Tuesday, April 03, 2012

7 Days- Solar Power on the Trail

A couple of weekends I was browsing at a city fest with my parents and we ended up looking at one booth selling emergency solar power chargers.  We looked for awhile, and talked to the salesperson, Jon about my trip and what I would need in a charger.  Solar chargers are not something I know very much about.  Just a couple of days before this I had decided not to research solar chargers and not to spend money on one and just buy a spare battery for my phone.  A spare battery I knew would weigh less, cost less, and would involve a lot less research than buying a solar charger.
We told Jon we’d think about, and then wandered away to get some fair food.  Over pineapple snow cones I weighed the pros and cons of weight versus money versus usability.  I didn’t get far with my rationing, but I did come up with some more questions.  We went back to the booth and before I could ask anything Jon handed me a charger telling me to give it a try.  It took me a couple of seconds to realize that he was giving me the charger for my hike.  I think most people have a desire (or at least an interest) in adventure and that makes the idea of a thru-hike very appealing to many.  Not that I think that most people want to thru-hike, but I think they want to help if they can.
My new charger in its pouch ready to trickle charge my phone.
I’ve had the chance to play with my new charger at this point although I don’t feel like I will know how well it will do what I want until I’m out on the trail and I will really know what I want it to do.  It seems like after spending the night plugged into the wall the charger has enough juice to charge my phone once as long as my phone is off.  I’m hoping that the charger will receive enough sun throughout the day to give me an hour of phone time every night for journaling. 
I keep waffling about buying the back-up battery.  My electronics are really starting to add up.  I have 25.8 ounce of electronics and cases.  That’s the same weight as my tent, cook pot, pot cozy, and 2 liter Camelbak combined.

In other news I crossed a few more items off my lists.  I made a few copies of my permits and put clear packing tape on them to protect them.  I finally printed out my California fire permit.  I have yet to print out and mail in my form to buy a BearVault.  I also arranged a ride from Warner Springs to the Kick Off—it feels great to cross that off my lists.  I sleep better knowing I won’t miss the hiker event that I’ve been hearing about for years.  Those are all small but very important tasks.  I worked on my food resupply more.  I’ll be mailing out my first 3 or 4 drops before leaving Florida and then my Mom will take over.  I need to check one more time that the 4 drops have all the food I need than box them off and cross them off my list. 
My bag getting a bath.
On Sunday I washed my sleeping bag and it was not as daunting of a task as it had been in the past.  Before I had washed it at home in our top loader machine and because it’s filled with down, it’s expensive, and has baffles that could be ripped out by the agitator I’ve always had to keep a very close eye on it.  It was not a toss it in the machine and come back in a half hour kind of job, but this time I took it to the laundry mat.  I tossed it in a front loading machine and watched it go round and round.  I was disappointed by how clean the water stayed.  I’m use to my hiking gear turning water black when I wash my stuff.  I brought it home and dried it for hours.  Now I have a bag with a lot of loft and no funky smell—that should last a week?
And there is still so much to do.  It seems like every time I cross something off my list three new tasks pop up.

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