Wild North Carolina 

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GPS Navigation  and phone apps

The smart phone has changed the game and they just keep getting better.  I have used my iPhone to find every single waterfall on this site.  You do NOT have to have a cell signal to use them effectively.  You do however have to download offline maps ahead of time to use without a cell signal.  I have tracked every single one of my waterfall hikes using one GPS or another.  I then upload the tracks into Google Earth which saves them in one file.  Now, when I open Google Earth, I can see everywhere I've been in one place.  I can also zoom in on any particular place or hike.  Best of all, when I go back to a place I've been, the track is now there for me to follow.  KEEP IN MIND using your cell phone in this matter drastically drains your battery!!!  See my page on Camera's and Electronics  for suggestions and information on battery charging units.  ALSO KEEP IN MIND GPS units are all electronics and electronics can fail!  Always carry a Map and a Compass and know how to use them.

GPS KIT for iPhone by Garafa.  http://gpskit.garafa.com/GPSKit/GPS_Kit_for_iPhone_%26_iPad.html

This has been my goto App from the beginning.  If I've had or found GPS coordinates for a waterfall, I've found it using this application.  It's the best $9.99 I have EVER spent.

Topo Maps for iPhone.  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/topo-maps/id306014271?mt=8

This application allows you to download quadrants of USGS Topographical Maps.  These maps are the same as the paper maps you could buy at $15 a pop for each quadrant.  $7.99 for this app and you have access to download all the USGS Topographical Map Quadrants you desire!  I use this app in conjunction with GPS KIT when I need more detail in elevation profiles amongst other things.

DeLorme inReach Explorer Satellite Communicator.  http://www.inreachdelorme.com/product-info/inreach-explorer.php

I hike alone about 75% of the time.  I have always left a very detailed trip itinerary at home as well as specified check in times.  I've always had a plan in place should I not meet my check in deadlines.  Thankfully to this date, I have not had to implement any emergency action plans.  When my Fiancee and Mother found out they could track me on a map at home AND communicate with me via text when out of cell phone range, they combined their powers are bought me this satellite communicator.  The inReach Explorer combines the satellite communicator with a fully functional GPS.  The also make an SE Model which has the tracking and communication abilities minus the GPS.  SPOT also makes a similar product line.

Satellite Communicators require a monthly subscription plan.  Should you get severely injured, these units have an SOS button which alerts response teams in that area.  The SOS button should ONLY be used in real emergencies where all other efforts have failed.  This button will literally send the search and rescue teams, helicopters, the whole 9 yards.  It could also save your life.

For the ones who worry about you in the woods, this unit will send a ping every 10 minutes to a map which they can follow online at home.  As you drop waypoints, they can see them and track your progress.  You can send 3 preset messages for free.  I use 1.  Starting my Hike  2.  Just checking in, everything is OK  and 3.  I am done hiking for the day.  Anytime I send one of these messages it also sends them the GPS coordinates of the location that message was sent.

I got engaged in Yellowstone National Park, at a waterfall, far out in the middle of nowhere Wyoming.  We were able to announce the news on Facebook, sitting by the waterfall, using this unit.  Pretty neat!

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