Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kath's tips for hiker support

Kath from White Blaze, who has been a great supporter for Loner, passed on another great tip.  Lightweight and easy and fun.  She has been sending drop boxes to a number of 2012 thru-hikers and she likes to include gift cards.  These are for food - one of the things besides a shower, and laundromat, a hiker craves even  before he gets to town and food it the top of the list.  They often only think of  food that last few miles to town. I'm kicking myself I never thought of this and didn't find out until he was 1800 miles in.
 This is what she told me.
  "I think that is one of the BEST things to send the hikers as long as they are ones like Pizza Hut, Subways, McDonalds, etc. as you know they have them in almost every town. They are light and can be used as soon as they hit town. Plus I think some hikers hate to spend the money, but this way they can eat a lot without feeling guilty. Plus they do not have to spend it at one time." 
For those family members or supporters who purchase their own guide book, as I suggested in an earlier post, they should be able to see which chains are in which towns, and that will help on choosing cards they can use the next place they stop.  Up until you get close to Maine, you should be safe with any of these big three but towns are smaller the further north you go and some don't even have the popular fast food places.  In the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers Companion, there's a map of each town with the locations of the restaurants and other things a hiker needs in town, such as hostels and hostels, outfitters, laundromat, library, WIFI accessibility, laundromat and grocery stores. 
The other idea she came up with is a great game hikers can use on the trail - lightweight as well, especially good for the gram weenies like Loner.
 I had never heard of a carabiner game and I'm not sure which one she sent him, but they're so cool because they can hang from a backpack strap and entertain a hiker when he's rained out or resting for the night.  The little game I sent was a Carabiner and it has different light patterns that emit. You have to try and memorize them and repeat it back. It's a lot of fun that should keep Jeff busy for hrs on the trail! And super super light.

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