I don’t talk about safety a whole lot in my posts, but I do mention that many times I am out on these treks solo. The saying goes “You should never hike alone”. For the most part I totally agree with this philosophy, you should always hike with a partner! In my case, however, it is sometimes hard to find someone willing to go on the types of treks I am interested in (interest, physical capability, suffer capacity, schedule conflicts, you name it). I choose to go against convention and hike alone at times because I have found that if I were to wait on someone else, I’d be at home on the couch, wondering what views, experiences, and adventure I was missing out there on the trail.
In those rare occasions that you do find yourself heading out there alone, the next best thing to having a hiking partner is the SPOT tracker. There are many great features to the tracker (I have the Gen3), such as having your family and friends at home track your progress via GPS. You can also send simple pre-setup messages, and the tracker will provide confirmation that the messages have in fact sent.
The most significant feature is of course the safety part with the “Help” and “S.O.S.” buttons. “Help” sends a message to a select few people that you determine that pretty much says “Come get me outta here, I’m not dying, but I’m stuck/ran out of gas/food/etc!” The “S.O.S” button sends a message to the cavalry to come get you by any means necessary, and they (GEOS) will pick you up anywhere in the world. Of course it will be a little hard to pick you up if you wind up stranded in say, North Korea, but they work with local rescue and even go as far as contacting the embassy and consulate of the registered owners’ nation of citizenship in efforts to get assistance out to the location. At any rate, nomatter where you are hiking, hike smart! A little piece of mind can go a long way to push your treks further and harder to see new things you never could before!
SPOT INFO: http://www.findmespot.com/en/
GEOS Worldwide Search and Rescue: http://www.geosalliance.com/geos-services/worldwide-search-and-rescue/