Friday, February 05, 2010

Resupply strategy for the PCT - 2008 and 2009

Someone asked me for a list of places where I resupplied. He wanted to know about California. I combined both the years of my two hikes and added Oregon and Washington to make the list below.

First of all, when I was first planning, I wanted to minimize resupplies. Then I realized it was better to maximize them. I could carry less and have an extra chance to get some food. I also learned that you should never ship food items you can get almost anywhere, such as cookies, candy, or other similar items. Only ship food you really must have and know you can't find. Shipping food is expensive.

Here are places I actually resupplied. The location is in bold with the type of resupply I did next to it. Notes about the location below in parenthesis.

Warner Springs post office
(Very small mini-market. You could supplement. You could also make use of the store/post office at Mt. Laguna to reduce pack weight. The store has a decent selection and is kind of like a mini-market. You could also further reduce your pack weight by using the town of Julian for a resupply. They have a post office, restaurants and a small grocery.)

Cabazon post office
(I recommend Idyllwild instead. It's 1.5 days earlier on the trail. They have a medium-sized market. $3 campground with hot showers. Cabazon has a mini-market that I didn't look inside, an outlet mall and an Indian casino.)

Big Bear Lake shopped
(Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake are two different places. Can take city bus to Big Bear Lake from Big Bear City. Good restaurants in both towns. Hostel is in Big Bear Lake in "the Village." A small market is within walking distance. For larger stores you need to take the bus.)

Cajon Pass enhanced my supplies at the Best Western
(I stayed at the Best Western because it is not a good place to sleep next to the interstate. The Best Western had a good continental breakfast. I stocked up on frozen breakfast burritos, apples and bagels with cream cheese. McDonald's on the trail here, too.)

Wrightwood post office
(They have a decent grocery store. You could shop here. Host families you can call are listed at the hardware store. You will probably be faced with a long road walk or reroute here this year.)

Agua Dulce grocery store
(Grocery is sort of small, but you can resupply here.)

Hikertown mail drop to Gil’s market
(Market is not well-stocked. Good for beer, ice cream and chips. Hikertown is a nice place to rest.)

Tehachapi grocery store
(Full sized grocery stores. Big K-mart.)

Walker Pass post office
(Long hitch to Onyx. Just a mini-market there, not many items for hikers. It was good to hike out of Tehachapi with a lighter load—big desert, huge distances without water—so it was worth the long hitch to the post office to have a lighter load. Some people go to Lake Isabella. I never could get it straight whether there was a full grocery store there or not.)

Kennedy Meadows mail drop to store
(Store is small and since every hiker in the universe spends a day or three there, it gets wiped out of supplies.)

Lone Pine post office/store
(Medium-sized grocery store. Most people hike on to Kearsarge Pass and go to Independence. There is a mini-market in Independence that tries to stock hiker food. You can take public transportation or hitchhike to Bishop or Lone Pine for supplies.)

Bishop grocery store
(Good sized grocery store. It's a long hike over Bishop Pass and a very long hitch from the trailhead to get there. Or you can hitchhike or take public transportation from Independence.)

Mammoth grocery store
(Full-sized grocery store.)

Tuolumne Meadows post office
(Small store there is better stocked than expected. Good food at the cafe, too.)

Bridgport/Kennedy Meadows Resort grocery store
(Small grocery store in Bridgeport. Stealth camped near the Travertine Hot Springs. Kennedy Meadows is west of the trail. They have a well-stocked small store and restaurant. You might be able to resupply here if your food needs are flexible. I think they hold packages. And it's only 3 or 4 days onward to Echo Lake/South Lake Tahoe.)

Echo Lake/South Lake Tahoe post office/grocery store
(Huge full-sized grocery store in South Lake Tahoe. Only sent a package because I kept ending up with extra food and didn't want to throw it away. The store/post office at Echo Lake is on the trail. The store is small but has a good selection, plus ice cream. I wouldn't rely on it 100% for resupply.)

