October 12, 2010
Orienteering originated in Sweden in the early 1900's as a military exercise and came to the U.S. in the 1940's. Orienteering has become a recreational and competitive sport in and of itself, a kind of hiking/running game, where you use a detailed map and a compass to find your way, or navigate, through unfamiliar terrain.
The objective is to visit a series of designated locations, indicated by circles on the map. At each site, a distinctive white & orange flag called a control will be placed in a "somewhat" visible location. Each control has a patterned punch tool, which you use to mark your card.
Knowing how to navigate using a map and compass is key in becoming a competitive adventure racer. Many races have been forfeited by superb athletes who lost their place on the map and consequently, couldn’t find a particular checkpoint.
Our friends at Florida Orienteering (a club in the Central Florida area) are a great resource to adventure racers who want to master their navigation skills. They offer a number of possible courses for different skill levels ranging from small children to highly advanced courses for competitors with years of experience. Check out their website for more information and to view their tutorials on orienteering.