October 3, 2021

Finding Flow: Score-O at the Gold Rush Race Results

When you think of orienteering, what other sports come to mind?  Cross-country running? Adventure racing? A great ocean-crossing sailing race? Summitting a great peak?  Well, after setting controls for the 2021 Gold Rush Score-O, I found that for me, orienteering is more like darts, golf, pool, and bowling. There are moments, if you are lucky, hours, of flow. Flow - being completely absorbed and focused in the task and using your skills to the best of your ability. For me, I find flow when I'm playing pool, but rarely for a full game. It might come after the first couple of shots, or even into the second game. I'll hit shot after shot to the best of my ability (which is average at best, but for those few shots, I am quite pleased with my average self) but eventually, I will get tired or a little over-enthusiastic, and rushed, and lose it. 

Orienteering is that way for me now. It's taken several years to get to the point where I 'sometimes find flow'. It's rarely on the first or second control, and rarely for an entire course, but it is beautiful for that fleeting time. I had it on my course scouting day and for a few of the controls I set on Saturday before the meet. After one confidence-shaking mistake on Saturday and perhaps because I was tired and rushed as I set a few remaining flags on Sunday morning, I lost it completely. Thankfully, my trusty meet Co-Director Katrina was there to get everyone started as I scrambled to correct error after error (and still failing #25). A few people arrived at controls 21, 22, 23, 25 with only green tape flagging. Thanks to Katrina, they were forewarned and forgiving. I even took advantage of running into Andy while setting #21, and asked him to carry #22 up the hill and set it for me. I gave him 5 bonus points for a little route redirection for that request.  

Andy, earning bonus points by adapting his route and carrying #22 up the hill.

I hope many of you found your 'flow' as you ran the course. I'm pretty sure Sergey did. Coming back from Tahoe and preparing for the Masters National course in Minnesota this weekend, I like to think he was peaking as he hit all 29 controls in under an hour and a half. I didn't even come close to creating a course that he could not clean in under 2 hours. 

Sergey's counter-clockwise route to all 29 controls, about 8km and 400m climbing.

As it happens, most competitors (15) opted to spend 2 hours in the forest for the beautiful morning of September 26, 2021. Judging from the smiles and chatter (after a few minutes of recovery), I think that at least a few others also found a bit of flow. I'm glad Christy took a break from her trekking to capture this fun rock and art (one that had also caught my eye).

Photo by Christy Morris.

Only four competitors decided to take more than 2 hours exploring the hills and ditches. Andy's decision to alter his route to carry my flag didn't harm him as he took top marks in that group. I am grateful to Zach and Jennifer that they chose to compete for only 1 hour, in order to save some of their energy to help me pick up controls. Thank you, Ole, for your helping picking up controls as well! I was also happy to see my good friends Mike and Lisa Back coming out for a little map hike on a very difficult map for their first foray into orienteering.

Zach Clayton approaching a control. I assume the photo credit goes to Jennifer Smackey.

Below are all of the results by time category. I also did a quick count of controls visited. The least popular controls (visited by 3-4 people/teams) were 24, 25, 26, 28, 29. The most popular controls (visited by 11-13) were 1, 2, 3, 13, 14. 23 people in total came out for the day which lifts my spirits almost as much as finding flow on an orienteering course!

Hope to see you at Lucky Peak!

Melanie Wright

August 30, 2021

Alec & Owen on the last intermediate control

Bear Basin Meet Report Aug. 29, 2021

Sunday was a nice clear day starting out crisp but rapidly warming up.  Lots of  eager orienteers greeted the meet director as she finished up setting controls.  We had some good competition with close times and some ties, not expecting the competition to be so heated I only recorded times to the minute not second.  A couple of Karin's fellow local search and rescue members gave the sport a try, with SAR navigation instructor Brad insisting on going out on the advanced course his first time at an orienteering meet and doing very well with it.   We also had some scouts travel up from the Treasure Valley and Alex visited from the Cascade Orienteering Club.  Everyone seemed to find their respective courses challenging but succeeded in finding all the controls.  John and Kirsten's rivalry continues with Kirsten getting the win this time, despite John's advantage of having vetted several of the controls.  Many thanks to John M., Ole B., Andy H., and Sergey for control pick up, and Zach C. for photos, and to John M. again for all his help with mapping, vetting, and map printing.

