Care packages are a pretty awesome thing. Hiking the AT is not always fun. Many times it is quite miserable, but going into town or taking a break at a hostel can be so uplifting when you know you have a care package from a loved one waiting for you. Sometimes, knowing that you have cheerleaders at home can be the difference between wanting to quit, and wanting to bring it on! I’ve had several friends and family members ask where they can send me care packages, so I’ve come up with a short list of post offices and hostels that are very close, if not right on the trail, that I will most likely be visiting.
Before you send a care package, there are a couple things you should know and consider:
Please only use USPS Priority Mail. There are a couple of reasons for this. Some of the addresses below are post offices, and will not hold FedEx/UPS packages. USPS is also typically much cheaper than FedEx/UPS when you don’t own a business. Using the flat rate priority mail boxes/envelopes are a good choice. In the circumstance that your package reaches an address after I’ve passed it, it can be forwarded to an address ahead of me for free as long as it is USPS. And lastly, FedEx/UPS packages can not be send to P.O boxes. USPS takes about 3 days to ship if you get it sent out in the morning. In the chart below I’ve estimated my day of arrival for each location, along with the last day you should ship something if you plan on sending a package.
If you send me a care package, please let me know. Send me a text message, facebook message, or email (go to my “contact me” page). I know it’s fun to surprise people, but if I don’t know about your care package, chances are I won’t go out of my way to “check” if I have one waiting for me. The surprise can lie in what’s inside the box ;D
What you can send me:
If you send me something, consider what you are sending me. I have to carry everything on my back everyday and do not have much spare room in my bag. For example, if you send me a 6-pack of ensure shakes, I will end up drinking 2 of them when I get your package and putting the rest of them in a hiker box for others to enjoy when they pick up their package. Here are some ideas of what would get me super stoked when opening a care package:
–Letters, I’m a highly sentimental person and this would lift my spirits more than anything and I will probably keep it forever
–Anything dehydrated, Mountain House Entrees or Backpackers Pantry Entrees are superb treats that are out of my budget for this trip
–Starbucks Instant Coffee packets, I’m only taking a couple with me in the beginning for those shitty, rainy mornings where I am really going to need that extra boost. They are the only ones I’ve tried that taste good. I’m a fan of simple Colombian coffee without flavoring.
–Beef Jerky cuts, another thing I can’t get enough of that could easily run me broke.
–Dark Chocolate, something that’s a little harder to find at convenient stores and hostel resupplies, but is high in calories and doesn’t melt as easily as milk chocolate.
–Ziploc Bags, Almost everything in my bag is contained in a ziploc bag and after a while they start to get pretty beat up. I’m huge on keeping everything in my pack dry, and ziploc bags with holes in them are out to destroy this dream.
–Small trinkets that I would find humorous or entertaining, little mascots I can pin to the outside of my bag, mini games, pictures, cheap nail polish…get creative here! Just keep in mind how much it weighs!
–Sample sized goodies I can use only once, these would be perfect for the campground/hostel care packages since that is where I will be doing laundry/taking showers, etc.
Things you shouldn’t send me:
-Heavy bulky food that is not calorie dense, like fruit. Unless it is, like, 1 apple. I’ll probably be craving apples pretty hard, but don’t send me a bunch of them.
-Anything with liquid in it, like drinks or bubbles. It weighs too much.
-Alcohol, I’m using this trip as a chance to get away from it, plus it will turn me into a lazy bum the rest of the day
-Homemade food, it is most likely going to weigh too much, unless it’s something I can consume completely when I get your package.
If you are still uncertain or confused, here is a blog posting from someone else that is a little more detailed: http://appalachiantrials.com/care-package-preparation-z/
Things to know about the addresses listed below:
Location #1: This will be my first resupply point during my trip. You are sending this care package to a post office, so keep in mind that they are not open on Sunday and are only open for 2 hours on Saturday. I should hopefully be arriving to this town on a Friday, so everything should be OK. The upside to sending a care package here is that even if I miss it, you can have it forwarded to the next location for free, since it was sent to a post office.
Location #2: Crabtree Falls Campground only accepts care packages that are “shoebox size or smaller.” I will most likely make a pit stop here and stay overnight to charge my phone, update my blog, do some laundry, and take a shower. A good chance to send a sample size of detergent and hair/body care.
Location #3: This is another post office location, so again, keep in mind that they are closed on Saturday and Sunday, so if I am coming into town those days, you may have to forward your package to the next location.
Location #4: I will most definitely be making a stop at this hostel. It is only a half mile off the trail and it is very convenient. I will be staying overnight here, doing laundry and showering. A good chance to send a sample size of detergent and hair/body care.
Location #5: Another hostel that is right off the trail, maybe doing laundry, taking a shower. A good chance to send a sample size of detergent and hair/body care.
Location #6: This is where I’ll be ending my hike, so if you choose to send a care package at this location, you can eliminate some of my “rules” since I don’t have to carry it on my back anymore! Feel free to send me baked goodies, fresh fruit, or anything that will allow the person sitting next to me on the train/plain to not smell me!
The following shows you the location 4, the address and how you should label it, when I should be there, and when you should send it by…
C/O Front Royal Terrapin Station Hostel
304 Chester Gap Rd.
Chester Gap, VA 22623
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA May 27, 2015
|May 27, 2015||May 23, 2015|
C/O Bears Den Hostel
18393 Blue Ridge Mountain Rd.
Bluemont, VA 20135
Please hold for AT hiker
ETA June 6, 2015
|June 1, 2015||May 27 , 2015|
C/O ATC HQ
PO Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
Please hold for AT Hiker
ETA June 10, 2015
|June 3, 2015||May 29 , 2015|
If you send me a care package, thank you so much!!! I’m not sure I can express how uplifting and thankful I will be receiving your simple, yet thoughtful and amazing gifts!