December 18, 2021

Fairmont Motala Challenge Results

Weather was merciful to 30 or so participants who came to try new and fun area near my house. Earlier prognosis of snow turned to overcast. Freezing temperature didn't spoil the moment as I saw some steaming full speed going in and out of trickery controls. Especially those ones near fences! :) The essence of urban orienteering requires spotting traps and use of clue sheet "looking ahead" to where exactly controls are located.

Thank you Carrie for a wonderful image of one of the landmarks! Make sure you go to the photo and tag it if you see your face out there in the fields :)

Here are results:

Loop 1 - Beginner (5) 2.1 km 0 m 15 C
1 John-Eli Arambarri 25:52
2 Joshua Whiittemore 26:29
3 Jim-Synthia Byrne 41:54
4 Jennifer Nelson 44:42
5 Leigh-Sam Castillo-Smith 49:40

Loop 1-2 - Intermediate (10) 3.7 km 0 m 22 C
1 Quentin-Cutler Thomas 36:55
2 Dustin-Heidi Thomas 40:03
3 Torin Ford 47:35
4 Rebecca-Zach Tabb-Clayton 55:05
5 John-Lesli Siebol-Perez 58:12
6 Carrie Magnuson 59:53
7 Ashley-Madeline Boyd 1:02:52
8 Andy-Joslyn Olnes 1:05:20
9 Cristy-Scott Morris 1:12:20
10 Jerry Stewart 1:20:33

Loop 1-2-3 - Advanced (5) 5.3 km 0 m 30 C
1 Doug Lamott 49:22
2 Emily-Aleksi Morgan 51:37
3 Bill Leahy 53:36
4 John Murray 57:48
5 Ole Bergset 1:06:32

Let me know if I may mispelled your name. I will gladly correct.

My appologies for splits! Unfortunately they are messed so I am not publishing them. In a hurry I forgot to synchronize SI stations to my laptop so they all had 1 hours or more difference vs. start/finish stations! Still on summer time! If you are interested to get splits anyway to try and deduce times - let me know and I will send you the file directly.

We are finalizing our next year schedule. January and February meets are already defined, meetup information is being added, follow links to the right. We will add other meet's links when more details are available.

Consider joining the club. It pays, especially if you plan to participate in more than 4-5 meets. Plus it simplifies check-in procedures, you don't need to sign a wafer form at each meet. And you have a voice within the club. We always welcome new directors and volunteers who run the club. The club is you!

Hope to see you all at our meets next year enjoying outdoors, fun courses, and camaraderie.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


November 21, 2021

2021 Urban O Report

20 groups/teams of participants for this year’s event got lucky with a windless sunny 55-degree day. This was the first urban in this part of town and boy was it a doozy!

Remembering some feedback from last year we tried to create this year’s event to lend itself a little bit more to a “race” type setting. With 114 controls over two maps totaling 200 points people had a lot of options and some tough choices to make – cross to the north side and go for the ones worth more points (46 controls/110 points) or stay south and get more controls worth fewer points (71 controls/90points).

Of course, more controls meant more room for error:

  • 1 control was incorrectly marked on the map (#2)
  • 1 control went missing (#7 – swear it was there when I checked on Thurs!)
  • 1 control had the wrong “hint” but was marked correctly on the map (#9)
  • 1 control you couldn’t see because the person had their garage door open (the audacity! - #17)

I’m still taking this as a win; however, I did give everyone 3 “free” points and some leniency on time since I know people were looking for things that were not there or incorrectly marked.

A breakdown of control visits:

  • Control 1 was visited by everyone
  • Controls 62 & 63 were next, visited by 17 of 19 people
  • Controls 106, 107 & 108 were only visited by 2 people
  • Control 9 had the most incorrect answers (wrong hint – right map) followed by #37
  • 98 controls never had a wrong answer

This year’s results:

1 hour participants


Spud, Johnny


Morgan, Jay


Morgan, Emily & Nikolai



2 hour participants


Fragkias, Michail


P, Donna


Olnes, Andrew


S, John & Leslie


Thomas, Dustin


Russells & Naylor, Vaughn


Ford Family



Kept Sheet

Tsuda, Kim

Kept Sheet


3 hour participants


Stewart, Jerry


Byrne Family


Lamont, Doug


Beberness, Steven


Ashley & Mikey


Wise, Janelle


Wright, Melanie


Velichko, Sergey


Morris, Frank



Listening to the stories as people came back it appears everyone enjoyed themselves, everyone agrees some people have some interesting things in their yard and lots of conversations on is it green or yellow?