Novice Course 1.9 km                           Time

Alex Hamling (C.O.C.)                                  0:42

Maggie Vuturo + ?                                         1:24

Shauna & Micah Enders (VCSAR)               1:32

Chloe & Steve Graepel                                 1:32

Intermediate Course   3.5 km.             Time

Jennifer Smackey                                            1:17

Janelle Wise + 4 kids                                      1:23

Torin, Angela, Jackson Ford                           1:23

Jon Pappas + 3                                                1:33

Boone & Greg Yerxa  + ?                               1:54

John & Leslie Siebold                                    2:03

Zach, Alec, & Owen Clayton                         2:28

Short Advanced   4.2 km.                     Time

Kirsten Severud                                             1:06

John Murray                                                  1:15

Andy Hill                                                       1:24

Jerry Stewart                                                  2:43

Advanced    6.4 km                               Time

Sergey Velichko                                            0:55

Ole Bergset                                                   1:54

Melanie Wright                                             2:20

Brad Wenger  (VCSAR)                               2:30

Innes Wright                                                 DNF

Kirsten's Short advanced route

August 16, 2021

Bear Basin Classic Orienteering Sunday Aug. 29

Beautiful 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 There's a restroom at the start and finish location.

Join us on the newly updated Bear Basin map for some classic foresty mountain orienteering!
Preliminary Course information:
Advanced 6.4 km.
Short Advanced 4.0 km.
Intermediate 3.5 km.
Novice 1.8 km.
Please email me with your course choice by Tuesday.

- Karin Didisse

July 26, 2021

Whoop Um Up Meet Report July 25, 2021

 I'm pretty sure that Jerry Stewart's standard for judging the quality of a new map is somewhat unconventional. Jerry completed the Intermediate Course, found all of the controls, and therefore judged the entirely new Whoop Um Up Map to be a good map. Although some of you might regard Jerry's standard to be comprised of equal parts subjectivity and self service, I am entirely pleased that he applauded my work, for whatever reason. Sergey, of course, brought the praise back into balance with a couple of observations including some of missing boulders in strategic locations. I can always count on Sergey for a useful, if not flattering, critique. Considering the time available to develop Whoop Um Up, we got a very useful map. And, who among the experienced orienteers is not pleased to put their skill against new terrain? None that I know.

Fireweed at Whoop Um Up--Andy Hill
Into each life a little rain must fall, but a whole creek? Andy had a problem with the map—not the kind of problem that usually comes to mind. He had some trouble reading it on the latter part of the Advanced Course. As I understand his problem, it started when he turned right off of the biggest cliff on the course instead of going more to the left. That led him to a creek that seemed a lot bigger than the mere rivulet where he thought he was. Undaunted, he crossed what he later realized was Edna Creek. If you had seen him splashing down the creek chasing his dropped map, you'd understand why he later had some trouble reading the smeared ink. Andy did recover and finished in his habitual good spirits. with a photo of the fireweed in blossom.

Jerry is usually the oldest orienteer on the course. Today we had the privilege of sharing our event with Dr. Peter Southorn, who came all the way from Rochester, Minnesota. He and his wife joined four other members of his Boise family. Tom Southorn and his family have become regulars on our Intermediate Courses.

We had six participants in the Advanced Division and eighteen in the Intermediate. No one took a Sport Map. Sergey's route is posted at the bottom of the report.

Zach Clayton missed the last meet at Castle Rock, offering the lame excuse that Stanford was awarding a masters degree to him on that date. I punished his absence by accepting his gracious offer to help pick up a bunch of Advanced controls on the south end of the course. Jerry, Kirsten, and Jennifer also helped pick up controls. I do greatly appreciate the courtesy of these people staying late, so I could get home at a reasonable hour.

It wasn't an orienteering problem that befell Jason Russell. He rode his motorcycle to Whoop Um Up. As I understand it, this new bike was due for service, at which point it was “protected” by the required entry of a PIN before starting. Jason didn't know the PIN. It would have been a simple enough matter to call his friend who had it in his email log. It would have been simple, if only Whoop Um Up had cell phone coverage. Andy chauffeured Jason back over More's Creek Summit into the range of a cell tower. Andy returned with Jason. The motorcycle started, and all was well.

