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Evil GPS, cell phones and other techno doo-dads

 
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 7:20 pm    Post subject: Evil GPS, cell phones and other techno doo-dads Reply to topic Reply with quote

When cell phones first started showing up, Backpacker Magazine polled readerís opinions about cell phone usage in the backcountry. I wrote a letter to the editor and suggested we also start carrying satellite dishes on our backs and start ordering pizza in the backcountry. (Butthead)
Today I don't waste time being at odds with anybody elseís game. I may or may not approve of some practices I see but for the most part I just ainít got time for heavyhearted feelings.
Yet, I've even purchased a GPS. Garmin GPSmap60CS. So far I've not been compelled to use it to point out a route but I do a lot of cross country here and it thrills me to see my breadcrumb/foot trail spread out on a computer map after I get home, along with an elevation profile and how I know exactly where I took "that" picture. Yet, I don't look at it much while on the trail 'cause I don't want to see electronic stuff on the trail. I donít know if that makes me a hypocrite Ďcause I think digital cameras are the greatest things to happen to lightweight backpacking.
I think I'd faint though at the sound of a cell phone ring on the trail and as much of a music junky as I am, I still haven't had a desire to go MP3 on a trail.
I'd love to see how sentiment has evolved sense I last visited this argument a dozen years ago. What say yea folks?
_________________
"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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azhiker96





Joined: 05 Jan 2003
Posts: 1419

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

My cell phone would just be ballast on most hikes so I leave it in the car. I don't own a GPS, i-pod, or two-way radios. I do think the radios make sense on large group hikes and the GPS is a good tool for those who know how to use 'em. I prefer a map and compass for navigation in the wilderness. It weighs less and works without batteries.
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It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. -- Carl Sagan
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DesertDog





Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 402

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 8:00 pm    Post subject: backcountry electronics Reply to topic Reply with quote

Well, I'm carrying my cell with me backpacking (it's turned off, waaay down in the bottom), but only because I want it in case of a problem on the drive to and from the trailhead, and I'm not gonna leave it in the truck for vandals.
I've got a GPS, too, but have yet to take it because " I have a map and stick to the trail". Got a little lost for a couple of minutes this weekend when I lost the trail out in the Supes.
Guess I'll take it next time. Embarassed
The objection I have to others' use of cell phones while hiking is the same I have to them talking on them while driving.
I had to circumnavigate two lunkheads on cell phones standing in the center of the trail this PM while I was coming down Piestewa.

Grab a seat, Pete- get the heck out of the the trail! Rolling Eyes
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

There is an art to orienteering, an art I enjoy.
_________________
"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I've never seen a cell phone on a trail yet. I think it would end an era for me of sorts. LOL.
_________________
"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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azhiker96





Joined: 05 Jan 2003
Posts: 1419

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: backcountry electronics Reply to topic Reply with quote

DesertDog wrote:

I had to circumnavigate two lunkheads on cell phones standing in the center of the trail this PM while I was coming down Piestewa.


The phones didn't make them do it. Those two would have blocked the trail just as much without them. I've had to circumnavigate many trail hogs who weren't using cell phones or trail etiquette.

I don't mind if people carry or use cell phones. I'd just like to see better trail etiquette. That's a big reason why you'll rarely see me on the trails in town. There's way too much traffic for me.
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It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. -- Carl Sagan
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Davis2001R6





Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 5591
Location: Italy

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

If I know or think I will have a signal or am on a difficult trial I sometimes bring my self. A few times it was just in my pocket and didn't feel like going back to the car.

I did have to call the LDSP Rangers to let them know of a injured hiker that hurt his back in a fall off trail. If i didn't have it, it would have been at least another hour and a half before they would have found out.

I will confess that I did make a phone call or two from the top of Mt. Whitney to say I made it!

No MP3 players on the trail for me, but I don't mind some music at camp. I know some people dont like it though.
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/15/2005, 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I don't see a right or wrong either way. It's wonderful to find people like me who hike but in the end, it's my hike. It's your hike too.
Often times in camp I got old Eagles or Rippingtons stuff going on in my mind and I'd sure like to hear it out loud. It just seems like the thing at the time. Other times, like when I'm pullin' the last 1/4 mile out'a Lava Butte, I got'a Lyncoln Park kinda thing goin' on that I'm sure God and everybody else is very pleased it's only in my head and not on a loudspeaker. LOL.
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"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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thesuperstitions
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PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

I carry my cell phone with me because I've got small kids and anything can happen at any time. I need to at least make the attempt to be available. GPS is a wonderful tool, but as you said, it's no replacement for a map and compass and knowledge. They're all just tools, and if you're comfortable with them, and know how to use them as such, I feel they're perfectly legitimate pieces of equipment to have on the trail... if you're willing to tote 'em around!

