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  1. #1

    Default Shelter Protocol

    I am not sure if this is exactly the right place, but I'm posting here because we experienced something on Saturday evening, at the Ed Garvey Shelter, that was a little frustrating...so if its in the wrong place, I'm sorry--it could certainly be any shelter on the AT I'm asking this about.

    My husband and I were planning on doing a 3.5 day leisurely trip from Snicker's Gap into Penn Mar, to sew up a little section we'd hadn't done yet. We originally planned to start Friday, but the weather was crummy--so we holed up in the Battletown Inn (nice place, Berryvale VA) for a night, and started on Saturday. Beautiful day, but to make up some time, we hiked a little further than originally planned, doing about 25 or 26 miles into the Ed Garvey. Not bad terrain, beautiful day, no complaints--but we were tired and looking forward to crashing after a quick bite. Unfortunately, when we arrived, the shelter was FULL, and I mean FULL.

    The boys scouts were there, which wasn't actually a big deal, except that they had spread out tents everywhere and I think we had gotten the very last site you could squeeze into...but we were hoping to just crash in the shelter. Now, this is a pretty big shelter, but there were a ton of people there, most of whom had apparently hiked a couple of miles in from a nearby parking lot to spend the night, and were then hiking out back to their vehicles in the AM. I think there were probably 3 or 4 thru-hikers that we could discern out of the whole lot (two of them relegated to hammocks), and when asked if there was room at all in the shelter, we were told it was full.

    I know it doesn't do any good to complain or write letters--but for my own sanity here--is this really supposed to happen? I know, shelters are first come, first serve...and we did have tents...but is this a frequent occurence for folks? We have only been sectioning for probably the past 5 or 6 years, I don't think we've ever had someone tell us there wasn't any more room in a shelter.

    As a contrast, we spent the next evening in Ensign Cowall, completely alone! It was very peaceful.

    Thanks for listening, in retrospect not a big deal I guess...just needed to vent. I guess everyone has the same right to the shelters.

    gum

  2. #2
    Registered User ShakeyLeggs's Avatar
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    Your right shelters are first come first served. Were the scouts taking up the shelter? The only time I have ever found a shelter totally full was down close to springer during prime thru hiker season. Totally full shelters are not the norm but it does happen as you observed. Just do like you did and be prepared to either tent or hammock or move on to the next shelter. As the saying goes the shelter is never full until everyone is in.
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  3. #3

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    You had a tent, i don't see the problem? Shelters are like that: many people congregate there and how can you complaing about it? just carry a tent. If it's the only water around, cook and eat, and move on.
    It depends on the mentality and morals of the folks who are inside i guess. I've seen shelters in hurricanes that were totally full (8 people in a shelter that normally is full with 5) and 2 more people came walking up, drenched, out of the downpour and said: "any room in there" obviously there wasn't, but a few of us said: "always room for one or 2 more" and scrunched around to make them a (small) spot.
    But if the weather is decent, and the boy scouts have filled the shelter, move on. It's a big trail.

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gumball View Post
    ...just needed to vent. I guess everyone has the same right to the shelters.

    gum

    Yep. For the reasons you mentioned, shelters suck. Burn 'em all.

  5. #5
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Not much good can be said about the Boy Scout leaders that night who encouraged their kids to monopolize the shelter. IMHO they should have all been in tents--not for the benefit of non-Scout hikers necessarily, but to better teach the kids how to camp in the woods.

  6. #6
    Registered User Nightwalker's Avatar
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    Cool

    Could be worse. I arrived at a shelter sick and tired one evening, right before sundown. I asked if there was room and was told that there was. Basically, a dog had to move out of his own spot onto his owner's HUGE double bag. Later on, the swooft little bee-atch who told me that there was room came on here whining about how I came barging in and caused folks to have to get out of my way so that I could lay down. A huge dog got voluntarily moved out of the way and that was it. No one even acted like there was a problem at the time, and I had a badly abscessed tooth that was going to end up out in about two days.

    If you'd have seen this guy, you'd know why he waited till I wasn't around to moan about it. What a sissy!

    Anyone who'll smile to your face and then make fun of you to your back just needs to stay home and leave the woods to the hikers.

  7. #7
    Registered User ShakeyLeggs's Avatar
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    My best shelter experience was a very long time ago but I will never forget it even though I can't for the life of me remember what shelter it was. After a very long hard hot day of hiking I rolled into the shelter just before dark. It was crowded. As I walked up to the shelter I asked if there was room and before anyone said anything one of the guys there threw me an orange and replied sure is. Man was that one of the most sweet tasting and best oranges I have ever eaten.
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  8. #8
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    Shelters (and accompanying campsites) will always be communal-use sites, and there is always the chance that there may be large numbers of people at these locations, including large groups who tend to take over and dominate the sites.

    The fact that some of the folks in this story only hiked a few miles to the shelter is irrelevant.....shelters are first-come, first served, regardless of what someone's daily mileage might be.

    For those concerned with the possibility of encountering full, crowded, or loud shelters/campsites, there's a very simple remedy:

    Don't stay at them.

    Crowded and boisterous shelters are indeed a pain in the ass. But nobody is compelled to overnight at these places. It's hard to find complaints about shelters and established campsites if you make an effort NOT to stay at them.....and this isn't hard to do.

  9. #9
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    Not much good can be said about the Boy Scout leaders that night who encouraged their kids to monopolize the shelter. IMHO they should have all been in tents--not for the benefit of non-Scout hikers necessarily, but to better teach the kids how to camp in the woods.
    I thought gumball said the Boy Scouts were camping in tents. (?)