We had two groups of newcomers and both made strong appearances. The Beberness group said they have talked about coming out to see us for a while and finally decided to show – they visited all 71 of the south controls! Ashley had wanted to come but not participate alone, luckily she found Mikey who was down for the adventure.  After a brief tutorial on using a compass they visited 68 total controls. 

As the Russell group was sitting at the finish and talking about a few quirks along the course they mentioned they covered 7+ miles in their adventure. That got my wheels turning and inquiring minds needed to know…how many miles was it if you were to visit all 114? Luckily, I had a volunteer to find out!

Frank needed to get some training miles and decided to run the course the next day just to see how much it covered. He followed the same rules as everyone else (he didn’t help course set) – he had 30 min to prep his route (I think he only used 10) and then started from the park and off he went! 2:57 later he approached the park with a score of 193 and 17.92 MILES! Obviously, this could flex depending on the routes taken but still…that was whole lot more ground covered than I expected it to be. He is scored in yellow above as his time/score isn’t official.

If you are interested to see his route – check out his Strava entry:

 A few thank yous!

  • As always a HUGE shoutout to John Murray. While he couldn’t make it due to an incident where his feet attempted to travel faster than the rest of him, he was still willing & able to pitch in and assist with getting the base map setup. Despite the many different versions I had, he provided his experienced advice and let me go my own way (for better or worse) was super helpful with reminding me how to work the mapping software.
  • Thank you to Frank Morris for running the course just to get an idea of how far it was to cover all the controls. While I knew it covered some distance with all the little side streets, I never imaged it would be 17+ miles. Hope your legs are recovered!
  • Thank you to Scott Cockerham in helping me plot/map and select control points and keeping me company at S/F. We spent many hours over many weeks but we had good weather so no complaints!
  • Thank you to Harrison Wise for helping at the check in table prior to the start.
  • Thank you to Melanie for volunteering to pick up controls – I know it was a rough one 😉
If you'd like copies of the maps and clue sheet let me know and I'd be more than happy to email them to you. I appreciate everyone’s feedback and took away a few things to do differently for next years event as I’ve already started to scout!

Hope to everyone again next month at the Fairmont event!

October 24, 2021

Lucky Peak Meet Report

Rain on the day and night before the meet definitely helped to navigate smoothly via treacherous and physical terrain of the Lucky Peak gulches. Otherwise I would not see so many happy smiles on tired faces of the sport and advanced course participants. Blooming sagebrush and unstable steep grounds could be less merciful, indeed. Having a meet here in June may be even more blissful as vegetation would be soft and this is probably the best swimming place near Boise to take a dip in refreshing waters of the reservoir. Come here with map or not and enjoy it to the fullest! We had about thirty participants on all courses. Results and splits below tell a story of gains and losses of head to head race.

Advanced (7)6.5 km 200 m18 C
1Bill Leahy1:32:54
2Doug Lamott1:35:45
3Jeff Black1:46:14
4Melanie Wright1:46:51
5Karin Didisse1:54:45
6Andy Hill2:17:07

Jeff Harveymp

Intermediate (7)4.1 km 140 m13 C
1Ole Bergset1:18:20
2Jason-Reese Russell1:25:06
3Kirsten Severud1:27:37
4John Murray1:31:32
5John-Leslie Siebold1:55:22
6Christy Morris2:51:04
7Jerry Stewart2:53:21
Sport (2)4.0 km 130 m11 C
1Kevin-Royal-Davi Colley1:19:27
2Johnny Spud1:23:54
Beginner (7)2.4 km 60 m8 C
1Jamie-Evan Wallace23:33
2Katrina Wright41:08
3Shravik Sethi54:27
4Neil-Tigers Mercer56:23
5David-Giraffes Jenkins-Baker1:01:31
6Mariko-Shaylee-A Fisher1:04:36
7Osian-Mathew Fisher-Canantser1:07:29

Roy and Kim Tsuda opted for no punch honor system and finished sport course in 2:46.

The split times of the event have been added to the WinSplits Online database. These could be accessed at this link: Lucky Peak Meet Split Times

Many thanks go to Andy Hill who gracefully helped during setup and registration while I was settings last controls and to Katrina Wright for conducting a beginner clinic! You are the club core!

For those inclined to use in-distinctive vegetation boundaries for navigation I would like to reiterate that these will never be precise, would definitely change with seasons, and may never be relied upon to make good decisions. Instead try to use more solid objects in vicinity, like bend of a road or trail and compass, a distinctive tree and compass, just compass. Hope it may help the other time.

