Again by Jože
Modern or old fashioned? Or maybe both?
I’m a bit old fashioned about modern technology yet slowly I’m giving in to gadgets. In the last week of July my friend and I decided to do part of a multi-day traverse of the Karavanke mountain range known as Trans Karavanke. The traverse has five stages that you can complete one by one or you can connect them in a multi-day trip. The part from Jezersko to Medvodje is closed for environmental reasons – the sign said from 15.7. to 15.10. So, we cut the trail short and the last leg we decided not to go to Kranjska gora and Tromeja but make a round trip passing Kreda lake and finish in Radovljica. Mind you I have been to Kofce once and in a guided group. I had no idea where I was going exactly.
I had not planned this ahead as much as my friend did. She came prepared way better than I did. Including trail description, additional .gpx files to be sure we won’t get lost 🙂 I checked out the route up on the webpage, just to realize that I will ride many new trails.
Luckily my friends at Šport 11-11 had some assistance to offer. And I got a new tracking and navigating device – Garmin Edge 830. A small enough gadget to fit on my ”dashboard” jet big enough to see on the screen while descending (not that i recommend doing this!). I uploaded all the .gpx files to the device and we were off. A bit sceptical about the navigation skills of the device and the precision of the maps, I had little faith.
Slowly we were guided on the uphill towards our first destination. Nicely guided by the gadget, we decided to make a detour passing planina Dolga Njiva. It seemed easy to adjust the route and it was. Just a few clicks on the screen, a bit of browsing on the map, pin a pin and there you go. Route planned. Start moving. If you have a route planned and you deviate it reminds you and tries to turn you around back on the track. Unless you are persistent, then, surprisingly, it finds a new route to join on your previously planned route. For me, that’s awesome so you don’t have to make u-turns and go back the way you came.
The following morning, we separated and decided to use different trails for the descent. I connected the gadget with my phone via bluetooth and GarminConnect – a really simple job. Afterwards I was scouting on Trailforks for a decent trail to ride – yes, all on the gadget – I was fascinated. Not only do you get to use Trailforks, it supports Strava and Komoot – Nicely done Garmin. The next few days were spent in a similar manor, searching for trails on Komoot and Trailforks, recording my movement on the gadget and uploading it at the end of the day on Strava. No big deal.
All in all I was really pleased with the device. Not only did it guide us on our ways, recorded our tracks, recorded our jumps (yes, it’s quite fun to see how far you jumped :D), not to mention the battery endurance on it. It lasted for two days navigating and recording and it was down to 30 %. Charging overnight helped it endure two more days – and they were no short days. It also kept my phone’s battery intact, so I had the chance to take a lot of photos, some videos. All in all it was a good getaway/bikepacking/vacation. The gadget helped a lot. Maybe I will borrow it for my next trip again. I was so impressed by it that we decided to get one for our community.
What about you? And your experience with bikepacking in unknown territories? Maps or GPS devices?