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Discussion: USA Masters National Championships @ Mille Lacs Kathio State Park: Tips for Navigating

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 9, 2021 3:29 AM # 
I was looking at a map of the Red course from a couple of years ago: from first look, almost all of it is dense forest, wetlands (swamps?) are abundant, it has a relatively mild topography and only a few trails. I assume that distance visibility is not amazing. I'm not sure how much the wetlands boundaries are reliable from checking out the area on Google maps. All in all it looks very challenging, reminding me of Scandinavian terrains.

Any tips on how to navigate in this terrain? Any insights from people that have been there?
Sep 9, 2021 4:23 AM # 
I ran there in April 2017, and it's really quite wonderful. I don't have my map from that event handy, but I think a lot of the course was in a different part of the map that had fewer trails and maybe fewer marshes. Try to connect the dots using the most recognizable features, keep careful contact, and use your compass as much as possible, it's very easy to get turned in terrain like this and to start making parallel errors.
Sep 9, 2021 5:05 AM # 
Agree that is it wonderful terrain, one of my favorite maps I've ever been on. My recollection from 2017 team trials is that there is *no* dense forest; it's essentially all open and visible. Tip would be that the marshes are generally very apparent in the terrain, so use the small ones as "check-off" features and the medium and larger ones as handrails whenever practical. In fact much of the navigation can be simplified down to hopping from one marsh to the next, eliminating the need to parse much of the contour intricacy.
Sep 9, 2021 6:30 PM # 
From my experience (very recently and several prior visits) The forest is very open for the most part and visibility is mostly limited by the contours of the terrain (not trees) ; keep an eye on the smaller marshes that you pass by. If you have to relocate by running out to a trail and back that would be very costly (in terms of time) so don't lose contact with the map.
Sep 9, 2021 6:51 PM # 
I found my team trials map, and I remembered correctly that my course that day went into the relatively trail-free SE part of the map, although the marshes are about the same as on the Red course linked above. Looking at my routes, I apparently didn't consider it worthwhile to go very far out of my way to use trails; the woods were fine.

But of course, let's not forget this fine piece of commentary from one of our favorite pundits.
Sep 10, 2021 1:36 AM # 
That trail less area in the SE part of the map is my favorite area . On a nice fall day it is just sublime !
Sep 10, 2021 1:46 AM # 
And I'm expecting it might be even more fun when it's not at 1:15000!
Sep 10, 2021 11:40 PM # 
Maps will be 1;10,000 for the Masters and laser printed
Sep 11, 2021 12:24 AM # 
In the Red course that Bjoregenson posted a link it, there are several bounded areas of undergrowth and scattered bushes, or slow wet areas, etc. What do you suggest for route choice for: 8 to 9 especially but may be also for 11 to 12?
Sep 11, 2021 4:17 AM # 
I'm so glad you asked that...I posted those legs as Webroutes and everyone is welcome to come up with their ideas! I especially encourage those who have been there to share their routes or ideas for routes. You can also add comments to your routes. I added my route and comments.

1) Mille Lacs Kathio State Park: Leg 8-9
2) Mille Lacs Kathio State Park: Leg 11-12
Sep 11, 2021 12:53 PM # 
On 11-12 there's a potential route via the road to the south that someone might choose. But it's cut off in the map snippet on Webroute.
Sep 13, 2021 4:06 AM # 
This place has gigantic everything : lake, swamps, ticks, mosquitoes. Vipers are abundant. It feels like a real wild forest. Navigation is quite easy, recognizing a stream of objects. The problems arise if you misinterpret something, then the only hope is to go back to the last object that you reliably identified. Lots of critical thinking is involved.
Sep 13, 2021 10:36 AM # 
Sep 13, 2021 10:58 AM # 
Yes, vipers.. In October there can be a lot of rain in Minnesota, snow too. So Yurets is suggesting you need something to vipe your car vindows.
But the good news is that by October the mosquitos and ticks will be gone for the season, frogs and snakes, too.
Sep 13, 2021 8:52 PM # 
For interest to course setters in the red course linked in the original post, control sites referencing marshes, ponds or depressions (that are off the feature, i.e. 4, 12, 13 & 17), the directional indicator should technically be {direction} edge rather than {direction} side. This is the case with all below ground features!
Sep 13, 2021 10:40 PM # 
Not so much that they are below ground features as that they are area features. "Side" is for point features, and might be appropriate for something like a pit. That said, it's a pretty persnickety point, it's not as if anyone is going to be confused or misled by it. "I was looking all around the southeast side of that small pond, and it turns out the control was actually on the southeast edge!"
Sep 13, 2021 11:20 PM # 
Yeah I know but that's what the regulations state:

