Tuesday, March 31, 2009

That rock got in my way

Mr. G and I went off orienteering this past weekend. It was up near Bridgeport Texas, at the Sid Richardson Boy Scout ranch. It is an interesting place.

Back in the late 1970’s, my mom actually worked at the ranch, as a nurse. Part of the camp used to be a cavalry post back in the 1870’s. My Day One route, I side tracked a bit and hit the peak where the old fallen down stone walls are.

We’ve been orienteering up there a few years. I think this was my fourth time. They use two areas of the ranch. The north side was on Saturday. I like that part of the ranch better. It is on a peninsula, with some pretty steep drop offs into the lake. There are some cactus in the area, mostly prickly pear, but not too bad. Most of the rocks are more boulders, so they are easy to avoid. Saturday was very cold, with some snow on the roofs when we got there. Mr. G and I ate some lunch and then suited up. We had starts about 10 minutes into the meet, so we were out pretty early. I had a great time on the course and figured I’d placed pretty well. But we were not sticking around for the day-1 results, as we were driving back and forth, which takes about 1.5 hours in each direction. I only missed one control on day one, almost near the end. I had chosen to climb the cavalry hill, but then forgot to take a photo. I didn’t get a good attack point, spotted a creek area and my control description was the top of a minor creek. I went hunting for it, but didn’t find it. Luckily there was a gas pipeline which “caught” me from going to far. I then relocated back to the road and started taking a new compass bearing. I looked down the hill and actually spotted the control! I’d walked right past it.

Day two was a different story. It was much warmer. We had starts about an hour and fifteen minutes into the meet, or 10:15. We got there and checked on our standings from day one. To my surprise, I was in first place! And by fifteen minutes. Mr. G told me to not screw up and I’d medal no mater what. But then I’ve been known to screw up and search for one control for an hour! Mr. G was in fifth place in his class. We were there before nine, so we suited up and headed to the start, hoping to move our start times up. Sure enough, they were moving people up. On a two day meet, they pre-assign start times, but then some people won’t come back for day-2. That leaves big gaps that other people can fill into. I waited and at 10:33, no one showed up after they called the time twice. I stepped up and so the starter changed my time card. I then proceeded to the second stage, when the pre-assigned person showed up! She decided she wouldn’t take her start, but would take another hole a bit later. I got off to a decent start, which is always a good feeling. I hit the second control with not too much trouble. I headed to the third control. I then got cocky. Not a good thing! I decided to hit a road for a bit and then shoot an attack point from a pipeline. I got cocky because the third control, I’ve been to before, so I got that “I know where this is” attitude. I took a compass bearing and heading into the brush. I saw a hunter’s platform, and let my mind convince me that was the “building” I needed. Wrong! Hunter’s platforms are a different clue. I poked around in the brush, telling myself just how hard a stinking building could be to find! After fifteen minutes, I decided to relocate to the road and try again. I hit the same hunters platform! Obviously, I’m getting more and more upset with my mistakes. I relocate, take a deep breath, and head back into the scrub. I then spot the building! By then, I’m pretty pissed at myself so I decide that since there are not many cactus going down this hill, that I can run down to the building and pick up a few minutes. That was before I allowed my mind to remind me that there were ROCKS everywhere. I take three steps, gaining speed as I head down the hill. Then, a nasty rock jumped right in front of my left foot. My big toe plants right into it and hard. I see the ground coming up at an alarming rate, my mind reminding me to “avoid that cactus” as I face plant down the hill. My right hand takes some of the blow, scraping it all up. My left knee takes a hit on a rock, and I stub my toe hard. I figure I’m not dead, so I proceed to the control and the rest of the course. I get back and clock in at just over 1.5 hours. Not bad, considering my mistakes on the third control. I get Mr. G’s spare key and open up the truck, getting out my dry clothes and such. I then go to take off my left shoe and realize that it hurts and hurts pretty bad! The toe nail is black, with blood pooling up around the edge of the nail.
So here I am two days later, hardly able to walk, my toe is black and it hurts to put on shoes. But I avoided the cactus! I’m usually pulling cactus needles out for the week after a visit to the south side of Sid….

Mr. G didn't medal. We ate lunch, helped clean up the scout dining hall, and I got a first place. All the other males in my 50+ class, had DQed. Only one male in the 18 to 49 year old class, had also finished. I had spotted him when he must have been going away from that third point on day-2. I guess that day-2 Brown course, had taken it's toll!

The photo’s are of the lake from the forest, a really neat trail, a control bag near some rock formations, with a passage way beneath the rocks, and the day-1 start which was next to a gas well (Sid has a lot of those).

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