Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Orienteering - The Way to Go!

Come One! Come All! Bring your friends! Bring your Moms! Bring your long lost buddies! Bring all those folks you've been telling about orienteering but have not yet managed to haul into the woods! This one you will not want to miss! Exclamation Points abound!!!!! If you've been to Rock Springs Run State Reserve (RSRSR) before, then you know about the huge fields along the north edge of the park, where the dog fennel can grow as high as an elephant's eye and running through the open fields so mapped can be nigh unto impossible because its so tiring to push through the fennel. Well, not this time! (see that exclamation point?) This time the John Deere Factory Training course students in the Big Giant Mower category have gone hog-wild and mowed everything in sight within RSRSR right down to the stubble. Now it's beautifully clear open running through all those fields, and also in a few fields you may never have visited until this event. So, despite the fact that my older daughter would scowl at me and refuse to run through such open fields because she gets "field-sick", I've designed the advanced courses so that those competitors may bask to the fullest possible degree in those fields - plus a good deal of real forest too, I might add. I think I'll just hope for a little scattered could cover the day of the event, to take the edge off the Florida sunshine. All other courses, White, Yellow and Orange, will be treated to new varieties of RSRSR adventures, since we are staging out of the Horse Barn area for only the second time in umpteen-many years. RSRSR is fairly beginner-friendly for White and Yellow, so even grandma can come along on a first orienteering outing and have fun here. The Orange course will have a few little watch-outs that will require close attention to the Safety-Bearing-Due-North rule that is always in effect at RSRSR. JROTC Units who find themselves free that weekend will find it to be an excellent learning opportunity and a good warm-up to the following month's JROTC Florida Championships at Ocala Forest near Paisley. In fact, even though at this writing the April 11 event will not be a formal JROTC competition, please call ahead if your unit plans to attend, so we can pre-print the correct number of maps. NOTE ON PARKING - Last time we used this Horse Barn area we got in a little trouble with the Rangers due to willy-nilly parking along roadway shoulders. We promised NEVER TO LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN. We promised to PARK IN DESIGNATED ORIENTEERING FIELD PARKING ONLY. The attached figure shows were to park. Please do not park along the main dirt roadway. Park well into the field. Make the rangers happy. SECOND NOTE - Horses have the right of way - ALWAYS. Please be very respectful and very solicitous of horse and riders. DO NOT RUN PAST HORSES if you encounter them. Be doubly sure that whatever you are doing does not spook the horse. No shouting, no sudden moves, no arm waving as they pass. You know... NOTE ON FEES: RSRSR Day use fee is $2 per person in addition to FLO map fees. Limit of 8 per vehicle. We think that means max fee is $16 per vehicle. Honor system fee scheme at the kiosk at the entrance gate. Please take an envelope, pay your fee and DISPLAY THE FEE RECEIPT ON YOUR WINDSHIELD. In the past some people apparently thought they can get away without paying, and they seem to, but only because FLO pays your fee to keep the rangers at bay! (exclamation point). Go to the web page www.floridaorienteering.org for Directions. By the way: HELP. Yup, need helpers like always. Email me, please. And don't be shy. Let me know when you can help and for how long; whether you can help retrieve controls; and don't worry if you've never worked a registration table or a start/finish table before, we gladly teach first timers these skills as readily as we teach first time orienteers the skills of orienteering. The Fluegels have volunteered to set controls, but we still need a full crew for all other duties. What else? Oh, yeah: The beauty of RSRSR in the Spring. Those freshly mown fields I told you about are just coming back with those short blue violet-like flowers in profusion. I mean beds of them in the north fields hundreds of feet across. What a sight. And meadowlarks are finding the short-grass fields attractive as never before. The bears are still there of course, but good luck at seeing one. Deer skeletons will be seen. Bring your cameras. I'm betting Lisa Roberts of Florida Wildflower Foundation can tell us what those vast beds of blue flowers are, because she and Bill Belleville visit RSRSR often. When I was gowing up we called them snake violets, but I know that's wrong. RAIN AND WATER LEVELS. Unless we get some unusual deluges in the next 10 days (Yahoo weather long range shows sunny all next week after a few days of scattered rain this week) the lakes and ponds and marshes will remain dry-dry-dry. The Red and Blue course folks might have to wade ankle deep or -muddy-shoe here, and there, but nothing much. I got barely muddy vetting, so it'll take more rain to make anything sloppy. It would be a welcome dilemma in fact. 'Nuff Said. See you there. And don't forget to HELP! Bob Putnam Environmental Engineering Phone: 407-736-5747 Fax: 407-736-6200 email: bob.putnam@siemens.com

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