I don't know how long Kirsten's string of victories in the Intermediate competition is. I do know that it grew one more victory longer today. Maybe someone will rise to the challenge and end it at Bear Basin on August 29. I'm looking for revenge from her lucky victory at Rabbit Creek. Be there to hear us talk smack before the Titanic struggle for Intermediate supremacy.

John Murray

Meet Director

June 13, 2021

Control #5 Mystery Code
 "Castle Rock is an American psychological horror..." begins the Wikipedia article on the streaming television series inspired by Stephen King. As I don't favor that genre, I've never read Stephen King. Little did I know the irony that would jump out from Int and Adv Control #5 when I employed the accompanying image as a mystery control code. The psychological horror, as it were, lay in wait at Control #2 where the early Int and Adv orienteers were unable to locate the control bag and number. Lest you think I exaggerate, check with Jerry Stewart, who in his stalwart search climbed all the way to the forest on the ridge above in a vain quest. I heard other tales of 30 to 45 minutes wasted in a similarly futile effort. 

I placed that control on Tuesday afternoon. Possible explanations for its displacement range from angry cows (of which there was none on the site) to (heaven forbid!) the preposterous insinuation that the course setter misplaced the control. I know him well; I can assure the jury that in the highly unlikely scenario that he misplaced the control, he wouldn't have soaked to ensured that the maximum quantity of mud and dust would adhere when he dragged it along the ground. Occam's razor cuts the explanations down to one: The storm that blew through and deposited a lot of rain on Thursday tore the control loose from its moorings and propelled it to the dirty place where it was eventually came to rest.

Control #2 Filthy, but Restored
As it turned out the control bag's bent frame and filthy fabric was found some short distance away in the dirt. Sergey promptly returned the control bag to its proper place, thus sparing subsequent orienteers the "psychological horror". I understand that some folks who view orienteering as nothing more than a walk in the woods guided by a map might regard casting this situation as a "psychological horror" to be rank hyperbole. However, for the serious competitor the loss of seconds can provoke hours of remorse and navel gazing.

Navel Gazing
Speaking of serious competitors our club was once blessed with one of the best. I'm sad to say that Sergey has fallen from his throne. It's not just that he shared the frustration with the aforementioned Jerry and several other seekers of Control #2. Sergey, who prizes the every second he can gain by choosing the right path around boulder (International meets are won or lost by mere seconds.) lost an unheard of five minutes on the first control. And that's not all. The meet director had no choice but to disqualify Sergey when he failed to identify the mystery control code at Advanced #16 to top off his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And all of this happened as Sergey was trying to prepare for the North American Orienteering Championships to be held in early August in the Lake Tahoe-Truckee area. 

If the sad story of  Sergey Velichko's dethronement moves you, then you should know that there is something you can do about it. The best way to prepare for an orienteering meet is by orienteering often. We had originally planned to conduct a meet on the site of our 2015 national championship meet. However, her job and other commitments have caused Kirsten Severud to withdraw as meet director. We have a map. We have high quality course designs. We just need you to volunteer to direct the meet. As meet director you can choose your date and time. And I can guarantee full support from experienced meet directors as you take on this most essential role in our club.

By all accounts the Castle Rock Map is set in beautiful country with great orienteering terrain. In my pre-meet memo I said, "This is a wild and challenging venue." Even acknowledging the significant number of beginners, I was surprised by the number of DNFs (did not finish) we had. In our club treasurer's (Andy Hill) case he sustained a painful calf strain that prevented him from taking on the Advanced Course as planned. In spite of his injury Andy has to be admired and thanked for helping with pick-up. Jerry Stewart didn't suffer an injury. He did spend a lot of time and energy seeking the infamous #2 and still hung around to help with pick-up. DNF or not, it was great to see so many new faces out there giving orienteering a try. From the many comments I think it's fair to say a lot of the newcomers will be back. So, although we had some minor disasters, the meet seems to have been a success.

