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Sunol Regional Wilderness

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 20, 2005
Location: Sunol, CA
Event Director: - 925.462.2254
Course Setter: Gary Carpenter
Type: B; All seven courses, plus a Long Orange (Adventure Race training) course

Early each spring, Sunol head ranger Dan Reasor claims, he eats a nice shiny leaf of poison oak that he swears is the secret behind his near-total immunity to the stuff. If true, this would be a Godsend to many of us BAOCers, although I don't think I'm quite ready to recommend this as a training procedure for local club events. (Is it possible for the inside of your stomach to itch?) But if anyone wants to try it, we'll have a bottle of ranch dressing and some bacon bits on hand at Registration.

It's time once again for Sunol-O'. We plan to provide the "standard 8" courses: White and Yellow courses at the beginner level, Orange and Long Orange courses at the intermediate level, and the usual Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses at the advanced level. The Long Orange course, which is about 30 to 50 percent longer than the ordinary Orange course, is particularly well suited to Adventure Racers, a growing contingent of competitors within our club. Electronic punching will be used on all courses, except the White and Yellow. The usual beginner's clinics will also be provided for newcomers to orienteering.

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The Registration and e-punch download will be located very close to the park ranger station. The White and Yellow courses will begin at a small Start area right near Registration. All the other courses will begin at a remote Start about 1.5 km uphill on a major trail that starts just on the other side of a footbridge next to Registration. The climb is about 200m. Allow yourself about 25-45 minutes to saunter up there. All courses will finish in a small field at the bottom of the trail that leads to the remote Start. (Yeah, the remote start is uphill, but think of all the climb you'll be spared on your course, which ends at the bottom of the hill).

Start times will be available on all courses from 10:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. All courses will close at 2:30 P.M. PLEASE BE SURE TO RETURN TO THE FINISH BY THIS TIME, even if you do not complete your course. Event registration will open at 9:00 A.M. We'll hold a beginner's clinic around 9:30 A.M. and we'll try to hold another one around 10:30.

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Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness is a land of moderate and steep slopes, half of them covered by open grassland and the other half covered by generally sparse forests of oak, bay laurel, and madrone. Patches of underbrush occur in denser parts of the forest and blanket a few hillsides (which will not lie on anyone's best route between controls). It's a little too early in the season to tell how prevalent the poison oak will be, but Sunol in the spring can be quite rife with shiny little leaves. All courses have certainly been engineered to avoid known areas of lush poison oak growth, but long sleeves and long pants are strongly recommended to avoid direct skin contact if a brushup does occur.

Driving Directions

Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness is in the East Bay. Take highway I-680 to the Calaveras Road exit near Sunol. Go south on Calaveras Road about six miles to Geary Road. Turn left onto Geary, and continue a couple of miles to the park entrance. Pay the entrance fee and follow the O' signs to the registration area. (Park only in designated parking areas. The rangers do give tickets.)

Note: The park entrance fee has been increased this year to $5 per car. Most likely a ranger will be on duty at the entrance kiosk to accept your payment, but if not, you must submit your payment to a machine that takes only $1, $5, and $10 bills, and gives only Sacagawea dollar coins as change.