Category Archives: Hiking/Backpacking

Electronics Hiking/Backpacking

A weekend outside..

I didn’t have a very productive weekend in the workshop. I received a ton of parts Friday and Saturday including the case to the WX radio. I started installing parts and pieces in the case. I’m always very nervous about the first drill hole.. A only made a minor error (so far) and it is nothing noticeable.

I spent much of the weekend with my wife doing little tid bits outside the house. She spent a lot of time home last week so she was sick of being home; that directly translate into a reduction of bench time 😉 She did go out for a work thing Saturday and I went down to the Mike and Key game radio swap meet. I purchased a bunch of odds and ends and gave up when my pockets were full and I couldn’t carry anymore.

This morning we went out for a quick bit after sleeping in a little and went for a hike out east. It was relaxing but ate up most of the day. I suspect I won’t end up with a lot of bench time until this next weekend: I will likely have a bunch of overtime at work as I just inherited another project when I’m already way overbooked. I know, better than not having work.

Some of my purchases include a cheapo hot air gun.. For reflow soldering. I don’t know if I made a mistake going cheap? I also bought a new power supply and just a ton of parts. I pulled my last 16pin DIP socket out and can’t believe I didn’t order some last time?! How embarrassing! I also ordered six of the new TAUTIC 18F26K22 dev boards on Tindie and some blog stickers.. Check out those dev boards if you’re into PICs, their pretty slick.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the falls we hit up on our hike today…


Analog Electronics Hiking/Backpacking Microcontrollers

Wireless Plant Soil Monitoring: The Beginning.

I saw a little probe for monitoring soil on eBay.. $1.69 and free shipping.. purchased! Okay.. its a lame little PCB with some electronics I won’t use but still, nifty. I didn’t have much on my plate today and I was pretty sore from a solid hike yesterday so I was riding the bench seat today. I built a little front end circuit mated to a little MCU built on a Jayson Tautic 8 pin dev board with a 12F1840. It dumps serial out to a $3 433Mhz transmitter when the soil is low on water (still need to write some sleep code).. on the other side the receiver and well I don’t know yet. Honestly I started with thinking about a XPORT but I haven’t made my mind up.

Work in progress.... watching dirt dry.
Work in progress…. watching dirt dry.


So, a funny side effect: My wife was frustrated that she couldn’t get our wireless Christmas lights to turn on. Heh, well “Ooops!”… shocker, I had to turn my circuit off. So next I’ll work on the receiver side. I’m thinking my poor plants need to text message me when they’re thirsty? I’ll drop code later when it’s more complete.

And yesterday! I hiked past this pretty awesome frozen water fall (and two others) on my way up to Lake Serene. Last year we got stopped by a nasty avalanche field.. this year is was just solid ice. Thankfully I had my Kahtoolas.



Labor Day Backpacking List

Delorme InReach SE (per wife mandate)

.. you can track at:


Jetboil Zip

snow peak set w/ utensils

Water Filter

water bladder

toiletries and trail towel

extra pair of hiking shorts, top and socks

mid-layer and rain jacket

bug net

hammock and tarp with assorted rope

20 deg sleeping bag


3/4 length pad

small machete

bug spray

gloves, hat

headlamp and backup led flashlight

emergency/medical/survival kit

7 mountain house freeze dried meals

2 meals rice

2 meals dried jalapeño mac n cheese

tea and coffee for 5 days

pancake mix (1 day)

10 clif bars

assorted snacks

4 AA Batteries

6 AAA batteries

2 jetboil 100g fuel

5 snickers bars

65 liter bag

hiking poles

lightweight seat

I’ll probably borrow my brother’s fishing pole on top of this.

… I may fine tuning this list yet.



Deception Pass State Park

Melissa had the weekend off so I had to opt for a low accent hike and semi-scenic. I had never been on North Whidbey Island so we headed out this morning. Not the hike for those seeking solitude… But a nice beach walk was included and really it was 80 on a May weekend… There were going to be people everywhere… Back to the Raspberry Pi tomorrow… Going to configure it and perhaps I’ll try out a few of the OSes.



50 uses for that Mylar sheet you carry around

50 uses for an Emergency Blanket you carry around in your emergency stuff-sack…

A clever little article found on Seattle Backpacker Magazine’s site.

22. Improvised survival lingerie – be creative.

23. Use with a rubber band to improvise a condom.

… I’m going to have to field test #22 with my wife next time I get her out on the trails overnight.


A lazy weekend

Well I should have been up on Bandera Mountain this weekend; I didn’t make it. We ended up at IKEA and so I had a long weekend of building bookshelves. We have a real library now, no 30$ cheap-o shelves, real wood, glass doors.. the works. This is definitely bucket list fodder. I have 20 or 30 boxes of books I can now bring back from my farm in South Dakota. Right now it’s looking a little paltry with only  200 books or so. I’ll drop a photo once it’s a little more populated. I realize IKEA is often synonymous with cheap garbage and certainly they have a lot of $20 desks which I would consider disposable. I think they’ve made a real effort to also provide some quality materials.

While sitting down reading Brave New World (un-recommended by family), I realized I really have a lot of books I need to get to. Few things really ping my mortality like the potential disappointment of not getting to the bulk of the classics.

So Bandera Mountain; a lot of snow, hopefully not a lot of avalanche danger… I’ll see you next weekend.

Other things I need to get to: Seattle Roboticis Society Meeting (Hopefully I’ll see you soon). Seattle Retro-Computing Society… who could resist this?


Lake Serene Attempt

Well conditions weren’t great this hike. We crossed one snow field that was “iffy” at best and got halted where three other hikers on there way got stopped. This avalanche waiting to happen wasn’t going to get blazed without roping up and we didn’t bring that gear with us. 19,500 ft of elevation gain so far this year… Probably would have hit 20k if we had chanced the crossing… And did some route finding…

The last field to lake serene was an avalanche waiting to happen, we turned back.
The last field to lake serene was an avalanche waiting to happen, we turned back.
Electronics Hiking/Backpacking

Winter Hiking

It’s really tempting to sleep in tomorrow morning. A cold rainy.. and up on the lake snowy morning awaits me. The price you pay to thin the herd I suppose. I’m looking forward to visiting Lake Serene and perhaps we’ll bag a peak if we have the energy for another hour and a half..

My electronics projects have really taken a stand still. I’ve gotten just enough everything I need in to create a CNC mill to mill some PCBs but life has been really needy! Hopefully I’ll build that shortly.

Dear Future Me: .223 ammo is $900/1000rounds. I hope I made the right choice to pass for the day it’s back at a sane value…


2013 Hiking Progress

With this morning’s ascent up Squak Mountain I’ve reached 33% of my mileage goal for the year and we’re 25% through the year. Elevation and number of hikes are flying by in comparison… Guess my goals were lopsided. I shared the trail with runners and unleashed dogs in masses. It was only about 1,600 ft of elevation gain but I wanted to ease myself back in after a few week break. Ill be paying for my jog down tomorrow I imagine… Old knees! I think the west peak was the likely point I should’ve headed for but I could t resist the chimney and keeping it to a loop. Too bad I missed the old mill. I love checking out old buildings… Who doesn’t though?