Sierra City post office/store
(Small market serving very small town. They had fresh fruit! Friendly post office.)

Belden post office
(Restaurant on the trail. Post office a mile down windy highway. I actually did not use this resupply as I was helped by my mother.)

Chester post office/store
(Full-sized grocery store. My mom lives here. The following 2 days from Highway 36 have ample food along the trail. You can get away with a very light load of food in your pack to Old Station and supplement it with meals at Drakesbad and Old Station. If you plan it right, you can eat at Drakesbad for dinner, then stay nearby and eat there again for breakfast, with liberal enjoyment of the warm pool in between. Arrive in Old Station in time for a late afternoon pre-dinner meal or snack.)

Old Station post office
(Small market available. Could supplement your resupply. Do stay at the Hideaway. Just tell the person at the cash register in the store that you want to stay with the trail angel and he'll call a ride for you. It's very relaxing and there's food.)

Burney Falls mail drop at store
(Campground has a small market. You could supplement your resupply or even do a resupply if you are not picky. Store serves campground. Burney Falls is different from the town of Burney. The town of Burney is about 3/4 day before Burney Falls and they have a Safeway.)

Dunsmuir/Castella would have sent a package to post office in Castella
(Dunsmuir has a very small grocery. I didn't visit Castella. Most people send a package to Castella. I would have done that, but I went home here in 2008 and in 2009 I used my mom for resupply.)

Etna post office
(They have a medium-sized grocery store. I could have shopped.)

Seiad Valley shopped at store
(They have a small market that tries to carry hiker-oriented items, but the selection was limited when I came through. I probably should have sent a package, but I made it on what they had.)

Ashland shopped for most of Oregon
(Full-sized grocery store, great health food store. Assembled and shipped all packages throughout Oregon here. Also picked up a package at post office with leftover food I was drifting ahead. I didn't want to throw the food away. )

Fish Lake Resort supplement
(Made a supplemental resupply at Fish Lake resort when some of my food was moldy. They have a small market and restaurant.)

Crater Lake post office
(Mazama market has enough food for a resupply. I could have just shopped. It's a small market but I could have done well enough.)

Shelter Cove mail drop to store
(They only accepted UPS packages. The store had good coffee and some decent hiker food. I was glad I sent a package, but I probably could have gotten by on what was in the store.)

Bend shopped at grocery store
(Full-sized grocery store. You can get a ride with Lloyd Gust who posts his contact info on the trail. Made a stop for a supplemental breakfast at Big Lake Youth Camp, which was well worth it. I had originally planned to shop in Sisters but was stuck at Elk Lake for 3 days waiting for shoes and a tent so I decided to save some time and buy enough supplies to get to Government Camp. REI in Bend, too, if you need it.)

Government Camp shopped at grocery store
(Small but well-stocked grocery store. Only two days from here to Cascade Locks. Great food at Timberline Lodge!)

Cascade Locks shopped at grocery store
(Medium-sized grocery store. Purchased food for all of Washington.)

White Pass mail drop at store
(The Kracker Barrel. They have good sandwiches and I thought there was enough food to resupply. I would send a lot less food in the future.)

Snoqualmie Pass mail drop at store
(The Chevron mini-market is huge by mini-market standards. I could have resupplied here. There's also a small grocery. Family Pancake House has big portions.)

Steven's Pass mail drop to post office
(The small store in Barrow had enough to supplement but not enough for a full resupply. There's a post office in Barrow, but I used the one in Skykomish. Stayed at the Hiker Haven.)

Stehekin mail drop to post office
(The bakery is to die for. Some people resupplied with baked goods. The baked goods were very heavy so I don't think this is a good idea. There's a small store there. You could supplement your resupply quite well. You could probably resupply completely with a combination of the store, the bakery and the restaurant. The restaurant rivals Drakesbad. I think it was actually better.)

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