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Another major planning item for our 2013 CDT thru hike has been planning our resupply strategy. We have decided to send ourselves food for the entire trail so we are not reliant on stores along the way for obtaining food. First, we want to make sure we’re eating reasonably healthy on the trail. On the AT we lived on primarily junk food due to our frequent reliance on gas stations and convenient stores for resupplying. It was fine for a short term plan, but not 3 months worth of eating. Second, with our vegan diet, our options are more limited in small town stores whereas with resupply boxes we can send all sorts of vegan-friendly, healthy foods. Also, we have found that variety is really important for us. Some hikers can eat the same things everyday on the trail and not think about it; that is not us. With sending resupply boxes to ourselves, we’re able to send all sorts of different foods and keep variety high – thus keeping our spirits high.
Once we decided to send boxes of food to ourselves, the next step was to figure out where towns were along the trail so we could plan where to send the boxes to. We used Yogi’s CDT Guide to help us, along with some trail data book resources we found on the internet. We then began scouring the data for towns closest to the trail that had PO Boxes or some other means of sending ourselves packages. We also had to take into account how long we would be willing to go in between resupplies. We decided to err on being too aggressive with our mileage predictions rather than expecting lower miles which would mean carrying too much food and having leftovers (this was our experience on the CT last year; we actually had to mail food home because we hiked much faster than anticipated). We figure that if we’re not averaging the 30 miles per day that is our high-end estimate, we can do some supplementing to our food supplies in the small towns. If we have to add some cookies, chips, or candy to the mix from a gas stations convenient store because we’re slower than expected, we think that’s better than carrying too much.
With all this information gathered, it went into a spreadsheet so we could keep it all straight in our heads. Julie called post offices to double check their hours so we don’t show up on a Saturday and have to wait around until Monday. We contacted private lodges and stores that have made themselves available to hikers for resupplies and we emailed with trail friends not to duplicate our efforts.
After the data was gathered and double checked, it was on to the actual filling of boxes. This was all Julie as she estimated days of food per carry based on a 30 miles per day average. She got flat rate boxes from the post office and other boxes for the UPS-only resupplies. She then went distributing everything out to make for the best possible variation while still providing us with a balanced 4200 calories per day.
We now have almost 50 boxes sitting in my parent’s basement ready to go out. We’ll send out the first month’s worth of boxes right before we leave for NM and then my mom will send out the remaining boxes in waves, sending a few drops at a time.
Below I have included all our resupply towns along with mileage between resupplies, the distance of the town from the trail, and the notes on the resupply including corresponding map info on both the Ley maps and the Bear Creek Survey maps. This is our planned resupply strategy given that we’re planning on following the route outlined in the Bear Creek Survey. We are prepared to make changes and adjust as necessary if conditions make it so – such as fires or dry water sources for example. We included the miles from the trail info to indicate when we’ll need to hitch hike to get to towns, in some cases over 20 miles each way to and from town. Thankfully, we have friends in 3 of the 24 resupply stops which cuts our hitchhiking down to only 8 of the 24 trail towns. This is optimal both for safety and for time as it can potentially take a long time to get to town this way, especially when some of the roads we’re hitching on are dirt roads in the middle of nowhere.
Trail Resupply Town, Miles from last resupply, distance from trail to resupply town, notes and map info
-Silver City, NM, 85.3 miles (from Crazy Cook, NM), On trail. PO (M-F 8:30-5, Sat 10-noon) P.22, NM37. Take BC Black Range route out of town; check water.
–Winston, NM, 105.7 miles, 24W on Hwy 59/52, p34, NM30f; (Alternate – Doc Campbell’s -On trail. Doc’s Store. (M-Su 8:30-6)(Ley))
–Quemado, NM, 148.9 miles, 7.6 miles W on Hwy 60; PO (M-F 8-12:30, 1-4:30, Sa 8-10:30) (Alternate – Pietown on trail via Ley)
–Grants, NM, 125.4 miles, On trail. PO (M-F 8:30-5, Sat 8:30-noon) P.75, Ley 20.
–Cuba, NM, 106.9 miles, On trail. PO (M-F 8-4:30, Sat 10-11:30) P. 90, NM11.
–Chama, NM, 149.9 miles, 12 miles SW on CO17. PO (M-F 8-1, 2-5; Sa 10-noon). C&T RR to Chama, NM; May 25th – Oct 20th; $ 25; Down 2:45 pm, Up 10 am.
–Pagosa Springs, CO, 69.2 miles, 22 miles SW on CO160. PO (M-F 7:30-5, Sat 9-2) P.8, CO42.
–Creede, CO, 118 miles, Staying with friends in Creede; 25 miles SE on CO149. P. 22, CO35.
–Salida, CO (Monarch Crest Store), 100.5 miles, Monarch Crest Store on trail. Usually 8-6 daily (call for hours) P. 36, CO27.
–Twin Lakes, CO, 83.4 miles, On trail (basically). 1+ miles W. General Store (usually 9-6 daily) P. 44, CO22.
–Breckenridge, CO, 71.6 miles, Summit Stage Bus S on Hwy 9 to Breck; PO (M-F 8:00-5, Sa 10-1pm) Frisco north, Breckenridge south. P 52, CO15d. (CO9)
–Grand Lake, CO, 130.4 miles, On trail. PO (M-F 8:00-4) RMNP loop from here. P. 67, CO10a.
–Steamboat Springs, CO, 100.8 miles, PO (M-F 8:30-5, Sa 9:00-noon) 20 miles W. Muddy Pass better hitch point? P.79, CO5. Hoping to have friend help here for the ride into town.
–Rawlins, WY, 165.2 miles, On trail. PO (M-F 8:00-5, Sa 9:00-noon) P14, WY35.
–South Pass City, WY, 118.5 miles, On trail. Call General Store to confirm hours. P 32, WY23.
–Dubois, WY (Brooks Lake Lodge), 169.7 miles, On trail. Lodge on trail w/o services or town a 28 mile hitch away. Call store to confirm. P. 54, WY09
–Old Faithful Village, WY, 100.8 miles, Hopefully staying with Zippers; On trail. P 67, WY01. No camping, PO M-F (8:30-12:30, 1:30-5).
–Lima, MT, 149.2 miles, Lima access via I-15. PO (M-F 8-1, 1:30-4, Sa 9:30-10:45) P. 18, MT66.
–Leadore, ID, 103.7 miles, PO (M-F 8-12:30, 1-4:15, Sa 9-10:30) Leadore via ID29. P. 31, MT57 (call trail angel for ride)
–Sula (vi a Chief Joseph Pass), MT, 123.3 miles, Hitch to Sula for box, go to Darby if need town stuff in addition; Sula, Darby, North Fork, Salmon, Wisdom access. P. 45, MT48.
–Homestake Lodge, MT, 162.4 miles, On Trail – Homestake Lodge. Confirm mailing info. P. 63, MT36.
–Helena (via MacDonald Pass), MT, 105.1 miles, PO (M-F 8-6, Sa 9-noon) Helena 15E, Elliston 7W. P. 73, MT27.
–Benchmark Ranch, MT, 125.4 miles, 3 miles S off trail. (special pkging, $25) P. 90, MT18.
–East Glacier, MT, 134.9 miles, On trail. P. 107, MT08.
–Finish in Waterton Park Canada, 105.7 miles from East Glacier, MT, Shuttle back to East Glacier, then train to Seattle