Salt Point

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Contact: Evan Custer, 925-254-5628

Welcome to the second annual Salt Point orienteering event. The park is lovely at this time of year, with many wildflowers, including Douglas irises and California poppies. Also, you may see some osprey fishing in the ocean.

I have expanded the map since last year, and this yearıs courses will be different from last year. There will be two courses offered at this event: a beginnerıs or white course, and an advanced beginner-low intermediate, or yellow-orange, course.

The white course is designed for novices, people who donıt want to go cross country, families with small children, and also is the competitive class for children younger than 13. The course will be entirely on trails. Controls will be located at most decision points (a point, usually at a trail junction, where the orienteer has to decide which direction to turn). The white course is 3.5 km long (2.1 miles) with 35 meters of climb. I would expect this course will take from 1 to 2 hours to complete if you walk it.

The yellow-orange course is the advanced beginnerıs or low intermediate course, and is designed for people who have orienteered before, those who are familiar with topographical maps (such as backpackers), or those who want more of a navigational challenge. It is the competitive class for 13 and 14 year old juniors. Most of the controls will have major ³handrails², linear features such as trails, streams, fences, power lines, etc., that will guide you from one control to the other. Some of the controls will not have obvious handrails, but the features are quite large, such as a 10 meter cliff, and are in open (not forested) terrain, so they should not be too difficult to find. The most common handrail used is the trail. However, you do not have to follow a trail, and can take a more direct, cross country route if desired. The yellow course is 3.6 km and has 65 m of climb. I would expect most people will take between 1 and 2 hours to complete if they walk it.

If you decide to do the white course, and then find that you did not get enough exercise, you may do the yellow course as a second course. There is only minimal overlap of the controls between the white and yellow courses.

Orienteering is a timed event, so in competitions, most advanced orienteers run the course. However, most beginners walk the course. I would imagine most of you will just hike the course today, but feel free to show your blazing speed if so inclined.

Although most advanced orienteers compete as individuals, I would imagine that many if not most of you will want to do the event with another person. I would recommend that you either go out as an individual or as a pair, perhaps up to 3 in a group, but no larger. Each person will get their own map and control description sheet (clue sheet), but there will only be one punch card per group.


There will not be any water on courses, so you should bring your own.

Some of the trails are quite sloppy, so wear shoes that you donıt mind getting wet and muddy. You may want to bring a second pair of shoes and some dry socks to change into after the event.

For the yellow course participants, be aware that there is some poison oak in the park, mainly around the rocky areas. At this time of year, the leaves are relatively small, shiny, purplish green to green, and in clusters of 3. Try to avoid it if possible. If you do rub up against the plant, change your clothes as soon as possible, place them in a plastic bag, and put them in the washing machine when you get home. Wash your hands and exposed areas of skin with Technu, the poison oak and ivy cleanser, usually available at grocery and drug stores.

Some of the rocks can be slippery when wet. Also, if you go cross country, some of the grasses are quite tall and may be wet if there has been rain or fog. Be careful about your footing, as there may be rocks or holes in the ground you might not see.


9:30 Meet at the Sea Ranch Lodge for carpooling.
10:00 Beginnerıs clinic at the Gerstle Cove parking lot in Salt Point Park.
10:30 First starts. There will be staggered starts at 2 minute intervals to prevent following and crowding on the course. Both courses can have someone start at the same time, since the courses are different.
12:30 Lunch and question and answer period.

Some Rules

You must check in at the finish when you return, even if you do not complete your course. Otherwise we wonıt know if you are still out. Since this park is very open and is quite familiar to many of you, there will be very little chance that you will get lost. However, at a standard orienteering event, it is crucial that you go to the finish after the event so that they do not send out a search party for you.

You must take your controls in the prescribed order. Since this is a low key event, it is not important, but at standard events, if you punch a later control before the prescribed control, you must re-visit that control in the correct order.


Salt Point is on California Route 1, about 30 minutes north of Jenner, and 30 minutes south of Gualala and the Sea Ranch.

The event will meet at Gerstle Cove parking area in Salt Point Park on the west side of Highway 1. I think the mileage marker is around 44. Registration is from 9:00 to 9:30, and starts are from 9:30 to 10:00. There is usually not any day use entry fee to the park on Tuesdays.

This area has ample parking and toilets. However, it is very exposed, and can be very windy, foggy, and cold. Be sure and bring warm clothing, such as a sweater and windbreaker. The courses will center around the Gerstle Cove area and will be between the ocean and Highway 1.