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kestral
02-02-2019, 10:08
Wondering on your opinions. I love to read at night and during a long lunch break. Canít make the long miles of my youth, so I have a bit more spare time.

Question do you consider a leave one, pick up one paperback book exchange of a couple books in shelter litter? I consider virtually everything save a broom , trail register and books litter, but there is my soft spot for literature showing.

Tipi Walter
02-02-2019, 10:41
Litter in a shelter? I consider the shelter itself to be the biggest piece of litter on the landscape---and an eyesore---but that's just me.

I take many books out with me on my backpacking trips---and I end up burning every one of them during the trips to lighten my load.

DuneElliot
02-02-2019, 10:43
A Kindle is light-weight and long-lasting on the battery...ideal way to read and carry several books for the weight of one 50 page book

TexasBob
02-02-2019, 10:48
Wondering on your opinions. I love to read at night and during a long lunch break. Canít make the long miles of my youth, so I have a bit more spare time.

Question do you consider a leave one, pick up one paperback book exchange of a couple books in shelter litter? I consider virtually everything save a broom , trail register and books litter, but there is my soft spot for literature showing.

Not litter IMHO.

Hikes in Rain
02-02-2019, 11:19
Books litter? That's an oxymoron; you can't use those words together. :) As a section hiker, I bring my literature with me and bring it back, but I've been known to find a book in a shelter I wanted. Used to bring paper books, but now I take my Kindle. It's got a dedicated 3G phone connection to Amazon that usually has a signal, so I can bring a library of thousands of books with me.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2019, 11:30
Its not not litter,
its trash

Put kindle kindle app on phone
Bring 1000 books if you like
Weighs.......nothing

But who wants to read when can watch movies or tv shows on phone instead?
Netflix and prime let you download for offline watching.

Christoph
02-02-2019, 11:56
I don't think it belongs there. Just one more thing for mice to tear up, people to rip out pages to start fires (which usually involves litter burning), etc...
Save it for the hostels, there's plenty of books there. I like the kindle idea for those that like to read at night though.

Dogwood
02-02-2019, 12:05
A book is only trash if you treat it as trash.

I bring books and learning materials on trail regularly. They often include pictures. The books tend to be compact. Tear out pages to condense. We can learn about a trail's or regional history, wildlife, weather phenomenon(clouds, etc), reptiles, tree/wildflowers/flowering plant identification, mushrooms, geology, insects, butterflies, etc. Sometimes it can be a simple glossy pamphlet found in NP Visitation Centers. We can learn a lot about studying maps. This expands a narrower focus from a 'here's the trail' Data Book/App mindset to a wider corridor awareness. This way we're letting the hike and Nature and history into our souls developing a greater awareness than just always focused on ourselves passing through on a 30" wide path. Writing in a small WP Write in the Rain paper journal with WP space pen trail is a constant. I still read old trail journals. It's the history of my life. it's what I've learned and reminds us of what we may have forgotten. I'm more inclined to bring along these types of materials rather than unrelated paperback novels. Who really needs access to 50 books on Kindle? That's too much info to get lost in. That's why I prefer to pick up regional specific materials.

This is one aspect of what I mean when I say thru hiking/hiking isn't just about hiking.

peakbagger
02-02-2019, 12:11
Many if not most of the active shelter maintainers regard books and maps as litter. Feel free to read them just dont leave them. Clutter and trash attracts more clutter and trash. Its amazing how much litter gets stuffed under shelters. I really liked the approach in newer shelters where they get them well up off the ground so folks couldnt hide trash under them. I was actively hiking when Pocket Rockets got popular and near empty canisters started getting left at the shelters. It got worse when the Jetboils that used smaller canisters got popular.

Starchild
02-02-2019, 12:18
We may be too immature a species to allow such a luxury. All and all it's not litter, but because mean people suck we can't have nice things, so yeah, we can't go there.

In AT utopia there are well respected book exchanges in the AT shelters.

