Older Bro is on a hundred-and-something mile backpack trip along the Muir Trail, and I think it’s a real sign of his growth as a fly fishermen that before he left, he agonized over whether he should take the 3wt or the 6wt (because he’s averaging 15 miles a day and is a backpacking weight weenie, he would never take both).

Gear dysfunction is a sign you’ve truly arrived.

I told him take the 3wt; if it was windy enough that I had to fish a 6wt I’d probably just want to hike anyway. Naturally, because we’re brothers, he did the opposite.

This hike is a low-tech endeavor, except that in the old days, you’d get that last call before he hit the trailhead and then not hear from him for a long time.

Now he owns one of those SPOT satellite thingees.

hiking map

He’s here. Well, he was a couple days ago…

It gives him the option of pushing the “I’m in deep shit, send help” button that’s abused by so many others, but it also sends regular updates about his location.

He put me on his email notification list, so a half-dozen times a day I get a “I’m here” email with a link to a map.

It’s a fun little toy and it’s a nice way to keep the relatives updated when you’re backpacking, though I think emailing your position to your friends (or posting photographs with GPS coordinates in the metadata) would be the last thing a hardocre blueliner would want to do.

In fact, I’m sure you’ve all wondered — just like I have — how much fly fishing metadata is currently being “utilized” by a secret cabal of fly fishing fanatics within the NSA.

After all, you’d be foolish to ignore a group of fishermen with the ability to track the location of John Gierach’s smartphone on an hourly basis (for the record, I assume Gierach doesn’t have a smartphone, but we’re working one step below the Bourne Identity here, so play along).

Even worse, once drone technology becomes affordable and human recognition software becomes more effective, we’ll all suddenly have the ability to put a tail on the local blueline hotshot in the form of a stealth drone — one that provides a video feed and GPS coordinates for any stop longer than a minute.

Hell, you could spend the day at work and come home to a detailed map of the area’s best small streams.

(It’s the kind of thing that makes me want to explore the legality of shooting things out of the sky while over public lands.)

Either way, one day you’re happily fishing vast stretches of water unpopulated by anyone. The next, men in dark suits (or your local nemesis) are casting to your favorite plunge pools.

And to think people waste time worrying about the zombie apocalypse.

This, I think, would be worse. After all, zombies don’t fly fish.

See you turning off that GPS, Tom Chandler.