We had collected after the meet kid's coat, hat, and gloves, left on the table. Please let me know if it is yours and we will arrange transfer.

Hope to see you all enjoying our urban meet in November right here in Boise! We also started to define our next year events. Let us know what you would like to see or if you have ideas on new meet formats.



October 3, 2021

Finding Flow: Score-O at the Gold Rush Race Results

When you think of orienteering, what other sports come to mind?  Cross-country running? Adventure racing? A great ocean-crossing sailing race? Summitting a great peak?  Well, after setting controls for the 2021 Gold Rush Score-O, I found that for me, orienteering is more like darts, golf, pool, and bowling. There are moments, if you are lucky, hours, of flow. Flow - being completely absorbed and focused in the task and using your skills to the best of your ability. For me, I find flow when I'm playing pool, but rarely for a full game. It might come after the first couple of shots, or even into the second game. I'll hit shot after shot to the best of my ability (which is average at best, but for those few shots, I am quite pleased with my average self) but eventually, I will get tired or a little over-enthusiastic, and rushed, and lose it. 

Orienteering is that way for me now. It's taken several years to get to the point where I 'sometimes find flow'. It's rarely on the first or second control, and rarely for an entire course, but it is beautiful for that fleeting time. I had it on my course scouting day and for a few of the controls I set on Saturday before the meet. After one confidence-shaking mistake on Saturday and perhaps because I was tired and rushed as I set a few remaining flags on Sunday morning, I lost it completely. Thankfully, my trusty meet Co-Director Katrina was there to get everyone started as I scrambled to correct error after error (and still failing #25). A few people arrived at controls 21, 22, 23, 25 with only green tape flagging. Thanks to Katrina, they were forewarned and forgiving. I even took advantage of running into Andy while setting #21, and asked him to carry #22 up the hill and set it for me. I gave him 5 bonus points for a little route redirection for that request.  

Andy, earning bonus points by adapting his route and carrying #22 up the hill.

I hope many of you found your 'flow' as you ran the course. I'm pretty sure Sergey did. Coming back from Tahoe and preparing for the Masters National course in Minnesota this weekend, I like to think he was peaking as he hit all 29 controls in under an hour and a half. I didn't even come close to creating a course that he could not clean in under 2 hours. 

Sergey's counter-clockwise route to all 29 controls, about 8km and 400m climbing.

As it happens, most competitors (15) opted to spend 2 hours in the forest for the beautiful morning of September 26, 2021. Judging from the smiles and chatter (after a few minutes of recovery), I think that at least a few others also found a bit of flow. I'm glad Christy took a break from her trekking to capture this fun rock and art (one that had also caught my eye).

Photo by Christy Morris.

Only four competitors decided to take more than 2 hours exploring the hills and ditches. Andy's decision to alter his route to carry my flag didn't harm him as he took top marks in that group. I am grateful to Zach and Jennifer that they chose to compete for only 1 hour, in order to save some of their energy to help me pick up controls. Thank you, Ole, for your helping picking up controls as well! I was also happy to see my good friends Mike and Lisa Back coming out for a little map hike on a very difficult map for their first foray into orienteering.

Zach Clayton approaching a control. I assume the photo credit goes to Jennifer Smackey.

Below are all of the results by time category. I also did a quick count of controls visited. The least popular controls (visited by 3-4 people/teams) were 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. The most popular controls (visited by 11-13) were 1, 2, 3, 13, 14. 23 people in total came out for the day which lifts my spirits almost as much as finding flow on an orienteering course!

Hope to see you at Lucky Peak!

Melanie Wright

August 30, 2021

Alec & Owen on the last intermediate control

Bear Basin Meet Report Aug. 29, 2021

Sunday was a nice clear day starting out crisp but rapidly warming up.  Lots of  eager orienteers greeted the meet director as she finished up setting controls.  We had some good competition with close times and some ties, not expecting the competition to be so heated I only recorded times to the minute not second.  A couple of Karin's fellow local search and rescue members gave the sport a try, with SAR navigation instructor Brad insisting on going out on the advanced course his first time at an orienteering meet and doing very well with it.   We also had some scouts travel up from the Treasure Valley and Alex visited from the Cascade Orienteering Club.  Everyone seemed to find their respective courses challenging but succeeded in finding all the controls.  John and Kirsten's rivalry continues with Kirsten getting the win this time, despite John's advantage of having vetted several of the controls.  Many thanks to John M., Ole B., Andy H., and Sergey for control pick up, and Zach C. for photos, and to John M. again for all his help with mapping, vetting, and map printing.

