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I started by assuming that I'd take the full 21 days to complete the trail as per the guidebook, on this basis there were two key checkpoints, Vermillion Valley Resort VVR (meals accommodation and food to buy) and the Muir Trail Ranch MTR (Food pickup only unless booked well in advance).

The initial plan was therefore:

6 days food for setting out. Although VVRarrival was evening of Day 8 there were two opportunities to buy meals before then. I would then buy two days food at VVR to get me to MTR.

MTR - 10 days food required to the end of the trail. However I decided to pack only 8, if I was only making the guidebook timings I would need to buy more at VVR to supplement the 8 days that I wouldpick up at MTR.

In reality I arrived at VVR in the morning of Day 6, still with some food leftover. It took a day and a bit to get to MTR where I picked up the rest of my food. I walked out of the mountains with about 2oz of Cous Cous left!

Posting ahead

I purchased a 5 gallon plastic tub from a hardware store and filled it with the food I wanted to send to MTR. I also added the second half of my guidebook, plus some other items such as soap, new razor, spare socks and underwear etc.

This was sealed and sent to MTR. There's an area set aside for getting organised once you arrive, and as I arrived early in the morning I had it to myself.


The weight of food sent on to MTR was 4810g, i.e. 600g per day. This is about two thirds of what is recommended, so it was on the slender side. Although I never felt 'very hungry' I would probably have benefited from some more food.