The rest of the rogaine.
Some general comments:
-- The contours were excellent most of the time, as long as you adjusted for the 40-foot interval. There were quite a few small knolls on the tops of spurs that weren't quite big enough to make it on the map. Most of the navigation was done strictly by the contours, with compass for confirmation, especially at night. The main failing of the contours was in the eastern part of the map, where the geology was different, many more rements of volcanic activity. The were lots of very significant rock feats (cliffs, rock outcrops) not on the map, plus a "badlands" feeling in places that was not conveyed by the map.
-- The vegetation was marginally useful. All the "forest" was scattered trees, no problem going through. In many cases the trees were dead from a fire a decade ago, so visibility was rarely impaired.
-- The roads were mapped ok, the "trails" were as mapped some of the time, and non-existant or at least hard to find some of the time.
-- The was a little bit of water in some of the "streams."
-- In picking routes, since we were walking the goal was to go as straight as possible while avoiding the steeper slopes, especially trying to avoid going across the steeper slopes. Most of the orienteering in the daytime was easy, so there was no reason to pick a route because it made it simpler to find the points. At night that was a consideration, though there was still a feeling of "go right at it, we can find it."
Comments on specific legs:
The plan was to try to get most of the west and southwest points before dark. I had measured the distance as 20.3 miles straight-line distance to #44 by the lake, and figured at 2 mph that would get us there at 9:10 pm, about when it was getting dark. The first few legs were simple, though uphill, but we were still ghugging along at faster than 2 mph. I think our average to the first water stop at 45 was 2.5 mph.
The next three legs, 73, 51, and 39, all had options to use the road. To 73 it was a toss-up, don't think we gained or lost anything by taking it for a ways. To 51 it seemed to far out of the way. To 39 I don't think it was quicker but it was easy on the feet and a chance to chow down. 39, by the way seemed to be, well, someplace out there. I can't say that it was wrong, but I wouldn't swear that it was right. Barb spotted it about 150 meters from where I was expecting it to be, but I may have just been off.
To 69, it was a bit nasty getting through the first couple of reentrants. Maybe would have been a little easier to go lower.
A slow trudge up to 58, which was about 100-200 meters lower than mapped. Didn't make any difference, still easy to find, except my pleasure at a really good time on the leg quickly dissappeared when I saw how long it was taking to reach the flat ground just 40' higher than the control.
To 75, a little swing to the right to avoid the steeper part of the canyon. And the first specific AOWN moment -- this doesn't count the views, the flows, various deer sightings -- a rubber boa
. Just about stepped on it, still hardly noticed it as if wiggled away in the grass.
Beautiful view at 100. We had been advised to be there for either sunrise or sunset, but that was not to be. Still making very good time, I was thinking there was a good possibility that we could get through 82 by dark. And that seemed like a really good idea.
To 67, first a steep descent, then a steep sidehill. We thought about going more to the right to avaid the steep sidehill, but it seemed too big a detour. Barb was somewhat apprehensive about the steeper slopes but she managed them just fine. I was the one who seemed to be always falling down.
To 80, more slopes but not bad. Control (a spring) was at the bottom of the main reentrant, not quite as mapped.
To 71, good options (or maybe no good options). Going right seemed to work well.
To 41, going straight/over was probably quicking. The trail along the hillside east of 41 was very overgrown and eroded. Checked our time here, oops, not doing as well as planned. How come? Oops, seemed like my measurement was a mile short. Getting 82 before dark was suddenly iffy.
To 68, dropped our packs for the only time. Felt nice!
To 40, a moment's cnsideration of a wide swing to the left but it seemed like way too much of a detour. Steep down and up, then a fence just before the control, one of maybe 40 we had to crawl under in the course of the 24 hours.
To 50, the geology was ghanging, more big rock. Looking out from above 63, it seemed better right to 50 than straight. Still making good time, 82 looked just doable.
To 66, no the map didn't just disappear. But a piece got photomerged into some alien place in my computer.
Massive rock cliffs and spires around 53. Didn't miss the control, but sure was confused on the approach as to what was what. Fortunately Barb had it figured out.
Around to the right to 82. More massive rock, plus lots of erosion, looked the the badlands. Really hard to make sense of the terrain/map even though the plan was simple (east to the height of land, look for the spur below the big cliff). The light was fadingand it took a bit of the courage of our convictions -- it looked like the right spot up above us, and it looked like we could get there but climbing above and around several deep/steep erosion gullies, but it was a few anxious minutes. Punched in and headed down to the stream in the last glimmers of light.
To 70, the "griller" -- we stopped for maybe 5 minutes to get the lights out, then went for what should have been an easy walk down the trail. Except it was overgrown and hard to follow. Managed pretty well though, but then came AOWN episode #2, another snake, this one I stepped right over without seeing and just then Barb yelled and I looked down and it was moving into the longer grass and rattling its tail. It was maybe 3 feet long, yellowish bands around it on a dark background. Rattlesnake? Maybe, I wasn't sure. So now it's dark, and there are snakes all around, poisonous ones, and a moment later Barb happens to look to her left and and -- AOWN episode #3 -- there is a pair of big eyes staring back at her, and she yells again, and rushes up and grabs my arm and says something about we have to run and there are big wild dangerous animals and let's go, fast. So we scoot along for maybe 50 meters, and we haven't been mauled yet, and things slowly calm down. And we continue on towards 70.
