Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 11, 2007
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.878.5073
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Dean French, Jim Fish
Type: B; Standard seven courses (White through Blue), plus Long Orange course

Course Setters' Notes

Note: Remember that clocks go forward an hour Sunday morning.

Your course-setting team welcomes you to the first "proper" orienteering event of 2007. Joe Grant is a BAOC classic venue, and we have worked hard to provide quality courses for all levels.

The area is excellent for orienteering at this time of year. The ground is soft, and the park is lush and green. Stunning views all around are crowned by the Mt Hamilton observatory, seemingly close enough to touch. The spring flowers had not yet emerged as of this past weekend. Perhaps they will greet us next Sunday. Poison oak has not yet come into leaf, and will be much less of a concern than last year.

Seven courses are on offer. White, Yellow, and Orange will start and finish in proximity to the main parking area. Long Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue will be shuttled to a high Start, and will navigate back to the same Finish as the other courses. More details are provided below.

  Course         Length     Climb   Controls
  White          2.6 km      45 m      11
  Yellow         3.4 km      80 m      14
  Orange         4.7 km     210 m      11
  Long Orange    6.2 km     230 m      18
  Brown          4.7 km     145 m      13
  Green          5.7 km     205 m      16
  Red            6.9 km     250 m      16
  Blue           8.1 km     320 m      19

The White course requires no prior orienteering experience. The course is mostly on roads and dirt paths (stroller friendly!), with no exposure to poison oak.

The Yellow course is for advanced beginners, and will enhance knowledge by going off-trail (not stroller-friendly) using "handrails" (e.g., power lines & fences) to navigate from one control to another. There was no observable poison oak on the course.

Orange and Long Orange are for intermediate orienteers. They venture further afield, and the controls are more challenging than White and Yellow. The majority of the legs are off-trail, and participants will navigate using topographic features such as ridges and valleys, as well as man-made trails, fences, and powerlines. Long Orange traverses the wilder, more distant terrain at the upper reaches of the park, and is designed for intermediate orienteers who are capable of a more demanding physical challenge.

The advanced courses are designed to offer the maximum navigational challenge that the park can offer, with almost no trail running, careful route choice, and controls that require precise navigation.

Today’s advanced courses are on the long side. We felt that this was appropriate given the high Start, and overall net descent of 250 m from Start to Finish. Nevertheless, it is probably not a good day to move up a course.

Strong, cleated footwear is strongly recommended for the courses that go off-trail. Hillsides are frequently steep and slippery.

The map is reasonably accurate despite its age. Some lone trees have died and are now large rootstocks. Patches of open forest have tended to expand slightly from what is shown on the map. Light-green areas mostly represent thick to moderate underbrush. Many of these areas have also expanded from what is shown, however they are usually passable via numerous animal tracks. Light green may also indicate poison oak thickets. The courses have been designed to avoid these. Dark green is thick sage brush or poison oak, and should be avoided. The representation of tracks is generally quite accurate. There are a number of indistinct trails marked that may be hard to notice in some sections. There are many smaller animal trails that are not marked. Erosion gullies mapped with a solid brown line are steep-sided and can be very difficult to cross.

Derek Maclean
Dean French
Jim Fish

P.S. We still need volunteers for starts, finishes, shuttle drivers, beginner instruction, and control pickup. There is something for everyone. No experience is required for many tasks, and most require only a small time commitment. Maybe you could record starts for half an hour, or shuttle a single car-load three miles up the road to the advanced Start. Please consider giving some of your time to help. Thank you!