2018 California Orienteering Week (COW)

California Orienteering Week (COW)

Stage 2: Morgan Territory Regional Preserve

Date: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Location: Livermore, CA
Event Director: - 510.407.1876
Course Setter: Matej Šebo (BAOC)
Type: A; Middle-distance National Event with recreational beginner courses

Latest Changes:

Carpool Sites added. (3/15)
Driving Directions added. (3/13)
Start times (https://www.orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/a40/reglist/home/cow2018) have been assigned (3/12)
Final course details posted. (3/12)
Course Setter's Notes added. (3/12)

Table of Contents

Details will be added here as they become available.

"Believe the Website"

The printed material in your registration packets went to press as information was still being added to the event webpages (i.e., the main event page and all seven "Stage" pages). Thus, if there is a conflict between the printed notes and the website, believe the website. We apologize for any confusion that might occur.


Packet pickup: 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Recreational registration open: 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Beginner clinics: 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Start window: 10:00 AM to noon
Courses close: 2:00 PM

Arrival Logistics

This section provides comments about getting to the Start on time, with time estimates for the various steps. See the driving directions below for how to get to the event venue.

The Assembly Area (E-punch download, day-of-event registration, snacks, shuttle pick-up, restrooms and porta-potties, etc.) will be at the Morgan Territory parking lot both days. Since this parking lot has limited capacity, most people will have to park at Indian Springs Ranch (9601 Morgan Territory Rd) adjacent to Morgan Territory​—​there will be signs, parking staff, etc. (Note: We are grateful to have permission to park on this private property. Please don't litter!)

Note: The road from I-580 to the park includes a lengthy section of narrow, steep, twisty, 1.5-lane road. Please allow more time for that drive than the distance would lead you to expect.

Carpooling is strongly encouraged due to possibly limited parking.

Note: There will be a toilet at the Start, but there could be a line. We recommend using the toilets at the Assembly Area.

Extra clothing left at the Start will be carried to the Assembly Area.

Notes for Competitive Entries

Notes for Recreational Entries


Here is final course information:

    Course    Length    Climb   Controls   Stops
    White     2.2 km     25 m      12        0  
    Yellow    2.2 km     35 m      11        0      
    Orange    3.2 km    135 m      19        0     
    Brown     3.1 km    120 m      20        1        
    Green     3.7 km    190 m      23        1            
    Red       4.3 km    210 m      25        1            
    Blue      4.9 km    230 m      30        1            

Recreational (non-competitive) entries will be allowed on the beginner-level (White and Yellow) and intermediate-level (Orange) courses.

Beginners should note that the course Length is simply the sum of the straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make). (A rough rule of thumb is to mentally replace "km" with "mi", so a "2.2 km" course might cover about 2.2 miles.)

Climb is an estimate of the cumulative "up" that would be encountered on the optimum route, with no regard for any "down" along the way. As with course length, the actual climb you encounter will depend on your route choices (and errors).

Start Procedure

The same start procedure will be used at every Stage of the COW event. It is described here.

For both days at Morgan Territory, after you punch START and pick up your map, you will follow streamers to the Start Triangle.

Note that there is a 2.6 km walk from the Assembly Area to the Start. Be sure to allow time to get there before your start time.

Assigned start times for competitive entries are available here (https://www.orienteeringusa.org/eventregister/a40/reglist/home/cow2018).

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates of the Assembly Area are 37.8186,-121.7956. The approximate coordinates for the turnoff for parking are 37.8156,-121.7954.

Please see the Arrival Logistics above for comments about parking.

From the Bay Area, take I-580 East to North Livermore Ave. After a straight, tree-lined stretch, North Livermore Ave ends at Manning Road. Go left and then promptly right on Morgan Territory Road (the first real street), which will ascend into the hills and to the park. It is a narrow, winding road​—​again, please drive slowly.

For anyone east of Livermore, do the same, reaching North Livermore Ave from I-580 West.

From the northeast bay (e.g., Antioch), there are more interesting route choices entering the park from the north. Consult your favorite mapping website or app (the coordinates of the Assembly Area and parking are above).

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

Carpool Sites

Carpooling is encouraged because of limited parking at the event. The Dublin/Pleasanton BART Station is a great place to pick up passengers for the ride up the mountain.

