Shawn Callahan, Director
Map & Compass: Experiential Navigation Programs
Island Ford Meet
Bob Domine wrote:
What a fun day! Rick did a super job of putting out well
planned, interesting courses at Island Ford yesterday. This is a
real challenge as the vegetation is very dense in areas and the
park is relatively small.
All legs went relatively smooth except for #9 where I raced up
a steep hill only to run around on top of the hill not finding the
control. Finally back down to the river for a new attack and back
up the hill to finally discover it. That all took over 14 minutes.
I navigated the same control correctly during control pickup. It
then took me lees than 2 min. Lesson learned ~ I hope.
It was a humid day and the woods were wet. But it was so
enjoyable. All had a good time and lots of laughs.
Thanks Rick for the great event! Thanks to the support
volunteers Rob, Steve, Bill, Linda and to all who shared our day.
Bill Farrell wrote: We all had a great time today and
the weather wasn't bad at all. It did try to sprinkle, but that
just seem to make everything sparkle and shimmer. The pungent
aromas of the blooming flowers was delightful. I saw and heard
many wild things... the forest was alive!
Rick did a great job of placing his courses to avoid the
worst of the pine beetle deadfall -- it is really hard to get
through. I got trapped in the hard stuff more than once. Rick
wisely cut the course lengths back and they seemed to be fine to
me. It was super green, but we got through it anyway and had fun
doing it. I saw a lot of new faces and some good old ones too!
Today's meet was a great way to end the season -- now the Canoe
O. Be sure to put this one on your calendar, for it is also the
See you there, Bill.
Rick Shane wrote: Much thanks to all my volunteers
today! They made it very easy on me, and I very much appreciate
We had very game competitors today. Conditions were tough, but
I heard no complaints. I was very encouraged by the number of
finishers. Three of those who didn't finish only missed one
I'll see you all at the Canoe-O...
Kevin Haywood's Believe it or
My recent mountain biking
adventures landed me in the hospital for a couple of days with
a shattered collar bone. I was in Utah on a wilderness
mountain bike trek when a mother bear appeared in the trail
right in front of me. Hitting the brakes, I swerved to avoid
the snarling teeth, but hit a rock and was thrown head-first
into a pile of boulders. The resulting crash broke my collar
bone into splitters.
With a swipe of her paw, the bear
laid open my broken shoulder. My instinct to survive gave me a
boost of adrenalin, and I grabbed the pump from my bicycle and
beat the bear into retreat.
As the bear disappeared into the
woods, I noticed a rattle snake emerging from the boulders with
it's tail coiled and it's fangs ready to strike. In fright, I
stepped back away from the snake, not realizing that cliff
behind me was a 20-foot drop.
When I awoke some hours later, I was weak, thirsty, and lost in
the desert. To comfort my torn and broken shoulder, I ripped my
cycling jersey into strips and made a sling to carry my broken
Remembering the best of my
orienteering skills, I found the trail and started the 15-mile
hike back to camp. After 10 miles of walking with no water, I
found a hiker who was also a ham radio operator. With his radio
I called for emergency assistance, and soon a Med-Evac
helicopter was on it's way.
I'm recovering well now, and hope
to be back to normal activities in a month or two.
Dukes Creek Inaugural Meet
Robb Stanek wrote -
Now that was some good ol' orienteering fun! Thanks to Sam,
Bill, Laurie and whomever else helped put this together.
I took off from the start down the road when it dawned on me I
was going to have a real wet crossing. So back, and up the small
dirt road that petered out way too soon. Man the going up was
steep and thick, found number 1 and contoured over to 2. Finally
found my cliff stuck way on "up there" and on to 3.
Knolls galore, but 3 wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Really
neat terrain, can't wait for winter. Up the trail to the falls, a
steep climb and then up the creek to 4. Started contouring along
that ditch thingy, found where they met, shot a bearing and
started for 5.