Dogwood
02-02-2019, 12:33
Many if not most of the active shelter maintainers regard books and maps as litter. Feel free to read them just dont leave them. Clutter and trash attracts more clutter and trash. Its amazing how much litter gets stuffed under shelters. I really liked the approach in newer shelters where they get them well up off the ground so folks couldnt hide trash under them. I was actively hiking when Pocket Rockets got popular and near empty canisters started getting left at the shelters. It got worse when the Jetboils that used smaller canisters got popular.

Empty Coleman Canisters are probably what I see left behind the most as trash in backcountry non NP Hawaiian hikes. I suspect it's trash left behind from Hawaiian hunters. I've been on HI trail clean ups where we hauled out 2-3 Glad garbage bags full of bulky empty canisters from one area. Tin cans left behind is another common trash item.

Slo-go'en
02-02-2019, 12:35
Only if their religious in nature. Too many of these in shelters, those evangelists are the worst offenders.

There's a couple of shelters which have a lending library book exchange set up next to it. Kind of looks like a big bird house with a windowed door. One's in CT and another in MA IIRC.

Strategic
02-02-2019, 12:37
No, books in shelters aren't litter, they're the gift of knowledge and enjoyment to other hikers. Some great moments on the trail have been mine because of an opportune find of a book at a shelter, even though I carry my own reading material. The thing to do is treat them like they aren't litter: if you leave a book, make sure it's protected from the elements and animals. If you find a book, don't treat it like a random piece of paper and burn pages (I mean, seriously, book burning is one of the greatest affronts to knowledge possible.) Treat them like the gift to other hikers that they are. If you don't like books or if you don't like shelters, then pass by and leave both to someone else who does.

RuthN
02-02-2019, 13:18
"Littering" implies a deliberately lazy and inconsiderate mishandling of items you no longer need or want, or which can no longer be used. If someone leaves a book in a shelter with the intention of providing enjoyment to another hiker, it's not really littering, but it could be argued that doing so violates a few Leave No Trace principles.

Slo-go'en
02-02-2019, 13:52
I started reading a book I found in a shelter and was really getting into the story. About half way through I noticed the last two chapters were missing! Of course, it was the kind of story you really needed the last two chapters to wrap it up. No sense going any farther. Carried it to town and threw it away. If your going to use a book for kindling, use the first chapters. We can usually figure out the story without the intro.

MuddyWaters
02-02-2019, 14:01
"Littering" implies a deliberately lazy and inconsiderate mishandling of items you no longer need or want, or which can no longer be used. If someone leaves a book in a shelter with the intention of providing enjoyment to another hiker, it's not really littering, but it could be argued that doing so violates a few Leave No Trace principles.

Well then, lets say the same thing about cast iron skillets, pillows, folding chairs, blue jeans, lanterns, coolers, and unwanted food.

In all cases, someone justifies leaving an item with an apriori assumption that someone else will want it, and it wont be trash.

The truth is, its all trash, packed out by more conscientious people than the ones leaving it. Or burned. Ridgerunners and shelter caretakers and trail clubs pack out 99% of this garbage.

Just because a person might come along one day, weeks later, and like it, dont make it not trash.

Its trash. Take it with you.

If you brought it in, take it out.
If your a good conscientious hiker you take out more than you brought, ie, other peoples garbage.

Puddlefish
02-02-2019, 14:04
Books are litter when left in shelters. Ain't no one going to pick up that grimy Clancy paperback, that the mice have started tearing apart for nesting material, and decide to read it. All the good intentions in the world aren't going to make that book less grimy.

A used book is valuable to the right person. Much like that three pound bag of rice that you want to ditch because of the weight. Ask if anyone in the area wants it. If no one wants it, pack it out, put it in a hiker box. Why would you assume that because the dozen people around want nothing to do with it, then the next guy who comes along is going to cherish and rescue it.

devoidapop
02-02-2019, 14:16
Only if their religious in nature. Too many of these in shelters, those evangelists are the worst offenders.

I love to find a good Chick tract. Those are the little rectangular comic books about the evils of Catholicism, Dungeons&Dragons, or rock and roll music. I used to save them and had a pretty good collection at one point.

kestral
02-02-2019, 14:33
Might be time to invest in a kindle. I have an I phone and I pad, both cut through battery life pretty quickly, therefore extra weight in external battery pack. Can you down load overdrive app onto kindle? This is my library app.