More to come later, time to go get some exercise first, beatiful sunny day out....
Now the clue for 70 was “Griller” and I kept trying to catch the odor of burgers or dogs, but nothing. I thought it would be right by the road, but we went past it, maybe 100 meters, but Barb pointed out that we were even with the butte just to the right of the road and had to be past it. So back we turned and she spotted it pretty quickly. No burgers, no dogs, just a couple of foundation slabs, some beat-up metal sheets, broken glass, and also a control which was all we cared about. Found out later it had been a crematorium for the Rajneesh….
We had what we thought was a decent selection of night-O controls, some easy, some a little tougher. 49 was simple, 61 ok, 62 a little dicey but we got it fine, though I’m pretty sure it was 100 meters or so too far south – you could see the high country just to the west real well in the moonlight and the relationship seemed off.
Over to 62, up and down and up, and the first up was painful, a blister on my left big toe popped and a big one on my right heel was complaining mightily, and several others small were saying, Don’t forget about me. So at the top we took a 10-15 minute break for surgical treatment. The one that had popped was easy, Barb had some Compeed to apply and it actually worked well. For the one on the heel, jabbing it with a safety pin to drain it, Barb kept squeezing it hard and saying stick the pin in again, we’ve got to get all the fluid out, I think she may have been enjoying this, I was definitely not. After a while enough was enough and she put some Compeed on it too. It helped, but that sucker still hurt the rest of the way. And then she took a look at my socks and said, These are no good, so out came her extra socks, and they did feel a whole lot better. Of course they didn’t have a zillion dried grass seeds in them, poking holes in my ankles. I had at least a couple hours before that started again.
So anyway 62 was easy, ditto 30, ditto 81 although the trail we were going to follow didn’t exist, ditto 65, that trail there didn’t exist either though we did get to go under a few more fences. Someplace on the way to 81 Barb heard some cows and shined her light at them and then announced that it seemed like the dangerous and huge wild beast about to attack us on the way to 70 had in fact almost assuredly been a cow.
65 was easy, though we took some care not to walk off a cliff on the way. 60 was a little shaky, no more moon, but we could just barely make out the hills on the horizon and that helped a lot.
And then 74, the most fun control. Passed another team about halfway, dropped to the streambed and noticed they had pulled in behind us. The stream didn’t exist but the little reentrants were all there, stay to the right at the first two junctions, then left, then right, up it a ways, and then I remember saying, This has got to be it, it should be right here, and we went around a little bend and there it was. Very cool. And the lights were no longer behind us, they must have felt we didn’t know where we were going. Excellent.
More down and up and down to 55, nailed it too, and as we headed off to 57 the sky was starting to lighten, and I think it was here that we were snaking down some twisty, narrow reentrant and sneaking around and sometimes under rock outcrops and I’m thinking my feet hurt, and suddenly Barb pops out with, “This is really fun!” Did I say I had a good partner?
There was decent light by the time we hit 57, and then a quick trip to 42 for more water and to pack away the headlamps. Three teams there when we got there, the same three there when we left a couple 3 or 4 minutes later, LIFO, excellent.
Except this was the end of my plan, I thought by here we would have chewed up a lot more of the 24 hours. But we still had a full 6 hours left. My feet were hurting. I believe Barb was thinking, Damn, only 6 hours left, when is someone going to have a 48-hour rogaine?
The next choice of controls was obvious, the northeast loop, even if you did have to go off the map to use the low route to 83. 83 was a steep climb up between two cliffs, the map doesn’t do it justice, the final climb to 79 was wicked steep, twice as steep as shown or so it seemed. But pretty soon we were past 54 and on a easy stroll down to 76, a small cave under a stone arch? Yup, it was there, sure glad we weren’t there at night.
Past 37, picked up more water, then up to 46, real easy, spiked it, only it wasn’t there. Map was perfect, everything fit, but no control. Went up another couple of bends to check. Nothing. So on we went, sure of ourselves but still a little concerned. And then botched 31, went up one reentrant too soon. I think I said two or three times, this doesn’t look right, but up I went anyway. No too bad a miss, just had to traverse over to the next one, but still pretty dumb.
At this point I was thinking we might be getting pretty close to done, maybe even just do 38, 33, and in, but we still had over two hours, so at Barb’s suggestion (insistence?) off we tromped to 56. A long ways up and a long ways back, and as we got to 38 I was thinking, I’m wondering what she had planned for me now. Did I say my feet were hurting a lot? And we just had four left (43, 33, 34, and 32), and I was thinking/dreading that if we hustled we could get three of them.
If we could have gotten all four, I think I would have said, Let’s go for it, but what I really said was something like, How about 33 and that’s enough? And she, bless her, said that’s fine, if we get beat by 10 or 20, or 30 points by another team, I’m cool with that. And I think maybe her feet were hurting too.
So we headed in, 45 minutes still left on the clock when we got there. But a very fine performance.