Used where:
a) The feature extends down from the surface of the surrounding ground and the control is situated on the edge at ground level; e.g. Depression, south east edge.
b) The feature extends over a significant area and the control is situated on the border of that area; e.g. Marsh, west edge; Clearing, north west edge.
Sep 14, 2021 1:16 AM # 
I'm not sure why I'm wading into this but... I've always chosen edge vs side as where the actual control is placed. If the control is placed right on the edge of the marsh such that approaching from one side your feet will stay dry and from the other your feet will get wet then that's an edge. If you place the control 2 meters from the marsh edge such that your feet will stay dry unless you actually cross the marsh then it's side...
Sep 14, 2021 1:19 AM # 
If it's two meters from the edge such that your feet will definitely get wet, then it's "part". (And that's "wading into this".)

(Marshes and ponds don't necessarily extend down from the surface.)

(And didn't you intend to write "metres"?)
Sep 14, 2021 1:21 AM # 
Hence my correction/clarification above. Anything at or below ground it seems.

A thicket can be an area feature but you'd use side for that because it extends above ground.
Sep 14, 2021 1:23 AM # 
I would use "edge" for thicket, unless it was really small. Although the two thickets I'm using for our upcoming event are two tips and one inside corner.
Sep 14, 2021 1:41 AM # 
Is a "red" course in the US supposed to be hard navigation?
Sep 14, 2021 2:08 AM # 
Brown-Green-Red-Blue are all advanced navigation in the USA, increasing in length over that span. If you're implying that the Red course from a local event presented here is not very difficult, I would definitely agree.
Sep 14, 2021 7:15 AM # 
I'd like to ask about the related question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Do you count those whose feet just overlap the edge or not? And while we're on exotica, do you displace the centre of the circle in either case - edge or side?
Sep 14, 2021 7:29 AM # 
Depends if you're referring to a point or area feature.
Sep 14, 2021 8:33 AM # 
Yes JJ that is what I was suggesting. I certainly don't want to be discouraging to a local course planner but it seems odd that someone (tricky) is concerned about an utterly trivial issue like edge/side in CD's but totally misses the issue of the quality of the course. If I had traveled a long distance to that event in that terrain I would not be at all worried about the side/edge issue but I would be disappointed if that was the course I got.

Focusing on the edge/side issue is like criticizing Trump's Jan 6 speech on the grounds of poor grammar.
Sep 14, 2021 9:23 AM # 
Well I'm sorry I focussed on something completely against your own observations. Would be a pretty boring world if we were all robplows. Given how much space is given over to poor mapping quality at some big events on these forums (and the trivialities of why runners chose route choices that you wouldn't possibly have done), I thought incorrect use of IOF symbols would be something you'd jump on. Plus it was mentioned only as a tip for future setters, not as a criticism.

The fact that you remembered a speech given by Trump on a specific date is just completely outside my range of comprehension.
Sep 14, 2021 9:29 AM # 
The Jan 6 speech was not just any speech - it's the one where he incited the Capitol Insurrection - pretty famous.
Sep 14, 2021 9:34 AM # 
Infamous speech. Majority of us mentally clock out of speeches spewed out by a rotten orange with a toupee.
Sep 14, 2021 11:49 AM # 
The one course I have run at Mille Lacs Kathio was for the national Team Trials, and it was excellent. I'd be happy to go there more often, but it's a 2350 km drive from my house. It is possible that the course shown was appropriate for the people they get attending local meets.
Sep 14, 2021 11:54 AM # 
"January 6" is now a famous date in US history, along with September 11, December 7, June 6, and the fourth of July. (And May 5, which apparently has a lot more meaning in the US than in Mexico.) Think of it like April 25, maybe.
Sep 14, 2021 12:03 PM # 
I have enough trouble remembering famous dates in Aus without having to remember carp from the US also. I only know that most of Trump's speeches contain irrelevant drivel and poor grammar.
Sep 14, 2021 12:39 PM # 
*waits for someone to point out the grammatical error in the above post*

Incidentally, the Mille Lacs Kathio terrain looks fantastic and I am a bit sad that we have nothing like this in Australia.
Sep 14, 2021 10:22 PM # 
Yes (perceived) poor course setting or not it looked more like a northern European map. Nothing like that here.

Were all the vegetation boundaries necessary though? Seemed like overkill.

