October 10, 2020

The Smoke Clears on Grayback Gulch

After a one-week smoke weather delay, we held our inaugural meet on our new map site at Grayback Gulch campground just south of Idaho City on September 26. Somewhat small in footprint, the map suited a Motala style event offering up to 5 loops, with the 5th loop a bit more physically strenuous than the prior four. The terrain was mostly runnable with just enough trails, roads, and other features to keep route choice interesting. The morning started out wet, after rain all Friday night. The sun came out and dried both the terrain and the people out nicely by mid-day. 25 participants included newcomers Michael Murray, Michelle Madler, and Jason & Reese Russell. Ethan O'Conner was a guest on walkabout from Cascade Orienteering Club.  

The results by number of loops completed are shown below.  And our newcomers definitely shined. We were especially impressed with first-timer's Jason (Dad) and 8th grader Reese's top performance over 4 loops. Our Seattle guest Ethan gave Sergey a little needed competition. Although they started a couple of minutes apart on different loops, by the final loop, they were competing neck and neck to take the top spot for the full course. Sergey edged it out, finishing the loop just a minute ahead of Ethan (and having started a couple of minutes later). There was also tight competition for third in the five loop group with Innes, James, and John all coming in within three minutes of one another. John, who had mapped the area and done the initial course design, had an unfair advantage and gave himself the extra challenge of memorizing each loop and running without a map.  

It was fantastic to be enjoying the outdoors and the company on a beautiful early fall day, forgetting our woes for a moment.  Looking forward to the next one at Gopher Hole! Special thanks to John Murray for the map work, course design, and fixing a control I had miss-placed.

Melanie Wright, Meet Director

August 25, 2020

Bear Basin Results


Results Bear Basin McCall Idaho Sunday Aug. 23, 2020

We had a great turnout Sunday despite the heat and smoke with some very strong competition, and all the courses were found to be challenging but apparently not too much so according to the results.  There were some newcomers to the club who had a good time and we hope to see them again at future meets. With young Zach doing very well on the advanced course it looks like he might start giving Sergey some competition.  The combination of rolling forested terrain and accurate map were a big hit with everyone enjoying the courses and looking forward to orienteering in the area again. (Click on photos to enlarge them)

Hope to see you all at the next meet Saturday Sept. 19 at Grayback Gulch.

-          Karin Didisse, meet director


Advanced Course  6.5 km, climb 200 m.

Sergey Velichko             0:55

Zach Clayton                 1:13

James Debenham          1:40

Ole Bergset                   2:01

Melanie Wright            2:59


Intermediate Course  5.1 km., climb 120 m.

John Murray                                     1:13

Torin Ford & Jackson                      1:16

David & Alecia Murray                   1:18

Andy Hill                                          1:37

Kirsten Severud                               1:39

Nate Ramsey                                   1:46

Roy & Kim Tsuda  (2nd course)     2:18

Jennifer Smackey                           2:30

Scott & Christy Morris                   3:18

Jerry Stewart                                   3:23

Bob Didisse (& Clipper)                 DNF


Novice Course   2.1km.   climb 30 m.

Norma B.                                  0:50

Roy & Kim Tsuda                     1:36

Donna P.                                   1:45

Recent Michigan import James heads out

Intermediate Course

"Socially distant"post run discussion

Andy finishing the intermediate course

Karin relieved that people
are actually finishing

Andy and Ole rehashing the course
Novice course
Advanced Course

August 11, 2020

Bear Basin McCall Sunday August 23

Beautiful Bear Basin McCall, classic 3 courses orienteering meet. Starts from 10-12 noon, course closes 2 pm. Start location is at the Bear Basin Trailhead off North Club Hill Blvd. approx. 3 miles NW of McCall off Hwy. 55. GPS coords: 44.9346, -116.1530

Join us on the newly updated Bear Basin map for some classic foresty mountain orienteering! John Murray has done a lot of work on the map and it looks great!  Much more contour and vegetation detail with plenty of single track mountain bike trails. Let me know if you’re coming and which course, so I can make the correct number of maps.  COVID -19 protocols will be observed, please bring a mask for when it's not possible to keep a safe distance.  There's a restroom at the start and finish location and donations will be accepted for map printing.

