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  1. #1

    Default Upper Goose Pond Cabin - Section Hikers May As Well Pass It By

    Since my first visit to UGPC in 2013, I've touted this spot to all who'd listen of it's beauty, it's serenity, the friendliness and welcome found there. No more. My last two encounters with the caretakers there have been far from friendly, and anything but welcoming.

    Last Tuesday, June 26, I met my son and his friend in Lee, MA to resupply them on their section hike through MA and CT. The plan was they would then get to UGPC for that night and zero the following day. Though I'd literally been shooed away on my last visit there with kids for having the audacity to arrive as a day hiker, I'd assured them they'd enjoy the spot and be welcomed as section hikers (per the website). However, by 7:00 that night I received a text asking if they could stay somewhere else for both that night and their zero as they felt completely unwelcome. Apparently the caretaker grudgingly allowed them the last 2 bunks with under-the-breath-yet-audible comments about "these section hikers", but when 5 thruhikers arrived later they were told they no longer had bunks and that they'd have to tent.

    They had little choice but to stay the night, and chose to take their zero there also, but stayed clear of the caretaker for the most part. But the next day, when it was clear that no crowds were coming (5 hikers total including them), they asked if they could have bunks. The caretaker made them wait until dusk before very grudgingly allowing them space, even though not another hiker had arrived all day. Also, they were told in no uncertain terms that if any thru hikers arrived, they'd again have to give up their space and tent.

    Nowhere on the website does it claim that thruhikers get priority over section hikers, yet these VERY QUIET and VERY SHY young men were made to feel like second-class citizens.

    "
    Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.".
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  2. #2

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    Personally, I'd rather tent then sleep in the stuffy bunk room with 20 other people - so long as it wasn't forecast to rain of course. Last time I stayed there I tented, as did my hiking partner at the time, plus a friend who come out just for the night. He brought a package of hot dogs, which we shared with the caretaker, so I guess that helped.

    "the exclusive use for thru-hikers and section hikers" clause is no doubt intended to keep the place from becoming a day destination for picnicking and partying. So, showing up as a day hiker would result in getting the cold shoulder.

    Of course, that doesn't excuse the apparent treatment the kids received. However, not having witnessed to how all that went down, I reserve judgement of both parties. The caretaker is a volunteer who doesn't get paid (I don't believe) who basically gets a free stay at the cabin for a week or two. Your experience can depend on who happens to be the caretaker at the time and what kind of week they've had.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3
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    I came through here as a section hiker just about a year ago this weekend (so wonder if it was the same caretaker, a mom and daughter).

    Had been there two years before and it was wonderful... last year not quite so much. The caretakers were super into shaming section hikers and I was forced to query each thru-hiker, as he or she arrived, whether they wanted my bunk. And was told I'd have to give it up if anyone wanted it. It was a mortifying experience.

    Tell your son, he's not alone. I understand the caretakers are volunteers, I get that and also that putting up with a stream of self-centered, needy hikers can be difficult, but really there is no excuse for gratuitous nastiness.

  4. #4

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    Yes, it was the mom-daughter-humiliation-tag-team this time too. I was appalled at the behavior as it was reported to me. If a person can't manage being civil to those whom she is there to serve/assist, she has no business volunteering for the responsibility.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  5. #5

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    Do you pay afee to stay there? Because if it's National Park Service property and there is no fee or reservations, they aren't going to be able to stop me from using a bunk if I choose to do so. Thru hiker, section hiker, doesn't matter. First come first served.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burrhead View Post
    Do you pay afee to stay there? Because if it's National Park Service property and there is no fee or reservations, they aren't going to be able to stop me from using a bunk if I choose to do so. Thru hiker, section hiker, doesn't matter. First come first served.

    The cabin is owned by the AMC and is on private property. They can make what ever rules they want. Not only is it free to stay, free pancakes and coffee is served in the morning. Whether the Thru-hiker gets first dibs on a bunk is a house rule or something these caretakers came up with on their own, I can't say. However, I can't imagine a thru hiker kicking someone out of a bunk just because.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #7
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    Unless things have changed, the caretakers are volunteers. In the past they had more volunteers then slots to fill. One of the problems with volunteers is its tough to train them and if things don't work out, fire them.

  8. #8
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    “Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


    7B4768E5-E599-4016-AB53-36A5E49D64E0.jpeg

  9. #9

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    [QUOTE=rickb;2214421][CENTER][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Avenir]“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


    Sorry you had a bad experience Teacher, our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration. Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

    Cosmo

  10. #10
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo View Post
    <snip> our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration.

    Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

    Cosmo

    With so many posts, I am left wondering what the actual policy is — for those who do not visit as part of an organized group.

    Also, is this policy set by a chapter of the AMC?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    With so many posts, I am left wondering what the actual policy is — for those who do not visit as part of an organized group.

    Also, is this policy set by a chapter of the AMC?
    good question.

    my statement earlier about day hikers is based in part on something i think i read on here recently and also a vague sense that when i hiked through the area i did not stop at the cabin because i was not staying overnight and something (a sign in the lot on rt20 or on the trail, or perhaps something in a guidebook) had given me the impression they only wanted to be visited by people with intent to stay over night. it was about 8 years ago now though.

