The Crooked Compass Adventure Trek

“Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into. What you are doing is exploring.”
-Wendell Berry, The Unknown Wilderness: Kentucky’s Red River Gorge

The Inspiration

Adventure Racers who cross over to race directing often compare racing to directing. Which is harder? Which is more stressful? Which do we find the more rewarding? Which is most enjoyable? There is no right answer to that question, but at Rootstock, we absolutely love scouting our race courses. The idea for the adventure trek came from one of our many scouting adventures, which often involve long rambles through unknown and sometimes unmapped woodlands, usually on foot. We always struggle when forced to accept that we cannot share every nook and cranny we find ourselves during our explorations, but with our adventure trek, we hope to share more of these treasures with our racers, allowing them to take in the landscape and enjoy a healthy dose of adventure and navigational challenge, without worrying about bikes and boats.

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The Race

The Crooked Compass Adventure Trek is part-adventure racing, part-rogaining, and part-walk in the woods! Solos and teams of 2-4 will travel by foot, on-trail and off, using pre-plotted water resistant maps and compass as they locate as many checkpoints as possible within the time allotted. This year’s course consists of a mandatory route that is approximately 12 miles long. To complete the entire course, racers should expect to travel up to 25 miles, perhaps more, depending on their route choice. All participants will travel the course using map-and-compass navigation and can expect a fair amount of off-trail travel. For last year’s veterans, you can expect a slower journey. There will be trails, but there will be much more opportunity for off-trail travel.

And yeah, there is a tunnel. A LONG one. No zombies when we scouted the course in December, but who knows what will be in there come March? Don’t miss out on one of the most unique features ever in a race; it really is incredible!

The Crooked Compass is the first event in our 2017 Adventure Series!

Event Info:

  • Date: March 18, 2017
  • Time: 8:00am to 4:00pm
  • Where: Buchanan State Forest
  • Team Size: 1-4 racers
  • Divisions:
    • All-Male
    • All-Female
    • Coed
    • Solo


For hotels and motels, check out Breezewood. It’s very close to the park and has plenty of options for lodging and food. We do recommend you do your homework as quality of lodging varies widely!

We do have a camping option set up with the forest, but you will need to apply for a permit from Buchanan. Let us know if you are interested in this option and we can look into the matter further.


  • $65 per racer until February 15, 2017
  • $80 per racer February 16 through March 17, 2017 (no race day registration)

Register here!

Racer Update #1 – 2/16/17

Racer Update #2 – 2/28/17

Racer Update #3 – 3/13/17

Gear List: Available here!

Race Designer: Brent Freedland