We who participate in the RTA Forums often advise against reliance on GPS navigation systems as a sole method of finding one's way. The recent discovery of Rita Chretien, age 56, in her van, which had been stuck in remote high desert mountains of northeast Nevada for over 7 weeks brings that advice into focus yet again.
Mrs. Chretien her husband, Albert, age 59, had apparently sought a scenic route while traveling from their British Columbia home to Las Vegas. They traveled down a series of roads seldom used in winter, got stuck, and the wife remained with the van while the husband took the GPS unit and walked out looking for help on Day 3. He has not been see or heard from since and it's highly unlikely he survived. The wife survived 49 days on a small amount of food they'd had in the van and on drinking melted snow and creek water.
A spokesman for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Mike Balen, was highly critical of reliance on GPS units, saying his NF staff knew of others who'd gotten in trouble using GPS. "I would never trust any of those things. The will lead you astray", he said.
There is, quite simply, no COMPLETE substitute for a good map and the ability to read it, none whatsoever.
Be careful out there, RoadTrippers!