SPOT for trouble

Today’s Albuquerque Journal reprints an interesting item  touting the SPOT locator’s 4,000th wilderness rescue. My first thought was that I wouldn’t have believed that many adventurers needed rescuing. I’ve been wandering the mountains and deserts of the Southwest for more than 30 years, but never found myself so deep in the shit I couldn’t dig myself out, as the saying goes. But sure enough, the SPOT website chronicles thousands of instances over the past eight years, including some right here in New Mexico.
I’m not a gear junkie myself, either at home or in the woods, and in fact have tried to keep my Nana explorations as close to that period’s equipment and technology as possible. Instead of a horse or mule, I drive an old pickup, I use a good sleeping bag rather than a wool blanket, and I occasionally resort to a GPS when I’m wondering where the hell I am, but in general I eschew the conveniences that have become commonplace for the modern outdoorsperson since I was a boy.
That said, I have to admit the SPOT idea is attractive. I don’t get as deep in the back country as I once did, but it’s not unusual for me to wander a couple miles from my truck into remote areas well out of cell phone range. Since I generally hike alone, a sprained ankle, a snakebite, or any of a hundred other possible mishaps would leave me in a tight spot. For a hundred bucks a year, it seems like SPOT would offer some peace of mind, if not salvation. I may put it on my Christmas list.

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