The Buffalo Orienteering Club's season this year offers events for competitive racers, and beginners looking to learn the basics of using a map and compass.
It features an adventure run and hike, trail runs in county parks, guided hikes, and traditional orienteering meets.
Look for the Aug. 26 Ellicottville Adventure Run and Hike in the hills overlooking the Holiday Valley ski resort. There will be a choice of events, one for three hours and the other for six hours –a major physical workout – in which competitors run or hike with a map to find as many checkpoints as possible in the time limit.
Two trail runs remain in the season: 5k and 10k races at 6:30 p.m. June 15 at Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, and a 5-miler at 6:30 p.m. July 13 in Chestnut Ridge Park in Orchard Park.
There are standard orienteering meets on May 20 at Chestnut Ridge Park, June 3 in Knox Farm, June 24 in Sprague Brook Park in Glenwood, Sept. 10 in Schoellkopf Scout Camp in Cowlesville, Sept. 30 in Emery Park in South Wales, and Oct. 21 in Sardinia County Forest. Education on map and compass use is always available, although there are also detailed learn-and practice sessions at most meets led by experienced instructors.
Orienteering for serious competitors is like trail running races with a mental challenge. But many others participate in orienteering events, which easily accommodate walkers, as well as individuals and families, or groups, including children.
The club also sets up permanent orienteering courses for the season at county parks, for which participants can buy maps and try to find checkpoints on their own. Individuals can also try the courses in groups led by an experienced guide on Thursday evenings July 6, July 13, July 20 and July 27 in Chestnut Ridge Park.
For more information on all of these events, visit buffalo-orienteering.org.