Recently, I received an email from my hiking meetup group organizer. He was letting us know how a couple of groups of missing hikers had been found and was reminding us of things we could do to help ensure our safety and survival should we get lost or stuck in the wilderness. In the email, he mentioned a useful tool called TrailNote.
I clicked on the link he provided, and lo and behold, found a really neat FREE service that I think everybody should know about. According to the TrailNote website:
Once registered, you have the ability to create a ‘TrailNote™’. A TrailNote™ is a simple online form that stores your travel details. You name the trip, provide a travel description, give a start time and end time of the trip, and mark your destination on a digital map. You also enter the email or text message address of people you would like to notify in case of you do not return in time.
Who Will It Notify?
Take your trip with confidence. When you are done with your trip use a computer or web-enabled cell phone and cancel your TrailNote™. TrailNote™ will provide a warning if you forget. In the event you do not return, TrailNote™ will automatically message everyone that you selected. Your contacts are alerted that you are missing and may require assistance. The message will contain a link to TrailNote.com and provides your contacts with the details of your trip, where you were going, the map information, and your contact information from your profile.
Did I mention this service is FREE? Imagine how helpful this could be! Hikers wanting to do their thing can leave their plans and if they don’t get back in time, an alert is sent out. Search parties will have a much better idea of where to focus looking, too. Remember that guy who was doing some climbing, fell, and ended up having to cut off his own arm because it was pinned by a large boulder? A movie was made about it recently, too. Well, he was pinned by that boulder for four days because he didn’t tell anyone where he was going. I bet if he had used TrailNote, he would have been found in a jiff. (Though he probably still would have lost his arm. It got pretty squished by the giant ass boulder.)
I was thinking that TrailNote would be an excellent tool for folks walking across America, too. If you know you plan to walk across an expanse that has no cell area and probably no computers and you will be incommunicado, not to mention marching through desert–well, you can type up your travel plans, put in an expected date of arrival, and send it off. If you don’t make it in time, the folks you choose to alert will know to send the search and rescue peeps after you.
Of course, there is always the old-fashioned method of telephoning your loved ones and telling them your travel plans and calling them when you’re finished. That’s free, too.
But, your loved one may not have the detailed map and route information that you can enter into the TrailNote. And goodness knows, some family members are better than others at taking detailed, accurate notes. Especially concerning geography and mapping over the phone.
So I think TrailNote can be a very useful tool. Hikers, runners, walkers, climbers, kayakers, whatever-outdoorsy-thing-you-like-to-do-ers–TrailNote is probably a good thing to use.