We left Ojai at 4:30am with the intent to drive to the Echo Lake Trailhead and hike about 4 miles into the Desolation Wilderness. The weather forecast was for intermittent drizzle in the area ending around 1pm. When we drove through Sacramento this was the weather. But, at 2pm, as I drove up the mountains that surround Tahoe, the rain got heavier and heavier. As I approached the turnoff to Echo Lake it was pouring. I saw a sign for a Best Western, which I know takes pets, drove in to see about a room. The woman at the counter said it had been raining all day. She said her young daughter had asked at breakfast, “Where are my rain boots?” “Rain boots? It partly sunny…” “Well mom, the weather I just heard is that it’s going to rain pretty hard today.”

I took the room. It’s not in my plan to ‘start’ a hike in the rain. So, Sherman and I are ensconced in a pleasant room at BW. It’s now 5pm and the rain has mostly ended. So, we’ll get up at 5, get to the trailhead by 6 and hit the trail. That’ll make tomorrows intended hike longer by 4 miles.

On the drive I was worried about power. Do I have enough backup battery pack power? This hike is 6-8 days without any interaction with human settlement. So, I can’t recharge my storage batteries. In the past I’ve never gone over 6 days without recharging. Granted I only had one battery and this time I have 2 batteries. I have my standard Anker battery that has been about 6 iPhone charges, and a new solar paneled one that is smaller storage. My intent is to use the solar one to keep my inReach SE GPS device charged and the Anker one for the iPhone.

If it seems that I may run out of battery here’s what I can do to conserve. On the InReachSE I can change the timing of the pings to the tracking map. I’ll start with a ping every 10 minutes. If needed I can reduce that to 20, 30, or 60 minutes. On the iPhone it’s always on Airport mode while hiking so that GPS for the map and Bluetooth to the InReachSE are the power draws. If needed, I can keep the phone turned off by default and turn it on when I need to look at the map.

Stay tuned…