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Re: [pct-l] resupply

Hello Bob -

Nice post!  You said:

>... Instead of sending out some 25+ resupply parcels plan
>on resupplying along the way and sending parcels ahead when convienient...

Good idea!

I used a version of this on both the AT and PCT.  My main food resupply
came from home, but I mailed a "carry-forward" box to myself at each "next"
resupply stop.  The carry-forward box started out as a cardboard box (which
quickly fell apart) and wound up as a light-weight plastic tool box (could
be locked, had a handle for easy carrying, same box lasted for both hikes).
At first we just put "spare" stuff in it (toenail clippers, extra duct
tape, boot dope, hair clippers, filter elements, etc.), but it quickly
filled up with odds and ends (mostly food!) that we knew we might want at
the next stop or that we were too cheap to throw away <g>.  One of my
favorite items in the carry-forward box was a big bottle of aloe gel...my
son and I used all of it during our PCT hike.

>...We found ourselves captive a couple times where we had to wait or slow
>down >or hustle like heck to make post office hours....

JUST "a couple times" <VBG>?  It seems that we kept getting ourselves on a
schedule that GUARANTEED that we would hit town just after the Post Office
closed for the weekend!

The carry-forward box turned out to be a bit of a hinderance here.  We
wanted to be able to pick up our mail drop when we hit town, use the stuff
in the carry-forward box, and then mail the carry-forward box to the next
resupply point as we left town.  Often that was in on one day, stay
overnight, and then out the next morning.  Unfortunately, when you did it
this way, BOTH days had to be "open" Post Office days <f>.  Fortunately,
many of the Post Masters for the itty-bitty Post Offices were quite willing
to drop by and open up on Sunday so we could get/mail our stuff <g>.

We modified our approach during the last part of our PCT hike:  we mailed
the carry-forward box to every other resupply point and usually stayed
overnight at those towns.  We did an "in before b'fast, pick up mail, and
out after lunch" at the ones in between.

>...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

This is an interesting approach.  I choose to be "interactively" resupplied
by mail for a number of reasons:

I get to prepare all my food ahead of time exactly the way that I like it;
I get significant economies of scale when buying that much food at one time
(my post-hike calculations for the AT and the PCT showed that I spent LESS
money for food on the trail than I would have at home...including the
I still get to adjust my resupply items (with only about a week's lag);
I get to swap out my other gear via the resupply boxes;
I only have to spend a small amount of time at each resupply stop "fussing"
with the resupply stuff:
I don't have to do much (any?) hunting for big stores for resupply items
(even the little Mom/Pops always had the "impulse" odds and ends we picked
up to supplement the mailed box);
and, perhaps most important,
I get to have another trail partner <VBG>!  It was a good thing that my
wife was able to be the backbone of our hike.  It meant a lot to me to know
that the occasional surprise "experiment" (have you ever tried dehydrated
mince meat...or dehydrated creamed corn...or dehydrated bagels...) meant
she was staying involved in our day-to-day thru-hiker's life.  She truly
was a real part of the hike...shoot... she offers to show the trail slides
to visiting victims as often as my son or I do...<g>

I realize that not everybody wants to have close home support during their
thru-hike.  Sometimes feeling completely "cut loose" is an important part
of "hiking your own hike" <g>.  Sometimes there just isn't anybody
available to do the support logistics (I met one thru-hiker on the AT whose
support friend decided to take up an opportunity to go on a long Caribbean
cruise in the middle of his thru-hike!).  Sometimes we just don't have the
time (inclination, ability, etc.) to do the up-front planning/prep needed
to be able to coordinate closely with a stay-at-home supporter (who really
might not have a clue as to what kind of support you truly need).

I think that your idea is a good alternative to simply foraging in the
trailside stores (or always having to hitch to a real store) at each
resupply.  You still get to adjust your mix/match of resupply items fairly
frequently (as often as you do the "mail-ahead" thing)...a little careful
planning could allow you an opportunity to do a mail-ahead each time you
get into different trail conditions that might change your resupply needs
(cold/hot, wet/dry, etc.).  You might even get to take advantage of some
cheaper bulk-buying at each mail-ahead point.  There might even be a way to
send some bulk/scarce items (that you KNOW you will be using) to the
mail-ahead towns to guarantee their availability when you start to make up
the mail-ahead boxes.  Doing the mail-ahead thing could even be a dandy
"excuse" to do a couple days at a place with a jacuzzi and a pizza joint
next door!

>...When we got to Skykomish , after 3 days of rain, there wasn't even a
>>laundromat- we went all the way to Salton...

When we got to Skykomish, we used the washer/dryer at the little apartment
house across the tracks from the school.  We asked around and one of the
workers at the hotel (who lived in the apts) invited us to make ourselves
at home.  I was sitting outside the door (in my rainsuit <g>) while the
clothes were running.  One of the apt dwellers came out to work on his
pickup...I helped (lots of advice and a little light-holding <g>) and we
wound up getting invited to eat at their family gathering that afternoon.
Didn't take them up on it because we had a ride lined up back to the trail
as soon as the clothes were done...should have, they were Hispanic and the
kitchen smells were almost overpoweringly GOOD!

>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!...

Impressive on two counts: you found a great town stop AND you got a ride
with the first car!  We usually had a LOT of wait-time when we tried to
hitch...BY FAR the majority of rides we got were with blue collar workers
or foreign tourists.  I bet we got passed by seven gazillion old folks in
their RV's <g>.  BTW, where is Etna...?

I am interested that you made your hike with your daughter.  My daughter
hiked with me for a little on the AT (took a couple weeks leave from the
Air Force).  One of my sons got to hike with me for only a day on the
AT...but his twin brother joined me for a third of the AT and all of the
PCT <g>.  My oldest son was on a submarine during both of my
thru-hikes...but now that he has just become a civilian, maybe I can get
him to join me on a future CDT hike <VBG>.

How did it happen that father and daughter got bitten by the distance
hiking bug at the same time?

- Charlie II  AT(MeGa'93)

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