Mike Bading at Adv
It was great to have many new orienteers in attendance and to see some old faces. Michael Bading, who has directed several meets, has been busy with family matters and nursing a gimpy knee. Good to see you out again. Mike's wife Merrill teamed up with him on the Advanced Course. Brad Lowe, another member we see often brought his wife Dawn. You can recognize Brad by the company he keeps, a big, friendly, fluffy white dog. 

The team of Heather Steele and Matt Kohn ended a long streak of Kirsten Severud's Intermediate Course victories. Unlike Sergey, she has nothing to be disappointed about; she took top honors in the Advanced division.

I've thanked Andy and Jerry for their help with pick-up. Kirsten also helped. Both Kirsten and Andy contributed photos.

An entirely new map at Edna Creek/Whoop'em Up is next on our calendar. However, if someone is gracious enough to step forward to direct a Gold Rush meet (Idaho City) we might scramble the calendar. Stay in touch on Meetup. com.

John Murray
Meet Director

May 4, 2021

Rabbit Creek O-Meet and Potluck

    I try not to say the word literally too often. I think it's overused. However, there are times when any other word won't do. For example, I've never heard any respectable orienteerer claim, "I metaphorically went to all the controls." Unfortunately, thanks to a reptilian incident, now I'll need to use literally whenever I tell this story.

    My friend Michael from Chicago visited for the weekend and not only competed in his first orienteering meet, but also got the deluxe package: control setup AND pickup, camping with the coyotes, and catching the sunrise for a great shot.

Sunrise at Rabbit Creek (Michael Lin)

    The action started from the moment of our arrival on Saturday. Two bullsnakes welcomed us to the ranch; we nicknamed them Bert and Ernie. After a quick snack, we said bye to our new friends and ventured off into the beautiful desert scenery to place controls. And it was truly beautiful, as a few pictures illustrate below. A huge thank you to Bill Pilcher for hosting us all at his oasis and helping continue the Rabbit Creek tradition.  

                                                             My favorite control location

                                                          Oranges skies and an orange tractor

                                                        The custom Rabbit Creek O-Meet flag!

    Given that we'd already seen two snakes, Michael was on high alert for more Sesame Street pals. Meanwhile, I, like a good orientereer, was checking the map. Suddenly, Michael jumped backwards. He wildly gestured for me to come towards him, his gaze locked at my feet. I decided not to look down. He whispered a single word, "run." 

    Having someone whisper "run" while staring wide-eyed at your feet is a deeply terrifying experience. Nevertheless, I casually strolled off without breaking a sweat, although Michael claims the dust cloud I left behind suggested otherwise. A safe distance away, somewhere between a few feet and a half mile, I spun around and saw a massive snake. Coiled up in the path, it looked indignant, probably because of the footprint straddling its broad back. "I literally stepped on a snake!!"

    According to Michael, by the time he'd turned around, it was already too late. There I stood, consulting the map, one shoe in the sand and the other firmly planted on the snake's scaly back. It was easily three feet long and, to embrace the Rabbit Creek theme, as thick as a carrot from Bugs Bunny's wildest dreams. I'm not sure if the snake was dumbfounded by my cluelessness or an extremely gracious reptile, but I want to personally thank it for its patience. I hope the bruised ego gets well soon.

   The actual Sunday meet was equally adventurous, with reports of rabbits, rattlesnakes, lots of running around the ranchland, a few slightly misplaced controls (I blame Bert and Ernie, I think they moved the controls in the middle of the night), and for me, a very rewarding feeling to watch everyone try out my course designs. Rabbit Creek is one of my favorite CTOC locations and I was super excited to organize the meet this year. We had an impressive turnout of 51 people, with strong showings on all three courses. Thank you very much to Michael and Jennifer S. for helping set up controls. For those who are interested, the times are posted below; friendly rivalries are welcome to continue in the next meet!