  12. #12

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    [QUOTE=rickb;2214421][CENTER][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Avenir]“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


    Sorry you had a bad experience Teacher, our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration. Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

    Cosmo

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    “Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”

    7B4768E5-E599-4016-AB53-36A5E49D64E0.jpeg
    This is really all that needs to be said. The caretaker appears to be in the wrong. It also sounds like it's been addressed so hopefully there won't be anymore issues. Maybe carry a screenshot of this policy if you go and advise the caretaker if they protest.

  14. #14
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    There definitely was a bias in favor of thru hikers when I stayed there. Only thru hikers were allowed to sleep in the cabin. Thru hikers were first to get pancakes. An off-duty caretaker stopped by with 3 gallons of ice cream and only thru hikers were invited to indulge.
    More walking, less talking.

  15. #15

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    Thank you Cosmo for the chat, and the assurance that these complaints will be addressed. It was heartbreaking for me and the young boys to have this special place spoiled, and infuriating when I heard what my son went through. Thank you for handling this, and yes, I'll go back next week with the younger boys to give it another chance.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

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    Stayed there one night last September on my section hike of Mass. Had absolutely no issues. Was made to feel very welcome even though the bunk house was full.


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    I stayed there last year the 3rd week of July - and was clear that I was a section hiker (although I was traveling with a Thru hike "Tramily" that I met about 100 miles earlier.)

    The caretakers (husband/wife team with at least one teen daughter...might have had another.) were extremely kind and gracious. They said they volunteered for that week each year... bless them!

    I did hear that there are more volunteers for this spot than weeks available... maybe the AMC could have hikers complete an online Google Survey during their stay (most hikers have smart phones, and if necessary, I would gladly create the survey for you...). Then, for the following year, the AMC would be clear on who is the best fit for the hikers they want at GP.

  18. #18
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    Default Upper Goose Pond Cabin

    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Since my first visit to UGPC in 2013, I've touted this spot to all who'd listen of it's beauty, it's serenity, the friendliness and welcome found there. No more. My last two encounters with the caretakers there have been far from friendly, and anything but welcoming.

    Last Tuesday, June 26, I met my son and his friend in Lee, MA to resupply them on their section hike through MA and CT. The plan was they would then get to UGPC for that night and zero the following day. Though I'd literally been shooed away on my last visit there with kids for having the audacity to arrive as a day hiker, I'd assured them they'd enjoy the spot and be welcomed as section hikers (per the website). However, by 7:00 that night I received a text asking if they could stay somewhere else for both that night and their zero as they felt completely unwelcome. Apparently the caretaker grudgingly allowed them the last 2 bunks with under-the-breath-yet-audible comments about "these section hikers", but when 5 thruhikers arrived later they were told they no longer had bunks and that they'd have to tent.

    They had little choice but to stay the night, and chose to take their zero there also, but stayed clear of the caretaker for the most part. But the next day, when it was clear that no crowds were coming (5 hikers total including them), they asked if they could have bunks. The caretaker made them wait until dusk before very grudgingly allowing them space, even though not another hiker had arrived all day. Also, they were told in no uncertain terms that if any thru hikers arrived, they'd again have to give up their space and tent.

    Nowhere on the website does it claim that thruhikers get priority over section hikers, yet these VERY QUIET and VERY SHY young men were made to feel like second-class citizens.

    "
    Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.".
    Pond Cabin

    It hurts me so to read posts by folks who visit UGP and are not happy with their experience.

    To start off, I have thru-hiked and have been a caretaker at the cabin for the last 15 years. During that time I have met many hundreds of hiker visitors and have got to know most of the volunteer caretakers. Most, if not all, caretakers are outstanding folks who generously give their time to make a stay at the cabin a memorable experience.
    The cabin administration has created a set of caretakers rules that govern the daily operation of the cabin. These general rules leave flexibility for the caretaker, on duty, to intemperate them as they understand them. This flexibility leads to some different standards used by different caretakers.
    The caretakers position has become more and more taxing with the increased use over the past several years. A caretaker has to become more of a enforcer than just a vacationer at the cabin.
    The unfortunate results are that some folks can get upset when a rule is enforced in a manner not expectable by them.
    A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to " go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.
    Grampie-N->2001

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampie View Post
    Pond Cabin

    It hurts me so to read posts by folks who visit UGP and are not happy with their experience.

    To start off, I have thru-hiked and have been a caretaker at the cabin for the last 15 years. During that time I have met many hundreds of hiker visitors and have got to know most of the volunteer caretakers. Most, if not all, caretakers are outstanding folks who generously give their time to make a stay at the cabin a memorable experience.
    The cabin administration has created a set of caretakers rules that govern the daily operation of the cabin. These general rules leave flexibility for the caretaker, on duty, to intemperate them as they understand them. This flexibility leads to some different standards used by different caretakers.
    The caretakers position has become more and more taxing with the increased use over the past several years. A caretaker has to become more of a enforcer than just a vacationer at the cabin.
    The unfortunate results are that some folks can get upset when a rule is enforced in a manner not expectable by them.
    A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to " go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.
    Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

    Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

    Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.
    It's easy to tell the difference between someone who just crossed the road and someone whos hiked hundreds of miles.

    The person who's hiked hundreds of miles wouldn't make a stink about a GA-ME thru hiker getting first dibs pancakes.

    Just today I saw a guy starting a two day hike. .2 miles in from the road where he started was a cooler with soda and a sign that read for "AT Thru Hikers". He drank two of them.







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