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  1. #61

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    What was Lonewolf doing at a shelter?

  2. #62
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    I remember thinking, "ah, Wautauga Lake Shelter, must be a beautiful shelter on the lake." I pictured it in my head all day long. Taking a short walk down to the lake from the shelter to take a well earned swim after a long sweaty summer day of hiking. Sitting down by the lake eating my dinner in peace and quiet while watching the sunset shimmering across the water. But, when I got there NO LAKE! Just a full house and a fire ring full of someone's left behind spaghetti and charred beer cans. Still, I was grateful. I got there just in time to snag the last spot in the shelter before the skies were about to open the floodgates in a torrential summer downpour.

    There was this New Hampshire couple on a short section hike who were in this long debate whether or not to put up their tent. They, I mean she, went on and on complaining about how dirty everything was, that she saw toilet paper in the woods, and how crowded it was. She was particularly fearful of all the woodland creatures that could harm her. The bears would attack her. I heard her whisper to her husband, "I have my period. They will go after me." The rattlesnakes and copperheads were going to slither into her sleeping bag and bite her. The porcupines would inject her with poisonous barbs. The black widows and brown recleses woud kill her. The skunks would spray her. And, most of all, she was deathly afraid(hardcore phobia) that the mice and rats, which of course someone said they saw scurrying on the ground near where she was going to sleep, would transmit the dreaded hunta virus to her. She was really afraid of them. After much debate they decided to sleep cowboy style outside on the ground. I told them, "that's not a good idea. It's going to rain heavily very shortly." Another debate ensued on whether or not it was going to rain. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. At that point if I had a gun I might have been forced to use it. Finally, several other hikers had enough. They packed up their gear and left as the first raindrops fell. As it started to rain harder and harder the couple couldn't put up their now muddy tent fast enough. Into the shelter they came. UGH! All night long she complained nonstop. And, as luck would have it, she slept next to me. Well, not really sleep. She nervously twitched and snored all night long. Just as everyone in the shelter would start to doze off again she would wake up complaining about some bug she imagined was crawling on her. Finally, about 3:00 A.M. I, as well as everyone else, had enough. As she mumbled, snored, and twitched away I plucked a piece of down from my sleeping bag and ran it across her lips. She woke up screaming. Just then, I said, "did U see it, did U see it, a mouse just ran across your face."

    The next day I realized if I was ever going to stay in another AT shelter I had to have ear plugs! Let it be a lesson to all U newbies!

  3. #63
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    That sounds like him. We had two groups going from Kincora to Damascus, hiking in opposite directions. The guy was at Watauga Shelter on Jan 1, 2, and 3 for sure. Says he's "hiking to Springer". Since he's made it a whole whopping 4 miles (I'm sure he blue blazed Pond as he was asking about it), he certainly ain't in no hurry.....lol
    Yeah, that was definitely that same guy. I had my date wrong, I saw him on 1/10 at Laurel Fork. Iím guessing he stayed at Laurel Fork at least through 1/11 though cause it was raining.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    The area north of Watauga Shelter and the south side of Pond will have relocates in the future. Did you see the orange tape?
    I do remember seeing some orange tape, butI donít remember exactly where as I was going up Pond Mtn. All I can recollect is how stinkin steep the climbing got near the top. The worst part was the 50 Ė 100í before reaching Horse Ridge Gap, and then finding out there was more climibing after going through the gap. It would be nice to see some switchbacks up there instead of the direct route straight up the side.

  4. #64
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    It would be hard to put a shelter any closer to this lake. There are too many boater/campers on this lake. There is also alot of roads close to the trail. This is non experienced primative campers with no idea of lnt. I visit this lake quite frequently and never saw a fisherman staying at the shelter. Not to say that some haven't.

    If I camp by the shelter, I stay on the AT going north. Right before the trail goes uphill, I head to the right and take a small trail to the lake. This is where I'll usually camp in this area, But its not right by the shelter, but by the lake.
    The fisherman camp before the shelter works too. I found an alcohol stove up on the hill right after the fisherman camp about a month or so ago.
    Heading north on the AT past the shelter there is a good spot to pitch a tent if the water isn't too high. Right before you get to the dam and the paved walk, there is a spot on the left thats perfect. Most of the boaters on the lake don't know about this one. It will hold atleast two tents. Its a good place to soak the feet or go swimming, although I don't swim in this lake. There are a lot of currents that will suck you under. We were water sking on day out there and the water suck my brother in low under and he was wearing a life jacket. He popped up a couple of seconds later. Good thing he had a lifejacket.

  5. #65
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    I meant to say the trash is usually left by the campers...locals...

  6. #66

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    anyone kno how far it is from the watauga lake shelter to an area where someone could drive to pick someone up, just a good day hike like 10-15 miles???? thanks for the help

  7. #67
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by showcase View Post
    anyone kno how far it is from the watauga lake shelter to an area where someone could drive to pick someone up, just a good day hike like 10-15 miles???? thanks for the help
    You could SOBO from Watauga Shelter, hike the 1+ miles to 321, do Pond Mt, do Laurel Falls, and get picked up at Dennis Cove Road. That is about 10 miles all on the AT.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  8. #68
    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    on the southern side of the lake is a rd, correct me if i'm wrong, but i want to say its 316 and a good hike would be from dennis cove rd to there, and if you wanna go a little furhter hike to the shelter.... well actually i slackpacked it while staying at kincora, bob recommends going over pond mtn sobo, and at the end of the day just before you get to dennis cove rd, you can take a dip in the falls there.
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  9. #69
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    oops yeah 321
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  10. #70
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaiter View Post
    on the southern side of the lake is a rd, correct me if i'm wrong, but i want to say its 316 and a good hike would be from dennis cove rd to there, and if you wanna go a little furhter hike to the shelter.... well actually i slackpacked it while staying at kincora, bob recommends going over pond mtn sobo, and at the end of the day just before you get to dennis cove rd, you can take a dip in the falls there.
    That was a great day.
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  11. #71

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    Some updated info from this past week:

    -This shelter currently has a nice tarp to help prevent the smoke from the ill-placed fire-pit. (the Vanderventer Shelter 7 miles to the north has the same smoke problem with no tarp.) The walk from the north is quite scarce for water; most of the NOBO hikers we met between there and Double Springs were concerned about water.

