George in the jungle rogaine
I have always wanted to set a rogaine, find out what it is all about and experience rogaining from a different perspective, so when I saw the invitation in the newsletter to join an experienced setting and vetting team (Ian, Owen and Warren) I decided to give it a go. We had two more setters / vetters in the team (Sheryl and Richard) so a plan was made to split the map in half so everybody could try their hand at both setting and vetting.
I thought that was a great idea and we started off with our first meeting to determine map location. I guess in terms of contacting landowners our team had a very easy job as the area is bush only, but we did have to arrange permits for setting and vetting as the area we selected is a die-back disease risk area.
My first setting experience was held in the comforts of Ian’s living room, where 4 of us poured over the map and tried to find enough interesting features to hang some controls for you lot to find. Owen had already done a great job in selecting many sites and we then added some more to fill the map in.
A few weeks later the time had finally come to get out there and see what the bush really looked like. Ian and I went out on a Wednesday although at first it was hard to establish exactly where we were on the map, we soon were sorted thanks to the power lines! We spent the whole day pace counting, checking features and driving around non-existent tracks and looking for tracks that were meant to be there, but had been swallowed over the years by the ever-expanding jungle.
I really enjoyed myself and must say that actually spending time in the bush navigating whilst not competing is a great way to learn a bit more about those brown lines on the map that I sometimes struggle to find on the ground (I strongly suggest somebody change the colour of those contour lines to pink so we have half a chance of finding them on the ground – seriously who picked brown?!)
I went out once more with Ian a few weeks later, followed by joining Warren for some vetting and reading the dozens of emails that came in from the others after a day spent in the bush. Then it was time to do our homework before we got together to decide on point allocations! I invented my own ingenious system to play with points (yellow stickies) which was great until the time came to finalise it all… I was expecting a lot more banter on this night, but the team agreed on it all quite quickly.
Ian went through a very steep learning curve to get familiar with the ins and outs of OCAD to create the map and we saw many colourful versions fly past in our inbox, all one step closer to the great map you ended up using during the event.
In the midst of this we also still had to come up with a name for the rogaine… I always thought rogaines have quite clever names and I think I now know who is responsible for these clever names: Owen! We all had some crazy (and some boring) ideas, but I knew immediately he had found a winner when he came up with ‘The George in the Jungle Rogaine’. It might have been a mystery for some of you before the event, but hopefully it all became clear when you finally did see the map!
The weekend before the rogaine was spent swapping the setting plates for the real controls, and the volunteer’s were all briefed at Jim’s place. During the hanging of the real controls we bumped into a daddy emu with 9 eggs and 1 emu chick! That was an amazing experience!!
Then it was finally time to see the teams pour over the maps, just as we had done many, many weeks ago. Seeing the teams plot a route and then head out into the bush we all have become rather familiar with was fantastic!
So next time when somebody asks you if you would be interested in setting or vetting an event, jump at the occasion as it is a great way to see what goes on behind the closed doors of the setting and the vetting team in all those months before the event! Many of you might wonder if it helps with your rogaining skills… Am I going to be a better rogainer after the setting and vetting experience? – of course! So watch out Wil and Ricky in your next event as I now know all the tricks and I hope you all made sure to ‘Watch out for that Tree’!
The actual weekend of the rogaine in pictures: