I have been meaning to get better at a map and compass. By saying “better” I mean learn how to use a map and compass and retain said knowledge.
Once, long ago, in 2011, I was serious about entering the Barkley Marathons for 2012. I started to learn about using a map and compass…then I got into Hardrock for 2012 and abandoned any idea about orienteering.
Well not exactly, but any orienteering event took a back seat to running/training. With me still rehabbing my knee, I have much more time to pursue other activities-like Project 50 activities, like orienteering.
What is orienteering? “Orienteering is an activity involving navigation using a map and compass. You receive a detailed topographic map on which a variety of land features are circled as control points to which you will navigate as quickly as possible. ”
I signed up for this orienteering event, still didn’t know what was going to happen. I signed up one day late, so I didn’t know if I could still just show up. I was still waffling on Saturday. (The event was Sunday.)
Then two things occurred. One, I read Brendan Leonard’s Friday blog post: The Value of Just Going. The second came in the shape of an email from a dear friend:
“Life is short, so very true, therefore, back to whatever you were doing in your delicious life and Kimba? Savor it!!”
This seems pretty deep to dive into for just an orienteering class/event. What’s the worse thing can happen? The NEO OC folks will say no, I can’t orient, so I will just go for a trail run/walk.
Just go out and do it!
I had no idea what this orienteering was all about, so I asked a nice couple, Shelly and Mike from Akron, if I could piggyback onto their route. They said okay, so off we went!
We were following the yellow “strong beginner” route. This orienteering session was not what I thought it was going to be. Essentially, for the yellow, we were just following the trails, and the controls were right on the trails.
There was no map skills required. My trail recognition of Camp Tuscazoar was probably a help along the way.
It was a very hot day out there. We had ten controls to find. We missed the second one, which I believe was on the trail below us.
When we couldn’t find the 10 control, I used my trail knowledge to reroute our group up the trail by the cabins, by Tom’s Chapel and up by the Camp Tuscazoar blockade.
And we were done! A great afternoon spent in the woods! I had forgotten how nice the trails are at Camp Tuscazoar. It’s definitely time to do some running here.
Soon there will be beginner mountain bike trails directly across from Camp Tuscazoar, so I can see another Project 50 Goal being ticked off soon!
Have you been orienteering? Did you take a class? Do you have mad map reading skills?