Monday, March 9, 2009

I lost the battle, but won the war

This past Saturday, the North Texas Orienteering Association, NTOA, held a bare-bones orienteering event at the LBJ National grasslands. That is a bit north of Decatur Texas, on the way to Oklahoma. Bare-bones meant that they did a mass start. Everyone started at the same time. Instead of six courses, they only had three. They had a Yellow for people wanting an easy orienteering course. They had Brown for short advanced and then a Red, for long distance, advanced. My friend, Mr. G, was course setter for the event and also the meet director. Which meant he yelled out the instructions to everyone, had the maps made, put the control bags out on the courses for us to navigate to. It also meant that he’d have to be up there real early. So I drove up by myself, making it in just about one hour. I was glad they had signs out at all the turns, as finding the place is an orienteering exercise in itself! The bare-bones event also meant no awards, following, working together, faking each other out, were all acceptable.
So about a hundred people took the mass start and headed out following each other. I arrived at the first control, with about 10 other people. The second control was interesting, down in a dry stream bed. By the fourth control, I had paired up with another Brown, person. Going to the fifth control, was where I lost the battle. We followed a trail around a high ridge, but then butt-slid down the hill to a trail below us. At that point, we had to search around in some thicket area. Unfortunately, there was no identifiable point close by. Something we call an “attack point”, where we could get a bearing from. At one point, we decided to head back to the hill and then decide what to do. That was when I was viciously attacked by a thicket, shredding my arm. We got to the top of the hill, I was bleeding, we’d lost about 25 minutes looking for it, so we decided to head on to the next controls. In this event, you get to skip one control, and we decided we could get the rest of them and not worry about this one.

Once back, I found that some very experienced orienteer’s also had not found it and a lot had chosen to skip it, since it was in an overgrown area, down a big hill, which you would have to climb back out of anyway.

The photo at the top is my arm about 4 hours post the battle. It actually looks worse now, two days later, as it is all scabbed and some bruising. The other photos are some of the grass lands.

I stayed after the event also. They usually have a JROTC school helping at these events, to go out and gather up the control bags and punches. I knew they didn’t have a school, so stayed and went back out to collect one area of the bags. That is fun to do, but you are also very much “alone” as no one else will be in the area.

Other interesting items seen. Lots of horses being ridden and we flushed three deer also.

And LBJ Grass Lands, well, a lot is forest and thickets.

No comments: