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 delightfula 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 9Waterfall 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'
September 23Busse 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 7Bemis 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
October 14Country 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
Driving: LaGrange Road south to turn right at 107th St, west to
November 4Willow 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