May 05 2010

Where On Earth Am I?
My Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS Knows For Sure

About a month ago I finally took the plunge and bought a GPS. A Garmin eTrex Legend HCx, to be specific. Now, I’m a map-and-compass kind of girl, and jumping into the modern age of electronic navigation was not easy. So what pushed me to do it? The realization that a GPS could theoretically hold all the topographic information for the entire lower-48 and an excellent price at Amazon were the deciding factors.

I plan to use Gar (my nickname for the GPS) to augment traditional navigation when I’m cycling, hiking, and paddling. I’ve already taken Gar on several hikes and rides in familiar territory. Gar picks up satellites very quickly and holds onto them under dense tree cover, in thick overcast, and even when standing under rocky overhangs. I only managed to lose a signal once, when I got down on my belly to shoot a photo, forgetting the GPS was in my chest pocket. No matter. Gar came back on track as soon as I got off the ground.

I’ll be putting my new GPS through its paces in the coming weeks and will write a more detailed evaluation when I’ve gotten to know my magic box a bit better. I can say that I’m very pleased so far. For a confirmed map lover, it’s great to carry the equivalent of a filing cabinet’s worth of topos in the palm of my hand. Not only that, but it’s useful to keep track of the little details of a trip, from the time it took, to the average moving and overall speeds, to the exact (or near ’nuff to exact as I want to be) route. So stay tuned to hear how Gar and I have been making tracks.

Keeping Track

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