1986 AHSME Problems/Problem 19

Problem

A park is in the shape of a regular hexagon $2$ km on a side. Starting at a corner, Alice walks along the perimeter of the park for a distance of $5$ km. How many kilometers is she from her starting point?

$\textbf{(A)}\ \sqrt{13}\qquad \textbf{(B)}\ \sqrt{14}\qquad \textbf{(C)}\ \sqrt{15}\qquad \textbf{(D)}\ \sqrt{16}\qquad \textbf{(E)}\ \sqrt{17}$

Solution

We imagine this problem on a coordinate plane and let Alice's starting position be the origin. We see that she will travel along two edges and then go halfway along a third. Therefore, her new $x$-coordinate will be $1 + 2 + \frac{1}{2} = \frac{7}{2}$ because she travels along a distance of $2 \cdot \frac{1}{2} = 1$ km because of the side relationships of an equilateral triangle, then $2$ km because the line is parallel to the $x$-axis, and the remaining distance is $\frac{1}{2}$ km because she went halfway along and because of the logic for the first part of her route. For her $y$-coordinate, we can use similar logic to find that the coordinate is $\sqrt{3} + 0 - \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2} = \frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}$. Therefore, her distance is $$\sqrt{\left(\frac{7}{2}\right)^2 + \left(\frac{\sqrt{3}}{2}\right)^2} = \sqrt{\frac{49}{4} + \frac{3}{4}} = \sqrt{\frac{52}{4}} = \sqrt{13},$$ giving an answer of $\boxed{A}$.