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View Full Version : Upper Goose Pond Cabin - Section Hikers May As Well Pass It By



Teacher & Snacktime
07-06-2018, 16:40
Since my first visit to UGPC in 2013, I've touted this spot to all who'd listen of it's beauty, it's serenity, the friendliness and welcome found there. No more. My last two encounters with the caretakers there have been far from friendly, and anything but welcoming.

Last Tuesday, June 26, I met my son and his friend in Lee, MA to resupply them on their section hike through MA and CT. The plan was they would then get to UGPC for that night and zero the following day. Though I'd literally been shooed away on my last visit there with kids for having the audacity to arrive as a day hiker, I'd assured them they'd enjoy the spot and be welcomed as section hikers (per the website). However, by 7:00 that night I received a text asking if they could stay somewhere else for both that night and their zero as they felt completely unwelcome. Apparently the caretaker grudgingly allowed them the last 2 bunks with under-the-breath-yet-audible comments about "these section hikers", but when 5 thruhikers arrived later they were told they no longer had bunks and that they'd have to tent.

They had little choice but to stay the night, and chose to take their zero there also, but stayed clear of the caretaker for the most part. But the next day, when it was clear that no crowds were coming (5 hikers total including them), they asked if they could have bunks. The caretaker made them wait until dusk before very grudgingly allowing them space, even though not another hiker had arrived all day. Also, they were told in no uncertain terms that if any thru hikers arrived, they'd again have to give up their space and tent.

Nowhere on the website does it claim that thruhikers get priority over section hikers, yet these VERY QUIET and VERY SHY young men were made to feel like second-class citizens.

"
Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.".

Slo-go'en
07-06-2018, 17:29
Personally, I'd rather tent then sleep in the stuffy bunk room with 20 other people - so long as it wasn't forecast to rain of course. Last time I stayed there I tented, as did my hiking partner at the time, plus a friend who come out just for the night. He brought a package of hot dogs, which we shared with the caretaker, so I guess that helped.

"the exclusive use for thru-hikers and section hikers" clause is no doubt intended to keep the place from becoming a day destination for picnicking and partying. So, showing up as a day hiker would result in getting the cold shoulder.

Of course, that doesn't excuse the apparent treatment the kids received. However, not having witnessed to how all that went down, I reserve judgement of both parties. The caretaker is a volunteer who doesn't get paid (I don't believe) who basically gets a free stay at the cabin for a week or two. Your experience can depend on who happens to be the caretaker at the time and what kind of week they've had.

gsingjane
07-06-2018, 20:50
I came through here as a section hiker just about a year ago this weekend (so wonder if it was the same caretaker, a mom and daughter).

Had been there two years before and it was wonderful... last year not quite so much. The caretakers were super into shaming section hikers and I was forced to query each thru-hiker, as he or she arrived, whether they wanted my bunk. And was told I'd have to give it up if anyone wanted it. It was a mortifying experience.

Tell your son, he's not alone. I understand the caretakers are volunteers, I get that and also that putting up with a stream of self-centered, needy hikers can be difficult, but really there is no excuse for gratuitous nastiness.

Teacher & Snacktime
07-06-2018, 21:05
Yes, it was the mom-daughter-humiliation-tag-team this time too. I was appalled at the behavior as it was reported to me. If a person can't manage being civil to those whom she is there to serve/assist, she has no business volunteering for the responsibility.

Burrhead
07-06-2018, 21:21
Do you pay afee to stay there? Because if it's National Park Service property and there is no fee or reservations, they aren't going to be able to stop me from using a bunk if I choose to do so. Thru hiker, section hiker, doesn't matter. First come first served.

Slo-go'en
07-06-2018, 22:41
Do you pay afee to stay there? Because if it's National Park Service property and there is no fee or reservations, they aren't going to be able to stop me from using a bunk if I choose to do so. Thru hiker, section hiker, doesn't matter. First come first served.


The cabin is owned by the AMC and is on private property. They can make what ever rules they want. Not only is it free to stay, free pancakes and coffee is served in the morning. Whether the Thru-hiker gets first dibs on a bunk is a house rule or something these caretakers came up with on their own, I can't say. However, I can't imagine a thru hiker kicking someone out of a bunk just because.

peakbagger
07-07-2018, 05:44
Unless things have changed, the caretakers are volunteers. In the past they had more volunteers then slots to fill. One of the problems with volunteers is its tough to train them and if things don't work out, fire them.

rickb
07-07-2018, 06:46
“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


43066

soilman
07-07-2018, 11:59
There definitely was a bias in favor of thru hikers when I stayed there. Only thru hikers were allowed to sleep in the cabin. Thru hikers were first to get pancakes. An off-duty caretaker stopped by with 3 gallons of ice cream and only thru hikers were invited to indulge.

