Please Tell My Mom I’ll Be Okay

Like many AT hikers, I have spent a considerable amount of time and money on acquiring light-weight gear.  Furthermore, I constantly think “Can I leave this item behind?  How can this be lighter?”..  But now, I am adding a new item of gear that weighs 5 oz.  Lightweight hikers everywhere gasp in horror.
I am going to carry a Spot Satellite GPS.  Laugh it up, but I want my parents to be able to sleep at night knowing that their daughter has stopped hiking for the day and is alive.   I don’t want to turn my phone on after five days in the woods to a flood of texts from my mother: “Are you OK?  I’m worried.  Did a bear eat you for a snack??”
 I press one button at camp and this gets delivered to my contact list:
Greetings from the AT!  
I have finished hiking for the day and I am still alive.
Send food. Send money.
Love,  Acorn
My GPS coordinates are also transmitted, so my parents can watch exactly how slow I hike.  Also, I can use the SOS feature on the Spot to call for emergency help too.   Maybe the next device update will have a “send pizza and root beer via air-drop” button.
Of course, there are other ways of keeping in touch with loved ones while on the trail.  I briefly considered sending text message updates with my iPhone, but decided I didn’t want to turn my phone on everyday and try to text.   The Spot was the best way to update worried loved ones without distracting myself from the wilderness experience.  One button push for “alive” and that’s it.  If I’m dead, I’ll try to not push the button.  Simple.
Yes, it feels like overkill to have Satellite GPS on the AT, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay for a happy Mommy  (Love You!).  Just don’t try to convince me to carry a gun, life-preserver, or ankle brace.  It’s not gonna happen.
PS:  It’s a little scratched up because it survived a thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail on my favorite hiker. Yes, this Spot is already completely bad-ass, and I’m hoping it enjoys thru-hike #2.
Categories: Pre-Hike | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Please Tell My Mom I’ll Be Okay

  1. Steve Jennette, Grand Rapids MI

    Acorn, Just saw your GPS device. It is indeed cool…..but I am willing to wager you a root beer float, payable in Harper’s Ferry, that you will send this home before you reach that historic town. I have only done 900 miles or so on the AT, and am trying again to do a thru this year, so am not an expert by any means. I do know, however, that by the time I hit Uncle Johnny’s hostel in TN I was looking thru my pack for ANYTHING to lighten the load. :). Of course, if your messages result in food and money coming in from the ‘rents, I take back my prediction. Steve

    • I know! All my friends were getting Spots for their worried parents… I thought “Oh No! Please nobody tell my mom about this device!”…. I finally caved last week and told her about it. Happy parents are worth the weight.

      You owe me a rootbeer float 🙂

  2. Steve Jennette, Grand Rapids MI

    As a dad and grandfather I also would add this thought: suppose your mom gets used to you sending daily gps reports, but then it breaks or you lose it or you just forget…..if I were a parent expecting a report and it did not come in…..I would not sleep well that night. So you might prepare her for that possibility (and that you might get dragged out if your sleeping bag by a rabid gang of chipmunks).

  3. Peter

    Anything to keep the parents at home worry free definetly worth its weight, (from a dad!!) 🙂

  4. Will

    The AT is a very well travelled and well marked trail.

    Noneteless, a spot is not a bad idea. I know of one hiker who broke her leg in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, some other hikers came along shortly thereafter but a Spot would be handy in such situations.

    The Spot is also very good for keeping track of where you went each day and which shelters you stayed at. My hike became a blur after awhile and I had a hard time remembering which shelters I stayed at and which towns I went into. I know postholer actually has a map that you can post your coordinates to using spot so people can track your progress.

    My only caveat would be to be careful about posting your exact location publicly for safety reasons. Maybe delay posting publicly for a couple of days.

  5. Glad to see you got it! Try to make setting it off part of one of your daily routines. I usually set it off while cooking dinner. I would also echo Will’s caveat about posting your location publicly. Good luck!

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