Today’s training hike again took us to neighboring Staunton State Park for our first trek with our new high tech charger.
Our plans are for us to complete a short daily blog four to five days a week during our Camino de Santiago experience. One of our main concerns was the ability to keep our smart phones charged so we will be able to connect via wifi (where available). With that in mind, we have been looking into affordable, portable backpacking solar chargers to address the limited opportunity to recharge in hostels and albergues.
We settled on a neat lightweight backpacking solar panel called EnerPlex KickrII. It weighs only .23 kg and produces 3 watts of power, which recharges smartphones in about 3 hours. It is rugged, flexible and small enough to be stuffed in a backpack when not in use. It retails for under $50 and best of all is manufactured right here in Colorado.
Our hike took us into the heart of Staunton via Staunton Ranch Trail. We hiked to its end then climbed up heavily wooded Marmot Passage Trail, gaining elevating over 9,200′. Not a lot of sunlight on this trail!
Once at the top, we connected to Scout Line Trail and sunlight. Scout Line is my favorite trail in the park. It is only 1.5 miles long, but is the most difficult trail in the park. 15 switchbacks from the bottom take you up almost a thousand feet in about a half mile. Once at the top, fantastic vistas await. Today, we came up the back way so the 15 switchbacks were all downhill. Difficult on the knees for sure. I would much rather climb up than hike down anyday.
This trail is hiker only, which also adds favorably to my “like” list. Here is Sandy walking along one of the rare flat portions of the trail.
All told, we hiked 7 miles and gained more than 1,000′ in elevation. The solar charger worked amazingly well. It maintained our Note 3 working GPS and other hiking apps at 90+ battery strength throughout the hike. Our usual battery level would be between 45-60%. Looks like we found what we were looking for!