May 27, 2020

West Slope Photo Orienteering

West Slope Bear Basin Photo-O
May 27 - June 2

As a fun diversion I have created a “Photo-Orienteering” event that you can do from the comfort of your own home.  I have created a virtual course starting and finishing at the West Slope snowmobile parking lot on the west side of our Bear Basin map near McCall.  With this event you don’t have to drive all the way there however!  I took a picture at each control location, your challenge is to choose which photo goes with which control number.  The control location is in the center of the frame and each photo is taken in the direction of north. 

Send me your answers: control number with photo letter name, by the end date to be included in the results or just do it for fun.  A link to the solutions will be posted after the end date.  

As an example the Start /Finish area is photo “J”.  

There are a couple of tricky very similar ones, but if you look carefully there are differences, and there is one extra photo.  Click on the thumbnails below for a larger view.  All are welcome to play, share with friends.

-         - Karin    Message Karin


















West Slope Course Map


May 25, 2020

Idaho City Motala across the ages

Alecia, Belen, Eloise, coming through the start-finish area.
One of the things I love about orienteering is that it is a sport for the whole family, from the very young to, well, the other end of the scale. I love that children, parents, and grandparents can all participate in a common sporting event. Saturday's Motala at Idaho City was a wonderful example of this. We had 31 competitors on the top of our wild Idaho hill last weekend, from about 15 families, depending on how you count. Families competed together as teams and tested themselves in rivalries against one another. As much as we are all missing soccer, lacrosse, and our usual Memorial Day weekend destinations this spring, I for one, was thrilled to see so many young people out for this event.
Our socially distant mass start.
The results are shown below. Two teams did one loop. Christy and Scott Morris had a tough draw getting one of the toughest (and the longest, except the final) loops first, which kept them busy for a while. John & Eli Arambarri made short work of the beginner loop. Three teams completed two loops. We were happy to see Cat's son Miguel out with his mom for his first (I think) CTOC event. Four teams completed three loops with Sam and Dave Murray finishing on top. John Murray and Innes Wright each missed a control on one of their loops and so their time for their four complete loops was counted. Matt Robinson turned in a very respectable CTOC first-time performance making his way back into orienteering.

Getting through all 5 loops (6.25km, about 300m climb) in the 2-hour (with some leeway) time limit took some advanced navigational skills and a lively pace. Seven competitors (6 solo and 1 team) pulled it off. Sergey showed us what a world class time looks like (coming in 35 minutes ahead of #2 Chris Slavin). Liam Murray and Katrina Wright represented Boise High upcoming Juniors very well, besting their parents and grandparents for the day. Ole proved that hip replacement surgery isn't keeping him out of the top tier of competitors. Finally, the Ford family adapted with a mix of team members on a couple of loops to get the most out of the course and the day.

Liam Murray, demonstrating his lively pace

Sergey, demonstrating his post-race skill set for Chris.

Katrina, showing the results of her cliff-slide method of reaching controls
Thanks to my co-director John Murray for map planning and course flagging, Innes, Katrina, and Penny for help with scouting and just keeping me company on the drive and course setting, and Norma Bailey for photos. Hope to see everyone out at the Queen Mine event on June 7!

May 7, 2020

Major Revision and Enhancement of the 2020 CTOC Meet Schedule

If you have visited our page recently, you already know that COVID-19 took a toll on our scheduled events. We canceled Rabbit Creek and the Vampire-O because they are social as well as orienteering meets. As such they posed an unacceptable risk of viral transmission.

With adherence to social distancing procedures we believe we can have a full, even enhanced, schedule. You can read our social distancing protocol here: Beginning on May 23 with our Gold Rush Motala through October 18 we have eight meets scheduled with a two-day meet in July. The revised and enhanced schedule appears below. 

For details see the CTOC schedule at

Note that two meets in our spring-summer-fall period lack a director. They do have experienced co-directors who will give extensive advice and assistance to novice directors. Assistance includes working with mapping software, course design, and administration. We can hold these meets only if we have directors. Please contact any member of the leadership team if you would like to explore the possibility of directing a meet.

