Using TechnologyRocky Mountain National Park panorama
Susan Smylie hiking on Deer Mountain

Me on a recent trip to the Rocky Mountains

On a recent trip, I came up with a hiking tip, using technology, for solo hikers.  But wait, isn’t the point of hiking to get away from all your electronic stuff and just enjoy nature? It is for me. I love hiking. It is rare for me to take a vacation that doesn’t include hiking. It is my chance to disconnect, forget about email and social media and working on computers, connect with nature, challenge myself physically, and let my brain rest.

But, in my heart, I am a techy nerd, so of course I figured out a way to use technology to make my hikes safer.

While visiting my dad in Tennessee, I discovered some amazing hiking trails in his neighborhood. The trails were in the midst of a developed area, but there was little cell service on the trails and few hikers. If I had an emergency, I would not have been able to contact help. No one would have known where I was. (My dad knew what trail I was hiking on, but the trails looped and interconnected and were miles long).

The Hiking Tip

This is where technology comes in, using Google Map Sharing. Did you know you can share your location on Google Maps with someone else? And, that GPS works on your phone even if you don’t have cell or data service? The person you share with will know exactly where you are by looking at the map on their device.

Note: you must share your location while you have service. You need a connection to locate the other person’s information and get the sharing started. But, GPS is not dependent on cell service, so once the other person has your location, they will be able to track you regardless of your data connection. Be sure to share before you hit the trails. As long as your phone has power the person you shared with will be able to track you.

How Do I Share My Location?

So, how exactly does this sharing happen? From Google Maps on your phone, select “Location Sharing”. From there you choose who to share with and for how long. You can click here to see specific instructions for Android and Apple devices.

Each day I hiked in Tennessee, I shared my location with my oldest son. I also texted him, telling him that if he didn’t hear back from me within about 2 hours, or noticed I wasn’t moving on the map for an extended period, to get in touch with someone to check on me.

Obviously, this is not going to do anything to prevent trouble, but it will provide peace of mind for your loved ones and ensure help can get to you if something does happen. I have been hiking for decades in all kinds of situations and have never needed rescuing, but this little “hack” definitely made me feel better about hiking alone.

Find out how I can help give you peace of mind for your tech world. I’ll be happy to share my hiking adventures with you, too. Click below to get started on your free consultation!

Scenes from hiking in Tennessee

river in Tennessee
tennessee hiking trail