Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Calero County Park

Date: (Sun.) Apr. 2, 2023
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.688.4482
Course Setter: Rich Parker
Type: A; Standard, Classic-distance event for beginners through advanced orienteers; this will be our annual, 1-day, National Ranking Event (NRE) with standard fees (i.e., not normal NRE fees)

Course Setter’s Notes

By Rich Parker

We have interesting and challenging courses. I worked extremely hard to create interesting and challenging courses, with reasonable amounts of climb. Calero is known for its steep terrain, and our events there usually have courses with lots of climb. The amount of climb on this year’s courses is less than usual. I also worked very hard to include as many long legs as possible (for the advanced courses), to provide lots of route-choice options. That is a challenge at Calero, because of the topography, and also because of the number and layout of the trails and roads. I invite you to come out on Sunday, to see for yourself how well I might have done.

Please select the most appropriate course. We want everyone to have a great time, to fully enjoy their orienteering experience. For most people, that means completing your course successfully, without making significant navigation errors, or getting “momentarily confused about where you are”​—​e.g., without getting lost, even for a short time. There are several keys to being successful: (1) selecting the most appropriate course for your amount of knowledge, skill, and experience; (2) understanding all the relevant map symbols (i.e., all those used on this map); and (3) understanding the control descriptions. At this event we offer 8 courses, which all differ in significant ways. Some people select courses for which they are not well-prepared. This can result in frustration and disappointment, and even in getting lost, if only for a short while. For a detailed guide for what you should know before attempting a particular course, see the Course Selection section of these Notes below.

If you might do the Yellow course, you should understand that generally the controls will be placed behind the feature, not in front of it, as they are for the White course. The purpose of this is to require you to navigate correctly to that feature, and then go around that feature, to locate the control. For example, if you are approaching your tree from the southeast, and the control descriptions show, for that control, that the bag (control) is on the northwest side of that tree, then you will not be able to see the bag from where you are; you will have to identify that tree as the one you want, and then go to that tree and go around it. This makes the navigation more challenging. Some course setters like to place the bags for Yellow courses in front of the feature, to make it easier for the orienteers. I believe this is a disservice to orienteers, in the long run, because that makes it more difficult for them to move up to the next course, Orange​—​they will be less prepared. The step from Yellow to Orange is the biggest step between all the courses, in terms of skills required, and so, making it easier for Yellow orienteers now, only makes it even more difficult when they move up to Orange.

There are many signs in the park, such as “TRAILS CLOSED TO ALL USERS”, “ALL PARK USERS MUST REMAIN ON POSTED TRAILS”, and “Do Not Enter – Not a Trail”. You may disregard all these signs, except for the signs blocking off an indistinct trail that orienteers created years ago as a shortcut. Orienteers who have been to Calero before will probably be looking for that trail. The rangers have erected a long barbed-wire fence at the near end of that trail (the eastern end, near parking), and fence posts at the far end (the southwest end), and placed signs at both places. We must obey those signs​—​they are for us! You must not use this old shortcut. Our ability to keep using this park depends on no one taking that shortcut. It will also help us keep our ability to use this park by being fastidious about cleaning up after ourselves, everywhere in the park, including the portable toilets. Also, out-of-bounds areas are clearly shown on the map by vertical red lines. Be sure to not go into those areas.

The map is great. I spent a huge amount of time at Calero, using this map to navigate. Almost always, I went to exactly where I wanted to go. But you have to know what the symbols on the map represent​—​all of them, really, not just a few. The White and the Yellow course maps have Legends on them, which define the symbols; but those definitions are very brief, and it would be very helpful if you had a more comprehensive understanding of their meaning. The other six course maps do not have Legends on them. We plan to have separate Legends at registration, which will be available for you to study. The person doing the Beginner Clinics will also have some​—​that person can also answer questions you might have about the maps and symbols.

To be able to successfully navigate on this map, it will also help greatly if you are fully aware of the following:

Calero in 2023 (click→bigger)
Calero in 2023 (click→bigger)
Thus a “ruined tree” can be represented on the map in three different ways. So you need to be flexible when you have a control that is on one of those mapped features. For example, if the control description shows Rootstock (the ×-in-a-circle symbol), you should look at the middle of the circle to see how it’s mapped so that you will know what you are looking for.
Regarding mapped trees on this map: Some mapped trees have fallen over or died standing, and some mapped downed trees have disappeared. I have re-mapped some of these, where I thought it could be critical. If I had tried to re-map them all, I would still be out there now.

