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Appalachian Trail Food Resupply

We created our Appalachian Trail food resupply plan with two priorities in mind:

  1. Stay close to the trail. We prefer to remain in the wilderness away from city noises and distractions. We’ll walk to our resupply points and avoid cars and shuttles wherever possible.
  2. Keep it strictly vegetarian and mostly organic. We’ll buy from grocery stores where feasible and ship food boxes to areas with slim vegetarian pickings.

We used a similar resupply strategy on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it worked very well. On our Appalachian Trail (AT) thru hike we plan to buy food at 16 stores and pick up 20 maildrops. Some sections of the AT run close to convenience stores and restaurants. In those sections we will carry less food than normal.

Location Mail or Buy? Days to
Next Town
Amicalola Falls State Park (Springer Mountain), GA Buy in Atlanta 4
Neels Gap, GA Mail to Mountain Crossings 3
Dicks Creek Gap, GA Mail to Blueberry Patch Hostel* 5
Nantahala Outdoor Center, NC Mail to NOC Outfitters 2
Fontana Village, NC Mail to Fontana Lodge* 5.5
Standing Bear Farm, TN Buy at Standing Bear Farm 2.5
Hot Springs, NC Buy at Hillbilly Market or Bluff Mountain Outfitters 5
Erwin, TN Mail to Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel 5
Hampton, TN Mail to Kincora Hiking Hostel 3.5
Damascus, VA Buy at Food City 5
Rural Retreat, VA Mail to Relax Inn 5
Sugar Run Gap, VA Mail to Woods Hole Hostel 5
Catawba, VA Buy at Catawba Grocery 1.5
Daleville, VA Buy at Kroger Grocery 6.5
Montebello, VA Mail to Dutch Haus B&B* 4.5
Loft Mountain Campground, VA Buy at Campstore 2
Big Meadows, VA Buy at Big Meadows Wayside 6.5
Harpers Ferry, WV Buy at General Store or The Outfitter 2
Smithsburg, MD Mail to The Free State Hiker Hostel 4.5
Boiling Springs, PA Buy at Getty Food Mart 1.5
Duncannon, PA Buy at Mutzabaugh’s Market 4.5
Port Clinton, PA Mail to Post Office 5
Delaware Water Gap, PA Mail via FedEx/UPS to Edge of the Woods Outfitters 3
High Point State Park, NJ Mail to High Point State Park Headquarters 4.5
Fort Montgomery, NY Mail to Post Office 3
Appalachian Trail Railroad Station, NY Mail to Native Landscapes & Garden Center 3.5
Salisbury, CT Buy at La Bonne Epicure Market 3.5
Becket, MA Mail to Berkshire Lakeside Lodge 3
Williamstown, MA Buy at Stop & Shop 7.5
Killington, VT Mail to Mountain Meadows Lodge 2.5
Hanover, NH Buy at Hanover Food Co-op 4.5
Franconia Notch, NH Mail to Flume Visitor Center 5
Gorham, NH Mail to White Mountains Lodge and Hostel 7.5
Stratton, ME Buy at Fotter’s Market* 4.5
Monson, ME Mail to 100 Mile Wilderness Adventures 7
Abol Bridge, ME Buy at campstore 1.5
Mt. Katahdin, ME

All the resupply locations on our list are within a mile of the Appalachian Trail except for those marked with an asterisk (*). We calculated the number of days to the next town assuming we’ll hike 10 miles per day initially and within a few weeks ramp up  to 15 miles per day.

In mid February we plan to undertake a massive grocery trip and begin preparing our food boxes. Each food allotment will get packed into USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes, which Shutterbug’s parents have kindly offered to periodically ship to us during our thru hike. Thanks Jan and George!

We can’t choose an AT start date until we’ve shipped pre-orders and publicized our Pacific Crest Trail photography book. The book recently entered the binding stage, and everything remains on schedule for delivery in late February. We are gathering contact information for people who would be interested in running a review of our book. If you know someone in the magazine, blog, or newspaper business, we would be very grateful if you could put us in touch. Email anna@wanderingthewild.com and chris@wanderingthewild.com . Thanks!

North Star saw this wild pony while hiking part of the AT in 2007.

North Star saw this wild pony while hiking part of the AT in 2007. Can’t wait to get out there!

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for sharing – Great Capture – just beautiful!!! Have a Great One:)

    February 7, 2013
  2. Reblogged this on filmcamera999.

    February 7, 2013
  3. Patricia Rice #

    Will you be needing support in the Atlanta area – getting to Amicalola, etc?

    February 7, 2013
    • We haven’t arranged anything in Atlanta yet. We’ve heard good things about the Hiker Hostel though.

      February 8, 2013
      • Patricia Rice #

        If you are thinking of starting in March, we can likely assist. Please e-mail privately (my husband did PCT just a few steps ahead of you last year).

        February 9, 2013
  4. My husband and I plan on doing a thru hike on the AT in the near future. This post is encouraging. Thanks!

    February 7, 2013
  5. Looks good. Hope you are going to be posting your meal plan too. Also love the picture of the pony. I’ve heard some crazy stories about those guys.

    February 7, 2013
  6. JAMES OWENS #

    Anna and Chris

    I just returned yesterday from a visit at the Harper’s ferry landing supply store. It was really great.

