Fun in the Fog of Fundy

The Falcon Cup, one of Canada’s 6 annual ‘A’ meets, took place on June tenth and eleventh this year, in Fundy National Park, NB. It was an event not to be missed. As forecast, the rain was torrential. There were only lapses of a few minutes, and never during an event. The majority of participants camped in the large campground, but we decided to stay in a nearby bed and breakfast, a decision we would be glad for. The woods, in the areas of the park that were used, were very dense. Everyone was thankful that the rivers had become raging torrents, as this made it easier to use them to navigate in sometimes otherwise featureless areas.

The sprint event consisted of three courses. There was a junior course, using handrails, a female course, and a male course. The male course was not too technically difficult, but seeing as it was my first time in the area, I had a lot of trouble getting started and finding the first control. Despite the simplicity of some of the controls, small mistakes were punished. The times ranged from 13 minutes to 80 minutes, with the bulk falling in the twenty-minute area.

The next event was the relay. This took place during the worst of the rain, so some of the complicated scoring methods were thrown out the window. There were three courses. The first was all in open areas, the second was like a normal course 3-4, and the third obviously more difficult. I did course 3, and only suffered from overshooting a control by several hundred metres, which led to at least ten minutes of wasted time, and difficulty ready some of the contours correctly. The standard chocolate bars for completion were present.

The main event took place on Sunday. There were six courses, with a three-hour time limit. The rain eased off, but the wet woodland still meant a soaking from the start. Registration took place in a building with a much needed stove for warmth. Next door, imported orienteering gear was for sale. I chose Course 4. I was again grateful for the raging rivers as navigational tools. I made some ridiculous mistakes on the second and third controls, but after that things went fairly smoothly. Course 4 and up required 400 metre plus treks through runnable woodland, featuring only the occasional river and rocky outcrops. At the finish, there were washrooms, and the aforementioned warm stove available, welcome features for those who could not feel their finger tips. The snacks were endless. There was hot chocolate, oatmeal cookies, banana-chocolate chip muffins, fruit, chocolate bars, and much more. Each finisher received a bottle of locally-produced sparkling apple cider, and placers received a magnetic ‘plaque’.

The Falcon Cup was an extremely well-run event with courses for all abilities on some ‘foreign’ and challenging terrain. Although the weather was atrocious, I would definitely return to this event, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun challenge, reasonably close to home.

Daniel Lewis