This post brought to you by SPOT. All opinions are 100% mine.
Heather Fisher had no idea that her first venture into college life would leave her lost in the woods, scared out of her wits and with no shelter, food or water for several hours.
Fifteen years ago my college Freshman class took various orientation trips as part of our Freshman Orientation week. Some worked to build a house. I worked on an off-grid house and farm. And a couple of groups went on a backpacking trip.
Then-Freshman Heather Van Pelt (nee Fisher) joined one of the backpacking groups to Devil’s Den State Park in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas.
“I stopped to take a picture of a rock formation in (the) park. I was lagging behind the rest of the group anyway, because there was a girl in the group who’d never been backpacking before and was having a really hard time keeping up.”
Heather took the pictures and looked at the trail to find the rest of her group had separated from her and the unexperienced backpacker. The two of them ended up separated from their group, and after walking along the trail.for 20 minutes, they came to a fork in the trail.
“We had no idea which was the correct way to go! I started getting hysterical. We both did. We yelled for help. We screamed. We cried. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be found and I’d starve to death, that I’d never see my mom again, or my jerkface boyfriend, or (my dog) Cuddles, and possibly my little sister. I had no map, no compass, the flashlight batteries had died, and night was approaching. And of course, it started to rain,” Heather said.
“After a couple hours of crying, screaming and walking up and down the trail, we were exhausted and damp,” so the two stranded backpackers decided to unroll their sleeping bags, call it a night and go back the way they came the next morning. The two were awakened by Park Rangers yelling out their names at 3 a.m.
That was 1995. A time before advanced cell phones and wireless technology. The SPOT Satellite GPS messenger locates you anytime, anywhere.
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When I asked Heather how things would have been if she had access to that technology 15 years ago,
“Obviously, if GPS tracking had been available, it would have saved Park Rangers a tremendous amount of time and manpower. I would have loved to have the reassurance of knowing that even though I was lost, I’d absolutely be found and be found quickly,” Heather said.
Right now, for the holiday season, if you buy the SPOT Satellite GPS messenger you receive a bonus adventure kit worth $50. The kit includes a coupon for 15% off Basic Service, flotation case for SPOT, micro LED flashlight, safety tips bandana, lanyard, safety whistle and a carabineer keychain.
“Sure, I’ve gotten a humorous story out of the ordeal. On the other hand, I still hiss and hold my fingers in a cross whenever I pass the Devil’s Den State Park signs, The Blair Witch Project … was scary to me because I knew how terrifying being lost in the woods at night is… and I’ve never been backpacking since because I’m afraid I’ll get lost again,” Heather said.
Sounds like products like the SPOT can take away those fears.