    Anyway, this is getting to be summer. People will be everywhere. To be expected. SHelters are so noisy. Only good for pouring rain, IMO. Tent, tent, tent. The weather is good right now anyway.







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  10. #10
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    But in addition to that, it is tough in MD to tent with dispersed camping prohibited (and we wanted to stay by the C&O but they closed the camp site). Need to plan it a bit more. But the AT is short there, so easy in and out. I just know this area is very popular with its proximity to D.C.







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  11. #11
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    I did not read anything in your post that would make me sympathetic towards your situation. There is no room at a first-come-first- served shelter, and you can't stay there. Did you expect someone to give up their place? I would not expect them to. As far as the Boy Scouts, they to have as much right to be there as anyone else. Should they have packed up and left when the Gumballs showed up. I just don't see any reason for your bitchin, and I am not going to give you a shoulder to cry on.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by jessebrent View Post
    I did not read anything in your post that would make me sympathetic towards your situation. There is no room at a first-come-first- served shelter, and you can't stay there. Did you expect someone to give up their place? I would not expect them to. As far as the Boy Scouts, they to have as much right to be there as anyone else. Should they have packed up and left when the Gumballs showed up. I just don't see any reason for your bitchin, and I am not going to give you a shoulder to cry on.

    Read her last paragraph again.

  13. #13
    Registered User Toolshed's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gumball View Post
    ....I know it doesn't do any good to complain or write letters--but for my own sanity here--is this really supposed to happen? I know, shelters are first come, first serve...and we did have tents...but is this a frequent occurence for folks? We have only been sectioning for probably the past 5 or 6 years, I don't think we've ever had someone tell us there wasn't any more room in a shelter.

    As a contrast, we spent the next evening in Ensign Cowall, completely alone! It was very peaceful.

    Thanks for listening, in retrospect not a big deal I guess...just needed to vent. I guess everyone has the same right to the shelters.

    gum
    Hmmmm..... Section hikers complaining about other section hikers taking up the shelters. Aha.. You's are only out for 1 night - We are out for 2, therefore we should complain....?

    Sounds like you had a crowded night and a quiet night. Probably the best and the worst the trail has to offer - You broke even. Make sure in your letter of complaint you praise them for that second night.
    .....Someday, like many others who joined WB in the early years, I may dry up and dissapear....

  14. #14
    Registered User jesse's Avatar
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    Read her last paragraph again
    I did, and am still don't get it. If she had written the last paragraph first, there would be no reason to write the rest of the post.

  15. #15

    Default

    Did the "peeper's" complain?

  16. #16

    Default Relating a very recent experience

    This past Sunday, bro and I hiked over Moosilauke from Jeffer's Brook Shelter to Beaver Brook Shelter. The day started out with a light rain and got progressively worse. When we reached Beaver Brook Shelter, the tent pads were mostly snowy/icy/wet nightmares with heavy runoff streaming beneath the snow/ice. Under less extreme conditions we tent. Once we were set up in the shelter and hung our stuff to dry(?), a prep school group of 15 arrived. The leader proclaimed, "the first rule is not to invade. We will set up the tents." I don't know where she came up with that, but to make a long story short, the invasion proceeded as they discovered there was very little workable tent space. As they kept crowding more in, we decided that between the crowding and whining ("I'm cold. I'm wet. I wanna go home."), that we would be better off heading down the mountain and completing our section hike early. The leader was gracious and urged us to stay, but we offered her our best wishes and headed out. We did not feel particularly annoyed or saintly. It just was what it was and we moved on.

  17. #17
    Registered User SunnyWalker's Avatar
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    Well, who would want to stay at a shelter/camp site when a bunch of Boy Scouts are there? No complain about the BSA, but usually these are young kids and they are LOUD, boisterous, playful, etc., this is usual-they are having a good time. I would have just moved on. -SunnyWalker

  18. #18
    Registered User Nightwalker's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyWalker View Post
    Well, who would want to stay at a shelter/camp site when a bunch of Boy Scouts are there? No complain about the BSA, but usually these are young kids and they are LOUD, boisterous, playful, etc., this is usual-they are having a good time. I would have just moved on. -SunnyWalker
    The name of the shelter escapes me, but it's the lst one going North in the 100 Mile Wilderness. There was a group of scouts that got it right. There was a Scoutmaster, two assistants, a Troop Leader and an assistant. They didn't know the "10 to a group" rule, but they were so well behaved that it was just a joy to be amongst them. They all stayed in tents except for one kid with no tent and the Scoutmaster who kept him company. I think that the no-tent kid was a little "sickly"--slept a lot, pale, etc.

    They cleaned up every bit of trash that had been put there by any and every hiker that had been through there. They cleaned out the fire pit, even though they hadn't used it. They were the most cheerful, industrious young men that I'd seen in quite awhile.

    One of the coolest things was that the assistant Scoutmaster was an ER nurse with combat and SAR experience. She was seriously neat, and was teaching all of the kids for their First Aid badges as a group. I hung around until about three in the afternoon before I took off just because I enjoyed them so much.

  19. #19

    Default

    boy scouts are ok by me. the AT is a good place for kids to be.
    so what if they're a little loud. They're kids. If you want the wilderness experience, go to the CDT.

  20. #20
    Registered User SunnyWalker's Avatar
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    Like I said, no complaints against the BSA. Sounds like you had a good time that day/night. But herein points up a weakness I see with some hikers on AT. You are tied to the Shelters. Pack your own shelter (tent, tarp, hammock, etc.) and be free. -SunnyWalker

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