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