Well I was finally convinced to delve into the world of rogaining. I'm a big fan of hiking, but somehow I thought that all that navigation would take away from the enjoyment of it all. But I think, in hindsight, it kept things interesting.
My partner for the event was Shannan, who I've hiked with many times before, and I can safely say is crazier than I (she did the end to end on the bib track in one go, by herself.. I know, bonkers..). We drove up to the hash house/camping area bit with a few other friends that were participating. For some reason I had it in my head that everyone there would be hardcore, lightweight hiking types. But what lavishness I saw! Caravans, spot lights, the odd generator or three. Wow. I spose it must be to compensate for the harshness of the rogaining. We took a tent and some thermarests to sleep on. Yeah. Next time it'll be mattresses!
Trying to go to sleep the night before the rogaine I distinctly remember thinking that we were definitely going to die, because we'd end up walking halfway to Albany without noticing. It would be the first time that either of us had down any serious map and compass navigation (normally our friendly Wagul normally takes care of this).
After slumberly awaking the next morning to the peaceful calls of the weekend dirt bikers, we grabbed our map and decided to plot a conservative course, being our first time and all. Unknown to us, we would plot a wonderful little stroll through mostly wandoo forrest, which was quite spectacular. The horn goes off letting us know to bugger off. We take the reading for the first control point, which actually proved pointless as half of the other rogainers were heading there anyway. Upon reaching it, we'd reached further than we'd expected. Right, next control. Well, this is when we learnt that we weren't exactly sure how to take a reading. So being the enterprising young upstarts that we are, made it up and hoped for the best. It worked quite well. I was shocked. Shan was also shocked. We were finding them quite easily. Granted it wasn't the most elegant method (take bearing, find tree, walk to tree, check bearing, find tree..) it was working.
Then it all came crashing down when we were looking for our first 90 point control. It was in a water course, which didn't help when there was about 4 or 5 water courses in row. We passed a few other teams that had given up on that control. After about 20 minutes of looking for it, I became my sulking self and complained heartedly that I needed a rest as I was hungry. Up and down the watercourses we went but not control could we find. Shan suggested we head down to the stream which all the watercourses feed into and go from there. So we did, and we found it. Kudos to Shan. That only took an hour.
The next few points were really easy (even the 100 pointer.. wtf?). It started getting interesting as the final deathrows of the sun disappeared. Interesting in the fact that we were standing in the middle of nowhere (well we had a rough idea) in pitch black (no moon yet) with crappy torches (note to self, head torches suck). We were amazed at how easily we were finding our controls though. Admittedly we were being very careful with navigation, but still suprised us.
We got to our last scheduled control with an hour and a quarter to go. We thought we'd be cool and try and pick up a few more points. The course we plotted went straight through the hash house. So once we got there, the smell of food and the warmth of the bonfire was overwhelming, I think somethink along the lines of "fuck it, I'm hungry" was said. We had been warned about the hash house effect, once you come in, its incredibly hard to leave again.
So there we go. Ended up placing 63rd out of 149 teams, which I was rather chuffed about.
Highlight: Must of been the leg back to the hash house when we encountered some thick parrot bush. I marched straight through it, I think it was to get away from the curse words coming from Shannan's mouth.
Lowlight: Taking one photo and then have my camera give the low battery warning and shut itself down.