Sunday, May 31, 2015

Orienteering at Mason Neck State Park

It's hard to believe that Mason Neck SP is just a hop, skip and a jump down the road from Pohick Bay because Pohick Bay was my favorite orienteering location this year and Mason Neck is probably my least favorite.  There are not a lot of elevation changes so the contour lines are 5 feet instead of 5 meters... It was very easy to get lost with such subtle elevation changes... I think I spent 20 minutes on 3 separate controls... That's an hour on just 3 legs when sometimes I finish a whole course in under an hour.

The start at Mason Neck was located at the beginning of a lovely paved trail...

But the course was anything but lovely... Spider webs, black flies, and SNAKES... not the course setters fault of course, just the conditions at the park.  And there were almost no trail options when going between controls.  I'm glad I didn't try to do an advanced course.   And I'm glad I'm not the only one that had trouble... I spoke with a few people who didn't even finish because it was so difficult.  I'll be honest, there were a couple moments that I considered calling it quits... Nearly stepping on the snake was one moment and being attacked by flies while trying re-orient myself after being lost was another.  I was really happy to see the finish...

It was smart of QOC to put this challenging park near the end of the season and that's what I will have to think when I remember Mason Neck State Park... a challenge... if i can complete a course here then I can complete a course anywhere!  Thank you to the volunteers that endured the heat to make this event happen.  It's hard to believe that the season is almost over.  I look forward to the final O-Meet/Party at Jug Bay!!!

~Mason Neck Orienteering Handstands

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