On a personal note

Thanks to those of you who sent me email over the last while, wondering how I was doing and what had become of me. I’ll try to get back to you all in the next few days. It turns out that the best way to hear from you folks isn’t to blog, but to stop blogging — then I get mail! Who knew?

Anyway, I’m fine, thanks. I just got out of the habit of some regular habits, that’s all. Does that ever happen to you? And then I realized it had been rather too long, so here I am.

Meanwhile, I have a new addiction. Those of you who don’t know me in person probably haven’t realized that I have a stupidly impaired sense of direction. This means I could get lost pretty easily if I don’t watch it. I do watch it, of course — I over-compensate, and hike through mazes of trails regularly. But I mark my way, turn around at every junction to see what things should look like on the way back, and whatnot. I even carry flagging tape for when I go way off the trail.

Last week I blew it. I suppose there were a few trails that looked very much like other trails, and then I realized I was in the wrong place altogether, and it wasn’t a place I’d seen before. Moments of panic ensued. But I over-compensate, remember? So at least I had a compass. The dog and I bush-crashed our way out and all was fine. Except, you know? I don’t want more moments of panic like that. I hike in the woods every day and love to explore obscure trails. I don’t like getting lost.

So (here comes the addiction part) I bought a hand-held GPS unit. And is it ever spiffy! I can mark specific places ("waypoints") so that I can easily navigate to one of them from anywhere. When I park the car, I mark the location. When we get to a landmark we like in the middle of those old logging roads, I mark that spot. I’ve even marked the location of various Decaying Dead Things in the woods. Dead deer, for instance, which the dog wants to eat. Now we get an alarm when we’re coming within range of these places, and can opt to head the other way while there’s still time.

The unit even keeps track of where I go and draws a trail map for me as I wander, so it’s terribly easy to re-trace my steps later on. Best of all, I can guess things (distance, direction) and then look at the GPS to see if I’m right or not. It’s teaching me the lay of the land.

This easily wins the "most useful gadget" prize. And you know, it’s just a little bit addictive.

6 thoughts on “On a personal note

  1. Heh. That describes my spousal equivalent perfectly. The time he had to bushwhack his way out, he came home with a tragic case of poison oak and a pulled back, so you can probably count yourself lucky.

    Then he bought a GPS, and he could talk about and play with nothing else for three months. Enjoy!

  2. I had wondered, but I hadn’t worried – I figure people need breaks!

    What’s more, in my limited but now longish experience, folks who are going to stop announce it either by blogging or by email.

    I *am* glad to see you back.

    I thought of doing something high tech and gps oriented here this semester but gave up and stuck to what I already knew. Sounds like fun, though!

  3. Soooo funny! I am the same “directionally challenged” in the opposite manner. Woods, I am fine. I can find my way out when friends are nearing panic. Even in the dark. Even underwater! But put me in the subway in Toronto? Or worse yet the underground pathway? Horrible! I need to get to street level, walk around the block till I figure out which way is north and then I am fine!

    Enjoy the GPS. I know they are amazing toys. If only they worked underground…

  4. So nice to have another post from you. I had wondered about you, but, then, I’ve taken breaks from time to time also. There are days or weeks when life takes over, or rather some specific part of your life, and the other stuff recedes into the background.

    Having anew toy to play with, one that enables yet more fun out of something you enjoy doing anyway, sounds terrific! May your dog never eat disgusting Things again! And may you get “lost” only when you want to.

  5. Welcome back! I’m delighted to find Mirabilis active again. The GPS sounds like the perfect gadget for you. Now, if they could just make them to identify the Dead Decaying Things for you in advance, like the way they’ll find you a McDonald’s – that’s would be ideal.

  6. Welcome back! I’m so glad you are now able to enjoy your trekking more safely. The new GPS thingie should give you many more adventures but without the problems which you encountered recently.
    I’m ordering one for the car because my husband is direction-challenged on wheels, and usually has me along, wistfully asking him if we can stop for directions before the sun goes down. Do you think GPS will eliminate the problem? (Rhetorical)

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