Availabilty: Oct 5 2020 - May 31, 2020
ROYO (Run On Your Own) Orienteering Events
Welcome to pandemic orienteering! After so much time in quarantine, it's time to get outdoors and satisfy your orienteering cravings! We cannot congregate at scheduled events in our usual fashion, so instead we are temporarily pivoting to a new style of "event" we're calling "Run On Your Own" (ROYO) Orienteering.
For a ROYO-style event, we set up multiple levels of semi-permanent courses at the chosen venue. Instead of the official orange & white control flags we usually use, we instead have placed 1" wide pink ribbons as substitutes for control markers (see sample photo below). Most ribbons are 1-2 feet in length. Each ribbon will be labeled with "FLO" and the control #, and will be tied to a laminated QR code (see photo below).
Be advised: You may find other pink ribbons in the woods that do not have these markings or a QR code attached. These are not ours, so please ignore them and leave them be!
Maps will have to be self-printed. We will post PDFs of course maps on the FLO web site and links to them will be in the Rah-Rah email (see below) for you to get to them. All maps will be on standard 8.5"x11" letter-size paper and can be printed with any inkjet or color laser printer.
We will be using a smartphone app called "iOrienteering
" for participants to time themselves around their chosen course. You will need to visit iTunes or the Google Play store and install this free app on your smartphone before you go to the venue (remember, you may not have good signal out in the woods!). A new update of the iOrienteering mobile app has recently been released, so if you installed it on your phone previously go check it and make sure it has updated to the latest version.
For a video tutorial on how to use the new version of the iOrienteering mobile app for self-timing, see the following video on O-Tube:
Tutorial on new version of iOrienteering mobile app
Once you get to the venue, at the start/finish location, you will find a laminated sheet posted with instructions and QR codes (see sample photo below):
- At the top of the sheet (and also on your map), you will find SETUP QR codes for the various courses. Inside the iOrienteering app, you will scan ONE of these codes for the course you're planning to do. This loads the list of controls that the app is expecting you to "punch" in their correct order. Once your course is loaded, the app is ready to start timing you around that course. You can scan the SETUP QR code at any time prior to starting your course.
- The remaining 2 QR codes are the START and FINISH codes. Scanning these starts and stops your official clock, so don't scan them until you're ready to go or stop.
Once you have loaded your chosen course and scanned the START code to start your clock, you are ready to go. Use your map to navigate around the course, visiting all controls, in order, just as you typically do. As you find each control, "punch" in by scanning the attached QR code with the iOrienteering app. The app will verify you have found the correct control and keep track of your splits times.
When you have completed your course, return to the start and scan the "FINISH" QR code on the instructions sheet to stop your official clock. The app will calculate your total time and display your results. It will also offer you a one-click UPLOAD button to upload your results to the iO database. Please be sure to upload your results, so we can see how much use the courses are getting.
SUMMARY OF COURSES
Note that the course lengths mentioned above are measured straight-line from point to point to point. Your actual route on the ground will often be on more winding trails or diverted around obstacles like ponds or dense tickets, so your actual distance traveled will often be 25-50% longer than the stated course length.
- YELLOW - For novices and casual family hikes. 3.0 km straight-line. Can be done mostly on trails. Map is 1:7,500 scale, with verbose control descriptions. This course, AND ONLY THIS COURSE, starts and ends at the kiosk at the Nature Center just south of the main Wekiwa Springs boil. To get there, turn right at the fork after the ranger station and park in the main parking area.
- All of the advanced courses below start and end at the Sand Lake parking area in the northwest part of the park. To get there, turn left at the fork after the ranger station and follow the paved road all the way to the end. Please note that this is NOT the Youth Camp area we have sometimes used for event staging in the past. We have not staged at Sand Lake in recent memory (the parking area is too small), so this is a chance to see a little bit different part of the park than you may be used to. Restroom facilities are present, but there are no other amenities there.
- BROWN - For experienced orienteers. 4.1 km straight-line. Partly off trails. Map is 1:7,500 scale, with symbolic control descriptions.
- RED - For experienced orienteers. 6.6 km straight-line. Mostly off trails. Map is 1:10,000 scale, with symbolic control descriptions.
- BLUE - For advanced/elite orienteers only! 13.7 km straight-line. Mostly off trails. This is an extremely long "super-blue" course which visits 16 controls from all ends of all the above courses! Pace yourself, carry hydration for an extended hike, and pay attention to your fatigue level. Map is 1:15,000 scale, with symbolic control descriptions.
As usual, there is a 3 hour time limit on all FLO courses. If you take more than 3 hours on any course, RETIRE! Although the worst of the summer heat is behind us, fatigue and dehydration can still sneak up on you, particularly on the longer courses. Carry a CHARGED cell phone for safety.
The Safety Bearing for all courses will be SOUTH to the paved road or park fenceline.
Special Notes and Instructions for Wekiwa Springs State Park:
Keep in mind that in the ROYO format, there will not be any on-site event management while you are running these courses.