(above post now with added apostrophe!)
Sep 15, 2021 12:21 AM # 
As a fruiterer, I resent the unfortunate implications being spread around orange's. It started with the term "lemon" and "sour grape's", where will it end?
Sep 15, 2021 1:11 AM # 
I can't tell if you're intentionally winding Jenny up with those apostrophes or not.
Sep 15, 2021 2:09 AM # 
Lets get back to the topic of Mille Lac's Kathio.
Sep 15, 2021 2:25 AM # 
OK, while @ Mille Lac's Kathio, watch out
Sep 15, 2021 5:56 AM # 
Ye's lets!
Sep 16, 2021 1:32 AM # 
If one could shift that terrain to Bendigo, together with a great sand dune area, life would be perfect.
Sep 16, 2021 3:43 AM # 
Based on my '85 memories, Bendigo doesn't need any extra favors in the terrain department.
Sep 16, 2021 3:43 AM # 
To organise that you'd probably have to put Bendigo under an ice sheet for a few tens of thousands of years, which may result in a certain amount of collateral damage.
Sep 16, 2021 5:21 AM # 
I like Bendigo terrain the way it is. Plus I can't wait that long.
Sep 16, 2021 5:47 AM # 
Neil, Mille Lacs is sand dunes.
Sep 16, 2021 7:54 AM # 
Sand, yes, but I don't think wind played a significant role in shaping it, so not dunes.
Sep 16, 2021 8:48 AM # 
Depends on where you source your definition of "dune"

most sources do specify being formed by wind but according to A dune is a landform composed of wind- or water-driven sand.

And according to "true dunes' are free of all vegetation - which means there are not many O maps on 'true dunes'
Sep 16, 2021 9:04 AM # 
Everyone knows Dune was formed by the sandworms.
Sep 16, 2021 9:09 AM # 
the sandworms created melange - not the sand. But it would be pretty safe to say the dunes on Arakis are formed by wind not water. And as there is no vegetation they are definitely 'true dunes'
Sep 16, 2021 10:03 AM # 
Probably not the safest place to go orienteering either.
Sep 16, 2021 10:30 AM # 
good for the course setters though -all the runners would be wearing those suits that recycle body fluids so no need for drinks controls.
Sep 16, 2021 12:09 PM # 
TIts probably just as well that there arent many orienteering maps of true dunes. The one time I ran on one a number of years back on Spain the wind and shifted the dunes so the contours were no longer accurate!
Sep 16, 2021 12:53 PM # 
That's true for typical small dunes. But I suspect that Great Sand Dunes National Park would be a great place for something like a rogaine. The information at the visitor center indicates that they don't really move around all that much (too big, and caught in a corner where the wind keeps shifting back and forth). With relatively recent lidar, you could make a good map. Years ago, Mark Dominie suggested such an event there*, without marked controls in the terrain -- he was anticipating the invention of something like Usynligo.

In the Manitoba sandhills, there is a section of live dunes remaining in the Spirit Sands area. The park officials do not discourage off-trail use in any way, and in fact welcome it because it helps keep grass from getting a foothold.

*(Thinking about it more, Mark may have been talking about White Sands in New Mexico.)
Sep 16, 2021 2:17 PM # 
With cheap drones able to make very good base maps (as good as lidar) in areas with no vegetation, the fact that the dunes move would be a good thing - just get the drone out before each event and update the contours. It would be like having new terrain every time.

I have walked through Spirit Sands - the reality is, it's quite simple/ boring terrain compared to the surrounding vegetated (not "true") dunes.

there is a map of Spirit Sands but it only has a tiny (trivial) section of the open sand.
Sep 16, 2021 2:35 PM # 
Here's what the southern part of that Spirit Sands area looks like, you can see the sliver of yellow up against the out-of-bounds is open sand in the satellite view. That area is almost certain to become fully vegetated before long.

(I guess one benefit of the open sand areas is that you could pick your way around the poison ivy.)
Sep 16, 2021 5:03 PM # 
Would you like to watch a sand dune area forming via time lapse aerial photography?
Go to Google Earth pro and key in Fort de Soto Park in Pinellas County Florida.
Zero in on the 'North Beach' area of the park and activate the program's historical image tool bar. Send it back to 1985( that image is pretty fuzzy) then advance the images in time as first one then -well I won't spoil it for you.
It's a pretty good lesson on how water forms the sand bar and then wind helps form the dunes. Now vegetation is starting to take hold.
Perhaps if we wait long enough we'll see a hurricane come along and take it all back to the sea, that is if vegetation does not anchor it before then.

This discussion thread is closed.