Section hiker 733 AT miles
Big Branch Shelter
Smaller sized shelter -- could sleep six comfortably in a beautiful setting... just yards from the Big Branch River, which has numerous beautiful swimming holes. River serves as the water source... and the privy is located just uphill from the shelter as well.
Had lunch near this shelter.... it's in a great setting, wish I had planned to stay there.
problem with Big Branch
Ivy is right, there's a great view from Big Branch out over a rocky river, it *looks* like a nice place to stay.
But as I discovered last fall, it's also so close to a road and parking area that it invites abuse. I got there on the Saturday of a Columbus day long weekend, at the end of a 17 mile day, and when I got to the shelter there was an old guy there with tons of stuff--a backpack plus two of those big cloth grocery bags full to overflowing. It was clear he'd hauled it all in from the parking area and was there to squat (and maybe drink) through Monday. I tried a conversation with him to see if he'd be OK to stay with, and he was so paranoid and hostile that I lit out, with less than an hour of daylight and the next shelter 2.8 miles away. Naturally, a thunderstorm hit about 20 minutes later, the trail turned into a running stream, lightening hit the trail 20 feet in front of me, and my parka wetted out. All part of the fun! then when I got to Lula Tye I had to explain to a family of four that shelters are made to hold at least 6, and that it really was more important that I get a space out of the rain then that they keep the wood dry that they'd filled 1/4 of the shelter with. They turned out to be nice people and gave me part of a Toblerone bar.
No problems with Big Branch. Looks like a nice place. Stopped in for lunch on the way to Greenwall. Lots of Butterflies.
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