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

At Rootstock Racing, 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 in 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.

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 takes us across the state line to Maryland. We will announce the start location closer to race day, but your best bet will be to base out of Thurmont, MD. With sweeping views and rugged terrain, the Crooked Compass serves as great training for bigger events, whether you are taking on a 24 hour adventure race, a multi-day expedition race, or our very own two day Stockville in the fall. And if you’re new to adventure racing, this is a great introductory event that will challenge and give you a taste for what the sport is.

Course Notes:

  • The full course includes roughly 15 to 17 miles of travel]
  • The minimum mandatory course is approximately 11-12 miles
  • All racers can expect some significant off-trail travel
  • The terrain is quite rocky and steep at times and progress may be slower than usual at times. There are some stretches of the course during which you will be able to use trails and forest roads, but again, expect some considerable time off trail.
  • This year’s course will include a mandatory route with embedded bonus points along the way.


  • The primary race map will be a 1:24,000 USGS topographic map
  • Additional larger scale maps will be provided on course
  • Supplemental maps

Event Info:

  • Date: April 6, 2019
  • Time: 8:00AM to 4:00PM
    • Check in will open at 7AM
  • Where: Thurmont, MD
  • Team Size: 1-4 racers
  • Divisions:
    • All-Male
    • All-Female
    • Coed
    • Solo
  • Lodging
    • The Super 8 in Thurmont, MD is quite close to the start, and they are kindly offering a special rate: 85$+ taxes/fees. The area is entering high season by April, so rates will be higher in general. The hotel is near gas stations, some fast food, restaurants, and a grocery, and they offer breakfast. Rooms are fist come-first serve, so call in to reserve the special rate ASAP. Use the code/mention “Rootstock Racing” over the phone to lock in the discount.
    • (301) 271-7888 (Call the hotel itself, not Super 8 Corporate)
    • There is a cheaper motel in town, BUT all reviews online and in person are not particularly kind:)
    • Frederick, MD or Gettysburg, PA have more options, though they are both further away from the start/finish.
    • There are some local campgrounds in and around the State Forest.


  • $65 per racer until February 28, 2019
  • $80 per racer March 1 through April 5, 2019 (no race day registration)

Register here!

Gear List: Available here!

Results and Photos

Race Designer: Brent Freedland