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What is Orienteering?

Posted by on 2/15/2012 to Recreational

Orienteering is the ultimate challenge that tests physical endurance, rapid decision making, and teamwork or independence. It is an outdoor activity that some view as a sport or a recreation. Orienteering requires an individual or a team to navigate their way through the wilderness from checkpoint to checkpoint using nothing but a map and a compass.This is generally done competitively where individuals or teams are timed and the winner completes the course in the correct order in the least amount of time.
What Orienteering has to offer:

One of the great things about orienteering is that it is suitable for any skill level, age, or ability. Some courses may be no longer than one mile with 'highly visible controls (checkpoints). Other courses may be over 20 miles, in extremely tough terrain, and contain well hidden controls, which may take hours to even days to complete.
Orienteering Control
One of the most rewarding components of orienteering is that it allows the individuals to through dense woods, climbing over rocky terrain, crossing rivers and streams, trudgingexperience and 'get in touch' with nature. There is no feeling comparable to that of trekking 
through swamp lands, and plowing your way through fields of grass 4 feet high. This could all be during the dead of winter with a foot of snow on the ground, or during a terrential downpour in early spring, or in the blazing heat of mid summer with temperatues nearing 100 degrees! At the same time you must remain focused on the task of accurately projecting yourself towards the control as being off a single degree can lead you miles in the wrong direction, and keep a keen enough sense to locate the well hidden control no larger than a foot high and a few inches wide.

In addition to the physical hardship and mental challenge of properly navigating, there is also strategy involved when it comes to route choice. When traveling from one control to the next there are often many different paths one could take, depending on the terrain. Some people opt to take the shorter but more difficult paths, others choose a longer and easier route. It is important to properly judge your potential energy expenditure to choose the most optimal route according to your skill set and ability.
Orienteering is a wonderful activity for anyone to engage. Challenging and simple, relaxing and invigorating, you may choose your own path and set your own pace. Orienteering is such a revitalizing sport that many people can find enjoyment from whether they want to challenge their mental abilities or physical abilities.
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