Cosmo
07-07-2018, 18:26
[QUOTE=rickb;2214421][CENTER][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Avenir]“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


Sorry you had a bad experience Teacher, our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration. Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

Cosmo

Cosmo
07-07-2018, 18:26
[QUOTE=rickb;2214421][CENTER][COLOR=#333333][FONT=Avenir]“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


Sorry you had a bad experience Teacher, our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration. Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

Cosmo

Teacher & Snacktime
07-07-2018, 20:27
Thank you Cosmo for the chat, and the assurance that these complaints will be addressed. It was heartbreaking for me and the young boys to have this special place spoiled, and infuriating when I heard what my son went through. Thank you for handling this, and yes, I'll go back next week with the younger boys to give it another chance.

QuietStorm
07-07-2018, 22:02
Stayed there one night last September on my section hike of Mass. Had absolutely no issues. Was made to feel very welcome even though the bunk house was full.


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shelb
07-07-2018, 22:55
I stayed there last year the 3rd week of July - and was clear that I was a section hiker (although I was traveling with a Thru hike "Tramily" that I met about 100 miles earlier.)

The caretakers (husband/wife team with at least one teen daughter...might have had another.) were extremely kind and gracious. They said they volunteered for that week each year... bless them!

I did hear that there are more volunteers for this spot than weeks available... maybe the AMC could have hikers complete an online Google Survey during their stay (most hikers have smart phones, and if necessary, I would gladly create the survey for you...). Then, for the following year, the AMC would be clear on who is the best fit for the hikers they want at GP.

Grampie
07-24-2018, 17:06
Since my first visit to UGPC in 2013, I've touted this spot to all who'd listen of it's beauty, it's serenity, the friendliness and welcome found there. No more. My last two encounters with the caretakers there have been far from friendly, and anything but welcoming.

Last Tuesday, June 26, I met my son and his friend in Lee, MA to resupply them on their section hike through MA and CT. The plan was they would then get to UGPC for that night and zero the following day. Though I'd literally been shooed away on my last visit there with kids for having the audacity to arrive as a day hiker, I'd assured them they'd enjoy the spot and be welcomed as section hikers (per the website). However, by 7:00 that night I received a text asking if they could stay somewhere else for both that night and their zero as they felt completely unwelcome. Apparently the caretaker grudgingly allowed them the last 2 bunks with under-the-breath-yet-audible comments about "these section hikers", but when 5 thruhikers arrived later they were told they no longer had bunks and that they'd have to tent.

They had little choice but to stay the night, and chose to take their zero there also, but stayed clear of the caretaker for the most part. But the next day, when it was clear that no crowds were coming (5 hikers total including them), they asked if they could have bunks. The caretaker made them wait until dusk before very grudgingly allowing them space, even though not another hiker had arrived all day. Also, they were told in no uncertain terms that if any thru hikers arrived, they'd again have to give up their space and tent.

Nowhere on the website does it claim that thruhikers get priority over section hikers, yet these VERY QUIET and VERY SHY young men were made to feel like second-class citizens.

"
Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.".

Pond Cabin

It hurts me so to read posts by folks who visit UGP and are not happy with their experience.

To start off, I have thru-hiked and have been a caretaker at the cabin for the last 15 years. During that time I have met many hundreds of hiker visitors and have got to know most of the volunteer caretakers. Most, if not all, caretakers are outstanding folks who generously give their time to make a stay at the cabin a memorable experience.
The cabin administration has created a set of caretakers rules that govern the daily operation of the cabin. These general rules leave flexibility for the caretaker, on duty, to intemperate them as they understand them. This flexibility leads to some different standards used by different caretakers.
The caretakers position has become more and more taxing with the increased use over the past several years. A caretaker has to become more of a enforcer than just a vacationer at the cabin.
The unfortunate results are that some folks can get upset when a rule is enforced in a manner not expectable by them.
A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to " go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.

tdoczi
07-24-2018, 17:18
i wonder if the confusion, if thats what it is, isn't caused by the fact that "section hiker" could easily mean person who walked the whole 1.6 miles from route 20, plans to hang out, row a canoe, sleep in a bunk, eat free pancakes and then turn around and trudge all the way back to route 20 the next morning. i can see why there could potentially be a problem with large quantities of people doing this. i'm not sure how you police it. if there are large crowds of such people showing up there and i were the caretaker i wouldnt want to deal with them either. i imagine the part about it not being for dayhikers is because of such a concern.

greatexpectations
07-25-2018, 08:12
A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to "go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.

from interactions online and in person the opposite can also be true. i have met some very pliable section hikers who were happy to go with the flow and i have met thru hikers who definitely exuded a sense of entitlement.


i wonder if the confusion, if thats what it is, isn't caused by the fact that "section hiker" could easily mean person who walked the whole 1.6 miles from route 20, plans to hang out, row a canoe, sleep in a bunk, eat free pancakes and then turn around and trudge all the way back to route 20 the next morning. i can see why there could potentially be a problem with large quantities of people doing this. i'm not sure how you police it. if there are large crowds of such people showing up there and i were the caretaker i wouldnt want to deal with them either. i imagine the part about it not being for dayhikers is because of such a concern.

the situation is certainly amplified by the drain tanglewood can put on local lodging. a free* bunk or camp spot is appealing for a lot of people during the weekends of the summer months. managing that potential volume without separating visitors into hiking 'classes' is not a task i envy at all.

that said, in my one extended interaction with a caretaker i was also told that it was thru-hikers first for bunk spots, food, and canoes.

