April 16th is quickly approaching. I’ve been dealing with gear for almost a year (hey, that rhymes). Basically 11 months ago I decided, “hey, Im kind of nuts and I think I will do this.” Ever since then, I’ve been buying gear slowly for 2 reasons: 1) I need to raise money from my friends and family to afford said toys; 2) It’s cheaper to buy slowly. In my last post I did a breakdown on my lighter pack about weights and what not - but this time you have to hear my shitty voice.
Now to the never-ending saga that is me finding ways to survive on terrible junk food for 6 month - RESUPPLY.
A lot of folks do this differently, and after reading hundreds of posts, articles, and email exchanges from hikers I opted to do a combo: mail drops and buying in towns along the way. There are a couple of reasons for doing this.
- I don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to resupply preparation. Not feeling like I have to figure everything out now leaves extra space in my small brain for the “adult shit” (i.e. finding a sublet, moving all my stuff into storage, paying off my bills, etc). Its nice to know that I only need to pack 10-15 boxes (I had originally planned on just 5 or 6 boxes, but realized this made no sense for my needs) for the critical locations and leave the rest for trail-time decisions.
- I don’t know how my eating habits will change throughout the trip. I may (and most likely) decide that sodium packed backpacking meals aren’t as delicious as they seem to be on short 2-nighter. I’m going to want options, and I plan to use my money strategically to get the things that I want most.
- I talked to experts. One of the great benefits of online forums isn’t the ridiculous amount of trolling - but rather the time tested thru-hikers that are willing to guide others who don’t know their ass from first base (me). Karen Wang was particularly helpful and she gave me pointers on where to mail and where to not. Thank you Karen!!!!
I did spend most of my time creating a loose itinerary for myself to use on trail, and for my friends and family to have as a reference in case they want to meet me up for sections or zero days. I used Craig’s PCT planner, postholer.com, the genius that is Halfway to Anywhere, and Yogi’s book to figure out what I wanted to do. Im not going to lie, it was tedious. I bestow my plans unto thee. Hopefully it gives you a place to start from.
For literally months, I stewed over which strategy to adopt. Where the hell do I start? So many videos. So many contradictory blog posts and recommendations/warnings from seasoned thru-hikers. “I just wanna be there,” I told myself. But wait, satan (me), you need to think this through. Here’s where I landed: 15 resupply boxes will be prepped at home in Los Anegeles, or mailed to myself along the trail, and the rest I will buy on the way.
But when I actually sat down and tried to figure out specific meal plans - I was at a total loss. No google searches yielded me the golden shower of truth, so I did I what I’ve always done in life: I pretended to know what I am doing. I literally wrote a list (based on my spreadsheet) of all the resupply stops I would like to mail to, and how many days those boxes would need to supply me with food. I went to Costco, and started going up and down EVERY isle - cause I fucking LOVE Costco. I figured I would just buy things that I really wanted (who doesn’t have that mindset at Costco anyway). Low and behold, I ended up with a magical cart of junk food, at a magical price of $250. Then, I went to Smart & Final and went buck wild in the dried food section (so many stupid prices here). Bam - a car full of prepackaged, ultra-high sodium food, with sarcastic amounts of calories. Dried Idaho potatoes all of the sudden look like a staple of scumbaggery.
Long story short - i guessed. I started off with a “plan” and realized there was way too much math involved so I just started buying crap - incessantly. I figured I would start packing boxes and wing it from there…see where the rabbit hole goes.
Back home, I laid everything out and started vacuum sealing my dried fruits and jerky into “2 day” bags (me eyeballing what I think I could get away with in 2 days)….yes…I'm probably underestimating everything. I can get away with this shit cause no one is watching. Then the boxing began.
I snagged 8 priority mail boxes from the post office (free 99) and began filling those up with the corresponding days. My approach was this: Fill up the first 8 boxes nice and solid, and then deal with the rest that I cannot fill up here at home while on the trail (in addition to the other 15+ resupply points that I opted to deal with on trail). That make sense? No? tight.
UPDATED NOTE: After writing this post, I went back to USPS and picked up 7 more boxes. I grabbed one more round of groceries and filled the remaining boxes up. I realized how scarce access to decent food will be in WA, so I felt it was important to just knock these out now while I'm troubling myself.
Resupply locations and days [worth of food] needed in that box:
- Warner Springs - 4 days of food - filled at home
- Idyllwild - 2 days of food - filled at home
- Agua Dulce - 4 days of food - filled at home
- Kennedy Meadows - 8 days of food - filled at home
- Independence - 6 days of food - filled at home
- Vermillion Valley Resort - 4 days of food - filled at home
- Sierra City - 6 days of food - filled at home
- Belden - 3 days of food - filled at home
- Crater Lake - 5 days of food - filled at home
- Shelter Cove Resort - 5 days of food - filled at home
- Timerbline Lodge - 3 days of food - filled at home
- White Pass - 6 days of food - filled at home
- Snaqualmie Pass - 5 days of food - filled at home
- Skykomish - 6 days of food - filled at home
- Stehekin - 6 days of food - filled at home
In addition to the food going in these boxes, I made a quick trip over to RiteAid and bought a pack of extra pack of bandiads, safety pins, and aspirin. When my support team mails me my boxes, they will have little pre packaged first aid re-up kits that they can throw in the box, should I ask them to.
I may not post again before I hit the trail. If I don't, keep a look out.