If you're on the fence about whether to experience desert orienteering in Arizona later this month: Go!
I've spent the last week in the area, mainly at the sites of the two national ranking events, and I think anyone who attends will have a blast. I would have signed up for the events myself, but Mrs. O-Maps and I booked a conflicting contra dance event a year ago. So instead I volunteered as OUSA course consultant for the two ranking events, and we modified the return route from our Georgia/Florida orienteering/dancing road trip to swing just a wee bit westward so I could see for myself what desert orienteering is all about.
Actually, the Tucson NRE is at a bit higher elevation (4000 ft?) and therefore a bit less desert-y and a bit more grassland-y. A bit stony underfoot in many places but still very fast running, with scattered trees (and of course great views), and moderately complicated topography.
The Phoenix NRE site is more stereotypically desert--with suguaro (suh-wahr-oh) cactus everywhere, it fits this naive easterner's image of the southwest (think roadrunner cartoons). There certainly are plenty of poky plants around--they had me scared to death of the dreaded cholla (choy-yuh) cacti, but as I learned, those are easily identified, widely spaced, and simple to avoid. Just don't run blindly ahead with your nose buried in your map; if you simply look where you're running, you'll be fine. I'm predicting running speeds a little slower than at the Tuscon event--which is to say, instead of very fast, just plain fast. And fantastic views in every direction.
I'm signed up for the whole week; I always love the February Tucson event as a warm-weather getaway from the Colorado winter. Looking forward to it!!!
Are there start times posted anywhere or just start when you show up?
If start times are posted ahead of time, I assume it'll be here: https://www.orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/a40/...
We will not be assigning start times, just assuring good separation by course (especially for Sunday's NRE).
Thank you! Sounds good to me!