Tools of the Trade
Last night was the Central Virginia Orienteering Club's Advanced Night Orienteering Course event. The 20 point score-O course was set in the woods in the nortwest corner of Pocahontas State Park. The area had few man-made features other than an old forest road. This course was not for the beginner or someone with limited experience with a 2 hour time limit.
We had a Waxing Crescent moon with about 22% visibility with temperatures in the 40's. What a great night for orienteering!
From the start point control #1 was only about 20 feet down the forest road but took a right turn into a briar patch. That made control one hard to get to and find for some people.
I remembered years ago I did a course in this same section and remembered that there are some steep gullies and most of the controlS would be around these areas.
In the day light this is an open and fast forest but at night it's time to slow down. I did not run this course other that on the forest road. It is just to easy at night to fall in a small hole from a pine stump that you did not see.
It is a little harder to read the terrain at night. I believe it is harder to figure out where you are at when you cover a section that is flat. If you are not following a bearing then you could miss the feature because you are walking to high or to low.
Somewhere around control 6 or 7 I ran into a guy that I did my last event with. He had started the course before me and had over shot a control and was on his way back to pick up the missed control.
We later made the mistake and followed the lights of another team and lost sometime because the control was not in the location where we saw their lights. Just remember do not follow the lights. They can be lost and so will you!
Control 17 and 18 was our longest leg between features. Had to follow compass bearing and we were dead no the mark.
Okay I guess I should have talked about my lights. I used a Princeton Tec Remix which has a white light and two settings of red light with the power of 150 lumens that ran off of 3AAA batteries. I also carried a Surefire Z2 Combat light which is a single output LED with a max output of 320 lumens. The Surefire for being a hand held flashlight was a great help. I only need to figure how to dummy cord it to myself. I dropped the light twice.
On the way back to the start point was a little tricky because of the lights of the cars stopping at a corner and the front porch light of a house across the street which I thought was the lights at the finish.
If you have not done night orienteering you need to build your skill up and give it a try. I had a great time and think it was one of the better courses that I have done.