Friendly but intense Orienteering event takes visitors all over town

WINNERS Del and Erik Scharffenberg run down Sherman Street after finding the checkpoint with the clue “Number on orange sign in front of tree house is?...”

You might have seen a few extra visitors running or quick-walking past your house on Sunday, maps in hand.

They were part of the Hood River Street O, an Orienteering event staged by the Columbia River Orienteering Club.

If they looked lost or unfriendly, that is not the case. They were finding their way using maps and a list of cryptic clues – “What animals guard the gate?” — and doing so against the clock.

McBee said that beginners are always welcome at CROC events, and you do not have to be a CROC member to participate.

Beginner’s clinics are offered at all CROC events. Beginner and intermediate O-courses require only basic map reading skills, with zero-to-minimal compass use required. Almost every event we put on has a beginner course, which is very suitable for families and kids.

Entry fees are under $10 for small local events and $20 or so for larger regional or national events.

In Orienteering, participants follow maps and can use compasses to find their way from checkpoint to checkpoint.

The Street O, with 30 or so competitors, ranged from the neighborhood trail in the Avalon area to The Hook, and many points in-between, starting at Jackson Park.

“Remember, you must work as a team, and find these points together,” was among the firm instructions given out Sunday by Jill McBee of Hood River, who organized the event with her husband, Rick.

Father and son team Del and Erik Scharffenberg of Portland ran about 15 miles to score 750 points to out of 820 to win the four hour Score Orienteering on Saturday which had participants running or walking the streets, paths, and waterfront areas of Hood River, earning 10 points for every checkpoint (out of a possible 82).

Close runners up were Jennifer and Richard Shultis 710 points, Ing Uhlin 690 points and Ken Wenzel and Davis Rogers 670. In the two hour event Frank Poulsen with 260 points was the winner. Participants came from both the local orienteering club based in Portland, and from clubs in Washington, Texas, and British Columbia.

Occasional showers did not spoil the fun of answering questions concerning each checkpoint location, according to McBee. She noted that one checkpoint, a bronze flower statue (“Origami”) was no longer in place. (It was part of the Art of Community outdoor art gallery, and the pieces are in the process of being changed.)

Most participants enjoyed an event at Catherine Creek on Sunday before heading off to the Bend area for the six-day Deschutes Daze Pyr-O-clastic Adventure event Sept 2-7. Details can be found on the Columbia River Orienteering Club website,

The next local event is Oct 4 at Hamilton Island, just below Bonneville Dam.

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