Tuesday, October 29, 2013

scavenger hunt, grown up style

This past weekend, I got to participate in the annual town-wide scavenger hunt. Now, I don't live in that town any more, but ... it's okay. 17 years of history and a willingness to say yeah for shenanigans was all I needed.

Our Scout Troop Moms were talking about doing it, and I got invited in. We the first hard part was what to call our group. We ended up with The Skeleton Crew. Our motto was "Nothin' Rattles Us." We had T-shirts made (we're that dorky)... and the big night arrived and we lined up with 24 other teams to go out, run around town, and find clues, answer puzzles and get to the end in one piece.

You had to keep all of your clue pieces as you found them or you'd be disqualified. You could not use your phone, any sort of electronics. If you needed to look something up, you had to call someone from a town business or pay phone, or go back to your house and use a land line.

We had a team of 5, one driver and four "runners" to jump out at the different stations, find the clues, and come back and either go immediately to the next one or solve whatever puzzle was related in order to figure out where to go. There were word searches, math problems, one was you had to eat a slice of anchovy pizza.

One of the clues I had to get involved rowing out into the pond in a kayak, in the dark, to a scary looking dude called The Grim. He was out in a canoe. We didn't see the sign that said two people should do this task, so I went alone. The second person was supposed to help pull me ashore! I was in the kayak, paddling back when I realized there was no way I'd be able to get out without getting soaked.

Luckily for me there were two guys who were kind enough to pull me ashore and then one of them yanked me out of the kayak as I was struggling to get my fat butt out. It was hysterical.

We overthought one particular clue. A slip of paper that said "how many do you know?" listed out 22 state Governors of Massachusetts. Instantly we knew it was on Governors Road, and I guessed that it was number 22. But the house at 22 Governors didn't look like it wanted to be disturbed by 25 teams running up to the house or searching in the yard. We thought maybe "know" meant how many Governors have there been in our lifetime... for some of us that would be more than others. A team with 20 year olds vs. us in our late 40s. Then, I thought maybe ... King. Ed King. There's a King Street in our town too so possibly something on King? We drove over there and looked up and down the street.

Finally, back to #22 and we saw the clue container on the stone wall and kicked ourselves for overthinking and worrying about whether or not there was some old lady in the house that we'd scare the dickens out of by stomping through the mums.

Aside from that one hiccup, we were a well oiled machine, figuring out clues, knowing exactly where things were. Debbie was a master driver, Nancy ate a piece of gross anchovy pizza. Pattie got scared by a guy in a gorilla suit in the woods, Sheryl was the total puzzle master, doing the word searches and cryptograms like a pro. With maps and history books and the fact that I knew exactly where Crane Pond Conservation area's actual entrance was, and an all wheel drive vehicle, we ruled the night.

Two and a half hours later, we finished finding all the puzzles, clues and kayakable locations.

And out of 25 total teams, 11 were disqualified and we ... we came in third place.

Nancy is already planning our attack for next year. We laughed our brains out. It was an absolute blast.

I'm glad I did it.

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