After some pondering upon what I could organize this Winter, I have settled upon a New Format (!) for yet another event at Partridge Run, where I have been directing something every 2-3 years. This year, the event will cover a long period, no risk of COVID, and entirely off-trail controls. Here are the setup & rules:
- Participation is AT YOUR OWN RISK.
- This is a mini-Snowgaine, so how you transport yourself is entirely up to you. Any mode of non-motorized transportation is allowed: skis, snowshoes, boots, cat-tracks, bikes, sleds, etc. Also, you do not need to keep your equipment with you. If you bike, or ski, you can ditch it and run or whatever into the Control. Your bike or skis may get stolen, but that’s your problem.
- There will be only Yellow ribbons, not SI units or flags at the control locations.
- There is no time window, except that the course will only be available with ribbons for the month of January. All ribbons are subject to removal on February 1, though it will take me a few days to get them all.
- The course will be available on UsynligO, so you could still use it after the ribbons are pulled. You do not have to use UsynligO in January, but if you don’t, I ask that you send me your time and splits, if possible.
- Because of this setup, this isn’t so much a race as a personal navigational challenge. The weather may be very different across January. You can pretty much do whatever you want in attacking the controls. You can do some on different days, and even from different Start points. There is a nominal Start/Finish location (the junction of Bradt Hollow Road and Cook Hill Rd); but it’s a big area, and if you want to get to more control locations on other days, you can start wherever you like. I have placed “Start” triangles on the other parking spots which are off-road and usually plowed out.
- I will produce a results list after January, but for me to keep it sort of honest, please include any info you send indicating what equipment you used, how many hours/days you covered, and (if you did not use UsynligO) the controls you achieved.
- The native scale is 1-25,000, and it fits on Legal size (14×8.5) paper.
- You may choose to blow up sections for your own use, as you see fit, particularly if you choose a different Start location.
- There are no Clues on the map, and no Legend. I will send a link to download Clues and Legend to anyone from whom I receive a contribution to the Club.
- There has been some “habitat change” work done by EnCon in a few areas since the last map update, but I don’t think that will affect anything.
This is an orienteering map, not a Ski-Orienteering map or a Rogaine/Snowgaine map (though it is closer to their
typical scale). That means:
• There is no green over-print to indicate ski-trail widths. This is a totally ungroomed area, and what you find on
any given trail is what you get. I cannot predict the prior snowmobile or ski or snowshoe passages.
• Trails are shown in foot-O black, and their different levels reflect the most common uses of those trails:
o The “vehicle track” symbol is used for trails which are open (legally) to snowmobiles;
o The “footpath” symbol is used for trails which are nominally only ski trails, and are regularly skied or
snow-shoed, but be aware that snowmobiles often disobey the law and use these trails;
o The “small footpath” and “indistinct footpath” and “narrow ride” symbols in the winter all show semiopen paths which are much less likely to have been tracked by anyone (until this event).
• This version of the map is a hybrid, made from various base maps; unlike Ski-O maps, it does show vegetation
info, some of which I have drawn after field checking, and other (mostly smaller) places comes via the software
program “Kartapullautin”. The “Karta” vegetation markings have not been field checked, but I have not as yet
observed any big issues while checking the control locations.
• The State land is outlined in Red, with the tag lines pointing towards the State land. This is the only land you are
allowed on. There are 4 “in-holdings” shown on the map, which are both surrounded by the red boundary line
and marked with the ”Out-of-Bounds” symbol. There are a few places where you might encounter state
boundary markings (generally yellow blazes) which don’t appear to match anything on the map. These are
mostly holdovers from before the state bought some pieces of land. In one or two places there are allowed
access trails through private land, which are marked by red boundaries on both sides of the trail. You can ignore
any boundaries not shown on the map.
• One Ski-O map feature which IS shown on this map is that the plowed roads are over-printed with the purple V
symbol. There may be some ancillary driveways or entrance tracks which are plowed, but these are the major
• Various things that are not shown on “Snowgaine” maps are shown on this map:
o Stonewalls: there are many, they are frequently used as control locations, and they are mapped at 4
levels; depending upon the ultimate day-of-event snow depth, you may be able to see/use these as
guides (and there are likely even more stonewalls that are not mapped yet, but they should not come
o Cliffs: these are not completely mapped, but where they are most relevant they have been mapped and
o More small features, such as small depressions, boulders, rootstocks, are shown, where they have been
found to date.
o As pretty much always, there are more rootstocks than are mapped. I have tried to map those near control locations.
Now, I have to point out the risks involved here:
- It will almost certainly be pretty cold, and hypothermia is a serious issue. Be prepared for the weather, and the limited time of daylight.
- There will be no coverage of the area by any rescue teams if you do not reappear. No one will know you are missing, except those you may have told about what you are doing. This is an argument for going out as a team of at least two, though that is not a requirement.
- There is very limited if any cell phone service in the area.
- Streams/marshes/ponds may be in any level of frozen. I advise not to cross large/fast streams or ponds/lakes; you could possibly go over marshes, bit use extreme caution. In particular, the major stream running east from Ravine Road should not be crossed except at the bridges (the eastern bridge is technically closed but is passable on foot). Those bridges are marked with the “Crossing point” symbol on the map.
- There are points for each control. If you start from the nominal start point (and finish there), your score will be totaled using the points in the Clues column. If you start and finish anywhere else, all controls are worth the same 10 points, despite what it says in the points column. This is (obviously?) because the distance from the Start is part of how points are assigned.
- Depending upon when and how they are achieved, I will try to put together a Results table which recognizes the achievements. That may be impossible, but I will give it the old EMPO try. There will be four scores:
- Day of Jan 8
- Jan 1-16
- Day of Jan 22
- Jan 17-31
- All will be annotated with equipment as reported
- As usual with UsynligO and longer-term unsupervised events, there is no way to enforce any payment requirement. But, I do hope that you will help EMPO stay afloat (and allow us to buy new gear as needed and pay mappers for new or revised maps) by contributing the usual EMPO fees (one payment will cover however many maps or days you use):
- $5 for EMPO members
- $10 for non-members
- You can join or renew your membership (it’s a new year now!) in the same payment
- Payments should be made to my PayPal or Venmo accounts at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or, checks can be sent to:
- Philip Hawkes-Teeter
- PO Box 8
- Berne, NY 12023
I hope this sounds like fun to you. Because of the format I have chosen, it is perhaps more of a personal (or team) adventure than a competition. It’s like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. Just to make it a bit more personal, I will hang around the nominal Start/Finish area on Jan 8 and Jan 22 to talk with folks about their course, and maybe provide a few goodies to eat/drink.
Remember, this is AT YOUR OWN RISK. By downloading the map, you are agreeing to the waiver.