It's 6:00 am and I hear the pretty songs of early morning birds and the rush of cascading mountain streams.
Yesterday I hiked from Jenny Lake to Lake Solitude. My husband, Mike, and I figured it was 5.5 miles and approximately 2,500 feet of elevation gain. We hiked the North Cascades Trail which follows the river formed by the mountain streams from above. We were thankful for the well groomed pathways and trail signs prepared by the forest service and the plentiful shade of the woods we traveled through. We pitched our 3 man tent in the North Forks designated camping area and enjoyed our private spot with a view of The Grand Teton and its neighboring peaks plus the Paintbrush Canyon Divide.
While at Lake Solitude, elevation 9,035 feet, we had a nice chat with Anthony, a young man from southern California. I learned of two new tech gadgets that would be handy for bikers, sailors, joggers, and hikers - Spot and Solar Charging Panels.
Spot is a tracking device similar to a black box on an aircraft. It sends a report out regularly (minutes, hours, days) so others know where you are and so you can look back to see where you have been and how much time it took to travel from point a to point b.
It also has an SOS signal and texting features. The battery lasts for 5 days. It is sturdy, and though weighty is a solid safety gadget that would help tremendously in a rescue situation. Read more about Spot.
2. Solar Charging Panels
I brought my Halo backup battery in case my battery ran out on my cell phone. I use airplane mode to conserve the cell phone battery, and though I have used the camera for photos and short videos at the end of my first day I still had 58% battery strength remaining. In the evening I connected Halo to my smartphone (Galaxy S5) and after an hour there was less than a 5% gain in battery strength. That's a fairly slow transfer.
Anthony had flat solar collection panels, 5x7, that lay on your back pack and absorb solar energy during daylight hours. This would likely be a better solution for multiple day activities, and as long as the sun is shining, the solar collection panels will keep you charged up. Read more about the Goal Zero Power system, one of many solutions.