While at Mendon Ponds Winterfest back in January, we met some folks from the Rochester Orienteering Club who introduced us to the awesome sport of orienteering. Instead of just hiking trails as usual, you use a topographic map and compass to navigate to different points (controls) while competing against other teams.
We've found orienteering to be a great family friendly sport. You can compete either as an individual or as a team, and there are different levels of courses to choose from. They range in length and difficulty from White (shortest trail, relatively easy navigation, good for beginners) to Red and Blue (longest lengths, tricky navigation, physically difficult). The challenge of navigating with a map, hunting for controls, and the chance to explore off-trail make it an exciting sport, and we all love it!
Our White trail was 2.3 km (almost 1.5 miles) with 11 controls. We took it easy and let the kids set the pace.
Ben, Henry, and I took turns using the map and compass to navigate to the next control. Henry and Violet checked us in at each control.
This snake with a toad in its mouth distracted us just short of the finish line, adding a few extra minutes to our time.
We finished! It took us 51 minutes, which beat our previous White course time by more than 20 minutes. :)
The kids also finished a String-o course where they collected stickers at each control point. After finishing 5 String-o courses they will earn a Little Troll Orienteering patch.
Looking forward to our next orienteering meet!