Novice Course 1.9 km                           Time

Alex Hamling (C.O.C.)                                  0:42

Maggie Vuturo + ?                                         1:24

Shauna & Micah Enders (VCSAR)               1:32

Chloe & Steve Graepel                                 1:32

Intermediate Course   3.5 km.             Time

Jennifer Smackey                                            1:17

Janelle Wise + 4 kids                                      1:23

Torin, Angela, Jackson Ford                           1:23

Jon Pappas + 3                                                1:33

Boone & Greg Yerxa  + ?                               1:54

John & Leslie Siebold                                    2:03

Zach, Alec, & Owen Clayton                         2:28

Short Advanced   4.2 km.                     Time

Kirsten Severud                                             1:06

John Murray                                                  1:15

Andy Hill                                                       1:24

Jerry Stewart                                                  2:43

Advanced    6.4 km                               Time

Sergey Velichko                                            0:55

Ole Bergset                                                   1:54

Melanie Wright                                             2:20

Brad Wenger  (VCSAR)                               2:30

Innes Wright                                                 DNF

Kirsten's Short advanced route

August 16, 2021

Bear Basin Classic Orienteering Sunday Aug. 29

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 There's a restroom at the start and finish location.

Join us on the newly updated Bear Basin map for some classic foresty mountain orienteering!
Preliminary Course information:
Advanced 6.4 km.
Short Advanced 4.0 km.
Intermediate 3.5 km.
Novice 1.8 km.
Please email me with your course choice by Tuesday.

- Karin Didisse

July 26, 2021

Whoop Um Up Meet Report July 25, 2021

 I'm pretty sure that Jerry Stewart's standard for judging the quality of a new map is somewhat unconventional. Jerry completed the Intermediate Course, found all of the controls, and therefore judged the entirely new Whoop Um Up Map to be a good map. Although some of you might regard Jerry's standard to be comprised of equal parts subjectivity and self service, I am entirely pleased that he applauded my work, for whatever reason. Sergey, of course, brought the praise back into balance with a couple of observations including some of missing boulders in strategic locations. I can always count on Sergey for a useful, if not flattering, critique. Considering the time available to develop Whoop Um Up, we got a very useful map. And, who among the experienced orienteers is not pleased to put their skill against new terrain? None that I know.

Fireweed at Whoop Um Up--Andy Hill
Into each life a little rain must fall, but a whole creek? Andy had a problem with the map—not the kind of problem that usually comes to mind. He had some trouble reading it on the latter part of the Advanced Course. As I understand his problem, it started when he turned right off of the biggest cliff on the course instead of going more to the left. That led him to a creek that seemed a lot bigger than the mere rivulet where he thought he was. Undaunted, he crossed what he later realized was Edna Creek. If you had seen him splashing down the creek chasing his dropped map, you'd understand why he later had some trouble reading the smeared ink. Andy did recover and finished in his habitual good spirits. with a photo of the fireweed in blossom.

Jerry is usually the oldest orienteer on the course. Today we had the privilege of sharing our event with Dr. Peter Southorn, who came all the way from Rochester, Minnesota. He and his wife joined four other members of his Boise family. Tom Southorn and his family have become regulars on our Intermediate Courses.

We had six participants in the Advanced Division and eighteen in the Intermediate. No one took a Sport Map. Sergey's route is posted at the bottom of the report.

Zach Clayton missed the last meet at Castle Rock, offering the lame excuse that Stanford was awarding a masters degree to him on that date. I punished his absence by accepting his gracious offer to help pick up a bunch of Advanced controls on the south end of the course. Jerry, Kirsten, and Jennifer also helped pick up controls. I do greatly appreciate the courtesy of these people staying late, so I could get home at a reasonable hour.

It wasn't an orienteering problem that befell Jason Russell. He rode his motorcycle to Whoop Um Up. As I understand it, this new bike was due for service, at which point it was “protected” by the required entry of a PIN before starting. Jason didn't know the PIN. It would have been a simple enough matter to call his friend who had it in his email log. It would have been simple, if only Whoop Um Up had cell phone coverage. Andy chauffeured Jason back over More's Creek Summit into the range of a cell tower. Andy returned with Jason. The motorcycle started, and all was well.

I don't know how long Kirsten's string of victories in the Intermediate competition is. I do know that it grew one more victory longer today. Maybe someone will rise to the challenge and end it at Bear Basin on August 29. I'm looking for revenge from her lucky victory at Rabbit Creek. Be there to hear us talk smack before the Titanic struggle for Intermediate supremacy.

