Some Thoughts While Camping Off-Grid In Carson National Forest

This is an extension of my “other thoughts” while camping in Carson National Forest. If you haven’t read that post, check it out for some more context on where I’m at.

Morning Yoga

Morning yoga has been my new thing while in these off-grid sites. There’s just something so synergizing (I don’t know the right word to explain it) about waking up and then immediately being outside in nature. Listening to the wind move the trees and the birds chirp in the morning is so peaceful. I’ve just been doing a couple basic stretches, nothing complicated: deep squat, down dog, up dog, then some hip/quad/calf stretches, whatever is feeling tight.

Running Like I Was Born To Do It

I also went on a nice little run on Thursday. I was feeling a little bad about not doing much moving/exercising all of Wednesday… My brother recommended this book called Born to Run, of which I read the 4 minute summary 😅.

The basic gist I took away from it was: Humans were ALL born to be able to run, especially long distances. We’ve had some 6 million years of evolution on our side. With that in mind, our bodies are designed in a specific way. The more that we get in the way of this design with shoes, padding, etc. the more we inhibit our ability to leverage the 6 million years of design. The other thing was a particular strategy for running longer distances. If you run with shorter, quicker strides, and at a pace just below where you start breathing heavily, then you’ll be able to run longer.

So, I tried to apply these learnings: shorter, quicker strides, a more sustainable pace, and ending with some barefoot walking to strengthen my feet. It felt good! I made it a good distance, especially for being up at some 8000ft of elevation and not running very often.

Working Off-Grid

Is this what van life is all about??

This was the first time I spent some actual time on my laptop. I did some admin-y things, caught up on my budget, moved my crypto off centralized exchanges 🤞, journaled, and edited some photos. Looking over to my left to see just pure nature, hear wind rustling the leaves, and birds chirping, that’s an indescribable feeling…

My First Off-Grid Haircut

I did it! Surprisingly, this was actually easier than when I cut my hair in my apartment(s). Something about being closer to the mirror and being able to set my phone on something to see the back of my head.

Messing With My Solar

I’m still figuring out my solar and electric setup. Since I didn’t build it, I’ve had to figure out how everything works and all the little quirks. I’ve noticed that sometimes my solar charge controller goes into the float (“charged”) state too early – at say 60% instead of 100%. Unfortunately this has meant that sometimes I’m only charging at ~5 watts instead of 250+ watts at 1pm where the sun is at its peak, not ideal…

Poking around with my multimeter, I saw a discrepancy between the actual battery voltage and what the charge controller thought the battery voltage was. Maybe this has something to do with it? Or maybe this is normal due to the voltage drop from the wires. Still TBD.

I switched some things off and then on and unfortunately ended up in a state where the charge controller didn’t have enough voltage from the solar panels to start charging. It was kind of a half-panic situation being at ~50% battery with the sun almost at its peak. I did some reading of the manual and online and then had the idea to switch my panels from being in parallel to in series. As I learned, this added together the voltage of the panels instead of the current (when in parallel). I got up on the roof for the first time and changed the switches and it worked! Science!!

Whether or not this technically fixes the “float too early” problem (or maybe it’s just a setting I need to tweak) is TBD, but getting the charge controller back on was a major success.

Dinner Without A Phone

Two of the nights, I set up my camping chair and ate outside. No YouTube videos to watch, no phone to scroll, just nature. I watched the sun set and just tried to be present.

It was a nice break from working on my laptop most of the day, or watching YouTube videos during lunch. It wasn’t easy to get myself to sit out there without any mental stimulation, but once I got out there it was easy to just sit while I ate. Inertia 🙂 Worth it.

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