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Re: MTR, hiker resupplies, and costs

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  • ned@mountaineducation.org
    Now, having survived our 30,000 emails received since we departed on our video research trip along the pct from KM (May 10) to the Muir Trail Ranch (July 7th),
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 19, 2010
      Now, having survived our 30,000 emails received since we departed on our video research trip along the pct from KM (May 10) to the Muir Trail Ranch (July 7th), I'm going to start sharing some of what we learned, documented, heard, and saw during the trip in "brief" (for me, otherwise I'm pretty long-winded) postings.
      Concerning our 24-hour visit with the staff at the Muir Trail Ranch:
      As John Ladd of the johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com forum recently said, they have a huge and ever-increasing business of hiker resupplying happening there! As Patt, their thru-hiker liaison, told us, they did almost 1000 resupplies last year and expect to do more this year. As this is a growing part of their business, helping hikers receive their food and gear just a mile-and-a-half off the trail, they plan on expanding what they offer, possibly in the forms of a larger "general store," the ability to rent cabins for one or two nights' stay, and an expanded resupply storage area. This is great news!
      "By the time a hiker resupply arrives at our door, it has been personally handled by our staff as many as four times already," Patt said. This is how it happens:
      Someone is dispatched to the Shaver Lake (I think) Post Office to pick up all the 5-gallon buckets and boxes; that person has to hand-load them into a truck and then drive the load to the Florence Reservoir storage room over that nasty Kaiser Pass road (the one that also leads to Mono Hot Springs and Vermillion Valley Resort). The load is unloaded into the storage room until sufficient number is reached where it will be moved over to the boat to go across the lake toward MTR (this would then be handling #s 3 and 4). Once the boat reaches the other side, your boxes and buckets are hand-transferred, again, off the boat and onto an old Mercedes Unimog to make the 5-mile journey over granite and bog to the Ranch (#5). Upon arrival at the Ranch, everyone teams in to "bucket-brigade" the 100 or so items loosely into the "stone house" where they are all stored (#6). The next morning they are all removed and accurately bar-code labeled for tracking and ownership, then replaced into the storeroom onto racks by name and anticipated pick-up date (#7 and 8). This is all managed by Patt. http://www.muirtrailranch.com/resupply.html (check out the picture at the bottom!)
      So, when or if you hear of someone complaining about how much MTR charges you to retrieve your resupply, keep this in mind and thank them profusely for offering this service to hikers so close to the thoroughfare! Please check their website, http://www.muirtrailranch.com/, for updates on what the family is planning on offering thrus each year. Yes, you can go several miles off trail, either to Mono Hot Springs or VVR, to find less expensive resupply services, but considering that the MTR is virtually right on the trail, it is well worth it for our future planning.
      For PCT thru hikers there may be a problem. Since you guys pass through the area so early in your maddening quest to reach Canada before the early-season snow flies, the Ranch may still be buried in snow or Florence Lake frozen so they may not be open yet!! They can usually be open sometime in late June, but all that is dependent on the weather and the preceding winter's snow load in the area.
      For JMT thrus, who usually want to avoid snow, hike quite a bit slower, and take their time soaking up the wilderness experience, you guys usually pass through the Ranch later, maybe sometime in early July, when they are already open, so access to your resupply is readily available.
      Overnights in the area can also be accomplished by pitching just upstream of the Ranch at established sites on either side of the San Joaquin River (the far side has the hot springs).

      Ned Tibbits, Director
      Mountain Education
      1106A Ski Run Blvd
      South Lake Tahoe, Ca. 96150
          P: 888-996-8333
          F: 530-541-1456
          C: 530-721-1551
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