Monday, September 30, 2013

Night Orienteering in the Yukon

Tonight was our last orienteering event of the year - Night Orienteering!  Personally, my highlight of our local season. 


Now for those who haven't thought about it too much, one might ask "what is so special about that, isn't it always dark up north?"

Think a bit harder....

When is orienteering season for us?  When there is no snow!

When is there no snow?  Summer!  Does it ever get dark in the summer in the north?  NO!  Remember, we are known as the Land of the Midnight Sun.

So, darkness and no snow is a very precious window for us, and so over the last few years we've tried to squeak in a night orienteering event when it starts getting dark, but before the snow comes.  Actually, our first night-O event four years ago (at Yukon College map, thanks Bob for starting this up!) did have snow, but we've had lucky late-Septembers since then.

This year we squeaked in one last event.  The meet organizers figured it would only be the "hard-core" orienteers that might come out, so the decided to plan the race down on the Lorne Mountain map, about 40km south of Whitehorse.  This is the same map area that Yukon Orienteering hosted the 2011 Canadian Sprint Orienteering Championships if anyone remembers.  Typically, this map is "too far out of town" for our mainstream members, so we don't get a lot of use of it.    So this made it a double-treat: night orienteering on a super sweet, high-speed open forest map we don't get to run on very often.

Here's how it went down:

Waiting around for it to get dark.  Note Afan's washing machine drum-mobile fire pit - a life saver on a late September Yukon night!
The Boys are Back in Town - Caelen and Leif!

Leif figured mounting a car light on his head was a good idea.  Unfortunately, he forgot to fully charge it before the race.
Loading up control descriptions and getting ready to go!
Excellent - Sprint map in the nice stuff!  Parts of the Robinson Roadhouse map used for the 2011 COC Sprint.

Ah, this is what we are looking for - the night time flash of the control.
In reality, with a narrow-beam super headlamp this is what it looks like.  See the flash and run like heck towards it.
Afterwords, looking happy to have made it back.  A close race, everyone in the 20's minute range!  Ross, Erik and Caelen.

Figurin' where the race was won and lost afterwords.  Katherine and new baby in background.

Pretty darn fun!  Thanks Afan for being the event planner - a fun end to the season!

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