Sunday, April 3, 2011

Orienteering at Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township, MN

My first orienteering event this year. I am feeling a little rusty, but then, making a lot of avoidable mistakes, last season was definitely not very productive for me. Tamarack Nature Center is a small park in White Bear Township (~169 ha or 417 acres) sporting a few ponds, some wetlands and open and wooded hilly terrain. It should be quite difficult to not go straight for the controls in such an environment. Well let’s see. My first error was on CP3, a combination of underestimating the distance and not reading the contours. I started looking for the CP too early and lost about 3 minutes. Approaching CP10, I veered off too far to the east and ended up on a trail that led almost knee-deep through ice water. I am putting this down for another 3 minutes. My worst mistake was getting to CP12. I ran along the path following the edge of the park. Easy running and definitely an area where I should have made up some time. When approaching the control, instead of relying on the clearly defined small pond near the CP, I took off too early and started looking for the CP BEFORE the pond. That cost me probably 6 minutes. In the Results, not making these three mistakes would have brought me down to about 1 hour and up from 13th (out of 26) to 7th place.

  • I must work on counting steps
  • Take time to read map in confusing areas, especially when relying on trails
  • Trust the map when obvious features are in play

Other than that it was a beautiful afternoon out, with the signs of early spring all around: spring peepers, receding snow pack, even some open water and lots of mucky places. I was certainly glad for the delay in the arrival of bad weather.

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