Gorilla Challenge Portland 2012 Recap

Recap by Jen


So we started the race with a little bit of an advantage.  We were one of the 5 teams that had obtained the most likes  on our post on Facebook so we had gotten an extra clue.  Although I must say it was not too helpful.  It simply said to know your places of recreation in Portland.  Well, that pretty much narrowed it down didn’t it.

The race was supposed to start at Rock Bottom Brewery at 11 but the organizers were a bit late so we didn’t start until almost 11:30.  That is the worst when you have your people on the phone waiting and you don’t start on time!  Anyways we got the 1st set of 6 clues and I took a look at them and holy crap, I knew all but one of them.   There were some that said they were mandatory activities but nowhere in the rules did it say you had to complete the mandatory activities it only said that you had to complete 10 of the 12.  The race organizer also did not say anything about mandatory clues at all let alone that you had to do them.  Hmm????  Do you have to complete those?  Not sure but we will try.

 Let’s go Will, we sent the clues to Angela and off we went.  The first stop was Keller Fountain for an activity.  We had to 3 legged gorilla crawl about 10 yards.  No problem.  That was easy.  Then we got the second sheet of 6 clues.  We sent those to Angela and I looked through those.  Again I only didn’t know one of them.  I had Angela work on them to double check me and Will google the 1 I didn’t know.  I then took one last look at the clues and set the route in my head.

Stop 2 was the statue in Chapman Park, a photo stop.


Stop 3 was the Salmon Street Springs for another activity.  I had come up with this location from solving a clue so when we got there and no race volunteers here, I wondered if I solved it wrong.  I looked at it again and I was sure that this was it.  We spend about 5 minutes looking all around and then another team showed up and they couldn’t find anything either.  This was one of those mandatory activities so we didn’t know what to do.  There was no race contact info on the clues so we just took a picture at the fountain to show we were there and then we had to move on, we had spend about 8 minutes there and no one was there!!!!  Oh, I was not happy.  I was wondering if somehow I had been wrong on the location but I couldn’t think of anywhere else it could be.  So onward we went.


Stop 4 was Mill’s end park and we had to take a video.  We hadn’t been informed before the race that we would need to take video so us in our pay as you go cell phones don’t have video.  We could use Will’s Ipod but we still hadn’t downloaded all our vacation pictures from that, Will had forgotten to pack the camera charger so we took all our photos on his Ipod.  So the Ipod was having issues with loading the camera and it took forever!!!!!  We finally got it to work but this was a problem with all the video stops.


Stop 5, 6 and 7:  Up to the Oregon Historical Society for a photo stop.  On the way I told Will that if he saw hotel that we needed a picture with a room on the 8th floor.  We ran right past the Hilton so up to the 8th floor we went. 


Then we continued on our way to the Oregon Historical Society.  As we got to the South Park Blocks, I saw some race volunteers standing on a bench.  I yelled at Will and told him to go over to the volunteers.  Hmm, what clue is this?  I had no idea, maybe this was the activity that was supposed to be at Salmon Street Springs, maybe I was wrong.  They were located on Main in the South Park blocks, hmm.  Oh well, let’s do this activity.  So they told us that we had to have a Dance off and we waited for another team to get there.  Then they told us we would be dancing to the YMCA by the Village People.  Okay not bad. They said it was a dance off so I figured we had to beat the other team. Well let’s do this.  Will and I started getting down with our white rhythm.  We were getting down and that is a long song!!!  About ½ way through, a film crew came over and was taping us as the volunteers were cracking up at us and taking still photos of us.  Good lord we better win.  So when it was over she gave us our sticker and we were off.  I asked her what location this was and she didn’t understand what I was asking and said that she didn’t know she was just told to wait here and do the activity.  Hmm.  So as we were running off to the Oregon Historical Society Will looks at me and says, “Where do you think that video is going to end up?”  Good question I have no idea, I don’t think they were with the race.  No time to work about that now, we have clues to check off.  We stopped at the Historical Society and got a picture of us acting out tug-o-war.

Stop 8:  We had to go to Pioneer Court House Square and video us singing and dancing to the song “Move it” to a stranger. Oh know another video issue.  We finally got it going and then we embarrassed ourselves again in Portland’s living room and off to the next clue.


Stop 9.  I thought that the last mandatory activity was going to be at the elephants statue in the north park blocks as the clue said, “Find the elephants in the room, err,  Park.”  This statue has been in many of our races so no problem, until we got there and again no volunteers!!!!  What is with this?  So I think about it and the only other thing it could be would be Elephants Deli across from Director’s Park but we just ran past that on the way there and there were no people there!!!!  Oh well, we are going to have to skip it and do all the others and hope that mandatory is not really mandatory.  This is the elephants statue we thought fit the clue.

Stop 10:  We had to find a sailor looking person and video us singing to them the “I’m in the Navy” song.  I didn’t even know the song but I tried and sang my version of it to some poor guy in all white in the Voodoo Doughnuts line.


Stop 11:  We needed to go to the gospel mission and video us beating our chests and saying “I am a Gorilla”.  Other than having the same video issues this was pretty uneventful.


Stop 12.  We hit the Dekum building on the way back and video us doing the chicken dance in front of it. 


Okay we weren’t sure about the elephant clue and they were not at the Salmon Street Springs but we did get the YMCA  we skipped one other one so I think we had 10 maybe 11.  Back to the finish we go.


We ran into the brewery and no one was there!!  We asked and were told they were upstairs.  It would have been nice to have been told this before we started.  We went upstairs and again no one was there to help check us in.  We looked around that there were a few people eating their lunch so we were frantically asking who is supposed to check us in???  “They were confused and not set up.  Oh you are finished, we aren’t ready for you, wow you are fast.”  Hurry up and check us!!!  It took them quite a while to check us and then they told us that no sorry we only had nine correct.  They were not going to give us credit for salmon street springs because that was the correct answer but they wanted us to go back and complete it because now they were set up.  Are you kidding me!  They said we could go out and do either the Salmon Street Springs one or the other one we skipped.  And it turned our that our Gospel mission was the wrong location. We went to the one on Burnside and they wanted the one on 13th.  Okay, I can accept that as my error but you better accept that you weren’t ready for us at the Springs and give us that.  No luck.  I was pissed because it took us like 15 minutes to have them check us in because they weren’t ready and no we had to go back out.  Great.  So we raced out of there looking for a tour bus to complete the other one we skipped.  I knew that there was one that departed from  Pioneer Courthouse Square and if we were really lucky it might be parked there now.  We hustled up there.  It was there and we jumped on and had to get a video of everyone on the bus yelling Gorilla Challenge.  Lucky for us only the bus driver was on board and we got her on video and then ran as hard as we could to the finish again. 

When we got back, we were still number 1!  Wahoo.


So it turned out that the elephant clue was supposed to be the elephant deli and the race directors thought that the South Park Blocks was Director’s Park (which is really 3 blocks away), and they didn’t know there was a real elephant statue in the North Park Blocks.   Hmmm.  So they weren’t set up, the clues weren’t well written and now we are waiting to hear back from them to get our check and we have heard that teams in a lot of other cities never got their winnings.  I am no sure I would do this one again.

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