View Full Version : Tellico Gap Hostel

03-08-2003, 22:10
I read in Wench's journal (in her guestbook) that this hostel is closed.

Does any one know if this is true?

03-08-2003, 22:26
He is only open for a brief time in the early part of the season, I know that. Last year he was mentioning possibly selling the place...maybe he did? Not sure if it's open or not, but the proprietor's name was Ron Vaugh, if you want to do some research. Too bad if it is, great place, really interesting guy, and a nice slack to the NOC.

03-10-2003, 07:58
DOes anyone know the phone number or city of this hostel? I got a lot of questions about it from hikers this weekend. I will give him a call.
thanks, manzana

03-10-2003, 09:38
The hostel is located in the sticks (no towns nearby). It is about 10 miles before the NOC. I don't know if he will be open this year.

03-11-2003, 10:08
Had an interesting email (posted below) this morning. It looks like this info got posted to just about every 2003 guest book on Trail Journals.

Tellico Gap Hiker Hostel CLOSED FYI I found out my brother has been running a hiker hostel from my private summer home at Tellico Gap, NC. Please do not plan on staying there or entering the property. My brother is no longer a guest in my home and the sheriff will be patrolling and arresting trespassers. Please plan your hike accordingly. The NOC is just a few miles ahead. I appreciate your respect of my private home. Have a great hike in the Nantahalas. Cassandra Vaughn, property owner

Tellico Gap
03-11-2003, 11:51
The Tellico Gap Hostel is CLOSED!!


I hate to bring all of you into this, but this is my home. My brother, Ron Vaughn, was a guest in my home. He asked to stay there for a few months as a quiet place to write. I just recently found out he has been using my home as a hiker hostel. He is no longer welcome in my home and has been thrown out.

You all need to know that anyone entering my land or home will be treated as a trespasser and arrested.

I hate to sound so harsh, as I am a hiker myself, but I am in shock that my brother has been staying as a guest (no charge) and has been renting my beds out. He has no permission, authority, etc. Local authorities have been notified.

The NOC is just a few miles (7) away and a totally legit business. Please plan your hike to bypass the alleged Tellico Gap Hostel. Of course, the shelters also bookend my property.

I would appreciate all of you passing the word about this scam.

If anyone would like to call and talk to me for more information, I can be contacted at 607-748-8121.

Sincerely, Cassandra Vaughn

03-11-2003, 12:26
Cassandra, if it makes you feel any better, Ron (in my opinion) was never trying to actually make a buck with a "hostel". I stopped there in 2000 and he fed me like a King out at the picnic bench, and allowed me to use the telephone with the my phone card. It was evident to me that he was a hiker, and was just tryin to be kind to other hikers. I believe I gave him $5 for a couple of Monte Cristo sandwiches, a huge bunch of cookies, a couple of glasses of milk, and a soda. In no way did this seem like a commercial enterprise, and in fact, he made a point of telling me that he was not making money with this gig, and would soon be hiking. He certainly didn't make any money on me! He was just a nice guy, and I have fond memories of the little time I spent with your brother.

I hope y'all are able to put aside your differences at some point. Just did that with my Dad after 12 years of awful stoney silence.

All the best.

Jeffrey Hunter
aka Little Bear
GA-ME 2000

03-11-2003, 12:27
Thanks very much for the facts Cassandra. I know that only 9 days ago there was a (handwritten) sign about the "Hostel" near the gap. The 2003 Hiking Companion from ALDHA lists the Hostel and the phone #. It even says supplies are available there. That is an extreme bummer. I am sure 100's of folks will come knocking. Or, maybe the word will get out...


Tellico Gap
03-11-2003, 14:09
All -

I know, I know. This is REALLY a bummer from my side. I am sure my brother looks like the greatest host, as he is staying for free in my home and using my utilities, my pump, my furniture, my hot water heater, etc, etc. I suppose it is easy to look gracious when it is not your stuff.

My first concern (besides the ultimate family betrayal) is the liability. He has no insurance, no licenses, etc, etc. He has put his sister (me) and her family at great risk.

He's not who you think he is and whom he purports himself to be.

He's been very devious to do this for multiple years. You wouldn't believe the lies he's had to tell to myself and his mother.

