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Daphne Joel Beth Ben Events Orienteering  

Canoe/Kayaking Orienteering
June 9,10 2001
by Joel

There are only a handful of canoe orienteering events in New England each year. This year, two of them occurred on the same weekend in June.

New England Championships (June 9, 2001)

Map for New England Championship Canoe-O

The New England Championship Canoe/Kayak Orienteering event was held in Providence, RI, in the harbor. Daphne and I arrived early and decided to do the long (championship) course. The course was supposed to be around 7 miles long, although that was never verified.

From the start we decided to tackle the long leg first. We paddled hard from the start towards control KS. When we got close, we decided to take a page from Aims Coney's playbook and portage the kayak across the road rather than taking the long way around. The portage was tough; our double kayak is quite heavy. We had to carry it up hill through thick brush including poison ivy, across the road and down the other side through muck to where we could put-in.

At that point, Joel took the kayak solo across the bay, while Daphne ran to control EB. Unfortunately, even after 20 minutes of searching Daphne never found the control to punch. But she returned to the kayak so we could punch the KS water control.

There was no way to get back to the harbor without portaging again so we cross the road at a more convenient spot and headed back towards the remainder of the controls.

We then knocked off the control in this order: DH, BC, PC and PL. In each case, Joel would stay with the kayak and Daphne would jump out and find the control. At control PL, Daphne started running across land to reach control ZZ. Meanwhile, Joel paddled the kayak solo up river and met Daphne at the bridge just south of control ZZ.

We then picked up water control DS and control ES, which was hanging over the water. Finally, we pulled hard for the finish. We made pretty good time but never officially finished because we missed that first control. Oh, well.

When we first looked at the course we tried to image how Aims would handle the course. There did not seem to be any places where it was obvious to us to run across land. But later when we talked to Aims we discovered that Aims and his partner, J-J, ran much of the course on land, carrying their racing canoe. As expected, the team of Aims Coney and J-J Cote finished first.

The weather was great and the kayaking was fun, except for that first control. But I have to say that the course was not very hard and the Providence waterfront was nothing to write home about.

The complete results have been posted here.

Nashua River Canoe-O (June 10, 2001)

Map for Nashua River Canoe-O

After a quick seven mile paddle, we were ready for the next days event in Groton, MA. There was a River Festival for the town and Pete Bundschuh setup a canoe/kayak event at the site of the festival, on the Nashua River.

As you can see from the map, the area is very interesting with lots of small islands and route choices. At least it looks that way from the map. The reality was very different, however.

Pete placed the controls on the river on Saturday. But by Sunday the river level has dropped by almost a foot. Most of the water controls were now mud controls. But more than that, many of the channels between islands were impassable at the lower water level. You could not even portage them because of the deep mud.

We started with control number 2. We had to drive the kayak up through the mud to get close enough to punch the control. This was our first clue that something was wrong.

Then we wanted to take the narrow channel to control number 1 but the channel was impassable so we went around the long way. When we got to the point between the island with control number 1 and the island with control number 9, we found our way blocked again by low water. Instead we beached the kayak on the island (green x) and crossed land to find control number 1.

We then paddled to control 9 and then went to ashore north of control number 9. Instead of paddling to control number 6 we decided to run across land, where there was a wide trail. We punched control number 6 from land and returned to the kayak.

Then we paddled to the following controls in order: 10, 4 and 3. After control number 3 we looked for the small channel to control number 11 but we could not find it at low water. Instead of kayaking all the way around the long north/south island, we decided to take control 11 by land.

We paddled directly to the path marked with the small green x south of control number 8. There we beached the kayak and took to land. First we went for control number 11. We found the control easy enough but it was not where it was marked. Instead it was on the eastern side of the small bay and the only way to it was to wade through the water. We talked it over and decided that we would finish the course no matter what. So Joel waded across through the mud and waist deep water to punch control number 11.

Then we went for control number 8. Joel stayed on the trail to dry and directed Daphne as she went around the inner bay. Then back to the kayak and the river.

We picked up control number 5 and then decided to continue south-west towards control number 12. We were warned that there were trees blocking the channel, but when we got there we were able to portage up to the trail and around the trees.

We picked up control number 12 and found the marked portage spot to get back to the main river. The portage spot was nothing more than a small trail that we dragged the kayak across. We paddled to control 7, which was almost unreachable at the low water level and then started towards the finish.

We successfully got all the controls but we ended up getting very muddy in the process. The kayaking in Providence was much easier. But once we got started, we wanted to finish the course.

After we got off the river, we waited for Aims. Aims and his partner, Terry Myers, finished the course much faster than us but were surprised that we got all the controls. Although the results have not been posted yet, I am sure we came in second. By the way, Aims' trick was to run with his canoe from control number 6 up towards control number 4. We would never be able to carry our kayak that far. Oh well.

The next event for us will be Pawtuckaway in September where we will be setting the canoe-O course. Until then.

This web page (http://www.gouldhome.com/KayakEventsJune01.html) was last updated on December 19, 2001. For any comments or suggestions about the site contact Daphne Gould. Contents copyright © 1999-2003 by Joel and Daphne Gould.