Dropped in way too soon, but found a creek and an old roadbed
just where 5 ought to be. It all looked like 5, fork in the creek,
etc, but geez it was steep, and no knoll thingys. After about 40
minutes of wasted time, started for what I thought was tower road.
Within minutes I saw water, and then the Start shelter, damn,
wrong creek. So up the correct creek, and bam, there it was, right
where it was supposed to be (unusual for Mr. Farrell, I know) and
6 was not hard.
By this time I was pooped, and was thinking my day was about
over, saw Guido, said hi and we lumbered to the road and the water
stop. Saw EE (Eastern European) who was none to happy about the
lack of green color on the map, and the 3 of us dropped in on 7.
Did a little ditch run, man that was useful, dropped down and UP
Little meandering to 9 and then my old friend the road bed (who
screwed me royally looking for 5) was a savior as I jogged to 10
and the knolls.
Now, I had about 20 minutes left on the clock and 11 looked
like it was a hair too far for my liking. And knowing those o-meet
folks hate it when you miss your bedtime, I decided to follow the
dirt road to the real road and get to the tent just as my time was
So, I skipped 11 and 12 (and 13 just didn't seem worth it as I
walked past it), but I had a big grin on my face because THIS was
a terrific map and some great terrain! Can't wait to come back.
Thanks again for an incredible map and a fun, fun time.
Bill Farrell wrote - Hey All,
First, I wish to thank all those "Brave Souls" who helped us
check the new map and it's potential for courses.
Second, it seems that I was able to give life to the old
Southern expression: "You can't get there from here"!
I did get plenty of feedback from my friends... all of whom
showed great kindness... most ending with "Bless his heart"! This
is another Southern expression that we use to soften and explain
behavior related to diminished capacity!
It was complex, steep and GREEN! It was a beautiful day... but
warm for and extended "Walk about"!
Everyone did get a look at the area that is like nothing we
have ever seen before. I was so excited to show off Sam's mapping
efforts, I over did it on the upper level courses. We also are
being plagued by those nasty pine beetles and the associated
logging. It is hard to believe how fast those guys can cut an
We will now be able to put our heads together and offer much
improved courses for the summer A-meet in 2004.
Thanks again, Bill.
Martha Carr wrote -
Charlie Brown and I felt the same way about the Green course
yesterday. GOOD GRIEF! All I could think on my very long leg
from Green 5 directly to the Finish tent was--we must limit Bill
Farrell to 3 controls on the Green course here!
I heard some slight criticism of the map and some less than
slight criticism of the courses, but let's be fair and place this
blame where it belongs--those gold gettin'-out people. Yesterday
would have been a perfectly lovely day had it not been for them!
But it might have been a perfectly boring day too. I'm guessing
that no one was BORED.
This was a good and needed "dry-run" for the A-meet next year.
We've never had a map where the "runnability factor" weighed so
heavily on finishing/not finishing times. It looks like 12 of the
17 who went out on the advanced courses received a DNF or OVT.
And those who did finish all came pretty darned close to the
three hour limit. That's pretty rough even for our Billie-Bob.
It's a little creepy to think what all that would have been like,
adding 20 or 30 degrees, some real summer vegetation and a few
more snakes. I think we now have some hard "data" to work with so
we can adjust accordingly for the A-meet. The vegetation mapping,
for instance, is a difficult problem that we can continue to
It sounds a little ridiculous to say, but looking at everyone's
times, probably cutting the course lengths in half would have
still been challenging in this park. Sam suggested that there were
a couple of areas that we might chose to stay away from for the
A-meet, but I think most areas should be "fair-game". The place is
just too cool not to let everyone get a look at it. I think
everyone will have a great time visiting all the totally
wacked-out unnatural topo features on this map.
There's no two ways about it. Sam did an incredible job
producing the most complex map we have ever used. Although I can't
claim that I saw the whole area, since I took a "just couldn't do
it anymore withdrawal", everything I saw was right-as-rain.
Bill, for all the "constructive criticism" he gets, worked
pretty doggone hard on putting those courses together and out with
Sam. I know Bill likes to give our "little gray cells" a
workout--but I think many little red cells were put to the test
Thanks Bill and Sam for giving us an A-meet preview peek at the
map and terrain.
Sam Smith wrote - Looking at the results is not encouraging.
The dense vegetation and the steep terrain slowed everyone down,
but I think the difficult navigation also played a part. It makes
me wonder if we can pull it off (the convention A meets).
The courses had 4% climb (except the blue, which had 5%). We
shortened Bill's courses twice but didn't really eliminate any
climb. Starting in the same location, I believe that we can run
north a little ways, then back south almost to the start again to
get around Hamby mountain. Put in a spectator control/waterstop in
the little field at the start. The ditch is cool, but there's no
need to climb that high if we want to avoid killing our visitors.
Then we can run up the next big reentrant, which has trails and is
a lot less severe. Cross the mt at the saddle near the fence and
go back to the start. That will get the climb down to about 2%.
Also there is no need to run anyone but the blue down to
Martin's Mine. The rest of the courses would be better off
zig-zagging up the reentrant with the trails. Keep the
white/yellow like they were. Run the brown parallel to
white/yellow. Keep the orange like it was. Let white/yellow/brown
cross the mountain at the gap with the road.
As far as the complaining goes, I can take the abuse - I'm used
to it. There are those who take the sport very seriously. We can
do reasonable things to please them, but we can only do our best.
Keep in mind that without those of use who are "doers", those who
are serious would have nowhere to compete...
Mike Ferguson wrote -
I thought the courses were great! I didn't have a problem with
the navigation I just ran out of steam due to my route choices.
the map was superb, my hats off to Sam for the effort it took to
make the map we ran on.
It should be an interesting a-meet to say the least.
Joey Ciza wrote -
Thank you (and
all the helpers) for the chance to orienteer at Hamby Ditch. I
think I learned a great deal about orienteering on Sunday. Sam
has done a very good job with the map. It is difficult to
understand the intricate contour lines and ditches until you
experience them. I now remember why I don't do much orienteering
in the summer at Oak Mtn. I just walk the trails, do
a little map updating and enjoy the outdoors in the summer.
Hamby Ditch -
Red: A morning wakeup at 4:00am and 230 mile drive to northeast
Georgia to go orienteering. Cross the AL/GA state line as the sun
breaks the horizon at 6am (or is it 7am). Arriving at Dukes Creek
around 9:30am. A short walk over to the visitor center to pay for
a parking pass. Temperature on the outdoor thermometer was 50
degrees. Back to the registration table to complete the
registration forms, pick up a score card and a 8.5"x11" map case.
registering, I went to sit near the vans that would transport
everyone to the start. I talked with one of the park rangers for
a while. He told me about the history of the park and about the
fishing. Dukes Creek is one of the top 100 trout fishing streams
in the U.S. It is all catch and release and must use barb-less
hooks. I had decided to take my water pack with me based on some
of the e-mail comments I had heard about the terrain being a
little difficult. This was probably the smartest thing I did all
day. Now it was a van ride to the start (about 2km).
I talked with
Rob on the ride to the start. I had not seen him in quite a
while. He was trying to get an early start so he could get back
home to his 6 month old. The rest of the van was full of JROTC
cadets. We get to the start and Sam was there waiting on us.
One of the
first signs of things to come was Sam saying that the map cases we
had were not big enough. The map was 11"x17". Sam was prepared
and issued map cases big enough to hold the map. A group of
cadets decided they wanted to go first and they started out on the
green course. They almost got it right. They took off in a full
run but failed to wait until they were totally out of sight before
they started to walk. Rob then took off on the red course.
Another group of cadets took off on the orange course. I waited a
couple of minutes and then took off on the red course. I was
hoping to catch up to Rob in the first couple of controls.
start, follow the trail across the marsh and along the edge of the
field. I was having a little difficulty trying to identify the
big reentrant NW of control 1. The vegetation was very green and
it was had to see any distance. I managed to miss the reentrant to
the right and climbed until I found the hill and the ditch. I
dropped down a few contours on the other side and headed northeast
until I dropped right in on the control.
