The Columbus Day meet at Grafton Lakes State Park attracted participants from New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Each attendant who passed through registration at the pavilion was greeted by the crisp breeze funneling off Long Pond. The fall season was upon us and the colorful autumn branches gently swayed to and fro as if to welcome each and every one to the Grafton Lakes' event.
Close to 75 folks attended the meet and the park terrain provided beauty as well as a navigational challenge for many. As meet director, I designed courses for my first time. I am satisfied that all White (beginner) participants successfully completed their course, affirming that I had achieved an appropriate level of difficulty for them. The Yellow (advanced beginner) participants did reasonably well too, resulting, in part I believe to my husband Rob's recommendation and intervention to orange-streamer the intermittently indistinct, leaf-coated ski trail used by this group. The intermediate and advanced level courses required orienteers to properly read their maps and remain in contact with their whereabouts. Paul Nolan, experienced orienteer, following completion of the Red course stated: "That (course) required more concentration than I could muster" (although his time looks like he 'mustered' just fine). Bob Lange, Green course runner, made reference to the RPI Trail, wondering if he may have perhaps strayed off course enough to actually be in proximity of the RPI campus itself! (Look at it this way Bob; at least you didn't come across any timber rattlesnakes like you did at the Harriman orienteering event recently!). Pat Dunlavey described one of his Green course controls as his "Waterloo".
Examination of punch cards revealed the points at which some folks may have run short on time, lost contact with the map, mispunched, or simply forgotten to visit the Go control. A couple of orienteers completely lost their punch cards, which can be a totally frustrating experience. But, hopefully, everyone ultimately found enjoyment in some or even all aspects of the day and shared in the spirit of camraderie. The majority of debriefing sessions reflect the latter. Macy Madden, who completed the Green course with her father, Rich, expressed that she really enjoyed the navigation in the woods. Elise Smalley, who has been out of the orienteering loop for the past couple of years, renewed her interest while completing the Orange course with her Dad. She thought control number 8 (the cemetery) was "really cool." Other Orange participants found that same control equally interesting. Maryanne Ellsworth shared that she and her husband even stopped long enough to absorb some of the history etched in the old stones.
As a spin-off from September's National Orienteering Day (NOD) event, EMPO possessed free compasses and Maptech CD's to raffle. Newcomers were eligible for the compass drawings and EMPO members entered in the chance for Maptech Terrain Navigator 50/50 CD's. Winners of the Brunton Compasses were: Colin Sweeney, Simon Lynch, Marcy Welch, and Phil Rodriguez. Winners of the Maptech CD's were: David Zdunczyk and Santiago Lopez. Congratulations!
Sincere thanks to the volunteers who provided support for this event: Instruction: Bob Lange and Phil Hawkes-Teeter; Photographer: Phil Hawkes-Teeter; Start/Finish: Robert Reed, Janet Tryson; Control Pick-up: Grant Staats, David and Brian Ellsworth, Santiago Lopez, Sergio Recuenco, Glen and Janet Tryson, and Robert Reed. And thanks to Melissa Wright, Grafton Lakes State Park Naturalist, for her support in hosting this event.
last updated: --Sat Oct 16 2004 12:28:34 AM EDT--