2018 California Orienteering Week (COW)

California Orienteering Week (COW)

Stage 7: Deer Creek Hills Preserve

Date: Sunday, March 25, 2018
Location: Rancho Murieta, CA
Event Director: - 916.220.0224
Course Setters: Heidi Cusworth (GCO), Bill Cusworth (GCO)
Type: A; Middle-distance National Event with recreational beginner courses

Latest Changes:

Request for Early Runners added. (3/22)
Driving Directions changed! (3/22)
Time of awards ceremony added. (3/16)
Junior Team Fundraiser added. (3/14)
Course Setters'/Mapper's Notes revised. (3/14)
Special Liability Forms added (3/13)
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 Setters'/Mapper's Notes added. (3/12)

Table of contents

Request for Early Runners

We are recruiting early runners. We're looking for early runners for both days and all courses. If you would like to help us out and run early, enter your email in this sheet (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ocZcpDgLdV5y5dDoL-eNuTYLq864B4em3imgXu7Pcc0/edit?usp=sharing). The best recruits would be on the faster end of the spectrum, in order to get the run done before the first start.

Perk: If you run early, and spot a problem that slows your run down, you will earn points equal to your best day of the COW series!

Welcome to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. You are in a way part of history here with many firsts:

We hope you will enjoy this place as much as we do.

More details will be added below 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.


Registration open: 8:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Beginner clinics: 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Start window: 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Courses close: 1:00 PM
Junior Team Sandwiches: 10:30 AM to Noon
Awards ceremony: Noon

Junior Team Fundraiser

If you are participating at this event, your checklist just got shorter. Grab lunch after your run by visiting the National Junior Program (NJP) Junior Team table in the Assembly Area, where you will be able to make your own sandwich whether you are a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore. This is a fundraiser for the team. Find out more and "reserve" your $5 sandwich(es) here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSec83EEW_4p86ZrrdDRmgnYOYI13GIOIPmrcIZDsM0jfGFOcg/viewform).

Reserve your sandwich (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSec83EEW_4p86ZrrdDRmgnYOYI13GIOIPmrcIZDsM0jfGFOcg/viewform) by Wednesday, March 21. You may be able to get one even if you don't reserve​—​the form is mainly to help the Junior Team know how much food stuff to buy. See you soon, and thank you for supporting the Junior Team!

Mobile Phone Coverage

There is pretty good cell phone coverage throughout the preserve.

Other Park Users

We do not have exclusive access to the preserve. On Saturday, March 24, the Sacramento Valley Conservancy (SVC) is hosting "self guided hikes", and one of the other SVC partners, REI, will be having ~10 people out for an outdoor clinic. Please be respectful to these other users if you encounter them on your course.

Special Liability Forms

We are required to collect a separate Release of Liability from all participants. These forms will be available at the Start location (less than 200 yards from the Assembly Area).

Note: Minors need to get a parent/guardian signature, so we will have forms available at the recreational registration desk (in the Assembly Area) so that parents/guardians don't need to join their minor to the Start location. Please make sure your minor takes their signed form with them to the Start.

Notes for Competitive Entries

Notes for Recreational Entries


Here are the final course details:

    Course    Length       Climb     Controls   Stops
    White     2.7 km     45 m  1.7%     12        1  
    Yellow    3.0 km     65 m  2.2%     13        1
    Orange    4.2 km     90 m  2.1%     16        1
    Brown     3.6 km     90 m  2.5%     16        1
    Green     4.8 km    145 m  3.0%     20        1
    Red       5.3 km    145 m  2.7%     20        2
    Blue      5.8 km    165 m  2.8%     22        2

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 "1.5 km" course might cover about 1.5 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).

Course Comments

The courses are set to the IOF standard for Middle courses, which emphasizes technical challenge and has a number of short- to medium-length legs with changes of direction, but not much route choice. There is almost no overlap in terrain with Saturday's Long courses, except on White.

Controls have been placed very close together in some areas, so as usual, check your codes!

There are two mandatory gate crossings on the Orange, Green, Red, and Blue courses.

See the Course Setters' Notes below for additional comments.

Start Procedure

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

For both days at Deer Creek Hills, you are in the Start Triangle when you are at the Start Line.

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

Driving Directions

(These directions apply to both the Saturday and Sunday events. They are duplicated on both event webpages.)

