The hasty application of black tears and gentlemanly mustaches before a mad rush to Baxter Hall foreshadowed the drama and emotional strife that would predominate the Winter Carnival Adventure Scavenger Hunt.
To participate in the race, we were required to show up in costume. We chose to don the internally bruised faces and disinterested strides of typical emo individuals. A disheartening glance at our fellow contestants revealed that most of them were dressed in socially acceptable attire. However, there was one group that seemed to have a female Pope, a cupid, a goth and a rather ambiguously-intentioned man simply holding a flower. Our first guess was that they were a wedding party; however, the goth guest admittedly threw us off. We encouraged her to join our ranks for continuity’s sake, but she regrettably declined such treason.
The first task involved pillars of snow, a ski pole and the game of limbo. Unfortunately for our team’s dignity, the limbo was not the emotional kind, but rather the kind that requires flexibility, agility and some basic coordination. The task involved building two snow structures both sturdy enough to support a ski pole between them and tall enough to limbo under the ski pole placed on them. Alas, it was our very first task that brought to light what a pivotal miscalculation it was not to bring gloves. Crying to the judges, however, proved effective and we were allowed brief respite before returning to our game-face attack mode.
The first clue sent us to “the great eyes of Mordor” – which, of course, one does not simply walk to. We took care in that case to run. Upon arrival at the eyes all aglow in front of WCMA, we were summoned by the next clue to “the great Tree to the North of West.” After a little confusion over cardinal directions and the possible involvement of celebrity power couple Kimye’s daughter, we took off to find the maple tree north of West House.
Getting the next clue turned out to be the most treacherous part of our journey, as it was tied high in the great tree. As we watched other groups gleefully run away, we stared at dismay at the seemingly insurmountable height we had to scale. A few well-aimed jumps, branch manipulations and shoulder-carries, however, brought us to the next clue.
The lowest point in the hunt was when we were briefly stumped by a cryptic clue: an accursed copy of the Winter Carnival schedule with a little note “after continueD” scrawled at the top of the parchment. We parsed through different code words, the time schedule of the events and even contemplated the inherent significance of the letter “D.” One of our members even cleverly suggested that we – ahem – “borrow” by following the other group that had recently departed, until one of us noticed that the next clue was in a small font after “continueD.” Huzzah!
The subsequent clue was quite simply, “Where is Waldo?” Fortunately for us, we did not have to scour the teeming beach and known tanning hot spot of Chapin lawn or the crowded lunch lines of Paresky for the oddly-clad Waldo. We merely had to run back to Baxter.
The Waldo in charge of the event gave us our next clue: a call number at Sawyer. We half-ran, half-panted up the stairs of Sawyer, doubtlessly scaring the librarians and other students as we traipsed through the halls. As I grabbed a computer to identify the book, an exclamation of “It’s over here!” from another group came to our aid. The next clue brought us to “eco pLants.” The strange capitalization in plants briefly confounded us, and while one team member smartly suggested the Eco Café, my mind floated to the sustainable garden, perhaps due to hunger or fatigue. As it turns out, I was indeed injuriously misled by my stomach, a classic trap of the scavenger hunt to weed out the weak. Of course, the ensuing, tragic fragmentation of our group led to an even longer journey to the next destination and meeting point at which the next clue was hidden: the “ironic columns” outside WCMA.
The clue there was written upon a pair of frozen pants and told us to access an email account with a password based on all the previous clues. Honing our expert cryptography skills, we attempted to make sense of the letters ADWSLO. We despaired as the password did not work, but after about 10 minutes of emotional strife, a team member typed in WALDOS and found the next clue. Waldo had deceived us once again – we were called back to Baxter. Disheartened, ashamed and tired, we trudged back with our eye makeup smudged and, our emo garb more mournful than menacing.
Our last task was to perform a parodic song we had previously prepared and act out ten different winter Olympic sporting events as they were called out to us, like bobsledding and luge. We sang. We cried. But mainly, we screamed and formed disturbing warbling sounds with our vocal chords at frequencies most likely only intelligible to whales, all of which was intended to sound like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” with a few key Olympic-relevant words thrown in. Our singing was so awe-inspiring and courageous that the judges luckily overlooked our team’s confusion at how exactly one acts out luge. As we concluded our performance, we received several standing ovations as legions of crying fans begged us to sing an encore. But alas, the mustaches had to come off. They were seriously getting itchy.