I am fond of Willow River and I like the orienteering map for this park. I did, however, not have a good orienteering experience, due to a number of stupid mistakes I made. As usual, I did the red course.
I made a minor mistake approaching C1. I was passing a group and one of the guys challenged me that he'd make it to the control before me. Coming from W along a trail, I needed to pass between two small wetlands and then turn S to move to the E side of the southern wetland and to the control. In the heat of the pursuit, I turned S on the W side of the wetland and ended up sloshing through some water. Oh well, I did not have to worry about keeping my feet dry any longer.
C2 looked very straightforward, A depression in the middle of an embankment. I used followed the road and took a bearing form the turn-off at the first campground. It should have been a straight shot and it was. I ended up at most 20 m to the E of C2, at the beginning of another shallow depression. Thinking this was the one and followed it to the E end. No control. Instead of backtracking I searched for another depression E of the one I entered, no luck. I finally returned , I could have kicked myself it was so obvious. I think I would have seen it when I got to the first depression and looked over my shoulder.
C3 posed no problem but C4 was my worst. 24+ minutes for less than 400 m. Instead I decided to follow a bearing, which was next to impossible in this mess of ravines heavily overgrown with buckthorn. After erring through this maze for a while I decided to do what I should have done leaving C3: I headed for the trail along the meadow on top of the plateau and followed it to the corner in the vegetation border. Bingo, no problem!
I then progressed fairly well, even making some good time through the grassy expanse along the eastern edge of the park. My last mistake was C13, where I was too tentative rounding (or crossing) the ridge to find the reentrant with the control. I felt pretty dejected and humbled with my worst performance since the time I actually gave up at Sand Dunes State Forest. (Results for Willow River Meet at MNOC web page)
On the upside, the deer were thick, I saw probably seven or eight, some from just a few steps away. I also saw a pair of pileated woodpeckers. All in all a nice afternoon in the woods, but poor orineteering performance. Also, after three O-events my Inov-8 Mudclaws are getting used to my feet, or is it the other way around? No more heel blisters after 11 km in the woods.