Mom Stephanie Swanson assists Eva and Soren with a control point passport punch at dad Ben reviews the map in search of the next control point during the Fall Colors Orienteer Meet Sept. 25 near the Rookery. Team Swanson captured 10 controls in one hour, 25 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series

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.

Team Eshelman — mom Diana, son James, and baby Olivia Eshelman — review the orienteer map and discuss their capture plan at the beginning of the Fall Colors Orienteer Meet Sept. 25 outside Gruber Fitness Center. Team Eshelman cleared the intermediate course securing 12 controls in two hours, eight minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series

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.

Team Bug Squad — dad Brad, mom Lauren and children Nora and Owen Brown — discuss their attack plan for the introductory course as the Fall Colors Orienteer Meet begins Sept. 25 outside Gruber Fitness Center. Team Bug Squad captured eight controls in one hour, 14 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series

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.

Jacob Cheatham discusses his attack plan with dad Dallas during the Fall Colors Orienteer Meet Sept. 25 along the woodland trail system on post. Team Cheatah cleared the 18-control advance course in two hours, 31 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Adventure Series


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.

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