I have kindle app on both, but they want $ for books I rent for free through library. I go through a lot of audio and e books. I pay taxes which support my library so I don’t see this as taking advantage at all.

Uriah
02-02-2019, 15:40
Litter in a shelter? I consider the shelter itself to be the biggest piece of litter on the landscape---and an eyesore---but that's just me.

No. It's not just you, Tipi!

In any event, I leave books behind at shelters, some before making it five pages in (like, for example, Wild). Shelters can house more than just humans. Mice, snakes, spiders, porcupines, books, religious pamphlets, fake electrical outlets; they all deserve a home.

Starchild
02-02-2019, 15:57
I started reading a book I found in a shelter and was really getting into the story. About half way through I noticed the last two chapters were missing! Of course, it was the kind of story you really needed the last two chapters to wrap it up. No sense going any farther. Carried it to town and threw it away. If your going to use a book for kindling, use the first chapters. We can usually figure out the story without the intro.

The rest of the book is/was most likely in the next shelter that a hiker would stay at. I've know a hiker who read a book like this, it was spread in 5 shelters or so, however one section in the middle he missed.

Leo L.
02-02-2019, 16:34
Books in open unheated shelters I can only guess would not survive for long, but start to get mouldy and decay soon.

The Kindle as a piece of hardware is pretty fragile, I'm already on my third one, having broken the first two inside the backpack.
Now I'm reading through the Kindle app on my smartphone and this really works. It does not eat too much battery.
But note that all your books are stored in the cloud unless you are downloading them into your device before you get to an area without signal.

D2maine
02-02-2019, 16:44
:confused: this is even a question? of course it trash. pack out what you packed in stop trying to find justifications for being lazy.

Shelters may not be your thing, but on the AT they are not going away. the destruction caused by trail users gets concentrated in a manageable areas by shelters and their privies..

Dogwood
02-02-2019, 17:40
Books left in shelters don't have to be packed out. Dry pages make great fire starters.

AT maps left in shelters, are they trash? They usually don't hang around long before someone takes or burns em.

Are Shelter Journals trash? How about the pencils and pens that tend to accumulate?

Of all the crap hikers leave behind on the AT I've yet to arrive at a shelter with more than 6 small books. And if you do leave a map or small book behind leave it inside the shelter preferably in a small clear bag...next to the left behind tea candles, MRE's, occasional map, beat up tarp, and the Vienna sausage and tuna tins in the campfire ring.

C'mon common sense.

One note if you do take a book from the AT Shelter book exchange and expect to read it make sure it has the ending pages. I've read two 250 page books on trail getting near the ending climax and.... :datz

Dogwood
02-02-2019, 17:41
The real question are those dreaded banana and orange peels?:D

Grampie
02-02-2019, 18:38
Donít leave anything behind in a shelter. You May think someone else will want it, but most of the time itís useless trash to others.

skater
02-02-2019, 20:08
As an avid reader and trail maintainer, I can appreciate that you are meaning to do a good thing, but even books left behind are litter in shelters. Pass the book along in person to another hiker who wants it, or pack it out.

kestral
02-02-2019, 20:14
As an avid reader and trail maintainer, I can appreciate that you are meaning to do a good thing, but even books left behind are litter in shelters. Pass the book along in person to another hiker who wants it, or pack it out.

accepted and will do. I don’t make a habit of leaving books, but I do sometimes swap if a new title is present and beckoning

Durwood
02-02-2019, 20:47
I consider myself an avid reader. I was never interested in thumbing through a paper back in a shelter. As a personal rule, I avoid logbooks, pen/pencils, anything in a ziploc while I am on trail. During a LD hike I am concerned about transmission of stuff that can make me ill.

I've watched hikers return from the cat-hole and write a pleasant message in the log book. For me, it's self preservation in order to enjoy my hike. Especially on a thru.

Pack it in, pack it out. As said before, plenty of diverse and varied materials at hostels and libraries. Cheers.

