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[at-l] Re: at-l Credit vs. Cash and Buy vs. Mail (Victoria Roush)

Victoria, I think one of the first things you should do is get a guide to 
thru-hiking the AT.  I used and recommend the one by Dan "Wingfoot" Bruce. 
Among other things, he lists places to resupply, post offices along the way, 
hostels, hotels that are friendly to thru hikers, and tons of other good 
information.  There are those who prefer a different publication, and they 
will tell you about that I'm sure.  But outdoor outfitters usually carry 
them, and REI & EMS for sure.  Look them over and see which one is put 
together so YOU can understand and follow it.  (I looked at hiker friends' 
AT Thru Hikers Companion and found it less than satisfactory, but they felt 
the same way about my Wingfoot Guide.  Suit yourself.)

By all means, get out and backpack on weekends or weeks you can get away, 
and try out different things.  One thing about buying all your food in 
advance and mail-dropping it, is that you may find that what you always 
loved, or thought you would like on the trail, might be disgusting to you 
after a few wks out.  I just lost my appetite for certain foods and 
combinations.  Also, your appetite isn't as big starting out, but gets 
larger by the week.  How can you figure that out before you even start. 
Maildrops are good for medications you take regularly, journal paper, film & 
mailers (I didn't & still don't use a digital camera), flashlight batteries, 
etc.  You can also mail items yourself that you don't need (called a drop 
box), from one point to a post office along the trail.

I started backpacking with a nylon "wallet" you hang around your neck.   By 
the time I started my (attempted) thruhike I carried a credit card, my ID, 
and a bit of cash in a sandwich size ziplock baggie.  Most thru hikers I 
know carried their little baggie for this stuff.  Why?  A little ziploc 
weighs less.  I don't think I ever spent a minute worrying about getting 
robbed, although I'm sure it can happen and I was probably just lucky.  You 
need to exercise a certain amt of caution, especially in towns, but don't be 

You will find out what you like and dislike, what you can and can't live 
with as regards comfort, and all sorts of things, by getting out and doing 
it a little bit at a time.  You'll soon be giving the advice!