Thistle Hill Shelter
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Thistle Hill 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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Addicted Hiker and Donating Member
The privy is a screened in mini gazebo. Very cute.
LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member
I stayed at the Thistle Hill Shelter the third night of my September 2000 section hike. The shelter is to the right of the Trail for NOBOs, and faces east towards the White River valley and the clearing lets in a beautiful sunrise. There is a steep ridge behind the shelter that shuts out the sun at least an hour before true sunset.
The spring is a good trek down the hill and feeds a fast-flowing stream with lots of places to sit while you siphon water.
I missed the privy, but my hiking partner said it was unique, with screen walls that permitted an interesting woods view!
Here is a picture of the "Cloudland" privy at the Thistle Hill Shelter
And here is a picture of the more ordinary (but still great) Shelter:
Here's an story from the ALDHA website, written when the privy was being moved. Didn't know the original Cloudland Shelter is now gone.
The famous six-sided privy that has appeared in the National Geographic book from the late '80s has been refurbished and needs to be carried to a new location, closer to the Appalachian Trail, on Thistle Hill in Vermont.
Bert Gilbert and Al Sochard led a work party in the spring of '96 to haul out the privy from its original location at Cloudland Shelter. (See earlier story below.) But a trail relocation moved Cloudland about a half mile from the A.T., and a new shelter was built closer to the trail.
A hole was dug and a chum was installed at the site of the new shelter, but now it needs a real outhouse, and the Cloudland privy has volunteered to be johnny on the spot. So more volunteers are needed to help carry the shrine to its new site. Bert Gilbert will host this work trip, scheduled for Nov. 9-10, and more information is available by contacting Al Sochard via e-mail at email@example.com, or by calling him in New Hampshire at 603-883-2686.
ALDHA Treasurer Al Sochard conducts an annual spring work trip in northern New England, and this year he and about 5 others focused on relocating the famous six-sided privy at Cloudland Shelter in Vermont to a new lean-to, closer to the A.T., on Thistle Hill.
A few years ago the A.T. was relocated about a half mile from the Cloudland shelter. The property owner didn't mind the trail crossing his farm, but it included a road walk and the Trail Conference has been trying to move the trail off as many roads as possible. So Cloudland Shelter, and perhaps the most photographed privy on the A.T., found themselves far off the trodden path, especially for long-distance hikers wary of traveling too far out of their way to seek shelter on the trail.
So the Dartmouth Outing Club, which maintains this stretch in Vermont, built a new shelter on Thistle Hill, closer to the A.T. But it didn't have a shoonie, or privy, until folks decided to move the Cloudland privy to this new shelter. A hole was dug at the site, leaving ALDHA the task of moving the privy to the new spot.
Scott Beavers said the work trip, which took place in May, was deluged with rain. But the folks who showed up managed to have a good time despite the weather and hard work. Disassembling a masterpiece like a hexagonal outhouse takes a lot of time, especially if the architect is along with you to make sure things are done right. Bob Averill, of the D.O.C., supervised the work.
The structure, though lightweight in appearance, weighed quite a bit when hoisted by human hands, according to Scott. Volunteers had to carry it out, through the woods, down a hill and across a cow-dung-filled field to a waiting truck, and then go back to fetch the toilet part of the base. They then drove to the new site -- the privy visible to passing traffic -- and hauled the toilet portion of it by hand up the hill to the new shelter.
The outer structure was carted off to Averill's house, where he'll go to work refurbishing the wood. It will be placed over the toilet at some future date. With the "chum" in place at the new shelter, D.O.C. was able to officially open it to campers. ALDHA members built a new chum over the existing hole at Cloudland Shelter, which is still occasionally used by long-distance hikers but is now mostly the domain of weekenders and some locals.
Joining Al, Scott and Bob for the work party were Tom Wilkins, Andy Fay and Bert Gilbert, who hosted the crew afterward in what has become another part of this New England work trip's yearly tradition.
Does the Cloudland privy still have its own register? From Then The Hail Came:
"In the register, everyone remarked about the outhouse, insisting that it should not be missed. That was such a bizarre suggestion that my sense of adventure compelled me to follow up on it. I shrugged and strolled dutifully over to check it out. It truly was a magnificent specimen, one sure to delight the most discerning connoisseur of outhouse architecture. It was as carefully engineered as the shelter, the bottom half being constructed of similarly impressive finished hardwood. The entire top half of the walls was composed of a fine wire mesh screening, which explained why the outhouse had been built so far out into the woods, out of sight of the shelter. This little touch eliminated the usual stench which permeates most privies. The floor and the coiling were also finished hardwood, and there were two (count 'em, two) rolls of toilet paper next to the throne (usually one must bring one's own)."
"The D.O.C. is so proud of this toilet that they leave a special edition outhouse register in there (a truly civilized innovation), as well as a bulletin board with thumbtacks and index cards, on which hikers may leave messages. I wrote that the outhouse was so elegant that it almost made me wish that I arrived with a case of the trots."
Last edited by Dudeboard; 01-25-2004 at 00:06.
The 4 miles or so NOBO to the next road is a beautiful,easy bit of trail with some sunny meadows with views if you are in need of a snooze or a place to dry some gear. As you cross over the bridge into West Hartford, there is a sub shop and small grocery store only a block off the trail.
I was just at the shelter on Sunday. The water was slow but running. Not too many pools to pump from though. Lots of skeeters so bring your spray.
july 2007, water source was great, though a bit of a downhill
Is there tenting at or near this this shelter, and if so how much room is there?
Yes, several good tentsites on the hill between the access trail and the shelter.
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