Keystone State Park
Comprehensive Orienteering Workshop
18 May 2014

WPOC held its third comprehensive orienteering workshop on the east side of Keystone State Park; it included instruction for beginners and exercises for those with experience.  We had a good, manageable turnout.  The weather cooperated with temperatures in the upper 50's and low 60's, although previous days weather left a lot of water and mud in the forest.

There were two beginner sessions, one starting at 11 am and the other starting at 1 pm.  In both, the plan was to teach map reading and basic compass use in orienting the map, to take the class as a group to a few controls and then to release them in small groups to find as many more of the remaining 17 controls as they could in a reasonable time.  Joe Logan taught the first session and had 13 participants.  The 1 pm session was taught by Dave Battista; he had 9 participants.  Everyone in the beginner sessions seemed to have a  good time.

Jim Wolfe taught the intermediate instruction session at noon.  This covered pace counting and following a bearing, and included a lot of discussion about adjusting to the terrain  The workshop drew 9 participants.  Participants got to measure distance using pace counting, to follow a bearing to various features across different terrains, and to combine terrain association with following a bearing.  Except for keeping the group together (or within a reasonable distance of each other) the session went well and everyone agreed that they had learned some useful skills.

There were three advanced exercises available:  course setting, a circle map, and a hiker's quest.  In course setting, orienteers acted in pairs; each was given a map showing the location of two control points and was given the control flags to place there.  After placing the flags, the orienteers exchanged maps and went to pick up the other's control flags.  Only 5 people tried this exercise; the problem seemed to be that identifying a person to pair up with was inconvenient.  The circle map contained only contours and vegetation features and was not oriented to north.  The orienteer had to complete a 6-control course using this map.  There was a significant flaw in the administration of this exercise:  the map listed the control numbers as 71-76 but in the woods the controls to go to were numbered 61-66.  Not everyone got the word about the control number mixup which led to some fairly confused orienteers; 10 people tried this exercise.  The hiker's quest map contained only trails, streams, buildings, and north lines.  The orienteer had to complete a 6-control course using this map; 12 people tried it and found that it had significant challenge.

Thanks to Christy Freeman, Gordon Huang, Naomi Jarvis and James Fenn  for handling registration.  Thanks to Sherry Shank and Dan Marincel for handling start/finish.  Thanks to Joe Logan and Dave Battista for teaching the beginning workshops. And thanks to Kimmo Berg, Dave Battista and Alexis Rzewski  for helping pick up the control flags.

You can view photos that Alexis took at the workshop  here

Our last event of the Spring season will be on June 7 at Prince Gallitzin State Park.