June 11, 2020

The Queen’s Wrath and her Benevolence

Unsettled Weather

As I woke up on a nice June Sunday morning, the sun was out, the weather forecast was great, temps in the 70s, it was a great day for an orienteering meet!   ….then I woke up from my morning dream.    

After a week of very nice weather and several sunny days to setup the Queen Mine courses, at 7:30 AM on the morning of Sunday, June 7th, the rain was coming down in buckets, the temperature was barely above 40 degrees, and the weather forecast called for more of the same, at least until the afternoon.   

As I loaded up the truck an hour later, I said to myself, “No one is going to show up.”   I tried to make myself feel better by saying “I’m sure glad I don’t have to go out on the course today”. 

Due to our new Covid-19 rules, maps are published a online a day or so ahead of the meet.  Doug LaMott took advantage of Saturday's weather and ran the advanced course one day ahead with a solo time of 2:24:00.   

With Doug reporting back to me, I knew that at least all the controls were in the correct places, I just wondered “Would anyone else do the advanced course in this weather?”

Doug on his solo quest to find all the advanced controls

A Tough Crowd

 Arriving 40 minutes early at the Queen Mine trailhead to setup the last control, I could see snow on the upper hills of Lucky Peak and on the upper part of the course where a majority of the intermediate and advanced courses were.   Just 10 minutes later, to my surprise, Christy and Scott Morris showed up and were preparing to tackle the intermediate course.   I jogged out to the set the last control, just a tenth of a mile from the start, when the rain turned to sleet and the wind whipped up. “Some people are just as crazy as I am”, I thought with a smile. As the Morris’ got ready with their maps and gear to set out promptly at the 10 AM start, I was happy that at least someone was going out on the course, but wondered how long the bad weather and the brave orienteers would last as I sat in my truck.  About 10 minutes later, more orienteers started trickling in and the rain let up, and eventually down to more of a drizzle and finally it started to look a little more like an actual orienteering meet. 
Checking out the new snow on the upper part of the Queen Mine course
After team Morris set out on the intermediate course at the start of the meet, one of the CTOC regulars, Jerry Stewart, jumped out of his truck in a hurry, and set out on the advanced course. The Morgan family, broken up into 2 teams (Jay & Aleksi and Emily & Nikolai) were close behind Jerry to tackle the advanced course too.   Our final competitor on the advanced course, Sergey, headed out 10 minutes after the Morgan family.

Next came the wave of intermediate course orienteers, with Ole Bergset, Kirsten Severud, John Murray and Melanie Wright all heading out of the course over the next 30-40 minutes.   By the time Melanie headed out on course just past 11 AM, the rain was very much subsiding, the temperatures had warmed up and the wind had died down. Conditions were greatly improved from earlier in the morning. It was actually looking to be a good weather day in the afternoon for the orienteers out on the course.
A snowy control #4 (Code 50)

John Murray looking at route options on upper part of course
Soon after the intermediate course orienteers left, the first team to return was Emily & Nikolai Morgan, smiling, but soaked they decided to call it a day and were more than happy to get back to a warm car, as it was just too cold and wet early on for the clothes they had brought. 

Returning shortly after, was the first person off the advance course…… Sergey
(who else did you expect?).

John Murray channeled his best Sergey impression and came in running hot from the intermediate course.  Like a man on a mission, John raced into the Queen Mine parking lot finishing strong and fast like he was ready to run another 5 miles. His efforts did pay off; it earned him a 1st place finish on the intermediate course.

Skies Improving

The last 3 teams of orienteers to show up certainly had the wisdom (or luck) to show up later when the weather was improving – partly sunny skies even started to appear. Two teams consisting of the duo Zack Clayton & Jennifer Smackey, and the trio of Heather Steel, Matt Kohn and Brenda Boyle left in the noon hour to navigate the sport course.  Of all the teams and participants, the trio seemed the best prepared for the unsettled weather with extra gear and clothes. Our final team was the Collias/Cronin family setting out on the beginner course.
Orienteering is a family sport
Kirsten Severud, a relatively new CTOC member this year and always smiling, also had good run, coming in next after the sport orienteers left, and earning a 2nd place on the intermediate course. 

Eighteen minutes later, Ole came in also to claim 3rd place on the intermediate course.

The sport and beginner course orienteers enjoyed the partly sunny skies and warmer temperatures of the lower slopes while having adventures with maps, snakes (Heather’s team saw a yellow bellied racer) and crossing a few animal bones along the way.  Team Clayton/Smackey completed the sport course first, with Team Steele, Kohn, & Boyle coming in 2nd place.
Yellow Bellied Racer on Sport Course
However, for the rest of the intermediate and advanced course orienteers, each participant / team returned without achieving their goal of completing their full course.  The team of Jay & Aleksi Morgan returned, having almost completed the full advanced course, but could not find control #19 (Code 49).  The rest of the field slowly came in with great stories of control miscalculations, snow & weather and, of course, on how much they enjoyed the course and challenge.


First, I would like to thank each and every participant in the 2020 CTOC Queen Mine meet.  While planning and setting up a course does take a bit of effort, every bit of the effort is worth it if there are people to there to enjoy and appreciate it.  Without the orienteers, it wouldn’t be an orienteering meet, so I want to thank everyone for braving the unsettled weather conditions.

I would also like to thank John Murray, not only with mapping Queen Mine area and designing the original course in 2016, but also for all the help and advice he has given me over the past few weeks.

Finally, thanks to Christy Morris, Kirsten Severud and Heather Steele for uploading their pictures of the Queen Mine meet to our meetup.com webpage which I used in this report.


Beginner Course
Collias/Cronin Family                                                        ~1:00:00

Sport Course
Zach Clayton & Jennifer Smackey                                      1:12:10
Heather Steele, Matt Kohn, & Brenda Boyle                    2:24:00

Intermediate Course
John Murray                                                                           1:38:35
Kirsten Severud                                                                     2:14:00
Ole Bergset                                                                             2:32:00
Christy & Scott Morris                                                           DNF
Melanie Wright                                                                       DNF       

Advanced Course
Sergey Velichko                                                                      1:21:30
Doug LaMott                                                                          2:24:00
Jay & Aleksi Morgan                                                             3:11:45   DNF – missed 19
Emily & Nikolai Morgan                                                        DNF
Jerry Stewart                                                                           DNF


John Murray said...

Mike, it was a fun day on a well designed course in beautifully rugged terrain close to Boise. I couldn't ask for more. Thank you for all of your efforts. By my count we had 22 participants rewarded by those efforts.
John Murray

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