Planning– Our favorite thing in the world

Some good news– I got a job yesterday! The week of unemployment was wonderful and relaxing but it was hard not to fight the moments of stress that came in waves throughout my very quiet days. I had the opportunity to see a lot of friends and work on a number of things I’ve been putting off, but the security of employment and fear of not having it would trickle its way back into my mind reminding me that I should be experiencing a little bit of anxiety. Getting the phone call yesterday about my new job was definitely a highlight of my week, giving me the freedom to fully enjoy these last few days of unemployment.

Having the week off did give me a lot of time to catch up on some much needed PCT planning. Over the last couple of months something would pop into my head that needed to be done and I would frantically write it down hoping I would have the energy to work on it once I got home from work. Fast-forward to this week where I have nothing but time and viola! So much planning completed.

My favorite task that I worked on this week was putting together Cooper and my resupply strategy for the PCT. There are so many different things you can do and a lot of competing advice out there on how to handle food. I wanted to keep a couple things in mind as I navigated this process.

1. It’s not an exact science– So many people have dedicated long blog articles to how they tackled food on the PCT but hardly anyone had the exact strategy as another hiker. I didn’t want to get caught up in the details, I just wanted to find an approach that could work well for us.

2. Anything can change– Going off of not an exact science, I didn’t want to fall into the trap that we set ourselves while hiking the Ozarks. Our love for Ramen and dehydrated veggies may go away after 700 miles on the trail and rather than buying everything in advance I wanted the flexibility to change our resupply as we go.

3. Where will we need boxes the most– My biggest fear was that I would miss some vital information about an area on the trail where it’s near impossible to go grocery shopping, but I had also not planned ahead to ship myself a box. I was fixated on finding where along the trail most people recommend sending a box versus where we should buy food.

With those things in mind, I set out yesterday to figure out our general food plan. And here it is:

Cooper and I plan to do a mix of resupply options including shipping ourselves boxes and buying groceries as we go.

A huge concern of mine was, how do I figure out where it would be best to receive a box rather than buy food? Luckily for me there are hundreds of resources out there from other PCT thru-hikers who fretted over the same thing, then compiled a ridiculous amount of data to help others through their planning process. Primarily using this resource, I was able to find 14 points along the trail that would be best to ship a box to based on the accessibility and cost of supplies in the area.

As for the logistics of sending ourselves boxes, I wanted to avoid the trap of having already put our boxes together and then deciding around mile 700 that we can’t stand to eat another spoonful of oatmeal. Luckily for the two of us, I have a really wonderful mom who is excited about our trip and wanting to help.

My mom and dad have been section hiking the PCT for a couple of years now which made for an easy sell when I told my parents about our plans to thru-hike it this year. For those of you who have been wondering– “what parents would say, ‘yeah, go ahead and hike 2,650 miles for six months with limited ability to call or text me about your whereabouts and safety, no problem’.”– Backpacking parents, that’s who.

For our boxes, my mom will be shipping them and helping handle our finances. We plan to prepare all of our California boxes in advance but leave them open so we can call and ask her to replace things that we don’t want to eat anymore. Her willingness to help has eliminated so much stress from the planning process already.

For those of you interested, here’s our personal resupply-sheet1 that details where we will be/approximately when, and where to send boxes versus buy groceries.

It’s been a productive week getting some more details together and I’m finding myself more excited each day for the trip to come. The majority of our planning is complete and now we’re on logistical things (subleasing our apartment, training, etc). We’ll continue to update as we go and as always, if you have any thoughts, advice, or comments about our trip feel free to send them our way!



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