August 7, 2019

Sunday August 18 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 thrown in.  Let me know if you’re coming and which course, so I can make the correct number of maps.

Course lengths: Novice 2 km., Intermediate 3.2 km., Advanced 5.7 km.

- Karin Didisse

August 6, 2019

Learning From our Mistakes: Idaho City Meet Results

Norma at #4
As much as I am happy to accept the value of failing for learning, I am still loath to embrace the title 'failure' for my report today, maybe because at least part of last week's meet was a success, despite a few mistakes on my part.

On Saturday, July 27, I scouted the area and pre-flagged about 16 of the 26 controls.  As I was making my way up the hill that you climb on this trail, toward a planned control at the pit in the NE corner of this photo, I thought, this is some nasty climbing for a sport course, so I chose a control at a lower elevation, in the ditch further east, #3 on the sport course. I left that afternoon with a false sense of confidence in my course planning, navigation, and setting abilities.  Then, carried through the week with my other life priorities, including a busy work week. With my misplaced confidence, I thought I would be fine coming out and scouting/pre-setting the course Saturday 8/3, making any map adjustments that evening, and able to make any minor corrections Sunday morning, ready to roll by 9am.

Well, the next Saturday I was mostly focused on setting advanced controls to the south and east, most of which were planned for the advanced course. There were a couple that challenged my navigation skills and left me in a bit of a race for time.  In my efficiency to prepare for the day, I had lumped everything that needed to be set together in one map, losing any opportunity to "feel" the ease or difficulty of any specific course.  So, when I set this control (#7 on the sport course), I failed to appreciate how hard it would be for sport runners. After my advisers pointed this mis-step out to me, and, even more so when I went to pick it up at the end of the day Sunday, I can now say that I truly understand how tough this was (although probably tougher for me traveling from west to east than for the sport runners traveling from east to west).

On top of that, the map I used as a base map was not at the scale I thought it was, a fact I figured out upon printing, and was able to correct for in printed maps.  What I didn't realize was that this also meant that the course distances were under-estimated, and actually 1.5 times longer than advertised... This is even worse when you consider that many sport runners will stick more to trails, making the course even longer for them. Finally, I misplaced a control - fortunately for most, it was reasonably easy to see from the direction approaching (though not necessarily easy to get to). When you add up the already difficult terrain that is here naturally, my mis-judgment of the overall length, and my failure to appreciate the rough way in to #7, the sport course really was not a sport course (and the advanced courses were longer than advertised as well).  My apologies to Ole, Mike, Norma, Veronica, and Lisa, who may have expected something a little different. I hope this doesn't deter you from coming to our next meet. I promise to make a fun (and easier) sport course next time!  Not surprisingly, no one completely finished the sport course.  One last mistake - my meet data (names and times), which I neatly folded in my pocket to be sure I kept secure for this meet report, made a trip through the laundry, so the final results are by memory and imprecise.

Sport course, about 3.6k, 100m climb (more if you stuck mostly to trails), ordered as best I can recall based on # of controls completed:

  1. Ole Bergset
  2. Mike Olnes
  3. Norma Bailey
  4. Veronica Fletcher
  5. Lisa Corsi

Advanced - shorter course, about 5k, 200m climb

  1. John Murray, completed in about 1 hour 40 minutes
  2. Karin Didesse

 Advanced - insane course, about 6.6k, 300m climb

  1. Sergey Velichko, completed in about 1 hour 10 minutes: "that course was really insane"

Lisa, making her way to #4, one of the many climbs on the course. It was a beautiful morning. Without smoke!
John, headed down to a boulder in among some steep ditches and draws. 
Thanks Katrina, Innes, and Sergey for helping with control pickup and John for map work!


July 24, 2019

Idaho City Gold Rush Classic, Aug 4, 2019

What:  Hot and smoky (not yet, fortunately, in Boise) means it is time for an Idaho City orienteering course!  I will set three classic courses:
  • Sport:  This is an advanced beginner/orange course that requires navigation off trails and roads, but controls are close to features that 'should' assist you in navigation.  Length will be around 2.4 km and about 240m climb. If you are an adult newcomer, I will be happy to provide you with some hints that will help you get through the course or at least through part of it and still enjoy the excursion. Beginner-youngsters traveling with adults with experience should also be able to enjoy this course. 
  • Advanced - sane:  This will be something between a brown/green classic advanced course, about 3.3 km and 350m climb. 
  • Advanced - insane: This will be the advanced-short course plus a few additional controls that will take you farther out on the map and into more elevation change (4.3k, 490m climb). 
When:  Sunday, August 4, starts are from 9am - 11am.  Course will close at 1pm.  If you think you will take longer than 2 hours on the course, arrive early.  If you want to avoid the heat, arrive early.

