Friday, September 18, 2015

Day 79: Puzzle Me This…

May 25: It was another warm day, but not as hot as I expected and definitely not as humid as it had been earlier, and the trail was relatively flat and easy.




Early in the morning, we passed Caledonia State Park which included a snack bar, but we were too early and it was still closed for the day. We—and when I say we, I refer to Heavyweight who also wanted a cold drink. Superman blew past us not stopping. But Heavyweight and I were pretty sad about the snack bar not being open. =( Come on! It’s Memorial Day weekend! I guess people (other than us) sleep in past 8:00 in the morning, though, because the park was nearly completely deserted.


At the Birch Run Shelter, I caught up with Superman and Peter Pan where we spent an inexcusable amount of time torturing each other with games and riddles to solve.


Superman gave us this one: If you have two ropes that burn for exactly one hour but the burn rate isn’t uniform throughout the ropes, how can you use them to measure out 15 minutes. So, for example, the rope might be a foot long and if you light the end of it, you only know it’ll take one hour to burn. It might burn 99% of the rope in the first minute and take 59 minutes to burn the last 1%, though. It doesn’t necessarily burn at a steady or even rate—you just know that it takes an hour to burn the whole thing. And you have two of them (which don’t necessarily burn at the same rates either—just that they each take exactly 1 hour to burn). So, how do you measure out 15 minutes?


The thing I liked about these puzzles here was that none of us got a cell phone signal where you could just Google an answer. =) I pondered it for a moment and eventually we continued on without my getting an answer. I didn’t want an answer just yet, though. I wanted time to think about while hiking the down the trail and after about 5 or 10 minutes of hiking, I did figure it out. (I won’t post an answer, and I’ll delete any answers that any of you guys might post to the comments! Let someone Google it if they can’t figure it out and want an answer!)




The big puzzle I provided was that if you had 8 spheres that were absolutely identical except that one had a slightly different density than the others, either lighter or heavier—you don’t know that and have to figure it out. And you have a balance that can be used only three times before it breaks. How do you use the balance to figure out which of the spheres is a bit off from the rest, and whether it’s heavier or lighter than the rest? (I will say, I find it helpful to sketch diagrams of what you’re doing in this case because it’s a hard one just to figure out and keep track of that many balls in just your head. They actually pulled out 7 pennies and a dime to simulate puzzle on the picnic table!)


The big news for the day, however, was that we finally reached the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail! It was further south than I remembered it from my first thru-hike and it was marked with a small sign and a register for folks to sign. I celebrated the big moment with Superman, Heavyweight and Peter Pan. They arrived before I did and if they crossed the halfway mark topless, then I missed it. No need to scroll ahead for topless photos, you won’t find them here today! (Being the halfway mark, though, I think that deserved something bigger than going topless, like hiking across the halfway point naked! That didn’t happen either, though.)


For the night, we camped at Toms Run Shelter. There used to be two of them at this location but one of them burned down in 2013. Another quality day of hiking!




The Quarry Gap Shelter had these nice potted plants hanging from the edge of the roof! =) The cutest darned shelter you ever did see. (I’m inside the shelter looking out.)


The number of snake sightings have increased dramatically since the temperatures started getting warm!




Well, hello to you too! =)


The halfway point is near…


There it is! The sign behind them tells us we’ve reached the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail. For the first time on this hike, we’ll now be closer to the end of the trail than the beginning of it! From left to right, that’s Superman (obviously!), Heavyweight, and Peter Pan.


Mary Mac said...

Look what I just found!!! If you want to find out about Ryan and his 2003 AT hike and much more - read this -

Crystal R said...

Love the hanging flowers at the shelter! Seems like it'd give it a personal touch =)