As for music in camp... I find it much more facinating to listen to what's going on around the campfire!
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

If I had children, I'd have a cell phone too. That's a fact.
_________________
"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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BoyNhisDog
The dangerous place where the winds meet




Joined: 05 Jan 2003
Posts: 1375
Location: Tucson

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

Before I got a GPS receiver, I didnít think about them much. When I did get one, I got a high-end model that would hold color topo maps. Once I learned its various features and functions, I found it invaluable. Points are easily marked for a range of purposes. I rarely follow trails so marking the beginning of a journey has been helpful in some cases. Marking special features in the landscape has been a very powerful tool. I write down the coordinates in my notebook and have used them for reference. Some of those places would be like finding a needle in a haystack without the GPS. A good GPS will walk you right up to an area of several meters square.

We recently wound our way through 30 miles of deep, deep canyons with high, tight walls. The GPS had signal lock a good 80 to 85% of the time and proved very valuable to us. When you are down in a deep canyon and cannot shoot a bearing with your compass without climbing out and finding some known feature, the convenience and shear accuracy is highly prized. I always carry a compass, paper map and scale for measuring lat/longs and drawing bearings in any case.

As far as cellphones, I like calling Girlfriend as I walk back in the fall/winter darkness on out of town for business hikes. That last hour is a nice time to see how she is doing and tell her about the hike while I am finishing it. There is never anyone to hear or see. The beaten path is not my way most times. It is possible that the phone could be of use in more dire situations though I would not rely on a signal. There are many places where it just wonít reach.
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DesertDog





Joined: 06 Jan 2005
Posts: 402

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: backcountry electronics Reply to topic Reply with quote

[quote="azhiker96"]

The phones didn't make them do it. Those two would have blocked the trail just as much without them. I've had to circumnavigate many trail hogs who weren't using cell phones or trail etiquette.

I concur- and the oblivious impediments on their phones in the middle of traffic are most likely inconsiderate self-absorbed dolts when not on the phone in their vehicles, too.

I don't mind if people carry or use cell phones. I'd just like to see better trail etiquette. That's a big reason why you'll rarely see me on the trails in town. There's way too much traffic for me.

I get spoiled on Camelback and Piestewa in the summer when traffic is much lighter in mid-afternoon. This cool weather brings out the tourists and fair-weather hikers to the big hills in town.
I guess it's time for me to return to the less-traveled trails in the Preserves until the heat drives them away.....
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Trishness
The Snake Charmer




Joined: 21 Sep 2003
Posts: 2530
Location: Apache Jct, AZ

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

Just my 2 cents:

GPS- don't own one and have no desire to get one. I prefer a map and compass. However I think they'd be rather handy for any off trail adventures.

Two way radios- Agree totally with AZhiker96 about using these in large groups otherwise not needed.

Cell phones- I'm guilty as charged of taking mine on every hike but never use it when hiking/backpacking. Most of the time I can't get a signal anyway!!! There have been several times I've been late off a hike and it's nice to be able to call my contact person to let them know I'm OK just running late.

MP3 player- I usually bring it along but only listen to it when I'm hiking solo or at camp.

Mr. Green
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~~~Trish~~~

"Eastward the dawn rose, ridge behind ridge into the morning, and vanished out of eyesight into guess; it was no more than a glimmer blending with the hem of the sky, but it spoke to them, out of the memory and old tales, of the high and distant mountains." ó J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings.
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Davis2001R6





Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 5591
Location: Italy

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

When I do use a GSP it's usually only to let me know what kind of mileage I've covered and what type of pace I'm hiking at. I usually only bring it on the bigger "epic" type hikes where I actually need to keep a certain pace.
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IGO





Joined: 08 Feb 2005
Posts: 4144
Location: Las Vegas

PostPosted: 11/16/2005, 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply to topic Reply with quote

That's a good write. Everybody has an angle and I smiled when you told me you used a phone to give girlfriend an 11th hour resound. That's kinda cool.
I use a fancy GPS as well. I use it for exactly the same reasons you do. Sometimes I bring it and sometimes I don't.
_________________
"Surely all God's people, however serious or savage, great or small, like to play. Whales and elephants, dancing, humming gnats, and invisibly small mischievous microbes - all are warm with divine radium and must have lots of fun in them." John Muir
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