Yesterday, Evan and I participated in a High Trek Adventure race in LA. We didn’t take it too seriously at first — Evan was determined that we weren’t going to run despite my excitement every time I saw other teams jogging by — but as it turns out we did quite well, coming in at about 10th place (not an official number, since we don’t have our official time, but we had no penalties and we were the 10th team back according to the list).
So what is a High Trek Adventure race? Well, I didn’t know about them until a week ago, so don’t feel bad for not knowing — HTA is a company that sets up scavenger hunt-type races in various cities across the U.S. We met at a location in Hollywood to start the race and we got an all-day transit pass (LADOT was a sponsor) and a packet of clues (10 regular clues and two bonus clues).
We had to figure out the clues, which would take us to locations across Hollywood and Downtown LA, take pictures of various signs, statues, people or locations — which we had to be in as well — and get back to the starting location as fast as possible using only buses, subways or our own two feet. We were also allowed to use our phones and the internet to figure out clues, so people immediately started calling their friends for help while we immediately turned to Google on our iPhones.
Looking back, we did our clues in a really smart order, since we never had to backtrack. We started with the west-most location in Hollywood, Cantaloop, at Hollywood and La Brea, from the clue:
Find this all natural dessert spot location within a quarter mile of the Roosevelt Hotel that shares its name with a pop song of a jazz-rap group from the early ’90s. Here’s a sample of the song in question:
Yeah, yeah, yeah — what’s that? Diddi-diddi bop
Funky funky — yeah yeah — diddi-diddi bop
From there we went to find the hand prints of the star mentioned at the beginning of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” — Doris Day.
We also needed to take photos of 7 different Hollywood signs — not too hard when you’re actually in Hollywood (the alternative was taking a photo with 10 strangers plus us and the Hollywood sign, which we also attempted, though we sort of miscounted and only had 8 strangers and the Hollywood sign was fogged over for the photo).
Then we unscambled Boris Karloff’s name and found his star over on Vine, right in front of the Avalon. And then we went over to Toyota of Hollywood to see how many tries it would take us to unlock a car — we did it in two tries, so we didn’t get any time penalty.
We realized we were pretty well done with the Hollywood clues — there was one more, but we decided it would be the one we’d skip (we only had to do 9 out of 10) — so we headed over to the metro stop at Western and Hollywood, which was a bit of a walk, and went downtown.
We stopped at the Transit Mall to take a picture of a wall tile with the Joker on it, then headed over to Pershing square to take a photo with the Betthoven statue — our way of showing we added up which two actors had the most combined Oscars from a list.
From there we went up to Grand Central Market to buy an Apple from La Casa Verde. I had no idea that giant market was even there — I’d love to go back and check it out some more. That also took us right by Angels Flight, to which both Evan and I said, “LA has a funicular!?” We had no idea it was there and had never seen the bright orange cars, though we learned that they haven’t run since a serious accident where a cable snapped and a car sped down the mountain, killing a man and injuring others in 2001.
The last stop we had to make was Axis Physical Therapy by the Disney Concert Hall, which meant getting up a hill. I ran part of the way up, and we saw other teams running down the hill. We took the photo quickly, not waiting for the other two teams at the site, then started running back down the hill toward the Red Line stop.
Another team was right on our tail as we ran around the circular subway entrance. As we started down the subway escalator, we could hear the train coming, and we had to run down another flight of stairs to get to it. Evan got there first and I was concerned because my shoe was untied and I had an apple placed pretty precariously in my pocket, but Evan was able to hold the doors open just long enough for me and the other team to get on. Were we ever tired when we got on the subway!
What we didn’t realize was that we got on the Purple Line, which stops at Wilshire and Western, and not the Red Line, which goes to Hollywood and Highland, where we needed to be. Of course, nothing on the train indicated that, but when we reached the last stop the two lines shared, there was a very quiet announcement. We heard it, and though we were slightly unsure about the decision, we decided to get off the train to wait for the next one, which should be the real Red Line. The other couple didn’t even seem to consider getting off, and sort of looked at us with a “suckers!” look when we decided to get off the train.
We did make the right decision, and the next train was the right one. We felt guilty about not making it more clear to the other team that they were on the wrong train, but it was a pretty split-second decision because the announcement was made at the station where we needed to make the switch, and we were slightly unsure of the decision ourselves.
We got back to Hollywood and Highland and took a quick photo of some A-list celebrities (on a billboard), since it was one of the bonus items. We also looked around for anyone in a jersey or a shop that sold them, another bonus item, but didn’t see anything immediately, so we decided to just head back to the starting point as quickly as possible to save time. We ran down Highland towards Sunset, and got to the Catalina Jazz Club about 2 hours and 20 minutes after the race started, and we were surprised to learn that we were only the 10th team back. I think there were more than 50 teams of two to six participating.
We had some iced tea to celebrate finishing the race — and I forgot to mention, our team name was Unsweetened Iced Tea — then took some time to catch our breath. We waited around until about 4:30 so we could see the awards, even though we were pretty sure we wouldn’t win one. We didn’t, but we found out that some teams took close to five hours to complete the race, and we did have a great time getting to run around LA and see the other people who were interested in this sort of thing, too.
There were plenty of people who’d participated in these types of events before, whether it was other HTA races, Race LA events or even The Amazing Race, so we were really proud of ourselves for doing well and working as a team, and we’ll definitely be on the lookout for other similar events. It was a great way to spend a Saturday and to get a really unconventional workout.