Monday, October 26, 2009

Orienteering at Woodfield Scout Camp

So, I did go to the Woodfield Scout Camp and ran two sprint courses there yesterday. It was quite a bit of a drive (1:45 in one direction), but I was glad I came. The forest was absolutely beautiful, the courses challenging (Orange level) and people I met there very friendly. I was surprised that I was the only BOK member who accepted Mike Moody's kind offer to let us run their new courses. Maybe it was too sudden and too un-official this time and that's why. I don't know. But I surely hope to have another chance to run there sometime in the future.

The forest there was somewhat similar to Birkhead, but less rocky. Mostly open with a few green areas. No thorny vines whatsoever, even in green! Not many fallen trees either. All in all, beautiful forest to walk or run through.

Mike asked me to provide feedback after I run, so I wasn't going very hard and tried to pay attention to the way controls were set as well as the legends. I did indeed find a few minor issues: map wasn't entirely accurate in two places and a few others. We discussed those afterwards. I also added descriptions to the course notes below.

Here is how I ran:

Course B

#1: to the trail and stayed on it until it started to go down steeply; then went over the hill to the re-entrant with control

#2: followed the re-entrant down to the creek and then followed the creek to the second junction with the control

#3: went up to the trail and thought about going straight through the green area. It didn't look that scary from the trail. But finally decided not to risk it and went around. Stayed on the trail till it turned and then went down to the creek. Followed the creek to the area where the control was supposed to be, but didn't see it. I did see earth bank on my right and lake forming up in front, but I didn't see the rock cliff. Finally, I found it - it was on the slope instead of the bottom. The map should be corrected there (I did fix it in the picture below). One other thing I noticed is that the steep slope right above the control was already damaged by feet. Boyscouts who ran the course on Saturday all went up the hill there and the earth got exposed. To avoid further damage I would suggest to move the control to the creek junction or maybe to the bottom of the earth bank on the other side of the creek. This way runners will have multiple routes to go up the hill and it won't be damaged.

#4: over the hill to the side re-entrant and down to the creek junction with the control

#5: followed the creek a little bit, then went up the side re-entrant to the control

#6: over the hill to another side-entrant, then over the next hill to the main re-entrant, followed it, then went left to the control. Not a easy leg, especially at the end, as the area gets flat.

#7: over the hill aiming to the left of the control, hit the creek and proceed to the right to the control

#8: this one proved to be the hardest leg on this course. It looked easy on the map (follow the creek up and that's it), but in reality it wasn't easy. The area was flat and there were multiple small re-entrants, creeks and dry-ditches crossing. I had to use compass several times to make sure I was still going along the right creek.

#9: over the hill aiming to the left, then I clearly was two parallel re-entrants and followed the south one up to the control. The legend wasn't entirely correct there. It should have said that the control was on the very top of the re-entrant.

And then up to the trail and to the finish. It took me 21 mins to run this course.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Course A

I had some troubles finding controls on this course, mostly because I tried to use trails as catching features, but was not able to distinguish trails from the forest! Maybe it's just an autumn specifics or the trails were not used for a long time, but in many places the only way to see the trail was to look at blue paint marking in trees around the trail (but I realized it only later).

#1: right from the start I missed the beginning of the trail and reached the second one. I knew it was the second trail based on the direction, so I soon left it and cut north east looking for the first trail. Didn't see it. Followed the slope looking for the control. Apparently missed the trail again and didn't see the control either. Reached the point where I could see the lake and turned back looking for some feature I could use as an attack point. Found rocks and took the control from there.

#2: down to the creek and followed it to the control

#3: initially thought about going along the shore, but there was no place to run, so I had to go up the cliff and go around. Crossed the creek and went north, again, looking for a trail. Didn't see it and realized that I should stop trying to find trails in this area. Went west along the slope looking for either control or trail or knolls. Found knolls. As soon as I found them I saw the trail too and noticed blue markings. Aha. went east, saw blue marking again and then the control.

#4: up the hill to the cutting and followed the cutting to the control. Apparently it went right to the control and even further. The map should be corrected there (I did fix it on my image, but not entirely sure how those three knolls should be placed around the cutting). One other problem with this control is the map edge. The control is right at the edge of the map and direction of the approach may very well lead people off the map. The only catching feature is a trail, but the trail is barely visible. IMHO, there is a high risk of boyscouts going off the map there.

#5: continued on the cutting to the main trail which went down to the creek. From there took the proper re-entrant and went up to the control.

#6: south west to the trail, then north on the trail and down to the re-entrant with the control

#7: simply went over the hill to the re-entrant not even looking for a trail

#8: over the hill and down the re-entrant

and then south west to the finish, went too far south, so had to re-adjust. This course took me 30 mins.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Thanks to Josef and Joseph for the map and courses design. And, Mike, yet again, thank you for the invitation - it was great!

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