Novice course           2.1km           30m.climb
Intermediate course   5.1km          120m. climb 
Advanced Course     6.5km          200m. climb

- Karin Didisse

August 5, 2020

Pine Creek Meet

            What a rewarding experience for my first time as meet director! With the guidance of Sergey Velichko, Melanie Wright, and in particular John Murray, I learned the fundamentals of mapping and orienteering course design. When possible, locate controls on point features (boulders, rootstocks, summits) rather than more ambiguous contour positions (halfway up a re-entrant) to ensure participants reach the exact correct location. Mix up short and long legs for variety and to require different strategies. Consider your intended participants for each course--what would they find both challenging and entertaining? John gave me a giant green light to "put the advanced orienteers through hell" and I enthusiastically designed a course taking them up, around, and down the entire mountain.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Smackey
Photo courtesy of Carrie Magnuson 

            Despite the triple-digit temperatures of the weekend, we had 14 orienteerers venture off into the wilderness, including Nick Collias and his pair of budding navigators and Carrie Magnuson and her four-legged companion Sue. Also, Nate Ramsey, upon finishing his very first sport course, decided to immediately try his first intermediate course, which was impressive. 
            After my preparation, it was incredibly exciting to welcome everyone to the meet and send them off on their respective courses, and then incredibly nerve-wracking in the 45 minutes before anyone returned. Did I misplace a control? Is everyone lost? Are they plotting their revenge and sharpening sticks to come charging up the hill right behind me?? Thankfully, all controls were in their correct positions (minus one that Sergey adjusted slightly), although I realized that finding a specific rootstock on an entire hillside of rootstocks could feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. 
            The results are posted below, and I would like to draw your attention to one orienteerer in particular. John Murray finished first in his singular category of Wise Intermediate for both his advance knowledge of the course and more importantly, his mentorship and wisdom and time invested in guiding me through this process. Thank you very much, John!

            Of course, I can always continue learning, and I've already identified the next step. In fact, I had plenty of time to choose carefully in the six hours I spent setting 30 controls. Use the same controls on multiple courses, Zach! Therefore, I am extremely grateful to Jerry Stewart, Andy and Elijah Hill, John Murray, and Jennifer Smackey for their immense help cleaning up controls, and Steve Clayton in setting up controls. Thank you everyone for attending and I look forward to the next meet August 23rd at Bear Basin in McCall!



July 14, 2020

Dutch Lake meet report

2nd day of the orienteering Boulder Dash events moved to Stanley on Sunday July 12 where controls were set for yellow, brown, and red courses from the 2017 Middle USA championships. Total 7 participants sampled these courses in already hot hours of the morning. Tricky glacial moraine terrain required careful and precise navigation.

Results in no particular order:

John Murray Brown 1:05:29
Karin Didisse Brown 1:14:28
Kirsten Severud Brown DNF (picked all course controls with some guidance after)
Jerry Stewart Brown DNF (but finished with smile!)
John Harback Red 1:22:51
Zach Clayton Red 1:31:50
Jennifer Smackey Yellow 1:12:31

Jerry finishing in style!

After the meet there was some heated modern physics discussion including such basic concepts as energy and electrical current.

As well as proper sized glasses to sample delicious wine from the cellars of Karin's business!

Thank you Jennifer and Zach for picking all the yellow course and most distant controls on red course!

See you all at our next meet August 2 near Idaho City!


Castle Rock Meet Report

By Marcel Duchamp - NPR arthistory.about.com

Over the years I've learned some things I really don't need to know. High on that list I count my knowledge of Marcel Duchamp's putative work of art pictured here. Unless you have been enlightened, you might need to be forgiven for thinking this object is a plumbing fixture commonly found in men's restrooms. Well, it is, or so I have been informed, a revolutionary work of art from 1917. If you find this idea mystifying or perplexing, you can dig in further and become an enlightened one. I refer to this “work of art” only to ensure that what I am about to assert is nowhere near the fringe of the realm of art.

