September 24, 2017

Return to Queen Mine -- Sunday, October 1

The calendar lists the October 1 meet as Upper Dry Creek. However, recent restrictions to off-trail travel on private property very much reduce its appeal. Consequently, we will be returning to the Queen Mine map first used in April of last year. A 2016 wildland fire scorched the re-entrant that contains the parking area and the start. From the Highway 21 earlier this year it appeared that we had lost the map for the near future. As it turns out a fire line was established to restrict the fire to that easternmost re-entrant leaving approximately 80% of the map's terrain intact. And, as unlikely as it seemed earlier this year, the wet spring and long summer restored almost all of the burned over grass.

Last year Jeff Black welcomed orienteers to the new Queen Mine map with these photos. Now, I am pleased to invite you back.

I can't do any better than Jeff in describing the Queen Mine terrain: "This new map on beautiful foothills terrain comes with a few caveats.  If you thought Stewart involved some elevation assured, this comes with its fair share plus some.  While the course design will constrain the routes within a band of elevation lines to keep things reasonable, this is a seriously physical map and you need to be prepared to climb, descend, and contour.  The topography makes it very difficult to design suitable beginner courses or even those seeking an easy O hike, but I will have a very simple set up around the start area (~1km) to illustrate the basics and offer a short scenic tour.  It will still involve a little climb!"

When:  Sunday, October 1  Starts from 10 - 11:30.   Course closes at 1:30pm, so if you want more time you should come earlier in the window.

Location:  Queen Mine map.  This link highlights where to park.  Drive north on ID21 (towards Idaho City) until just past mile marker 14.  There is a parking area on the west side. If you reach the Hilltop Station you went too far.  From here, you will hike in ~800m to the start.

Format:  Classic:  Advanced (~5.5km, ~400m climb), Intermediate (~3.5km, ~290m climb), Beginner (~1km, ~40m climb).

  • Single meet (day) dues: $10 per person/team, free for members 
  • Junior (up to 20 years old): $5 per person/team, free for members 
  • If more than one map is needed for a team, it is +$1 per map.
  • You may join CTOC for the full year which makes all local meets free!  See member info.
RSVP:  To minimize waste and also the amount of stuff we are hauling in, please email me (jnm2870 AT cableone DOT net) with your count and maps needed by Friday, September 29.    If you show up off the cuff, I will probably have a few blank maps to copy a course by hand.

  • 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.  This is very exposed terrain.
  • Clothing suitable for extended hiking in foothills brush.  This is surprisingly runnable terrain but there will be extended areas of large sagebrush and other plants.  Gaitors are helpful.
  • Shoes for steep and often rocky terrain.  If your ankles are sensitive please prepare accordingly.
  • Cell phone. Jeff reported that much of the map appears to have at least Verizon coverage, but be prepared with a whistle and other fallback options.

Important notes:  
  1. There are NO restrooms in the parking area or on the map.  Closest available facilities are at the Hilltop cafe (where a purchase is necessary) or five minutes downhill to the dam or Discovery Park.
  2. Per the regulations for the foothills in this area, dogs are permitted but required to be on leash.  This area is important for overwintering deer (which means there are a great many of them) and we hope they will welcome us back.
  3. Your car won't be visible at all from the start/finish area.  Lock it up when you head in and avoid leaving valuables inside as it is right next to the highway.
  4. This area contains an old mine shaft (hence the map name) in the map center.  This is a hazardous object any visitor should exercise caution around, especially if approaching from above.
  5. There are a number of crisscrossing barbed wire fences around, especially in the start/finish valley.  These are not in great shape and easily crossed in many places, but this also means there are loose strands around and you need to watch where you run and step.
Welcome to boulder town.
Hope to see you out navigating with us this Sunday!
John Murray

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