Wait a minute, where’s north again?

So today Katy and I tried our hands at orienteering. Today was National Orienteering Day and the Georgia club was having a free introductory meet. It was at the educational center of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area just a couple of miles from our house. We got there and discovered we weren’t the only ones who thought it sounded fun. There were about 200 people there. There were four school buses with people from all over. I saw at least two Boy Scout troops but no one else who looked like a Girl Scout.

We registered, got in line at the start tent, got out of line for a quick lesson in using a compass, got back in the even-longer start-tent line then got pulled off to go under a different tent for an in-depth lesson on reading the map and how not to wander into someone’s backyard and get shot at. The volunteer leading that orientation that said the long line was because they got a late start due to a security issue. “Machete man” was found wandering around. So the police were called. The volunteer said the club members could have swept the area in 20 minutes but it took the police an hour. I don’t know if they found him or not. But apparently we missed the excitement.

We got our start time of 11:01 and headed off for the beginner course. We were behind a large, noisy groups of kids and since we were doing this for fun and to learn and not for time, at the second flag we decided to sit on a bench for a few minutes and let them get ahead. They either got way ahead or got lost, we never saw them again.

Katy trying to use the compass to figure out which way to turn the map

I think we did pretty well. We made two wrong turns and had to be straightened out but we were also able to help a couple of other people figure out what they were doing. They had two white (beginner) and two yellow (novice) courses. We did the shorter beginner course, about 0.8 of a mile. We got to the finish, where we started, at 12:05. I don’t think that was too bad considering were taking our time. Katy likes to check out all the nature around her. Some good-sized vines got her attention. They haven’t posted the results yet, we were probably last!

The orienteering club provided grilled hot dogs for lunch for everyone who managed to make it back alive. Katy really enjoyed the activity and would like to do it again. We need to get a better compass, though.

Katy eating her hard-earned hot dog.

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