Joseph D. Grant County Park
Date: (Sun.) Mar. 11, 2018
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.604.3760
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel, Jitka Hiscox
Type: B; Standard 7-course event for beginners through advanced
Friday, March 9th, Update
- It's looking good for Sunday's event at Joe Grant County Park, and we are looking forward to seeing you all there.
- The weather forecast is for cool, cloudy weather, with a chance of showers. Should be perfect for running! The ground is soft and the hills are green.
- Remember that Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday! Clocks go forward one hour. But the times for the meet remain as always: last start 12.30, courses close 2 PM.
- Other important reminders:
- Please re-read the request from the Ranger (below) regarding gates and horses.
- Write all relevant information on your registration forms: car description, license plate, and a phone number where we can reach you.
- Most importantly, remember to download your E-stick whether you complete your course or not!
- Finally, we could use a few more volunteers, so please reach out to or and let us know where you would like to help.
- – Derek
March in the foothills of Mount Hamilton should be perfect conditions for springtime orienteering. The grass will be green, the ground will be soft and ideal for running.
Please be aware that there are cows grazing and horses being ridden in the park, which might be in the area of the courses. When encountering horses, slow to a walk and talk to the riders so as not to spook the horses and let them know you are a human and not a cougar.
Be sure to read the Course Setters' Notes for more information.
What is Orienteering
An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! Navigate to checkpoints using a specially-produced map. Participants may enter individually or in teams of up to five people. You can read more about orienteering here.
Remember that Daylight Saving Time will have begun!
- 9:00 AM – 11:59 AM: Registration open
- 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginners' clinic instruction (free)
- 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Starts open (*)
- 2:00 PM: Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins
- (*) Note: There is a long walk to the Start for the Orange and advanced courses (see below).
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)).
Note that you can register and start on courses anytime between the open and close times above. Thus, for example, you do not need to be "punctual" at 9:00 (but you can if you want, but please don't show up earlier and expect to be served).
Beginners' clinics are short, repeating sessions that introduce the sport of orienteering, and provide enough instruction to be able to complete the beginner (White) course.
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, stick around and socialize with other participants!
The following fees apply at this event.
- $3 for juniors (age 8 through 20) on beginner's (White) and advanced beginner's (Yellow) courses
- $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
- $5 for juniors on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown, Green, Red, Blue) 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)
Note: We are able to accept payment only by cash or check—no credit cards or electronic payments.
For extra people on a team, add $5 per adult on beginners' courses or $7 per adult on intermediate and advanced courses (with lower prices for juniors).
More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/100KB), which you can print and fill out in advance to save some time at the event. (You will need one entry form for each group of people going on a course together.) Please note that the form has a second page for signatures of group members.
What to Bring
For beginners' courses (White and Yellow), comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.
For intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown through Blue) courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well shoes with some extra grip on the sole.
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, so each entry/team needs to have a SPORTident fingerstick. If you don't have your own, you can rent one at registration for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)
Picnic tables, piped water, and flush toilets are available, so please feel free to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.
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.
Here are the details of the courses:
Navigational Physical Course Length Climb Controls Difficulty Difficulty White 2.3 km 50 m 10 Easy Easy Yellow 3.5 km 150 m 13 Easy Easy Orange 3.8 km 200 m 15 Moderate Moderate Brown 4.4 km 190 m 16 Hard Moderate Green 5.6 km 250 m 16 Hard Hard Red 6.5 km 330 m 21 Hard Very Hard Blue 7.9 km 360 m 25 Hard Very Hard
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 "2.3 km" course might cover about 2.3 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).
The Start for the White and Yellow courses is close to the assembly area.
The Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses have a remote Start 2 km from the assembly area, mostly flat on road and trails. Allow 25 minutes to get there.
The Finish for all courses is near the assembly area.
Be sure to read the Course Setters' Notes for more information.
For participants on the intermediate and advanced courses, the park has some poison oak which you will want to avoid. It looks like this. Washing clothes and shoes, and bathing exposed areas with dishwashing soap (which removes the irritant oil) or a commercial product such as Tecnu is recommended.
Deer ticks are found in this area and may carry Lyme disease.
All fence gates must be left as they were found.
Please note that horses always have the right of way. If you encounter equestrians while running on a multi-use trail or road, please walk until you are clear of the horses. A startled horse could throw and injure the rider. Also be careful not to jump onto a trail when horses are nearby.
Request for Volunteers
As always, we need volunteers for this event. Please consider volunteering to help in one of the ways below.
- Set Up At Assembly Area: 7:30–9:00
- Registration: 9:30–12:00
- Beginner Clinics: 9:30–10:30
- Advanced Starts (Brown–Blue): 9:30–12:30
- Beginner (White & Yellow) Starts: 9:30–12:30
- Finish (near Assembly area): 10:30–14:00
- Control Pickup: 14:00–16:00
Please send email to if you can help.
The approximate coordinates for the assembly area are 37.3357,–121.7159.
To reach the park, take I-680 to the Alum Rock Avenue exit in San Jose. (From southbound Hwy 101, it's easiest to go past Alum Rock Ave, exit onto I-680, and then exit to Alum Rock Ave.) Head east on Alum Rock to Mt. Hamilton Road. Take a right onto Mt. Hamilton Rd and proceed about 7.5 miles to the park entrance on your right. Be careful to look for bicyclists along twisty Mt. Hamilton Rd.
Here's an alternative route choice (after all, orienteering is all about route choice): Quimby Road is believed to be faster, with a shorter (but steeper) windy road, than Mt. Hamilton Rd from Alum Rock. Some people (and Google Maps) recommend this route even for those coming from the north on I-280 or Hwy 101. In that case, from 101 South exit at Tully Rd, and head east (toward the hills). Turn right onto Quimby Rd (just before East Ridge Shopping Center); take this up and over the hill until it meets Mt Hamilton Road. Turn right and go a few hundred meters to the park entrance on your right.
From the south, coming up 101, take the Capitol Expy exit and head east (toward the hills). Go about 1.5 miles, turn right onto Quimby Road, and follow the directions just above.
At the park entrance, pay the $6 park entry fee (if the entrance booth is unattended, use the ticket machine, which accepts credit cards or cash), and go about 0.6 miles to the parking area designated by the O' signs.
There's a map here that shows the location of the event.
People sometimes meet at the junction of Alum Rock Ave and Mt. Hamilton Rd, where there is plenty of parking. That might seem so near the park as to not be helpful, but it does save the twisty drive up Mt. Hamilton Rd, and the park entrance fee for the cars that are left below.
Similarly, people taking the Quimby Rd route could meet at East Ridge Shopping Center (at Tully and Quimby).