Now getting to
#2 looked to be a little bit of a challenge but after looking at
the map, down to the creek, find the big rock faces and climb to
#2.no problem. Ran down the reentrant towards the creek, cut the
corner and followed the big creek, found the big rock faces with
no problem. Began the climb up the hill. I kept winding up in
some pretty dense and fallen stuff. Just could not find the
control. I know I sent up and down the hill at least three
times. I finally figured out that I was in the reentrant system
just west of the control, moved east a little ways and stumbled
across the control. It had taken me 30+ minutes from control #1.
Right after I punched #2, Guido showed up. I decided to be a
little more conservative and take a straight line compass bearing
to #3. I took off and pushed my way through the green stuff. Next
there was a big ditch. Climbed down it and up the other side only
to find another one. Climbed down it and up the other side only
to find another one. I kept drifting to the South every time I
crossed one of these monster ditches. This was not a good choice.
Finally after crossing several of these things, I could see a
small building to the south of me and a trail. Forget that
the trail to the southeast through the small split it the finger,
found the trail to the north and worked my way north. I was
hoping to be able to see the control on top of one of these
knolls. That would have been too easy. First, the vegetation was
so green that you could not see very far, and finally the control
was hung between two 3m knolls at ground level. Only 13 minutes to
this one. Not too bad. Now head east and find the trail. Run along
the trail noticing the zigzag in the trail and then the bridge
across the stream and another bridge back across the stream and
continue following the trail. Things began to look wrong here. A
little check of the map revealed that I had missed the trail to
the northwest and had taken the trail to Martin's Mine. Back to
the trail junction. Now I saw the problem. The trail entrance was
overgrown somewhat. Followed the trail to the beautiful water
fall. Climbed up the eastern side and crossed the stream at the
very top of the falls. Navigated along the stream to the cluster
of knolls. The rootstock at the first knoll helped. Sixteen
minutes here. Not too bad considering the wrong turn and the climb
past the waterfall.
Now what? I
sat there for 4 or 5 minutes trying to figure out what to do to
get to #5. Do I follow the road just east of #4? If so where do
I leave the road (before or after the overgrown clearing?). I
even thought about taking the road south and then back to the
start and attack it from that direction (or even catching the van
back from the start and quit). Finally decided to follow the
stream. Went through the marshy area. It was not too bad here,
lots of ferns in places. Tended to stay to the west just a little
to stay out of the wet stuff. Still could not make to fast a pace
due to the vegetation. Not real dense, definitely could not run
fast here. Finally made it to the area where the two parallel
streams are. Decided that I would go to the top of the ridge to
the west. Found the ditch along the ridge and decided to head
northwest to the next ridge. I did not realize how big a drop that
was in between these two ridges. Pay close attention to the
contour lines here! I basically fell into the ditch and it was
all I could do to climb out of this monster.
Worked my way
through the dense vegetation down into the big reentrant. Followed
the reentrant down most of the way and cut over the lower part of
the spur. Stood on a knoll at the stream and figured out where I
was. Moved over and found the rock pile to further confirm my
location. Up and down to the north until the control was found.
28 minutes from #4 to #5. I was just happy to have found #5.
From here, just started north.
There was a
very interesting spur/ridge here. It was dangerously steep on
both sides and just wide enough to walk on while holding onto
bushes and trees. At one point there was a large tree on it that
was difficult to get around. I do not know how it was able to
stay there. Finally dropped down off of it and found the stream.
Headed up the smaller reentrant system and stayed west on purpose
and then began to move east checking reentrants until I found the
control. Eight minutes from #5 to #6. I finally had a split that
was in single digit minutes. Now for a climb. I managed to find
a fallen tree across the ditch that saved me from climbing down
into the ditch and then back out again. Up, up, up. I did manage
to find a small animal trail that headed up the hill in the
direction I was headed. It helped some.
