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Thread: maidrops

  1. #1

    Default maidrops

    Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer all questions some of us have. Now I have another! I've read a lot about resupplying, and it seems to me that maildrops are a fair amount of aggravation, at least for my personality and the way I envision the trail. But then I've read about towns that have nothing for hikers to buy. So - which towns REALLY necessitate sending a package (of food)? I'll eat anything, but candy bars and nothing else for 5 days of hiking isn't something I want to try. Plus, 48 Snicker's bars are bound to be expensive, and certainly not light.

  2. #2

    Default

    Here's "the" list.

    maildrop 1 - Fontana Village - mile 161.7
    Fontana has virtually no place to resupply. This calls for maildrop number one. The Post Office is 2 miles to the west. Carry enough food to get to Hot Springs. You could stop off in Gatlinburg, halfway into the Great Smoky Mountains, which has two convenience stores for resupply; but the 15-mile hitch into the tourist trap probably isn't worth it. Mountain Mama's (at Davenport Gap) is also good for short-term resupply.

    maildrop 2 - Harpers Ferry, WV - 999.4

    maildrop 3 - Port Clinton, PA - 1052.3
    There are no places to obtain supplies in town. You can easily find a ride to Hamburg (which has places for Long-Term resupply), but the PO is right on the trail.

    maildrop 4 - Glencliff, NH - 1761.7
    There is no place to reasonably resupply in town. The Post office and the Hostel are across the street from each other (about 0.5 miles east of the trail) and make up all of Glencliff's services. It is wise to have a maildrop here. Make sure that you get back your winter gear before heading into the Whites. Have enough food to get to Gorham.

    You will also probably want a maildrop at some point after Mt. Rogers in VA (Pearisburg is a great place) to ship home some of your winter stuff and get any summer stuff that is lighter weight. You don't actually have to do ANY traditional maildrops - these could easily be prepared at a townstop prior and sent ahead on the trail (try to do it at least 10 days ahead so that it will have time to travel). This info is based from my 2000 hike, some of these places may have gotten reliable resupply sources since then. More recent hikers may be able to shed some light here.

    -Howie

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daveinmuncy
    Thanks to everyone who takes the time to answer all questions some of us have. Now I have another! I've read a lot about resupplying, and it seems to me that maildrops are a fair amount of aggravation, at least for my personality and the way I envision the trail. But then I've read about towns that have nothing for hikers to buy. So - which towns REALLY necessitate sending a package (of food)? I'll eat anything, but candy bars and nothing else for 5 days of hiking isn't something I want to try. Plus, 48 Snicker's bars are bound to be expensive, and certainly not light.
    Mail drops suck and are not for everyone. I don't support mail drops, I think they are a hindrance to your hike. Howie's advice is very good though. I do wish I had one in Fontana Dam though. But if you are going thru there after the middle of March it really isn't necessary, as you mention you'll eat almost anything. Many people hike the trail with no mail drops. You might have some hassles not doing mail drops but far less than those that have to worry about post office schedules and such. Another issue here is many people box up mail drops for the whole trail and then discovery they think the AT sucks after 100 miles or so and have all that time and money invested in the maildrops which could include $100's to $1000's of dollars of supplies. Of course you will get your mail drops back but who wants to be eating backbacking meals and liptons at home when they could be eating venison or big ass cuts of juicy medium rare steak. I think you'll enjoy your hike more with out maildrops.

  4. #4
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    Default HH Right on

    Howie is right on.

    First, make sure you read Baltimore's Jacks resupply list when he publishes it around January.

    Second, Howie has given you the minimum list. You might consider others just so you don't need to carry specialty items so far. For example, if you don't mail drop between Port Clinton and Glencliff, that means carring 700 miles of maps in your pack. So, you might consider an intermediate mail drop to swap out maps. Ditto for things like prescription drugs and camera film.

    Third, figure out how and where you want to resupply. For example, do you want to mail drop at Linden, or hitch in and out of Front Royal? Do you want to mail drop at Bear Mountain, or go into Fort Montgomery?

  5. #5

    Default addendum

    Sorry. After reading my post again and others' comments, I realized that I hadn't made myself clear (to my satisfaction). This is what I would consider to be the "bare minimum" list, meaning that it would be extrememly difficult or ungainly time consuming to not use maildrops at these places. If there are certain things that you'll need to resupply with periodically (like maps, medication, etc), you might consider using a bounce box (a box that you send from one post office to the next to the next to the next that has whatever you need in it). Personally, I don't have much need for these anymore, but have used them effectively and extensively in the past.

    -Howie

    Quote Originally Posted by hungryhowie
    Here's "the" list.

    maildrop 1 - Fontana Village - mile 161.7
    Fontana has virtually no place to resupply. This calls for maildrop number one. The Post Office is 2 miles to the west. Carry enough food to get to Hot Springs. You could stop off in Gatlinburg, halfway into the Great Smoky Mountains, which has two convenience stores for resupply; but the 15-mile hitch into the tourist trap probably isn't worth it. Mountain Mama's (at Davenport Gap) is also good for short-term resupply.

    maildrop 2 - Harpers Ferry, WV - 999.4

    maildrop 3 - Port Clinton, PA - 1052.3
    There are no places to obtain supplies in town. You can easily find a ride to Hamburg (which has places for Long-Term resupply), but the PO is right on the trail.

    maildrop 4 - Glencliff, NH - 1761.7
    There is no place to reasonably resupply in town. The Post office and the Hostel are across the street from each other (about 0.5 miles east of the trail) and make up all of Glencliff's services. It is wise to have a maildrop here. Make sure that you get back your winter gear before heading into the Whites. Have enough food to get to Gorham.

    You will also probably want a maildrop at some point after Mt. Rogers in VA (Pearisburg is a great place) to ship home some of your winter stuff and get any summer stuff that is lighter weight. You don't actually have to do ANY traditional maildrops - these could easily be prepared at a townstop prior and sent ahead on the trail (try to do it at least 10 days ahead so that it will have time to travel). This info is based from my 2000 hike, some of these places may have gotten reliable resupply sources since then. More recent hikers may be able to shed some light here.

    -Howie

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