Grafton Lakes, October 2021

This will be a “hybrid” event, with SI controls out on Columbus Day, ribbons only before and after, and continued availability using UsynligO for the forseeable future. On Columbus Day, the Start window will be extra-ordinarily long, from 10am – 2 pm, to allow for participants to space out their times on the course and reduce the chances of running together. Because of the extended start window, the 3 hour time limit on all courses will be strictly enforced. Controls will start being picked up beginning at 5 pm or 3 hours after the last start, whichever comes first.

The Registration/Start/Finish/Download area will be around the “compass rose” which is in front of the “Welcome Center” by the northeast corner of the Parking lot. In case of inclement weather, the Registration/Download may move to the Welcome Center back porch or indoors. If it is indoors, do not wear spikes inside.

Because we are paying the Park per entrant, you will be required to “sign-in” when entering the Park. You will also be required to pay $6 per car to the Park. We could not negotiate this away. This only applies to Columbus Day. Any other day you likely will need to pay the parking fee (or risk a ticket) but you won’t need to “sign-in”.

Prices are standard EMPO: $5 per map for members, $10 for non-members. You can become a member on the spot (Individual $15 or $22 if you want to cover next year; Family $20 or $30 if you want to cover next year). It is hoped that most participants will register and pay online using the EMPO website and paying to my PayPal account at I now also have an account with Venmo, using that same email. I realize that we have no control over those who choose to do the courses on other than Columbus Day, but in these times it is hard to keep up with expenses, and it really is appreciated when those who could avoid paying do go ahead and pay.

A few words of caution: the Red/Blue and Green/Brown/Orange courses cross into Park territory where hunting is allowed in season. Beginning October 1, bow hunting is allowed for deer in those parts of the Park. There are plenty of signs announcing this. Bow hunting has never been a problem, at least in NY for other outdoors folks, but bright clothing is encouraged.

The Map

The Map

Our original (color) map of Grafton was created by a combo of Mark Dominie (field work) and Bill Jameson (drafting). Mark never wanted anyone to draft his field work again. We recently re-hired Mark to re-map the area. That is the map we are using. In the process of my course setting, I have found a number of recent changes and additions to the trails; on Monday I remapped one significant trail section which has been re-routed. The former trail section is now shown as “indistinct”, but I did not try to go over it as some of it is underwater. There are some significant features not mapped. There are areas that don’t seem to be been covered.

In the process of course setting, I can’t fix all this, so I have worked to avoid what seem to be the problematic areas. This has reduced the course lengths a bit, but I still think they are reasonable, particularly because this is not fast running terrain. It is open enough and there isn’t a lot of climb, but there is a lot of rock underfoot, much deadfall, and the wet areas have grown this season. While the “scale bar” is not shown on the reduced map, the North lines are 300 meters apart.

The Courses

There are 3 courses:

White/Yellow – this course is what has been available through the Park Office and UsynligO for awhile. But there will be SI stations on Columbus Day. There may be permanent markers before and after; there will be ribbons after.

Green/Brown/Orange – this is a new course. Again, SI units will be out on Columbus Day, with ribbons awhile before and after.

Red/Blue – while obviously short for a true Blue course, I think this will challenge our better orienteers. If someone comes in under 60 minutes, then I guess I was wrong. In my defense, I was somewhat constrained by keeping the course within the official Park boundaries, not using all the lands that are shown on the map.

Note that on the two longer courses some of the ribbons were placed a while ago. In the process of placing the last ribbons I found some of those placed previously were no longer there. I hung new ribbons on those locations but have not re-visited them all, so there may be some without a ribbon. When I place the SI units I will re-ribbon any I find to be missing, but until Columbus Day if UsynligO chimes you have achieved that control whether or not you find a ribbon.

Also, the position of the ribbons relative to the control feature is not identical to where the SI stand will be placed (which is what is shown in the Clues), due to the limitations of the surrounding trees. And, the last control on all courses (the “Go” control) will not have a ribbon, as there is nothing nearby to hang one on, but it’s a pretty obvious large boulder in the open. On Columbus Day there will be an SI unit to punch.

White/Yellow 1.9 km; 25 m climb; 9 controls, scale 1-5000
Green/Brown/Orange 4.8 km; 70 m climb; 9 controls, scale 1-7500
Red/Blue 6.0 km; 140 m climb; 10 controls; scale 1-10,000

Even if you are coming on Columbus Day, you might want to consider printing your own map rather than accepting what I can print. My laser printer is getting worse at covering the entire page equally. The lines are still there but they get fainter towards one edge. I will be replacing this printer before printing maps for our Spring A Meet at Rotary. I could print you a map on my inkjet but that is much more subject to the print running due to moisture. If you have a request let me know.

There will not be separate Clue sheets. There will not be any water stops on the course so BYO. There will be water and snacks at the Finish on Columbus Day.

After your course on Columbus Day be sure to check in at the Finish (whether you find all the controls or not) so we don’t have to worry and send out a search party. And now, I just hope for good weather and to see you soon!

Phil H-T