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Staying on track

posted Jan 23, 2011, 5:03 PM by Eric Diamond
Last night the troop elected new Patrol Leaders. I think they made some pretty good choices, that will enable them to go far towards the goal of a boy-led troop.When I started updating my my Program Planner, the same one I gave to the PLC members at our leader retreat in December, I saw that the Orienteering Season is about to start, Three Rivers Park District has an event at the end of the month and the Minnesota Orienteering Club has their Spring schedule, finally posted online. It looks like everyone is ready for Winter to be over, to take fresh bearings.

The Minnesota Orienteering Club (MNOC) is a group of local orienteering enthusiasts that organizes "O-meets" in this area. There are usually several courses offered at each meet and the length and difficulty of the course is designated by a color.

If you are a beginner, try the shortest course first, the White course. As you get more familiar with map reading and orienteering, you can then proceed to more challenging courses.

What to Wear: In general we tell people to dress for the weather when orienteering. The course for beginners is on the trails, and it is usually adequate to wear whatever is comfortable for hiking. The course for advanced beginners usually goes off the trail no more than 20 yards, and scratches might occur on the legs.

For intermediate and advanced levels, the terrain often is covered by a variety of vegetation and hazards that are unkind to skin: nettles, thorns, poison ivy, and barbed wire. Protection is also needed from various wildlife, including mosquitoes, wood ticks and deer ticks. Therefore, participants on intermediate and advanced courses must wear long pants. We also recommend gaiters and long-sleeve shirts. Since you are certain to be off trail and likely to encounter water your shoes will get muddy and wet. Shoes that dry out quickly are a big plus.