Don’t Lose your GPS Settings!

I received my newest trail camera today – a Moultrie M-880 (Initial review coming soon). When I got home from work today, there it was – sitting in a box on my door step, delivered by Amazon Prime. And what do you do when you get something new? You have to use it! So I decided to head up the mountain, place the camera and check another one that I put out last week. I checked my GPS to make sure I still had my waypoint for the other camera in this area and looked at Google Earth to familiarize myself with the layout of the mountains and headed out. I got out of the house at 4:07 and headed for the mountain (no ATV, just hiking). I told the family that I would be gone about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Parked the van at the designated spot and turned on the GPS. ALL of my waypoints were gone!!

Now, a little background here is in order. When I placed this trail cam I rode up the mountain on my ATV. Parked the ATV and hiked down into a deep ravine. It was dark when I placed the camera and I hiked out in the dark and had to find the ATV with the GPS. I don’t know how we ever got along without GPS.

Also, my GPS is a Garmin E-trex Vista HCX. I have had this thing for about six years now and have NEVER had a problem with it. It has become my friend and saved my tail more than a few times.

Last weekend, I backed my Garmin up onto my computer and then reset the GPS to factory because I just wanted to get rid of a lot of junk that I had in there. I figured that was the best way to do it. I hadn’t realized how much I customized the settings on this thing to my liking.

Anyway, I restored the tracks and waypoints that I wanted to keep back onto the GPS.

Back to today. With my waypoints gone, I figured I would be able to hike right up the ravine to where my trail cam was…WRONG!! The last time I went I rode the ATV and this time was hiking and therefore I chose a different route.

I started hiking up, and after a good ways up I saw three or four deer on the side of the ravine. Unfortunately no bucks that I could see. A little further up I realized I was in the wrong canyon. So I started to follow a deer trail up the side and thought by chance I might be able to skirt over and drop down into the next canyon. When I got to the ridge I stopped and had some crackers and Vienna Sausage and a bottle of water (not my favorite but it goes a long way when you are out hiking). I dropped down the other side into a small ravine and realized that I need to go over yet another canyon. Eventually, after tripping and stumbling through tons of scrub oak I made it to the top of another ridge. It was starting to get dusk, so I figured I would have to bag it and come back in a day or two.

As I was walking down the ridge, I saw a well used game trail and decided to take it since it seemed to be headed toward my trail camera. Back through more scrub oak and I heard some scurrying through the leaves and figured it must have been a deer or two. I finally made it to the bottom of this ravine and after a short time found what appears to be an excellent spot for a trail camera, so I set it up. Since it was already dark by this time I didn’t go through all of the instructions to set up the camera the way I wanted to – with video length of time and the time lapse, so I just used the factory default settings. When I go back again I will make sure I am there earlier and take the time to set it up to my liking.

After getting the camera set up, I did a quick hike up the ravine to see if I could find my other camera – but didn’t see it so decided to find it another day since it was starting to get late. By now it’s very dark – pitch black inside the ravine. I figured that I would follow the ravine down the mountain and hopefully might run into my other camera. I then heard some thrashing in front of me and figured it was more deer. I have my head lamp going – not bright but enough to see where I was walking.

As I approached to close to where the “deer” had been, I expected to hear them them on the move again but I didn’t hear anything. A few more steps and I saw something just to the left of the trail – white and looked like a garbage bag caught in the trees. As I got closer I realized it to be a Hawk with it’s wings and feathers all spread out and looking magnificent. I was thinking the thing spread its wings out so as to make itself look much bigger to predators. The thing looked pretty vicious, and so I approached cautiously – not knowing if it would attack me, or if it wouldn’t move in the dark. Luckily the latter was the case and so I decided to break out my camera. Trying to get good photos in the dark is not that easy and I wish the images would have turned out better. At any rate – you can see this magnificent bird. It was actually a bit smaller than I would have thought it would be.

HawkHawkHawk

After putting the camera away and skirting around the Hawk, I kept heading down the ravine, having to step around some pools of water. Eventually I came up to my camera and changed out the SD Card. Then eventually worked my way down into the open terrain and was able to find my vehicle without any trouble.

Here is the data from my GPS:

I walked a total of 3.69 miles – much of it through scrub oak (not fun).
1 hour 44 minutes walking time – I really need to get better hiking boots.
1 hour 21 minutes stopped time – Including stopping for breathers, cameras and eating a quick bite.
2.1 mph average speed
7.9 mph max speed – I don’t remember doing any jogging or running
7:45 when I got back to the van

So my 2 hour trip turned into almost a four hour round trip and I made it home safely – just some aching feet and legs. And I really need to get a better pair of hiking boots.

And the moral of this story is to make sure you have your GPS data backed up on your computer and if you get to your starting point and don’t have the data you need – it might save time to go back to the house and reload the data back onto your GPS before leaving on your hike.