Backcountry in the Fall

The Beauty, The Hikes, The Danger

We all have our reasons to hike the Colorado Mountains in the fall. Most of us are called by the beauty of the fall colors, others for the exhilaration of a chilly fall hiking trail and still others the thrill of hunting big game.

Regardless of your reason, the Colorado outdoors also offers the element of danger.  We all have heard of daring mountain rescues that happen every year necessitated by injury, lost hikers and the ever changing weather patterns.

Here’s my personal story. During his first elk hunting season, my son announced that he was setting up a hunt camp complete with a canvas hunters’ tent with a chimney stove. The camp would comfortably sleep four hunters and shelter all their gear. In mid-November, he was excited to get in the back country with his hunting buddies. The only catch was that he would hunt alone for the first four days until his friends could join him.

Needless to say, that did not sit well with me. Even though I did trust his back country skills, I was a normal father, which means that I was overwhelmed with all the thoughts you do not want to think about! All of the possibilities for what could go wrong: he could get lost, be injured or caught in an unexpected snowstorm.

After days of worry, I found a solution online. It was small, programmable GPS satellite device that not only sent up trackable signals every 10 minutes to track his path on a topographical map, but it would also hold four programmable messages. I could receive those messages on my laptop as well as my cell phone.

The messages we prearranged for my son to send were short and meaningful. One was “Back in Camp.” That was to be sent at the end of the hunting day. The second said, “Need Help. Not Hurt” – a message that meant I should come to his camp to help with whatever. The third message said, “Got my Elk.” The dreaded fourth message was “SOS – Send Help.”

That little device was the answer to my prayers. The only messages I ever received were number one and three.

I got the joy of tracking my son’s progress on a topo map and looking at the satellite images of the terrain he was covering. I almost felt like I was in the back country hunting with my son.

Then I thought of another application. Giving the device to my two daughters when they were on their dates. Trackable is good!

Enjoy the hunting features in this issue of Roaring Fork Lifestyle. Whether or not you hunt, go see the colors out in the high country and wear something that’s at least as bright as the trees. Carry your cell phone and or a personal tracking device, and be prepared for changes in the weather. We love our readers, and we want you back to read another issue next month!