October 23, 2016

Community School Orienteering Event

The Community School Wilderness Navigation class is hosting an orienteering event at Adam's Gulch trailhead on November 6th at 10am. The format of the race is score-O with a beginner and an advanced course. The course can be run in either teams or individually.

Who: Orienteering beginners to experts
When: November 6th at 10am
Where: Adam's Gulch Trailhead, Ketchum
Cost: $5 per person 
Registration: At trailhead from 9:15 - 9:45am 

October 11, 2016

Return to the Maze 10/22/16

Since the results were so positive last year we decided to try it one more time. Prepare to be aMAZEd Saturday October 22nd. There will be two course options depending on how fast you think you are. Choose wisely, the penalty for being late is a killer…

We have reserved the group area for CTOC. Enter at the main gate and tell them you are with CTOC and they will let you through. You only need to pay at the CTOC registration table in the group area.  

We only have a two hour time block reserved so we will need to run things on time. It will be a busy Saturday night and the parking lot really fills up so plan on plenty of time to get parked and into the event. Bringing a pre-completed CTOC event registration form will really help us speed things up for you. Also please check the event rates and bring exact change. Note that this is a special event at a venue with admission charges. This event is not free to CTOC members but they do get a reduced rate. If you compete as a group you can save on the map fee but you will still need to pay the entrance fee individually.

Bring a headlamp or flashlight, it is dark in the maze. Be careful and watch your footing, there are corn stalks and corn cobs to stumble on. Since this is a public venue there will be no vampires, we wouldn’t want CTOC members attacking unsuspecting bystanders. Don’t forget your watch; this is a score format. If you are back past the deadline you will lose massive points.

Date:  Saturday, October 22
Location:  Linder Farms (7165 S. Linder Rd – between Lake Hazel & Columbia)
Score, with two course options
Starts:  7:15pm - 7:45pm
Time Limit: One Hour
Penalty: 10 points per minute

Cost:  Maps $5 junior or $10 adult for non-members (members free), plus
Admission $4 under 12, $6 over 12 (non-members & members)

Don’t forget your headlamp and watch! 


October 4, 2016

Upper Dry Creek Results--October 2, 2016

Jerry Stewart plans his next leg from Intermediate Control #6
 Thanks to Melanie Wright and Michael Bading for helping with control pickup. It's a big mountain. It would have been a very long day without their help. And special thanks to Jeff Black for making the extra effort to find the thumb compass left behind by the meet director while setting controls.

Fifteen orienteers tackled the brush and steep slopes. There was one mishap resulting in an injury when Mike Teller slipped on the treacherous mat of Ponderosa Pine needles that covers many areas of the mountain. After a night's rest and an undisclosed quantity of  medication Mike reported that he is well on his way to a full recovery. We're relieved, not as much as Mike to be sure, but still quite relieved. It can be dangerous out there on steep slopes with unstable footing, especially while dividing attention between navigation and foot placement.

Doug LaMott punched Advanced #4.
Advanced Control #10 deserves a comment for two reasons. First, as far as the meet director knows, it is the only grave on any of our CTOC maps. Fred is buried there. We know this because in a remote location at the foot a cliff in the bottom of a gully there is a seven meter long 1.5 meter high stone wall supporting a terrace bearing a cut and polished stone slab engraved with Fred's name and dates of birth and death. If recollection is correct, Fred was born in 1990 and died in 2007. Some of us thought the effort and expense suggested that Fred was a person. Others speculated that Fred was a dog. If he was a dog, he was among the most loved and honored of dogs.

Michael Bading celebrating on his
to a second-place Advanced finish
The second reason Control #10 is noteworthy: Anton and Sam found it. That feat of navigation is not notable in itself. All of the five orienteers who attempted the Advanced Course completed it including Control #10. What makes Anton and Sam's navigation notable is their addition of Control #10 to the Intermediate Course. After departing Intermediate Control #6 on a 100 meter leg to Control #7 they bypassed #7 by 300 meters and found Advanced #10, mistaking it for Intermediate #7. You might think that their misbegotten adventure would have resulted in a big fat DQ. However, the meet director believes they deserve extra credit for finding #10 and running a significantly longer course than Melanie Wright, who finished a miserable 17 minutes behind them in spite of her cutting the course short by following the map. Melanie, sometimes doing the right thing just doesn't pay off. Maybe someday Anton and Sam will go back out there and find #7, mitigating the grief likely to befall a meet director who so generously, loosely and perniciously "interprets" the rules.

As you read the results, please be advised that Jeff Black is the actual winner of the Advanced competition due to quality points added as a reward for finding the meet director's lost compass.

We were pleased to welcome three foreign students. It was a pleasure to meet Alexis. He's a 17-year-old French student and experienced orienteer studying at Timberline High School this academic year. Anton currently visits us from Moscow (That's Russia, not northern Idaho.). He's studying at Riverstone. We heard Russian as he and Sergey struck up a conversation. Anton tells us that orienteering in Russia sometimes has required him to scare away the wolves. The best we could give him on Sunday was a couple of deer. Samuel Gontharet, Anton's partner on the Intermediate course, is another French student joining us with the Riverstone contingent.

Sergey's winning advanced course appears below for your study and edification.

Please join us for Halloween fun presented by Melanie Schuster and Greg Davidson in the corn maze on Saturday, October 22.

