Thursday, May 1, 2014

Carry a GPS

Of all the things that a hiking photographer could carry that they should carry is a GPS. This will help any photographer to find their way out of remote areas, safely.

In the news over the past few days was a harrowing tale of a taxi driver by the name of JR Kimbler with his 10 year old son Dakota and 6 year old daughter Jade. They had gone hiking in the Congaree National Park. This is a primordial swamp and not exactly the nicest place to be lost in. There are the usual swamp issues - snakes, mosquitoes, crocodiles and possibly bears and wolves. It wasn't the best time to go hiking as many of the boardwalks had been destroyed by falling trees that fell during an ice storm earlier in the year.

The Congaree Swamp looks pretty much like the photograph below (taken on one of my trips to the swamp). The taxi driver had just a simple cellphone with him and a poor signal. It is not surprising that the signal was poor - the swamp covers 20,000 acres. 
This was taken on a nice day. I believe it was June and that my only problem aside from carrying enough water was to cover myself with enough mosquito repellent. Unlike the folks in the story, I carried a GPS though I found it unnecessary to leave the boardwalk.

Be safe, carry a GPS and don't get lost in the swamp or a national park. Not only does it save you time and embarrassment but it also saves the police and National Park wardens the cost and bother of trying to find you. While the police and National Park wardens are busy rescuing people who get lost without a GPS, how many criminals are getting away uncaught? How much is it driving the taxpayer's bills up? It makes economic sense to carry a GPS unit. I know I don't want to get lost.

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