View Full Version : Morgan Stewart Memorial Shelter - NY
I ate a quarter-pound of Fig Newtons and some water for lunch at Morgan Stewart Shelter on a day hike from Taconic State Parkway on April 1st of 2000 (the night after Duke came from waaay behind to win the NCAA tournament). The lean-to is pretty basic and looked as if it had been used as a party hangout in the recent past. I certainly wouldn't make this a destination spot, although it serves the purpose of a basic shelter. There was 2 feet of snow on the ground (which made for a tough hiking day), so I didn't get a chance to check out the spring. The shelter is located atop the ridge in a heavily wooded area. I kept referring to this as the Morgan Stanley-Dean Witter Shelter and making up ad campaigns in my head (I said it was a tough day).
I forgot to give a report when I last stopped in back in November. I is a pretty basic shelter out in the middle of nowhere, no view. I did not see the water source, I had plenty with me. I did not see tenting sites either. Shelter register did say there had been some bear activity earlier in the summer and fall.
Hang your food just in case.
Stayed the night of 16. Jan 2005, having hiked in by headlamp with an 8 PM arrival. About 1 in snow on the ground. Heard coyotes through the night. The pump is about 100 yds downhill. It works, but in cold conditions you must pump for about 5 minutes to thaw out the spigot, this scheme also works to clear the rust from the water. The privy can be seen on the right looking out from inside the shelter. A nice basic shelter, with a nine mile approach from road access to the south near the Taconic Parkway crossing.
I came across a section hiker, Mountain Dog who confirmed the bear activity here. He stayed here around the 1st of May 2006.
When we stopped here for lunch a few weeks ago, it looked from the shelter register like this shelter is quite the destination spot for folks who are looking to imbibe, whatever substances. It's kind of hard to imagine it, because it is not at all near a road crossing and up what most day hikers would find a substantial hill, but I got a bit of a spooky feeling from reading the register. Lots of swearing, lots of hostility. Maybe the fact that it is located so near to Greenhaven Prison rubs off or something... that is one tough place.
Jane in CT
I was there last week (July 12th, 2006), and everything seemed fine to me. There was quite a bit of recent garbage (NY Times) left haphazardly in the shelter itself, but other than that the site was in good shape overall.
Ooops, now wait a second, I just remembered something that really pi$$ed me off while there... there was considerable broken glass strewn about the well pump down the hill, with the remnants of a fairly recent fire and obvious tire tracks leading away.
Anyone caught breaking glass on or near the trail should be immediately converted into Soylent Green. Why can't these folks drink out of beerballs, like we did back in the day?
My boyfriend and I hiked up here last summer south from rt. 22 to find a troop of boyscouts camped out! Turns out that Morgan Stewart is very close to a Boyscout Camp. To their credit, they were very well-behaved - no Lord of the Flies antics or spying on us after dark. Nuclear Lake is not far north. Don't let the ominus name fool you: it's a good swimming spot.
I plan to overnight here on a section hike with a small group that prefers to tent instead of sleep in shelters.
Does anyone know what the tenting sites are like?
Room for how many?
I loved the Morgan Stewart Shelter. I stayed there in 04/08. The lean to was pretty basic but the water was great and so was the privy. I'm a HHanger and the trees were absolutely perfectly spread. Getting to the water pump was in a steep hill below but it kept me in shape from becoming too lazy.
I finally made it there in Nov. 2008. There's unlimited room for tents behind the shelter, where we saw at least one established fire ring.
During our stay, there was a huge storm brewing and the shelter was full. The wind was whipping up the slope, into the front of the shelter. Our group headed way behind the shelter, over the knob and behind a small rock ledge to escape the wind. Perfect.
Yes, there's a reliable well with hand pump and a clean, well maintained privy with maintenance tools, supplies and instructions for upkeep.
I stopped at Morgan Stewart in October for a lunch break. There is a well down hill but there is a sign posted that testing indicated that the water need to be treated.
i live right near there and i know kids who go there to party without their parents finding out
I was there today. The shelter is clean and the surrounding area is in good shape as well.
