Red’s Meadow – Mammoth, California

When I staggered into Red’s Meadow off the John Muir Trail I had — like most hikers — a wide grin on my face.

What’s not to love?

The well-stocked General Store has groceries, sporting goods, fishing tackle, sundries and souvenirs. If you’re hiking the back-country, you can have a supply package sent to yourself at The Resort.

The Mule House Cafe serves up delicious home cooked meals. Both open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. … The resort is located at the comfortable elevation of 7,500 feet.

Red’s Meadow Pack Station and Resort – A Sierra Nevada Vacation Paradise

I had dinner at the Mule House with two grizzled thru-hikers named Bigfoot and Captain America.

My only complaint — why the $18 / site camping fee at nearby Inyo National Forest Reds Meadow Campground? The night I was there every thru-hikers site had only 1 person.

Inyo has a designated camping area for thru-hikers. But it’s with the car campers!

Why not have a walk-in backcountry camp for hikers? Note that the designated hiker’s sites in Glacier National Park near the Swiftcurrent Motel are free. The camping near the hot springs at Muir Ranch is free.

If Inyo wants to encourage people to walk — reducing environmental impact — why are they not encouraging self-sufficient, low impact thru-hikers?

Why are they catering to, even subsidizing, car camping?

I’ll contact Inyo with my “suggestion”.

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Inyo National Forest

PS — Hikers generally do not complain because they are so happy with the wonderful natural hot spring showers at that campground. For some, $18 is a small price to pay.

TracMe Personal Locator Beacon

UPDATE: Check the comment by Kevin Stoltz. He is very negative on this device:

… how TERRIBLE this device is as an emergency rescue device. The ONLY positive thing is it’s size. It is a low power radio beacon which means someone else has to initiate the search (whether or not you’re actually in need of help). The TracMe is only useful once rescue parties get close. PLBs on the other hand are activated by the individual in distress and result in a distress signal (including location coordinates) being sent to satellites which in turn are relayed to the appropriate search and rescue organization. PLBs operate at 406MHz and have an extremely low false alarm rate.

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original post:

The Hiking Ideas – Wilderness Trailcraft blog is investigating methods of sending for help in case of emergency.

This is the first device small enough for me to seriously consider:

tracme.jpgOn Monday I posted a story about the Spot Satellite Messenger device and I got a comment from Kevin Stoltz from PLB Rentals. He helped differentiate the category of PLBs from other messenging devices by saying the PLBs have more transmitting power – therefore they are a better safety device.

He also mentioned to me to check out another device called TracMe.

So I did. Here is a shot of the TracMe and here’s what the TracMe website lists as the unique features of their device:

• Voice beacon – can be monitored by anyone on the existing radio emergency channel.

• Does not automatically instigate a search and rescue – about 98% of distress alerts detected from inadvertently activated beacons are false.

• Extremely small and light weight.

• Low cost – less than half the cost of existing beacons.

• Very low cost for the Search and Rescue (SAR) crews.

• A search can be performed with a single aircraft and one ground crew of 2 to 3 people.

• Will operate continuously for about 7 days – this gives the rescuers ample time to locate the beacon.

• Single use – once the unit has been activated, it can be deactivated but not reused.

• Shelf or storage life should be up to 10 years.

TracMe Personal Locator Beacon

– Hiking Ideas – Wilderness Trailcraft