Electronics Day!

Yesterday, the stars aligned and I was inundated with a flood of technology. My solar charger arrived in the mail, I picked up my SPOT device for the hike, and I purchased a digital camera. I am now a cyborg.

It felt like Christmas; it was overwhelming. It felt like buying a new car: the same worries about cost, the same butterflies in the stomach. In the end, I think they’ll prove well worth it, but it still feels so self-indulgent to get so much stuff.

The wee panels that will power my devious devices.

The wee panels that will power my devious devices.

First up: the solar charger. My dear, far-too-kind sister gave me this gift in support of my effort. It’s the Suntactics sCharger-5 solar panel, and it’s a thing of beauty. Clocking in at about 8 oz., it’s light, and it’s about the size of a small paperback. With a few holes drilled in the frame, it will ride on the top of my pack. (Huge kudos to Northstar and Shutterbug and their terrific blog, Wandering the Wild, for the equipment and mounting ideas. It’s also just a great read.)

Just making things easier for the NSA.

Just making things easier for the NSA.

Next, the satellite messenger. Bringing one of these along with me was a condition of doing the hike. This little baby—the SPOT Gen3 Satellite Locator—will let me check in from time to time, track my progress, and let me call for help in an emergency. That is, assuming I can get signal, which (since it’s a GPS device) is fairly likely. It’s small and light and makes me feel all warm inside.

Tough. You know because it says so.

Tough. You know because it says so.

The real trick here was getting a picture of the device I’ll be using to take pictures. Wheels within wheels, my friends.

This is the Olympus Stylus TG-630, the water-proof, dust-proof, shock-proof camera I’ll be toting along. (I’ll find out how everything-proof it really is fairly quickly, I imagine.) I debated getting a camera for images rather than simply using my iPhone, but in the end I couldn’t find a good protective case for the phone that also allowed it to take good pictures, and with this, I can save the battery of the phone for maps, journaling, and so on. The speed and quality of this beautiful wee beastie, and its capacity for storage, pleases me.

I’m still a bit overwhelmed by all the technical details and the sheer decadence of it all. Now, back to reading technical manuals for me.

Categories: Pacific Crest Trail, Preparation | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Electronics Day!

  1. That satellite messenger makes me excessively happy. As I said, every night there is something new on my soul for which to pray, and a few days ago there was a “where do we find him” ping in my heart. I so like watching the progressive kitting out as it comes together.

  2. It will be a reassurance to those at home, and one for me as well with the SOS function. Not 100% reliable, but definitely better than nothing.

    it also has a tracking function which should allow folks to follow where I am on a map. I just have to figure out how to make it do that…

    • Keystone

      Prof. I, too, must deign to carry a SPOT, so sayeth my wife. It is somewhat ironic. Getting out for months in the back country away from civilization only to have a tiny gizmo tracking you every step you take, probably including the NSA. It kinda makes you want to look over your shoulder every time you take a dump.

  3. It doesn’t really bother me to carry–and if I need rescuing, I’ll be awfully glad to have it. If it gives her peace of mind, it works for me!

    And yes: the government will probably know every move I make. Given that I carry a cell phone, they probably already know that anyway…

  4. Based on an experience I had on the trail in 2012, be aware that you may need to activate your SPOT for rescuing another hiker. Suggest you let your wife know a SOS does not necessarily mean it is for you. Also suggest you consider sending an “I am okay” once rescue has been made so she stop worrying.

  5. Thanks! I will keep that in mind. I’ve also warned her that reliability isn’t guaranteed, so if a few “I’m okay” messages don’t show up, she shouldn’t immediately assume I and my spot were eaten by a bear…

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