GaryM
02-03-2019, 22:39
Leave the book until the last pictured is colored in then haul it out. Please restock all the crayons you wore out too. ;)

Sarcasm the elf
02-03-2019, 22:50
I’ve seen books free for the taking in many a shelter over the years. Can’t say it’s ever bothered me any.

The Cleaner
02-04-2019, 08:13
Not litter IMHO. When leaving a shelter only your name should be left in the trail register. Any books I find get burned or packed out.

peakbagger
02-04-2019, 09:13
I think the leaving the book age was long ago when there was a lot less usage of the trail. The popular easy to access shelters always got use but over in Maine many of the less accessible one didn't get a lot of visitors and there was far less technology on the trail. I remember seeing registers when I was kid where even during hiking season, the shelter may not get used every night except on weekends. Pure speculation based on my limited observations and few quick discussions with thruhikers in the late sixties and seventies when thru hiking was far rarer was that thru hikers tended to do far less town days. Many of the trail towns and services didn't exist and in in many rural towns thruhikers were regarded as "hippies" and bums. This is the same time where the trail was being rerouted out of towns as the locals didn't want the "hippies" in town. Keep in mind this was during or after the Vietnam war and there were a lot of baby boomers heading out into the woods into rural areas. A guy with long hair and a backpack hitching into town might have to wait for hours and risk having a beer can thrown at him while waiting on the side of the road. I ran into a couple of folks where the local law met them along the road heading into town and let them know that they had best be out of town before nightfall. This hassle in many towns meant that many carried more days of food with far fewer trips to town and when they did head into town it was a quick in an out if at possible. Thus with fewer town trips, no technology and fewer folks on the trail, thru hikers were more isolated and I expect books were a welcome diversion.

PatmanTN
02-04-2019, 10:03
I consider myself an avid reader. I was never interested in thumbing through a paper back in a shelter. As a personal rule, I avoid logbooks, pen/pencils, anything in a ziploc while I am on trail. During a LD hike I am concerned about transmission of stuff that can make me ill.
I've watched hikers return from the cat-hole and write a pleasant message in the log book. For me, it's self preservation in order to enjoy my hike. Especially on a thru.

Pack it in, pack it out. As said before, plenty of diverse and varied materials at hostels and libraries. Cheers.


I completely agree Durwood. I try to avoid touching public surfaces in general and especially when hiking a super-highway trail like the AT. Some years ago I contracted what was later diagnosed as noro-virus sometime during a 10 day section hike. I never slept in a shelter and only stopped at one; I did touch the log-book after being prompted to read a humorous entry by a late season thru-hiker. He handed me the book and we shared a laugh at the story. A bit later he explained that he was looking for notes from his SOBO friends that he had fallen behind. He said he had a "stomach bug" that waylaid him for five days. Who knows for sure, but I made the connection, and that was the last log book I've ever picked up.

Tipi Walter
02-04-2019, 10:14
I think the leaving the book age was long ago when there was a lot less usage of the trail. The popular easy to access shelters always got use but over in Maine many of the less accessible one didn't get a lot of visitors and there was far less technology on the trail. I remember seeing registers when I was kid where even during hiking season, the shelter may not get used every night except on weekends. Pure speculation based on my limited observations and few quick discussions with thruhikers in the late sixties and seventies when thru hiking was far rarer was that thru hikers tended to do far less town days.

Many of the trail towns and services didn't exist and in in many rural towns thruhikers were regarded as "hippies" and bums. This is the same time where the trail was being rerouted out of towns as the locals didn't want the "hippies" in town. Keep in mind this was during or after the Vietnam war and there were a lot of baby boomers heading out into the woods into rural areas. A guy with long hair and a backpack hitching into town might have to wait for hours and risk having a beer can thrown at him while waiting on the side of the road. I ran into a couple of folks where the local law met them along the road heading into town and let them know that they had best be out of town before nightfall. This hassle in many towns meant that many carried more days of food with far fewer trips to town and when they did head into town it was a quick in an out if at possible. Thus with fewer town trips, no technology and fewer folks on the trail, thru hikers were more isolated and I expect books were a welcome diversion.

