NOW LET’S FOLLOW-UP The Salt Lake Tribune article WITH CRUCIAL SURVIVAL ISSUES and a SPOT TRACKER DEMO
Going alone seems to be an issue with some–and it should be. I don’t advise it with anyone, unless they can meet my criteria which I explain in the next few paragraphs. Links to get more detail are highlighted.In the ARTICLES section of my website I have a category called Survival articles, in which I explain the important precautions I take every time I go on a trip. Check out the 7 experiences and be prepared to LIVE.
Even if you understand all those experiences and the principles involved, I’ll have to admit that it still isn’t a good idea to go alone–but, if you must because of being stubborn, or sort of dense–I guess like me, be aware of the precautions I take, and do the same or better.
First, I let family and friends know exactly where I’m going and leave with them copies of the topographical route maps and my daily schedule (click on that link and check out 3 photo views to see what I mean). In recent years this is outlined on my website on the Schedule page, with links for each trip to the topographical route maps. Click on those links to see what I’m talking about.
Second, I was a Medical Corpsman in the Army and then upgraded to Medical Specialist. I then lived for 37 years in the backcountry of Guatemala where I performed thousands of emergency treatments each year, even minor surgery, so with that training, background and experience, plus knowledge of my body, I go prepared for nearly any possible emergency. Once again my survival and Lightweight Backpacking articles mention the essentials, including the right kind of clothes, rain gear, and attitude, including faith.
Third, as mentioned I always have a satellite phone which I encourage every group to have, and anyone who goes alone. Until the emergency mentioned in the Tribune article it had only been used twice for emergencies in nearly 5 years. Those were when I loaned it to Scout groups with serious problems.
Any time I make an important deviation from my schedule I call and advise. On my 27 day expedition I called the family every night at a designated time. At that time in 2003 there didn’t exist yet the SPOT Tracker, mentioned next. Remember you can rent a sat phone and SPOT Tracker from Russ Smith at Skycall Satillite.
Fourth, I always have with me my SPOT Personal Satellite Tracker. Before leaving I program it on my computer for the trip I’m taking, including an OK message to email daily to 10 on my list. With that email they can click on the link and go to Google Earth and see exactly where I started and where I’m camped each evening. I also leave what they call a “bread crumb trail” that can be accessed from the SPOT website using the link I put on my website, available to all for each trip and emailed also to all my High Uinta Friends.
NOTE: So you can see what I mean I’ll program the SPOT Tracker now that you can access by clicking on this LINK Note: The link was only good as I describe next for 7 days. For this demonstration it took you to my home in Springville and area with a breadcrumb trail. That is what you saw if you clicked during the first week. What shows now is when I went on the deer hunt and used the SPOT where I camped that night. So you can see what I mean I’ll insert below a photo of my SPOT tracks from my last trip to Jackson Park and Crow Basin. NOTE: In doing this demonstration I found that the SPOT Tracker will work through the glass of your windshield .
The SPOT is also programmed with a Help message to be sent to 4 special friends with special info like health issues, etc. With that message the 4 friends would have to take action, and they would know exactly where I was. Then of course there is the 911 button that triggers Search and Rescue showing them exactly where to go.
Get a SPOT Tracker cheaper than anywhere, and earn a commission for the High Uintas Project.
Last of all, as shown in my last YouTube Video (#7), and in the photo above, if I leave my pack I always clip the SPOT Tracker to my belt so it can be easily accessed in case of emergency. That survival story is told in more detail in the photo/essay of that name.
The pessimist, or fearful, might say that even having all the emergency gadgets you might be in trouble having a heart attack, slipping and hitting your head on a rock, falling into a ravine or whatever, and not be able to use your SPOT Tracker. Of course all those things, or equivalents, could happen to you every time you leave your home, or even in your home. Having and using a SPOT Tracker every day in the wilderness will at least show where you were yesterday, if not heard from today, and that combined with a trip plan of where you were to head next will make the search relatively easy.
From this season I also had another survival YouTube video that is Video #4: Survival at Swasey Hole that one viewer called “genius.” I’m not sure why……. guess I’ll have to look at it again.
This discussion isn’t over without mentioning Eric Robinson, the 64 year old Australian lost in the Uintas and never found this past season (2011). He had a Personal Locator Beacon but never used it. It obviously worked out being a mistake for him to go alone ( in my opinion, UNPREPARED), so of great importance it’s worth repeating that he apparently didn’t take any of the precautions I take. I use my SPOT tracker several times each day–at least assuring those interested where I was yesterday giving them a good starting point and hopefully avoiding waiting 7 years to get the insurance money!
Just follow the simple rules and have a wonderful time in the great outdoors–and make the wait for those at home relaxing, worry free and fun knowing each day you’re still in the game and you’ll be home soon.