John Murray

April 26, 2020

Social Distancing and Doug LaMott

If social distancing is the imperative of this time, Doug LaMott set an example few of us will emulate. After receiving notice on Friday evening that the controls had been placed, Doug ran the Intermediate Course mostly in the dark. And, I presume, very much distanced from anyone else. I suppose there are several ingenious strategies for maximum social distance while orienteering. Perhaps in a subsequent meet an enterprising orienteer will find a better way, but, for now, Doug is the king.

Saturday saw 40 people take on the two courses, some in groups and some as individuals. That was 24 orienteers on the Intermediate Course and 18 on the Advanced Course. If you are wondering why 24 and 18 don't add up to 40 people, it's because Chris Slavin and Segey each ran the Intermediate Course after finishing the Advanced.

There would be something unseemly about Babe Ruth facing a Little League pitcher. Still everyone would like to witness the Babe's legendary power and see just how far he could hit the ball in our neighborhood. No one in our club can compete with our version of the Babe. Nonetheless, Sergey does us a service by showing us what is possible in this sport of endurance and judgment. For those of you who are new to the sport, you might ponder these fast times and wonder as I do whether some young Maris or Hank Aaron of orienteering will rise up to challenge the old master. Knowing Sergey as I do, I suspect nothing would make him happier. If you want to see what top notch orienteering competition looks like, check out this 26 minute video of the 2019 World Orienteering Championship middle course in Norway.

And speaking of our younger orienteers, watching Jackson progress from following his father's navigation to being trailed under Angela's watchful eye to leading the family on the Advanced Course. And, ignoring Sergey for a moment, we had four of our youngest orienteers finish in the top four intermediate slots. Twelve-year-old Sam Murray trailed by his dad finished first. Dad did rescue Sam from a major error, but said that Sam did 95% of the navigating. Dad also said that Sam was annoyed from time to time by the failure of the old man to keep up. The team of Belen and Eloise broke orienteering into navigation and looking for controls with Belen doing most of the navigation while Eloise scanned the terrain. Mom was along for the ride. Once again ignoring Sergey, Eli and his dad finished fourth. Eli and Jackson are becoming regulars and a joy to watch grow into this sport.
Merrill and Her Map

Michael Bading has been a stalwart in the club directing the logistically difficult Rabbit Creek Meet in the Owyhees. It's a long way to drive to verify control locations one week and set controls the next week just before the meet. And then there's control pickup over a large area. Mike's wife Merrill ran the Advanced Course with Mike trailing. Mike sent this happy photo.

That brings us to the bad news: Because Rabbit Creek is as much a social event and pot luck, we have decided to postpone it until autumn and probably until much later than that. As it often does, good news follows the bad. We are planning for more social distance meets. As we firm up details, new meet announcements will appear on in the next few days.

John Murray
208 342-2165

April 6, 2020

April 25 Willow Creek Socially Distant Meet

A little virus is a big deal. The Boise Adventure Running Tournament originally scheduled for April 25 will be re-scheduled at a later date. The Contours Training event is now both a training event and a regular meet scheduled for April 25, starts from 10AM to noon. Course closes at 2PM. It's your choice whether you want to take your time to learn how to navigate contours or to compete for your best performance time. Whatever you choose, this meet will be different. It will be conducted as if everyone else is infected and all surfaces are contaminated. For directions to the venue see our event posting at

All participants are expected to observe social distancing recommendations.

None of that dirty money will change hands.

Bring your own. If you don't, you might want to bring a disinfectant.

Non-members bring printed and signed liability waivers from home and drop them in the waiver box. We will have blanks if you forget, but we much prefer no exchanges.

If we don't have it, it won't be contaminated.

Bring your own water.

Most of us enjoy sharing our orienteering triumphs and failures. There will be plenty of both after COVID-19.

Print your own map(s) and contour training instructions from images at or from email distribution. Maps have not been finalized, but if you are curious, you can see samples in the photos section.
Maps printed by the CTOC will be printed several days in advance. If you want CTOC to print your map and/or training instructions, please notify us with your choice of maps and count via the comments or email

No touching. Come close enough to a control to read and confirm the control code.

Participants will self-time and report results by email.

No rental charge. Take a compass from the "rental" box. Return it to the used compass box.

A meet director will be present to keep a list of orienteers on the course to ensure that all participants return safely and to answer questions.

