Team Stories – Double D
April 19, 2001
Double D (J.Blanchard, J.Blanchard)
Eco-Endurance Challenge 2001
Our team, Team Double D, for Julie (Doodie) and her dad, participated in the 6-hour event as this was Julie’s first rogaine and dad is not in condition to do 24 hours. Julie is 20 and dad is 51.
Start to Point 1: This allowed us to get “in touch” with the map and view the terrain. We went a bit beyond the trail on the right as we thought it was too early. We also wanted to “aim off” if the trail wasn’t positioned correctly. We came down to the lake 150m to the left of the “finger” and over we went to find people trying to decide whether to get wet or not, I mean real wet. Interesting!
Point 1 to 14: Here we pace counted to again keep in touch with the map but there were so many teams still in the local area it wasn’t difficult to find the control.
Point 14 to 15: We felt this could be a very difficult control as it was on the “south side of the hill”. There were no good attack points except the control we were already at but over that distance on a 1:50,000 is too far to use the present control as an attack point and there were no catching features beyond the control. The trail going over the hill could not be trusted to end where it said it did on the map. For ease of movement we took the trail until it started to drop and then we took a bearing in to the control from the trail. Problem is, where exactly on the trail are we? We spread out with in vision and hearing distance of each other and probed toward the control in extended line. After 100m or so the woods became dense and rocky, big rocks. We slid down to more open terrain and found a trail, of sorts, going in the direction we wanted. Problem; if the control is on the side of the hill we will not see it through the trees. The control was eventually just ahead on the marshy, very wet trail. Lucky.
Point 15 to 16: This is a classic aiming off control. However the ground coming out of 15 is marshy and thick so we moved back up the hill 100m or so to find a more reasonable route in. The hill had a lot of cuttings and deadfall interspersed with large mossy rocks. We hit the lake about 50 to 75 m to the left and moved up the lake to the control. (These 4 controls had taken a full 100 minutes so if the terrain was to remain the same, going would be slow and we may need to adjust our route plan. We decided to try and move faster in easier navigation spots although the terrain may not let us. Time and distance will tell.)
Point 16 to 17: This involved a straight compass run to the power line with no other thinking really, just rough compass work. Our problem, could we cross the brook at the power line given the high water levels or would we need to go further on to the track just below the power line? We found a log and got across almost without getting wet! To 17 from here was relatively easy, just following the power line.
Point 17 to 21: Easy navigation, but the wet bogs on the way slowed progress. We met up with two teams of younger folks (younger to me) along this powerline and we found a course map that someone had dropped. I asked the teams we met but none had lost a map. I gave it to a friend who was unable to come and participate.
Point 21 to 20: Out of the wet areas now and 20 was quite easy, oh still wet! Decision; go to 19 or up to 10. We decided that it would take at least 30 minutes to get to 19 from here and back to this area before going on to 10 and in the end the time might not be on our side if one is to allow for terrain, navigation error, fatique etc. So on to 10.
Point 20 to 10: We used this time to eat, drink, pace count, and time how long it would take to go a given distance. This was done to determine how much time we needed to get from 13 to the finish. Navigation is often like a chess game. The first left trail into 10 didn’t look good so we went to the second one. Met a SAR chap on an ATV and he said the trail just went down to a bog. Now he gets me thinking, oh, oh. Then along comes Ian Folkins and his partner, and down they went. I knew we couldn’t keep up but this had to be the trail and one is taught to not let others out on the course influence your decision. We also went down the trail, as it just had to be correct. It was a bit of a longer go than we thought. As the trail neared the lake it turned in a more southerly direction so we thought we best cut to the lake. Great, the control was 25 m to our right.
Point 10 to 11: Our idea from here was to go to 12 but as we paced counted and followed the main track north, the trail off to 12 was not as open as most of the other secondary trails off this main track. What was marked as an orange trail did not always have the same openness. We quickly decided to forego 12 and go on to 11. It was almost a no decision solution; we are not going through that stuff given the time we have left. We were now over four hours in and a long way from home. Getting to Melvin Brook seemed to come quicker upon us then we thought. Looks like the correct place for aiming into 11 but where is the cart track? We decided to head along the brook but it was rocky and with small thick spruce so we veered a bit left and lo and behold an old overgrown cart track (I believe there are actually two tracks). On the way in we saw two chaps talking about not being seen coming out so I now knew we were correct! They didn’t see us as we slowed our progress. Thanks guys! We came upon a flow of water coming down from higher ground and followed it to the control. Good thing we didn’t follow the brook as we would not have seen the control. This flow of water would not be there in the summer. I thought the control would actually be along the main brook. Lucky again! This luck doesn’t happen too often. No place to be at night!
Point 11 to 13: As far as navigation this was the most difficult section as we were worried about how open the orange trails would be given past knowledge. If we decided upon any given trail would it be like a driveway or grown over with alders?
The orange gave no distinctions of trail size. We decided to be flexible and take what looked correct and in the direction we wanted. The idea was to hit the trail leading down to 13 and the intersection from the north of 13. After we had just left 11 we met a couple coming out of the woods. Gave them our location and were off being very careful to pace count as the practices earlier were to prove valuable. The idea was to get to the trail off to the right at about GR 29106105 going basically east. It has two trails going north and south respectively after about 100m in along the trail. Our original intent was to go south on that first right hand trail but when we saw the trail it looked a bit overgrown so we continued up the hill. There were two more trails going right (south) on the way up so we decided one of those might be better. We took the next one up on the major contour line shown as a black line (photocopies eh). This went for about 300m and on the map it shows a sharp left turn going east. Upon reaching the turn there was also a trail not shown going right (southwest). We took the turn to the left and checked the magnetic lines we had placed on our map before the start. These lines ensured we were headed in generally the correct direction. After following the trail for another 200m or so we intersected a cut line (shown as a thin green line on the map on the top of the hill). This was great confirmation as to where we were. Problem, there was another thin cut line not shown heading in the exact direction we were going, east. We decided to keep on the trail, indistinct though it was, as we were supposed to intersect another trail shortly. We did. We then decided to slide left to the cut line, if it continued on it would be the easiest way through the woods to the trail above 13. It took us right out. Lucky again! Now it was down the trail to 13. Interestingly enough, the couple we met just after 11, came out of the woods onto the trail we were on during our way down to 13. We believe they had taken the trail we decided not to use as it looked too overgrown. Who had the easier go as time was not significantly different?
Point 13 to finish: This same couple (training for an event in NFLD) eventually caught and passed us (younger and fitter than me, I suppose). I knew I was holding Julie back a bit at this point. I just felt she was stronger than I was by now. With 1000m to go I told Julie to open up to see how she felt and she got in a couple of minutes before I managed to struggle into the food tent.
NOTE: Julie said she would find 24 hours very hard to do. However, my comment was that during the past three hours we worked to get to the finish would not have been as intense if we were doing the 24 hours. You adjust your pace to suit your physical condition and time on task. As for me, I’d need to be in a lot better condition to do 24 hours.