Gambit McCrae
07-25-2018, 08:20
I hate to hear this...And hear is why.. I will be heading up to Mass to finish the state, and complete Vermont in a month. I have looked forward to stopping into UPG for oh about 3 years now however now there ain't no way I'm gunna waist my time with some yahoo telling me I'm not worthy of a bed. It makes me upset that Teacher's young boys had to deal with that crap, why are we not encouraging our youth to be out there, tell them "Good job guys keep it up! Come on in here and get some pancakes!" Instead you wanna look like some punk caretaker glorifying being homeless for 6 months. I would tell them to take a long walk off a short pier and hit the trail. I hope to hear of an improvement, some comments above are welcoming but not solution based.

tdoczi
07-25-2018, 09:22
that said, in my one extended interaction with a caretaker i was also told that it was thru-hikers first for bunk spots, food, and canoes.
that seems to be how things are handled, at least often, if not always, on the ground. it isnt the officially published policy. it reminds me of how my students often get what i tell them ever so slightly wrong, especially when i rely on one of them to in turn tell someone else something.

i think perhaps the problem, as in a few other places, is this term "thru hiker." its come to mean person attempting to hike the whole trail. what it should mean for purposes of this kind of problem is "person who is hiking through." ie if you're hiking in one direction continuously, you're in. people who are hiking from the road, staying, and turning around to go back to the road in the morning are out.

Gambit McCrae
07-25-2018, 09:41
i think perhaps the problem, as in a few other places, is this term "thru hiker." its come to mean person attempting to hike the whole trail. what it should mean for purposes of this kind of problem is "person who is hiking through." ie if you're hiking in one direction continuously, you're in. people who are hiking from the road, staying, and turning around to go back to the road in the morning are out.

I can agree with this. Or for people to divide the term "section" hiker and take on the name LASHER more often. I can definitely see how caretakers could get tired and snarky of the "drive ins" and folks out for 1 night to come in and take the place over, the same as I have felt when people park at the road I can hear at the shelter, and they have overtaken the shelter. This doesn't however negate their responsibility's to enforce, and if enforcing fairly means asking questions that are redundantly to them then well...welcome to the job. It took me a long time to learn not to give a damn what others think about my hike, my walks, my goal or intentions when it comes to me vacationing to the Appalachian Trail, now that I do not care, it becomes more of a "don't tell me what I can and cant do in the woods" mentality.

I may still stop into the ol pond, may be a good chance for me to show my true colors

Berserker
07-25-2018, 12:28
It's been a few years since I've been there, but my stay as a section hiker was awesome. Now mind you the place as not full, and my buddy and I developed a quick rapport with the caretaker and his buddies who were there helping out. We hung out with these guys late into the night and had a good old time. The caretaker did mention that some of the other care takers are not as friendly, so it sounds like this has been going on for a long time. At any rate, my stay there was what I like to call my "best night at a shelter on the AT".

Teacher & Snacktime
07-25-2018, 16:26
Pond Cabin

It hurts me so to read posts by folks who visit UGP and are not happy with their experience.

To start off, I have thru-hiked and have been a caretaker at the cabin for the last 15 years. During that time I have met many hundreds of hiker visitors and have got to know most of the volunteer caretakers. Most, if not all, caretakers are outstanding folks who generously give their time to make a stay at the cabin a memorable experience.
The cabin administration has created a set of caretakers rules that govern the daily operation of the cabin. These general rules leave flexibility for the caretaker, on duty, to intemperate them as they understand them. This flexibility leads to some different standards used by different caretakers.
The caretakers position has become more and more taxing with the increased use over the past several years. A caretaker has to become more of a enforcer than just a vacationer at the cabin.
The unfortunate results are that some folks can get upset when a rule is enforced in a manner not expectable by them.
A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to " go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.

Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.

kestral
07-25-2018, 16:50
I have met some real ****bird caretakers. I try not to let them spoil my trip. Most folks are excellent, and truly want you to have a positive experience. Please remember that people are people, some good and some bad. Keep getting out there, don’t let the bullies spoil your life. HYOH

fastfoxengineering
07-25-2018, 21:19
I'm at the cabin right this instant in a bunk. Nothing but a pleasurable, welcoming experience so far.

I walked here from Georgia but the caretaker didn't even ask if I was a hiking thru.

Entitlement? Section hikers are worse than thru's.

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fastfoxengineering
07-25-2018, 21:27
Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.It's easy to tell the difference between someone who just crossed the road and someone whos hiked hundreds of miles.

The person who's hiked hundreds of miles wouldn't make a stink about a GA-ME thru hiker getting first dibs pancakes.