John Murray

Meet Director

June 13, 2021

Control #5 Mystery Code
 "Castle Rock is an American psychological horror..." begins the Wikipedia article on the streaming television series inspired by Stephen King. As I don't favor that genre, I've never read Stephen King. Little did I know the irony that would jump out from Int and Adv Control #5 when I employed the accompanying image as a mystery control code. The psychological horror, as it were, lay in wait at Control #2 where the early Int and Adv orienteers were unable to locate the control bag and number. Lest you think I exaggerate, check with Jerry Stewart, who in his stalwart search climbed all the way to the forest on the ridge above in a vain quest. I heard other tales of 30 to 45 minutes wasted in a similarly futile effort. 

I placed that control on Tuesday afternoon. Possible explanations for its displacement range from angry cows (of which there was none on the site) to (heaven forbid!) the preposterous insinuation that the course setter misplaced the control. I know him well; I can assure the jury that in the highly unlikely scenario that he misplaced the control, he wouldn't have soaked to ensured that the maximum quantity of mud and dust would adhere when he dragged it along the ground. Occam's razor cuts the explanations down to one: The storm that blew through and deposited a lot of rain on Thursday tore the control loose from its moorings and propelled it to the dirty place where it was eventually came to rest.

Control #2 Filthy, but Restored
As it turned out the control bag's bent frame and filthy fabric was found some short distance away in the dirt. Sergey promptly returned the control bag to its proper place, thus sparing subsequent orienteers the "psychological horror". I understand that some folks who view orienteering as nothing more than a walk in the woods guided by a map might regard casting this situation as a "psychological horror" to be rank hyperbole. However, for the serious competitor the loss of seconds can provoke hours of remorse and navel gazing.

Navel Gazing
Speaking of serious competitors our club was once blessed with one of the best. I'm sad to say that Sergey has fallen from his throne. It's not just that he shared the frustration with the aforementioned Jerry and several other seekers of Control #2. Sergey, who prizes the every second he can gain by choosing the right path around boulder (International meets are won or lost by mere seconds.) lost an unheard of five minutes on the first control. And that's not all. The meet director had no choice but to disqualify Sergey when he failed to identify the mystery control code at Advanced #16 to top off his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And all of this happened as Sergey was trying to prepare for the North American Orienteering Championships to be held in early August in the Lake Tahoe-Truckee area. 

If the sad story of  Sergey Velichko's dethronement moves you, then you should know that there is something you can do about it. The best way to prepare for an orienteering meet is by orienteering often. We had originally planned to conduct a meet on the site of our 2015 national championship meet. However, her job and other commitments have caused Kirsten Severud to withdraw as meet director. We have a map. We have high quality course designs. We just need you to volunteer to direct the meet. As meet director you can choose your date and time. And I can guarantee full support from experienced meet directors as you take on this most essential role in our club.

By all accounts the Castle Rock Map is set in beautiful country with great orienteering terrain. In my pre-meet memo I said, "This is a wild and challenging venue." Even acknowledging the significant number of beginners, I was surprised by the number of DNFs (did not finish) we had. In our club treasurer's (Andy Hill) case he sustained a painful calf strain that prevented him from taking on the Advanced Course as planned. In spite of his injury Andy has to be admired and thanked for helping with pick-up. Jerry Stewart didn't suffer an injury. He did spend a lot of time and energy seeking the infamous #2 and still hung around to help with pick-up. DNF or not, it was great to see so many new faces out there giving orienteering a try. From the many comments I think it's fair to say a lot of the newcomers will be back. So, although we had some minor disasters, the meet seems to have been a success.

Mike Bading at Adv
It was great to have many new orienteers in attendance and to see some old faces. Michael Bading, who has directed several meets, has been busy with family matters and nursing a gimpy knee. Good to see you out again. Mike's wife Merrill teamed up with him on the Advanced Course. Brad Lowe, another member we see often brought his wife Dawn. You can recognize Brad by the company he keeps, a big, friendly, fluffy white dog. 

The team of Heather Steele and Matt Kohn ended a long streak of Kirsten Severud's Intermediate Course victories. Unlike Sergey, she has nothing to be disappointed about; she took top honors in the Advanced division.

I've thanked Andy and Jerry for their help with pick-up. Kirsten also helped. Both Kirsten and Andy contributed photos.

An entirely new map at Edna Creek/Whoop'em Up is next on our calendar. However, if someone is gracious enough to step forward to direct a Gold Rush meet (Idaho City) we might scramble the calendar. Stay in touch on Meetup. com.

John Murray
Meet Director