Scouting the terrain (Rachel Meyers)

#61, in case you missed it! (Kirsten Severud)

    Last March, I wasn't particularly thrilled to come home during my senior year of college, to say the least, but over the past year, I've genuinely appreciated the chance to be back in Boise. It's been really nice to spend time with family and, furthermore, I always looked forward to the monthly CTOC meets. It was wonderful to chase Sergey on the advanced course, chat with the regulars, make friends, and meet new CTOC orienteerers! I was even able to design my first orienteering meet (Pine Creek 2020), and I couldn't have asked for a better sequel with Rabbit Creek this weekend. I'd like to thank Michael Lin, Bill Pilcher, John Murray, and Jennifer Smackey for their invaluable help in making my grand course ideas into a reality, and thank you all for attending!

April 21, 2021

Prison Break and Smell the Flowers

We couldn't have asked for a better day!  This was the first event on this map, and it lent itself to some challenges.  First due to the location we needed to stick to trails as much as possible, so we went with a modified trail type course. Then due to the openness and popularity it was tricky to find the perfect control spot that would be easy to see for participants but not so obvious to the general passerby. The last thing was that it was my first course design and director of an event that included controls (I had it easy with the November metrogain!).

While designing the course and I knew this was going to be a crazy fast course!  The uphills were slow and gradual, and the hard packed trail were in peak condition. This was evidenced by blazing speeds set by people in all categories!

Late arrival Erik blew through the advanced course in 33:51 and some friendly competition between the Morgan family had them both finishing under an hour with some light hearted taunting and cheers to go around!

The Intermediate course similarly saw some speedy finishes.  Kirsten managed to hold on to her streak of finishing first (37:17) followed closely by Jennifer Smackey. Lauren H made a last-minute decision to participate and while she complained about the hills she finished with a smile.  Out of towner Mary Hardy (visiting from the Bay Area) joined us and did well with the warmer weather and lack of water features.

The sport map had a strong showing which included several 4 legged friends and a young Fragkias who ran the Sport course AFTER his soccer game and still said he had fun.  Also, some newcomers tackled the sport course after completing the beginner map, perhaps they've caught the bug?

As I mentioned above this was my first course design, so I appreciated all the kind words I heard.  I learned a lot and know I still have a lot to learn so I value all the feedback and people being flexible with some things I may have missed.  All major complaints should go to John as he was my mentor during this process! ;)  But in all seriousness a huge thanks to John for creating the map and letting a newbie take control of course design.  There were many phone calls (some quite long), I appreciated all the hints/tips/nudges I received and still be allowed to do "whatever I wanted".

 Some additional thanks yous:

    *Sergey/Melanie for helping with the OE software.  Sergey is truly a trooper as he hung in there until the last runner checked in!

    *Carrie for helping set course the night before and for assisting with check-in.  She was able to help provide some help to some newer folks on map reading and navigation with a compass. Also assisting with course pickup

    *Ole who not only ran the Advanced course, waited while his son finished the advanced course but then offered to go back out and help with course pickup.

    *My Dad (Scott) for walking the area several times with me scouting control locations, setting the course the night before, helping setup the registration area, course and registration tear down. Nothing like being volentold ;)

We had 50 people turn up for this event and this included a handful of first timers! For those who selected to use our electronic punching, here are the results:

Advanced 6k- 11 Participants







Erik Bergset




Lee Scott




Sergey Velichko




Jason Russell




Melanie Wright




Dustin Thomas




William Leahy




Emily/Aleksi Morgan




Ole Bergset




Jay/Nikolai Morgan




Lisa T


Intermediate 4.5km; 12 Participants







Kirsten Severud




Jennifer Smackey




Lauren H




Mary Hardy




Innes Wright




Keeley Elisaon




Ford Family




Matt/Heather Steele




Lauren/Teagan Scott




Heather Cooper




John Murray*




Katrina Wright


*Due to Orienteering USA Rule A7.5 "... Individuals or groups visiting the closed venue shall not be eligible for competition, awards, or rankings, but they may nevertheless participate in the event." 

Sport 3.1km; 7 participants







Britini Gates




Michail Fragkias




Brett2 Smith




Reese Russell




Brett1 Smith




Dan/Debbie DeVonce




Marcella Mink


Split time for each control on courses may be accessed using the link below. Use it to see how you stacked against others on the course and where you may have lost time.

Split times, WinSplits Online

Here are a few photos from the event; if you have any additional please share them via the meetup site!

Fun in the sun!

All Smiles

View of Town