Where:  Off highway 21, 2 miles north of Idaho City, across from the Granite Creek Recreation area (NW of Idaho, on the left as approaching from Idaho City).  The start/finish is 3/4 mile up dirt road 314c .There is room for a few cars to park at the start and a little farther up the road. There are a couple of very significant bumps in the road, and narrow sections. If you don't have high clearance and four-wheel drive, you may want to park at bottom and walk up or hitch a ride with another orienteer coming up  I will place CTOC signs at the 21 turn and on the way up 314c.

RSVP: melanie c wright AT gmail dot com ASAP and definitely by 8/1 or on the CTOC Facebook Page. Please let me know what course you plan to run. If you use Facebook to reply, you must say yes (not maybe) and you must indicate a course for me to count you for map printing.

Cost: $5/map for non-members.

E-punch: maybe.  Since it is a maybe, if I am able to set e-punches, I will waive the rental fee if you do not have one.

Why:  This is really great terrain and aren't you tired of boring old running where you just follow the road or trail ahead of you?  Add some spice to your hike or run and come experience the joy of stumbling upon (with either skill or luck) those beautiful orange and white controls amidst old mining ditches, draws, knolls, hilltops, and trees!

  • Compass!
  • Waiver, prepared in advance especially if you are not a CTOC member.
  • A suitable pack with essentials and snacks as you usually need to prepare for a day hike in the hills.
  • Sufficient water for yourself.  
  • Sunscreen and/or hat.  
  • Bug spray. 
  • Gaitors and/or long pants.
  • Shoes for mountainous  terrain.  If your ankles are sensitive please prepare accordingly.
  • A whistle and a cell phone (there may be no cell coverage).

July 5, 2019

Next meet, August 4, Idaho City Gold Rush Map

Just a quick update that we had to move our July meet just a little bit into August, so you will have the bonus of two closely spaced August meets to prepare you for the US Orienteering Nationals ( and we know CTOC will be well-represented!) in September.  And even if you are not an advanced orienteer with eyes on a national meet, there will be plenty of recreational fun for everyone at both CTOC August meets. 

June 26, 2019

Gold Rush Motala Results

The road to orienteering is not always a lonely road.
 First they had to navigate circuitous, pot-holed, and deeply rutted logging roads. Some mastered the task. Others (To protect his dignity and reputation for awe-inspiring navigation I won't mention Sergey's name.) found themselves befuddled and desperate to the point of resorting to following another car. Then fifteen orienteers took on the Saturday challenge of five different courses ranging from 1.1 K to 1.5 K.

Every orienteer experiences a minor navigational disaster from time to time. It's not that you are lost like some poor soul you read about in the newspaper. It's really not that you are lost; it's the control that's lost. Having withheld Sergey's name, I am obligated also to withhold Innes's and Mike's names from the roster of humbling mishaps. However, a quick examination of the results below will let those cats out of the crumbling wet paper bag. Congratulations, Mike, on your Loop B performance outpacing Innes by almost an hour. And, Innes, having suffered some of my own disasters, I can only hope that Melanie was gentle with you on what must have been a long ride home.

Kudos to the team of Vivian and Joe Kosak. I first met them at Eagle Island earlier this year when they were entirely new to this sport. Since then they've taken on everything from urban landscapes to the wide open rugged terrain at Rabbit Creek and now the mountain woodlands of our Gold Rush map. Those of us who are getting to know you admire your growing skill and obvious determination.

Veronica Fletcher is a new member this year. She brought her friend, Monica, to team up on the Sport course. Veronica is an avid hiker. There was some mention of having gotten lost on a hike or two and that they hoped orienteering is the cure. Well, we all get lost at one time or another, but I have no doubt that orienteering reduces the probability and builds the skills necessary to work your way out of being lost.
Angela, Jack, and Torin
Orienteering stalwart Great Uncle Jerry Stewart came accompanied by Jack, Angela and Torin. the three of whom navigated Loops A, B, and C. When all was said and done, they came out of the woods with smiles. For that matter, I think everyone was smiling. For some of the more serious competitors the smiles erupted over the memories of a mistake here or there.

