I am not going to argue why the USPS received a raw deal back in 2006 that no other agency or business has to do. Or why privatizing a government service is an ill-advised idea. Or talk about the long history of this popular service. .
Others have spoken far more eloquently on these topics than I could ever hope.
Instead, I’ll talk about something I can relate to the outdoors: How vital, active, and loved the USPS is among long-distance hikers.
We love the USPS.
Package together an ice ax in an odd-looking cardboard box with duct tape to the middle of nowhere in the Sierra? They’ll do it!
For less than the price of store-brand macaroni and cheese, your friend can mail you a card, and have it waiting for you somewhere in rural Utah. And you’ll have a smile on your face all day. Amazing!
Mail a bright orange Home Depot bucket up and down the Rockies as a bounce-bucket? Hell, yeah!
Unlike private carriers, the Universal Mandate means the USPS serves the out-of-the-way towns up and down the trails, and even more remote areas.
It’s like magic when you hitch or walk into a town, go the USPS, present your ID, and a package of goodies is waiting for you.
The USPS serves as the link from the home base to the outer regions of our beautiful country. Our gracious family and friends back home ship us shoes, food, and perhaps even a packraft.
Here in Moab, I’ve seen quite a few Haydukers in the PO with “the look” of desert traveling long-distance hikers. They arrived in our small desert town, went to the PO and geared up for another stretch of this route. (Note to future Haydukers: If you see a short, bald guy in Moab who sounds a bit like a store-brand Andrew Cuomo, say hello!)
To paraphrase: Neither smelly hikers, odd packaging, nor bad handwriting nor odd addresses stays these couriers from the swift completion of mailing ramen and tortilla to hikers.
The friendly postal people in the small towns greet us, help us along in our journeys, and wish us luck on our travels. They are as much part of the trail experience as blisters and mosquitoes. But we look forward to seeing the USPS folks far more.
You’ll find the USPS from fishing resorts in Washington to villages in Alaska to hamlets in Utah to New England towns with unpronounceable names.
Your feet may take you to many places, but the USPS goes to more than 157 million addresses.
And they do it affordably and efficiently. (Well, until recent shenanigans anyway.)
I don’t know what the future brings. But, I do know I’ll be on another long walk again.
And I’m comforted knowing the USPS will be there for me along the way.
I do know our walks to the mailbox always has the potential for an #EPIC time!