Sunday, August 31, 2014
After having many failures of my SPOT messengers and after SPOT raised the subscription price (they call it free tracking) I decided to dump SPOT and give the Delorme InReach SE a try.
First impressions of the Delorme unit
#1. It's expensive! $300 for just the unit
#2 It does a lot of stuff that SPOT does not do
#3 It weighs the same as a SPOT
#4 the USB port cover looks flimsy and the mini USB charging port might become a problem after repeated use.
The Delorme unit is nicer to use and gives you the ability to send and receive free form text messages, but there is a price. I signed up for the annual safety plan, that plan gives me unlimited preset check in messages but charges me 50 cents for every free form text message. The first ten message per month are free, but I found that if I send the same message to my spouses cell phone and email I get double charged. The free form messages added up much faster than I expected them to before I figured this out.
The Delorme can only be charged via a mini USB port. The port cover looks very flimsy and mini USB port in general seem to be a weak link in many products.
The Delorme can be synced to your computer so you can program it via the Explore Delorme website. I'm pretty sure that you have to use the website to select recipients for pre set messages and to type in preset messages.
Syncing the Delorme has been somewhat problematic for me. About every other time I go to Sync the device there is a required upgrade that I must install. Sometimes the upgrade is easy to install and other times it is not. Then after the upgrade is installed sometimes my computer can not see my Delorme and I have to reboot the computer a couple of times to get it to see the Delorme. So I try to avoid syncing my device very often as the process of upgrading and then syncing can take over half an hour just depending on how well my computer handshakes with the Delorme on a given day.
The battery life of the Delorme is not what I had hoped for. I have to leave the unit off most of the time or the battery just drains. I don't use tracking and I dread to think how fast the battery must drain with tracking on.
After about three months of use my Delorme Inreach product began to display an error message. I was 23 miles in on the PCT with 23 miles to go and my delorme began to display a message that said it was damaged and could no longer send or receive messages. The device said that I needed to contact customer support. Great, just great. So my spouse sat at home worried for three days because he was getting no messages from me.
When I used the SPOT he know that the think was very prone to breakage and if he did not get messages he would know that the SPOT had broken yet again. But we did not expect the Delorme to be so fragile, so he was worried. Now we know.
I ended my trip early because the Delorme broke and a few other reasons. When I got home I called Delorme customer support and after spending about 20 minutes on hold I got through to a human. I told the Delorme rep what had happened, he apologized and said he would rush ship me a new unit. No questions asked, the new unit arrived after about 4 days. Setting up the new unit was easy enough and now I'm on my way again.
I hope that the new unit lasts longer. I fear that the Delorme device may be just as flimsy as the SPOT. What will happen if this new one breaks in just a few months? Will the Delorme customer service still be just as good or will they do like SPOT did and accuse me of being too hard on the units?
Note that I carry the same GPS, Digital Camera and IPod on all of my hikes and none of those deviced have ever broke. I take good care of my gear, it's not my fault that the SPOT kept breaking and it's not my fault that my Delorme has already broken.
I'll keep you all posted and let you know how long this second Delorme unit lasts. I beginning to think that satellite messengers fry their circuits just a little bit every time they send a message and are maybe only good for about one hundred messages each.
The first bill I got from Delorme was shocking, taxes upon taxes upon taxes, nearly 50% of the first bill was tax. I was gobsmacked! The montly bills are not taxed at the same rate, but that first bill was a real shock.
I thought my inreach would have an adress that I could give to people, but it does not.The only way someone can send a message to my Inreach is to reply to a message that I sent to them or to go to my map page.
The Inreach is does have more sucess sending out messages than my SPOT unit had and sometimes it sends my messages out within seconds. I have found that in the evening the inreach has more trouble finding satellites as they sink below the southern horizon. Like the SPOT the Inreach might work better at more southern latitudes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Fishermen left garbage up there. Why do fishermen litter so much?
|Garbage left by fishermen|
We found so many blueberries, it was blueberry heaven. I wished I had brought a bucket.
Patches had a good swim in the lake.
It's nice to be back in the Olympics where there is water everywhere and the plants grow and cover everything.
1.6 miles with 1,300 feet elevation gain
|rough skinned newt|
|Sphagnum squarossum with spore capsules|
|yep, it's steep|
(I only pick Reshi conks since they die at the end of the year)
|Mama and baby grouse through my windshield, there|
where three more babies on the other side of the road
|Good sized tree, but they do get bigger here when|
Simpson does not get to them
|Whooly Chanterelle button|
Sunday, August 24, 2014
|no name lake in the morning mile 2048 PCT|
|My soggy sleeping bag at 6:15am|
|Ollalie Lake Resort|
Later I bought batteries, snickers, a cup of coffee and some hand sanitizers. The store only had the red heet because it was all that they could get. It would have to do. I know that red heet will work, it just does not burn quite as hot and leaves some soot.
I decided that I would hang around all day and wait for Aimless to arrive and then we could find a campsite somewhere nearby where we would take our first zero day. I asked everyone who passed through if they had seen her, but no one had seen her.
I ate one of the yummy meals from my box while I waited.
