So, apart from all of the Bear Grylls style scavenging I'll be doing on the trail (kidding), I thought I'd share how I plan to replenish my food and supplies.
Along the trail, there are towns every 4-10 days apart - because of the growing popularity of the PCT, most of these towns have places where I can purchase hiker-friendly food, toiletries, and fuel. I'll also take time in town to shower, do laundry, eat real food, update the blog, and (hopefully) sleep in a real bed.
Because I'm not really limited by a specific diet, I'm planning on buying most of my food in these trail towns. As I go, I'll check ahead on the Guthooks app (now called Atlas guides) to make a tentative plan of how far I plan to hike each day for that section. Then I'll jot down how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners I need plus snacks.
However, in some smaller towns with less options, I'll have my parents send a resupply box to the post office or a hiker-friendly business. I'll also periodically need to have gear sent to me, like my bear canister, microspikes, and ice axe for the Sierra, and cold weather layers in Washington.
How do I know which towns don't have great options? Well, there is an amazing wealth of info from former thru-hikers that has been compiled by Mac on the blog Halfway Anywhere. His annual PCT Thru-Hiker Survey has data on everything from hiker demographics to gear and also includes an amazing section of stats on where hikers wish they sent boxes instead of buying in town. Check out his resupply info from 2018 hikers here to see what I'm talking about.
Where I plan to mail a box
I'm tentatively planning on having ~10 boxes mailed, give or take. My parents have been super supportive, and they'll be my resupply team at home :)
Warner Springs, CA (mile 110) - heard the selection is limited/pricey here, and it will be a fun celebration of my first 100 miles to get a box from home! Depending on snow conditions, I may also get my microspikes here for the snow on Mt. San Jacinto.
Kennedy Meadows, CA (mile 703) - this is known as the entrance to the Sierra, so I will need to get my bear canister to protect my food and snow gear like an ice axe and microspikes.
The rest of these places are super small towns without much selection, so a box will be nice.
Sierra City, CA (mile 1198)
Crater Lake/Mazama Village Store, OR (mile 1830)
Shelter Cove, OR (mile 1912)
Trout Lake, WA (mile 2234)
White Pass, WA (mile 2303)
Snoqualmie Pass, WA (mile 2402)
Stevens Pass, WA (mile 2476) - only if I decide not to hitch in to Leavenworth
Stehekin, WA (mile 2574)
While a small percentage of hikers do prep boxes ahead of time for every resupply stop, it will be nice to have the flexibility to buy food that sounds good in the moment. You probably don't know what you want for dinner 3 months and 2 days from now - and neither do I! So I'll break it up, section by section, and stay flexible with what works.