Just today I saw a guy starting a two day hike. .2 miles in from the road where he started was a cooler with soda and a sign that read for "AT Thru Hikers". He drank two of them.







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Cosmo
07-25-2018, 22:03
We are seeing what happens when a resource is stretched beyond its capacity.

Some weeks at the Cabin, there is simply not room for everyone to have the experience they expect or desire. Too many visitors (of all kinds) are attracted to this special place, and there simply is not room to accommodate everyone.

Caretakers are put in a position where they need to allocate resources to some, but not to others. There are 16 bunks, there’s a finite square footage of griddle space, and one can only spend so much time washing dishes and bringing spring water across the pond for thirsty hikers.

Were the facilities available only on a first come, first served basis (like other AT shelters and campsites), do you think on a weekend night there would be any bunk space for long distance hikers? More than likely, bunks would be filled by 2pm, mostly by weekenders, groups, or other hikers who can adjust their schedules to arrive early in the day.

So, a priority of some sort has to be developed. Should the Cabin accept reservations? Are there enough volunteer resources to support that system? Should we just turn the whole thing over to the AMC so they can develop another revenue stream? Should thru hikers have some sort of registration system to “prove” they actually started at Springer (or Harpers Ferry, or Maine)? It’s a real problem, primarily due to the ever increasing number of Trail visitors loading a resource that has no means to keep up.

Yes, there are Caretakers who’s life skills and personalities can adapt well to gracefully allocating finite resources in a situation where who has preference is essentially impossible to determine (and, should the facility ONLY be open to long distance hikers—is that fair?). There are also Caretakers who have difficulty communicating respectfully in stressful situations. Unfortunately, the stressful nature of “high season” is driving those volunteers who do not thrive on chaos away (another resource being exceeded by the need to provide for an ever increasing number of visitors).

So where does this end? Does an increasing visitor dissatisfaction level result in more hikers opting to pass the Cabin by and rebalancing the demand on the resource? Do we develop more draconian rules and further limit a Caretaker’s flexibility? Should we just turn away all but the first 16 hikers? Maybe we just close the Cabin during July because we can’t accommodate the numbers of visitors.

Sorry to be painting such a gloomy picture—but the realities can be pretty daunting. We’ll continue to look for and train volunteer Caretakers, attempt to clarify ways to prioritize visitors, and continue to do our best to keep this resource available for all visitors.

Cosmo

George
07-25-2018, 22:11
I'm at the cabin right this instant in a bunk. Nothing but a pleasurable, welcoming experience so far.

I walked here from Georgia but the caretaker didn't even ask if I was a hiking thru.

Entitlement? Section hikers are worse than thru's.

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obviously your smell negated the need to ask

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 06:33
The person who's hiked hundreds of miles wouldn't make a stink about a GA-ME thru hiker getting first dibs pancakes.

HAHAHAHA oh yes **I** would.

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 06:44
We are seeing what happens when a resource is stretched beyond its capacity.

Some weeks at the Cabin, there is simply not room for everyone to have the experience they expect or desire. Too many visitors (of all kinds) are attracted to this special place, and there simply is not room to accommodate everyone.

Caretakers are put in a position where they need to allocate resources to some, but not to others. There are 16 bunks, there’s a finite square footage of griddle space, and one can only spend so much time washing dishes and bringing spring water across the pond for thirsty hikers.

Were the facilities available only on a first come, first served basis (like other AT shelters and campsites), do you think on a weekend night there would be any bunk space for long distance hikers? More than likely, bunks would be filled by 2pm, mostly by weekenders, groups, or other hikers who can adjust their schedules to arrive early in the day.


it doesnt solve all the issues at all, but perhaps a start would be making it clear the cabin is not there for people who just want to have a free place to stay by hiking 3.2 miles round trip. from a read of this thread it seems that there is at present no stated rule against doing that (said people can technically say they are section hikers).

i find myself in an interesting spot in this discussion. on one hand, i'm the last person to say anything is just for "thru hikers" (as that term is most commonly used), but i also have a real loathing for people who aren't really hiking but just want to use the resources that are in place for hikers. i think even someone on a 30 mile overnight should be able to stay if they so chose. but someone should not be able to hike 1.6 miles just to have a cool free place to stay for a night. that person is, in my mind "not a section hiker" or even really a hiker at all. thats someone who wants a free place to spend a night and doesn't mind making a short hike to get it.

honestly, my solution would be to charge money. this is what happens when something with a lot of appeal is free.

fastfoxengineering
07-26-2018, 07:51
HAHAHAHA oh yes **I** would.Why the distaste towards thru hikers?

99% of the people on the AT show support and try to really help people attempting a thru hike. Especially so far into the hike.

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Namaste
07-26-2018, 08:05
My daughter and I SECTION hike every June and a couple of years ago stopped here. The caretaker was wonderful. She actually gave us a tour around the grounds and let us know about pancakes in the morning. I ONLY tent so it was never my intention to stay indoors. I loved the platforms and chose the one the furthest away. We were respectful and appreciative of the spot.

rickb
07-26-2018, 08:11
Apart from my thru hike, I have stopped by twice as a day hiker — most recently last year.

