Wanderlust woes

by • November 14, 2016 • Brand Ambassador, Featured PhotosComments Off on Wanderlust woes187

capture

Kim Black with her Garmin Rino communications device, riding in Petersville with Denali in the background. Courtesy of Alaska Trailblazers Club.

GPS trackers make getting lost a thing of the past

I like to wander, to be free, to pick my own path, and – big surprise – this can sometimes lead to me getting lost. With men in particular, being lost has a negative connotation. It must go back to some primitive time when they had to live and die by their sense of direction. If I even mention the fact that we might be lost to my husband he fervently denies it and then states, “I just don’t know where I am in relation to where I want to be.” Sounds like lost to me.

Anyway, I have been good and lost two times when out riding with my husband and our group of friends. The first time, we were in Petersville out past the Roadhouse before it burned down. The snow was fresh and deep, and we were riding in the hills and creek beds. As can sometimes happen with me, the euphoria of a good ride took over and before I knew it I found myself with another group of riders, and out of sight of my crew. This didn’t bother me a bit. I gave the courtesy helmet tip to my fellow riders and continued to barrel my way through the snow. If I got stuck, one of the guys from this group would come and help pull me out and then I was off again.

I was so caught up in the incredible riding conditions that I lost track of time. I’m not exactly sure how long it took me to come to my senses and start looking for my group, but it had been awhile, and I knew my husband was going to be steaming mad. I began to backtrack and climb over the ridges that I had previously crested. I went over ridge after ridge with no sign of my riding crew.

A little nervous, I tracked back to the main trail and waited. There is nothing worse then sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is in the action and this was one of those epic action days. Nevertheless, I waited. When I was reunited with my riding group about 30 minutes later, my husband gave me a nice long talk about safety and staying together. I could see in his frustration that he was just relieved that nothing had happened to me. I decided not to tell him that he didn’t need to worry, because all the other guys that were out riding were very happy to help a lady in distress, but I figured this wasn’t the right time.

It was at this point that we decided to invest in some Garmin Rinos. The Garmin Rino is a GPS unit that allows the operators to speak to each other like a walkie talkie. It has GPS for location and bread crumb track back (which has saved me on a few separate occasions) as well as a locator button that allows each person in the group to see where the other users are. This was miracle technology. Like a warm security blanket, I felt safer knowing that I had help just a push of a button away. And my husband felt safe, knowing that if I was “lost” he could find me.

We used these for awhile, but then I got lost a second time. We were riding in Eureka where the temperature tends to fluctuate significantly. At the lodge, the temps were around zero, but in some of the valleys it was 15 to 20 degrees below zero. I was riding with my husband and our longtime friend Nelson. We had been out to the hills and were heading back to get something to eat. Most of the time we like to make our own path back, which can take extra time. I was starting to get cold and tired, so I told the guys I would jump on the trail and meet them back at the lodge. They took off across powder-filled mounds until they were just dots in the distance. I plugged along down the trail, feeling safe with my Garmin Rino in case I had an emergency. After awhile, my hand warmers didn’t feel like they are working very well and my hands were starting to cramp up from the cold. I stopped to look at my Garmin to make sure I was on track. I looked down to see a blank screen. My battery had died.

Now I started to get nervous. I was on a trail that I had never ridden, my riding crew was out of sight, my communication was cut off, and on top of that it was cold – the bone chilling, frostbite kind of cold. I kept plugging along, hoping that my engine would continue to run in the frigid weather. I had never been on this particular trail before and not knowing the trail system out that way very well, I knew the possibility of my getting turned around was high. I must have veered to the left on one of the trails because it was taking quite a bit longer than expected to get back to the lodge. I tried to keep a level head and just keep the throttle on.
Finally after what seemed like a very long time I pulled out to the road. Whew, there was enough traffic on the road that at least I didn’t think my life was in danger any longer. The only problem was the road to the left looked exactly like the road to the right. I knew the Eureka Lodge with their warm bench seats and homemade soup awaited me if I chose correctly. I decided to go right and luckily about 15 minutes later I found myself pulling into the lodge parking lot.

Meanwhile, my husband and Nelson had arrived at the lodge sometime earlier expecting me to be there. When I was nowhere to be found, they tried calling me on their Garmins and pinging my position, which came back unanswered. This must have been when my husband lost it. Like a madman he darted off to look for me. He first back tracked to where he had last seen me and then rode the trail to the road. Since I had veered to the left, we must have passed each other without knowing it. He continued to ride up and down the trails until Nelson was able to catch up with him and talk him into going back to the lodge in case I had made it back safely. Luckily, our reunion was sweet as we discussed what had happened, both understanding the danger that these particular riding conditions can hold.

This is when we purchased the upgraded Garmin Rino 550HCx with lithium batteries (much better in cold weather). In my mind this is one piece of safety equipment that is essential. We have had these now for many years. Each person in our riding party wears this device on the outside of their gear, clipped by a strap to their pack within easy reach. We test our devices before we head out, checking to make sure everyone can send and receive voice and locator information. I now believe a successful day of riding begins and ends with good communication.

While my group uses the Garmin Rino, another popular choice is the BC Link, which can integrate into your avalanche pack and has options that make it easy to use. Please take the time to research a product that will work for you and your riding group. Make sure that you all carry the same device and that each is charged and checked to make sure it is properly working before heading out on a ride. This is one piece of safety equipment that can literally save your life.