Back in the 1980s I spent far more time backpacking on the AT---and then it tapered off and in the last 10 years I pulled a 7 day trip on the AT in 2006 and in 2011 a 19 day trip and in 2014 a 21 day trip. Point is, AT backpackers can choose to hike "in the old style" if they want---as all my trips were with one food load and no resupply and no town visits. It reminds me of Dorothy Laker who thruhiked the AT 3 times and did as you say---she stashed her pack in the woods and hitched to town and came back to her pack that same day.

Of course Kestral the OP made no mention of thruhiking or section hiking or whatever else, just whether books in a shelter could be considered trash.

Tipi Walter
02-04-2019, 10:38
I completely agree Durwood. I try to avoid touching public surfaces in general and especially when hiking a super-highway trail like the AT. Some years ago I contracted what was later diagnosed as noro-virus sometime during a 10 day section hike. I never slept in a shelter and only stopped at one; I did touch the log-book after being prompted to read a humorous entry by a late season thru-hiker. He handed me the book and we shared a laugh at the story. A bit later he explained that he was looking for notes from his SOBO friends that he had fallen behind. He said he had a "stomach bug" that waylaid him for five days. Who knows for sure, but I made the connection, and that was the last log book I've ever picked up.

I hear you, brother. In decades of hiking on the AT I too never slept in the blasted things---just used their water springs to get fluids and stopped for a break.

One thing I like about the AT's sister trail---the Benton MacKaye---is TN locals often take offense at any "improvements" along the trail and destroy such stuff in a redneck fury. See pics---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Big-Frog-Wilderness/i-xMM2DGw/0/cb0d9aad/L/TRIP%20168%20091-L.jpg
Back in 2015 some motivated BMTers placed this trail register and log book box on the trail sign on Big Frog Mt on the BMT.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Big-Frog-Wilderness/i-kqTr63T/0/8d88665c/L/TRIP%20168%20089-L.jpg
Here's the trail register. I actually thumbed thru the thing (fingered?)---and luckily didn't get the Blue Squirts or the Blue Munge etc. I even signed the thing.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Quest-For-The-Connie/i-9tgbbHV/0/a51fbcf4/L/TRIP%20169%20059-L.jpg
I come back a couple months later and the box is ripped off the post and destroyed---and the log book shredded. Welcome to TN. (Not bear damage! As I checked the box for claw marks etc).

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Quest-For-The-Connie/i-dtP7Bkz/0/d08ab794/L/TRIP%20169%20060-L.jpg
I gathered up the shredded and scattered log book and found the metal box and placed the whole wad on the ground with a rock. Now boys, enjoy thumbing thru the trail register and reading the entries.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2015-Trips-161/Quest-For-The-Connie/i-dCkQLzv/0/bd7296a9/L/TRIP%20169%20279-L.jpg
And speaking of Patman---here we are below Big Frog Mt after Patman humped in this wonderful watermelon.

POINT IS---maybe you can solve your "books left at the shelter" problem by letting in hundreds of Tennessee locals to destroy not only the log books but the shelters themselves ha ha ha.

peakbagger
02-04-2019, 10:40
Absolutely no argument, I just see a heck of lot more folks on the "three or four day on trail and one day off" mode than the older longer 5 to 10 days on trail and 1/2 day off.

I also expect organized slackpacks were not as available. I swear half the thru hikers I see on Wildcat Ridge and Carter Moriah trails are doing the one day slackpack from Pinkham to Gorham and they inevitably spend a night in town the night before and the night after and some slack the stretch from Gentian back to Rattle River the next day. Of course when Hikers Paradise first opened they were doing a slack the whites option (which included a whole lot of blue blazes to get down and back up to the AT.

JPritch
02-08-2019, 13:21
Well then, lets say the same thing about cast iron skillets, pillows, folding chairs, blue jeans, lanterns, coolers, and unwanted food.

In all cases, someone justifies leaving an item with an apriori assumption that someone else will want it, and it wont be trash.

The truth is, its all trash, packed out by more conscientious people than the ones leaving it. Or burned. Ridgerunners and shelter caretakers and trail clubs pack out 99% of this garbage.

