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NEOC: Wanderings - BYOM (Lexington, MA)
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From Saturday, August 28, 2021
To Monday, September 06, 2021
Wanderings map, including Burlington, Lexington, Winchester, and Woburn
Special Courses:
Foot and bicycle event
Event Director:
Jim Crawford
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This will be the 10th running of Wanderings! It will once again be a BYOM event, so you can run on whatever day is convenient for you. As with the last 3 years, there will be a higher resolution map (1:6000) of one of the many conservation lands in this area. The start/finish area will be on this map, with 12 streamer controls in the woods equivalent to a White/Yellow course suitable for beginners. There will be 47 controls on the low resolution map (1:25000) similar to the courses in previous years where you can do them on foot or on bike or the grueling combo.

Downloads are free for current NEOC members; $10 for non-members. (Check your membership status here.)

Download and print your map(s).

Course notes for Aug 28-Sep 5, 2021 Wanderings BYOM: (also available with the maps as a PDF file in a more printable format)

This year takes us to Lexington, Burlington, Woburn, and Winchester. Due to Covid-19 we will not have a mass start, nor any on-site registration. However the course itself is just like previous years. Note the BYOM changes in items 1-4 below.

  1. Maps in PDF format will become available on Friday, Aug 27 at 4PM. This is a BYOM event, so you will need to print the map and clue sheet yourself. Since the map is 11” x 17”, you can either take it to a copy place, or print the three 8 1/2 x 11” overlapping PDF files on your home printer. There will be a fourth 8 1/2 x 11” PDF file for the 1:6000 map.
  2. You will be responsible for timing yourself. There will be no electronic punches, nor will there be QR codes. I encourage entrants to record a GPS trace of your route (via Garmin watch, GPS tracker, or cell phone app), and send it to me so I can get split times and verify controls.
  3. When you finish, email me ( your answers (or a photo of your answers) with your timing and your GPS route if available.
  4. You can start anytime between Aug 28 to Sep 5. Note that some course choices may take you through school grounds which may be occupied during the week. Also there are more cars during the week than on the weekends, although the Minuteman Bike Path is more crowded on the weekends.
  5. Five divisions:
    1½ hr foot 
    3 hr foot
    1½ hr bike
    3 hr bike
    4½ hr combo (bike 3 hr, run 1½ hr)
    I recommend a mountain bike since the roads are notorious for potholes and 5 controls are on dirt trails. (I use a road bike and walk the rough trails when I set the course). In past years cyclists have used both road bikes and mountain bikes.
  6. 59 controls total with 12 of them off-limits to bikers. Optimal route about 50 miles with 2210 ft of climb. Controls can be visited in any order. 21 of the controls are within 1¼ km of the start. No extra credit for going to the same control twice. Part of the combo challenge is to decide which controls to avoid on the bike in order to save controls doable on foot.
  7. Point value for a control is the control number with the 2nd digit set to 0, so e.g., controls 21, 23, and 27 are all worth 20 points. 3190 points for all controls.
    Foot-O penalty for finishing over the time limit is 15 points per minute for the first 5 minutes, and 30 points per minute after that (seconds are rounded down).
    Bike-O penalty is 30 points per minute for all late minutes. In the combo division, you can receive penalty points in both the bike phase and the run phase. This year there are no special controls giving bonus points.
  8. The Clue Sheet gives a physical description of each control and a question that can only be answered when you have reached that location (e.g. “Telephone Pole -- _, on W corner”) When you reach a control, write the answer on the clue sheet or a separate paper of your own making.
  9. As in the past, I will put small (1"x1") paper control flags on the telephone poles, with the control number on the lower left and the answer on the upper right. These let you know you are at the right telephone pole. If you don't find one, it probably means you are on the wrong street! Controls in the forests have streamers with the answer written at the tip of the streamer.
  10. There are no official water stops, so you should take drinks and money with you. There are plenty of convenience stores / pizza shops / etc. where you can buy drinks very quickly.
  11. Everybody must carry map, clue sheet, control card, pencil, watch, and water bottle. Runners should also have a compass. It is recommended that everyone also take an extra pencil, money, and a cell phone.
  12. Cheating not allowed: no use of cars, buses, or trains; no assistance from GPS or Internet, although if you are not a serious competitor, do whatever helps you enjoy it!
  13. Finally, be Safe! Some of these roads have many cars, with speeds up to 50 mph. Its better to brake and stop than hope there are no cars coming.

Map notes for 2021 Wanderings:

  1. The Wanderings map is 11” by 17” at a scale of 1:25000 and 10 ft contours. It includes parts of Burlington, Lexington, Winchester, & Woburn..
  2. The map has a few non-standard symbols in the legend, so make sure you study it. Cemeteries, Golf courses, Farms and some Conservation land are all off-limits, and indicated by purple cross-hatching.
  3. You should stay on trails in all of the dark green forest land. Major trails in these areas are marked on the map; minor trails may or may not be on the map. They all have differing off-trail policies, so to make it easy for everyone to follow, we use the most restrictive rule, which is DO NOT GO OFF TRAILS. This restriction does not apply to the Willard's Wood map.
  4. On the other hand, you can go off trails in town parks and schools as long as you don't run through a ball game or other activity. You can usually tell what is a town park by the mowed lawn and marked ball fields. Of course, some have fences around them - never climb a fence, only go through gates.
  5. All private property is off limits! Stick to streets and paths marked on the map. No cutting through residential yards or climbing fences. Parking lots, such as at Shaw's, are ok; but note that many parking lots have fences surrounding them and may have extra security.
  6. A commuter railroad passes through the map (purple line). Do not go anywhere near the tracks except to cross them at streets marked on the map. Likewise for Route 2, I-93, and I-95 / Route 128.

7. There is a separate 1:6000 orienteering map of Willard's Wood and Chiesa Farm. For this event, the controls within these woods, which are controls with numbers 10 through 29, are off-limits to bikers. The Chiesa Farm controls are generally White-course level, while the Willard's Wood controls are more Yellow-course level. A course with just these 12 controls on them would be 3 km in a straight line, or 3 mi for the optimal route.

Call my cell phone for orienteering emergencies. REAL emergencies call 911 -Jim Crawford 617-913-9303

2021 Wanderings parking
95 Sedge Rd. (approx.)