Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The next puzzle is a good distance from Sumner (near Enumclaw. I think it was called the "Hanging Garden State Park," but I'm not sure about that), giving me ample opportunity to nap. When I awoke, we were in a rather forested area nearing our next destination. The GPS showed we were close, and parked vans confirmed our suspicions. Sometimes it's awesome not being in the lead.

We look at the gate; it's the same one on our macaroni masterpiece. Then again, we didn't really have to check. There's one of the obnoxious calling cards from one of the other teams. There's also one of the macaroni boards smashed over the rock. Whatever team did that rocks (it turned out to be Fuchsia). Knowing we're in the right place, we start hiking down the trail.

It's still daylight easily, so we're not worried about this long trail. There's what looks like a couple of forks and what sounds like a river and a shooting range nearby. We wonder if the plot is suddenly going to get really interesting. The path goes on longer, and we start going down hill for a while. The hike is actually pretty fun.

Finally, we see some tables. Okay, no shooting. That's kind of refreshing, given how tired I am. There are three tables set up, and at least one team is already at one. Looking at them, they seem to have a board of wood on the floor and some paper that looks like a puzzle. They block our site, and we talk to one of the staff at the table.

The table has a huge grid of rather large wooden "cards" all face down. We're told to try turning one over. We do so, and it has a fraternal organization symbol on it. Okay, we turn over another. It's another organization. We're now told to turn both back face down.

It's concentration. This seems straight forward. At first we think we'd be really clever to take pictures each time. Ha. Fat chance. We realize after one or two that this approach sucks, and we start brute forcing things.

We finally find a pair. "This'll be a piece of cake," I say. We're told we can turn over a third. We do. It's different. We're given a counter that we can put on any card, and told to turn the cards over after putting it down. We realize there's more than two of each pair. Yikes. However, the card that we put the counter on doesn't turn back over. Odd. We eventually find the third for our pair, and complete the triplet. The three cards are removed. We're handed a small bag with two or three sheets of paper.

It looks like these are part of a larger picture, and we split up. Half of our group grabs one of the spare boards of wood and starts the puzzle half.

My half needs to find three of a kinds. Every time we find a new unique pair, we get a counter to put down. But I'm worried; I don't know if the counters mean the card won't be removed when we find a triplet with it. Eventually we find one, and it turns out the counters are completely beneficial. Nice! As we find each triplet, I hurry to hand our new sheets to our other half.

We reach a point where there's still several cards, but the puzzle is nearly done. It looks like an address... Federal Way, is that a district in Seattle?

My half realize we're beaten, but our other half is still missing at least one bag. The staff member suggests we may want to look at the half our teammates are working on. We ask the proctor if there's another card he can give us, and he gives us the final pieces.

It's a partial address. Somewhere in Federal Way, which turns out to be a city north of Auburn. We look back at our game of concentration.

Well I'll be. The leftover cards form a four digit number. The street address. Huzzah! Refreshed, we hike back up the trail to the van, ready to go on our way. This is another long drive, and a chance for most of us to get a bit more sleep. The sun is still high in the air, but we hope we're nearing the end. It's Sunday, and we technically have work tomorrow.


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