Joseph D. Grant County Park is the largest park in the Santa Clara County system and one of BAOC's premier orienteering venues. Located in the Mt. Hamilton range east of San Jose, the park features large, open meadows, oak-studded hillsides, and grassy pine forest in its higher reaches. It's noted for its runnability (relative to Bay Area standards), interspersed with the occasional climb up one of the park's steep hillsides. It's a great area for seeing wildlife--our course setters have spotted wild boar, deer, wild turkeys, and lots of quail and hawks. There is a good chance we'll have plenty of wildflowers too.
This meet we will have plenty of activity: the full range of seven standard courses, a Radio-O course, and a Start-O course for novices and children. Registration will be held at the San Felipe picnic area, our usual location, just inside the park's main entrance. All courses will also finish here. Schedule and fees will be as usual, except that we will close the courses at 2:30 instead of 2:00.
For this meet only we have arranged to give out prizes for environmentally sensitive transit choices--see below.
Joe Grant is a great park to try orienteering for the first time - rural, scenic, yet not too far from civilization. Brad Wetmore has set the beginner courses, which will start near the registration area. White will cover the nearby relatively flat, open terrain. The Yellow course will include some climb. Yellow participants need to cross a fence early in the course. There is a convenient re-inforced spot to climb over adjacent to the start area, or you may walk down the parking lot and cross through a gate about 100 m from the start area.
Preliminary beginner course statistics:
White 2.8 km 60 m climb (2.1%) Yellow 3.4 km 125 m climb (3.7%)
As always, free beginner's clinics will be offered 9:30-10:30 am for newcomers. There are picnic tables and restrooms, so bring a lunch and socialize after doing your course.
Orange has been set by Brad Wetmore; Brown, Green, Red and Blue have been set by Werner Haag. All will use E-punching; rentals are available for $2 if you don't have your own E-punch chip. All will finish near the registration area.
Orange, Brown and Green will walk to a remote start 1.3km/100m climb from the registration area; allow 15-30 minutes to walk there. During your course you will be required to cross a road at a specific point; please exercise due caution.
Red and Blue will carpool to their start up on Mt. Hamilton Road at the Twin Gates parking area. This is a drive of 10 minutes and 3.5 miles (for you metric people, that's 0.00000000000018 parsecs). There are 19 parking spaces, but we should try to limit ourselves to about 10 cars in this lot at any one time. Please plan to carpool to the top and retrieve your car as soon as reasonable after you finish. In order to save resources, we do not plan to provide a shuttle to this area, nor will it be staffed. There will be an assembly area in the registration area parking lot to find other Red/Blue runners to carpool with if not arranged in advance. After checking in at th e start area near the registration area, please wait up to ten minutes for at least three runners per car before driving up the hill to Twin gates. The parking area is on the left side of the road and the start area is on the right side through the trail gate visible from the parking area. Clear, check, and punch in at the start area and follow streamers to the map pick up. We assume Red and Blue runners are familiar with the procedures and can start themselves; please ask at the main start area if you are uncertain.
Preliminary intermediate/advanced course statistics:
Orange 4.2 km 170 m climb (4.0%) Brown 3.7 km 135 m climb (3.6%) Green 4.6 km 165 m climb (4.1%) Red 6.0 km ~230 m climb (3.8%) Blue 7.9 km 270 m climb (3.4%)
Bob Cooley will be offering an opportunity to try Radio-O. Usually called ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding), Radio-O is a foot race to find transmitters hidden in a forest. A receiver and a directional antenna are used. There are 5 transmitters, and each one broadcasts sequentially for 1 minute in a 5 minute cycle. There is an O-flag and punch at the transmitter. Hunters will be given an orienteering map of the park and will start one at a time at the beginning of the 5 minute cycle. The 5 transmitters will be on a wavelength of 2 meters. Transmitters will be about 300m apart, and the entire course will be about the same distance as a Yellow course. There may be a separate event using a couple 80 meter transmitters.
To sign up just go to the table with receivers on it. You can start anytime between 10am and 1pm. Cost will be $6.