Limited Edition $99.95
I have often looked at an orienteering map and found in it an elegance I did not expect in an object so functional. I'll leave it to you to choose whether a map can be a work of art. I'm kind of up in the air on that subject, but not so much in the case of a urinal. Having employed OCAD, our mapping software, to process LiDAR data to produce the Castle Rock Map, I can't claim much artistic input for myself as its author. Still, I believe it is pleasing to the eye in a way that attracts me to the art I hang on my walls at home. I haven't quite reached the point where I'm inclined to frame it, but that doesn't seem too far-fetched.

Earlier this year when LiDAR data became available from a FEMA project to map the Payette River Basin, an enormous area, I began searching within its limits for good mapping projects. Among several other possibilities the Castle Rock Road area looked good. I had driven past the area many times, mostly on my way to backpacking in Yellowstone. It looked interesting from Highway 20, but I never ventured beyond the main thorofare. When I mentioned it to Sergey he said he had also pegged Castle Rock Road as potentially interesting to the club. With the magic of some new and powerful mapping software employed to process the LiDAR data we quickly had what appeared to be a map suitable for a meet. What truly amazed me was how little time I spent on site mapping and field checking. My time on site before setting controls amounted to 2 hours in early June and 5 hours in late June. Most of the development was done at my desk. And, even that was far from the long hours drafting maps just a few years ago.

Whether we remember the course or the map, I'm confident that images like this one will remain vivid long after other memories have faded.
Photo courtesy of  Christy Morris
I have to admit I was somewhat apprehensive about how the map turned out. I will defer to three critiques from our eminent critics.
Photo by Kirsten Severud

The Castle Rock area is one of the most interesting areas of Idaho that I have visited (I didn't even know it existed until today). There is no lack of features in this area, and it seemed like the map captured it all. There were so many features to guide you along, you hardly needed a compass.

Thanks for a great course on a perfect day for orienteering. It would be nice to do the area again.
Photo by Kirsten Severud

Christy joined CTOC in December, and along with her father, Scott, has participated in almost every meet this year. Christy:
This was by far our favorite course I terms of location and scenery. Of course it helps that we also shaved some time off our previous "race".

A cliff from an apparently abandoned mining venture was a notable and unexpected feature. A small gap not visible in the photo remained from the incomplete closure of the tunnel. 

Thirteen people participated in the meet bringing our total 2020 participation well over 200. Participation this year far exceed any year in the last five, and it's just the middle of July. Notably, John Harbuck came all the way from Sandpoint to compete in our two-day event. Like John, several of us went on to the Dutch Lake Meet north of Stanley.

Thanks to Zach and his mother, Jennifer, for picking up half of the controls on a hot July afternoon. Zach Clayton will host our next meet at Pine Creek south of Idaho City. Meet information is posted at https://www.meetup.com/City-of-Trees-Orienteering-Club/events/ . We look forward to seeing you there.

John Murray
Meet Director

July 6, 2020

June 27 Lucky Peak Meet

Despite the cheatgrass, dust, and hot sun, everyone that turned out to the meet last Saturday made a great effort on the course! I've never had the opportunity to co-direct an orienteering meet before, and so it was very much a learning experience for me - I want to thank everyone for their patience in allowing me to finish getting the course set up!

