Saturday, February 5, 2011

Orienteering! Transition to Intermediate

Yaay! I'm thrilled about another orienteering event. I've become addicted to the sport. Although I don't spend any free time working on getting better.

This event was held at Wheaton Regional Park. The courses were described as good ones to try at the next level, so I went for the intermediate course.

My little dirty secret about orienteering is that I can get lost just going from the registration area to the "start". I always have to ask, getting confused by the map. It's a wonder that the event organizers let me go off alone - lol! If I can't even find the "start" on my own, how do I expect to make it successfully through the entire course???

By doing some research later, I learn that it's not unusual to be *disoriented* [ :) ] at the first few checkpoints. Warming up is recommended -- not just warming up your body physically, but also your brain. I need to build that into my travel plans when going to these events.

Once I get settled, I find the course easy. Until moving from checkpoint 4 to 5. I bushwhack; I mean, "go off trail". I felt confident in my compass skills and sighting landmarks. But once I got where I wanted to go, I wasn't sure that's where I was supposed to be. At that point, I was on a trail and I continued along it, trying to identify topographic features and figure out where I was on the map.

I wasn't having much luck; did not see anyone which convinced me I was way off course; got teary-eyed (another not-unusual occurrence for newbies); sat for a spell and made a plan. I determined I was on either one of two trails and heading south no matter which trail I was on would lead me to the parking area. So I proceeded that way.  Within 50 feet, I encountered another orienteer, who showed me on the map where I was. I felt much better! and continued with the course.

At another section, I was in the right spot but had trouble understanding the clues as to where the checkpoint was. (It was well-hidden off-trail.) Someone helped me at that spot too. From there, for the remaining six checkpoints, I was fine on my own. Sometimes I stuck to trail options; but many times I also headed off-trail.

It was mentally challenging for me; but I loved it. I felt very satisfied that I had successfully accomplished that course.

No comments:

Post a Comment