Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Monday, December 27, 2004

A is for Alabama


The 2005 season begins with an A-meet in Alabama. (Check out meet info if you're interested in going to the races).

A bit of a map from Oak Mountain State Park, just outside of Birmingham, is below.

I have fond memories of orienteering in Alabama. Years ago (1984?), Peggy and I spent part of our spring break training in Alabama. I remember running practice courses in the morning, map hiking before lunch, map hiking after lunch and finishing the day with another practice course. We spent maybe 4 days in Birmingham before driving back to Kansas, with a stop in Carbondale for two days of orienteering.

That camp in Alabama improved my orienteering in two big ways. First, I got a much better handle on reading contours. The park is full of contours to read and the visibility is good enough that you can really see what is going on. Second, I learned to read the map while running. Again, the open forest made it a lot easier. I remember running courses, keeping track of every reentrant and never losing contact with the map. Up until that camp I didn't really have those techniques down.

Actually even after the camp I didn't have the techniques perfected, but I had a much better sense of contours and had experienced consistent map reading while running.

I'm looking forward to returning to Alabama in a couple of weeks. It'll be fun to see if the terrain is as I remembered it.

posted by Michael | 7:58 PM


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