With a posse
of Pittsburghers, filled a vehicle and trekked across the border into Ohio and visited our sister club NEOOC to their season opener at the Octagon shelter, Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Day was projected to be cold in the mid-upper thirties with rain moving in. Fortunately, the volunteers at the meet started two fires in the fireplaces, which provided some warmth. From the parking lot I could tell the event was well attended. Lots of hikers, boy-scout types, beginners.
The event director did a good job in picking great control locations. A small snafu revealed itself when it was announced that two controls were being dropped (aka removed) from the Green and Red courses (notice the hand-written red X on rows 2 and 3 in the clue sheeet on the map
). What happened is that while the master map, which was printed in scale 1:10000, had the entire course traced on it, the participant map, which was printed in scale 1:7500, did not show the same area as the master map.
On the Red course, the muddy ravines were a welcome challenge to my Inov-8 MudClaw shoes. Aerobic full-lung exercise and upper-arm practice in grabbing small trees to pull myself up was the name of the day. Oh, did I mention the fallen tree logs ? lots of raising-the-knee routine here.
A big mistake
that costed me 13 minutes
was at control 10. When I got to the control area, at about 5 minutes after leg time from the previous control, I did see a control flag down the ravine at what seemed to be a junction of two reentrants/streams, but chose to ignore it, thinking it belonged to the Green course, and stayed above, contouring the ravine edges, looking for the spur where the control was. It was a disaster, with the control never found. How can it be? I eventually backtracked to the previous reentrant just to make sure I was in the right map contact. Then, carefully walking towards the control again, had to conclude that the control I saw at the beginning was the correct control. Maybe the map should show more evidently in its map feature the deeper ravineous nature of the terrain at that point, but that's a mapper's choice.
For control 12, I got lucky. Apparently I drew the circle on the wrong spring/upper reentrant. These are the mistakes that one does when copying from a master map, part of the "mental" challenge in the sport of orienteering. Glad I was running around and about in proximity of the control, and wasn't paying too attention to the map as far the exactness of the control location
, and found the control with ease and no problems. Got lucky on this one... could have been another disaster as in control 10...
Back at the Octagon shelter, we socialized with fellow Raccoongainers, and trekked back to Pennsylvania.
btw, highway tolls were $15, gas $30, which divided by four, came to about $11 each. Totally worth it for attending the season opener by a great bunch of people and volunteers.