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Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 2, 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.878.5073
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel
Type: B; Standard "B-meet" with courses for beginners, intermediate, and advanced — NOTE THE ROAD CLOSURE!

Course Setters' Notes

By Derek Maclean

Note: An update was added on March 30th.

We have another treat coming up quickly after the National Event. Course setters Derek Maclean and Kim van Berkel, along with Event Director Peter Graube, are pleased to welcome you to Joe Grant County Park for our 2017 spring orienteering event.

General event information, including directions and important road-closure information, can be found on the main event webpage.

Current information on the courses and conditions in the park follows.


Here are the course details:

    Course     Length    Climb   Controls
    White      2.0 km     50 m       8  
    Yellow     3.1 km    120 m      15
    Orange     4.0 km    190 m      19
    Brown      3.6 km    165 m      16
    Green      4.6 km    210 m      18
    Red        6.2 km    320 m      17
    Blue       7.6 km    370 m      20

Beginners should be aware that course lengths are measured "as the crow flies", in straight lines from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! To estimate how far you might actually go, change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "3 km" course, you might travel up to "3 mi").

The White course is all on trails, and can be completed with a rugged stroller.

The Yellow course is mostly on or near trails, but has more cross-country than is sometimes seen, following a ridge and forest boundary for about 1/3 of the course. Yellow has no required fence crossings, and competitors should not need to cross any fences except through gates.

Orange has a mix of easier and more difficult legs, mostly off-trail, although never too far from a trail or other linear feature (like fences). The course generally stays in the easier (more open) terrain, although there are sometimes steep uphill and downhill slopes.

Brown through Blue are advanced courses that are as technical as possible within the limitations of the area. They are almost entirely off trail, and are intended for those with prior navigation experience.


Poison oak (PO) is widespread throughout the park, and this will likely be a bumper year. All the courses might encounter PO, and it is a good idea to know what it looks like so you can avoid it where possible. The White, Yellow, and Orange courses will see PO, but it should be easily avoided. The advanced courses, especially Red and Blue, will see more of it, and it might be harder to fully avoid. Washing exposed skin thoroughly after the event is recommended, possibly using a specialist product (like Tecnu), although regular soap (or dish soap) works for most people.

Slopes can be steep and slippery. Shoes with good grip are recommended, especially on advanced courses. Green, Red, and Blue, in particular, enter very rugged areas where footing can be especially difficult. These courses should not be attempted without suitable footwear.

Erosion gullies will be encountered on the advanced courses, and in some cases these are more extensive than mapped, given the recent rains. In all locations that we have visited, and all reasonable routes that we have tried, gullies have been quite easily crossable.

The Green course is quite a bit more rugged than Brown, and passes through some very steep areas. We have tried to minimize climb, and therefore contouring across some steep slopes and reentrants is needed. Red and Blue are even more rugged than Green, and reach some fairly remote areas of the park.

Animal hazards include cows, which might be grazing in the area of the courses. These are docile, but might be curious. They normally move away from people, but can be encouraged to do so, if needed, with a shout and wave. Try to avoid going between cow and calves. Wild pigs are present throughout the park. You will see much evidence of their activity (rooting up ground), but are unlikely to see them as they typically hide in brush during daylight and avoid people. Ticks are present in the park, and might carry illnesses. Inspect your body soon after the event, and remove ticks before they become attached. Mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes might be present, as in all local parks. Rattlesnakes live in the park, and might possibly be seen sunning on rocky areas if the weather is warm.

This probably isn't a hazard to you, but you must be careful when approaching horses. If you encounter horses, you must slow to a walk and talk to the riders so as not to spook the horses, and to let them know you are a human and not a cougar. Be particularly careful not to jump out of the forest onto a trail with horses on it.

Map Comments

On the advanced courses, control placement will typically be on the far side of the feature, such that the feature will be seen before the control. On occasion, where courses share controls, this might not be possible, and the control might be more visible on approach than would be ideal. However there are relatively few such instances, and we trust it will not detract from the overall navigational challenge.

In general, the area is wetter than mapped. Streams are flowing, but they are crossable. Unmapped streams and boggy ground might be encountered. Ponds might be larger than mapped.

Much of the map was resurveyed in 2014. The mostly open area near the parking area and close to the Start was not part of this update. Orange and longer courses might use this area. Open ground in this section has quite a bit of unmapped brush that is waist height or higher, but is generally easy to pass through, with good visibility. Mapped bushes have expanded somewhat in this area, and gaps between bushy areas might be narrower than shown. The courses have been planned to take account of this.

There are numerous unmapped animal trails throughout the park. These might be useful, especially when crossing reentrants or fences, as the animals tend to know good routes. Sometimes these trails can be almost as prominent as mapped indistinct trails. Some mapped trails have grassy overgrowth, and might be hard to see when crossing, but should be easy to follow.

Boulders of less than 0.5 m are not mapped. Some areas with many small rocks are mapped as rocky ground. Other such areas might not indicate rocky ground on the map. Sometimes a mapped boulder will be in an otherwise unmapped rocky area, and might be used for a control. In this case the mapped boulder will be larger and more prominent than others in the area.

As is typical in lightly wooded areas like this park, the difference between lone tree and small copse (group of trees, mapped as white) can be subtle. A small copse might have as few as two trees, and they might be almost as far apart as what would be mapped as two lone trees. The presence of dead or fallen trees can further complicate this. Most dead or fallen trees are not mapped. When the fallen tree had been part of a mapped copse, its absence might change the shape of the copse. These cases have not been remapped for this event. The mapped extent of the copse might include the canopy of a now fallen tree (which will be seen on the ground).

We have tried to minimize fence crossings, although they cannot be entirely avoided on the Green, Red, and Blue courses (Brown has no necessary fence crossings). Where necessary, it is usually best to roll or crawl under the bottom strand of the fence. It will normally be possible to find a suitable gap under the fence by looking a short distance along the fence. When larger trails cross a fence, there is always a gate, and in considering route choice you might wish to look for such opportunities. Be sure to close all gates after passing through.

March 30th Update

All the courses have a 600 m walk along a level trail to the Start. This will be signed from the registration area. Please follow the streamers, and allow 10 minutes to get to the Start.

Maps for all the courses, except Red and Blue, are printed at 1:7,500 scale. The maps for Red and Blue are 1:10,000.

The park does not want us serving open containers of food and water at the event. We will have a selection of sealed food items, and some small individual water bottles. However, it would be a good idea to bring your own water and reusable bottle. There is water at the assembly area, including a water fountain and some faucets that should be running.

There are toilets adjacent to the assembly area.

One gate in the park is taped off with Caution tape to warn of a bridge closure further up the trail. None of our courses will go near that bridge. Please just pass through the gate opening by ducking under the tape. All the courses except White might go past this gate.

Remember that Mt Hamilton Road is closed due to a landslide. Google maps seems to have finally acknowledged this. Quimby Road is the most obvious alternative route. (See the driving directions on the main event page.)