We had 25 participants across our four courses, with the results below:

Beginner Course:
Name: Start Time: Finish Time: Elapsed Time:
Rosa Totorica 9:57:00 AM 10:51:05 AM 0:54:05
John & Eli Arambarri 11:06:00 AM 11:52:05 AM DNF
Sport Course:
Name: Start Time: Finish Time: Elapsed Time:
Alecia & Dave Murray 11:29:00 AM 1:13:19 PM 1:44:19
Donna Pitzer 10:00:00 AM 11:54:45 AM 1:54:45
Scott Morris 10:02:00 AM 2:02:16 PM 4:00:16
Melanie & Katrina Wright 11:59:00 AM 1:14:21 PM DNF
Norma Bailey 10:00:00 AM 11:56:55 AM DNF
Intermediate Course:
Name: Start Time: Finish Time: Elapsed Time:
Kirsten Severud 10:33:00 AM 12:08:52 PM 1:35:52
John Murray 9:58:00 AM 11:45:12 AM 1:47:12
Emily Alex 10:08:00 AM 12:11:16 PM 2:03:16
John Siebold 10:09:00 AM 12:12:35 PM 2:03:35
Carrie Magnuson 10:20:00 AM 12:23:56 PM 2:03:56
Jack & Leslie Perez 10:46:00 AM 1:24:41 PM 2:38:41
Andy Olnes 10:03:00 AM 1:48:00 PM 3:45:00
Jerry Stewart 10:04:00 AM 1:52:00 PM 3:48:00
Cristy Morris 10:02:00 AM 2:02:16 PM 4:00:16
Trenton & Cat Yates 10:20:00 AM 12:21:00 PM DNF
Advanced Course:
Name: Start Time: Finish Time: Elapsed Time:
Jay Morgan 10:06:00 AM 12:10:12 PM 2:04:12
Mike Bading 11:34:00 AM 2:01:15 PM 2:27:15

June 11, 2020

The Queen’s Wrath and her Benevolence

Unsettled Weather

As I woke up on a nice June Sunday morning, the sun was out, the weather forecast was great, temps in the 70s, it was a great day for an orienteering meet!   ….then I woke up from my morning dream.    

After a week of very nice weather and several sunny days to setup the Queen Mine courses, at 7:30 AM on the morning of Sunday, June 7th, the rain was coming down in buckets, the temperature was barely above 40 degrees, and the weather forecast called for more of the same, at least until the afternoon.   

As I loaded up the truck an hour later, I said to myself, “No one is going to show up.”   I tried to make myself feel better by saying “I’m sure glad I don’t have to go out on the course today”. 

Due to our new Covid-19 rules, maps are published a online a day or so ahead of the meet.  Doug LaMott took advantage of Saturday's weather and ran the advanced course one day ahead with a solo time of 2:24:00.   

With Doug reporting back to me, I knew that at least all the controls were in the correct places, I just wondered “Would anyone else do the advanced course in this weather?”

Doug on his solo quest to find all the advanced controls

A Tough Crowd

 Arriving 40 minutes early at the Queen Mine trailhead to setup the last control, I could see snow on the upper hills of Lucky Peak and on the upper part of the course where a majority of the intermediate and advanced courses were.   Just 10 minutes later, to my surprise, Christy and Scott Morris showed up and were preparing to tackle the intermediate course.   I jogged out to the set the last control, just a tenth of a mile from the start, when the rain turned to sleet and the wind whipped up. “Some people are just as crazy as I am”, I thought with a smile. As the Morris’ got ready with their maps and gear to set out promptly at the 10 AM start, I was happy that at least someone was going out on the course, but wondered how long the bad weather and the brave orienteers would last as I sat in my truck.  About 10 minutes later, more orienteers started trickling in and the rain let up, and eventually down to more of a drizzle and finally it started to look a little more like an actual orienteering meet. 
Checking out the new snow on the upper part of the Queen Mine course
After team Morris set out on the intermediate course at the start of the meet, one of the CTOC regulars, Jerry Stewart, jumped out of his truck in a hurry, and set out on the advanced course. The Morgan family, broken up into 2 teams (Jay & Aleksi and Emily & Nikolai) were close behind Jerry to tackle the advanced course too.   Our final competitor on the advanced course, Sergey, headed out 10 minutes after the Morgan family.