So, If you are like me and suffer from a case of wanderlust, you are free to roam, to crest, to get lost in your own little winter wonderland. If you find yourself in need of help, just push a button, and it’s on the way.

I like to wander, to be free, to pick my own path, and – big surprise – this can sometimes lead to me getting lost. With men in particular, being lost has a negative connotation. It must go back to some primitive time when they had to live and die by their sense of direction. If I even mention the fact that we might be lost to my husband he fervently denies it and then states, “I just don’t know where I am in relation to where I want to be.” Sounds like lost to me.
Anyway, I have been good and lost two times when out riding with my husband and our group of friends. The first time, we were in Petersville out past the Roadhouse before it burned down. The snow was fresh and deep, and we were riding in the hills and creek beds. As can sometimes happen with me, the euphoria of a good ride took over and before I knew it I found myself with another group of riders, and out of sight of my crew. This didn’t bother me a bit. I gave the courtesy helmet tip to my fellow riders and continued to barrel my way through the snow. If I got stuck, one of the guys from this group would come and help pull me out and then I was off again.
I was so caught up in the incredible riding conditions that I lost track of time. I’m not exactly sure how long it took me to come to my senses and start looking for my group, but it had been awhile, and I knew my husband was going to be steaming mad. I began to backtrack and climb over the ridges that I had previously crested. I went over ridge after ridge with no sign of my riding crew.
A little nervous, I tracked back to the main trail and waited. There is nothing worse then sitting on the sidelines while everyone else is in the action and this was one of those epic action days. Nevertheless, I waited. When I was reunited with my riding group about 30 minutes later, my husband gave me a nice long talk about safety and staying together. I could see in his frustration that he was just relieved that nothing had happened to me. I decided not to tell him that he didn’t need to worry, because all the other guys that were out riding were very happy to help a lady in distress, but I figured this wasn’t the right time.
It was at this point that we decided to invest in some Garmin Rinos. The Garmin Rino is a GPS unit that allows the operators to speak to each other like a walkie talkie. It has GPS for location and bread crumb track back (which has saved me on a few separate occasions) as well as a locator button that allows each person in the group to see where the other users are. This was miracle technology. Like a warm security blanket, I felt safer knowing that I had help just a push of a button away. And my husband felt safe, knowing that if I was “lost” he could find me.
We used these for awhile, but then I got lost a second time. We were riding in Eureka where the temperature tends to fluctuate significantly. At the lodge, the temps were around zero, but in some of the valleys it was 15 to 20 degrees below zero. I was riding with my husband and our longtime friend Nelson. We had been out to the hills and were heading back to get something to eat. Most of the time we like to make our own path back, which can take extra time. I was starting to get cold and tired, so I told the guys I would jump on the trail and meet them back at the lodge. They took off across powder-filled mounds until they were just dots in the distance. I plugged along down the trail, feeling safe with my Garmin Rino in case I had an emergency. After awhile, my hand warmers didn’t feel like they are working very well and my hands were starting to cramp up from the cold. I stopped to look at my Garmin to make sure I was on track. I looked down to see a blank screen. My battery had died.
Now I started to get nervous. I was on a trail that I had never ridden, my riding crew was out of sight, my communication was cut off, and on top of that it was cold – the bone chilling, frostbite kind of cold. I kept plugging along, hoping that my engine would continue to run in the frigid weather. I had never been on this particular trail before and not knowing the trail system out that way very well, I knew the possibility of my getting turned around was high. I must have veered to the left on one of the trails because it was taking quite a bit longer than expected to get back to the lodge. I tried to keep a level head and just keep the throttle on.
Finally after what seemed like a very long time I pulled out to the road. Whew, there was enough traffic on the road that at least I didn’t think my life was in danger any longer. The only problem was the road to the left looked exactly like the road to the right. I knew the Eureka Lodge with their warm bench seats and homemade soup awaited me if I chose correctly. I decided to go right and luckily about 15 minutes later I found myself pulling into the lodge parking lot.
Meanwhile, my husband and Nelson had arrived at the lodge sometime earlier expecting me to be there. When I was nowhere to be found, they tried calling me on their Garmins and pinging my position, which came back unanswered. This must have been when my husband lost it. Like a madman he darted off to look for me. He first back tracked to where he had last seen me and then rode the trail to the road. Since I had veered to the left, we must have passed each other without knowing it. He continued to ride up and down the trails until Nelson was able to catch up with him and talk him into going back to the lodge in case I had made it back safely. Luckily, our reunion was sweet as we discussed what had happened, both understanding the danger that these particular riding conditions can hold.
This is when we purchased the upgraded Garmin Rino 550HCx with lithium batteries (much better in cold weather). In my mind this is one piece of safety equipment that is essential. We have had these now for many years. Each person in our riding party wears this device on the outside of their gear, clipped by a strap to their pack within easy reach. We test our devices before we head out, checking to make sure everyone can send and receive voice and locator information. I now believe a successful day of riding begins and ends with good communication.
While my group uses the Garmin Rino, another popular choice is the BC Link, which can integrate into your avalanche pack and has options that make it easy to use. Please take the time to research a product that will work for you and your riding group. Make sure that you all carry the same device and that each is charged and checked to make sure it is properly working before heading out on a ride. This is one piece of safety equipment that can literally save your life.
So, If you are like me and suffer from a case of wanderlust, you are free to roam, to crest, to get lost in your own little winter wonderland. If you find yourself in need of help, just push a button, and it’s on the way.

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