Sunday, March 10, 2024


Taken on the Appalachian Trail in 2013. I can’t wait to have muscles on my legs like that again

I’m finished dehydrating dinners and putting together breakfasts and lunches and it’s time to sort out how they will get to their final destination. Several people have asked questions about logistics so now is a good time to explain how to plan to hike a really long trail. 3000 miles is a long way and can be overwhelming. What I like to do is look at it like a whole bunch of little section hikes all strung together. It makes planning so much easier for me! For example, when we start at the Crazy Cook Monument at the Mexican/US border we will be hiking 83 miles in the desert to get to the first town-Lordsberg. So I really just need to decide what I need for those 83 miles. On average we will be hiking 20 miles a day but since we won’t even be getting to the border till 10am on our first day we will likely hike less. Also, it’s going to be very hot and I know that heat slows me way down. So instead of planning on a 4 day hike, I will plan on it taking 5 days to get to the first town and add a whole extra days worth of food in case of emergency. Then I add things I might need to start out in a desert (chapstick, sunscreen, electrolytes…). The next section will be Lordsberg to Silver City 74 miles. I basically go through the whole process again deciding how long it’s going to take and making sure there is enough food or special items we might need in that section always adding a day of safety food in the mix. On other trails this is very straight forward because there is one route but on this choose your own adventure trail we have to decide which alternates we want to take along the way. Some of these decisions are based on what we want to do or possible stops along the way but others like the low routes in Colorado will be decided based on weather conditions when we get there. There are always the possibilities of a trail reroute due to fires but other than the weather we can plan ahead and decide where to send our food. 

Back when I hiked the AT I bought a trail guide and used that to learn about the towns I would be hiking through. Today there are interactive apps that give the same type of info but are updated by the hikers who are ahead of me. The Far Out app has the maps with alternates and a feature that allows me to create my own route. It shows possible water sources and hikers update in the comments how much water or the quality of water. The town and city info has everything a hiker needs to know (hotel/hostel info, restaurant and grocery store info, where to do laundry and post office info) and best of all the up to date hiker comments often include prices and whether they thought it was a nice place to go! Most of the pre-planning decisions have been based on info from this app, the CDT Coalition and a few online forums.  This all translates to a giant suitcase full of extra large ziplock bags full of what I think we will need for each little section of trail in between the towns we plan on visiting. Each bag currently has its destination along with a list of things we need to buy in that town. What is still missing is some of the mailing addresses that we will send these packages to. and this leads to another set of questions I’ve had about how do we get our resupply packages. USPS (the post office for Canadians reading this) offers flat rate boxes for set prices. We plan on sending ourselves mail using the medium and large sized flat rate boxes general delivery. There are advantages and disadvantages of using the post office to get our stuff rather than sending it to a local business in each town. The advantages are that we can call and have the boxes bounced forward to another town with no extra fees. The disadvantages are that most post offices will only hold mail for 15 days and we have to be in those towns while to post offices are open. I’ll let you know how this turns out!

So now that we’ve figured out where we are going and what we are going to eat it’s time to start training for this hike. Yesterday was time…. but the food gobbled up a lot more of my free time than I thought it would.  I have time now, so I’m off to get as many steps in outside as I can!


“Carry as little as possible, but choose that little with care.” Earl Shaffer

1 comment:

  1. Great information Trouble
    Very helpful for planning a hike even if you do a short adventure