Great time at the Kirtley Mountain Tract of the Rapidan Wildlife Management Area this afternoon. There are eight tracts in K-3999. Three of them are mountain peaks (Big Tom, Blakey Ridge, and Allen) and road access to the others is limited. I’ve had my eye on this one, both for the challenge and for the fact that it hadn’t been activated for four months. The road was at the limit of the abilities of the Family Truckster (otherwise known as my Honda Odyssey, which doesn’t have much clearance), but it pulled through. It was worth the effort. Beautiful spot!
As I was sitting there without cell coverage wondering whether the Odyssey was going to pump out all its oil when I started it, I decided to add a satellite SOS device to my kit. I decided on the Garmin inReach Messenger, but there are other options with different strengths and weaknesses.
The Garmin uses the Iridium satellite network. You press the SOS button and a message with your lat/long will go to a 24/7 monitoring center, which will dispatch search and rescue. Unlike a personal locator beacon (PLB), the Garmin Messenger and others like it are two-way, so the monitoring center can actually communicate with you (if you are able).
The great part for day-to-day use is that you can also send short text messages to other Garmin devices (if you are travelling in a group), to any cell phone, and to any email address. Finally, you get a Web page you can share with friends and family that shows them your location, updated every 10 minutes. Great for calming the fears of people who might be worried if you are OK.