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Vasona Lake County Park

Date: (Sat.) Apr. 20, 2019
Location: Los Gatos, CA
Event Director: - 408.313.3753
Course Setter: Ann Marie Cody
Type: C; Courses for beginners through advanced (with a special treat of a Memory-O for those up for a mental challenge) on a new ISSOM map; the BAOC 2019 AGM will be at this event

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

This is going to be a bit of a non-standard event, with a goal of being extra "beginner friendly".

We are excited to present Bob Cooley's newly updated Vasona Park map, now mapped at the ISSOM standard.¹ Check out what has changed at the park over the past few years. We have put together three short courses that will be very fun for both beginners to try, and for advanced orienteers to cruise through at Sprint pace.

BAOC members (and other interested people) should note that the BAOC Annual General Meeting will be held at 1:00 PM. Please plan ahead so you can complete your course(s) by that time.

You can see information about Vasona Lake Park on its website ( Lake Vasona and its neighbor, Oak Meadow Park, have many things to do to keep you there all day. There's a boat launch where you can rent kayaks, pedal boats, and more. There's a miniature train that runs around the park and a carousel. There's even going to be an Easter Egg hunt ( for children 3–10 years old!

Club members: Please see the request for volunteers below. 😉

Making the case for advanced orienteers to attend this event:
I want to make the case that the Orange course should be an excellent choice for advanced orienteers.
First of all, we will be using a brand new map made by Bob Cooley. Vasona has undergone considerable change over the past several years, so a new map was needed. It's always exciting to run on a new map! And while Vasona does not present much in the way of complex contour detail, there are many, many objects in the park (natural and human-made), so detailed map reading is required. Keeping in mind that Sprint-O courses by design have control placements at the Yellow/Orange level, and looking at the stats for the Orange course, sure looks like it could have been called a Sprint course rather than Orange. I have not seen the course nor the new map, but I am looking forward to the challenge presented by high-speed running on a map with many details. Alternatively, of course, you could choose to do the Memory-O, but personally I didn't want to miss the opportunity to read-on-the-run with a brand new map!
Note that the new map is an ISSOM map​—​that is, it uses the set of symbols designed for Sprint Orienteering. Those symbols differ from the set used for forest orienteering, including the way roads, paved paths, fences and walls are represented. If you are not familiar with the Sprint Orienteering symbol set, you can acclimate yourself here (
Hope to see you out there Saturday! Vasona is a lovely park with a big lake and views of the mountains.
Dennis Wildfogel  

What is Orienteering?

An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! Teams of 1 to 5 find checkpoints in wilderness venues or urban areas using specially-produced maps.


  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
                   1:00 PM: BAOC Annual General Meeting
                   2:00 PM: Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins

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/90KB)).

Note that you can register and start on courses anytime during the open 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.

Note that you must return to the Finish by 2:00, and then go to the download table, even if you have not finished your course. If there are unaccounted people after 2:00, we must initiate a search for them.

After you finish, stick around and socialize with other participants!


BAOC has a new fee structure for 2019. The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior (age 8 through 20) on beginner (White) and advanced beginner (Yellow) courses
  $8 for each adult on beginner and advanced beginner courses
  $5 for each junior on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Memory-O) courses  
$15 for each member on intermediate and advanced courses
$20 for each non-member on 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)  


  • Online registration is available here ( It is not required​—​you can register at the event.
    Online registration will close on Friday, April 19th, at 6:00 PM.
    Individuals and groups might want to register in advance to simplify check-in at the event.
    Payment by credit card is accepted for online registration.
    (Advance registration is encouraged, because it helps us predict the needed maps.)
    You can see who has already registered online here (, but note that others will register at the event.
  • At the event, we are able to accept payment only by cash or check​—​no credit cards or electronic payments.
  • There is no charge for a second (or more) course.

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/90KB), 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.)

In addition to the above costs, there is a $6 per-car park fee that you will pay at the entrance kiosk.

What to Bring

For beginner courses (White and Yellow), comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For the other courses shoes with some extra grip on the sole might be useful. However, because this is an open park, leg cover or gaiters are not necessary.

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.)

Venue Facilities

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(s).

Location Within the Park

Registration, clinics, the Start, and the Finish will be at the Gateway Pavilion, which is the first picnic area on the right as you enter Vasona Lake Park. (The approximate coordinates are 37.2357,-121.9715.)

We hope to be able to put out our orange and white direction signs. Look for them. Also, there should be a large BAOC club banner visible at the assembly area.


We will have White and Yellow (beginner) courses, an Orange (intermediate) course, and a Memory-O (advanced) course.

The Memory-O is the same as the Orange course, except that runners will get to see a map only at every other control. That is, there will be maps at those controls, and you will have to memorize the route to the next two controls.

Here are the course details. There is virtually no climb.

    Course      Distance   Controls
    White        1.7 km       12  
    Yellow       2.9 km       16
    Orange       3.3 km       18
    Memory-O     3.3 km       18

Course Setter's Comments

The Memory-O course will have map snippets at 9 controls. The small maps will show the area to the next two controls.

Gaiters are not needed.

There is a small amount of poison oak in the park, and while you never need to go through it, one Orange control is situated near a thicket of it. Please be familiar with the appearance of this three-leafed plant.

Crossing the river is not allowed, except on bridges.

Please stay out of the middle of Oak Meadow Park, where there will be an Easter egg hunt. There are no controls there, so you should have no reason to go there.

Note that ISSOM maps include special symbols that indicate features that you are not permitted to cross (i.e., even if you are physically able to cross them). All the symbols used on ISSOM maps are shown in this file (1MB/PDF).

Request for Volunteers

We need a few people to staff the Start and to do beginner clinics. This is a great venue for people just starting out in orienteering, and we want enough people to give them a great experience.

If someone can show up early and help set up, that would be great. We will have shelter and picnic tables, so there isn't much to set up.

Driving Directions

The approximate coordinates of the park entrance are 37.2345,-121.9729. The address of the park is 333 Blossom Hill Rd, Los Gatos.

To get to Vasona Lake, take Highway 17 South from San Jose. Exit at Lark Avenue and turn left (east, over the highway at the light). At the first traffic light, turn right (south) onto Los Gatos Boulevard. Turn right again (west) at a traffic light onto Blossom Hill Road. After crossing over Highway 17 again, the park entrance will be on your right.

There is a $6 park fee per car, which you pay at a kiosk. The machine accepts credit cards.

After paying the entry fee, follow the directional signs on the park roads to the Gateway Pavilion. It will be the first picnic area to the right. (The approximate coordinates are 37.2357,-121.9715.)

Please be very careful driving on the park roads. In addition to orienteers, there will be an Easter Egg hunt in Oak Meadow Park, adjacent to Vasona.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event (marker "A" indicates the park entrance, and marker "B" indicates the Gateway Pavilion).


¹ ISSOM = International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps (which is available here (