Another place to meet for a prearranged carpool is the Walmart parking lot (https://www.google.com/maps/@37.700036,-121.768405,16z?hl=en) (10 miles from the event). Just off I-680, at the North Livermore Ave exit​—​head south on N. Livermore Ave and turn left onto Las Positas Rd at the first intersection. Carpooling from a location that close to the event might not seem useful, but there are two benefits: one or more cars would avoid the drive up the narrow, twisty road, and more parking space would be available at the event site. (Please do not park close to the store entrance.)

Course Setter's Notes

By Matej Šebo

Morgan Territory is a beautiful park every spring, and this year is no exception. The grass is green, and the hillsides are beginning to sprout wildflowers. The terrain is generally fast, but deceptively tricky, with many places where mistakes can be made. A variety of terrain types occur in this park, from thick growths of manzanita, to rocky outcrops, to rolling open oak-covered hills, to steep hillsides.

Stage 2 is a highlight, with downhill courses that visit an area of the park that has never before been used for a Middle-distance course.

Start and Finish Locations

There will be one, remote Start location' for all the Stage-2 courses. It is located 2.6 km (real, not straight-line, distance) from the Assembly Area. The route to the Start is along park trails, and will be clearly marked with pin flags. It will take about 30–45 minutes of walking to reach the Start.

There is also one remote Finish location for all the Stage-2 courses. Walking from the Finish back to the Assembly Area is not feasible, but we will be providing regular shuttle service between a pick-up location close to the Finish and the Assembly Area. The shuttle pick-up location is located 0.5 km from the Finish, on the main park road. The shuttle drop-off location will be at the main Assembly Area. (The estimate of the wait for the next shuttle and the ride is 10–15 minutes.)

Course Comments

Participants on the Stage-2 Yellow course will follow a streamered, off-trail, marked route between two controls. The route will be clearly marked in the terrain with brightly-colored streamers, and on the map with a purple dashed line. Additionally, the control descriptions will clearly indicate which leg this is.

Participants on the Stage-2 Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses will have to cross one or more barbed-wire fences. Crawling or rolling underneath the lowest, loose wire is recommended. Gates are indicated with the black crossing-point symbol, and mapped gaps in fence lines are accurate.

All runners should carefully read the map when approaching a control. In some areas of the park, controls have been placed very close together. The standard IOF rules for minimum distances between controls have been followed (30 meters apart if on different features; 60 m apart if on similar features). Remember that not all of the controls you see will be on your course, so remember to check each control code before punching.

Map Comments

The Morgan Territory map, revised and updated for the U.S. Champs in 2016, and again for this event, is one of our club's finest. It is printed at a scale of 1:10,000 for all courses. The contour interval is 5 meters.

Most of the park is either open land (mapped orange) or open forest (mapped white). Vegetation boundaries are usually distinct and well-mapped.

Light- and medium-green areas are progressively slower than open forest, but still passable. Medium green is mostly manzanita. Areas mapped as dark green are usually manzanita or chaparral thickets (although they are sometimes massive poison oak bushes). It is a good idea to plan routes around dark green areas, as they are usually impenetrable.

Just about all rock features are accurately mapped, although they have been generalized in some places. Most mapped boulders are over 1 meter high. Stony ground consists of scattered rocks less than 1 meter high. Areas where multiple boulders (1 meter high) occur close together are mapped as boulder fields.

Lone trees are mapped with the hollow, green, circle symbol. Green ×s are dead trees that are still standing or dead, fallen trees (the map does not distinguish between these). On the control description sheet, both instances of these are marked with the "tree, ruined" symbol.


Poison oak is present, and the courses have been designed to avoid the worst areas. However, many of the rocky areas in the park contain large clumps of poison oak twigs. Most of these are avoidable if you recognize them. Long pants are recommended, as is washing with cold water and soap (or Tecnu) after the event.

Ticks might be present, so check your clothing and skin after you return from your course.

Footing can be slippery, especially if there is rain in the days leading up to the event. Shoes with good grip are advised, especially for competitors on Orange, Brown, Green, Red, or Blue.

There are a few locations in the park where small, unmapped clumps or strands of barbed wire have been left lying on the ground, likely the remnants of an old fence. I have tried to flag as many of these as possible with orange streamers to make them more visible, but there might be a few that I missed.

There are a lot of cows in the park, but they are generally docile if not antagonized. Please be careful not to come between a mother cow and her calf.