Low expectations. I'd been to Clear Lake (on the south side of Fahnstock SP) I think once before, and vague memories were that it wasn?t so much fun, the Northeast trifecta -- hilly, rocky, mountain laurel. And it overlaps the south part of the Bushy Ridge part of Fahnstock, also not one of my favorite areas. So low expectations, also low enthusiasm. And maybe a bit deflated after our visit chez DeWeese (and the DeWeese gym), though also still laughing about it of course.
As it turned out, I got around the course ok, no mistakes at the controls, decent routes I think, a decent skip I think, just absolutely no energy. Well, maybe I had a little energy when it was gently downhill on a smooth trail, but other than that it was pretty sad.
But let's focus on the good stuff --
I feel great!
The knee was getting a little worrisome in the last hour, but it never got bad, and afterwards it felt just a little sore. One blister, second toe, it will take care of itself with the aid of a little duct tape. Not too many scratches, not too many barbarry thorns in the knees, no ticks spotted yet, no sunburn, no corneal abrasions. Basically just fine.
Routes are posted, most of map
, northeast part
. Following the crowd to 1 and 2. Leaving 2 everyone in sight was heading down the hill to take the route to the right to 3, but I'd already decided to go left. It was a bit lonely heading off, everyone else going another way, took a bit of nerve, though I did drag Jim Eagleton with me and we were moving at about the same pace. Still lonely all the way there, passed one walker, asked if he had seen any other runners, 3 or 4 he said. Along the way I decided that none of the skips on the final loop looked that good, certainly not as good as skipping up north, though I wasn't sure which was better between skipping 4, 5, or 6.
Got up to 3, saw some folks that seemed to be about who I should be with, so I guess the routes were about equal. Jim was maybe 50 yards ahead, and he turned right, skipping 4, and I decided to do the same, though within 100 yards I was already regretting it, thinking it was a dumb move. But I was committed. And Jeff Saeger was coming the same way too.
Had company from Jeff most of the rest of the way, sometimes he was a ways ahead, sometimes I was, also company from from Jim until he disappeared (behind me) after 17, and from Mike Bishop for a while until he skipped 19 and finished ahead. After a while we'd been out an hour, then 2 hours, then finally done. And a nice surprise when comparing splits with a few folks afterwards, it seemed skipping 4 was a first-class skip, definitely better than 18 or 19. Sometimes you get lucky.
A fine BG, thought not short and not easy. That's not saying it was too long, but it might have been pushing the limit a little, especially if it had been a warm day. But orienteering is a sport that is supposed to offer a sense of adventure, and it seems a little foolish to put too much emphasis on getting a course length or winning time to match some perceived standard. Just set a decent course, get the controls in the right place, and let us have at it. And if sometimes a course gets the better of us, well, that?s not such an awful thing.