Trip info generator  - updated for 2011

Now this one is definitely weird. I have however used this [whatever it is] for the last 6 years or so and find it quite handy. It’s an Excel spreadsheet with reformatted charts from the US Naval Observatory for sun rise and set, civil twilight (the time when it’s just light enough to work outside), moon rise and set, and for phases of the moon.


The charts are accurate for the central Cascades; Seattle times will be about 5 minutes later for example. The charts are fairly handy, but looking the stuff up and maybe getting it wrong is a pain for us lazy people. So the Excel spreadsheet uses lookup functions to find the information  for the trip date you enter, and displays it on a printable hiking note form.  Instead of displaying civil twilight, the notes tell you when you will have to turn the tent light on or off, rounded to the nearest 5 minutes. Very helpful. It looks like this:

The spreadsheet for 2011 is here. There are no macros, just formulae within the worksheets.  Enter the month and day in the appropriate cells on the ‘printing’ worksheet and the values for that day will appear.


The workbook has another handy feature too, at least if you go out a lot in the winter and use rechargeable batteries in the tent light.  Based on configurable settings in the  ‘rechargeable Li use’ sheet, the hiking notes sheet tells me when I will need to change the batteries. It’s based on values from the ‘tent light on—off’ table, the setting for light-off in the evening, the light-on in the morning, and the length of time one set of batteries will run. It’s quite nice to know this info to prevent having to change batteries in the dark. Rechargeable lithium cells give little warning before they give out, and some say that a very deep discharge is not good for them.


Ok, it’s a sloppy workbook. I’ll admit it. But you can tune it for your own use if you like. (Attribution please.)