Saturday, December 22, 2012

Maildrop preparation

My task today was to find travel-sized supplies.  My timing could have been better, but at least I was not trampled to death by a horde of consumption-driven Christmas procrastinators with their glowing life-sized stuffed puppies that actually wee and the clearance-rack camo-colored ShakeWeights. 

I felt like a dork when I was checking out.  The cashier must have thought that I buy everything in travel-size containers due being obsessive-compulsive or that I give the world's lamest Christmas gifts EVER.  Hopefully neither of those assumptions is true.
My Christmas gift to myself.
Ho ho ho.

Backpack weight is the enemy of every hiker.  Keeping that weight down is priority #2, and it helps significantly with priority #1, which is "don't die in the woods."

Sometimes Hillbilly Bart and I will arrange to have a supply box sent to us at points along the way so we can get new supplies. We can't avoid maildrops, primarily because of maps.

Maps weigh a lot.  

 I have accumulated piles to help us through the trail.  Some piles weigh over a pound. There's no overall guidebook, no one place to access everything needed to hike the Great Eastern Trail.  It has been a delightful journey to find all the resources we need to make this hike a reality.

We begin the trip carrying the maps for Alabama and Georgia.  This keeps the weight down and will keep us from getting overwhelmed.  Tackling the trail in chunks is necessary for sanity.  In Georgia we will pick up Tennessee information and in Tennessee we will get Kentucky maps, and so on.  Along with maps, our maildrops will include travel-sized toiletries, new journals, socks, and so on.  These are things that I have had problems finding in towns during my previous hikes, so I am buying them now.

Some hikers along the Pacific Crest and other long-distance trails mail food to themselves along the way.  Bart and I are not doing this.  First of all, we think we can reasonably figure out ways to resupply from the Great Eastern Trail.  We may not always have the food we want, but we can likely get by, as neither of us is very picky.  Secondly, we are both very passionate about the economic impact that this trail will have in small towns such as Mullens and Pineville, West Virginia.   Trails can mean big business for small towns, and we want to model that by buying groceries locally.

We'd love to get mail along the way.  Email may be difficult to access, and letters can really brighten up a day.  If you send mail to Jo's parents' house, they will include it in the next upcoming mail drop.  Contact Jo for their address.  Thanks to Mom and Dad Swanson for rocking the maildrop situation yet again!

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