Five orienteers completed all five loops. They are noted by a green background in the following spreadsheet.

Note that Norma completed three loops with no times recorded. Norma helped me set controls and was my forerunner for the Sport course. I can tell you from our conversation on the way home that she was very pleased with her performance. I was almost as pleased as she was. This sport isn't easy for any of us, and it's not intuitive for many of us.

Below are results for each loop.

First, thank you to Jack, Jerry, Elijah, and Andy for help picking up controls.

Second, while I enjoy mapping and course design, it is always gratifying to have you participate in a meet I direct.

Third, to Sergey we wish the best of skill and speed as he competes against 240 of world's elite masters orienteers in the 55-59 age class in Riga, Latvia July 5-12.

Fourth, calculating everybody's time for each loop offered me many opportunities to err. I might have unknowingly accepted one of those offers. If I did, make an egregious error, don't hesitate to contact me. I might correct it.

Melanie will direct the next meet on Sunday, July 21, probably on the larger Gold Rush Map. We hope to see you all there.

John Murray
Meet Director

June 2, 2019

Motala? What is this motala on Saturday, June 22?

A motala is a variation on point-to-point orienteering in which the competitors pass through the start/finish doing multiple short loops (each with a new map) to create a long course. Each orienteer receives a stack of maps in random order, except that each stack will have the same last map bringing the competition together to finish on the same loop. This format is often used on a small area to create a longer course. It is named after the city of Motala, Sweden. I can only guess why it's named after a Swedish city.

The City of Trees Orienteering Club has used its Gold Rush Map for more than a decade with a meet there almost every year including at least two national championships. This 5-loop motala will use a small, but interesting part of that map near Idaho City on Saturday 6/22 with a mass start at 10am (different runners starting on different loops). You can do as many or few loops as you like.

This event will accommodate participants new to orienteering and those who do not want to tackle the challenges of the full 5-loop course by offering a first leg designed for them. This sport course will have 7 short legs designed with easy-to-follow terrain features. If you want to run the sport course first, let me know. And, if you only want to run the sport course, let me know that too, so I can save printing costs for the other maps.

Map summary:
Sport loop 7 controls 1.35k (first loop for novices)
Loop A 5 controls 1.22k
Loop B 5 controls 1.47k
Loop C 6 controls 1.51k
Loop Z 5 controls 1.39k (final loop for all competitors

Single day dues of $5.00 covers the cost of a map set. Free for CTOC members.

Please email me by Thursday evening, June 20 to reserve your maps. Your map reservation saves paper and ink, but most of all, it lets me plan to have enough maps. If at the last minute, you decide to participate, please come. I will have a couple of extra map sets and some blank maps you can copy to. It's a long way to drive to discover that several people grabbed the extra maps, so don't use the promise of extra maps as an excuse for not reserving your maps.

Start location:
Start time: 10 am

Beginners: There is no real beginner course, however ,there will be some coaching available and often there is another orienteer looking for a partner.  The area we are navigating in is reasonably small and there are bail-outs onto nearby roads in several directions. 

Getting there: At Idaho City turn left/north onto Main Street. Turn right/east onto Bear Run Road". We will place directional signs, however it would be best if you have a map also. The roads are bumpy and the roads close to the site are dirt, but not impassable. Rain is a potential problem. I will keep everyone who reserves a map apprised of any road problems that arise.

  • Compass!
  • Waiver, prepared in advance especially if you are not a CTOC member.
  • A suitable pack with essentials and snacks as you usually need to prepare for a day hike in the foothills.
  • Sufficient water for yourself.  
  • Sunscreen and/or hat.  
  • Gaitors might be useful.
  • Shoes for mountainous  terrain.  If your ankles are sensitive please prepare accordingly.
  • Cell phone. I can not vouch for coverage, so be prepared with a whistle and other fallback options.

You will use old fashioned punches for this event.

Questions and comments? Please email me or call 208 342-2165.

John Murray
Meet Director