June 12, 2023

Ponderosa Pleasures June 10, 2023

Bill's Dog
 Orienteeering with the CTOC can be a lovely way to spend time among the flowers or intense competition or both. I believe Bill Pilcher's dog got the first option right. It was, indeed, a beautiful venue punctuated by several displays of wildflowers. Lynette and April came equipped with a mesh bag to carry the morels they hoped to find. Alas, it was not to be a fungal feast. Instead, there were places laid out with banquets for the eyes.

Photo by Kirsten Severud
Early June in the McCall area brought nearly perfect weather for orienteering and mosquitoes. It had rained the night before, so wet grass inevitably meant wet feet for early starters. Frequent rifle shots at a nearby target range shattered what otherwise would have been a tranquil day in the woods (more on that later). And then there was the confusion about the location of the start/finish after I changed it from last year's location. With those caveats in mind it might seem like maybe nearly perfect is not the way to describe Ponderosa Pleasures on June 10.

Maybe as the meet director who had to cancel this meet due to the presence of a crazy guy with a gun when it was scheduled last autumn I had lowered my bar for success. Nevertheless, I stand by my characterization as nearly perfect. We had 35 individuals participate in 24 starts. Eight people took on the Advanced Course, enough so we had more than a quorum for competition. The Intermediate Course is where the competition was. Twenty orienteers competed in 14 starts.

A quick examination of the results posted below will show why I record finish times to the second. (It's not really accurate to the second because there is no finish line, but it's probably accurate to within 5 or 10 seconds.) If those recorded finish times were accurate to the second, I could say that David Bergset beat Kirsten Severud. The one second difference was really no difference at all, effectively rendering their competition a tie. I would have liked to decide the question by applying my director's bias. But even that was a tie as Kirsten kindly provided me with many of the photos gracing this report and David Bergset along with Ole and Andy helped pick up controls. Thanks, guys. That made my day much easier.

Sergey is by all accounts a masterful orienteer. So, it's one of those unusual situations where another orienteer posted a better time. That orienteer was Isabella Mcdonaugh, who posted a time of 53:58 well below Sergey's time of 1:06:17. There's more to the story than the raw times. I probably should inform you that Sergey's time was on the Advanced Course and Isabella's was on a modified version of the Sport Course (only the first two and last two controls). Isabella is in kindergarten and Sergey . . . well, Sergey is a bit older, old enough to be Isabella's grandfather, which he is. I am thrilled anytime I see three generations (I'm including Masha here.) orienteering.

Not all is right with the Wright family. As long-time and accomplished orienteers they do tend to compete with each other. The sad state of affairs is that they can't all win unless they run different courses, which they did not. Congratulations, Melanie on not only beating hubbie Innes and daughter Katrina, but also edging out Ole by more than a minute to take top honors on the Intermediate Course. I hope Katrina and Innes didn't make the ride home undeservedly painful.

I posted Sergey's map for those of you who would like to gain some insight into how a world-class orienteer navigates. I would direct you to Sergey's routes to the first two controls taking advantage of the road and a long re-entrant to #1 and the contours, a saddle/hill and vegetation on the way to #2. In Sergey's own words: Excellent opportunity to practice bearing and reading subtle vegetation details to zoom into controls!” Click on the image to enlarge it.

Finally, I want to express my apprehensions about some of our bad luck with Ponderosa Pleasures. Last year as I prepared to set controls the day before our scheduled meet I found a family camped with their trailer on the site I had planned to use for our start and finish. A man, presumably the husband and father was outside. I introduced myself and explained what we intended to do and told him we would modify our location to avoid interfering with his camp. All seemed well. When I returned to my car to change my shoes he began to yell to nobody in particular about so many newcomers intruding into the forest. I became alarmed that he might be unstable. Subsequently, he told me that he was going to do some target practice with the rifle he was holding. Of all of the trees he might have chosen as a target, it was the one behind my car he chose. He asked me to move my car, which I did, canceled the next day's meet, and moved it to June 2023.

When I scheduled the meet for June 10 I did so having deemed the previous year's incident a one-off event. When David Bergset approached Advanced Control #3 he believed he was in a deliberate line of fire and retreated. Later in the afternoon Andy Hill collected that control. With this second incident I have become wary of further CTOC events here. Maybe these incidents reflect our increasingly troubled relationship with firearms, growing use of public lands and can happen anywhere. But I've been twice warned at Ponderosa Pleasures and do not want to risk a third and more consequential occurrence.

Karin Didisse will direct the July 9 meet at CTOC favorite Bear Basin. It's great terrain for courses of all skill levels. I'm looking forward to it.

John Murray, 
Meet Director

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Severud

Lynette and April conferring with Andy as Karin looks on.
Osborn Ranch Meadow

No comments: