Rogaining is a community. It’s exploring new places. It’s time with your mates. It’s being unplugged. It very much is the thrill of the chase.
Don’t let anyone tell you different. Finding an orange and white marker with the value of 90 points, in the dark, late at night after pace counting on bearing for a kilometre[s] gives you the biggest rush, it is like winning your very own lottery!
The South Australian Rogaining Association’s inaugural 15-hour roving rogaine in the Southern Flinders Ranges is an event where competitors have a maximum of 15 hours on the course in a 24 hour period, with options to start and stop anytime during those 24 hours. This brings into play a lot of strategy for each of the teams.
When do you come back in? Do you come back in and rest? How long do you go out in the dark? Even though you are exhausted and don’t want to crawl out of your warm sleeping bag, what time do you get up the next morning?
More than 200 keen rogainers descended on the 6,000 head working sheep station, Almerta Station. Greeting us with vistas of stunning gum lined dry creek beds, permanent springs, blue bush plains, rocky outcrops and abundant bird life.
What we were all about to discover over our 15-hours of self-made adventure was what people who live in regional South Australian are faced with each day:
The drought. The dust. The stillness.
With our topographic map in hand, we see 40 percent of our 53 controls or checkpoints were in and around these big fat blue lines weaving across this historic station, only too quickly did we realise that these watercourses were, in fact, barren and dry, and have been since the last decent rain in 2011. Wandering down these broad creeks, highlighting at every bend just how hard it must be to live off the land. Mind you they really are quite beautiful.
Undisturbed ruggedness that these kin are forced to embrace. Greeted with untouched views, that are as far as the eye can see. These simply enveloped you with their grey-blue haze of the surrounding ranges.
I love what rogaining gives us, in one moment you are playing for sheep stations with your good mate, quite caught up in the thrill of the chase. The next you are happily traversing hills, scrambling over ledges, immersing yourselves in the outdoor beauty that we all take for granted so quickly.
As we both roamed, we are very much at one with the earth. You can feel peace seep into your core through your shoes, up into your veins with every step. Mother Nature stills your mind and calms your breath.
In the last few hours we spent out on course, the heavens started to rumble and rain fell. Not enough to make the creeks flow by any mean stretch of the imagination, however, just enough to settle the dust and get rid of the sticky Aussie flies, making us all the more appreciative of just how awesome our ioMerino gear is. Saturday it kept us cool through the warmth of the day when the sun went down and we got damp, we were warm and dry.
If you want to explore our state’s jaw-dropping vistas. Then take a look at this crazy sport called Rogaining, because the organisers supply the location and you get to create your very own adventure!
Plan. Seek. Find. The three elements of every rogaine. Sounds simple, but the way they come together means that every team ends up with a unique experience and many stories to tell.