permanent orienteering course-little bennett regional park

Nancy, Saleena, and Athena smiling for victory!

Finally! We are looking forward to in-person adventure races!! After a year of mostly virtual races, we will be doing the Spring Bloom Adventure Race. We have recruited a newbie to adventure racing and wanted to give her a little taste of what to look forward to. This past Sunday, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to get in some orienteering.

Usually we would look for a Quantico Orienteering meet, but there was nothing going on. Nancy and I did one of the only local permanent courses in the spring when doing a virtual adventure race. The course in Patapsco State Park was great and we were planning on going back. When I was looking up the information, I found that Little Bennett had a new permanent course! They had one there before, but it was taken down. I was excited that there was a course so close to home.

A permanent orienteering course can be accessed at anytime the park is open. There is no one to man it, so you need to bring your own maps and compasses. Instead of looking for the traditional orange and white flags, you are looking for wood posts with the coordinating number. The neat thing about these courses is that you can do them over and over again. Instead of following the route listed, mix it up (ie. instead of 1-2-3 try 1-4-6). The one thing we found out when we found our first post is that the number does not match the number you are looking for. For instance, if you are doing the Beginner course and you find the first post, it will actually be post #15. There is a little key on the lower right part of the map (that we may or may not have looked at before we started)

We were going to do the Beginner course, but it is pretty much entirely on the trail with very little opportunity for true off trail navigation. We chose the Advanced Beginner. This worked well as it was a nice combination of trail and off-trail navigation. I will have to admit, we totally goofed going from #2 to #3. We took the wrong trail. We got to the trail intersection where there was indeed a post, but it had the wrong number on it (turns out it is part of the beginner course). Instead of us thinking we had made a mistake, we thought the post was not numbered correctly (I’m sure that is completely plausible). Once we finally got to #3 we did a quick off trail to the bend, then followed the trail to #4. Then was the BIG one. We followed our compass from #4 to #5, and NAILED IT!!! What a feeling of accomplishment to do such a long leg and land directly on our target. That might have made us a bit cocky and we were a little off on the rest of it, but we found all them all.

Overall we were pretty pleased with ourselves and can’t wait to get out again. If you are looking for something to do outside, this is a great thing to try.

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