Be sure to carry adequate water, a whistle, and a charged cell phone for safety!! We cannot stress the first point enough! Although the worst of the summer heat is behind us, fatigue and dehydration can still sneak up on you, particularly on the longer courses. CARRY MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED, AND DRINK AT A RATIONED PACE THROUGHOUT YOUR HIKE. These are hydration pack conditions on the longer courses. One bottle of water in your fanny pack isn't going to cut it, especially on the RED and BLUE courses.
Be sure to wear shin protection and protective shoes. Briars and Prickly Pear Cactus are present in this venue. Thorns from the latter will go right through the leather upper of a shoe if you kick one carelessly, so watch where you step.
Bug spray on your shoes, gaiters, and pants is also essential for going off-trail. Ticks and especially chiggers are open for business this time of year, so wear long pants sprayed with chemical protectant, and do a thorough tick check when you come out of the woods and when you shower after getting home.
Wekiwa Springs is a delightful local venue for orienteering. Vegetation is dense and unforgiving near the lower areas where water flows or collects, but uphill the terrain is largely beautiful whitewoods with a variety of vegetation. You will have many opportunities to hone your route choice skills. Waist-high grass is common throughout (even in a few places on the Yellow course), so heed the warning about long pants and bug spray. Wandering through the tall grass with unprotected bare legs is highly likely to leave you scratching chigger bites for a few days. (<-- Note: Voice of experience!) With all the rain we've had in late Sep and early Oct, wet areas have expanded somewhat with all the drainage, and "seasonal streams" on the map do have water in them. Trail crossings with those streams will likely be wet. On the longer advanced courses, you will likely get your feet wet up to the ankles and perhaps even the shins at these crossings - a good "cool off" for tired feet! :-)
Although we very much miss connecting socially with our orienteering friends at our usual in-person events, one silver lining of the ROYO events is that you will have the woods much more to yourselves as you enjoy your course. Without a pile of people to make them get scarce, the local wildlife are often much more on display. On the Sand Lake courses, you are quite likely to see some lovely deer that call the park home. Say "Hi" to them, and keep your eyes peeled for other park residents you might not otherwise get the opportunity to see!
Flip side of course: there will not be the usual pile of people around to rely on for help in case of an issue. As a precaution, if you are competing alone, let someone know where you are going, and how long you plan to be out there. We also suggest that you leave a copy of the map in your car, or with a friend, in case someone needs to come out to find/help you.
PARKS CONTAIN HAZARDS NOT NORMALLY ENCOUNTERED
In case of emergency you should call 911.
Printing your map(s):
By printing the map for any of these courses you are agreeing to the following Waiver of Liability:
As a condition for participating in this orienteering event, you hereby release Florida Orienteering, also known as FLO, and each of its officers and member and others who have planned or participated in this event from liability for any personal injury or property damage that may occur to you or any member of your group as a result of your participation at this event whether caused by negligence or otherwise, and you hereby indemnify Florida Orienteering (FLO), its officers and any organizations or authorities sponsoring the event from any liability for injury or damage or expense caused by yourself or other members of your group.
To display the map of your chosen course, click on the appropriate link in the list of courses below, then use your browser to download or print it. If your print menu offers the choice, make sure the "Actual Size" option is selected.
A suggested donation of $7 for FLO members, or $9 for non members, may be made through Zelle. In order to use Zelle you will need to register for Zelle through your bank's website. Alternatively go to www.zellepay.com/get-started for guided instructions.
Once you have registered for Zelle, through your bank, you can send a donation to firstname.lastname@example.org and then select the 'Florida Orienteering' account.
Park day use fees will be paid as usual at the ranger station when you drive into the park
As with all ROYO events, there won't be a pile of cars/people or a FLO registration tent to guide you in to the proper START/FINISH location. For this reason, the best way by far to get to the right place is to use the what3words addresses at the top of the email. If you haven't yet embraced the what3words smartphone application, NOW IS THE TIME!
Remember to be courteous to other users of the venue, and disturb them as little as possible. This is especially true on the WSSP Yellow course, which uses the areas right around the main spring boil. Other park guests will be in those areas and on the same trails we will be using. We want to play nice in the sandbox. :-)
We hope you enjoy these courses as a way to relieve a little COVID-related stress with some awesome woods time! While you're out there:
If you haven't already, watch the 2 linked O-Tube videos to understand what what3words is and how it works, and how to use the 3-word address to obtain turn-by-turn driving directions to that exact spot from your favorite navigation app. This will get you to the right spot with minimal fuss. Once you get to the parking area, if you don't immediately see the kiosk where the iOrienteering QR codes are kept, use the w3w app's Navigate via Compass feature to get a directional pointer to the correct spot.
Remember that there are 2 sets of courses at 2 different locations at this venue, so make sure you're using the w3w address for the course you're seeking.
Course Availability Window:
The courses are in place and ready to be used as of October 5, and will be out there until further notice.
Be Safe! Be careful! Be Smart! Remember, because this is a ROYO event, there will be no one on site to call for help.