A surprising number of people have asked me if they can send me care packages or love letters while I’m on the trail. This is so so nice and I am genuinely touched that anyone besides my mom and my girlfriend wants to do this. Thank you!!!
It’s also logistically a tiny bit tricky, so I’ve put together a guide about how to send me mail on the Pacific Crest Trail. It definitely involves more planning than when you send me snail mail to my house in Portland, so if you really want to take on this adventure, please follow these instructions exactly, because otherwise I probably won’t receive your mail and that would be really sad.
Also, if sending me mail sounds overwhelming but you want to do something else to send me love and support on the trail (thank you!!!!), scroll to the end of this post and check out some other ideas that have nothing to do with the US Postal Service but would still make me the happiest hiker in the world!
Important general notes about sending mail:
- Let me know if you’ve sent something! I will have to ask for all of my mail, so you can’t really surprise me. If I don’t know you sent something I won’t know to ask for it and will probably miss it. Please send me a text or email if you’re sending me mail!
- The ETAs on the following list are estimates. I may be there a week (or more!) earlier or later. Most places will hold hiker mail for 15-30 days, so sending something earlier is probably the best bet. I will update my mailing list as I go so hopefully the ETAs will be somewhat accurate.
- Always use USPS Priority Mail if you are sending a box! Some locations may be inaccessible by UPS and other carriers. The USPS Priority Mail boxes are free at all post offices, you can just grab one and fill it up and then pay for postage when you send it off. There is also no weight limit to these boxes, which is a cool perk if you’re sending me like, 17 lbs of gluten-free-dairy-free brownies!
- Never ever ever use USPS Standard Post. Trail rumor says I will never receive this package. Ever.
- Letters can be sent via USPS First Class!
- Use the addresses exactly as shown on the following mail list. This is, unfortunately, not the time to exercise your creative writing muscles! I usually strongly encourage that, but not today.
- Write “Hold for PCT Hiker, ETA: MM/DD/YY” in the bottom left corner of every package or letter.
- Make your box or envelope unique with stickers or colorful tape so it can be identified easily. This is the time to exercise your creativity! It’s helpful if you tell me what you did to make your box or envelope look special when you let me know you’re sending me mail, because then I’ll be able to say, “It’s the small pink envelope covered in sparkly rainbow stickers” when asking for my mail from you!
- Remember that I have to carry every single thing I receive on my back! I would love to receive postcards and letters and food, but no non-consumables please! Thank you for understanding!
Special thanks to my friend Io, who is also hiking the PCT this year, for putting this list together on her blog. I basically shamelessly copied these notes from her. Also, her blog is rad and if you’re looking for more trail journals to follow hers is a great one!
How to address every single thing you send me in the mail:
PCT Hiker, ETA: MM/DD/YY
Town, State Zip Code
*In bottom left corner write Hold for PCT Hiker, ETA: MM/DD/YY*
Where to send me mail, ETA’s included:
*Please do not send me mail to any addresses other than the ones listed below as I am already stopping at these spots to pick up other essentials. Also please note that all ETAs are estimates, especially the ETAs that fall after Kennedy Meadows (locations 5-8).
PCT Hiker, ETA: 4/26/17
Warner Springs, CA 92086
PCT Hiker, ETA: 5/3/17
Idyllwild, CA 92549
PCT Hiker, ETA: 5/21/17
c/o The Saufley’s
11861 Darling Road
Agua Dulce, CA 91390
PCT Hiker, ETA: 6/8/17
c/o Kennedy Meadows General Store
96740 Beach Meadow Road
Inyokern, CA 93527
PCT Hiker, ETA: 6/28/17
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
PCT Hiker, ETA: 7/22/17
c/o Sierra Country Store
PO Box 196
Sierra City, CA 96125
PCT Hiker, ETA: 7/26/17
c/o The Braatens at Little Haven
PO Box 4
Belden, CA 95915
PCT Hiker, ETA: 8/8/17
119 Diggles Street
Etna, CA 96027
Please note: This list only takes me through California. I’ll update it with Oregon and Washington when the time comes!
Other Ways To Show Me Love That Don’t Involve Snail Mail:
If you don’t feel like dealing with this snail mail scenario – and I don’t blame you! – but still want to do something nice for me while I’m on the trail, here are some ideas:
1. Read my blog and leave a comment! I love blog comments! You can also follow me on Instagram and leave comments there.
3. Email me! Some people have asked if sending email will be less complicated than sending a postcard, and the answer is a resounding yes! I’d love to hear what’s going on with you, what’s going on in the world (sigh), and anything else you’d like to share. I promise to eventually email you back, even if it takes me six months. Email: vanessa [dot] pamela [at] gmail [dot] com.
4. Make me a playlist! If you’ve ever taken a road trip with me you know that my DJ skills are nonexistent. If left to my own devices I will probably listen to the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco’s greatest hits on repeat all the way from Mexico to Canada, with a little bit of spoken word poetry from Andrea Gibson thrown in to the mix for good measure. Help me hike to less depressing tunes! If you make me a playlist on Spotify I’ll be able to download it to my phone and I will think of you as I listen to new music and prance through the backcountry and I will feel secretly grateful that you are saving me from myself and my love of sad women and queers with guitars.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you x 10000. If you do end up sending me a love letter on the trail, make sure to include your return address so I can write you back!