Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series
New and veteran family adventure race teams tested their orienteering skills as they experienced a cool morning of navigating and trekking along the northern portions of the installation during the Fall Colors Orienteer Meet Sept. 25.
After securing their orienteer maps and race passports, teams studied the maps and developed capture plans that best met their technical skills, endurance and stroller and strider capabilities. Racers considered numerous factors while selecting their route choices. Their three choices included an advance course consisting of the heavily wooded northwestern woodland trail system, an intermediate course containing urban terrain with some vegetation areas, and an introductory course over level urban terrain. The racers also had the option of securing bonus controls that increased their overall scores.
For Team Bug Squad — mom Lauren, dad Brad and children Nora and Owen Brown — this was their first opportunity to try orienteering. Using their double-seat stroller as a planning table, family members outlined their attack plan while Nora watched over the team passport. Team Bug Squad applied a circular approach to secure eight urban control points in one hour, 14 minutes and thus placing first in the introductory division.
Several families chose the intermediate course factoring in smaller orienteers’ endurance and patience and the all-terrain capabilities of strollers and tykes on bikes. With dad Erich supporting a distant exercise, mom Diana took over navigator responsibilities for Team Eshelman, guiding young son James and 11-month-old baby Olivia over the five-kilometer intermediate course. Team Eshelman trekked, strolled and biked to victory, clearing the 12-control course and placing first in 2:08.
Team Swanson — dad Ben, mom Stephanie, and children Eva and Soren Swanson — leveraged their previous orienteering experiences and team management skills as they executed their attack plan. While mom and dad served as navigators, Eva and Soren shared the role of punching the race passport. Team Swanson captured 10 controls in 1:25.Returning father-and-son Team Cheatah — Dallas and Jacob Cheatham — completed their first orienteer in August. When considering their attack plan for the September event, Jacob told his dad, “I want to win,” and the 11-year-old competitor proceeded to design a 10-kilo-meter, 18-control capture plan. Team Cheatah
achieved that winning goal, clearing the advance course in 2:31 to top the event’s leader board.
The orienteering series continues with the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet Oct. 16. See https://www.ftlvadventure.com/ for more information.