Dispatch from a Scavenger Hunt Champion

I haven’t been on a hunt since I was ten. I vividly remember listening to "Another One Bites the Dust" as the cold air dug its claws into me. I dug through the spring snow to find the last treasure. Every handful of snow I dug, I was an inch closer to glory: a plastic oblong sphere. I couldn’t stop looking, no matter how cold I was. I had forgotten that feeling until today. As we were let loose on the western bridge city, I felt a rush of energy flow into my caffeine-lacking, just-awoken body. We were going to win.

I never lost hope, whether Emily was toughing it up the Burnside bridge or Lucy was bandaging her injured toe. Sure, we may not have been the underdogs, as two of the three of us were familiar with the territory, but that didn’t mean we were lacking heart. From our lack of forethought on meal planning to our garb, we gave ourselves roadblocks. But we were eager to overcome.

Halfway through, we had the lead. We couldn’t lose. But sure enough, as we returned our steeds to their stables, a group of four emerged from the heat-distorted horizon. Beat by beat, neck and neck, our two groups battled through the environment. As we realized we would be stuck together for the next few stops, the tension subsided. We could rest. But only for a moment, as out of the corner of my eye, three figures loomed large behind us. How could this be happening. It was them. The last three. It was down to the wire.

The final minutes of the hunt were a blur. I remember responding to Jordan’s “it’s not a competition, bro” with a sharp “life’s a competition.” I remember Emily seeking any water she could find, throat parched, stomach screaming for sustenance. I remember Lucy yelling “go, go, go!” as the final stop came into view.

Against all odds, we prevailed. Sure, Molly and Phil reiterated how this hunt was not a competition, but we knew deep down they were proud we had won. We were unsure as to how our peers would react to finding out they hadn’t conquered the 2017 MISC scavenger hunt, but our sweat-drenched clothes warded off any who dared oppose us. Sometimes people say I take things too seriously. Take this seriously: we were the champions.

–Atlas Finch