    -We chose not to stay in this shelter for a few reasons. One of which was the fact that it is a good half mile from any water-level access. The second is that the rustling form underneath the shelter in the afternoon let us know it was actively infested with mice; lots of food wrappers underneath the shelter. There was also some LARGE rustling coming from downhill and across the spring, just beyond the well-worn bear pole.

    -Another parking consideration for hiking this area would be Wilbur Dam Rd. just 4.3 miles north of Hwy 321 and 2.5 miles north of the Watauga Lake Shelter. A considerable drawback is that the last bit of downhill to the lake is along an old paved road and lands you right on the dam. The level of unnaturalness is kind of a downer.

    -Lots of day hikers, boaters and genuine traffic at our campsite on the lake. More than one person seemed to "check-in" on us via kayak, pontoon, or trail. (two claimed to be nearby homeowners.) Good on them, though; kind & friendly folks enjoying the beautiful August weather.

    ....Great hike! I think I have the fever; got my list out and looking for ways to drop weight.

  12. #72
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Spent the night there last summer with a couple of guys I was hiking with and a large group of scouts and their leaders. At first thought it would be a miserable, rainy, crowded night, but was wrong. Yes there were a lot of people there, but the Scout group was operating as a Scout group should. The leaders told the Scouts what they needed to do, and, for the most part, the Scouts did it without complaint or drama.

    Was particularly impressed when all the adult leaders turned in to their tents in the evening, just a bit before dark, and left most of the boys hanging out around the fire. Their last instruction was " Be respectful of the other hikers (us)". The boys stayed up, talking, joking, and laughing at a reasonable level for about a half hour, or about 15 minutes after dark. Then, one of the older scouts said "OK guys, time for bed". Within about 5 minutes, the fire was out, and all the scouts had scattered to their tents, and were just very quietly talking to their tent mates, 15 minutes later, not a sound could be heard. Very impressive for a large group of adolescent boys ranging in age from about 12 to about 17. Next morning was just as impressive, with some of the stronger boys voluntarily taking some extra weight from the ones that had had difficulties the previous day. They were heading up over Pond Flats, so had a pretty decent hike ahead of them. Gave both the leaders and boys kudos for their attitudes and consideration of each other and us. Turned out to be a very pleasant evening with that large group.

  13. #73
    Registered User 1peanut's Avatar
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    Hike through that area last spring. Between the recreation area and the shelter there was some pretty creepy looking people that had there tents set up along the trail. We just kept moving and didn't go up to the shelter.

  14. #74
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    ***UPDATE*** - Watauga Lake Shelter has been officially retired.

    I just received word from my maintainer contacts that the shelter was dismantled on May 1st as the bear activity around Watauga Lake, TN has not diminished over the last few years.

    Once the camping restriction around Watauga Lake is lifted, the shelter site will probably be renovated into a tent site.
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  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    ***UPDATE*** - Watauga Lake Shelter has been officially retired.

    I just received word from my maintainer contacts that the shelter was dismantled on May 1st as the bear activity around Watauga Lake, TN has not diminished over the last few years.

    Once the camping restriction around Watauga Lake is lifted, the shelter site will probably be renovated into a tent site.
    It was closed for four years running when we hiked by it earlier this year.

    Lots of bears.

    It it was too close to the lake and a favored place for cleaning fish.

    The dismantling had been approved for more than a year, just had had some pushback.

    Guess it finally happened.

  16. #76
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    The next shelters are NOBO 7.2 miles away and SOBO 8.6 miles, but the Boots Off Hostel is within two miles of the closed Watauga Lake shelter. That's a good place to stop if the nearly 16 miles between shelters is too far for your hike in the area.
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  17. #77

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    Sadly this won't really accomplish anything. The real culprit are the weekenders who don't know or care any better.

  18. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    ***UPDATE*** - Watauga Lake Shelter has been officially retired.

    I just received word from my maintainer contacts that the shelter was dismantled on May 1st as the bear activity around Watauga Lake, TN has not diminished over the last few years.

    Once the camping restriction around Watauga Lake is lifted, the shelter site will probably be renovated into a tent site.

    And over time do folks think that this will be the staple event for the shelter scene? In other words will more shelters be dismantled than built?
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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  19. #79
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gambit McCrae View Post
    And over time do folks think that this will be the staple event for the shelter scene? In other words will more shelters be dismantled than built?
    There is a shelter in New York that is well known for its bear problem, and I stayed at the Gravel Springs Hut in SNP where a couple of bears were hanging around on the outskirts of the shelter/campsite. Other than those two incidents, I really haven't seen or heard of bear problems at shelters while on the trail (1875 miles NOBO so far). I doubt there will be wholesale dismantling of shelters, but that one in New York is really bad (wish I could remember the name). I would be surprised if they haven't closed it at least temporarily.


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