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Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

Date: (Sun.) May. 3, 2015
Location: Novato, CA
Event Director: - 415.895.6039
Course Setters: Janne Peltola, Teija Lehmuskoski
Type: B; Full complement of Middle-distance courses, beginner through advanced

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Request for Help:

If you are planning to come, I’d appreciate it if you would consider helping with control pick-up after the event. Control pick-up will start promptly at 2 PM (course closure time), and with enough volunteers, I can promise that everyone will be finished before 3. You can let me know ahead of time, or just look me up at the event. Thanks! — , Event Director (April 30th)

Yes, there is orienteering life after our A-meet at Joe Grant County Park. One week later we will be congregating at the Indian Valley campus in Novato for our traditional spring Indian Valley event. Gary was vetting the courses on April 19, and kept pausing to appreciate the beauty. You will get lots of wildflowers, nice oak forest mixed with sunny clearings, great views on the more advanced courses, and some campus sprint mixed in with the more technical and physical controls of the southern and northern hills. Poison oak can also be found in spots, but it is generally easy to avoid, and even non-existent for large portions of the courses.

The weather forecast, as of April 30th, is for cooler temperatures. Indian Valley is the only BAOC event on the schedule until the end of May, when Scott Aster is hosting an event at Golden Gate Park.

What is Orienteering?

An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! You can explore a course by yourself or go as a team with your friends. You will get a highly detailed orienteering map, probably unlike any map you have seen before. The map will have a lot of detail on it, such as fences, boulders, lone trees, vegetation boundaries, and anything else you might see. Your course will be printed on the map.

Orienteering is easy to learn, a challenge to master, and incredibly fun!


  9:00 AM – Registration opens (closes at noon sharp​—​no latecomers!)
  9:30 AM – Beginner's clinic instruction available (free)
10:00 AM – Starts open, you can start on courses anytime until 12:30
  1:00 PMBAOC Annual General Meeting
  2:00 PM – Courses close, checkpoint pick-up begins

At registration, all juniors must be accompanied by parents or legal guardians, or bring with them a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian (the registration form is available here (PDF/100KB)).

Beginner's clinics are repeating sessions that provide an introduction to orienteering and enough instruction to be able to complete a beginner (White) course. The sessions will continue until 10:30–11:00 (they could stop earlier if there is no more demand).

Please note that everyone must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and check in at E-punch, even if you don't complete your course. We need to account for all participants, because otherwise we must organize a search party for you.

After you finish, enjoy free snacks and refreshments, and socialize with other participants!


Note: The new fees listed below (approved by the Board on March 10) apply at this event.

  $3 for juniors on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for juniors on intermediate and advanced courses  
$12 member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$18 non-member price for intermediate and advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an electronic fingerstick rental (if you don't own one, you'll need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest-cost individual one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

For extra people on a team, add $7 per adult for intermediate and advanced courses or $5 per adult on beginners' courses (with lower prices for juniors).

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ.

Location Within the Park

Registration and E-punch will be at the normal spot, adjacent to the college swimming pool. All the courses will finish close to registration.


The White course is perfect for first-timers and families with small children. It is a beginning-level orienteering course that is completely on trails and paths.

The Yellow course is advanced beginner level, mostly along trails, but with easy cross-country opportunities available. If you wish, you can do both courses at this event, as there will be no overlapping controls.

The Orange course is intermediate level, but physically long and tough. This is a great course for adventure racers and others with stamina and enthusiasm, or anyone who wants to see stunning views of the San Francisco Bay from the top of the ridge south of the campus.

The Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses are difficult both technically and physically. These will be "Middle"-style courses, with many controls and fine map-reading required.

The course statistics are as follows:

    Course     Length     Climb
    White      1.9 km      55 m  
    Yellow     2.3 km      65 m
    Orange     2.8 km     140 m
    Brown      2.5 km      80 m
    Green      3.6 km     205 m
    Red        4.1 km     235 m
    Blue       4.5 km     240 m

The Orange and Brown courses are technically and physically easier than normal. This means that Indian Valley will be a good event for Yellow runners to try their first Orange, or for Orange runners to try their first Brown.

Beginners should be aware that the course lengths above represent the cumulative straight-line distances between the controls. The actual distance you will travel will depend on your route choices (and any errors you might make), and will certainly be somewhat longer. The Climb numbers represent the amount of ascent one would experience on the "optimum route", without regard for any decent along the course.

There are unmapped trails everywhere, which often are quite distinct and runnable for short distances. These trails may have been created by animals, mountain bikers, orienteers, and adventurous hikers, or some combination thereof, but if you find them, they can be quite helpful. Also be warned: the advanced courses go through some areas with steep slopes that can be potentially dangerous (shoes with cleats are definitely desirable).

The course setters are Janne Peltola and Teija Lehmuskoski. Janne’s parents are coming from Finland, and will be orienteering at Indian Valley with us.

What to Bring

For beginners' courses, comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For intermediate and advanced courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well as shoes with some extra grip on the sole. The courses will be steep!

A compass is not necessary, but can be helpful. We have compasses available for a $1 rental fee.

We time the courses with the SPORTident system; a SPORTident finger stick can be rented for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Venue Facilities

Water fountains and flush toilets are available, as well as a large sunny lawn, so please feel free to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.


Participants on the intermediate and advanced courses should be aware that the park has some poison oak that you will want to avoid. However, it seems to be less vigorous than in some past years (some good news from the drought?), so it shouldn't be much of a concern. It looks like this. Washing clothes and shoes and bathing with dishwashing soap, or a commercial product such as Tecnu, is recommended to remove the irritant oil.

BAOC Annual General Meeting

The 2015 BAOC AGM, including the election of club officers, will be held at 1:00 at this event. More information is available here.

Volunteers Needed

Gary Kraght, the Event Director, will be totally appreciative to anyone who can volunteer to help at the event, either before or after their run. Please send an email if you can help out. Rosemary Johnson is always looking for help at E-punch, so if that interests you, let or know.

And, finally, the event will use lots of control units, many in remote locations. So help with control pick-up is essential. You don't need to let Gary know before the event (although you can if you wish), but please plan on helping to pick up controls afterwards if you are an experienced orienteer and can fit it into your schedule. If you are in a carpool and can talk your carpool buddies into it, even better!! Courses will close, and control pickup will begin, at 2:00 PM sharp.

Driving Directions

To get to the Indian Valley campus, take Highway 101 through Marin County to southern Novato, and exit at Ignacio Blvd. Go west on Ignacio Blvd as far as you can go, where it terminates at the College of Marin Indian Valley campus entrance. Follow the campus road to its end, and park in the huge parking lot.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event.