Running In Circles
Saturday, January 24th -- Pt. Defiance OrienteeringI competed in an orienteering race this morning at Point Defiance. Angie and the Little Dude came with me, and we met up with my parents at the park. The start area moved to a new location, and it involved quite an uphill hike from the parking area to get there.
Some terrible navigating and a lot of hills led to a slow time. The worst leg for me was from Control 2 to Control 3.
In looking for the control, I ran the dogleg back past Control 1, headed down the road, swooped around the train tracks, and dashed into the woods. I expected to see the control easily, since the knoll was mapped as being in open forest. In all actuality, it was in waist-high undergrowth, just off a small game path .
I lost a LOT of time looking around because my safety stop -- something to let me know I'd gone too far -- was not there. (Okay, it was there; it just wasn't a fence like I thought it was. Same effect.)
The description sheet covered what may have been a viable route to the control. It looked like a big trail runs toward the road at the south end of the park, which is straight shot onto the big path that passes very near the control. That route choice, if nothing else, might have made me realize that the dark line through the forest was not a fence, but a small power line.
I spent a long time wandering around in the woods wondering where the hell I was. "If I'm going the right way, shouldn't I have run into a fence by now?" I asked myself several times. Even after I found the control, I was still severely disoriented.
I took some umbrage with the placement of control 5. The single tree it was on was part of the forest! That, and I couldn't make out the marking on the map -- you have to look pretty close to see that green X.
There were also two distinct single trees in the clearing that weren't mapped. I checked them first, of course. The marker was hung low and out of sight, so I didn't notice it until I saw another orienteer coming out of the control. Seriously, this should have been marked as a vegetation boundary, and the single tree designation should come off the map.
After the meet, we had lunch at a nearby greasy-spoon restaurant. We ordered milk for Little Dude, but they didn't have any. The waitress said the owner had left to buy some, but he wouldn't be back until about 5:00. It was 1:30. I kind of had to wonder where he went to get this milk.