Black Creek Park: Orienteering 101

This past weekend we went to our first Rochester Orienteering Club event at Black Creek Park in North Chili West of Rochester.


We decided to join the Orienteering Club after attending the Winter Festival at Mendon Pond Park back in January. For more on this see the link below:

Luke and I thought it would be a good chance for us to explore the parks/trails where we live and get to know others who enjoy getting out in nature.


In case you do not know what orienteering is think of a combination of cross country running and an adult scavenger hunt. All participants are given a topiary map of the park with course markers on it and a compass. The goal is to find flag course markers then insert a GPS key to show you have oriented yourself to find that location.


Along the way you have to make decisions about what terrain you want to cover to get to the next marker quickly. Competitive orienteers will run 6 miles of course trying to beat their best time with at least 20 flag markers from start to finish.


We are far from prepared for that but arrived in time to do a beginner instruction and the white (easy) orienteering course. Luke was in charge of the map/compass and I had the GPS key.


It was a beautiful day with a light breeze. The course took us about 30-40 minutes quickly walking  about 1.5 miles with 10 markers. Because of the time of year, the toughest terrain decision we had to make was where to step to avoid being ankle deep in mud. Also finding flags was easier because the trees have not produced leaves yet.


We learned on the way that we need to bring: sunglasses, hats, shoes that can get muddy, towels, and a change of shoes when we are done.


Overall it was a great first time learning experience. Now we know we can do the yellow 3-4 mile course. We enjoyed exploring a new park; Black Creek Park has many trails, great facilities, a children’s playground, open meadows, a pond, creek, and allows dogs on leashes.

What are your favorite spring outdoor activities?

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