3 Awesome Off The Grid Mountain Adventures


3 Awesome Off The Grid Mountain Adventures

Going off the grid can be an exciting way to disconnect from the busy world around you for a
time. But where can you go, and what can you do?

The following are three awesome off the grid mountain adventures to add to your to-do list:

1. Camping in Linville Gorge

For breathtaking mountain views and easy access to hiking trails, drive up into Linville Gorge.
Here, you can find car campsites near Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain in Asheville, North
Carolina. One of the most notable features of the locally-named “The Gorge” are the lights. The
lights are seemingly globes of different colors that float throughout the trees. They can be seen
at night if you trek to the top of the mountain and look down over the gorge where you will find an endless expanse of trees and mountains that seem to be alive. While science fails to explain what exactly the lights are, you can enjoy this off the grid experience and have a tale to tell when you come back.

2. Climbing Colorado’s 14ers

For a true test of stamina, challenge yourself with any, or all, of Colorado’s awe-inspiring 14ers, like Mt. Elbert, Mt. Massive or Mt. Harvard, If you can make it to the top, you will be rewarded with some of the most mesmerizing views of mountainous landscape that seems endless. Going off the grid for most of these hikes can mean taking extra safety precautions, so be sure to let someone know where you are going.

3. Escaping the Crowds in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park has plenty to see, with Old Faithful, the Grand Prismatic Spring and
more offering some of the most beautiful pieces of nature you can see up close. However, the
crowds can truly take away from the experience. Escape them by going off the beaten path in
areas such Fairy Falls, Grebe Lake or Lonestar Geyser. These areas will have less people, but
will offer no less photo opportunities. Just be sure to bring bear spray and other safety items.

Remember Your Phone

Your phone will become home to countless photos of your experience, but it is also an important safety device. Download Virtual Halo before going off the grid to have quick access to send an SOS with Virtual Halo if you need help. It will also make it quick and simple for you to check in and let loved ones know you are okay.


Basic Planning for a Hurricane


Basic Planning for a Hurricane

Step One - Create A Communications Plan
This can be done way in advance and always in place for when disaster strikes, not for just when hurricanes occur. Designate primary and secondary meeting points, discuss which social media posts you're going to post to to find one another if you become separated. Memorize each others mobile phone numbers. Designated a common family member of friend well removed from the geographic area that you can relay information through. Use a personal protection app like Virtual Halo so you can check in with each other and transmit your exact location (basic services are free). Keep your mobile phones charged and have spare battery chargers fully charged at all times.

Unlike tornadoes, Hurricane's give a little notice so potentially affected residents can take a little action to achieve maximum safety. Below are a group of tools recommended for you to use when preparing for a hurricane. Be safe out there... and good luck!

Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?

Waiting Out The Storm.jpeg

Step Two - Develop a Family Emergency Plan
This will include what to do during what type of disaster and should have provisions for when you're home and when you're traveling. Ready.gov had made planning a snap, visit their site here. Immediate steps to take include:

  • How will I receive my warnings?
  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What are the dietary needs of my household?
    • Get any provisions including batteries and flashlights that will be needed.
  • What planning do you need to make for your pet(s)?

Step Three - Constantly Review the FEMA Evacuation Guidelines
And follow all directions given by local and state governments. Access FEMA Evacuation Guidelines here

When waiting out a storm, be careful, the danger may not be over yet when everything looks clear. Be alert for tornadoes - they are often spawned by hurricanes. Also, during the "eye" of the storm, it may seem like the storm is over, but it's not. Once the eye passes, the winds will pickup quickly and change directly back into hurricane force.

After the storm, wait until your area is declared safe by emergency management personnel before returning home. And remember, recovering from a natural disaster is often a gradual process. Good luck and be safe!



Going Hiking? 5 Things You Should Take With You


Going Hiking? 5 Things You Should Take With You

From expanses of trees to flowing fields of flowers and cascading waterfalls, there is a virtually endless supply of beauty to be found in the nature around us. Hiking is an ideal way to get out and explore these surroundings without increasing your carbon footprint or greatly disrupting the natural state of these areas - all while getting in some cardio.                              

To prepare for your next hiking trip, there are a few basics you should plan to bring with you both for your wellbeing and your safety:

Food and Water

As you hike, your body is going to be burning energy. Even in cold weather you are going to need to refuel regularly with food and water, and getting enough water intake is critical to avoid hypothermia and altitude sickness. Be sure you bring plenty of healthy, energy-boosting snack bars that contain the nutrients your body is going to need to replenish itself, and lots of water so you don’t run out.

