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Fall Local Meets Offer
Variety and Challenge

With the shortening of daylight hours, the fading of summer foliage, and the first cool breezes from the north, the fall orienteering season began on Sunday, September 9 with five local meets over the following two months.

Chicago autumns are usually warm, dry and delightful—a great time to be outside tramping in the woods and watching the leaves turn progressively more colorful each week. However, fall orienteering has some hazards: after a full growing season, open meadows may have a dense variety of Tall Bluestem and other prairie grasses that make white forests the preferred route choice. And seed pods will be at their peak; so gaiters and slick nylon pants become the orienteering clothing of choice!

Fall is also a great time for that last bit of conditioning before the onset of winter. Now that the oppressive heat of the summer has broken, it is finally time to get serious about getting in shape! Orienteering offers a great way to get in some nearby exercise while having fun and enjoying nature in a nearby setting.

All five local meets begin at 9:30 a.m. on respective Sundays (see Orienteering Calendar) 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 still a reasonable $8 per person (and only $5 for CAOC members). Make sure you bring a whistle for emergencies, and wear long shirts and pants for protection from underbrush and bugs.

The maximum time allocated for courses will remain three hours. So, in order to have as much time as possible, please try to start before 11 a.m., since control punches and markers will be picked up starting shortly after 2 p.m. Please make sure that you check in at the finish so that a search party is not organized unnecessarily.

If you plan to only attend one or two orienteering meets this fall, here is a quick summary of each meet location and some of the special events each meet director has planned. As always, please check the O-Phone (847-604-4419) or the club web site for last minute directions.

September 9—Waterfall Glen, Darien
Dave Brewer, Meet Director

The first meet of the Fall season is at beautiful Waterfall Glen, which surrounds the Argonne National Lab south of I-55 in Darien. The start will again be at the Argonne Employees Park east of Cass Road, and courses will loop south to the open woods along the ancient riverbank of the Des Plaines River overlooking the route of the old I&M Canal. This old riverbank, formed when most of the Great Lakes emptied down the Des Plaines River rather than through glacier-plugged Niagara Falls, is intercut with numerous parallel reentrants, spurs, valleys and ridges. And it offers a challenging venue for route selection, hill running, and control finding. Make sure you know which small valley you're entering before descending...they all look alike once you're down in them! White and Yellow beginner courses will be on the trail network around the Employees' Park.

Public Transportation: METRA train to Westmont station arrives at 9:12 a.m. from Chicago; run 5 miles south down Cass Avenue to Argonne Employees' Park.
Driving: Exit Stevenson Expwy (I-55) at Cass Avenue, south (Exit #273) in Darien. Drive about a mile south to turn left into Employees' Park.

September 23—Busse Woods, Elk Grove Village
Ury Backiev, Meet Director

Busse Woods just east of Woodfield Mall will be the only venue in the northwest suburbs for orienteering this fall. We will be on the wooded section north of Higgins Road. Because this is one of our most popular meet locations, please get here early, or be prepared to park in one of the overflow lots and walk 10-15 minutes on the connecting bike path to Registration. Busse Woods is one of the midwest's oldest, most established forest preserves, and has very little underbrush in the extensive forests. As a result, travel is fast and courses will be longer than normal. But it is also very flat, with large areas without trails or other man-made features; so it is easy to get lost! Plan on practicing pace counting, walking a compass bearing, and other orienteering techniques such as use of handrails, attack points and catching features. Come to the Beginner's Clinic at 9:30 if you need to brush up on these skills!

Public Transportation: #209 Pace bus leaves Harlem/Higgins el stop on Blue Line at 9:15 a.m. Ride about an hour to exit on Golf Road under I-90 overpass. Walk south through adjacent Busse Forest Preserve.
Driving: Exit I-90 onto Arlington Heights Road, south. Turn right (west) at Higgins Road at next traffic light, and proceed to park as indicated by orienteering highway signs. A short walk to registration may be required.

October 7—Bemis Woods, Western Springs
Clark Maxfield, Meet Director

A new form of orienteering called Scatter-O will be offered to advanced (Green and Red) runners at the Bemis Woods meet. Similar to a score-O, scatter-O does not have a fixed course. Scatter-O will have a mass start at 11 a.m. for all runners (individual starts will be assigned earlier or later by request), and offer 25-30 control locations from which Red runners will have to visit 20 controls in any order, and Green runners will have to visit 16. Winners will be decided by finishing order since all competitors will be on "real time." In addition, a new USGS map will provide an opportunity to run for the first time in the adjacent woods north of 31st street using only a rough black-and-white map. And to make navigation more complex, uncrossable Salt Creek splits this map into two sections, and there are only three bridges!

Public Transportation: METRA train from Chicago arrives at Western Springs station at 9:03 a.m. Walk about a half mile directly north to cross Ogden Avenue into forest preserve.
Driving: Mannheim/LaGrange Road to Ogden Avenue, west to forest preserve.

October 14—Country Lane, Palos Park
Victor Nikolenko, Meet Director

The final two meets of the Fall season will be in the vast Palos Forest Preserve southwest of Chicago. We have not visited Country Lane Woods for 18 months, so for many of us, it will almost be like a new map! This area is at its best in the fall: rolling hills covered by open mature forests, with goldenrod-filled meadows in the long valleys between the ridges.

Public Transportation: #379 Pace bus leaves Midway at 10:45 a.m. Get off at 107th St and 88th Avenue and walk 1.5 miles west to forest preserve.
Driving: LaGrange Road south to turn right at 107th St, west to parking.

November 4—Willow Springs, Willowbrook
Charlie Shahbazian, Meet Director

The Willow Springs Woods map is just across 95th Street from Country Lane Woods. During the three weeks between the two meets there will be excellent national A-meets in the "Grand Canyon of the East" in upper New York State, and in the dry oak-studded Coas Qtal Range of California. Like Country Lane, the Willow Springs map is a wonderful assortment of ridges and hills covered by open, white woods. Since this is the last meet of the season, courses will be longer than usual. And Club Championship awards for men (on Red) and women (on Green) will be announced at about 1 p.m. Top Club competitors should start early to ensure that there is sufficient time to include their run in the results.

Public Transportation: #379 Pace bus leaves Midway at 10:45 a.m. Get off at 87th Street and 88th Avenue. Walk west one mile to forest preserve and follow trail west to registration.
Driving: LaGrange Road south to Archer Avenue, south. Turn left at Willow Springs/Flavin Road, up the hill to turn left into forest preserve.

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