Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Something Similar to Geocaching

Kris: This past Saturday there was a free event, Winter Trails, being put on by REI where we could go over to Ft Snelling and try out xc ski and snowshoe equipment for free. Mark and I have been thinking about attempting snowshoe running so this was a great opportunity for us to check it out. While the sun was out, it was below zero temperatures. Not the most pleasant day to be outside but we strapped on a couple pairs of snowshoes, having no idea what we were doing and took off for a walk. They seems a little clunky and we quickly realized that these were not what you would go for a run in but it was fun to tromps around down the path.

We both agreed that once we took them off, you realize that even though you do sink into the snow with them on it made walking WAY better.

After a quick warm up in the building (where they had yummy hot apple juice and a fireplace)

we reluctantly left the warm building and went over to say HI to a dog they had there for skijoring. He was definitely not the best winter dog as the poor thing was shivering. Luckily they put him back in the truck after we walked away.

We found a guy there that had a pair of running snowshoes available to try so Mark took them out for a spin. He said they were way better and you could tell by the contouring that they were definitely made for running form. We are considering going down to Iowa to do a 4 mile snowshoe run (Trek the Trails) just to try it out. It will be much tougher of a run but hey, why not give it a try? We're hoping to get another chance to practice, Yukon Days, before we go down there. I guess there is a chance we might not get down there but stay tuned....

Mark: I loved running in the Race Snowshoes! I will say this, it is a mad hard cardio workout then normal running, even on a grommed and packed trail.

Kris: Oh....and before I get to Sunday......did I mention Mark decided to drop his keys in the snow while he was out running in the snowshoes?? Luckily after a bit of searching, one of the park people said she saw them lying in the snow and saw the pathtag shimmering in the sun. She got points for finding them for us and bonus points for knowing what a pathtag is :)

Mark: Although I has hoping that Kris would not mention this highlight of the day I should have known better. :P

Kris: So a good friend of mine has been nudging Mark and I to trying Orienteering since we are so in love with Geocaching. So we went to the first event of the season which was a "score-o" event. It was at Lake Elmo park and the high-level of it was you get a map with a bunch of points on it and you have to see how many you can find in a given amount of time using nothing more than the topo map and a compass. It's basically simple geocaching but without the GPS. Pete and his teammate Clark are masters of the sport and gave us a few pointers before we took off. Here's their team blog/website.

While this was a race event, there were also quite a few people just out there for fun and people like us trying this all out for the first time. Mark and I took it slow 1) to fully understand what we were doing and 2) because the snow was knee high is some places. Here's a few pictures:

Mark plotting our next heading

Mark at one of the control points

Mark: I really enjoyed trying this today and I can easily see us including more Orientering/Adventure races in our future. It even occurs to me that this will be nice training for MOGA in the spring.

Kris: I was absolutely beat trying to make our way walking/jogging/running through the snow. We managed to get 11 of the control points (I think out of 25) and made it back with a couple minutes to spare. You have to get back and get to this clock within the allotted time or you get docked a point (1 control) per minute you are late.

I took this picture and was then told the lady in the picture is Andrea and quite the elite when it comes to adventure racing.

We don't have the official results yet but I think out of the 30 or so groups/individuals that attended, we landed somewhere in the middle.

Mark: We will post a link to our results once they are posted.

Kris: There were snacks and hot chocolate at the end. We chatted with Pete and Clark again, deciding we would likely see them at the next event on February 14th. :) And hopefully this time I'll avoid those thorny bushes that were stuck all over my pants and shoelaces

And of course I had to pull out my GPS before we left the park and picked up a few easy caches on our way back home. Had to get to a dinner party at our friends Becky and Dave's new house, otherwise I'm sure we would have gotten a few more. The new Oregon 300 is proving to be MUCH more accurate although it's taking a bit to get used to the different controls.

Mark: Yeah, we made a major discovery about the Oregon 300, the map is great for navigating you to the general area where the cache is hidden, but once you get out of the car the compass feature, similar to my old etrex is the best way to navigate to the cache.


  1. Don't forget to tell everyone about the Minnesota Orienteering Club... www.MNOC.org Oops, guess I did that for you.

  2. Just started following your post. Great thread about your adventures.


  3. i learned how to orienteer while in 4-H as a kid! didn't know people still did it! awesome!


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