Seeing a guy from NY —likely homeless — on the way underscored just how difficult the caretakers role is. Lots of day hikers came by as I sat on the porch like I owned the place.

The pond and cabin are nice enough, but what this place offers more than anything else is place to connect, I think.

Regardless of how the AMC [this is managed by the AMC, albeit on the chapter level, correct?) decides to ration bunks, I hope the caretakers are given wide latitude in how they elect to interpret and/or bend the rules.

I also hope hope that MOST everyone who is not staying overnight is made welcome when checking th place out, or just passing through — in the same way the club aspires to do so at the Huts.

That was my experience, but as a former thru hiker I expect it may have been easier for me to assume “ownership” of my spot on the porch than others. Welcoming (and explaining) signage might help. Not sure.

LittleRock
07-26-2018, 08:16
It's easy to tell the difference between someone who just crossed the road and someone whos hiked hundreds of miles.
Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.

Uncle Joe
07-26-2018, 08:19
“Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”


43066

This is really all that needs to be said. The caretaker appears to be in the wrong. It also sounds like it's been addressed so hopefully there won't be anymore issues. Maybe carry a screenshot of this policy if you go and advise the caretaker if they protest.

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 08:25
Why the distaste towards thru hikers?

99% of the people on the AT show support and try to really help people attempting a thru hike. Especially so far into the hike.

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and thats exactly the problem.

so let me give you this hypothetical- i'm out on a week long 100 mile section hike. i arrive at UGP at 6pm at the end of a 20 mile day. i get the last bunk, but i am told if a "thru hiker" arrives i'll have to vacate it for them.

at 8pm a thru hiker arrives and i am asked to vacate.

if you think this makes sense or is in anyway fair or justified then you my friend are the walking epitome of why i, and others, can not stand a good number of thru hikers.

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 08:27
Apart from my thru hike, I have stopped by twice as a day hiker — most recently last year.

Seeing a guy from NY —likely homeless — on the way underscored just how difficult the caretakers role is. Lots of day hikers came by as I sat on the porch like I owned the place.

The pond and cabin are nice enough, but what this place offers more than anything else is place to connect, I think.

Regardless of how the AMC [this is managed by the AMC, albeit on the chapter level, correct?) decides to ration bunks, I hope the caretakers are given wide latitude in how they elect to interpret and/or bend the rules.

I also hope hope that MOST everyone who is not staying overnight is made welcome when checking th place out, or just passing through — in the same way the club aspires to do so at the Huts.

That was my experience, but as a former thru hiker I expect it may have been easier for me to assume “ownership” of my spot on the porch than others. Welcoming (and explaining) signage might help. Not sure.

not looking to start anything but i just want to point out that, while i may be mistaken, i do believe a day hiker just going there to hang out for a few hours IS indeed against the currently written rules.

Zed
07-26-2018, 08:33
Just today I saw a guy starting a two day hike. .2 miles in from the road where he started was a cooler with soda and a sign that read for "AT Thru Hikers". He drank two of them.


So?

I thru hiked last year. Never once did I worry about if another other hiker was deserving of Trail magic. Thru hikers aren't trail gods deserving all lowly section and day hikers to genuflect at their mere presence.

If I was out on a short hike today and came upon a cooler marked "thru hikers" I would help myself without a second thought.

Namaste
07-26-2018, 08:48
I've seen that happen MANY times.

Namaste
07-26-2018, 08:51
Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.
I've seen that happen MANY times.:-?

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 09:06
what about using some sort of registration system to address overcrowding/overuse?

something along the lines of everyone must show ID and register (everyone, not one person per party). then put a rule in place about how frequently someone can come stay overnight. once per season seems logical but i also think maybe that won't make much of a dent as i wouldnt think there are many people who are in the habit of going there 3 or 4 times a summer. maybe once every 3 seasons? if you stayed there this summer you cant stay there next year or the year after? that might whittle down a good number of "we go there one weekend every year" people.

Gambit McCrae
07-26-2018, 10:34
Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.

+1 on that!!!!! lol Some of us have to head back to work after our SAME hundreds of miles that was spoken of.
How many hundreds does it take to be equal?
What about that sobo that gets to the pond at 641 miles into their trip? however I am on the back nine of my completion with my 1550 miles so why does it frick'n matter what someone's intent is on the trail. I understand the "walked from next road up" folks, but whats the difference in someone walkin 300 miles or 1000 miles. Its rained, you've walked, ate, stayed in hostels, a tent, shelters, there is no difference other then at the end of my couple hundo I am going to go back and contribute to society until I can get back out there. That's my rant if you couldn't tell.

Good thread comes to mind...
How undermining the word "just" can be.... (https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/125745-How-underminding-the-word-quot-Just-quot-can-be?highlight=)

Grampie
07-26-2018, 10:47
We are seeing what happens when a resource is stretched beyond its capacity.

