Every so often when I’m able, I like dusting off my pack and hitting some trails for a few days. It’s nice to be able to unplug, spend some time alone and have days of exercise. However, there are two things I miss terribly when I go off on my overnight hiking trips,  I used to use the must comfortable weightlifting shoes. One of those two things I miss almost immediately and it makes me mentally lost. I begin drifting along in my own thoughts and unable to focus my direction. That thing, is the trail markers. The other, as a distant second, are my children.

IMG_1049Now, put down the pitchforks, angry mob of super-parents. I’m not one of those people who needs to get away from the kids, or who thinks spending time with them in any way encroaches on my own personal time. On the other hand, I’m also the first to admit that EVERY parent needs to have some time to themselves to decompress. Everyone does it in their own ways and on occasion for me, it’s cruising out into the wilderness. Usually on day 1 to 2 I miss them in the sense of “wow, it’s pleasant cooking for one!”. I know, it’s kind of the opposite of missing them, but it’s something, right?? However if it stretches past that time frame, I do miss seeing them, and I know they are missing me. That actually hurts the most. Knowing that they are sad that I’m not there singing to them before they go to sleep, or downstairs making lunches before school.

So when I’m on these trips, I am off the grid when it comes to them. I call when I rest, but that’s about all I can do. As for getting lost, I can pay a bit more attention, but I’m easily distracted and I wonder what’s for dinner tonight, and is Jeopardy on soon?? See what I mean? Those were legit thoughts as I typed that sentence. On these trips I typically prepare as best as I can with maps, water and bug spray. Everything that compels me to wonder aloud to myself how I manage to get lost, and run out of supplies so very quickly, almost every single time.

Pulling up maps and supply locations is typically tough when I’m out of wifi range, and I get pretty far out of wifi range on my treks. Thankfully, I have a solution that not only will keep me on track when I’m missing my turns and trailheads, but it helps me keep in touch with my kiddos while I’m gone. I usually bring minimal electronics with me, and only pull them out when I need to. The call home here and there is about it. It’s usually too rugged out there for much else. Luckily I now have something that’s rugged enough for my trips. Netgear’s Unite Explore Hotspot is perfect for these excursions. I’m able to quickly get myself  back on track when I’ve lost my way, but even more importantly is I’m able to actually see my little guys. At the end of the night, I can now pull out this tiny device and I’m able to FaceTime with my kids before they hit the hay. It allows me to send them pictures and videos of the places I’m exploring without having to wait until the last day when I hit a town. I get excited that they get excited to see it, knowing that in the future they’ll be joining me.
IMG_1040It’s also really nice to be able to locate my water sources and nearby hamburger places on the rainy nights that I can’t get a fire going. Oh yeah, did I mention that this thing can get a bit wet and still work like a charm? Well it can. Trail dust, dirt and the occasional and inevitable bump and crash here and there won’t render this thing a paperweight like it would other devices. It’s water and shock resistant. Making it perfect for hikes, bike tours, or just living with kids. I love knowing that my next time out, I’ll be able to have this amazingness with me to help put me back on track and get me connected with the things I’ve missed.