Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Iceland orienteering 2011


It is about time I wrote something about our 2011 Orienteering trip to Iceland. Mary and I went to Iceland in 2007. At that time, there wasn't any orienteering, but we managed to get a couple of old orienteering maps and were able to explore a little bit. I wrote a bit about those maps back in 2007.

Since 2007, orienteering has gotten started (or re-started). Iceland now has an orienteering club called Hekla. Hekla hosted the 3-day Ice O' event in July. When we saw it on the calendar, we started planning for the trip.

I'll start with links to the maps:

Sprint course

Long course

Middle course

The terrain for the long and middle distance races is tougher than it looks. Both maps feature lava terrain. The lava terrain is rough, with lots of lumps of rocks covered by soft, thick moss. It is a bit like running on an uneven mattress. It is tiring. The photo below shows an example of some lava terrain (this is an extreme example and is NOT taken from one of the maps):

The vegetation in the orienteering terrain was mostly pleasant. The dark green areas were thick - something to avoid. In a few places you ran through Lupines. It looks beautiful, but is a chore to push your way through. Forturnately, we didn't have to spend much time in the Lupines.

The Hekla club did a great job of putting on the event. Orienteering is a small sport in Iceland, it was a lot of work for the club. I probably didn't thank the organizers enough for all of their hard work, but I very much appreciated their efforts.

I would highly recommend an orienteering trip to Iceland. I hope to get back there in the next few years.

The orienteering is good, tough and interesting. The atmosphere at the events was friendly. There's something special about being around a sport when it is new and developing (as orienteering is in Icleand). There's sense of optimism and excitement.

One of the nice things about Iceland - from my standpoint - is that it is not so far from the U.S. The flying time is a few hours shorter than it is to go to the rest of Europe. That few hours makes a difference. The time difference is less (two hours different from central European time) and that makes the jet-lag easier to deal with.

An orienteering trip to Iceland is also a great reason to visit the rest of the county. Iceland is an amazing place to be a tourist. Reykjavik is worth a visit, but the most interesting parts of Iceland are outside of the city. Everywhere you look, you find something special. The snapshots below show a geothermal area between the main airport and Reykjavik and a lava-tube cave about an hour's drive from Reykjavik.

Late edition....here is a video that gives you an idea of the terrain. Obviously the video was not shot in the summer!

Back to okansas.blogspot.com.

posted by Michael | 1:07 PM


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