Wachusett Mountain, Princeton, MA
November 11, 2018
Meet Director: Jonathan Campbell
Click panorama to enlarge. More photos under menu News>Galleries.
The New England Orienteering Club's Nov. 11, 2018 event at Wachusett Mountain State Reservation was a grand series of experiments. Hopefully, no harm came from our testing.
With 7.7-square kilometers of terrain mapped for orienteering, Wachusett Mountain offers areas of intricate rock detail, other areas of complicated contours, and still other areas of vague hillside, on a predominantly light green map, reflecting an understory of beech trees. Thankfully, the leaves were all down, allowing for much greater visibility in the woods. Last updated in the 90s, many parts of the map aged well, and NEOC was past due to try another event here—last used in the early 00s.
With weather dipping into the high 20s overnight, the water controls had to be buried in leaves and then un-buried in the morning to prevent less-than-helpful gallon-size ice cubes. We were able to enjoy the bright sun and crisp 40-degree weather on the lawn of the Gates Farm, a homestead donated by the Gates Family to the state in the late 60s for inclusion in the park. Using parking along Westminster Rd, we accessed the southern and western portions of the map, a popular area for local hikers, bikers, and dog walkers.
The Reservation holds some rare pockets of New England old-growth forest, mainly on the steeper, rockier hillsides, and our courses avoided the old growth and minimized traffic in the associated protective buffer zone. There was plenty of climb on all courses, though that's to be expected when running on the back side of a ski slope. The water features were high from recent rains, and more than one person reported mistaking a trail for a stream bed, causing them to pull up short on a leg. Others commented on navigating by hillside "shelves" or on the well-generalized original map (no clutter from 0.9m boulders or shin-high cliffs!).
The area around Princeton Municipal Light's two 15MW wind turbines was remapped for this meet to reflect 2009 construction, and some areas of evergreen forest were re-mapped as white woods, reflecting the maturing forest. In addition, the map symbols and colors were updated to ISOM 2017 mapping standards. Since some symbols "grew" larger in size, a new "legibility checker" feature in the OCAD mapping software allowed each changed symbol to be checked to make sure it doesn't bleed-over into another symbol.
Other experiments included using waterproof paper ("Rite-in-the-Rain" brand, which Cascade OC has used for years without map bags in their notoriously rainy Seattle weather), a map flip for Red & Blue (a result of the course setter forgetting to check paper size before designing courses on this 12" x 18" base map), and printing enlargements to 1:5,000 scale for White & Yellow, and 1:7,500 scale for Orange & Brown courses.
We'd like to thank Massachusetts DCR and the Wachusett park staff for assistance in bringing a formal orienteering event back to Wachusett Mountain for the first time in 15+ years. The event also could not have happened without Jim Paschetto arriving early with equipment, masterminding the e-punch equipment and results, and departing near dusk with even more equipment. After completing their own long Red courses, Karen Yeowell & Mark O'Connell single-handedly pulled half of the 36 controls used for the event. Judith Karpinski stepped in blessedly to alleviate our registration back-log, and Tori and Anna Campbell set and pulled many controls.
The experiment's complete so let's not wait another decade-plus to enjoy the woods at Wachusetts!
View the splits here (courtesy of WinSplits). For the raw splits file, click menu Results>Raw Splits Files.
This event is available in RouteGadget (in the Results menu) — share your route, or just use the Splitsbrowser (click in the Routegadget2 menubar).
|White 2.0k 75m|
|4||Laura, Deana, Henry, Vivian||39:39|
|5||Anna & Pam Muncy||43:57|
|7||Isla Finlayson, Peter Campbell||NEOC-MQ||49:11|
|8||Mark T. Reed||54:11|
|10||Mark, Lyhthe, Luke, Alex||96:10|
|Yellow 2.3k 85m|
|6||Mark T. Reed||49:59|
|7||Anna & Pam Muncy||62:59|
|10||Laura, Deana, Henry, Vivian||108:13|
|Orange 3.0k 110m|
|7||Monica & Tim Foy||92:10|
|11||Bob Latshaw +2||110:10|
|14||Dan & Jen Newman||NEOC||117:25|
|Brown 2.9k 105m|
|8||Mike Jean +1||95:24|
|11||Bridge Bordelon & Lupe||USMAOC||106:09|
|Green 5.3k 170m|
|17||David Yee, Adam Miller||NEOC||160:25|
|Red 6.9k 245m|
|Blue 8.2k 300m|