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Joseph D. Grant County Park

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 17, 2019
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.878.5073
Course Setters: Derek Maclean, Kim van Berkel
Type: B; Standard seven-course event for beginners through advanced; sanctioned as a 1-day National Ranking Event (NRE)

Course Setters' Notes

By &

Here are the final Course Setter's Notes for our event at Joe Grant County Park, following a solid day in the field hanging controls.

The park is looking great, having benefited from several days break from the rain, and is drying out nicely. The ground is still soft, vegetation is low, and conditions should be perfect for orienteering.

It's going to be the warmest day of the year so far, in the low 70s in the afternoon. We have put out extra water on the courses, but you should arrive at the Start well hydrated. There is a water fountain adjacent to the registration area with copious, cool water. Fill up before you go to the Start!

The courses will be quite physical given the warm conditions, rugged terrain, and NRE status. It's probably not a good day to run up a course.

The Start location is the same for all the courses​—​800 m from registration along a flat trail. Allow 10–15 minutes to get there.

The notes below have been updated for current status and field conditions. Please take time to read them. See the important update for fence crossings affecting Orange and advanced courses, and a locked gate to climb on White and Yellow.

See you out there! – Derek, Kim, and Peter (Saturday, March 16, 6:05 PM)

Final Course Statistics

    Course    Distance    Climb  Controls  Stops  Description
    White      3.8 km      70 m     15       1    Beginner   
    Yellow     4.1 km     145 m     18       1    Advanced Beginner
    Orange     3.7 km     190 m     15       1    Intermediate
    Brown      4.3 km     170 m     16       2    Short Advanced
    Green      5.6 km     255 m     15       3    Intermediate Advanced
    Red        6.6 km     310 m     21       4    Long Advanced
    Blue       7.8 km     385 m     23       4    Extra-long Advanced

Beginners should be aware that the course lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. Your actual distance will be somewhat longer. For a rough estimate of how far you will actually go, mentally change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "3.8 km" course, you might travel about "3.8 mi"). The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the "optimum route" (in the Course Setter's opinion), without regard for any descending.

Course Notes

White course: 
Almost all on trails. Controls are visible from trails, but might require short sections through grass to reach the actual marker. Trails are mostly in good condition, but cows have churned up some sections, and there are still some muddy conditions. There is a gate that is currently locked that might need to be climbed over. We will try to have the gate opened, but be prepared.
Yellow course: 
Mostly on trails, with several off-trail options for short-cuts. Some trails are intermittent and require care to follow. Some controls require short cross-country routes. Sturdy footwear is recommended. Some sections are boggy and have not completely dried since the last storms. Be prepared to get your feet wet. Yellow might also have to climb the locked gate (see White course above).
Orange course: 
Mostly off trail, but with linear features such as trails or fences nearby to mitigate navigational errors. Some controls might be shared with Yellow or advanced courses, and might vary in degree of technical difficulty.
Advanced (BrownBlue) courses: 
Designed to be navigationally challenging, given the nature of the terrain. Courses emphasize good map reading, fitness, and fast movement through terrain. Legs tend to be medium length to minimize involvement of trails and linear features. Controls are hung as low as possible consistent with fairness. You should expect to find the specified feature before seeing the marker. To slightly reduce the physicality, one or two controls might be shared with the junior courses, and these might be more visible.

Notes on Map & Terrain

Gates must be closed after passing. This is a condition of our park use, since the area is used for pasture grazing. One gate near the Start might be kept open and monitored.

Cow/animal trails might be seen on the ground that are not shown on the map. Often these present good routes for contouring across valleys or gullies. Some trails are shown on the map as intermittent or ending. These often continue in the direction of the trail shown, but might become fainter and harder to follow.

Mount Hamilton Road is out of bounds on all courses, and in any case will not offer a good route choice.

Orange and advanced courses cross one robust fence about 3/4 through the course. Near the direct route, we have placed three crossing points where two strands of barbed wire are wrapped with pipe-insulation foam to make it very easy to squeeze between. These crossings are indicated with orange tape. In other instances, fences are easily crossed, and/or courses have been designed to use gates and trail crossings.

Groups of trees (copses, white patches on the map) can be tricky to distinguish from single trees (green circle on the map). Mapping shows whether a contiguous aerial canopy was present, but this might be less distinct on the ground. If trees have died or fallen, this might affect the apparent shape or extent of copses. Single trees and copses are frequently used for control locations, so take care in areas where both features are present. On the advanced courses, if the feature is a lone tree, the control will be hung tight to the trunk, on the far side from the expected line of approach. When the feature is a copse, the control will normally be placed under the canopy on the denoted part of the copse.

Gullies and reentrants can be steep, especially on the Green, Red, and Blue courses. The map represents these quite well, and all should be readily passable on all reasonable routes. Sturdy footwear with good grip is particularly required on these courses. Often, animal tracks can be seen on the approach to a reentrant, and offer good crossing routes.

Most vegetation can be passed through more easily than the map suggests. Several years of low rainfall reduced the overall brush density, and early in the season the growth is naturally low. However the brush has extended somewhat in open areas. We have updated the map near the controls, but be prepared to see some bushes that are not on the map. Light green is usually readily passable. Green vertical hatching is mostly sage brush or coyote bush, and can usually be traversed by picking between bushes. Some good routes on the advanced courses might pass through green-hatched areas.

Animals and Hazards

Cows are present in the competition area, but seem to be less than in our previous visits. They are docile, can be curious, but will stay away from you if you pass near them.

The park has numerous pigs, and we have seen several groups of up to six adults with piglets. They will run away if they see you coming. Pigs often hide in brush during the day. If traversing thicker areas, be aware that they might suddenly appear out of the vegetation.

There might be horses and riders present in the park​—​they have the right of way. Be careful not to startle them. When approaching on a trail, make sure that horse and rider see you, slow to a walk, and make yourself known​—​e.g., greet the horse rider so that the horse knows you are a human from your voice.

Poison Oak (PO) is (still) mostly not yet in leaf. Nevertheless, PO bushes can still cause irritation following contact. Courses have been designed to avoid areas of extensive poison oak, but some exposure might be expected, in proportion to course length and time off trail. Please take precautions, including wearing full cover of legs and arms, minimizing contact with possible bushes, and washing clothes and body afterwards (e.g., as described here).