From Sacramento: Take Highway 50 to the Bradshaw Exit, turn right (south) onto Bradshaw, turn left (east) onto Jackson Road (Highway 16), continue east, past the Dillard Road light, and turn left on Latrobe Road. Follow this past Scott Road to a severe right turn onto Stone House Road. Do not make this turn, but rather travel straight onto a dirt road, the continuation of Latrobe Road. Travel approximately one mile to the Eagle Camp Corral. This part of Latrobe is rocky and rutted. See more information below under Parking.

Note: The following directions were changed on March 22nd because Scott Road has been closed. This map (https://goo.gl/maps/hoNSyAx562F2) shows the new route from the event hotel.

From Folsom: Take Highway 50 to the Prairie City Road exit. Turn south onto Prairie City Road. Prairie City Road will dead-end into White Rock Road. Turn right (west) onto White Rock Road, and follow this road until it turns into Grant Line Road. Continue on Grant Line Road for several miles to Jackson Road (Highway 16). Turn left (east) and continue east on Jackson Road, past the Dillard Road light, and turn left onto Latrobe Road. Follow this past Scott Road to a severe right turn onto Stone House Road. Do not make this turn, but rather travel straight onto a dirt road, the continuation of Latrobe Road. Travel approximately one mile to the Eagle Camp Corral. This part of Latrobe is rocky and rutted. See more information below under Parking.


This section describes getting to the Assembly Area (there is a map on this GCO webpage (http://goldcountryorienteers.org/schedule.html)).

Note: Due to uncertainty about Crevis Creek passibility allow extra time to get here!

If people carpool, we might be able to fit most of the cars right near the Assembly Area (the big "P" on the map). But more than likely, late entrants or possibly cars with low clearance (read more below) will need to park along Latrobe Road where it is wide enough to still support traffic (use your judgment if a parking attendant is not available).

For people parking along Latrobe Road, the walk to the Assembly Area will be between 0.5 and 1.0 mile. Therefore, we will have a van shuttle taking people who need it to the Assembly Area from along the road in the morning, and the reverse in the afternoon. Some of the specifics depend on the water level in Crevis Creek, which runs across (not under!) Latrobe Road, and it changes daily during wet weather. Here are the different scenarios, and event staff will be in place to direct people as needed:

  1. If Crevis Creek is passable by all cars: In this scenario, cross Crevis Creek on the left/NW side of the road where it is the shallowest, and proceed to the Assembly Area parking. When the Assembly Area parking is full, staff will ask people arriving to park along the road, and either walk or catch the van to the Assembly Area.
  2. If Crevis Creek is passable only by high-clearance vehicles: In this scenario, if you have a high-clearance vehicle, cross Crevis Creek on the left/NW side of the road where it is the shallowest, and proceed to the Assembly Area parking. If you don't have a high-clearance vehicle, or when the Assembly Area parking is full, staff will ask people arriving to park along the road, and either walk or catch the van to the Assembly Area.
  3. If Crevis Creek is not passable by any vehicles (very unlikely): In this scenario, staff will ask people arriving to park along the road, and either walk or catch the van to the Assembly Area.

Course Setters' and Mapper's Notes

By Heidi and Bill Cusworth

(These notes apply to both the Saturday and Sunday events. They are duplicated on both event webpages.)

Deer Creek Hills is a wonderfully open area, mostly wide open grazing land with large oak trees, with no poison oak or thick vegetation. It's probably the nicest terrain that we've encountered in the state of California. At this time of year, the grass is green and short, the oak trees don't yet have leaves, and the ground is soft. Visibility is very high, and the courses will be fast. Deer Creek Hills is an open-space preserve managed by the Sacramento Valley Conservancy, and open to the public for special events only. It's used primarily as grazing land for cattle. The area was used once before for a 4-hour Nav-X Map Trek event in autumn 2016. The area used for this event will be a small portion of the whole area, where there is a bit more forest.

General Course Comments

The Finish will be in the Assembly Area (the corral) both days. In fact, the Start, Finish, first control, and last control, will be exactly the same for both days. The distance to the Start from the Assembly Area is 180 meters, with 5 meters of climb. All the courses on both days will start with the exact same first leg, a 180-meter run along a road to a road/trail junction in lieu of a run to a start triangle. There will be two E-punch units at this first control, and also two E-punch units at the last control.

The warm-up area for the event is located along Latrobe Road, west of the Assembly Area. There is very little normal vehicle traffic on Latrobe Road, so the majority of the vehicles on the road will be orienteers.

In some areas of the park, controls have been placed very close together, so be sure to check your codes when punching! 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).

