Todd and I went to Boston Run (off 303 / across from Happy Days Visitor’s Center) for some orienteering training last weekend. We decided a few weeks ago, while in Indiana, that we should probably get more training in than the monthly events. I designed a course for control picking and some contouring, and off we went!
Todd suggested we narrate each leg as we went, and trade off with each leg. He started on the first leg, and said (out loud) what was going through his head as we attacked the first control. There were no controls in the woods – we merely shot for the features of each location, making sure we found them.
I see the field, heading across it, looking for the trail junction, down the hill, finding a good contour line here, oops, heading over, looking for the water, I see the rock, on it! – Todd
We picked 2, 3, and 4 quickly after the first control, and stopped briefly to discuss which actual boulder 4 was since there were a few to pick from. We suspected that the original may have moved itself into the creek…
In designing the map, I just picked interesting areas that I knew (sort of) that we’d be able to identify correctly, but also areas I hadn’t seen yet from other courses, etc. But, being the first training run (we plan on doing more), we wanted to keep it simple, and not too complex.
We contoured from 4 – 5, over to 6, and then over to 7. At 7, we verified our location with the three boulders in a row just west of the control as the earth bank isn’t too pronounced there. We suspect it has eroded since the original map, perhaps.
Where’s that earth bank? Where is it!? Wait, let’s find those boulders… – Andreas
On the 7 – 8 leg, we drifted (based on the GPS track) a bit too far north, and should have held a better compass bearing. It made for extra unnecessary distance, for sure, and we came in high from 8. Controls 9 and 10 were easy, but I wanted to check out the pit, and the manmade object (which turned out to be a pipe in the creek).
From 10 – 11 (I was leading / narrating that leg) we drifted again (but we had decided to go high as opposed to following the water) a bit north into the overgrown area which slowed us a bit, and it was not necessary. We should have stayed well south of it the whole time, since it was fairly pronounced.
This is a lot tighter than I thought… we should have gone more south! Aaarghh! I’m caught! – Andreas
From 11 – 12 Todd led, and took us almost dead on, but we had to use the trail to verify, and we discussed an alternative leg blasting straight to the trail as a catching feature, then north and in to the control. I would have probably attacked from the fence in the open, but it’s also really wet there locally, since the creek is active, and soaks the open area pretty well.
12 – 13 was easy…
13 – 14 gave us trouble. We aimed for the open / semi-open area, only to find it has since grown up into fairly dense saplings, and could probably be marked light, or even dark green at this point. As we got slowed down (can you see where I got caught in a thorny bush, below?), we guessed it was pushing us north of where we wanted to go, and we were right! We exited the green, and hit the trail a bit north of where we should have been.
I bet we’re going further north than we think… – Andreas
We headed further north, didn’t see the reentrant, went back south, and finally checked with the rest of the terrain to make sure we were in the right place. The terrain right there is a bit squirrely, and it’s easy to get confused (it got me the last time I was there…)
14 – 15 – 16 was good, and we picked the easy trail run instead of cutting across. I think it depended on the fact we came up from the reentrant on the west side of the bend in the trail, and continued north from there. Had we come up on the east side, I probably would have suggested to attack from the boulder north on the trail, then compass bearing + pace count to 16.
16 – 17 we cut across the trail (I led), and my goal was to run at the eastern tips of the reentrants to form a nice line through the woods. When we approached the second reentrant, just north of the 7 in 17, we stopped to admire the three coyotes moving east to west down the spur towards the Girl Scout Camp.
We debated what three coyotes vs. two humans would be like… we still had some energy left to make a good run for it! Wonderful nature experience, for sure. They were no more than 25-30 meters in front of us.
17 – 18 we climbed up the bowl since there was an out of bounds to the NW. Had there not been, we would have probably headed up the spur instead. We came around the trail, and attacked off the benches that are there (marked with black X).
18 – 19 we stayed high, instead of going down and around the spur, and that paid off. We were able to spot the hilltop below easily from above, and ran directly there, even though it was a bit steep coming down.
19 – 20 provided some route choice to think about, and Todd decided to seek the high ground and the possible trail up top. Another option would have been to stay low, and run the water route, attacking from below. Turned out that would have been an okay route, as the spur on 20 had quite the pronounced trail(ish) coming up from below, and would have been an easier climb than coming up in the bowl the way we did.
20 – 21 – 22 – 23 was some quick control picking, with 24 resulting in another (more than likely) eroded earth bank which was tricky to identify precisely. It was quite the erosion fest on the west bank of the reentrant, as you can see below!
After having attended the 5-minute intro lecture on GO! controls from Bob Boltz in Indiana, I still failed to put one in, so we sprinted as best we could from 24 to the corner of the parking lot.
We reviewed over a couple of Gatorades, replaying a few of the legs, then headed back to civilian life, and a nice weekend! Next training event will be in May sometime. Let us know if you’d like to join us. You should be ready for RED level map reading / distance / pace.
Wanna try the same route we did? Here’s the course (a PDF document): TRAINING APR 2017