Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bounce Bucket

There are several different types of approaches when it comes to supplies and food along the trail. Some people choose to do "Mail Drops." Contrary to how it sounds, that doesn't mean that packages of food and essentials get parachuted down to you in the middle of the woods, Lost or Hunger Games style. Instead, it means that you have to compile a whole bunch of boxes ahead of time, give them to someone you trust, and have them mail them to you at specific towns along the trail. Post offices can hold a package for pickup, and the idea is that you would hike off the trail and hitch-hike into your preordained towns to pick up your packages. This sounds like a good idea, because then you could always know what you're getting. Mike and I decided against that strategy for several reasons:

1. Part of the fantastic part about hiking the trail is not having to adhere to any schedule - but if we had mail drops for every 8 days or so, we'd have to follow a schedule. I blow a raspberry at that.

2. It may be slightly more cost effective, until you factor in the money for postage. We will go to a grocery store, to spend money to buy food, to spend money to send a package to ourselves in a town that will have a grocery store? SILLY. Granted, there will likely be times that we hike off the trail into a town that has nothing but a gas station. For that week we will eat only cheez-its and slim jims and pray silently for a quick death.

3. We were too gosh darn lazy to spend a bunch of time compiling mail drop boxes over the past few months.

Instead, we're going to rely on the kindness of towns along the trail and hope that their grocery stores will have more than marshmallows and pop tarts (although I foresee a future in which I sit unwashed in front of a grocery store and eat an entire box of pop tarts all at once).

In addition, we're going to have something called a Bounce Bucket. This is a 5 gallon bright orange paint bucket from Home Depot, that we're going to mail ahead to ourselves along the trail. It will be a grab-bag of essentials that we feel will be least attainable in towns e.g., astronaut ice cream, an extra pair of pant-shorts, etc. We'll fill it in Georgia, and mail it to a town approximately 3 weeks ahead, so that we can hike off and get it if we need it. At that point, we'll take from it what we want, maybe refill a few things, and send it ahead again.

If we don't need it, and we don't hike off the trail, we can get in touch with the post office it's sitting in and have them mail it ahead for us. It's easier to keep track of one giant orange bucket than a bunch of brown boxes. Or so I hear.

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