Winter meets on the level ground of city parks do not require use of contours to navigate. Trails, buildings, fences and vegetation among other intuitively recognizable features aid navigation. Beginning in May and June in the Idaho City area through the summer to Bear Basin in August and into September at Idaho City-Gold Rush, the use of contours will be essential to efficient navigation. The Willow Creek venue has trails, vegetation and other features to assist the orienteer's navigation. However, you will have the option of a map with all of those features removed to produce an exercise in navigation using only contours. This event is for the persons new to orienteering who want to develop this particular skill and for experienced orienteers who want to fine tune their skills. There will be an intermediate (2.6 k) and an advanced (7 k) course. Be aware that these courses, unlike the courses in city parks, require walking up and down hills on sometimes unstable terrain. If you prefer the fully featured map, that map will also be available.

You can choose whether to do this meet competitively (emailing us your own time) or to focus on training. Routes from control to control will illustrate use of contours for efficient navigation. Thus, the intermediate course should be approached with the intention to observe the lessons intended for each control instead of maximum speed.

Notify me at if you want CTOC to print a map for you, designating an intermediate or advanced map, full map or contours only. Don't count on a map unless you have RSVPed.

Your own water and snacks (no sharing).
Remember, if you are not a member, waivers must be signed and emailed in advance (available for download at ) or dropped in the waiver box.
Gaiters recommended.

March 16, 2020

Ides of March Meet Report

It was the Ides of March Orienteering Meet. I don't think that Norma intended the name to have the ominous portent it did. The Ides didn't work out so well for Julius Caesar, and it could have gone a lot better for Norma. At least a half dozen people exercised an entirely justified level of caution about the rising tide of Corona Virus infections as they chose to stay away. Among them was Melanie, our computer operator who earlier in the week had been in the proximity of Idaho's first COVID-19 case. And then we came up short on Sport Ident chips as I discovered that I'd left about 40 at home where, it seems, they were of no value to the orienteers waiting to get started on the course. It could have been a longer delay and larger embarrassment if not for a fortuitous string of green lights on the round trip.

Sergey headed for Control 15
With the looming pandemic and mismanagement of the equipment inventory we only needed the weather to complete a triad of orienteering disasters. It was not to be. After a night of rain that threatened to dampen our spirits the rain stopped as if out of respect for our sport. It's not as if all was perfect after that. The printer ran out of ink. We couldn't find the spare cartridge whose location only Sergey knew. And, as you might expect in our series of unfortunate events, Sergey was out running the advanced course. I should add that he was running it at his boringly predictable blazing pace, so we did not have long to wait to be rescued.

Meanwhile in contrast to the crew managing (if that's what you call it) the start desk, orienteers by their own accounting were enjoying the courses. First among the notable performances was Jackson's run on the beginner's course. He has been following along behind Dad and Mom for several meets. I heard that he was eager to take a map in hand and do his own navigating. The opportunity came today and Jackson seized it by navigating a beginner's course (with some intermediate controls thrown in) to a first place finish. Congratulations Jackson! He went on to post a very respectable 4th place on the intermediate course.

If my memory serves me, today's meet was Kirsten's third. She finished first smashing the intermediate competition. We can't help but admire that kind of performance, especially for a new orienteer. But for most of us this sport is not about blazing speed, inspired navigation, and finishing first. It's a chance to learn and polish a skill. It's about seeing new places and seeing old places in new ways. Before he punches the start, Mike knows that Sergey is going to beat him. Anyone who saw his last route choice through a chair
behind the start desk in great haste to punch the finish knows Mike also loves to compete. I get that because Mike and I and a lot of others are members of the Wile E Coyote School of Orienteering. After all, I bought my compass at Acme Orienteering Co.

The Ides of March Orienteering Meet brings our 2019-2020 series of Treasure Valley park meets to a close. April takes us into the out of town season with meets planned from the Owyhees to the Sawtooths to Bear Basin near McCall. But first it looks like we will be in the local hills at Willow Creek on the north end of Eagle Road. If all is well with Melanie Wright, she will direct the meet on April 25 including some training on how to read contours. That's a skill we seldom use in the city parks. It is quite important in mountainous terrain.

John Murray

The split times of the event have been added to the WinSplits Online database. Thank you for your participation!