Northwest Nav Races is hosting a navigation race on a new map of Manastash Ridge, south of Ellensburg, WA! This area is predominantly moderately-sloped erosional ridge and valley terrain, with some mima mounds and some landslide details on the steeper north slope. The vegetation is shrub steppe, mostly sagebrush and grasses with some stands of mostly open pine forest, and there is a trail network that ranges from sparse-to-moderate in the south to complex in the north. Trails are a mix of disused old roads and new, flowy single-track trails used by mountain bikers and runners. A fire in 2020 burned part of the terrain in the south part of the area, so it is even more open than it otherwise would be and can feel a bit like a moonscape. There are breathtaking views of Ellensburg and the Kittitas Valley from the ridgetop.
This is a great area to practice contour reading along with compass skills, since the terrain is mostly open and the visibility good.
Are you new to nav racing? That’s okay! Check out the “First Time?” section to learn how it works. Also, a great way to practice is to attend Cascade Orienteering Club‘s events. The club offers Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced-level courses, plus free beginner instruction before you begin. Cascade’s events are a great way to get acquainted with an orienteering-style map, which uses special colors and symbols to provide more detailed information than the typical USGS map. You can also review this orienteering map legend. And finally, be sure to show up at least half an hour before map issue time to receive a free Introduction to Navigation session on event morning! We’ll provide an introduction to the map, reading contours, basic navigation, and how to use the compass to orient the map.
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