My husband Gerry and I are adventurers – real ones. The further away from civilization we get, the more at home we feel. A few years ago, we decided to cross Canada by canoe, (a 5000 kilometer expedition) visit all historic sites along the way and document our experience to inspire people to get outside and connect with nature.
Navigation was one of our main concerns, especially because of the unreliable cell service. We did our homework and research, and decided on the inReach Explorer by Delorme. We had used a SPOT beacon in the past but found the features of the inReach Explorer far superior and perfect for our needs. The SPOT and the inReach cannot be compared – our inReach Explorer turned out to be one of the most crucial tools we had on our expedition.
Our stroke of bad luck started at one of our very first stops, Victoria Settlement. While we were sleeping, we were robbed of our dry bags which contained over $1,200 worth of gear including our maps! The gear we could replace, but the maps were essential and irreplaceable – customized with our personal points of interest, rapids, nearby towns, and more.
In our despair, we used inReach to share the news on social media and what happened next was amazing. Our followers started to respond immediately – historians, expert paddlers and avid adventurers came to our rescue by sending us waypoints to help us get to our next destination. Using the two-way messaging feature, they were able to share detailed instructions such as landmarks, which side of the river to keep to and exactly how far away we were from our last waypoint. Some of our followers even nearby friends who were able to pick us up and drive us around town to shop for replacement gear.
Just when we thought we were out of the bushes (figuratively speaking!), we received a weather alert on our inReach indicating that forest fires had broken out. Once again, we relied on our friends to message us about the fire progress and the location of evacuation zones. For 10 days, we navigated the river while engulfed in thick smoke. By being able to follow our progress on Mapshare our friends back home kept us informed every step of the way. We ended up using inReach to ask for a rescue after too much time spent in the fire zone made it hard for us to breathe properly.
During our adventures, inReach Explorer became so much more than just a navigational tool – it literally became a life saver.