There is a remote Start. The path to the Start will be marked with red flags. It will follow roads from the parking lot to the Start. You must follow this marked route. It is about 1250 meters long, with a climb of 100 meters. That is a lot of climb​—​while you are enjoying this climb, remember that you are doing the climb now, instead of while on your course (and on the clock), so you can enjoy it more now. You should allow 20 to 30 minutes for this walk. Do not take any shortcuts.

The walk to the Start goes by the Finish. You might take this opportunity to check out the final control (the “GO” control) and the actual Finish. I expect to be at the Finish most of the time, until 1 PM. If you have any questions about orienteering skills or how to acquire them, or mapping, this would be a good time to ask me​—​before you go out on your course, rather than afterwards. Afterwards, you may have questions also; please feel free to ask me, at any time you can find me. You must take the same route from the Finish back to the download station and the parking lot​—​no shortcuts are allowed.

There will be water on the courses. And we might have water at the Start (which will depend in part on how much help we get). If you think you might want water at the Start and/or the Finish, we encourage you to take water with you on the walk to the Start, and leave it near the Finish. Then you can drink just before you complete the walk to the Start, and also immediately after you finish.

Here are the details of the Start procedure:

As noted above, there might not be water at the Start​—​please plan accordingly.

You are allowed to warm up along the road leading to the Start, but not off the road.

There is a common first control​—​all the courses have the same first control. That control is out of sight from the Start. This is a common practice, so that starters cannot see which way their competitors run, and thus get an unfair advantage from that.

The courses close at 2:00 PM. This means we will start picking up the controls (removing them) at 2:00 PM. If you are still out on a course as 2:00 approaches, please come directly back to the Finish or to the parking lot, whichever is closer for you. If you stay out longer “just to get that last control”, you will likely be very frustrated and search for it forever, because it may have been removed by the time you get there. You can avoid this happening to you by starting early, allowing yourself plenty of time to complete your course.

At the Finish, we will not collect maps until the last starter has started. (That is done at national events to insure that no one will gain an unfair advantage by seeing a map before they have gone out.) Accordingly, please do not show your map or discuss your course with anyone who has not yet gone out on their course.

Be very sure to go to the E-punch download station before you depart from the event. This is particularly important if you did not punch the E-punch unit at the Finish. If you do not download, we (and Search and Rescue Teams) could spend the night searching for you in the park.

Rangers have placed pink and orange streamers and flags throughout the park. They are not ours. Please do not be distracted by them.

Be Alert for Hazards

You could encounter the following hazards on your course:

Course Selection

Here are the course details:

    Course   Length   Climb    Controls  Map Scale  Navigational      OUSA Winning-Time
              (km)   (m)  (%)                       Difficulty         Guideline (min) 
    White     3.0    135  4.5     12     1:7,500    Beginner               20 – 30  
    Yellow    3.0    115  3.8     12     1:7,500    Advanced Beginner      25 – 40
    Orange    3.3    140  4.2     11     1:7,500    Intermediate           35 – 50  
    Brown-Y   2.5     80  3.2      8     1:7,500    Advanced               40 – 50  
    Brown-X   3.1    100  3.2      8     1:7,500    Advanced               40 – 50
    Green     4.5    165  3.7     12     1:10,000   Advanced               45 – 55
    Red       5.8    290  5.0     13     1:10,000   Advanced               60 – 75
    Blue      7.4    375  5.1     16     1:10,000   Advanced               70 – 80

In addition to the usual seven courses, we have added a short Brown course, Brown-Y, for those orienteers who might prefer a shorter (less physical) Brown course.

What follows is a brief guide for what you should know before attempting a particular course. Different coaches might provide a somewhat different list. The goal of this section is to help you select the course that is the most appropriate for you, right now, so that you will be more likely to have a successful experience, and thus a great time.

For basic information about the courses offered, see What Courses and Competitive Classes Are Offered? in the BAOC website FAQ.

For the White course, you should understand:

For the Yellow course, you should understand:

For the Orange course, you should understand:

For the Advanced courses (Brown through Blue), you should:

When in doubt, be conservative in your choice, and move up only when you are ready.

If you would like some further guidance about this​—​explanation or clarification of any of these items​—​please ask the person doing the Beginner Clinics, preferably, or at Registration or E-punch​—​both of those later two places are likely to be busy, so the Clinic person would be better.

If you have any navigational difficulties on your course, please feel free to find me and talk with me about them. I hope to be at the Finish until 1:00 PM. It is helpful for me to understand what problems people might have on my courses, and that is also a great way for you to learn from your mistakes. The key to that, though, is to identify exactly what your mistakes were, and then you can figure out what you might have done to avoid that error. That’s a potent tool in becoming a better orienteer.