For people who has never practiced orienteering, you are no more than just a fool. One of these fools that gets up early in the morning on the weekends to go to get tired, dirty and lost into the forest. But fortunately or unfortunately, orienteering in much more for you, orienteerer.
Orienteering is a drug you are addicted to:
- It doesn't matter whether is cold or warm, winter or summer, spring or autumn. Neither whether it is sunny or cloudy, foggy or rainy, even if it is dark and late at night. It neither matter whether it is pouring, snowing, hailing or thundering and lightning outside. You just want it, you just need it.
- Despite of the long trips, no borders can stop you. It doesn't matter how do you get to the place you race, whether by car, van, bus, plane or ship. You just want it, you just need it.
- You don't care about climbing endless hills, running through super-green forests, tricky rocky areas, swampy areas where you sink up to your hips or even about crossing the Amazon river. No, you don't really care about it. You just want it, you just need it.
You feel free once you have already done some controls. There are no worries or troubles when running orienteering. You get into that exotic, exuberant and almost wild and primitive sensation where you feel great, strong, brave and voracious. There is nothing else but you and the forest there.
You breath with nerve, your heart speeds up and your lungs expand so the pure and fresh air of the forest purify you. You run with giant steps. You devour kilometers but you don't get tired, you just wanna keep running and devouring more and more kilometers.
Your brain works at an incredible level. It analyses cliffs, paths, rocks, tops, green and striped areas... and tries to find out the best route-choice to the next control at the same time. You see everything clearly, like if you were moving in slow-motion. You don't stumble or walk back to your own steps, you are flowing. No, you don't even have a doubt: you just run to a finish line that you don't actually wanna reach. The finish line - that double circle on the map - means the end of your experience and makes you come back to you worries and to a modern and adult world that oppress that instinct of freedom where you are when running.
You don't want to but you eventually reach the finish line. You have performed a good race and you cannot believe what your split times shows: You haven't spent an hour and a half into the forest!!
Suddenly you feel exhausted, there is no freedom sensation anymore until the next race.
That sensation is what makes you train hard day after day so you can feel it again.
That essence, that connection, that comfort, that forgetfulness, that flow into the forest...
Yes, that is, indeed, Orienteering.