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Pacheco State Park

Wildflower Weekend

Date: Mar. 9 - 10, 2019
Location: Hollister, CA
Event Director: - 510.525.1574
Course Setters: Aron Walker, Misha Kreslavsky
Type: B; Saturday Middle & Night-O courses and Sunday regular courses

Notes for Saturday    Notes for Sunday

Course Setter's Notes – Saturday Events

By Aron Walker

Afternoon Middle Courses


    Course    Length       Climb     Controls  Terrain
    White     2.3 km     55 m  2.4%     10     On trail  
    Yellow    2.5 km     75 m  3.0%     11     Mostly on trail, some linear features
    Orange    4.3 km    175 m  4.1%     17     Mostly off trail with handrails and/or backstops
    Brown     2.8 km    175 m  6.2%     13
    Green     4.1 km    245 m  6.0%     19
    Red       4.8 km    300 m  6.2%     20
    Blue      5.7 km    375 m  6.6%     23

The White and Yellow courses stay on or close to trails, but are not stroller-friendly. The Orange course becomes more navigationally challenging as it progresses, moving from trails into relatively wild terrain (maintaining robust handrails and backstops). On the advanced courses, controls are generally placed on the far side of features and "tight" to the feature.

Vegetation Mapping

On the map, trees with overlapping canopies are marked in white, while lone trees are open green circles. Dead trees have been marked with a green ×. Solid dark-green circles represent individual clumps of dense vegetation, such as a thorny bush or a large plant. Areas of solid dark green are generally impenetrable, although areas with clusters of dark green circles can be navigated. Poison oak is not yet particularly visible, but it does lurk near mapped dark green.

Ground Conditions

Pacheco is wetter than last year! Water flows in major reentrants, low flat areas may be water-logged, and bodies of water are larger than mapped. The muddiest areas are probably the walk to the Start and from the Finish, so take heart that the courses are not as bad as the walk to them. There are a couple large patches of miner's lettuce early in the advanced courses that are very slippery and best avoided. Cleats may be useful throughout.


The Orange course and all the advanced courses will cross at least one fence. Intact fences should be crossed by going under the lowest wire. Controls were placed to encourage the best crossing points, so the first opportunity you see is probably the best.


White and Yellow: No water provided Orange, Brown, and Green: There will be one water station located in the middle of a leg about halfway through the course. Red and Blue: There will be one water control about half way through the course.

Evening Night-O Courses

The Night-O will have a mass start with no need to punch a START unit. The event features multi-loop courses passing repeatedly through a central control at the starting location. The Short course will have two different loops, and the Long course will have four loops.

    Course   Loops   Length    Climb   Controls
    Short      2     2.5 km    120 m      10  
    Long       4     4.3 km    200 m      16

Night-O participants need to bring a light; ideally a bright headlamp. The controls will be marked with reflective tape in addition to the typical flag. Controls will generally be placed on the far side of point features (e.g., trees), but not as tightly as for the afternoon Middle event.

The Night-O terrain is relatively open: trees dotting rolling hills. A few places on the map have marked patches of rocky ground through which participants should take extra care with footing. The lowest portions of the course will likely be wet, and all trails muddy. Since the map was first made, almost all the vegetation changes are in the direction of trees dying and/or falling over, and while many of these updates were made, there might be additional places where, for example, a lone tree and a toppled tree together are still marked as a copse in white.

Both Night-O courses pass through gates. The fences near the Night-O are well-maintained and provide few good crossing points. For both safety and fairness fence-crossing is prohibited during the Night-O.

Course Setter's Notes – Sunday Event

By Misha Kreslavsky

Welcome to beautiful Pacheco for our Wildflower Weekend! Yes, there are flowers: I counted 15 blooming species.

Start and Finish Locations

The White (Beginner) Start is at the assembly area.

The Start for all the other courses (Yellow through Blue) is 1.3 km (90 m climb) from the assembly area. Follow flags along the trail to the south.

The Finish for all the courses is next to the assembly area.


The terrain is hilly, open, with scattered oaks and forest patches. The ground is wet and soft, in places uneven because of the cow footprints, in places muddy and slippery. The grass is mostly short, but there are patches of foot-tall grass. Despite grass, cows, and mud, the terrain is mostly easily runnable. However, the steepest slopes will slow you down.

I saw many coyotes, bobcats, and deer. There are also pigs, but I haven’t seen them.


Map scale: 1:10,000; contour interval: 5 m. The map quality is very good.

There are many unmapped cow trails. Seasonal streams (all easily crossable), seasonally wet marshy ground (easily runnable), and one neat seasonal pond (small) are not mapped.

A green × means a dead or fallen tree. Many dead or fallen trees are not mapped. Dead or fallen trees are not used as control points.


There are many cows in the park. They are not aggressive. However, try not to startle the cows, run around groups of cows rather than through them, and don't get between a calf and its mother.

There is a little bit of poison oak (which is still leafless), mostly on the Red and Blue courses.

You will have to (on Orange, Green, Red, and Blue) or may choose to (on Yellow and Brown) cross barbed-wire fences without gates. As usual, roll under the fence​—​don't jump or climb over.


Here are the details of the courses:

    Course   Length      Climb     Controls  Stops  Navigation     Terrain
    White    2.3 km    60 m  2.6%     10       0    Beginner       Trails, Easy  
    Yellow   3.5 km   180 m  5.1%      7       1    Adv. Beginner  Trails + off-trail, Easy
    Orange   4.8 km   255 m  5.3%     12       1    Intermediate   Off-trail, Hard
    Brown    3.5 km   140 m  4.0%     11       1    Advanced       Off-trail, Moderate
    Green    4.9 km   255 m  5.2%     11       2    Advanced       Off-trail, Hard
    Red      6.4 km   335 m  5.2%     16       2    Advanced       Off-trail, Hard
    Blue     8.1 km   475 m  5.9%     22       3    Advanced       Off-trail, Very Hard

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 "2.3 km" course, you might travel about "2.3 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.

To add some fun to the otherwise boring last kilometer, I violated the rule about minimal distance between controls on different courses. Remember to check the control numbers!!!

Please, close and lock the gates. This is needed to keep cows where they are supposed to be.

White Course (Easy Beginner)

The White course follows trails. You will need to recognize them on your map and on the terrain, and make the correct turns at the junctions. The trails are muddy​—​have footwear to change afterward.

Yellow Course (Advanced Beginner)

The Yellow course is technically simple. You will mostly follow linear features ("handrails"): trails and fences. I recommend using gates to cross fences. Read the control description and the map to be on the correct side of the fences.

Orange Course (Intermediate)

The Orange course has technically simple control locations, but with some route choices and some funny map-reading tasks in the last kilometer. It also has the best vistas.

Brown, Green, Red, and Blue Courses (Advanced)

I tried to make them technical, while keeping the climb reasonable, on this simple and hilly terrain. Pay attention to details​—​for example, “Copse, E part” is not the same as “Copse, E side”.

There is a loop on Blue course: one control is used twice​—​be careful about the control order.


I hope you enjoy the courses. Good luck!

Your course setter,
Misha Kreslavsky