Some weeks at the Cabin, there is simply not room for everyone to have the experience they expect or desire. Too many visitors (of all kinds) are attracted to this special place, and there simply is not room to accommodate everyone.

Caretakers are put in a position where they need to allocate resources to some, but not to others. There are 16 bunks, there’s a finite square footage of griddle space, and one can only spend so much time washing dishes and bringing spring water across the pond for thirsty hikers.

Were the facilities available only on a first come, first served basis (like other AT shelters and campsites), do you think on a weekend night there would be any bunk space for long distance hikers? More than likely, bunks would be filled by 2pm, mostly by weekenders, groups, or other hikers who can adjust their schedules to arrive early in the day.

So, a priority of some sort has to be developed. Should the Cabin accept reservations? Are there enough volunteer resources to support that system? Should we just turn the whole thing over to the AMC so they can develop another revenue stream? Should thru hikers have some sort of registration system to “prove” they actually started at Springer (or Harpers Ferry, or Maine)? It’s a real problem, primarily due to the ever increasing number of Trail visitors loading a resource that has no means to keep up.

Yes, there are Caretakers who’s life skills and personalities can adapt well to gracefully allocating finite resources in a situation where who has preference is essentially impossible to determine (and, should the facility ONLY be open to long distance hikers—is that fair?). There are also Caretakers who have difficulty communicating respectfully in stressful situations. Unfortunately, the stressful nature of “high season” is driving those volunteers who do not thrive on chaos away (another resource being exceeded by the need to provide for an ever increasing number of visitors).

So where does this end? Does an increasing visitor dissatisfaction level result in more hikers opting to pass the Cabin by and rebalancing the demand on the resource? Do we develop more draconian rules and further limit a Caretaker’s flexibility? Should we just turn away all but the first 16 hikers? Maybe we just close the Cabin during July because we can’t accommodate the numbers of visitors.

Sorry to be painting such a gloomy picture—but the realities can be pretty daunting. We’ll continue to look for and train volunteer Caretakers, attempt to clarify ways to prioritize visitors, and continue to do our best to keep this resource available for all visitors.

Cosmo

Cosmo thank you for this post. You have stated a lot of what my thoughts were.
Happy Trails Grampie <2001- N>

Grampie
07-26-2018, 11:01
Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.

Sorry to inform you that my exit as a caretaker was because of the additional burden caretakers have to deal with and my 83 years of age.
Your liberal views are apparent by your many posts. I understand why you express your self in the manner you did.
Further more I did not refer to any hikers by calling them section hikers. My feelings are the same, if I offended you, it's your problem not mine.
I would strongly recommend that you consider becoming a UGP caretaker. I am sure that you than could interpret rules any way you seam fit.

rickb
07-26-2018, 12:14
<snip> our policy is that overnight hikers are created equally, and the services available at the cabin are on a first come, first served basis. Sounds like we need to do some calibration.

Organized groups (college, schools, camps, scouts etc) are welcome to camp at the campsites, but all the services at the cabin may not be available to them--at the discretion of the caretaker. I'll PM you my contact info so we can talk more.

Cosmo


With so many posts, I am left wondering what the actual policy is — for those who do not visit as part of an organized group.

Also, is this policy set by a chapter of the AMC?

Last Call
07-26-2018, 13:29
If they are so adamant about reserving for only the elite thru-hikers the simple solution would be to post a sign on the approach to the shelter stating bunks are reserved for A.T. thru-hikers ONLY.....other mortals MUST use tent or move on....Not really seeing the problem here, do the caretakers have a badge designating their authority? If not they should, in my opinion.

tdoczi
07-26-2018, 13:30
With so many posts, I am left wondering what the actual policy is — for those who do not visit as part of an organized group.

Also, is this policy set by a chapter of the AMC?
good question.

my statement earlier about day hikers is based in part on something i think i read on here recently and also a vague sense that when i hiked through the area i did not stop at the cabin because i was not staying overnight and something (a sign in the lot on rt20 or on the trail, or perhaps something in a guidebook) had given me the impression they only wanted to be visited by people with intent to stay over night. it was about 8 years ago now though.

Berserker
07-27-2018, 12:47
I'm at the cabin right this instant in a bunk. Nothing but a pleasurable, welcoming experience so far.

I walked here from Georgia but the caretaker didn't even ask if I was a hiking thru.

Entitlement? Section hikers are worse than thru's.

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Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.


and thats exactly the problem.

so let me give you this hypothetical- i'm out on a week long 100 mile section hike. i arrive at UGP at 6pm at the end of a 20 mile day. i get the last bunk, but i am told if a "thru hiker" arrives i'll have to vacate it for them.

at 8pm a thru hiker arrives and i am asked to vacate.

if you think this makes sense or is in anyway fair or justified then you my friend are the walking epitome of why i, and others, can not stand a good number of thru hikers.


