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Friday, October 4, 2013

Silas Map Adventure, Oct. 20, 2013: Orienteering in Kinnelon

On Sunday, October 20th, 2013 you can take part in the first annual Silas Map Adventure orienteering event at Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon, NJ to honor late Kinnelon resident Bjorn Waalberg, the most intrepid hiker Ted and I have ever encountered (in the woods - no less!) and the creator of the Silas Condict Orienteering map.

Join Kinnelon Boy Scouts Troop 277 and the Hudson Valley Orienteering Club on October 20th, and experience what an orienteering map adventure is all about.

Orienteering is a fun sport which is something like a race with a treasure map. During an energizing run or hike, participants find checkpoints (called control points) with help of a map and a compass. Since you use map reading and compass skills, it is a race that includes using your head to find your way.

Orienteering was one of Bjorn's very favorite sports! Those of you who knew Bjorn, know that whatever you did with him, fun was never far behind. You'll find it similarly fun and rewarding!

The Silas Map Adventure is ideal as an annual event, too.  Every year the control points are different, so there is always a new challenge even if you are in the same park.

How does the first Silas Map Adventure get started?

Orienteering meets have staggered start times. On October 20th, come to Silas any time between 10:30am and 2:30pm on October 20th and register! Registration is inexpensive: ($10 for a group of 2 and $15 for groups of 3-6). 

At the starting line, you will get to borrow a map and timing device as well as a compass. (Feel free to bring your own if you have one.) To complete a course takes about an hour. For those new to the sport, you should go in a group. If you wish, you can sit in on a brief instruction of how to use the compass and read the map before setting out. 

As soon as you complete the course, you can leave if you wish; or stay and have a picnic. Results for your team will be emailed to you by HVO. All are invited to bring a picnic lunch and continue to enjoy Silas even after you are done trying out orienteering. 

So get your teams organized and see you there!
Bjorn Waalberg with Split Rock Reservoir in the background

Silas Orienteering Map Adventure a Gift to the Community

Kinnelon resident, Bjorn Waalberg spent over two years completing an orienteering map for Silas Condict Park to introduce this fun sport to the folks of Kinnelon, especially the young folks.

He spent hundreds of hours in Silas Condict Park, often with his kids and his dog, creating and accuracy-checking the map that will be used for this event. Bjorn had dreams of expanding the love for orienteering to the high school, to the community at large, and of course to the Boy Scouts, an organization he enjoyed being involved in. Bjorn took such pride in teaching kids how to orienteer, and this map of Silas was to be the starting point.

Due to his untimely death earlier this year, Bjorn is not here to see his vision complete, so his wife Liz is doing this for him. Liz asked the Hudson Valley Orienteering Club (of which Bjorn was an active member) and Boy Scout troop 277 be involved with completing this vision of inviting the community to try out this sport. 

Bjorn on an orienteering map adventure!

Who would like to do orienteering?

Orienteering can appeal to anyone of any age who likes the outdoors. Typically, beginners make up teams of 3-6 to complete the course. A team might consist of a few kids who want to try the sport out with an adult who ‘shadows’ them so that they do not get too far off course. 

Or, a team could be high school athletes who read the map and get from point to point as fast as they can. People in Norway, where orienteering is extremely popular, participate well into their 80s! A team could be a family that wants to take the adventure all together. As a team, they will work together to solve the question of which way to go to get to the next control point and what is the best route to take. Everyone ends up having a very nice hike in the woods with an adventure attached to it.

What’s so fun about an orienteering map adventure? 

Orienteering is fun because it gives a game element to an invigorating hike in the woods! As a team, you solve the puzzle of where all the different control points are. Trying to finish the map quickly adds a layer of competition as well. Add to this, the gorgeous air and colors of October at Silas and you have a fabulous, fun, short hour-long adventure! 

Keep in mind, orienteering is a rain or shine event. As Bjorn, and any Norwegian, would say: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! You can even do this sport in rain boots!

Members of Kinnelon Boy Scouts Troop 277 
with orienteering control point markers.
Looking for a new way to get yourself or the entire family out in the beautiful nature this Fall?

The entire Kinnelon community is invited to come out and try the fun and adventurous sport of orienteering at the Silas Map Adventure on Oct 20th in Silas Condict Park.

For further information or questions, please contact the event director Robert Rycharski from HVO at: rrycharski345@optimum.net.

Thanks to all of the people near and far who reached out with generous donations for making this event possible. Their gifts are helping to complete a dream and a vision and a goal that Bjorn had set but is sadly not able to complete himself. So they, HVO and troop 277 are all part of this gift to Kinnelon as well.

And very special thanks to Liz, Bjorn's wife, for contributing this article and photos.

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