Saturday, September 11, 2010

Orienteering at Lebanon Hills Regional Park, Eagan

Finally another orienteering event. This spring, I had a dearth of races even though or maybe rather because orienteering kept me quite busy with setting the May Afton SP event.

I had family visiting from Belgium, my uncle Tony, his grandson Yannick and Yannick's cousin Laeticia. It was their last day in the States and I was glad when they agreed to come along. They even agreed to participate in the event, picking the orange course, while I did red.

I felt a little rusty ad a little rushed, though I am in pretty decent physical shape. After giving Tony et al. a quick intro into the art of orienteering and seeing them off, I started. As usual I did not take enough time to read the map, hustling instead from control to control, making a number of minor mistakes. E.g. I overshot C2, even though it was right on a stream which I crossed on a small bridge. After I corrected and knocked off C2, I followed the creek and various wetlands towards C3 almost stumbling over a monstrous snapping turtle. I literally vaulted over the beast, hoping it would decide to take a bite out of me. Fortunately it mad its long neck short, letting me pass unscathed.

Until C7, I was always very close to the control. C4 was a little tricky because of a little peninsula jutting out into Holland lake that looked just like the one on the map. I should have paid attention to the contour and counted reentrants instead. I damned the overgrow white areas, especially the brambles.

I made my firs major mistake heading for C8. All of a sudden I found myself on the wrong side of a narrow strait between two lakes, the little like just to the east of Jensen Lake and whatever is east of it.  After probing the ground with a stick, I decided to try my luck wading across. I was lucky, no bottomless muck or quicksand, but it is the wettest I've gotten during any O-meet, except maybe from sweat or from rain. To balance out this bad mistake, I followed it up with another one, while heading to C9. Must be that the dead fall, blackberry brambles, swamps and steep hills weren't enough of a challenge. From here on my mistakes, if any, were fortunately minor and I made it back in 1:49. Not a good time but at least I found all controls ... (Lebanon Hills Results at MNOC site)

As I was catching my breath I noticed the absence of my Belgian visitors. So I waited, chatting with club mates, always keeping a furtive eye on the direction from where I was expecting them. At long last I couldn't stand it any longer and started to do Orange backwards. at C8, I asked a pair of woman orienteerers whether they had seen an older man in the company of two youngsters. they had, just a couple of controls back, and to my big relief they also said that they looked like they knew what they were doing.  I decided to head back, picking up C7 on the way. Sure enough enough, there were Laeticia and Yannick, sitting at a picnic table reviewing their route. They had decided to call it a day after they could not find C8. Yannick trial and tribulation had been seeing a garter snake.

I wore my Inov-8 Mudclaws after taping my heels with hockey tape to prevent blisters from forming. It worked, and they did rather well at shedding the water from my wading adventure. 


Multi-Ainjo said...

I love that park. It is such a wonderful thing to have in the middle of ths suburbs.

Christian said...

You should come back, I am not quite done with this post. This is truly a wild island surrounded by suburbia.