Orienteering 2:53:54  6.0 mi (28:59 / mi) +1053ft 24:51 / mi
Great Falls, MD
16 controls; 6 km; 260 m
Actual Distance Traveled: 9.7 km
Actual Climb: 322 m
I had a sneaking suspicion based on my past performances at Great Falls that I would not be able to finish the Advanced Long course on time. Considering how long it took me to finish the Advanced Medium I think that suspicion was accurate.
I messed up finding the first control (103) pretty good. My original idea wasn't a bad one but it also wasn't the best approach. I ended up going past the control, missing it by several meters. I then circled around for awhile until I wound up back on the path that I had left from several minutes before. At that point I re-examined my approach, chose a better approach, and found the control fairly easily. It took me 14 minutes (during which I walked 0.7 miles) to get to the point where I left the path and started to look for the control and another 11 minutes (during which I walked an additional 0.3 miles) to find it.
I found the next six controls without much trouble.
The eighth control (112) was a different story. Rather than take the trails I cut SSW. I thought that bearing would get me to the control. It got me close but I went past it and then wandered around for a while unsure of exactly where I was. I finally managed to find a trail and once I reached a junction was able to reorient myself and find the control fairly quickly. In retrospect I can see that when I passed the top of the creek at the SE corner of the forbidden zone I should have turned south. But I didn't. It took me 4.5 minutes to get to the SE corner of the FZ (0.2 miles). I spent an additional 30.5 minutes wandering around (for the most part clueless) until I finally reoriented myself and found the control (0.8 miles).
I found the next 6 controls without too much trouble, although I did overshoot 11 (123) and have to circle around to find it.
The fifteenth control (134) also gave me some trouble. I had a feeling that it would and I tried to avoid a hassle my taking a less direct route. The idea wasn't a bad one but I probably could have chosen a better approach. I tried navigating from the prior control to a hill top and then from there to the control. In retrospect I'm not sure if I found the right hilltop. What I do know is that I wound up north of where I should have been. I eventually figured than out and headed south. I wandered around very close to the control, so close that I'm pretty sure that I walked right past it, within 10 feet of it before heading back to the trail. From the trail I plotted a new approach and found it. It was then that I realized that I had just been there and walked right past it.
I'm glad I finished the course. There is no way that I would have finished the long course on time.
I wish I had done better. Great Falls isn't my favorite place to orienteer. There are places where the map doesn't seem to accurately match the diversity of the terrain. It was frustrating at times but it wasn't awful.
The weather was great, maybe a little warmer than what I has prepared for.