John Murray
Meet Director

September 27, 2016

Top of Dry Creek Sunday, October 2

Top of Dry Creek-- Sunday, October 2– An Expanded LiDAR Map

Join us for an orienteering adventure at the top of the Dry Creek drainage. This terrain is above the Boise Ridge Road, below the Shafer Butte Road and bounded on the west by Bogus Basin Road. It offers a variety of vegetation and other features in an area mostly void of trails and other man made elements. Like our Bogus Basin map it has challenging elevation changes and brush obstacles to navigate around. And like our Gold Rush map it has some large areas of runnable Ponderosa Pine forest. Unlike our Bogus Basin map it has reliable contours generated from LiDAR. It is just 14 miles up Bogus Basin Road.

We are offering three courses. Because the map field work is labor intensive, last year's mapped area was relatively small. 2016 brings an expanded map. It includes last year's vegetation detail as well as vegetation mapping in what we termed the "adventure course". There is also more complete mapping of other features in the "adventure area". The advanced course will probably be less than 4k. However, that could be a tough 4k because of the elevation changes and obstacles to navigation. A shortcut will reduce the distance and elevation gain for the intermediate course.  Novice orienteers will venture almost entirely off-trail. They will experience a 11 controls ranging in distance from 90 to 225 meters. This course is not an orange course either along linear features or in search of large prominent features. Due to the absence of trails there will be no truly beginner course. It will be necessary for participants on the novice course to identify features like boulders, spurs and re-entrants on the map. If you are a novice and unfamiliar with orienteering map symbols, the meet directors and experienced orienteers will gladly give you a brief explanation before you depart on your adventure. As this map develops and the representations of vegetation become more accurate, vegetation will play an increasingly important role in navigation.
All three courses (novice, intermediate, and advanced) begin and end on the Shafer Butte Road. It intersects Bogus Basin Road between mileposts 13 and 14.
Because cut branches on the ground and steep slopes often make the footing unstable you should bring sturdy shoes and good judgment about when to be cautious.

In the desire to minimize waste and save myself some printing expenses, please RSVP to me no later than Friday September 30 with your name and intended course choice (and if you want an extra map or two for a larger group.)  My email is jnm2870 AT cableone DOT net.  If you decide to show up impromptu, I expect to have a few blanks on hand and you will get to copy your course the old school way. When the maps are gone, they are gone.

Who: Orienteers of all ages, novice to advanced.
When: Sunday October 2. Courses will be open for starts from 10am – 11:30. Courses close at 1:30 pm. You may arrive within this window to try a course, as participants start separately a few minutes apart.

Finish and Parking Location: Shafer Butte Road

Be advised that there is no parking area at the start. Orienteers will need to park at wide spaces on the Shafer Butte Road ensuring that traffic can pass safely. Accordingly, you might have to walk to the start.  Because of the danger of fire exercise caution to avoid parking in dry grass.

Restrooms are not available. You are responsible for your own water.
Format: Classic. 
Cost:  $10 per person/team, $5 for a single junior, free to CTOC members (more info here)
You may want to bring: a watch, a compass, a snack, a whistle and a cell phone. (Some compasses will be available to borrow.)

A word about LiDAR: Several government agencies have acquired high resolution mapping data for land management. In Idaho many of the LiDAR projects are undertaken for hydrology studies. The process involves a low altitude GPS guided laser scan resulting in a digital elevation model with accuracy sometimes in a range below ten centimeters. These data have been made available free to the public in many cases. We have BSU's Dry Creek Experimental Watershed to thank for the reliable contours on this map.

A Finnish orienteer developed free software to convert LiDAR data into contour maps with vegetation colors. Using his software we have found the contours to be extremely accurate. Sadly, we have not been able to optimize the vegetation mapping parameters to the point where there is usable detail. Consequently, mapping vegetation and other features requires extensive field work in addition to drafting using computer software.

Director: John Murray

August 24, 2016

Bogus Basin Results -- August 21, 2016

Control # 6
Control # 19
The temperature was mild. The sky was clear. The trails were open. You might think it was a lazy August day. Not so. It was orienteering at Bogus where the terrain makes all the difference. It's a ski area. It's also an orienteering venue without the benefits of chair lift service. Only strong legs and a willing mind move bodies up and down this mountain. How much mountain? Well, the Intermediate Course contained a hefty elevation loss and gain of 330 meters. And the Advanced Course -- pretty much a ridiculous 630 meters. Those numbers don't include individual jaunts around obstacles and futile erroneous tangents.

In Pursuit of Control # 4
Eloise & Belen Planning With David
The mountain took its toll. Michael Bading broke his thumb-compass and was forced to cut his efforts short to retrace his steps in search of a lost cell phone. We had almost as many DNFs as finishers. It wasn't all grim. Sergey's comment after pre-running the Advanced Course on Saturday belied the statistical gloom: "It was a blast". Sergey wasn't alone. Our youngest competitors, the Hoobing girls, were all smiles as they finished their first orienteering course. Grandfather James Cambron and grandson Gage were undaunted and plan to come back for another try.

Sometimes we get lucky. We recently acquired Mike Teller from Quantico Orienteering in our nation's capital. We didn't trade a heavy hitter or a draft choice. Sometimes a walk-on makes all the difference. Although Mike's an experienced orienteer, he struggled at Pine Creek when we picked up controls ahead of his course. What impressed me was that he went on to find the features without the benefit of controls and punches. On Sunday he was the only finisher of the Intermediate Course.

It was good to see Lee Scott back along with his family. We hope to see more of them and the other new orienteers.

Please join us for our next orienteering adventure at Upper Dry Creek on Saturday, October 7.

John Murray
Meet Director