“600? 681.” Pause. Nothing.
“600? 681, Grandview.” Long pause. Nothing.
I, volunteer #681, was trying to contact the Hans Flat ranger station (#600) on channel 2 (Grandview) for my twice-daily check-in. I could hear other radio traffic, but obviously was not transmitting. If the ranger station an hour away didn’t hear from me for a day, they’d send someone to check on me, and I did NOT want that to happen. I was fine.
I switched to the relay channel that the NPS put up, and couldn’t get anything on that either. After reading the entire radio manual in the trailer, and trying everything I could think of — including trying to radio Arches National Park whose traffic I could hear, and having them call Hans Flat — I shrugged and gave up. I’d be in a pickle only if a real emergency arose, but there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
I drove to Hans Flat on Day 3 for a potluck and a hiking expedition, and walked into the ranger station carrying my radio. Within minutes Gary had checked its innards, reprogrammed it, and rendered it fully functional. Whew. Now 681 could call 600… and she hopes it is only twice a day for routine check-in.
Have you ever been out of touch with civilization for long? How did it feel? What concerns did you have?