Now the road.
I sat on the road and tried to make a decision..take the road
back to the start location and hope I can catch a ride to the
finish, or continue on. Well, #7 is very close. I'll
continue on. Cross the road and into the woods. Why is the map not
dark green here? It was a lot thicker here than the map
indicates. Visibility was very poor, but I did stumble upon the
control. Where is the water? I did not realize that the water
was back up at the road. I guess I dropped off the road a few
meters before the water stop. Oops! Part of my punch card is now
missing. There is no way to retrace my steps back to the road.
I have about 80% of the card. How do I get to #8? Back to the dirt
road and up Hamby Mtn and down the big reentrant or down the
spur. Way too many contours to climb, even if it was a road.
Straight line was way too much up and down. And then I finally
figured it out. Use the ditch! I alternated running in the ditch
and along the berm depending upon which was more open. In the
ditch would have been great it not for the some bushes and some
fallen trees. It still seemed to be quicker than most of the
terrain I had travel up to this point. I finally left the ditch
at a point 150m southeast of the control and followed the spur
contouring around. I should have left the ditch a little
sooner. This area was very open with good visibility. From across
the stream I could see the rootstocks. Went straight to them and
to the control.
Now for #9.
Go southeast and find the trail, north through the green or go
north through the green and follow the stream. I decided to go
northwest, dropped into the reentrant and then headed southwest.
Found the rocky area and ditches and dropped right in on the
knoll with the control. I could hear someone coming so I just
remained crouching on the ground studying the map. Yuriy then
popped over the knoll. We exchanged a few words and I took off
before he punched. I saw the trail headed southwest and decided
to take it. I was able to make good time here and followed it
until the 3 knoll cluster and then just continued southwest and
came right on the control. I could hear someone off on the thick
stuff to the east but never saw them.
Time is running out. I am not sure if I can finish in the 3 hour
limit. I have not given up on a red course in many year, so I
decided to stick this out. It sure was tempting to take the
trail south to the road and back to the finish. Took off north
on the trail. Took the turn to the west and continued on. The
trail turned to the west and began a large uphill climb. By
this point I was beginning to run low on water. I don't know why
I was worried about that at this point since I was breathing too
hard to get any water in me. Blisters on my feet were getting
painful on uphill portions. Finally up the hill, found the sharp
bend in the trail and followed the ridge over a small saddle and
up to the hilltop with a small trail. Went south and then
downhill to the west and dropped right in on #11.
Running out of
time now. No way I want to get into the dark green stuff. Head
east back up the hill to the trail and run the trail south and
then to the west. When the trail began to loose elevation,
turned off to look for the large reentrant headed west..oops! I
left the trail too late and had to fight my way through a green
area. Finally busted out of the green and there was the trail.
Took off on a run and kept going straight when the trail
turned. I ran across a reentrant and thought it would be the
next one. looked back and saw that I had just pasted about
30 meters below the control and went back and punched it. I
looked at my watch and I had been out about 175 minutes.
Time to sprint
this one out. Down the reentrant and to the end of the field for
the last control. Across the open field to the finish. >
1. the helicopter pick-up and drop-off points need to be clearly
marked on the map. I seemed to have missed a few of them
(especially between 4 and 5)
control should be a water stop. I never use my water pack during
orienteering meets. I made an exception this time based on
comments about the course difficulty. I made a wise choice. I
drank it dry by the end of the course.
