Today we completed the Batona 500, an orienteering event held at Batsto in Wharton State Forest. Unlike most of the competitors, I knew the lay of the land pretty well as I have hiked this area extensively over the last five years.
My mother is visiting from sunny Florida and I put her to work. The 3.9 km course took us about five miles of bushwhacking to complete in an hour and twenty minutes. We found all 14 stations on this extremely warm fall day.
Mom has never orienteered before. Her thinking, like mine originally, was this is a compass sport. It has not proven to be that yet. Instead, it is a map reading sport. The orienteering maps are very detailed. Over 300 runners participated today. We kept to the non-competitive course. There was a ton of scouts here. We helped out one boy who was able to outrun us old folks, but who sometimes didn’t have a feel for where he was.
We did well today. Unlike a couple weeks ago, we didn’t blow any of the stations. We did walk by #2, but not by much. We did not approach station 12 optimally. We circled around a loop instead of cutting directly to it. The rest of the course was completed rather directly, although we did not run.
Surprisingly, there was water at several of the stations. That was welcomed on this very warm day. We completed the course proudly and then toured the Batsto Visitor Center where the “new” displays are.
We celebrated the completion of the course with a 12-pack of Yeungling.
We do not lead an exciting life here in New Jersey. So when Grammy decided to visit, I sought something to do. I came up with Batona 500. This is a regional orienteering event. Orienteering is an activity I am just getting into and thought Grammy would enjoy it.
In the woods a course is created. One is provided a map at the starting line and then sent on his way to negotiate to each station on the course with only a compass and his brain. This is a timed event. There are several different courses, each intertwined with the others, so following someone is not necessarily a good idea as he could easily be playing a different route.
Our course had 14 stations and comprised a distance of 3.9 km . . . as the crow flies. I suspect we hiked far more than that.
We played in Wharton State Forest at Batsto. This is familiar terrain for me as I geocache here frequently. As a matter of fact, toward the end of the course, we approached an area in which I have hidden a cache. Just a half mile the other way and we would have been there.
Being an A Event, there were hundreds of participants. A normal event has nowhere near this number of people. We did pretty well save one or two controls. There was a single older lady who we fought to stay in front of all day.
It was a very warm day and it wasn’t long before we shed some of other clothes. Grammy did a great job. Who would have thought that she would willingly bushwhack across unleveled terrain? Methinks she is ready for a GPSr and geocaching fulltime. Perhaps a future present . . .
Like many activities, there is something different for everyone in orienteering. For us, completion was the goal and we accomplished that with vigor. Congratulations, Mom! Afterwards, we found water at the visitor’s center where we toured the new museum about the area.
Once home, we joined the girls and headed out shopping. Beetle very much liked walking with Grammy. Beetle likes to be entertained and when she didn’t have everyone’s complete attention, she let us know. So we browsed the video department so she could look at the Dora and The Wiggles videos. That helped.
Tonight we grilled. Chicken and vegetables. Yummy!
It’s nice having company. We do more things than when we don’t.
All these years later, I don’t have many memories of this. I had stumbled across orienteering in the time when I was immersed in everything GPSr-related as well as exploring. It fit.
I remember bopping around New Hope prior to the event. I remember riving to Washington Crossing and remembering caching here a few years before with Chris.
A few weeks later I would again complete an orienteering course with my mother.
Orienteering is something I enjoy. I haven’t done much of it solely because of the distance involved to play. Most courses/events are in Pennsylvania. If it were accessible, I would participate more.