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[pct-l] emergency contact

The USPS will not act as an emergency contact message center. Yes, you might 
find the occasional rural postmaster/mistress along the trail who will agree 
to tag the box, but Murphy says that when you need that service, it won't be 
available. If your re-supply is at a commercial establishment - store, 
resort, etc. - they might take the message but  connecting with you when you 
finally arrive is another matter. If there is enough time, an express mail 
letter might get to that PO before you do, but you would have to train 
yourself to ask for ANY mail addrerssed to you c/o General Delivery. If you 
tell the clerk you're expecting a box, that might be all the clerk looks 
for. Boxes are stored separately from letters.

Wise hikers leave an itinery with a reliable person (preferrably more than 
one) at home for just this reason. I make a point of calling home everytime 
I get to a re-supply point, or some other significant location that has a 
pay phone. This lets my wife know I at least made it that far in one piece, 
and besides, I like to hear her voice. I can also up-date her on any changes 
to my route forward. Then if she ultimately has to call out SAR when I don't 
check-in later, it narrows the search area. It also makes her more 
comfortable and pays big dividends for my next planned hike.

If you absolutely must be reachable 24/7, carry a satellite phone. 
Otherwise, a cell phone will do, but reception can be very spotty. I've 
stopped carrying mine for that reason - too much weight for too little 
benefit. I just call home every chance I get.

HINT: Get a phone card from your long distance carrier that lets you charge 
the call to your home phone bill. Take it with you so you don't have to 
worry about having enough change at some remote state park. And remember, an 
answering machine can not accept a collect call, and you might not have the 
option to call back later.

Wandering Bob

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <osprey@att.net>
To: <pct-l@mailman.backcountry.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 8:59 AM
Subject: [pct-l] emergency contact

> Does anyone have experience of being contacted while on the trail 
> regarding a family emergency?  Would phone numbers for Post Offices along 
> the trail be effective for family members to get an emergency message to a 
> thru-hiker when they pick up their resupply?
> -Osprey