Team Conrardy — Peter, Rachel, Charlotte, Abigail and Evelyn Conrardy — punch a control point at the "Site of Old Blockhouse, 1838-1860" placard during the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet Oct. 16 at the Dragoon Wall. Team Conrardy secured eight controls in one hour, 22 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series

Connie Carpenter | Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series

Cool weather and sunshine set the perfect conditions for the Great Pumpkin Orienteer
Meet on Oct. 16 and allowed new and returning participants to enjoy the outdoors.

Team Haven — Michael and Lisa Suggs — punch control point No. 13, the “Old Blockhouse,” during the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet Oct. 16 at the Dragoon Wall. Team Haven topped the two-person division of the Olympic course by clearing the course in two hours, 10 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series


The event offered three courses — introductory, intermediate and Olympic — designed to match the orienteers’ skill levels and to accommodate all ages and families. Competitive teams sought to develop an attack plan that captured controls in a deliberate pattern, minimizing time and distances between controls. Other participants chose to take a leisurely walk with family members, taking in the autumn splendor and the post’s historical locations. Both the two-kilometer introductory course and the five-kilometer intermediate course proved competitive with several family teams in each division.

Team Mark’s Marauders — parents Drew and Lauren and sons Matthew, Mark, and Luke Holder — capture control point No. 8, “Jesse James Canyon,” during the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet Oct. 16 near Camp Conestoga. Team Mark’s Marauders secured 18 controls in two hours, four minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series

Orienteering is a great sport for family teams as members young and older have the opportunity to contribute toward finding and punching navigational controls. Moms and dads often served as primary navigators with younger members scanning the horizon and dashing toward controls with teams’ race passports.

Junior orienteer James Eshelman punches his race passport at control point No. 6 during the Great Pumpkin Orienteer Meet Oct. 16 near the Network Enterprise Center. James and his family — dad Erich, mom Diana, and 1-year old sister Olivia — secured 18 controls in two hours, 22 minutes. Photo by Susy Stephens/Fort Leavenworth Outdoor Adventure Series


The introductory course was competitive with newcomers Team Stiefunter— Thayne, Megan and Aisling Stiefunter— and veteran orienteers Team Conrardy— Peter, Rachel, Charlotte, Abigail and Evelyn Conrardy — developing identical attack plans. Each team captured eight control points but Team Stiefunter edged out Team Conrardy by 24 minutes to top the introductory division in 58 minutes. Team Swanson — Ben, Stephanie, Soren and Eva Swanson — joined Natalie Richardson and dog Sully in securing 13 controls and topping the five-kilometer intermediate division in one hour, 22 minutes. Two-person Team Rebel Alliance — dad Edwin and son Nathaniel den Harder — set a scorching pace placing third as dad sprinted and son bicycled over various ter-rain snagging 11 controls in 48 minutes.


Orienteer courses specify distances using “as the crow flies” measurements. While the Olympic course listed the distance as approximately eight kilometers, the actual distance was dependent upon teams assorted attack plans. Newcomers Team Warriors Rip — Mark, Anna, Chris and Elodie Klink and dog Daisey — developed a streamlined, competitive plan crushing the 18-control course in 1:38. Team Mark’s Marauders
dad Drew, mom Lauren, and sons Matthew, Mark and Luke Holder — used a cloverleaf
pattern to divide the course into two sections and cleared the 18 controls in 2:04. Team Haven — Michael and Lisa Suggs— chose a leisurely pace, as they hiked between controls. Team Haven topped the two-person division clearing the course in
2:10.

The orienteer series continues with the Gobbler Orienteer Meet Nov. 20. See https://www.ftlvadventure.com for more information.

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