The couple was introduced to a personal locater beacon, specifically a SPOT Gen1, on their 2011 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. A hiking buddy would check in with his family via the SPOT device every night.
In planning for their 2014-15 Te Araroa thru hike in New Zealand, everyone recommended bringing a personal locater beacon. They followed their buddy’s lead with the SPOT Gen1 and brought that along with the 1-year plan. They didn’t check in every night, but changed the pre-set message in town and sent that out once a week from the backcountry. It would say “The Wandering La Vignes are checking in from …” Friends and family loved following along their trek so closely, especially since they were thousands of miles away in a foreign country. Thankfully, Patrice & Justin never had to set theirs off for an emergency, but know someone who did on that trek!
From that point forward, the SPOT has always been with them. It became especially important when Justin climbed Denali in 2016. He would check in with the pre-set messages every night to assure Patrice of his safety.
Now through their partnership with SPOT, the couple has upgraded to a SPOT X, the two-way satellite messenger. Patrice is so happy for the two-way feature, which will be more revealing than pre-set messages during Justin’s Denali climb in the summer of 2019.