Next came the wave of intermediate course orienteers, with Ole Bergset, Kirsten Severud, John Murray and Melanie Wright all heading out of the course over the next 30-40 minutes.   By the time Melanie headed out on course just past 11 AM, the rain was very much subsiding, the temperatures had warmed up and the wind had died down. Conditions were greatly improved from earlier in the morning. It was actually looking to be a good weather day in the afternoon for the orienteers out on the course.
A snowy control #4 (Code 50)

John Murray looking at route options on upper part of course
Soon after the intermediate course orienteers left, the first team to return was Emily & Nikolai Morgan, smiling, but soaked they decided to call it a day and were more than happy to get back to a warm car, as it was just too cold and wet early on for the clothes they had brought. 

Returning shortly after, was the first person off the advance course…… Sergey
(who else did you expect?).

John Murray channeled his best Sergey impression and came in running hot from the intermediate course.  Like a man on a mission, John raced into the Queen Mine parking lot finishing strong and fast like he was ready to run another 5 miles. His efforts did pay off; it earned him a 1st place finish on the intermediate course.

Skies Improving

The last 3 teams of orienteers to show up certainly had the wisdom (or luck) to show up later when the weather was improving – partly sunny skies even started to appear. Two teams consisting of the duo Zack Clayton & Jennifer Smackey, and the trio of Heather Steel, Matt Kohn and Brenda Boyle left in the noon hour to navigate the sport course.  Of all the teams and participants, the trio seemed the best prepared for the unsettled weather with extra gear and clothes. Our final team was the Collias/Cronin family setting out on the beginner course.
Orienteering is a family sport
Kirsten Severud, a relatively new CTOC member this year and always smiling, also had good run, coming in next after the sport orienteers left, and earning a 2nd place on the intermediate course. 

Eighteen minutes later, Ole came in also to claim 3rd place on the intermediate course.

The sport and beginner course orienteers enjoyed the partly sunny skies and warmer temperatures of the lower slopes while having adventures with maps, snakes (Heather’s team saw a yellow bellied racer) and crossing a few animal bones along the way.  Team Clayton/Smackey completed the sport course first, with Team Steele, Kohn, & Boyle coming in 2nd place.
Yellow Bellied Racer on Sport Course
However, for the rest of the intermediate and advanced course orienteers, each participant / team returned without achieving their goal of completing their full course.  The team of Jay & Aleksi Morgan returned, having almost completed the full advanced course, but could not find control #19 (Code 49).  The rest of the field slowly came in with great stories of control miscalculations, snow & weather and, of course, on how much they enjoyed the course and challenge.


First, I would like to thank each and every participant in the 2020 CTOC Queen Mine meet.  While planning and setting up a course does take a bit of effort, every bit of the effort is worth it if there are people to there to enjoy and appreciate it.  Without the orienteers, it wouldn’t be an orienteering meet, so I want to thank everyone for braving the unsettled weather conditions.

I would also like to thank John Murray, not only with mapping Queen Mine area and designing the original course in 2016, but also for all the help and advice he has given me over the past few weeks.

Finally, thanks to Christy Morris, Kirsten Severud and Heather Steele for uploading their pictures of the Queen Mine meet to our meetup.com webpage which I used in this report.


Beginner Course
Collias/Cronin Family                                                        ~1:00:00

Sport Course
Zach Clayton & Jennifer Smackey                                      1:12:10
Heather Steele, Matt Kohn, & Brenda Boyle                    2:24:00

Intermediate Course
John Murray                                                                           1:38:35
Kirsten Severud                                                                     2:14:00
Ole Bergset                                                                             2:32:00
Christy & Scott Morris                                                           DNF
Melanie Wright                                                                       DNF       

Advanced Course
Sergey Velichko                                                                      1:21:30
Doug LaMott                                                                          2:24:00
Jay & Aleksi Morgan                                                             3:11:45   DNF – missed 19
Emily & Nikolai Morgan                                                        DNF
Jerry Stewart                                                                           DNF