Monday, April 13, 2009

Orienteering in Birkhead Wilderness, Apr 12

Orienteering event was the last "point of interest" in our 5 days journey to South Carolina and Georgia. Tanya, Michael and I spent the last week on a "half-organized" family road trip, driving wherever we wanted, staying in cheap hotels, visiting all kinds of places and doing all kinds of activities (including getting into golf ball size hail). The orienteering event on a way back home capped it nicely.

Artem set up a Score-O event with an extra complexity twist. The sun was shining, the air was cool, the forest was quite open - simply beautiful. Plus I was able to draw a course avoiding big hills and ended up actually running most of the time. Tanya and Michael had a great time too. Thank you, Artem!

My overall strategy was:

  • take easy #18, 17 and 16 at the very beginning in order to warm up and get a feel for the forest and the "complexity twist"
  • go all the way to the 50 pointer #10, taking some controls on the way there
  • then return back taking the rest of the controls on that route
  • take #5, 4, 3 and 2 if time permits (ended up taking only #5 there)
  • don't go over 1 hour

I think the strategy worked very well, especially taking in account that I was able to avoid hills by choosing this route.

Here is how I ran:

#18: simply using trails to get there

#17: ran back to the trail, then turned into the forest right after the re-entrant

#16: went north east till the re-entrant with the dry ditch and used it to get to the control. Found the control, but thought that it was too quick, so went around the pond, found the decoy control; stopped and thought, went back to the correct control and punched it

#15: used the trail until I saw big rocks on the right side, then cut to the control

#14: went over the hill, but didn't see the control - it was well hidden; took another bearing from the small re-entrant and eventually found the pit

#12: went down the hill and continued to the creeks junction, crossed the creek and ran north west to the control

#11: ran along th slope without loosing elevation, noticed re-entrants in a right and left, then went up the hill to the control

#9: decided to go for #9 before going to #10, as it looked easier than going to #10 directly. Simply ran north (north east and then north west) crossing two big re-entrants till I reached the control.

#10: ran east, watching re-entrant on the left, then north east and eventually reached the trail, used trail to get to the control and used trail/re-entrant crossing as an attack point

#8: simply ran south west and then west, avoiding gaining/loosing extra elevation (not much thinking was needed there as I had a good catching feature ahead - the creek), then went down to the creek and continued west along it, crossed the creek and ran along it toward the control, used a bend in the slope as an attack point.

#13: crossed the creek, ran till the green, then crossed the creek again to go around a cliff; after the cliff crossed the creek again and took the control

#7: crossed the creek back and used low ground to go around the hill; had to cut the north spur because of the unmapped green area and went south west; again crossed the creek to go around a cliff, but this time didn't see the control from the other side. Stopped for a few seconds and double-checked everything - everything seemed to be correct. So crossed the creek and immediately saw the control - it was very well hidden.

#6: walked up the hill, then ran along the slope counting re-entrants till the control

#5: went south east, then over the hill, noticed the small re-entrant, but didn't see a control at the rock piles close by, so continued to the next cluster of rocks, didn't see the control there either, spent some time looking then decided to double-check the first cluster and sure enough there was the control.

After that I had only 5 minutes left so I ran to the finish avoiding the re-entrants and using the trails to full advantage. Still ended up 4 minutes late... (with total time of 1:04)

Here is my route. Click on the image to enlarge.

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