Dale, a retired community college administrator and instructor, is an avid hiker, backpacker and cyclist. At the age of 67, he now spends most of his free time hiking through the backcountry of Oregon and California alone and with fellow backpackers.
Like many hikers, Dale often worried about connectivity during his travels. This is why SPOT piqued his interest when reading one of his favorite magazines. Soon after, Dale visited REI to purchase his first SPOT device. In celebration of Memorial Day, Dale and 7 other hikers ranging from ages 51 to 74 decided to take a five day trip to Mattole Beach Campground near Petrolia, California. This time, he made sure to add his new SPOT Gen 3™ as a "must bring" item.
As they set out, the crew planned to hike eight miles, in hopes to arrive at Black Sand Beach before dawn. As anticipated, they encountered deep, wet, sandy grounds, but were not expecting the costal winds they faced along the way. "We hiked like drunken sailors, unable to walk a straight line", Dale explained. As if the surface could not get any worse, a beach of steep boulders took over the sandy grounds. His fellow hiker John was not wearing proper footwear and took a bad fall while attempting to cross a creek. "I knew I was done for from the moment it happened. I knew I would not be walking another step," John stated.
After much deliberation, they decided to use Dale's SPOT and summon for help. At 3:30 p.m., Dale activated the S.O.S. feature on his SPOT device and the group began to watch for a helicopter. Within minutes, GEOS contacted Dale's wife, Gwen, who was listed as an emergency contact. GEOS also contacted the California Office of Emergency Services, who then requested help from the Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay. The Coast Guard arrived on scene via helicopter at 5:54 p.m. John was then taken to the nearest hospital, where he was told he had a severely sprained ankle.
Both Dale and John were extremely pleased with GEOS' response and the assistance they received from the Coast Guard. When asked for his thoughts about the SPOT device, John stated, "The technology works and I think it would be a good tool for anybody in these situations or even worse situations than I was in". Dale says his SPOT provides him with a new sense of security and assurance that he will be able to communicate with his family in case he needs assistance, as well as send his coordinates to GEOS during a life-threatening emergency.
Rescue Profile: Tom
Case #: 13665
Tom Madlem had been riding motorcycles for 50 years. Death Valley was one trip he had never taken before though. He and a friend had planned to take 2 weeks off and make the ride. However, the first part of the trip was going to force Madlem to commit the “cardinal sin” - biking alone.
This meant he would be riding alone through the desert for two days before meeting up with his friend. After his wife and son begged him not to go by himself, he was then convinced to purchase his SPOT GEN3™ for the trip so his family would have peace of mind. He made it the first day just fine alone. Tuesday morning, he had not ridden 10 miles when he took a hard fall on his bike.