Mail Drops

All this was planned for my 2012 nobo thru-hike.  I have since finished the trail on several long sections, learning a thing or two along the way ...  I now pack a bounce box with dehydrated veggies from Harmony House, a little excess food from packing my bag, extra first aid supplies, a few extra tent stakes, baggies, a small deodorant, a spare water bag, and a callous stone for my feet ...  This has worked well for my last several sections, and is what I'd recommend to any long-distance AT hiker who wants to supplement their diet with stuff they aren't likely to find in grocery stores along the way.

When I resupply in town, minimum unit sizes invariably cause me to buy more than I need to pack.  Putting excess in my bounce box gives me a head start on the next resupply.

But if you want to do drop boxes, read on ...

This topic is always a controversial one on hiking forums. Many experienced thru-hikers were perfectly satisfied with the food they found along the way, and swear they wouldn't tie their itineraries to drop boxes if they did it over. I expected my hybrid approach to add some complexity to my hike, and it did.  It provided me with better nutrition along the way, but I found I could achieve the same thing with a bounce box.

Having said that, a northbound thru-hiker may do well to have a box packed with summer-weight gear to be mailed to Pearisburg.  Some loving person on the other end could launder that stinky sleeping bag and all the clothes, and have them boxed up to be mailed to Hanover, NH.

It's arguably better to mail to a hostel or business that's open 7 days a week instead of to a post office. On the other hand, if you ship priority mail, you can request anything mailed to a PO to be forwarded.  If you do mail to a hostel, you should plan to stay there, or offer them something for their assistance. Five bucks should do.  If you ship to an outfitter, plan to buy fuel or something from them ...

That's just being a good trail ambasadore


Here's the original posting:

Miles Fm Miles Hiking
Town Springer Fm Last Days Notes
Fontana Dam, NC 166 12 Full Resupply (6 days thru GSMNP)
Kincora Hiking Hostel 412 246 19 Resupply staples
Pearisburg, VA 626 214 16 Swap winter gear for summer weight
Waynsboro, VA 853 227 17 Resupply staples
Harpers Ferry, WV 1013 160 12 Full Resupply
Delaware Water Gap, PA 1284 271 20Full Resupply
Dalton, MA 1560 276 21 Resupply staples
Hanover, NH 1737 177 14 Swap gear for winter weight
Pinkham Notch, NH 1865 128 11 Resupply staples
Monson, ME 2064 199 18 Full Resupply (100 Mile Wilderness)
Katahdin, ME 2184 120 12 Trail's End!

I'm going to do the bulk of my resupply at grocery stores along the way. I'll supplement that with some staples I can buy in bulk, and that I may not be able to find in stores. Things like dehydrated vegetables and beans from Harmony House, Nido dried milk, instant hummus, quinoa, powdered cheese, tomato powder, Ova Easy powdered eggs ... I won a year's supply of various Clif Bar products in a contest, and I'll be splitting those up into each box. I'm sponsored by Emergen-C and will be getting enough vitamin packets to supply me, and to give away to fellow hikers So they'll be split up into all the boxes. I've got the unbound version of the AT guide, so relevant sections will be placed in each box.

Here's the list of addresses I used:

C/O Fontana Village Resort
300 Woods Dr.
Fontana Dam, NC 28733
C/O Kincora Hiking Hostel
1278 Dennis Cove Rd
Hampton, TN 37658-3908
C/O General Delivery
PearisburgVA 24134
C/O Rockfish Gap Outfitters
1461 East Main St.
WaynesboroVA 22980
C/O Appalachian Trail Conservancy HQ
PO Box 807
Harpers FerryWV 25425
C/O Mohican Outdoor Center
50 Camp RD
BlairstownNJ 07825
C/O General Delivery
DaltonMA 01226
C/O Mountain Goat
68 S Main ST
HanoverNH 03755
C/O AMC Visitor Center Front Desk
361 Rte 16
GorhamNH 03581
C/O Shaws Lodging
PO Box 72
MonsonME 04464

8 comments:

  1. thanks for the info, i have come back to it several times as i try to find the most efficient way to use the the mail drops. i hope to stay on the trail as much as possible and just keep going. So i am hoping to find Post Offices or sources of mail close to the trail. this is only because i made up a gorpy concoctions of food i hope to see how it energized my body: 6 ounces: 1/2 cup oatmeal, full whey protein based meal replacement, whole nuts, raisins, vitamin, fish oil, dark choclate and minor additions for variety, add water as needed. If two or three of these is adequate then this added burden of Post Offices will be worth it.
    Are there any suggestions for convenient locations to augment your 4 prior to Harper's Ferry? Thanks you.

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  2. I'd recommend you pick up a copy of the 2012 A.T. Guide and look for trail towns that are spread out a distance you want to hike between resupplies, and that are easily accessable.

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  3. You may want to rethink Kincora. Bob Peoples drives hikers into town for resupply...and you are only three easy hiking days from Damascus.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. The box I'm sending to Kincora (once I get their ok) just has staples like dehydrated veggies, beans, meat substitutes, spices, herbs - stuff I bought in bulk that I'd be unlikely to find in town. Also some of the Cliff bars I won, some meds/suppliments, and a 15-day supply of Emergen-C.

      I'll still go into town to buy enough food to get to Damascus.

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  4. We, in NH, are routing for ya! Good luck!

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    1. Thank you New Hampshire! Been a lot of years since I camped and hiked up there with the boy scouts.

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  5. Thanks for this list, I have been debating a few of these and now I have my final list of 8.

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    1. Nice round number. Enjoy your hike! Maybe we'll run into each other along the way.

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