November in Catalina State Park is starting to look like an annual orienteering event!  The weather has cooled, but can still be a little warm.  Some parts of the park are rugged and rocky and hard to run.  Other parts are not so rugged and rocky, but still hard to run.  This year’s event will take place mostly north of the main road.  It is not so steep and rugged as the eastern or southern part of the park which some of you know from some previous years.

There are still plenty of cactus and mean shrubs, as well as some clingy weed and grass seeds.  Parts appear open, but other parts have quite a bit of brush.  There are not many trails to make use of, but there are dry washes and some horse trails that can be used for some routes.

Courses set by John Pascal will include white, yellow, orange, green, red and Tucson motala.  The white and yellow courses will mostly be along trails south and east of the group camp.  The more advanced courses will be in the areas north of the campgrounds.  The Tucson motala combines the yellow, orange, and red courses.  Almost all of that part of the mapped area will be used.  The elevation in this part of the park is lower, so you don’t get views of Tucson, but the mountains to the east will be in plain sight most of the time.  You may get to cross the large wash, depending on which course you run.

There will be tall weeds, grass seeds, and some catclaw to contend with so be sure to wear leg protection.  The color map for all courses will be 1:10,000 scale with a 5 m contour interval.

Agua at Catalina State Park
Agua at Catalina State Park (Photo by Daniel Lobo) 

The meet director is Mike Byers.   Call Mike at 520 (-dash-) 743 (-dash-) 7476 or email byemike (-at-) gmail (-dot-) com if you have questions about this meet.  Please offer to help out with registration, timing, or control retrieval.  The fees collected at each event only cover the costs for permits, insurance, transportation, map printing, supplies, and equipment used at the event.  They don’t cover planning, organizing, or running the event.   It is only through the generous volunteer effort of us club members by which these events can happen!

Motala:  The Tucson Motala is a three-stage course that will test and develop both your navigation and endurance skills.  The stages may be run in any order desired and consist of a ~3-4k on/off trail loop (or “Yellow” loop), a more navigationally challenging ~4-5k off trail loop (Orange) and a more difficult ~5-6k off trail loop (Red).  We recommend that you start the first stage no later than 9:15 a.m.  The latest time to start the last stage is 11:30 a.m. (Red loop), 11:45 a.m. (Orange), or 12:00 p.m. (Yellow).  Motala fees for members of the Tucson or other recognized orienteering club are $10/person + $5/each additional team member for each event.  Nonmember fees are $15/individual + $10/each additional team member for each event.

Fees:  Classic courses:  $5/individual, $8/team for members of any recognized orienteering club.  $10/individual, $15/team for nonmembers.  For motala fees, see the special section above.  Compasses rent for $1.  Safety whistles sell for $1.  Every person, all courses, all meets is required to carry some type of safety whistle.

  Members may invite one guest for free to this event.  For details and restrictions, click here.

8:30 a.m. Beginners' clinic starts.
8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Registration.  Express Check-in for members.
9:00 a.m.  Courses open.
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Route choice reviews.
1:00 p.m.  Courses close.  Everyone must be back by then.  Begin control retrieval (orienteering practice).

Directions:  The entrance to Catalina State Park is located on Oracle Road (AZ 77), six miles north of the intersection of Oracle Road and Ina Road.  If you come on I-10, take Exit 248 and drive east on Ina for five miles to its intersection with Oracle.  Visitors from Phoenix, take the Pinal Parkway to Oracle Junction - from there it is approximately 10 miles southbound on AZ 77 to the park entrance.  Start/Finish will be in the picnic area on the left side of the main road just across from the Romero Ruins trailhead.  Look for the orienteering signs.  The State Park charges a day use fee, about $7 per car for up to 4 adults, $3 per additional adult, kids under 14 might be free.  The trip time from Tucson to the event site is about 30 minutes.


Check-In:  To insure that all are safe, everyone, whether finished with the course or not, must check in formally at Start/Finish before courses close and before leaving the meet site.

Newcomers:  Go directly to Registration.  Ask for instructions and introductory information.  To attend the free beginners’ clinic, arrive between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Route Choice Reviews:  Orienteers love to talk about alternate routes and their advantages and disadvantages.  If you would like to discuss your choices after you do the course, there will be advanced orienteers near the Start/Finish area who would enjoy going over your route with you.