So I have run the Expedition Everest Challenge a few times in my day. When Jenn decided to run Ragnar Cape Cod and gave me her team spots, I solicited my friend R to be a wilderness explorer with me…
We got to DAK with about 90 minutes before the start: plenty of time to hit up the port-a-potties, sign the Adventure Wall and be photographed for our amazing costumes.
And before I knew it, we were off! Never have gotten to start at the front before, so I really enjoyed the extra space on the course. We took our time making our way thru mile one (around the parking lot), picking our way over the hale bales (the first obstacle), and were greeted with Chip ‘n’ Dale just inside the entrance!
After apologizing to Chip for knocking his head with mine, it was time to head deeper and deeper into the jungle.
Mile 2 starts in the park and then winds into backstage areas. They changed the course this year for minimal time near the animal barns (which was a sweet blessing), and there was a water stop along this back way. I remember some of the stilt walkers from Festival of the Lion King lining the path for this. We then entered the park to run through Asia, past Everest. I definitely enjoyed this change for less congestion and a chance to wave to the Yeti as we ran by. Mile 2 ended just outside DinoLand, USA, and it was time to show some tire obstacle prowess. Mile 3 was all backstage, but they made it enough of an out and back to be entertaining, as well as having plenty of Cast Members on hand to cheer. Before I knew it, we had crossed the 5k line and were ready to take on the scavenger hunt.
The Scavenger Hunt We were handed our first clue and a flaslight…no pen (which was new!), but I think this was a great improvement to be able to solve puzzles and give answers without needing a pen.
As in years past, there were several different “stations” in each area, and your clue told you which sign to look for and tell the volunteer your answer. Definitely a big thing to keep in mind. Not everyone’s clues are the same initially, but they do lead to the same final answer.
We pointed to the corresponding flag on our bib and were signaled yes with a thumbs up! We got our medals, and more photos. And it was finally time for a celebratory ride on Everest and a well-deserved Safari Amber.
All in all, this is a very fun race experience! We finished at 1:15 (46:55 in the 5k) and 130 out of 506 all girls teams. I would recommend training for 5 miles of running, because you WILL want to move quickly during the scavenger hunt and that’s about how much you cover. Not sure if I will go for a 4th race this year, but never say never ;)
Hungry for more adventure? Read my 2012 Expedition Everest Challenge recap here.