The end is nigh.
No, I’m not talking about the end of the world again; I’m talking about the end of the semester!
School’s almost out, summer is fast approaching, and I bet you’ve got all sorts of outdoor adventures planned, right?
I’m also guessing planning those events is stressful and confusing, but have no fear, your tech guru is here. I’ve found three apps to cover you for planning, tracking and documenting some of those escapades.
Living in sunny St. George, and about an hour away from Zion National Park, hiking trails are easy enough to find. It’s tracking those trails so you can come back later that can be a pain. I’ve been there time and time again. I find a beautiful area one day, try to show someone the next day, and it’s like it disappeared. Lucky me, I found Columbia’s GPS Pal.
GPS Pal is a free app for both Android and iPhone that tracks routes as you hike, allows for favorite routes to be saved, and even lets you document the route with pictures and video.
While the app does zap the life out of smartphones pretty quickly, it’s totally worth it for how accurate the it is. As I tracked my route on the app, it not only gave me the distance and time of my route, but also gave me up-to-date elevation reports and my average miles per hour. Keep in mind, in order to save your routes, you do have to sign up for an account on this app, but the account is free as well.
If hiking doesn’t have enough of a reward at the end for you, consider geocaching.
Basically, geocaching is a game where you use GPS coordinates to find objects hidden by other players.
The rules of the game are pretty simple and easily located on the official geocaching website.
You sign up for a free account on the website and enter the zip code you want to search, which will bring back a list of geocaches in the area. You can then use an app, such as c:geo, to locate the caches.
C:geo is also free and very easy to use. When you locate the cache, it will contain a log book to write your name in and possibly an item placed by the previous finder. If you take the item from the cache, you should be replacing it with another item.
Geocaching is great for all ages because there are options for beginner or advanced caches, as well as being available all over town. We even have one right here on campus.
Oh Ranger! Park Finder
What if you want to camp, hike, kayak or swim in the same place but you don’t know where to go? There’s an app for that.
Oh, Ranger! Park Finder allows users to find locations near them based on what they want to do on their trip. The list of activities includes everything from bird watching to caving. Once the activities are chosen, the app lets you know what parks within 100 miles offer your choices.
The best part about the app is that it is easy to use from the first time you open it. It doesn’t require any sort of login or password, and directions are extremely clear.
Yeah, you could plan your summer trips all on your own—or you could let technology lessen the load.
Do you have a favorite outdoor app? Tweet me at @Techsass and tell me about it.