3. Add more
green.. the only open areas I saw on the course were the start,
in the vicinity of control #8 and at the finish. (actually Sam has
done a pretty good job if you remember that it is all relative..
around control #7 appeared to be a little more dense and wide
spread than shown...)
should be added between all controls except for the BLUE course.
tracking devices on all orienteers. If someone gets lost, you
will never find them. It would be very entertaining to watch the
real-time track of the orienteers as they wander through the
woods....microphones on them would also add to the entertainment
however the FCC would not appreciate the language mumbled by the
equipment should include climbing gear to get into and out of the
ditches along with machetes to clear the way
7. fix typo on
the RED clue sheet. Climb should have been 2700 meters not 270
meters. > > Here are my split times: 1 10:45 just slow trying
to get adjusted to the map... 2 32:28 (just plain lost here) 3
13:26 (should have aimed for the building - would have saved
several minutes) 4 15:54 (turn down wrong path cost about 3 or 4
minutes) 5 28:46 (I sat at the know for 5 minutes trying to
figure out what to do. really! I was not trying to be in a
big hurry here. I knew if I made a mistake, I would have to
quit. When I dropped right in on #5, I felt I had really
accomplished something!) 6 7:53 (no problem here) 7 10:42 tough
climb. I missed the water stop. I thought it was supposed to be
at #7 8 14:39 run the ditch, drop out earlier to save time 9
5:28 good choice heading nw and then following stream to sw 10
6:07 trail run 11 16:37 tough trail run - I had some bad blisters
by here that slowed the uphill climb 12 11:41 should have
dropped of the trail a little sooner to miss the green (or maybe
the green is a little higher here.. 13/finish 2:44 just a sprint
to the last control and finish. total 177:15 > > Joey Ciza
Bob Domine wrote -
What a memorable, wonderful day! From our backpacking past it
always appeared that it would be exciting and challenging to go
off trail in the North Georgia Mountains. This past weekend proved
that to be true.
I lost my mind on the first 300 meter leg to #1 control. Up the
road to the boulder for an easy attack. I sprinted up the hill and
headed right down Hamby ditch. My mind was looking for a gully
rather than a pit. Like I said, I lost my mind. Up the ditch,
around the ditch and down the ditch. I ran down to the stream, old
road bed junctions to re-attack with no success. Finally, after
one more re-attack from the big gully after 31 plus minutes I
spotted it in the pit.
In 21 minutes I made it up the ditch to #2. It was thick, but
the map tracked excellent. What an exciting ridge between 2
gullies. Down the hill northwest to the stream junction and then
west to the pile was not great, but not bad at 17 minutes for #3.
Probably my best leg was to #4 in 6 minutes. By this time I
felt like I was connecting better. Then I insisted in climbing
straight up to the road, I'm not sure why. I ran down to the water
stop and then somehow fumbled around in the brush and the wrong
reentrants for another 31 minutes until I relocated of the West
end of the clearing and found #5.
The "run" to #6 was nice using the stream as my handrail. It
took 22 minutes as I made one backtrack to locate at the stream
quick bend. The run down the stream was relatively fast with 9
minutes to #7 and 11 minutes to #8. What a difference no real
climb, descent and thick vegetation make. Around the road and
straight in at the bee hives to #9. Follow the fence to the road
to the trail to the boulder and straight to the reentrant. Too
happy at #9 to punch! I made it from 8 to 10 in 24 minutes. I made
it down to the "GO" control in a little over 3 minutes though it
was as long as to the #1 control which took over. My time was
recorded a little off on the results. It was 2 hours 59 minutes
and 36 seconds!!
It is as everyone described. It was thicker than our normal,
but just as north Georgia is in May. It was steeper that normal,
though the calculated climb was not all that bad if you did it
once and took the good route choices. Bill Farrell told me that
the number in the right column was not the meters of climb, but
rather the number of tree you would need to grab to get up the
hills. I'm not sure how he figured that, but he was just about
right at 165.
This was a super experience and I marvel at how good this map
is. Sam has done an outstanding job putting such complexity
together. I did quite well when I was paying attention.
Bill and Sam did a great job on the courses, challenging us and
giving us a great expose to this fascinating area. For our A meet
we will need to shorten the courses a little more and lower the
number of controls 2 or 3.
But that is okay. As long as they are fair, challenging, fun
and fall into the time limits everyone should be happy. Again
thanks to all who put on this fun and memorable event.
Thanks to all of you for all you do to support our club.