    February 8, 2013
  7. Super Dave #

    Anna and Chris,

    I’ve been enjoying your blog and photos for some time now, since my return home from finishing my Triple Crown on the CDT last fall. I live in Blacksburg, Virginia, which is about 20 miles from the AT stretch between Pearisburg and Catawba. When I’m in town, I try to help hikers when I can (we have several natural and organic food sources here in Blacksburg, by the way). Send me an email for more information if I can help.

    February 11, 2013
  8. skippy #

    The Blueberry Patch is a nice choice for you guys. They were my favorite southern hostel! Plan to stay for breakfast!
    Buying at Standing Bear Farm is an interesting choice. Curtis had limited supplies available to non-vegetarians
    There is a Dollar Tree in Hot Springs, NC. Not to mention…we’re a few miles away at that point. Also the train rolls through Hot Springs and blares that horn for all the world to hear. There is free camping on the river bank just before the AT shoots up to Lovers leap.
    Bob Peoples has a shuttle to town from Kincora. There’s a pretty good sized grocery store there. My friends live nearby there also…we’ll get you in touch with them!
    Damascus, VA – At the end of town there’s an ice cream shop. Blue Berry Milkshake…incredible!!!
    Does Jerry’s Kitchen still exist in Troutdale, VA? It’s worth the walk…there was a free church hostel right beside it. Don’t miss Partner Ship Shelter…you can order pizza and it’s a nice shelter. Marion, VA was a close call on places for us to live.
    Catawba, VA = The Home Place restaurant. Plan your whole trip around getting there when it’s open. You will LOVE it!
    I see you’re skipping Waynesboro. That’s alright, but it’s a great town!
    If you plan it right, you can utilize the deli’s at grocery stores…within a mile of the trail through NY and NJ.

    When is your starting date?

    February 12, 2013
    • Thanks Skippy, these notes are super handy. Blueberry pancakes at the Blueberry Hostel sounds good now, and it will be even better after hiking. We just re-looked at Standing Bear Farm resupply and while the pickings look slim (PB, jelly, tortillas, nuts), it’s only 2 days until Hot Springs. I’m sure you’d be happy to survive just on peanut butter :-) We’ll give you a rough guess on timing once we start (can’t decide until all the book stuff is complete) and email again when two days away at Standing Bear. Damascus milkshake, pizza shelter, and Home Place restaurant = noted. We’re going to gain weight on the AT, ha!

      February 14, 2013
  9. skippy #

    Deli’s at gas stations in NY and NJ that is…

    February 12, 2013
  10. margaret alexander #

    Hey, Folks!

    This blog is not about food, it’s about THE BOOK!!! Just got mine yesterday. As one of Chris’ aunts, I’ve had the privilege of sitting beside him from time to time as he processed pics through various stages. He would tell me bits & pieces about the effects he was trying for & what he hoped the viewers might see. He talked about wanting us armchair-ers to be able to move into a picture & then I could.

    So, as I pursue this incredible book, I can only hope everyone will spread it far & wide. I’ve already told him my belief that all those people on the cusp about venturing into the wild will take the leap & GO!

    See for yourselves. BTW, my fav so far is on page 80, mulliein in volcanic rocks. Rogue River–Siskiyou National Forest.

    March 1, 2013
    • Thanks Margaret! So happy you like the book. The photographs in the book have only the tiniest amount of processing applied to them. I want to show people what we saw on the trail as directly as possible. As you mention, we hope the book will inspire people to experience the incredible wild places out there.

      Thanks for letting us know your favorite photograph. Walking through those lava rocks felt like being on another planet!

      March 2, 2013
  11. Hi, Just curious how well the resupply plan worked out for you guys on the AT? Do you have anything you would have done differently?

    December 28, 2013
    • Our resupply plan on the AT worked great. We were only able to complete the first 200 miles due to a terrible case of shingles, but we expect the rest of the resupply stops would have gone without a hitch because we researched everything well. We planned our AT resupply in a similar way to our PCT thru hike resupply. We were quite happy with our strategy of mailing food to some locations with limited options and buying it in places with more variety.

      December 29, 2013
  12. ***I really like your resupply plan, and I plan on using it myself, but I have one problem. When do the days on the right hand side switch from 10 miles per day to 15 miles per day?***

    February 22, 2016
    • I looked back at my calculations. I assumed we would start at 10 miles per day and ramp up to 15 miles per day by the time we reached Erwin, TN. More specifically, I assumed daily mileage of 10 at Amicalola Falls State Park, then 12 at Neels Gap, then 13 at Dicks’s Creek Gap. That pace would stay constant for a number of resupply stops, then increase to 14 miles per day at Hot Springs, NC. At Erwin, TN, we’d reach our maximum pace of 15 miles per day, which we’d maintain afterwards. These numbers are of course ballpark estimates of what will happen out on the trail. It’s key to listen to your body and adjust your pace accordingly. Best of luck to you on your hike!

      March 12, 2016
  13. jeff #

    good morning my wife and I will be doing GA to ME in march I hope to use your mail drops we are the same as far as not wanting to go to town much, any tips would be great feel free to give any advise you would like to share, we have both back packed in Nepal and the Rockies but have never been on a 6-7 month trip

    August 20, 2016
    • My main tip would be to gradually ramp up the volume of food. For the first few weeks we are normal hungry backpackers. By about the fourth week, our bodies have become hiking machines, burning about 4000 calories per person per day. Also, pack as much variety of food as possible to avoid getting tired of any single food. We have some backpacking food ideas here: https://wanderingthewild.com/food/

      October 27, 2016

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