Orienteering Meet at Coon Bluff October 13, 2008Posted by Dave Of Prescott in Adventure Recreation, Day Hiking, Events, orienteering.
Tags: Coon Bluff, hiking, navigation, orienteering, Salt River, score-o
Yesterday Tracie and I went to the Coon Bluff Score-O that the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club hosted.
I have only ever been to one O-meet, and Tracie had never done it before. We got there and saw our friends Rick and Kim were there too, so were Jonea (my AR teammate) and her son Brock. Tracie and I got our map and headed out with thoughts of trying to get to some of the 50 pointers as quickly as possible while picking up some others on the way. We got the first 10 pointer in about 2 minutes, then headed up a steep gully toward another control on the top of a ridge overlooking the Salt River. We hadn’t done anything to warm up, so the sudden load of intense cardio was tough as we trudged up the steep gully. One we got the next point, we realized that it had already been 20 minutes (we were only allowed to be out on the course for 2 hours), so we modified our plan and decided to stay a little closer to the start/finish.
We headed up the ridge and over into a little saddle. We went down one side of the ridge about 100 yards to aquire another point, then back and off the other side down to a deep trench where there was another control. Tracie wanted to learn to navigate, so we spent time at each control looking at the map, orienting the map, and getting a bearing toward the next control point. Tracie was doing well at reading the map, but having a hard time determining the bearings. I told her to not worry about it, that I have to remind myself how to do it almost every time I am out.
We headed down a wash then around some big boulders and over into another re-entrant to the next control. 5 down with one hour to go. We headed up to a marked trail then followed that all the way up to the highest point on Coon Bluff where we found our next point. On the way down the other side, we crossed paths with Ron the race director who was running it solo (no, he didn’t know where the points were, as someone else set the course).
We picked up our 7th point in another re-entrant partway down the hill. Then we crossed over into a wider flatter valley and found another control. We now had only 40 minutes left, so we looked at how we could maximize our effort and still make it back in time. We skirted around the side of a hill and located our 9th control in a narrow gully. Then further yet around the same hill to get another. We had only 22 minutes left now……oh the pressure!
From there we went up and over the next ridge to point 11. We hiked down a narrow wash that was filled with big boulders to get our last control point, we now had only 8 minutes to make it back without incurring any penalties. We made it down to the wash that paralleled the road and followed it down until we could cross the fence and get onto the roadway. We jogged across the parking area and made it back to the timing station with 37 seconds to spare!
We ended up with 300 total points out of 750 possible, but felt good about the experience. We had a nice hike together, and Tracie got to see what navigation and orienteering is all about. It was a great way to spend a day with the one I love.