Monday, January 24, 2011

Surviving Raven Rock

I finally made it! I went though an advanced course in Raven Rock without making any major mistakes or spending hours looking for misplaced controls! It look me 7 years to put one decent run/walk there...

Here is a history of my struggles in this dreadful place:
2004: Red - 3 hours, misplaced controls, lots of mistakes DNF
2005: Won the yellow course with a cast on my leg :)
2006: Red - 3 hours, misplaced controls, cold rain, DNF
2007: Red - 1 hour 49 mins, mistakes, average speed 3.3 km/h
2008: Green - 1 hour 52 mins, misplaced controls, mistakes, average speed 2.8 km/h
2009: Red - 2 hours 24 mins, misplaced controls, mistakes, average speed 2.7 km/h
and finally
2011: Green - 1 hour 24 mins, average speed 4.1 km/h

This time the course was mercifully set mostly in the western part of the park which is much cleaner comparing to the eastern part. The course was still very hard, challenging and physically demanding, I walked a lot. But I ended up enjoying it. It was also nice to be able to visit a few beautiful landmarks during the course: the rock field and the river. 13 (65)-to-14 (67) leg was brutal, of course, and #67 was a bit off (at least I think so), but other than that it was a very good course. Huge thanks to Artem and Holly was setting it up!

Here is how I ran:

#1: to the road and used it until the re-entrant, went around thorns to the control

#2: to the trail and used it to get close, then continued north-west, down to the gully and took the control

#3: climbed up a bit, then tried to stay on the same elevation, crossed the small re-entrant in its top part, crossed the trail and went north-north-west. Got a bit disoriented as I didn't see the re-entrant south west from the control, so ended up further north, but quickly realized the error, turned back and took the control.

#4: went down to the creek and climbed up on the other side. There I saw re-entrant on my left and realized that I was further west from the control than I wanted to. But I didn't like the look of vegetation on my right, so instead of going there I went down to the creek by the cliff and then went along the creek to the control. It was easy to find this way, but I am not sure it was the best choice, as I spend a lot of time in rhododendrons by the creek.

#5: up to the trail, then used it a bit to go around bad green staff, then went down. Didn't go to the rock field, but I saw a glimpse of it, went a bit to the left and took the control.

#6: decided to take a risk and try my luck by the river. There was a possibility that there wouldn't be any place for me to run, but I thought I was far enough from the Raven Rock, so there was a good chance that I'll be all right. Plus I really, really hate going up unless I absolutely have to. So instead of going up to the trail, I went down to the river. The view was awesome, but initially I thought I made a mistake. There was a stretch of "near rock climbing" at the beginning, but fortunately it was small and after that I could run all the way to the control. I had to climb up to the control though.

#7: up to the trail in a straight line, then used a trail a bit and cut west when I saw a small re-entrant/gully on my left. Crossed the creek and climbed up on the other side right to the control.

#8: kept going up to avoid the deep re-entrant, then went down along the hill and diagonally to the other side of the hill where the control was

#9: didn't want to loose any elevation, so went on top around two re-entrants on my right and then across the hill to the control.

#10: crossed the re-entrant and tried to keep my elevation, so ended up crossing the hill north from the control. Went south-west along the creek to get it.

#11: just went south-south-east to the top of the hill and from there down knowing that I'd be a bit west from the control. Looked for that side re-entrant from above and went there.

#12: up to the trail and down to the rocky field. Walked from there up to the control.

#13: kept walking up to the trail, then went down to the creek and proceeded down, carefully counting all side creeks until I found the right one on the other side, went up and took the control. The vegetation was awful but it got even worse right after that

#14: scrambled up the hill, it took me 6-7 mins to do just that... Then I made a mistake. I should have used the white and go to the trail, but instead I went straight, back to that vegetation... I went down to the creek and again carefully counted all side creeks, found the right one and went up the slope. Then proceeded there looking for the control. But it wasn't there! I started to question myself and walked up the hill to double-check, everything looked correct from there, so I went down to the slope again - no control... Decided that it was probably misplaced and went south to the trail and saw the control along the way. I believe that it was about 50-60 yards south from where it was supposed to be. But it was in a ditch all right. I think the map is not very precise there.

#15: proceeded south to the trail and went down along the dry ditch on the other side. Reached the creek and went a bit left just to make sure I'll be west from the junction. Then went west along the creek, saw the junction and ran between two creeks to the control.

#16: up to the trail and to the control
and then finish! Took me 84 mins.

Here is my route (blue - mostly running, brown - mostly walking). Click on the image to enlarge.