Wanted: Trailblazers: Help Map Cell Coverage On Half Dome

 Today, I want to introduce a new product to make the hike up Half Dome a little safer. A company called Cairns has developed a very handy app you may be interested in helping to build – and use.

 A continuing problem we have at Yosemite is finding cell coverage. On the Half Dome trail, my experience is that coverage is real spotty until when you reach the summit. Most services work on top – E.T. call home! The antenna is located behind the park museum and the beam is hidden in the shadow of Half Dome. Ever wonder if there will ever be cell coverage on the trail?  As a general rule, you shouldn’t rely on your phone as the only tool in an emergency, but the fact is that most wilderness rescues are initiated by calls from cell phones.

 If you get lost, the FREE  Cairn app will guide you to the closest area where cell coverage can be expected. That’s very useful when you need to summon 911 or to tell loved ones back home that all is well.

You can also share trip plans with safety contacts.  While on your outing, the app tracks a ping every few minutes from the user’s location and cell signal.  The cell signals are visible to anyone using the app with Topo maps.   If a user is overdue to a given point, then the Cairn server sends out a notification to designated contacts with all known locations. You can see what it looks for Verizon users at Tuolumne Meadows.  All those little blue dots are where they got coverage.

Read what Outside Magazine had to say.

The Cairn community has already mapped cell coverage at over 600k points at popular trails, including the entire Pacific Coast Trail, Mt. Whitney, and others.

They want to expand their FREE offering to the Half Dome trail. Although there is always a line of people going up to Half Dome, help in an emergency may be far way if someone has to run down to get a ranger. People who wander off trail and get lost (it does happen) have no idea where cell access might be located in the forest. Maybe none – but maybe there will be.

iphone app

Cairn discovered cell contact points

Here’s what you could do if you have a permit and willing to be a trailblazer.

1.     Download the free iPhone app.  It runs fine on iOS; Android is still in development but you can get on the beta list.

2.     Use Cairn on your hike (use as much or as little as you like).  Cairn is optimized for battery conservation in the wilderness.  You can use the tracking stats to get your distance traveled, elevation, ETA to summit, or to send an “I’m OK” message.

3.     As you track, you’ll see green circles showing points you’ve logged. (If you don’t have coverage or enter a dead spot, Cairn will store the points on your device and attempt to transfer them once you have coverage or a WIFI signal after you are back.

4.  First 10 trailblazers to map 10 points, email adventure@cairnme.com with your mailing address and T-shirt size, Cairn will send you a cool T-shirt.

For questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact the Cairn team.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “The biggest waste of 4 seconds: ”Hi, thank you for taking my call. I’m a long-time listener; first time caller.” – Any talk radio caller.
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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Mountain Biker killed by Grizzly Bear near Glacier National Park in Montana

In California, the last grizzly was killed in the early 1920’s. A century later, we still have one on our state flag! The first whites into Yosemite believed that the Indians who inhabited the Yosemite Valley were called Yo-hemite. Loosely this was thought to mean “they are killers”….. of grizzlies.

Nowadays, you have to visit a zoo or head north to Montana, Wyoming or Alaska to see one. Yes, they are huge and aggressive. Brad Treat found out the hard way and is no longer around to tell about it.

Over a week ago, he was riding his mountain bike with a buddy in an area just south of Glacier National Park in Montana. They were off-road in”bear country,” when he was knocked off his bike by a large bear. His friend went for help, to no avail.

Glacier is home to many bears and attacks are not that rare. Over a decade ago, I did a bike tour through the park. We peddled the Road to the Sun – a 30-mile uphill grind that blew out one of my knees.

We saw plenty of bear warning signs. Stay on the main paved roads and you are safe. Treat, 38, was a law enforcement officer with the U.S. Forest Service and knew the risk.

His death was the 7th fatal grizzly attack since 2010 in the Northern Rockies. The last death from grizzlies in Glacier National Park was in 1998, when three bears killed a park vendor employee.

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Tin soldiers and Nixon coming, we’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drumming, four dead in Ohio.” Neil Young
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome




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Before, she weighed 400 lbs; Half Dome hike whittled that down. Obese no more

In follow-up to my blog about Americans blimping up where men are now at 35% of the men are obese. Worse is that 45% of women are obese.   Wow.   I’m not here to rag on fat people – just to try a wakeup call. Being “pleasingly plump” is not good for you’re your heart. Your body was designed as a system – with all components having a job to do based on the architectural drawing.  Lungs, pancreas, kidneys, etc were installed to work when your body at its “set weight.”  That’s the weight that your body feels comfortable at

READ MORE ->  Obesity

If you diet, in time, you will come back down to the set weight. Keep the output greater than the input and you will lose weights.  Diets are fads. Good nutrition is timeless. A way of life – not a diet.

Here’s a real success story.  Meet Fresno’s Caitlin Lokey. At age 25, she weighed almost 400 pounds. No typo here: Four hundred pounds.

“I’d get out of bed and I’d almost fall over,” she said. “And I was like something needs to change.” She got hit with Type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. She got Gastric bypass surgery.

Then she started to work out with summiting Half Dome as a goal.

woman hiking

Caitlin Lokey on the Half Dome trail

“There comes a point when you say enough is enough,” Lokey said. “You have to want your health and want to love yourself.”

She did it.  Obese no more. Congrats and a tip of the hat to Caitlin. See you at the top!

Carpe Diem!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Go on and write me up for 125, post my face, wanted dead or alive. Take my license, all that jive – I can’t drive 55. Sammy Hagar
Read “One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


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