SPOT to the rescue (and for fun)

The move to Colorado means a few things change:

  • GEN3_leadI’m in unfamiliar territory.
  • I’m mostly alone while exploring on foot and horseback.

Just in time, the folks at SPOT have sent their Gen3 device with satellite service for messaging and tracking. We’ll be giving one away at the Equine Affaire. A $450 value.

I don’t plan on getting lost or needing help. Who does? I didn’t plan on getting in a wreck with Jolene this summer, either. If I’d been alone, it would not have ended as well.

SPOT is a fabulous option for so many of us who are out in the boonies with no cell service. (Despite what your cell company tells you, bad service happens more often than you’d think. And cell phone battery life can die quickly, especially when it is in constant search mode for reception.)

Extreme Tracking of an 11-mile trek near Mesa Verde National Park

Extreme Tracking of an 11-mile trek near Mesa Verde National Park

The SPOT unit is small and tough. It clips easily to a belt or can go in a pocket.

  • Press the message icon button to send an OK message via text message or email to whomever you list. (see below, screen shot of the text message I sent to my son. “Pretty Cause” is a name I gave our home here.)
  • Press the hiking boot icon to track yourself using Extreme Tracking. It’s a feature you will LOVE. You can choose the increments of GPS location: 2.5, 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes. I found 10 minutes to be a good stagger for riding. During this ride (see screen shot, right), we covered 11 miles over high meadow and through gullies of timber.

If you’re really in trouble, there are two options: by pressing the ‘give me a hand’ icon, a HELP message is sent to those friends and family listed in your account (via text and/or email). Or, use the SOS feature to get help from emergency services. SPOT has helped thousands in dire circumstances. Read this recent story of a outdoorsman boxed in by a wildfire.

Sign up to be a Remuda Reader and you’ll automatically qualify to win a SPOT Gen 3 unit with complimentary service (including messaging and Extreme Tracking) for a year. A $450 value.

Typical "Check In" message sent to family or friend

Typical “Check In” message sent to family or friend

Species Parade, Week Eight

Travel Utah roads and you’ll see all kinds of wildlife. Trouble is, they’re all dead. Given today’s driving culture, though, it’s not unusual to conduct species counts via road kills. UtahOutsider’s species parade count bumped to 51 with sightings of newly dead mammals along highways and byways.

The trek from northern Utah to southwestern Colorado (twice) certainly allowed us to see more, when we had a spare second. Read more about the move here. At higher elevations in both states (6,000 to 8,500 feet), you will see the gorgeously villian-esque Steller’s Jay. [To note, the bird is stellar but not Stellar! It was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller, an 18th century German birder.]

stellar-jay-1024x768-RBannoMammals:

Yellow-bellied Marmot

Badger

Racoon

Antelope

Skunk

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

Mule Deer

Coyote

82324-004-AE62C545Rock Squirrel

Brush Mouse

Birds:

Canada Goose

California Gull

Grackle

Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Warbler

Yellow Warbler

House finch

Red Shafted Flicker

IMG_1529Steller’s Jay

Clark’s Nutcracker

Tufted Titmouse

Black Capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Bushtit

Common Raven

Scrub Jay

Magpie

Turkey

Dark-Eyed Junco

Ringed Turtle Dove

Rock Dove

Western Kingbird

Mountain Bluebird

Meadowlark

Rufous-sided Towhee

Clark's Nutcracker

Clark’s Nutcracker

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Chipping sparrow

Song sparrow

Black Headed Grosbeak

American Kestrel

Turkey Vulture

Prairie Falcon

Red-Tailed Hawk

Killdeer

Starling

American Robin

Common Poor Will

Common Nighthawk

Alder Flycatcher

 

Alpha Air works for every outing

 

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.59.00 PMAs cold days come to Colorado and Utah, I’ve got a new Go-To jacket. It’s the Alpha Air from LL Bean. As comfortable as your favorite high school hoodie and as warm as a ski jacket, it’s better than either because it stretches and insulates during these variable, frosty days.

“Stretches?” you ask.

Yep. The Alpha Air is a stretchy soft-shell with 100 gram Polartec insulation. That makes it warm, breathable, and versatile. I’ve worn it while clearing trail, running dogs, tossing hay, and working with horses. Thrillingly, it’s not a dog- and horse-hair magnet (like so many jackets are). It also shed dew, branches, and leaves while I was clearing trail and it refused to snag or rip. Hooray.

Think of it as a hearty, Irish wool sweater without the itch, weight, and without the hair, hay, and burr magnetism. Oh, and no dry cleaning bill, either. Machine wash and dry.

IMG_1572The Alpha Air is blissfully free of bells and whistles. There are three useful and well-placed pockets: one zippered chest pocket for your phone and perhaps a billfold, and two for warming your hands or zipping in your keys. That’s it. Perfect.

Thankfully, the hood is not detachable which makes for less clutter around your neck and shoulder. And why would you want to take the hood off anyway? As they say in Maine (and everywhere else I’ve lived): “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.”

With hunting season coming up, I chose the nicely bright blue. But there are black/grey and red/pink varieties, too. Check it out here.IMG_1580

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