Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hooked on Orienteering

A few years ago Raewyn my middle daughter went orienteering.  She told me that it was a lot of fun and that I must try it.   I decided that I am going to make getting fit fun, so I googled orienteering and found that there was one the 29 July, 2012, that it was open for all and beginners were welcome.

Michael and Jess agreed to come with.  When I told Michael that it would mean getting up very early on Sunday morning he went very pale and quiet.  He loves sleeping in on a Sunday.  There was a bit of grumbling after this discovery.  Jess strangely enough did not complain and she usually only puts in an appearance around midday on Sundays.

Early this morning I realised that I had not written down the contact numbers for the organisers.  I asked Michael to put his laptop on and look.  He called me very worried and told me that it said the event was "cross country" did that not mean everybody would be running?

I interpreted that it would be across the country.  We decided to go any way and if it was only running we would find something else to do.

Not being morning people and having our long debate about whether the "cross country" orienteering would be a bunch of people running we left rather later than planned.  We stopped at a local garage shop for something to eat.  As we don't ever do early Sunday mornings we were unaware that this would be a big mistake, the muffins that Jess and I purchased could have been fatal in a game of dodge ball as they were that hard.  Michael's cheese griller covered with batter was similarly awful.

Fortunately we made it in plenty of time to the Orienteering which is in a beautiful location along the Hennops river.  We soon found out that most people would be walking and that there were many other beginners who were also unfit.

A very nice lady explained all the different things about the map etc.  She told us too keep our maps north arrow facing north.  Michael remembered a Bear Grills trick something about his watch and the dials and the sun which was useful as we did not have a compass with us.

Me huffing and puffing up the hill
After a while we were told that we could start and we were directed to the start point.  We had a harder time finding the start point than any of the points on the orienteering course.  I also started to doubt my ability to manage the course as I huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed up the steep hill towards the start point.

On the way up Michael spotted this dangerous looking swing bridge:

He was enchanted and excited by it as he has freakin watched too many Indiana Jones movies.

Many people passed us and assured us we were on the right track to the start point.  I had to stop a few times to catch my breath.  Michael and Jess are rather fit and the stopped and waited for me.  At least they were polite enough to only have little sighs.  I worried that by the time we reached the start point the whole thing would be over.

Finally mercifully before I had a major heart attack we reached the top of the mountain hill and saw a big flag that said, "Start".

Lots of orienteerers  arrived after us so I was being a bit paranoid.

When it is your turn to go you pick up your map.  You are not allowed to see it before the time.   We were on the orange beginners course:

We received this thingy which gets put on the points and then it records what time you got there.
This is what the check points look like from a distance they are they same colour as the  aloe  vera succulants which grow all over so I kept seeing check points that were not.

The orienteering was fun and went well we started chatting  to a couple who were also orienteering for the first time.  We helped each other to find the points.

 It was a great fun and the beginners course was easy, we look forward to trying a more challenging course next time.  We did not make it in the time because we kept stopping and chatting and taking photos of scenery.  Next time we will be a little more competitive.  (I am not very competitive but Michael is so I know he will drill me to hurry up)

When we reached the end point Michael nagged me to go back with him to the dangerous bridge.  I had visions of him falling in the river.  Even though it was quite a warm day it is still winter and the water must be Artic.

When we reached the swaying bridge I asked one of the old orienteerers if it may be crossed.  He said if it may not be crossed the put signs up there were no signs.

When I came closer to it I was relieved to see that it was supported with steel cables.  Michael crossed it and I was still a little jittery about him doing it but he made it to the other side.

 He then nagged and nagged and nagged until I very unwillingly crossed it.

Then Michael ran off to fetch Jess and the camera.

Jess was a lot better about crossing the bridge than I was.  Except when she saw an x on one of the wooden boards on the bridge.

There are lots of caves in the hills.

Higher up while we were orienteering we encountered a pully cable car bridge type thing:

Michael suggested that seeing that I had crossed the draw bridge we go and cross with this dubious contraption as well.

I may have sworn a quite a lot.

I will definitely be orienteering often from now on.