Safety Items

When you go hiking, you are entering into land that belongs to nature; this includes wild animals like bears and snakes, and uneven paths. Stay alert at all times while on your hike, and have safety items prepared in case anything were to happen. These items should include, but not be limited to:

  • Fire for warmth
  • Flashlight for light
  • Knife or multipurpose tools for emergency situations
  • Whistle to call for help

First Aid Kit

Along the same lines as safety items, make sure you pack a first aid kit. Especially on rougher hikes it can be easy to slip or fall, and you want to have access to supplies to clean any wounds and bandage them until you get back to safety. First aid kits often include other items like thermal blankets as well, which can come in handy in the event you get lost or turned around and can’t make it back before dark.


To help make sure you do make it back and don’t get lost, bring a GPS and compass or map to help you find your way no matter where you are. Remember that in some areas of nature your GPS will not be able to get a signal, do don’t rely on this technology alone.

Your Phone

One of the most valuable things your phone can do, aside from acting as both a camera and GPS, is help let family and friends know where you are. This is vitally important in case anything were to happen to you while hiking. Use the Virtual Halo app to easily send check-ins to let them know you’re safe, or an SOS if you’re not. In fact, it was through a strenuous hiking trip that led the developers to create the "Going Out" feature that will let your emergency contacts know that you may be in trouble if you don't get back by the time you intended when you set out on the trailhead.

Put Your Safety First

Hiking is a rewarding experience, and will undoubtedly give you memories to cherish for a lifetime. But remember to always put your safety first. When you’re packing for your hike, be sure to include all basic necessities like water, food, a first aid kit and safety items. Then, download Virtual Halo and bring your phone so you have quick access to help if you need it.


Simple Ways To Give Seniors More Freedom While Still Checking In


Simple Ways To Give Seniors More Freedom While Still Checking In

As people age it can be a shock needing to become more dependent on those around them. It can be difficult for the elderly members of the population to maintain their sense of independence, but it’s often critical in order for them to stay happy and healthy.

If you have a loved one that needs more care while still holding on to their independence, try these simple ways to give seniors more freedom while still checking in:

Take Advantage of Delivery

One of the most convenient things about modern society is the ability to go online and have virtually anything delivered directly to your door. This covers clothing, groceries and even medications. If your loved one insists on having their freedom, but you still want to make sure they have all the basic necessities covered without intruding on their space, try taking advantage of delivery.

Check In on Your Phone

As the body becomes more fragile seniors may become injured more easily and need additional care. If you are concerned about their safety but they insist on holding on to their freedom for as long as they can, download the Virtual Halo app to their mobile phone. Let them know that with the app they can quickly and easily contact you with an SOS message if anything happens, or just check in now and then to let you know they’re okay so you don’t start sending hundreds of texts or calling dozens of times a day (because we all do when it comes to the care of a loved one).

A Blend of Independence and Care

When it comes to keeping their independence, seniors can be quite stubborn, even if they know it’s time to rely on others. Help them maintain their freedom with a blend of independence and care by helping them meet their basic needs and letting them check in with you more often than you check in with them. Virtual Halo is the perfect way to feel confident they can reach you if they need to, while still giving them the space they ask for.


Why Everyone Should Have An Emergency Contact


Why Everyone Should Have An Emergency Contact

We live in a world where virtually anything can happen, and it can happen unexpectedly. Accidents at work or school, fender benders, going into labor before the due date, inclement weather on a trip, fires… the list goes on. What do you do when the unexpected happens?

It’s important for all members of your family to have an emergency plan. In this emergency plan you should include details for specific emergency situations. And if you follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should have a family communication plan. This plan should detail what steps to take in different emergencies and how you will contact each other.

Creating a Communication Plan

Every family’s communication plan is going to be unique to them, but there are a few guidelines that should be followed in order for it to be effective when you need it.

  1. Keep a list of emergency phone numbers
  2. Make sure every family member knows who to contact
  3. Have an emergency contact

Designating an Emergency Contact

When you choose an emergency contact, first and foremost, you want them to be reliable. In the event of an emergency they will need to react quickly to get you the help you need. It may be best for this emergency contact to be out of town so they can then contact everyone as needed.

The Role of an Emergency Contact

Your emergency contact will be responsible for alerting others of the emergency and calling for the appropriate help. They are a critical piece to your family’s emergency communication plan to keep everyone aware of the situation - pretty much your hero!

Communicate More Efficiently

Because time is of the essence in most emergency situations, you need to be able to contact your emergency contact as quickly as possible so they can react. A convenient addition to your communication plan for every member of the family is the Virtual Halo app. The app lets you send a quick SOS in the event of an emergency to alert your emergency contact. You can then use its check-in feature to keep them updated from there. This simplifies what you need to do in an emergency.