7 mile hike with our new “green” technology

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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.

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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!
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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.
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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!

Buen Camino

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2 Comments

Filed under Mark & Sandy's Camino 2014

2 responses to “7 mile hike with our new “green” technology

  1. Hi
    I brought with me 2 things with batteries; a headlamp for reading when the room is dim and my iphone that I used lots, for its GPS and maps and since it was unlocked I bought a local vodaphone sim card to make local calls to reserve hotels along the way and to access broadband internet when I was on the trail and needed to lookup something. I had no trouble charging my cell phone each night in a hostel, etc. I also used it for email and sending out my email/blog each night. But, a light weight solar charger does keep your phone charged all day. If you use the GPS/tracking function it does drain the battery quickly.
    Almost everywhere I could find wifi access. I used that and the iphone with Skype to call home(just audio and video as that takes more band width that most places had on wifi, for almost nothing and it worked well.
    I think I mentioned this before but I only lasted in dormitory style hostels for 3 days. After that, I preferred to stay in inexpensive hotels which are everywhere and you can easily find a room for 30 euros.
    Lunch along the way was inexpensive, 5 euros, coffee con leche was 2 euro or less. Most places had a special pilgrim dinner for about 10 euro, usually 2 courses, bread and wine. I drank the water out of the taps EVERYWHERE and ate what I wanted anywhere and had no problems.

    What distance will you try to average? 12 miles/day?
    On the bike I did about 30+ miles each day.
    Barry

  2. Hi Barry, thanks again for your sage advice. We will be using our Galaxy Note 3 for our connectivity. We have TMobile international as our wireless provider, so we get unlimited text, unlimited data and .20 per minute voice overseas. We will likely be in the same boat as you re: staying in Albergues vs. hotels. I am a very light sleeper, so we will see. We are following the Brierley guide so 31 days of hiking. We have an extra ten days scheduled for spending extra time in interesting towns and/or R&R. Leaving on February 26 and returning on May 12th. Can’t wait!

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