We were chest deep in swamp water, feet sinking in muck, when my teammate, Todd Peterson, yelled from behind: “Is this gonna be a swim?”
Thus starts my story in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I cover the esoteric orienteering discipline of Rogaine. (No, this isn’t about a baldness medication.)
Rogaining, an Australian offshoot of orienteering invented in the 1970s, puts teams of two to four people on a choose-your-own-adventure course in wilderness dotted with flags. (The name originally stood for a combination of Rod, Gail and Neil, the first names of the three Australian athletes credited with popularizing the sport.)
This particular map-and-compass competition was held Aug. 18 in the Chequamegon National Forest of northwest Wisconsin. Peterson and I were among the 30 teams that had set out that morning in search of two dozen flags scattered throughout the forest. Time limit was 6 hours.
Topographical maps are marked with flag locations; a compass serves as your sole navigational tool, no GPS allowed. You chart a course and tag the control flags in any order, imprinting a punch card at each flag to prove you were there.
The team with the most punched points in the end wins. (We ended up in second place during this race!)
Read my full story here: http://www.startribune.com/1244/story/1400559.html