What hike was it that she could not make? Could she make it to Olallie and get out on the road there or was she getting out at Breitenbush? Well now I had sort of an answer about her location but what exactly was going on was not clear. I decided to stay at Olallie a bit longer and see if other hikers knew what was going on.
|Just a few of the yummy dinners in the box that Sonya left for me|
I probably needed to get off the trail and sort out my satellite messenger, my intestinal troubles and more.
There was no cell phone signal, so Amy would make the call about three miles up the trail and after her break at Olallie.
Alternately, if you have a tank or a 4-wheel drive truck, you can drive here a slightly different way. Rather than turning off at FR4220, you can drive southeast on 224/46 for 48 miles until you reach an extremely well-marked sign for Olallie Lake at the junction with FR4690. Turn left onto FR4690 for 8 miles, then left onto FR4220 for approximately 11 miles, passing Olallie, Monon and Horseshoe Lakes until you reach Breitenbush Lake. The 2 mile section of road between Horseshoe and Breitenbush Lakes is among the worst sections of road in Oregon, and is not recommended for passenger car drivers with any consideration whatsoever for their vehicle. Seriously, it's really that bad. Consider yourself warned. http://www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Breitenbush_Trailhead
So I explained to Amy that I was hiking with Aimless, I had rode to the trail in her car and that my car was at her house so I was more that a friend of a friend of a friend. This seemed to make Amy even more upset, she said in an uncheerful tone of voice “I’m just trying to help” Then another hiker stepped up and thanked her for helping and then they both went and sat down. What had just happened? Why was I being treated like a stranger by the only person who had any real information on Aimless?
I wanted to discuss my options, but she kept interrupting me and offering me olives.
I had to get away from the psychosis in front of the store, that was all that I knew for sure.I decided that I needed to go back to Brietenbush. Sure I could have just continued on up the trail but I was worried about Aimless and I had not been in contact with my family for 3 days thanks to my satellite messenger breaking and I really wanted to take a shower, oh and I needed an entire box of Imodium. That was enough reason for me to bail.
So I went in an asked the store clerks what was the shortest route back to Breitenbush camp and they showed me how the roads connected up. I decided that rather than hiking 7 miles back to Breitenbush Lake that I would try to hitchhike. I bought two snickers for the road and I began to head out.
Somehow she managed to limp all the way to Brietenbush Lake Camp before she stopped. It took her 12 hours of hiking to get there. She had injured her groin and she could not bend her knee so she had spent the night sleeping on the picnic table to avoid having to crawl in and out of her tent. I’m not sure why I had been told that she was in “good spirits”, maybe she was, but she was injured too and no one seemed to notice?
|One of three shelters on the lake|
|King Bolete at Brietenbush Lake Camp|
|View from my campsite at Brietenbush Lake|
I called Delorme the next day and they are sending me a new Inreach device, no questions asked. I hope the new one is more durable.
|packing up to go back to Saint Helens|
Saturday, August 23, 2014
|Jeff Creek to un-named lake|
|Solorina crocea found at about 4,000 feet in elevation|
this lichen is new to me and might even be a little bit rare
Page 313 in Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest
|Looking back at Russell Creek after I crossed it|
|Wild flowers at Jefferson Park just before I met Bookworm|
|Near and just over the high point|
|Admiring my blister during my break, it had already gone down some.|
I treated it with mole foam with a hole cut in the center
Then Eric, the section hiker who had camped with us at Jeff Creek came up the trail. He said that he had seen Aimless ½ mile past Russell Creek and he stopped her to tell her that he had found her trekking pole in Russell creek, so she was going to back track to get her pole. I thought it was very odd that Aimless would have lost her pole in the creek and not known it. The entire story seemed quite odd so I pressed Eric with more questions but he was tired and in a hurry so I never was totally satisfied with the answer.
I was glad to know that Aimless had made it across the creek safely but I knew she was going to be running really late with having to backtrack. I was looking forward to hearing from her and learning what had actually happened to her pole.
|Saw Pikachu on the way to the lake|
|Pikachu lives here|
Thru-hikers passed me by all day long, they hike much faster than me and they were hiking extra fast today because they were all headed to Ollalie Lake for resupply and beer. Finally towards the end of my hiking day some of the thru-hikers that passed me said they had seen Aimless and she was way, way back behind them. It seemed odd to me that she would be that slow, but I was almost to the lake and I was eager to rest my feet so I carried on down the trail until I reached the lake.
|Marchantia polymorpha liverwort near Breitenbus Lake|
When I came out the the juntion of the PCT and the road to Breitenbush lake the way was unclear, but I did not care because I saw and outhouse. Toilet magic! Someone with trekking poles approached while I was on the throne, so I had to shut and lock the door real quick. When I was done I discovered another lost hiker. Together we found our way back to the trail. Soon I saw another hiker who was wearing crocks and carrying a half gallon of water in net in a bottle in his hand. He was almost as slow as I was.
At about 4pm I found the lake at at mile 2048 and then I found a campsite on the far shore and I took a quick dip in the lake so I could cool off. I was so tired that I did not know what to do first, pitch the tent, cook dinner, and change my clothes, filter water, so many choices. I opted to lay out my cellophane and sleeping pad and my sleeping bag and just sit. That is what I did; I just sat there until I had to pee. I even cooked dinner without getting up.
|To tired to pitch my tarp|
|I got cold in the night so I made hot chocolate without getting up|