Thursday, October 29, 2009

How Does It Feel To Be Hunted?

I've tried to describe it before. It's a treasure hunt . . . but no treasure is involved. It's competitive . . . but you really don't want to win. It tests your endurance by taking place in the desert at nighttime . . . but your greatest tool is your intellectual mettle. Over 500 people participate in it . . . but you'd never know it was going on, let alone so close to the Phoenix metropolitan area. It's the annual Arizona Treasure Hunt. And after four years, I still don't know if I'm the predator or the prey . . .

. . . because in the weeks leading up to the Hunt, participants receive a hints sheet to decipher in preparation for the impending clue sites they might find, and this research can consume the mind if you aren't careful -- or don't have a life. I won't waste valuable blog space describing the Hunt in detail, because my friend and teammate Jenny has done so more effectively on her blog, but I will share our team pic, to preserve the memory and offer something for you to decipher.

The answer: Yes, I really did eat two pieces of pie -- after a slab of steak, some barbecue chicken, a baked potato, baked beans, a slice of bread, gobs of candy, half a bacon cheeseburger with fries, and three Dunkin Donuts.

Speaking of indulgence, check out these pics from the hotel our team used as a headquarters. I've heard of screwing in a lightbulb, but those lamps take it to a-whole-nother level -- and, yes, those are clouds and a tumbleweed in the hotel lobby. This place has its own ecosystem, for cryin' out loud!

The bottom line isn't on those lamps, though. Regarding the Hunt, few other events of any caliber will make one's obsession with pop culture genuinely useful. That's the real prize: sweet validation.

Addendum: My poem, "Our Annual Adventure," is inspired by the Hunt. I told you, it's consuming.

This detail is from a larger drawing of October events, and I've been wanting to color it for naught, so at least I can put this piece up here to illustrate this desert misadventure!

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