Orienteering Association of Nova Scotia

Park Trail

Eco-Endurance Challenge – A Beginners Experience

I began this event with memories of last year’s adventure into the woods, remembering what I went through and what I learned from competing in this sport for the first time in my life. I remembered how much physical and mental pain I was in after just 10 of the 24 proposed hours of hiking through the non-stop downpour, and the relentless undergrowth that made up the majority of the course. I remembered the feeling of falling asleep on top of another competitor’s cooler which was surprisingly comfortable at the time. I remembered the personal will of strength it took to get back up at 1:30AM and return out into the woods in search of more controls with everything but a little voice in my head telling me to stay at base camp and fall back to sleep. I remembered making it another 3 hours before falling asleep at the scout camp in front of the fire that was slowly going out from the rain that continued steadily throughout the night. I remembered the cold painful feeling of waking up soaked to the bone and trudging 4km back to the start to hand in the punch card. But most importantly I remembered the voice in my head right after handing in the punch card telling me that I had a great time and had to do it again. Last year this event gave me the confidence to know that I am capable of going to my mental and physical limit and push myself beyond what I thought was ever possible to accomplish. Most of my friends have told me I am absolutely nuts for doing something like this, and I just tell them “You’re right, but I did it and will continue to do it because I can and I love it”.

Even though this year’s adventure was similar to last years hike, it still provided me with the same physical and mental confidence that carries over into other areas of my life. We placed 6 spots higher this year than last year, and feel that with more training we can at least increase our distance if not our placing for E2C 2007. We have already started planning training hikes to Cape Chignecto and Kejimkujik National Park for the fall and spring and are looking forward to preparing ourselves for another soul testing 24-hour adventure through the woods in 2007. I hope more people discover this wonderful sport and begin taking part no matter what their skill or endurance level. It is an excellent activity for all ages, and anyone who hasn’t tried it needs to experience the challenge and physical beauty that an orienteering course has to offer.

I hope everyone enjoyed this short story and feels willing to add your own so everyone can share in your orienteering experiences. If you are interested in adding a story to the website please email it to me at abhardin@dal.ca and I will pass it on to the webmaster.

Thanks and good luck with all your future orienteering adventures!

Andrew Harding


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