The terrain in Heponiemi has become very familiar to Petteri Laitinen, one of two course setters for the Kangasala-Jukola. However, the control points have sometimes eluded him.
”One of the most memorable experiences of my orienteering career happened here at this very same Jukola terrain. I must have been 9-10 years old and had joined my orienteering club’s camping trip for the first time. It was held in a hunting club lodge here in Majaalahti, which is a northern part of this year’s Jukola competition area.
I got totally lost during one of the exercises and ran completely off the map. After wandering around for ages in a mild panic I found myself at the edge of a field. The problem was that there were no fields on my map!
I decided to go ask for directions at a farm just past the fields. There was a milk van standing in the driveway, and the driver basically told me that I was so far away from the campsite that I best hop in the van. And so I returned to the camp in the back of the milk van.
It was obviously a slightly scary experience for a young lad, but at the same time comforting to know that you will always find your way home. And it didn’t dampen his orienteering enthusiasm, apparently quite the opposite!
Even then, the terrain in Heponiemi proved to be a worthy adversary. But since then, as his orienteering skills developed and he was able to run challenging courses faultlessly, the terrain has provided many amazing experiences.
Hopefully the Jukola competitors will have more of the latter and not the former milk van experience!”