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Having completed the PCT this past season I have some insights from which I
think others may benfit. Instead of sending out some 25+ resupply parcels plan
on resupplying along the way and sending parcels ahead when convienient. The
easiest/convenient places to resupply on the trail are at Idyllwild, Big Bear,
Wrightwood, Tehachapi, Tahoe, Burney (not Burney Falls!), Dunsmuir, Etna,
Ashland, Cascade Locks. From Idyllwild to Tehachapi I wouldn't bother with a
mailed parcel, unless its supplies you wouldn't expect to find in town. All of
these towns have large grocery stores with good selctions.
We found ourselves captive a couple times where we had to wait or slow down or
hustle like heck to make post office hours. By buying your food at the larger
towns you can save some time, vary your diet, and save $ on postage. Even
buying in town and mailing your food ahead may be cheaper than sending the food
parcels from your home state - unless you do live in California. For most of
Oregon and Washinton there isn't any good alternative except to mail parcels.
At Steven' Pass consider heading west to Leavenworth, easy to catch a ride, and
almost anything you may need is available. When we got to Skykomish , after 3
days of rain, there wasn't even a laundromat- we went all the way to Salton.
Another pleasant surprise was at Etna. We caught a ride with the first car that
came by, stayed in a brand new motel for $30, had a great meal, did laundry,
bought groceries, and caught a ride back to the trail the next morning!
Many of the places listed in the PCT handbook, except for the above mentioned,
aren't of any value for resupply, they tend to be very limited in stock and very
How do some of you other thru hikers feel about this?
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