Visited this Labor Day weekend along with the Princeton Orientation Kids and the Canadian Canoeists. Observed two empty Coors Lite case boxes. Alongside the trail down to the water pump.
Shelter itself in fine shape.
Was there for lunch on Sunday 5/9 - shelter in great condition very clean no trash. Got a kick out of the fire pit :) everything was in good working order.
We didn't hang out long since it was chilly!
I stayed here with my girlfriend Thanksgiving weekend, 11-26 to 11-28. We parked on NY-55 and hiked south to the shelter, arriving at about 11:30 at night. About a quarter mile or more from the shelter, we did see a pair of eyes shining back through the woods from our flashlights. They seemed low to the ground, lumbering back and forth a bit, and possibly predatory (close together). My girlfriend said she heard something flanking the eyes run off, and guessed they were deer. Since she works with animals, I trusted her assessment, but since we heard howling over the weekend it's possible they were coyotes. Coyotes in this area have more wolf DNA and tend to hunt more aggressively in packs than other coyotes.
Anyway, spooks in the night aside, the shelter was a pleasant haven. When we arrived, we were happy to find some small piles of firewood around the fire pit; just enough to light a fire with while we set our gear down for the night. There wasn't enough firewood around to easily gather bundles in the dark, so the next day we gathered enough to leave some bundles under the shelter, along with one of my homemade fire starters.
The shelter was in good condition, and, according to the log book, someone had been there about a week earlier to maintain the shelter. The only thing I found that was disappointing was someone had tossed a soda bottle into the privy. There also wasn't any TP there, so we left ours, and the duff was low so I refilled it. The water pump worked just fine, though we didn't need it. It also doesn't seem like the best idea having the privy directly uphill of the water source... Maybe it's just that I have a knack for ending up with erroneous maps, but there's a map/plaque nailed to the front of the shelter that is wrong. It should be a horizontal mirror image of itself. The laminated maps in the log box are correct, and the privy is delightfully depicted as a steaming pile of number 2.
It was a cold weekend, below freezing every night and only just a bit above freezing during the day. I'm glad I got to get a cold trip in this soon in the season. I was actually thrilled to find that on the last morning there, our water bottles had all become super cooled, and turned to ice while I tried to fill up a pot for morning coffee. That said, I do wish that the fire pit had been built just a little closer to the shelter, and at least in line of the opening (there is a tree in the way that looks like it's seen better days).
We only saw one thru hiker silently pass by on Saturday, and on Sunday we saw Mega 10 finishing the remaining NY portion of her otherwise completed southbound hike, along with a gentleman who's name I can't recall. We kindly chatted a bit about her hike, and she perused the log book to catch up on who passed through that she met on the trail.
All in all, a nice shelter. Doesn't have the charm of Wiley, but it was pleasant, and a joy to be out in the cold woods for a bit.
-EAPellow and Trillium
.....Nuclear Lake is not far north. Don't let the ominus name fool you: it's a good swimming spot.
Of course, don't be surprised if you glow in the dark after your swim :D
My understanding is there really was a research facility there at one time.
I stayed there this past weekend, July 22, 2011. Everything was in good shape, nice and tidy. Had about 10 thru-hikers all stay there at the same time and all but 2 slept in their tents. Plenty of tent space and good hammock tent spots as well.
Water pump was working well, and the water was clear and cold and very welcoming on the 100 degree day.
I was at Morgan Stewart last Tuesday, 8/9/11 and it was a little buggy, but reasonably clean. The water source is a well about 1/8 of a mile downhill and it needs treatment - there was a sign warning of coliform bacteria - but it tasted good once we filtered it. The next shelter south was RPH at about 10 miles and it is nice, also with a well. North you will hit Telephone Pioneers shelter in about 8 miles, which has no water.
The heat wave must been rough cause it was flowing strong early July when I was there