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  1. #1
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    Default Manassas Gap Shelter

    Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Jim and Molly Denton Shelter

    Past/Present hikers - what can future hikers expect here? Have any good stories or memories from here?

    Future hikers - any questions?

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  2. #2
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Stay away if you can. They've had historical problems with snakes and rats at this location. It was October 2001 and the any snake inhabitants were not around, but a good-sized wood rat scampered through the rafters all night long. Fortunately, an overnight camper joined me and hung his Bonfire tent lantern up, illuminating the entire shelter and keeping the rat to the shadows. Even so, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, especially after reading numerous stories in the shelter register about how the rat liked to nibble at hiker's hair in the middle of the night. In retrospect, I should have either stayed at the Denton Shelter or pushed on to Dick's Dome, but it was my first day out.

    The piped spring is just down the hill to the right of the shelter and is very nice.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

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    Same rat problem as Dick's Dome but got to see the Beautiful Copperheads just below the fire ring...good tent sites before you reach the shelter.

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    I'm the PATC shelter overseer at Manassas Gap. As best I can tell the past rodent problem has been solved. None reported in recent log books and I've seen none on several visits this year.

    Snakes are around, so maybe that's why there's not a rat problem. I've seen several shy Black snakes (see my pic gallery) in the shelter.

    Copperheads are know to den in and around the stone retaining wall just beyond the fire pit. I've not personally seen one in the shelter, but there are reports of copperheads sunning on the concrete slab near the fire pit.

    Last year the shelter was lifted off the ground 18" to prevent burrowing beneath the shelter. And this Fall the retaining wall will be rebuilt in a way that discourages snake dens.

    Anyway, it's still a good site and it's not gauranteed you'll see a snake - or that if you do, they'll do anything but sleep in the rafters of the shelter.

    As for other amenities at the shelter, H2O source is very good and privy is usually pretty clean.

    Several decent tent sites and firepits on the approach trail.

  5. #5
    Registered User Garlic's Avatar
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    This shelter has changed quite a bit since the early 1990's. PATC has a done a great job with it. Was out two weeks ago and didn't see the resident rat. A lot of tent sites in the area with a few campfire rings. A small piped spring just down the path (20' or so).

  6. #6

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    I'll never forget hiking onto Manassas Gap Shelter. After dinner I bedded down and good size copperhead dropped right onto my sleeping bag. He and I just looked at each other, he flicked his tongue at me and I flicked mine at him, then he slid off. After he was gone, I went and took the longest piss I think I ever did....wanderer

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    Runnin' on Empty Teatime's Avatar
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    Unhappy I Don't like spiders and snakes

    When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Only Wanderer
    I'll never forget hiking onto Manassas Gap Shelter. After dinner I bedded down and good size copperhead dropped right onto my sleeping bag. He and I just looked at each other, he flicked his tongue at me and I flicked mine at him, then he slid off. After he was gone, I went and took the longest piss I think I ever did....wanderer

  8. #8

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    I was there on May 9th and found the shelter to be clean and minus the signs of mice, rats or snakes. I was told though by Bill the caretaker at Blackburn that the copperheads still do indeed have their den just a couple hundred yards down from the shelter. If the shelters are kept as clean as possible and people do not eat in them only as a last resort, the rodent problem will be kept down and the snakes will have no reason to visit the shelter.

    Old Hickory MH......... I'd rather die living life than live life dying!

  9. #9

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    That was around August of 2001....wanderer

  10. #10

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    Around the last week of August or the first week of September 2001

    Quote Originally Posted by Teatime
    When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.

  11. #11
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    Default Memorial Day Weekend

    A small milk snake poked its head out of a crack on the outer, right-hand side of the entrance about half way up. Then it retreated not to be seen again that night. I read and laughed at a few strange entries in the shelter log, a bear wearing a blue shirt offered us some herbal refreshments, and I learned why AT hikers rarely ever shake hands. Other than that, it was an uneventful and relaxing stay.

    Happy Hiking

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teatime
    When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.
    late august 2001

  13. #13
    Registered User johnnyblisters's Avatar
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    Just got back from a weekend hike from chester gap to snickers gap, stayed in this shelter with dagonpen and a thru-hiker (didnt catch his name). Had no problems with snakes or rodents of any kind.-milkman

  14. #14
    Future AT Bag Lady Mini-Mosey's Avatar
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    Default Manasses Gap Shelter

    I tented here on an overnight backpacking trip this weekend. The water source is first-rate. I hadn't seen the shelter for 2 or 3 years. Since then, it's really been improved....floor repaired and painted, platform raised, etc. However, in log entries, there are reports of the resident copperhead sightings.
    mini-m.

  15. #15

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    In December of '97 I thought it was one of the neatest little shelters on the trail. It even had emergency wool blankets.

    The spring was one of the best I've seen anywhere, a real gusher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mini-Mosey
    I tented here on an overnight backpacking trip this weekend. The water source is first-rate. I hadn't seen the shelter for 2 or 3 years. Since then, it's really been improved....floor repaired and painted, platform raised, etc. However, in log entries, there are reports of the resident copperhead sightings.
    Hello. I'm the PATC overseer for Manassas Gap Shelter.

    Did you notice the date of the snake sightings in the log? some are old. We did extensive work on the rock retaining wall in front of the shelter. A great deal of effort was made to rebuild the retaining wall to included wire mesh behind the rocks. The hope is that this will deter the creation of snake dens so close to the shelter.

  17. #17
    Future AT Bag Lady Mini-Mosey's Avatar
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    Default copperheads

    It seems to me that some were fairly recent, although I can't remember dates. When did you put the wire mesh in? And, most importantly, thanks very much for all your hard work. It's very noticeable.
    mini-m.

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    Thanks, the wire/mesh screen went in behind the retaining wall this past fall. Bob Picket, the PATC Club Naturalist, and his crew deserve the credit for the idea and most of the work. They are very hard workers to say the least. It sure was fun removing a stone wall where copperheads are known to live! luckily none were at home this day. yikes!

    We're hoping feedback from the logbook will help determine how much this helps.

    The former shelter overseers and other PATC members did alot, too, including raising the entire shelter about 2.5 feet off the ground. The surrounding site and shelter is much improved over the last several years, I believe.

  19. #19
    Registered User jamarshall's Avatar
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    Log was missing from shelter last week. No snake sightings, no rodents. A few locals dropped by to cook burgers, but they were friendly (there's a side trail that's only about a half hour hike up to the shelter) and left as it was getting dark. Heard grouse drumming the next morning and found a couple of morels near the shelter. Another very peaceful spot.

  20. #20
    Fat Guy Lemni Skate's Avatar
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    I stayed there in Late April of 2008. Had it all to myself. Looked like a Disney movie when all the wildlife scrambled away when I go there.

    Spring was very close to shelter and water was gushing out like a fire hose. I was asleep before seven as I was exhausted as I did my first ever overnighter with a full pack as a shakedown hike for a full two-weeker I was doing later.

    Slept like a baby, but I was up and hiking again before dawn.
    Lemni Skate away

    The trail will save my life

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