Orienteering 3:21:17  7.2 mi (27:57 / mi) +925ft 24:55 / mi
shoes: Ruby Red Slippers
Blue: 19 controls, 8.4 km, 60 m
Actual Distance Traveled: 11.6 km
Actual Climb: 282 m
It was very warm at Mason Neck. There were lots of insects buzzing around me. Very distracting.
I probably should have known better than to attempt the blue course. My only successful finish (in 3 attempts, including this one) at Mason Neck was on a red course in 2013. I botched it pretty good this time around.
Mason Neck is a difficult place to orienteer because there are very few contours and they are very subtle. It doesn't help that the foliage was very leafy.
The second control on the course gave me the most trouble. In retrospect I think that I left the path earlier than I thought I did and so wasn't angling correctly to be headed in the right direction to find the control. I wandered around for a while. Once I figured that I must have passed it I started looking for the third control hoping that I could then work my way back to the second one. I didn't find the third one but after circling around for a while I found the seventh control which was due north of the second control. I headed due south and finally found the second control.
The butterfly control (5/8/11) also gave me a fair amount of trouble. I ran across it when I was I was looking for the second control. I had trouble finding it the first time I needed to find it, but after circling around once I finally found it. The second time I needed to find it I found it without any trouble. The third time around I couldn't locate it. I tried using my compass to navigate from 10 to 11 but the angle I measured on the map brought me out too far north and I wound up hitting the trail about where I thought I would find the control. The lack of terrain features to navigate by didn't make finding this control any easier. I eventually gave up because I was running out of time.
In the end I found the first 10 controls. That was it. I still managed to cover a fair amount of ground even though it wasn't very hilly.
The one piece of great news is that using a buff as a sweatband worked out quite well. It was soaked by the time I finished but it kept most of the sweat from running down into my glasses and my eyes, which was a big problem for me a few weeks ago at Pohick Bay.