The very factor that makes the PCT so special, also makes it tricky to hike – the isolation. Unlike parts of the Appalachian Trail, hiking along the PCT we will go for days without meeting civilization. This therefore requires some forward-planning regarding food and basic supplies. People approach resupply strategy differently – some buy everything along the way, some send themselves resupply boxes, and other do a combination of both. We are mostly sending boxes, as I admit to being a fussy eater, but we will also be picking up certain things.
Research indicated that we should not attempt to carry more than around 5 days of food at any given time due to the weight. Therefore I used Craig’s PCT Planner website to work out how long it would take us to hike between the potential resupply stops, and then consulted Plan Your Hike for further information. Note: It is a good idea to contact any chosen resupply location to confirm their online information is accurate.
Below is a copy of the resupply schedule that I originally left with The Marshmeier’s in order to post our boxes. A couple of the postal dates changed along the way – including a urgent text request to ‘HOLD ALL BOXES’ sent in our first week after experiencing so much snow we didn’t think we’d last – but generally everything arrived well-ahead of us.
For most thru-hikers who average 25-35 miles a day, our number of resupply stops would seem excessive, but it was designed around our lower mileage expectations. In a nutshell, we stopped at every possible resupply location in Washington (because the trail is more isolated there), and then selected most, but not all points in Oregon. The only change I would have made with hindsight? I would have omitted Timberline Lodge for sending a package to, purely because we could have done a full grocery shop two days later in Cascade Locks.