+1 on that!!!!! lol Some of us have to head back to work after our SAME hundreds of miles that was spoken of.
How many hundreds does it take to be equal?
What about that sobo that gets to the pond at 641 miles into their trip? however I am on the back nine of my completion with my 1550 miles so why does it frick'n matter what someone's intent is on the trail. I understand the "walked from next road up" folks, but whats the difference in someone walkin 300 miles or 1000 miles. Its rained, you've walked, ate, stayed in hostels, a tent, shelters, there is no difference other then at the end of my couple hundo I am going to go back and contribute to society until I can get back out there. That's my rant if you couldn't tell.

Good thread comes to mind...
How undermining the word "just" can be.... (https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/125745-How-underminding-the-word-quot-Just-quot-can-be?highlight=)

Awwww come on, can't we all just get along? :D

As a section hiker I will throw my 2 cents in. This is public land and structures we are all using, and unless otherwise stated in specific regulations (i.e. such as the rules in GSMNP) everything is first come first serve. So a thru hiker that walked 35 miles to get to a shelter or camp spot has the same authority to stay at that shelter as someone that walked 0.3 mile in from a side trail.

I personally have run into thru hikers that understand this and are very accommodating as well as thru hikers that went in the opposite direction ranting and raving about how "lesser" hikers shouldn't be using a certain shelter or camp spot. I've also seen sectioners that were very accommodating as well as sectioners that were real arse-holes. Oh, and don't even get me started on those weekenders and day use people :rolleyes:

So let's not get all mad at each other, but rather let's come together singing Kum ba yah and be all peaceful and stuff. :sun

Gambit McCrae
07-27-2018, 13:07
Awwww come on, can't we all just get along? :D
So let's not get all mad at each other, but rather let's come together singing Kum ba yah and be all peaceful and stuff. :sun

Serker your gunna make me sick

43291

tdoczi
07-27-2018, 13:18
Awwww come on, can't we all just get along? :D
This is public land and structures we are all using,

in the case of UGP cabin is this really true? i dont know, but i'm going to speculate that if an organization feels it is their place and it is necessary to place a caretaker there who's task it seems is, in part, to decide who can stay there and who can not on the basis of how many miles one has hiked, then one would hope it couldnt possible be truly a public structure in the same way most AT shelters are or that the swing set in the town park is.

rickb
07-27-2018, 13:29
Owned by the NPS, and managed by the AMC for the exclusive use Thru Hikers and Section Hikers.

At least that is what it says on the AMC’s website:

https://www.outdoors.org/lodging-camping/camps-cabins/upper-goose

cmoulder
07-28-2018, 06:33
...............
So let's not get all mad at each other, but rather let's come together singing Kum ba yah and be all peaceful and stuff. :sun

Or carry a frickin' tent already, bring your own pancake mix and pretend UGP doesn't exist. :-?

43292

I go into the woods primarily to get some exercise and to get away from people and stuff like this. I simply cannot understand the allure of sleeping in a bunkhouse with a bunch of stinky, snoring people and waiting to be served breakfast sometime well past sunrise when I'd normally have been on the trail for a couple of hours. Absolute best hiking time of the day IMO.

MuddyWaters
07-28-2018, 06:47
Or carry a frickin' tent already, bring your own pancake mix and pretend UGP doesn't exist. :-?

43292

I go into the woods primarily to get some exercise and to get away from people and stuff like this. I simply cannot understand the allure of sleeping in a bunkhouse with a bunch of stinky, snoring people and waiting to be served breakfast sometime well past sunrise when I'd normally have been on the trail for a couple of hours. Absolute best hiking time of the day IMO.
Some people have different idea if what hiking is about , obviously. They need people and structures. They dont like being in woods at night, and they dont like being alone.

cmoulder
07-28-2018, 07:11
Some people have different idea if what hiking is about , obviously. They need people and structures. They dont like being in woods at night, and they dont like being alone.

In which case they're going to be very restricted in their choices and will have to put up with crap like this on a regular basis. Accept it or find a different hobby.

See Cosmo above. Very clear delineation of the issues.

Traveler
07-28-2018, 07:51
Ah, but if thats what people are looking for, they won't be putting up with crap, they will be embracing the experience. Much like I would embrace the solitude of miles away from the same group. Its hard sometimes to understand what draws people to what they enjoy within the hiking world like the festival in Damascus, hiker feeds, cell phone calls from views, and car camping have me scratching my head. Conversely, those folks would probably find the things I enjoy bordering on silly as well.

cmoulder
07-28-2018, 08:12
Carping about it on WB doesn't sound like embracing the experience. :datz

Whatevs....

tdoczi
07-28-2018, 09:32
In which case they're going to be very restricted in their choices and will have to put up with crap like this on a regular basis. Accept it or find a different hobby.

