I’m such a wuss
Ok, first I have to say that I HAVE broken a bone in the back country before. (1989) Fortunately, at the time, I was hiking with a group of people, and there were ample folks to hike ahead to notify rangers, as well as some folks to hike with me until the rangers arrived. Once the rangers arrived, both of them hiked with me out to the road, where I got a ride in my car from the hikers to the hospital – the ones I had handed my car keys to 11 miles in so they could fetch their car while I hiked out. So I do have some experience with back country disasters.
Not so much for the AT, but for summer hiking alone on less-than-heavily-used trails, I broke down and got a Delorme InReach communicator. This nifty little device uses the Iridium satellite network to pinpoint your location and summon help in the event of a true emergency, as well as provide a minimum of text communication per month when paired with my iPhone. When hiking alone, it provides a lot peace of mind knowing that if something happens that help will be on the way. Even if I go over my 10 message per month plan, in an emergency, it won’t cut off text messages either – I can continue to communicate details of any trail disaster to emergency folks or Ric.
If I so choose, and for an extra fee (always an extra fee), it will also send a bread crumb trail of my location to a web site so Ric can know where I am. For the summer, I’ll only activate the emergency and minimal text messaging services (10 text messages included per month in the emergency plan). For the AT hike, I may go one level up to active a few more text messages, which includes the bread crumb trail services.
At any rate, it’s the kind of toy that you just have to be patient to use. Given the fee structure, it doesn’t make sense to activate it until I’m ready to leave for the next hike – which will be when I get that DARNED under quilt done. No more ground sleeping for me.
Even for the AT, I can’t imagine wasting the battery to send a bread crumb trail every ten minutes – there is such a thing as too much info – but it does seem that a bread crumb of the stopping point for the day might be nice.
Cell phone reception on much of the AT is pretty good from what I hear. Not necessarily so in the White Mountains. On last weekend’s hike of Hancock, there was no cell reception from the trailhead on the Kancamagus let alone from anywhere on the trail.
Downside – it’s not light in terms of lightweight backpacking.