Many people attach their GPS shade hood, plug in the device and assume that they are ready to find their way to any location. There are many reasons to love modern GPS. As we bask in the convenience that is satellite positioning technology, it’s also important to remember to not lose touch with traditional navigation techniques
That’s one fact that really hit home for a British Columbia couple in 2011. Rita and Albert Chretien set out in the Nevada Mountains armed with their shiny new GPS device. After leaving a road, the pair quickly found themselves confused and lost in their van. The technology they were depending on was guiding them in the wrong direction.
56 year old Rita stayed in their vehicle while 59 year old Albert left to seek help on foot. Rita was found nearly dead on March 19th, 2011. It was about a month after her husband Albert left to get assistance. Sadly, Albert’s remains were found by a pair of hunters on September 29th, 2012.
Authorities believe that the batteries on the couple’s GPS device may have started to burn out, causing their projected path to veer in the wrong direction. They unknowingly followed it and wound up stuck.
The loss was a tragedy for the Chretien family, but hopefully some good comes out of it in the form of a valuable lesson. Travelers must remember that even with the best GPS device money can buy, a Glare stomper and all the most convenient accessories, there is no replacement for being prepared.
Always travel with supplies and a first aid kit when heading into the wilderness, even if you only plan to be gone for a matter of hours. Also make sure you have a basic knowledge of the geographic area and an understanding of traditional navigation methods that do not rely on technology.