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While researching other things, I stumbled across a website talking about orienteering.
As a trail runner and map geek, I think this activity is ready-made for me. However, all the websites I found were not terribly beginner-friendly.
With shelter in place and quarantine rules, in-person classes/trainings aren't currently an option, but does anyone know of any good online resources or videos I can use now to learn all about orienteering so I'm ready to try it out IRL (when getting out is again an option)?
@sara Thanks for reaching out!
We have several great resources available to you! Depending on how comfortable you are with a map and a compass, we would recommend checking out these Expert Advice articles on Intro to Navigation, which will get you started using the tools needed for orienteering. We also have an Expert Advice article on the competitive side of the practice called Orienteering Basics.
Lastly, we have a really fun series of videos called REI Trailheads and one of the episodes is about Orienteering. You can find it embedded below.
Hopefully this helps get you started!
@REI-JohnJ provided some great resources on orienteering, and I wanted to give some other ideas too!
I live in the Denver metro area, and the local orienteering group, Rocky Mountain Orienteering Club, is so great about welcoming beginners at their meets, usually by setting up several courses for beginners to advanced. On their website, they've got a list of links to websites that have more details about the basics of the sport. I strongly recommend reaching out to your local club. They might have an email address or Facebook group to help provide more resources.
Depending on where you live, there could also be a fixed course nearby. A fixed course is basically a permanent orienteering course--you can print a map online, and go out and practice with fixed markers on your own. Your local orienteering club, if there is one, would have more information.
Hopefully we've given some ideas will help you learn as much as possible to prepare for your first meet. Let us know what happens!
I'm in the Bay Area so I know there are many local clubs and I'll for sure be doing their in-person beginner events when they begin running again.
There is a permanent course in a local park, but it was pulling up the 'beginner map' for that course that made me realize I needed resources to help me read the orienteering specific symbols on the map.
I did a lot of orienteering competitions right out of college, the whole experience was just amazing!
It really gave me confidence to help other folks get a handle on map reading when I morphed over to backpacking!
One observation I've made is that adults, who haven't had any military training, really never get exposed to topographical map reading and all of the finer points. Unless, of course, they have a need, and go out and find that info on their own.
Orienteering and geocaching are wonderful activities, the side benefit of course is becoming an expert with a topo map (emphasis on topo)