October 7, 2015

Stone v. Coen--No, that's not a Supreme Court case.

Dondi and Toby
As I spent the last six weeks mapping Upper Dry Creek (UDC) a couple of titles, one a book, the other a movie repeatedly came to mind. A little more than three decades ago Irving Stone wrote Men to Match My Mountains about the figures, common and colossal, who settled and built the West. Sunday Upper Dry Creek challenged men and women, boys and girls and a dog to match the mountain. As a group they were not found wanting.

I believe UDC is the most physically demanding map in the CTOC inventory. (I will be very interested if a member can make a strong argument to the contrary.) I am also convinced, although not so confidently, that it presents the most challenging navigation. Because the terrain did not support a beginner course and didn't even support an orange course (linear features to follow and catching features to arrest overshoots), the three courses offered were all technically difficult and carried unconventional names.
Short-Legs had eleven controls in 1.2K. So, averaging about 100 meters per leg reduced the probability of becoming hopelessly out of contact with the map while conferring a significant advantage to the orienteer who correctly interpreted the map and executed an efficient strategy. Unlike a beginners' course, Short-Legs required discrimination among multiple boulders in proximity to each other, interpreting vegetation densities and, on one leg, following a vegetation boundary. Kudos to those beginner and orange course orienteers who effectively used the map to navigate Short-Legs. Zoe Peterson deserves special applause for leading the pack of eleven by more than a seven minute margin. Her performance is a measure of the enormous progress she's made since Bannock Creek in May. As we talked it became apparent that she correctly interpreted the map to avoid the trail dead ending in the dense vegetation northeast of the cliff at Control #6 and instead followed the vegetation boundary. That's just one example of navigation well above the orange level.

O-Comp was a fully competitive orienteering course including the Short-Legs controls and extending out onto longer legs at higher elevations. The three DNFs of four competitors attest to the difficulty of O-Comp. On a personal note, I was happy to see both of my sons tackle O-Comp. David was the sole survivor of the entire course.

Then there was the ADVenture course, so named because like the other two courses it was ADVanced in navigation difficulty and then ventured into terrain mapped only with contours and rock features. ADVenture orienteers were on their own to plot strategies without the benefit of mapped vegetation. They had to deal with vegetation as they encountered it. Ten orienteers departed from the start, and seven returned after finishing all 24 controls—Short-Legs, O-Comp and eight more controls on the part of the map without mapped vegetation.

Ethan powering up the mountain at Control #1
Riverstone International School under Ben Brock's tutelage is quickly developing some national class orienteers. Zach Clayton and Regan Zhang turned in impressive performances surpassed only by their mentor. Ethan Treadwell, in spite of needing to backtrack to capture a previously missed control, finished just two seconds (The meet director's precision might be called into question here.) behind Jeff Black, our club president, orienteer of many years and an accomplished ultra-runnner. And one more thing about Ethan: the highest level course he had ever run before Sunday was orange. I can't speak for Jeff, but for myself I'm thrilled to see these younger orienteers outpacing the seniors. We expect great things out of you in regional and national meets. We're pulling for you. We're all in this together.
And speaking of the senior orienteers and some of us like me, who can't even see “senior” in the rear-view mirror, I must tell you how much I value the support and comments I received on the new map. I said there were two titles that repeatedly came to mind. As I traipsed up and down that mountain on many days during the last six weeks I often thought this might not be country for one old man. Well it is. I can't say it's a privilege to live in Idaho because I have a right to live any place I want. But, for many reasons I can't think of any place I'd rather live. Foremost among them are my orienteering friends and this place we call Upper Dry Creek, just a short drive to challenge us to match that mountain.

Michael Bading spoke for me when he said, “At my age I'm happy I can do this.” Bill Leahy was almost giddy in his excitement about the map. And Ben Brock seemed genuinely pleased. Later he wrote, “I truly enjoyed the terrain and am excited about how many more great orienteering features there are up there; even if we let it stand as is, it is a great addition to our quiver.” To which I replied that I enjoy the entire mapping process and would do it for just one or two orienteers. Still I am grateful for the approval of those who know this sport and the participation of so many. Jeff Black said this map is the one we've needed, challenging and close to home. I await Sergey's comments after he runs the course next week. Those of you who liked this map should know that UDC is a large area we've only just begun to map. It could take several years.

The view of more terrain to map from Control #10. Photo courtesy of David Murray.
Thanks to Jeff Black for his many beautiful photographs which capture the place, the action and the spirit of orienteering.
Jerry on the course.
Jerry Stewart was an enormous help to me on Sunday. As some of you have observed and also been kind enough to refrain commenting on, I sometimes become distracted while attempting to direct a meet. Jerry was there to pick up the pieces and keep things moving. He also picked up some controls while the regular pickup crew, Jeff Black and Michael Bading, understandably pleaded fatigue. How could that be? Well, I went home too without picking up so much as one control.
Last year we had to cancel our Vampire-O at the Simplot Athletic Fields due to Boise Parks and Recreation permit issues. We are currently looking for alternatives. We will notify you if we resolve the issues or find an alternative.

Meet directors
John Murray
Jerry Stewart

Advanced Otters getting final instructions from Ben Brock.  Left to right: Regan, Zach, Ethan and Nathan all facing the camera. John Murray and Ben facing away.

 Are we ready for this or what?

Katrina and Kelly fired up and ready to go

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