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Results from meet


February 8, 2003
Mississippi Palisades State Park

Eighty-two people braved the cold winds and steep terrain of the Mississippi Palisades State Park for the third annual Snowgaine, a six-hour ROGAINE event (Rugged Outdoor Group Activity Involving Navigation and Endurance).

Twenty-two controls were scattered over eleven square kilometers in a park known for its deep gullies, hostile vegetation, and 100-200 foot bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River south of Galena, IL. Each control was worth between one and five points, depending on its distance from the start and how difficult it should have been to find. Competitors could visit the controls in any order, and would receive a penalty for returning after the six-hour time limit.

Charlie Shahbazian and Kevin Teschendorf took first place by visiting each of the controls and returning to the start in less than four hours (an amazing accomplishment). Rob Harsh & Aaron Rourke also swept the course, and came in only eighteen minutes later. Two other teams ("Choppers" and "PQRs") also collected all of the controls. Altogether, twenty-seven teams found at least one control. See the complete results for more information.

This was also the first CAOC event to integrate geocaching into an orienteering meet. This relatively new sport, treasure hunting with GPS (Global Positioning System), complements orienteering and offers yet another way for individuals and families to get out into the woods together.

Most of the 40,000+ caches (in more than 150 countries) are ammo boxes or weather-proof plastic containers with a log book and filled with small items such as toys, coins, CDs, keychains, etc. When someone finds a geocache, they take something out, put something in, and write in the log book. They then post their find on the web. For more information, check out the Geocaching website.

The geocachers downloaded the coordinates for each control (latitude and longitude). After determining the user's current location, the GPS receivers calculated the distance and bearing of the closest controls. Of course, the participants still had to figure out the best route from one control to the next. As so many of us learn in orienteering, a straight line is rarely the easiest route to a control. Instead of looking for ammo boxes, however, they punched a control card at normal orienteering controls.

Seven geocaching "teams" took a more leisurely approach to the event, but everyone seemed to have a good time. Many expressed hope that similar geocaching/orienteering events would be held in the future.

For more information on combining orienteering and geocaching, please contact Michael Collins.

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