Just because a person might come along one day, weeks later, and like it, dont make it not trash.

Its trash. Take it with you.

If you brought it in, take it out.
If your a good conscientious hiker you take out more than you brought, ie, other peoples garbage.
Stole my words! Well said.

fiddlehead
02-08-2019, 21:44
I appreciate books.
If I find one in a shelter and I have time to read it: THanks.
Although I stopped carrying a headlamp years ago, so it would only help me in summer, when there is more daylight.
Kindle is way too heavy for this hiker.

Christoph
02-08-2019, 23:55
Should have started a poll on this one. This is quite interesting.

Traffic Jam
02-09-2019, 10:12
Mice like books.

MuddyWaters
02-09-2019, 10:26
Theres a scary # of childrens books about mice....
And the mouse is always the protagonist.

Apparently, we have a fascination with them.

bighammer
02-10-2019, 01:06
Only the trashy novels. :D

I don't see a problem with a book left in a shelter. Even if it's not your cup of tea, there is somebody that might be very happy to find and read it.

Traveler
02-10-2019, 08:06
I used to be of the opinion leaving a book behind for those following was a good thing. Then I maintained trails with shelters for a few years.

While intentions may be good, the reality of life is paperback books hold germs carried by many hands, which can turn them into Noro-books. However, most books soon become tinder for fires (a real nuisance where campfires are banned) and shredded fodder for nests built by animals and birds. These things, in and of themselves are not much of an issue for the transient hiker but can be for those who follow and maintainers who have to deal with this stuff.

Removing these nests can be difficult for maintainers to remove, few are ever in a place that does not require a significant effort to reach and pull them out. Pulling nesting material out exposes maintainers to a variety of things when the nest pulls apart and its contents become airborne or nesting material falls on them during the process. Where there is easy access to nesting materials in a place that wind and water have difficulty reaching, and were people show up periodically and predictably leave bits of food around, animals are very quick to exploit those resources.

I am not condemning the practice of leaving books behind, however it should be a consideration the next time temptation says to leave the recently completed Danielle Steel novel behind. On a positive note, I am seeing less paperbacks in shelter these days due to Kindle applications than a decade ago, which have their own detractors in trail purity meters but do not leave a residue on the trail or its components.

Time Zone
02-10-2019, 19:27
Mice like books.

Is that why some librarians are described as mousy?

theinfamousj
02-11-2019, 00:31
I went camping a few miles in on a trail, but I cannot remember what trail. At the road crossing there was a Little Library. It looked like the little houses that the Little Free Library folks sell, but wasn't officially registered.

Something like this at a road crossing, rather than a shelter, seems a good solution for give-one-take-one.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

D2maine
02-11-2019, 05:31
I went camping a few miles in on a trail, but I cannot remember what trail. At the road crossing there was a Little Library. It looked like the little houses that the Little Free Library folks sell, but wasn't officially registered.

Something like this at a road crossing, rather than a shelter, seems a good solution for give-one-take-one.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk

and unless somebody actively maintains it the "free library" will quickly become a trash can - unfortunately because of the actions of a selfish few we can never have anything nice.

MtDoraDave
03-22-2019, 07:15
Good thread.
I have, in the past, left books in shelters when I finished one. One of which I witnessed being picked up to be read by one of the other hikers at the shelter with me that morning. Giving the gift of a good book... I realize now that it is more likely to be ripped apart and used for fire starter and/or nesting material than it is to be picked up by another reader - so I will discontinue this practice of leaving books behind.

My kindle fire is an older model, heavier than a hard cover book, and I don't prefer to read on the kindle app on my phone, so I'll continue to bring a paperback with me. When I finish it, I will ask anyone present if they would like it. If nobody wants it, I'll carry it out.

littlerhody
03-22-2019, 08:05
Lol... Who asked about TV? TV is Not reading...

Dogwood
03-22-2019, 12:43
Highly more impacting are humans and on trail food behavior than humans and books.

wornoutboots
03-22-2019, 16:23
The problem with leaving books behind is that the mice like to read them while no one is around & they have a tendency to chew while the read & and eventually the once was "book" is now a pile of trash :/