Notes About the Map

The map is based on the ISOM 2000 standard with the exception of form lines, which are based on the ISOM 2017 standard and are a little thinner than the regular contours. The field checking was done in summer 2017 through spring 2018.

The map scale is 1:10,000 with 5-meter contours (derived from LiDAR data) and a number of 2.5 m form lines in the flat areas. Magnetic-north lines are 500 meters apart.

Control Descriptions

Control descriptions will be printed on the map. The White and Yellow courses have both text and symbol descriptions. All the other courses have just symbols.

These special symbols are used: Fallen trees (brown × on the map) are indicated by "rootstock, ruined". If there is an actual rootstock over 1 m tall, then just "rootstock" is used. Standing dead trees (green × on the map) are indicated as "lone tree, ruined".

Vegetation Mapping

The forest is very open, and even the white areas can seem like semi-open. Consequently, the boundaries between open forest and open land with scattered trees (semi-open) are not very distinct. But the main thing to note about this area is that it is just about devoid of any thick vegetation, such as bushes or even tall grass. Every bit of green on the map is due to trees of one form or another. Most of the trees are large oaks with a high canopy, but there are some smaller trees with branches close to the ground that are mapped with a light- or medium-green area. However, 95% of the green areas on the map are due to fallen trees. Single or small areas of fallen trees are mapped with the brown × symbol. This symbol is generally used for rootstocks, but most of the downed trees do not have a distinctive rootstock, so the brown × is centered on the whole tree. Where there were a number of downed trees in an area that couldn't be shown with a single brown ×, a green area symbol is used, such as undergrowth (vertical green lines) or one of the solid green areas (light, medium, and dark green) depending on the visibility and overall thickness of the area. The solid-green areas are used primarily when there were downed trees under forest canopy.

Other vegetation symbols: Green circle is used for a single distinct live tree; Green × is for a distinct dead tree (snag); Green dot is used for a small tree.

Roads and Trails

Due to the new grass growth in the spring, many roads and trails have become less distinct than shown on the map. Most of the trails are cattle paths that can change in intensity depending on the recent movement patterns of the cattle. Ranch roads that have become indistinct are mapped with the narrow-ride symbol.

Water Features

There has been recent rain, so most natural watercourses and ditches will be wet. For the most part, the map has been adjusted to show correct water levels of ponds and streams in the spring. In the past, many man-made ditches that closely follow the contours of the land were dug to sell water diverted from streams to gold miners. The remnants of these ditches are mapped as small erosion gullies (brown dots), and generally there is no water in them. Many have become indistinct over time, and are only about 0.2–0.3 meter deep.

Rock Features

This area contains many examples of "tombstone rocks", rocks that are arranged in thin sheets and then tilted perpendicular to the ground. We also like to think of them as "shark fins". They are mostly less than 1 m tall and mapped as rocky ground. For the larger ones, it was a challenge to decide whether they are better mapped as boulders or small rock faces (cliff). Generally, if there is a significant drop on 2 sides, it is mapped as a boulder, even if it is only a 0.1–0.2 meter thick.


The area is bisected in the roughly north-south direction by a barbed-wire fence that has four gates. Two gates will be used on Saturday (Green, Red, and Blue courses), and two different gates will be used on Sunday (Orange, Green, Red, and Blue courses). They will be marked on the map as mandatory crossing points, and you will be disqualified if you are caught climbing the fence.

It is very important to close the gates behind you to keep cattle from passing from one field to the other. If this happens, it will greatly jeopardize our future use of the area. We have installed a temporary bungee cord with a clip to make it quicker and easier for you to secure the gate behind you.


There will be water on the courses approximately every 2.5 km. However, due to the locations of access roads, these water stops will not be perfectly evenly distributed throughout your course. Do not litter​—​leave cups in the provided litter bags.


Poison Oak: None, zilch, nada.

Watercourses: Most watercourses will be just a little muddy, but Crevis Creek (the main creek flowing through the middle of the map) is difficult to cross without getting your feet wet. You will most likely get your feet wet crossing Crevis Creek right before the last control on Sunday.

Cattle: They will be present during our event. They are very skittish since they see very few people in general, so expect them to stampede away from you before you reach them. Because of their presence, it is very important that every participant must close fence gates behind them after passing through. Try not to get between a mother cow and her calf.

Rocks: Be careful not to trip on the previously mentioned "shark fins". Land sharks have been known to bite ...