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Orienteering group offers walks in the woods

Did you miss the Buffalo Orienteering Club's Mini-Rogaine run held at Holiday Valley on Saturday? Have any lingering fears of woods and forest fringes? Then a hike along a basic (white) BOC course could lift one's spirits about map-oriented hiking and lower fear factors about walking in and through the woods on the way to points (called "controls") along an orienteering meet course.

The next club gathering, a three-course meet for competitors or casual hikers of all ages, will begin with registration at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Schoellkopf Boy Scout Camp on Burroughs Road in Cowlesville.

Phillip Wolfling coordinates the scout camp meet. For details, check with him at 832-9758. Charlie Wightman will handle the Oct. 18 BOC meet at Sprague Brook Park, Foote Road, in Glenwood.

"While introducing people to orienteering skills, we also hope to reduce a fear of woods and the outdoors as folks walk through the courses," Wightman said.

He explained that hikers of all skill levels can enter each orienteering meet at four general levels.

"The White Course is for those on their first outing; the Yellow Course is for beginners who want to look things over a second or third time; the Orange Course is for intermediate-level orienteering; and the fourth level (signaled with various colors) is the most difficult and for experienced orienteerers," he said.

Cost is minimal. BOC members participate for free; visitors pay $8 for entry, which includes a map of the course. Bring your own compass or obtain a rental compass. Either way, BOC assistants will help get anyone started on the course best suited for their abilities.

The course marker flags or controls can be spotted with the right compass heading and map reading.

The combination developing these skills not only sharpens one's map- and compass-reading skills, it also heightens enjoyment of the outing.

"Almost everyone says they get to see more interesting and different things along an orienteering trail than most hiking trails open to the public," Wightman said.

To find out more about BOC outings instruction and participation, check with Wolfling or Wightman or go to buffalo-orienteering.org.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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