By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer
Some of my clients are active outdoorsmen and women. They hike, they backpack, they climb mountains. Now you can join them in a fun activity called Orienteering. In Chicago, the Chicago Area Orienteering is an active group whose members combine mental exercise with physical exercise. (Information below is from the Chicago Area Orienteering website here.)
What is Orienteering?
Orienteering is a sport that gets you off the roads and into the forest preserves in the Chicago area. It has been popular in Europe for many years and is just starting to be popular here in the US.
For a nominal fee ($10) you are given a detailed 5-color map of the forest preserve that is made by our club. You copy one of the five offered courses onto your map and pick up a Punch Card and a Clue Sheet. The Clue Sheet tells you exactly what natural feature you’re to look for inside each of the 100m diameter circles you’ve drawn on your map. You report to the start table for a start time and then you’re off into the woods, trying to find each of the control features of your chosen course where you punch your card, and return to the finish line in as short a time period as possible.
It’s a fast treasure hunt! Sometimes a compass is nice to use, but usually you can navigate using the features marked on the map, just as you would a street map.
Who Can Participate in Orienteering?
Orienteering is often called the “thinking sport” because it involves map reading and decision-making in addition to a great workout. Orienteering is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or experience. The competitive athlete can experience the exhilaration of running through the woods at top speed, while the non-competitive orienteer can enjoy the forest at a more leisurely pace. If you love maps, exploring, and the great outdoors, try orienteering.
Sounds Like Fun. How Do I Try Orienteering?
Just show up at one of the events. The Chicago Area Orienteering group always offers a free beginner’s clinic that will teach you what you need to know.
Are There Good Books on Orienteering?
A good beginner’s book is Orienteering: The Sport of Navigating with Map and Compass by Steven Boga. You can sometimes find copies at outdoor outfitters such as REI, or Dick’s Sporting Goods. It is also available at Amazon.com. Other orienteering books can be found there, and at orienteering suppliers such as GO Orienteering. But really, there is no need to do any prior study. Just come to a meet. The best way to learn is by doing.
When Does the Orienteering Day Begin
Most local meets begin at 9:30 a.m. on respective Sundays with a Beginners’ Clinic for first-timers. Master maps and registration are available too, so orienteers can be ready to go by the time first starts are handed out at 10 a.m. Meet fees are a reasonable $10 per person (and only $7 for CAOC members). Make sure you bring a whistle for emergencies.
Read more at the Introduction to Orienteering Page here.
2010 Schedule of Local Orienteering Events here.
Upcoming Orienteering events in February and March 2010:
Saturday February 20, 2010: Snowgaine! event info here.
Mississippi Palisades State Park
March 21 Madnaess #3, Country Lane Woods
Related articles by Zemanta
- Compass Fun – Orienteering in Deer Lakes Park (iheartpgh.com)