed them a box containing a black light. When they shined it over their fill in the black clues, different letters were circled in blacklight marker spelling out "LOVER." This opened the cryptex.


3:15pm - The Japanese friendship Garden

Inside the the cryptex, there were two tickets to the Japanese friendship garden located in Balboa park. There was also a clue instructing them to to search inside the large lantern at the very end of the path. Once they reached the final lantern, the clue inside simply read “Return to your home”. There was also a valet ticket in the envelope. They left the garden and headed to the valet lot right outside where there car was waiting.

I have to interject to brag about this sequence of events we managed to squeeze through: Right after they parked the car, Brennan used an extra car key and moved the car to the valet. The lot was full so we had to bribe the valet to “find a space” for the car. After he got the valet ticket, it was dropped into the envelope with the next clue and then a wax candle was lit, dripped on the envelope, and sealed with the same wax seal press used on all the other clues. It was then planted in the garden. This all took place while the targets walked around Balboa park.

Now lets continue.

4:00pm - Home

Once the girlfriend and her sister arrived home, there sat another clue and a dress on a hangar. Brennan had done his homework and managed to figure out her favorite outfit. The Clue simply read “where was our first Valentines day Date?”

4:15pm - Dinner

There is a beautiful restaurant in San Diego called the “94th Aero Squadron” it’s built near a runway and has such a gorgeous interior. They were kind enough to help out in our adventure.

Once the duo arrive, they were ushered to a table and told that everything had been taken care of and they can order what they like. Midway through dinner, they received another envelope. In the envelope was the combination to the heart shaped lock. This opened the box revealing a smaller ornate box with an envelope and a compass

5:45pm - Bernardo Winery.

Inside the envelope was the name of this beautiful winery in between San Diego and San Marcos. The team there were also kind enough to allow us access to the grounds. Once they arrived, our targets found the correct location, pulled out the compass, and followed the coordinates.

They turned a direction, walked the correct number of paces, then turned another direction. After twisting and turning through a stretch of the winery grounds, they reached the end and the final clue was notched into a large wooden silo.

The ending

6:30pm - The proposal.

There Brennon stood. The tallest point in San Marcos has a beautiful view. You can see hills sprawling all around and in the distance the sun was setting over the ocean. With two minutes to spare, we made sure the camera was set up and rolling. We then announced to all the sightseers that there would be a proposal occurring and if they would kindly be respectful and give them a bit of space. Everyone was very excited for him and acted accordingly.

The car arrives. She walks up alone. He is holding the key to the final box. He unlocks it, gets down on one knee, and the rest is history.

*On one of our adventures, I wrote out a series of clues which began with “find the fountain in the middle of town and head west.” When we arrived at the location of the fountain, we learned that it had been leveled and was now an open courtyard. This is why we double check every location

Update (9/17/2016)

Testimonial from Brennon D.

"I brought Constructed Adventures in to help make the day that I would make the biggest decision of my life, the day I propose, one that neither of us would ever forget--and they absolutely delivered. I already knew she liked scavenger hunts, but to really make this amazing, I knew that I needed help. Chris was gracious enough to involve me, at my specific request, in every step of the process to make sure that the places we sent her had real significance and meaning to us. The actual event that was constructed went absolutely beautifully. We sent her and her sister on an adventure to locations that chronicled the start and growth of our relationship. 
The best part was that even after the big reveal, the actual proposal, she couldn't figure out how we managed to pull certain parts off. Everything was executed flawlessly. It's a story she will be telling for years, and for me, that's priceless."
-Brennon D. (San Diego, CA)