For the first time in many moons, we will offer a Start-O course. This is an ideal way for children to start to build orienteering skills. It's also a confidence builder, and great fun, for any novice. Controls are set in an area near registration; the area is chosen such that it's possible for a parent or guardian to keep an eye on a young orienteer throughout their course. The orienteer gets a map of the area showing where the controls are; they may visit them in any order.
The Start-O course will be very close to registration. It will be open 10-2. We ask for $1 to cover map costs. Pay for this at the Start-O course, not at main registration.
Preliminary Start-O course statistics: 0.5 km, 10 m climb (2.0%)
Courses close at 2:30 PM. All courses will use the same finish near the registration area. Please return to the finish and check in by 2:30 even if you have not completed the course so that we know you are off the course and do not need to send a search party.
Much of the terrain is open hillsides with some open forest; we have tried to keep route choices in forested areas. The map is generally accurate, but some vegetation features have changed since the original mapping and sometimes are not reliable. As usual, water features are seasonal and a lake or stream marked as blue may have dried up by the event date.
Joe Grant has the poison oak typical of our orienteering venues. Orienteers on Orange and above should take precautions. White and Yellow participants will not encounter heavy PO areas, but take the same precautions if you are quite susceptible. Blue has a leg where one route choice goes through a few short sections of fairly heavy PO.
Horses are occasionally seen in the park and always have right-of-way. If you encounter a horse and rider on the trail, slow down and walk or jog by cautiously so as not to startle the horse and endanger the rider.
There are herds of wild boar. They run away when you approach them and are not a danger.
You can be of great assistance by volunteering for an hour or two before or after your course. No experience necessary; your help is valuable even if you are a beginning orienteer or a non-orienteer. Contact Terry Farrah for more info or to sign up.
The prize will be a $5 coupon for merchandise at Scarborough Orienteering, redeemable on any purchase of $10 or more. Just report your name and mode of transit at registration to claim your prize. If you arrived on bike, show your bike; if you took public transit, show your ticket or receipt; and if you carpooled, report who was in your vehicle. Recipients will be honored in the event write-up, and special mention will be made of people who make special efforts!
To organize a carpool, post to the BAOC email list (to subscribe send a blank email to baoc-subscribeyahoogroups.com).
Public transit: From Marin/SF/Peninsula, take bus RRX (run by Caltrain) from San Francisco (8:10), Millbrae (8:31), Hillsdale (8:45), or Palo Alto (9:11) Caltrain stations. These busses accommodate two to four bicycles each. Disembark at the San Jose Diridon station at 9:48 and continue as below. For the return you will catch RRX northbound at 2:00, 4:00, or 6:00.
From the East Bay, take BART to Fremont. Be sure to get a transfer from a machine as you leave the station. Then take VTA express bus 180 to San Jose Diridon Caltrain station, about a 50 minute ride. With your transfer, youth and seniors are free; others pay $.85. Continue as below from San Jose station.
From the San Jose Diridon Caltrain station, take VTA bus 64 to the corner of Alum Rock and Mt. Hamilton Rd, about a half hour ride. Wait near the orange and white orienteering sign (SSW corner) for a driving orienteer to bring you the final eight miles up twisty Mt. Hamilton Rd.
Please don't rely on what you read here; confirm all schedule information yourself before you leave. The Santa Clara VTA schedule changes April 14, so VTA schedule information won't be posted until later.
Driving: Take the Alum Rock Avenue exit off either Hwy 101 or I-680 in San Jose, and head for the hills (east). (This exit is about one mile northeast of the 280/680/101 interchange.) Continue on Alum Rock Road for about 2 miles to Mt. Hamilton Rd. Orienteers may be waiting there for a ride; if you pick them up and arrive at the meet with a full vehicle (or 3 adults) you all get prizes! Turn right onto Mt. Hamilton Rd. and drive for about 8 curvy miles; the park entrance will be on your right, just past the right-hand T-intersection with Quimby Rd. Pay the $4 vehicle fee at the kiosk and follow the O signs to parking and registration near the San Felipe picnic area.