See Cosmo above. Very clear delineation of the issues.

i really dont like setting up, sleeping and then packing up a tent. i view it as a necessary evil of doing something i do, on balance, enjoy very much. but i'll jump at a chance to dispense with all or part of it anytime one occurs along the way. same goes, to a lesser extent, with cooking on a backpacking stove and all that entails (ie carrying the things necessary to do it well)

that said if there 15 people in a bunkhouse and i was offered spot #16 i might choose my tent, but it depends.

this is one of those things like the "you're hiking too fast" argument. ever read posts where people tell those who like to tent in solitude theyre doing it wrong? nope. but you read plenty of posts about how sleeping in a shelter or similar is doing it wrong.

cmoulder
07-28-2018, 09:48
i really dont like setting up, sleeping and then packing up a tent. i view it as a necessary evil of doing something i do, on balance, enjoy very much. but i'll jump at a chance to dispense with all or part of it anytime one occurs along the way. same goes, to a lesser extent, with cooking on a backpacking stove and all that entails (ie carrying the things necessary to do it well)

that said if there 15 people in a bunkhouse and i was offered spot #16 i might choose my tent, but it depends.

this is one of those things like the "you're hiking too fast" argument. ever read posts where people tell those who like to tent in solitude theyre doing it wrong? nope. but you read plenty of posts about how sleeping in a shelter or similar is doing it wrong.

I didn't say they're doing it wrong.

I said I don't understand the allure, but if they're going to do it like this to accept the limitations and problems associated with it. It is no mystery that as resources become more and more scarce there is often an increase in rudeness and hostility.

And I've said many times that shelters aren't for me, although if people choose to utilize them it's no concern of mine.

tdoczi
07-28-2018, 10:15
I didn't say they're doing it wrong.

I said I don't understand the allure,

ok, i'll amend my statement- i understand the allure of sleeping in your tent off by yourself somewhere, i just don't share it. i would never question why anyone would want to do so. the reasons are plainly obvious.

while it is fine to not share the allure of sleeping somewhere like UGP, i find it strange that someone can claim to not understand the allure, because again, the allure is obvious. i don't really buy that anyone can claim to not understand what it is.

what makes it not so alluring are the issues being discussed in this thread. your argument is basically "well see, this is why my way is better, so either accept that doing it your way sucks or stop complaining and do it my way."

MuddyWaters
07-28-2018, 11:17
i really dont like setting up, sleeping and then packing up a tent. i view it as a necessary evil of doing something i do, on balance, enjoy very much. but i'll jump at a chance to dispense with all or part of it anytime one occurs along the way. same goes, to a lesser extent, with cooking on a backpacking stove and all that entails (ie carrying the things necessary to do it well)

that said if there 15 people in a bunkhouse and i was offered spot #16 i might choose my tent, but it depends.

this is one of those things like the "you're hiking too fast" argument. ever read posts where people tell those who like to tent in solitude theyre doing it wrong? nope. but you read plenty of posts about how sleeping in a shelter or similar is doing it wrong.

Aside from AT and LT, its not exactly a normal way to hike.
So its pretty limiting if thats a necessity .
But that also explains AT popularity with many

cmoulder
07-28-2018, 12:44
ok, i'll amend my statement- i understand the allure of sleeping in your tent off by yourself somewhere, i just don't share it. i would never question why anyone would want to do so. the reasons are plainly obvious.

while it is fine to not share the allure of sleeping somewhere like UGP, i find it strange that someone can claim to not understand the allure, because again, the allure is obvious. i don't really buy that anyone can claim to not understand what it is.

what makes it not so alluring are the issues being discussed in this thread. your argument is basically "well see, this is why my way is better, so either accept that doing it your way sucks or stop complaining and do it my way."

Except I didn't say that.

I said what I think and if you want to infer more I can't stop you.

Reading comprehension, a lost art.

tdoczi
07-28-2018, 19:28
Aside from AT and LT, its not exactly a normal way to hike.
So its pretty limiting if thats a necessity .
But that also explains AT popularity with many

not a ncessity at all. i hike other places where there are no shelters. i stay in my tent on the AT when it makes sense to as far as daily mileage and so forth. but if it's there, i generally take it

Deacon
07-29-2018, 09:00
So?

I thru hiked last year. Never once did I worry about if another other hiker was deserving of Trail magic. Thru hikers aren't trail gods deserving all lowly section and day hikers to genuflect at their mere presence.

If I was out on a short hike today and came upon a cooler marked "thru hikers" I would help myself without a second thought.

Because it dishonors the intent of the trail angel.

True, thru hikers are no more entitled or deserving than the day hiker, but if I was a day hiker and saw a sign that said, “for thru hikers”, I would feel like I was stealing.


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fastfoxengineering
07-29-2018, 09:57
Because it dishonors the intent of the trail angel.

True, thru hikers are no more entitled or deserving than the day hiker, but if I was a day hiker and saw a sign that said, “for thru hikers”, I would feel like I was stealing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk ProMy sentiment exactly... your not taking from the "entitled" thru hikers. Rather, your taking from the trail angels who left something for thru hikers, not section hikers.

Helping yourself to what's not for you is the epitome of entitlement.



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