This area is so beautiful. It's why I have my home there. I know you will all enjoy a great hike. The view from the fire tower on Wesser Bald will be one of your best throughout your whole hike!

SGT Rock
03-11-2003, 14:18
I can undersand your concerns. Im sorry that it came to this. I never used the hostel myself but I was planning to someday just to see it, I have been on that section of trail and I was supprised by where the location was that there would be one out there.

Please feel free to post any other info about the closing you feel you need to. It's what the forum is here for.

Tellico Gap
03-11-2003, 16:26
Thanks so much for the support, hikers. It strengthens me for what lies ahead. I know that none of you knew about this and that this is not your fault. With this being the "season" for this section of the trail I needed to get word to all of you as quickly as possible. I appreciate the word of mouth you can all help with. I'd hate anyone to spend time in the Macon County jail while this was in process.

(If anyone has any doubts, while you are in Franklin look in the deed books. It's easy to look up. Maybe I'll post the deed book number and page fyi ... I have it somewhere.)

This has been one heck of a week finding this out. There's more, but why make it any uglier. It's bad enough.

I know you guys will all be respectful of my property. It is a great little cabin, but if you had a desire to see it, you would just have seen a home, not a hostel. My little piece of heaven.

I have evidence of hundreds of people in my home. What would you all think of such a thing? This will be a good discussion topic around the fire at the shelters. What would you do/feel if your brother took advantage of you this way?

Thanks again for your kind words and support. Happy trails and sunny skies on Katahdin!!

Cassandra Vaughn

03-11-2003, 17:20
Have you emailed/called the ATC (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/index.html) and/or the ALDHA (http://www.aldha.org)? You should so they can update the online versions of their guides. And remove the entry for next year's version.

TJ aka Teej
03-11-2003, 17:22
Originally posted by Tellico Gap
You all need to know that anyone entering my land or home will be treated as a trespasser and arrested.

Originally posted by Tellico Gap
I'd hate anyone to spend time in the Macon County jail while this was in process.

Hi Cassandra
Sorry about your trouble, and thanks for doing so much to get the word out, but...
Why all the hostile threats toward the uninformed hiker?
You need to know only a small number of hikers will read Trailjournals, the email lists, and the websites. Many more will just purchase the guidebooks, and no doubt someone will innocently think the info from the book is current. Please don't take your anger out on some section hiker or weekender who is out of the information loop. Post some signs, and take comfort in knowing that next year's guides will have the correct information. The ATC website's Companion update has already has noted that "The Tellico Gap Hiker's Hostel has closed."
thanks, and good luck

---> update/edit I just contacted a GAME hiker via pocketmail who is south of Tellico Gap. She'll post notes in the shelter registers.

Tellico Gap
03-11-2003, 19:19
You're right. I apologize if it comes off harsh. I just don't know how to be more clear. My brother is likely to tell you to come on in. I still don't have him physically out, but the sheriff will arrive soon and I don't want any hikers caught in it and have to spend a night away from their hike until it's all straightened out. There will be regular patrols to the property also.

It is not meant as a threat to hikers, but information so that they don't get caught up in something that muddies thier hike.

I certainly don't want to be the bad guy in this. I need to protect my property and protect all of you.

I did have the ATC companion put the update in. If you have any other suggestions as to how to get the word out, I'd appreciate it.

Cassandra Vaughn

TJ aka Teej
03-11-2003, 19:47
Originally posted by Tellico Gap
My brother is likely to tell you to come on in. I still don't have him physically out, but the sheriff will arrive soon and I don't want any hikers caught in it and have to spend a night away from their hike until it's all straightened out

Oh, I get it! He's still there!
Sorry Cassandra, I missed that important detail!
Take care, and the 'word' is being spread to thruhikers currently on the trail.

SGT Rock
03-11-2003, 21:05
Sort of off topic, but I've been thinking of opening a hostel along the AT after I retire and do my thru-hike. Cassandra talked about permits, what kind of permits would you really need to let people sleep in your garage? I'm serious.

03-11-2003, 21:49
Regarding permits...

I'm sure that the rules vary depending on the local community. I would be willing to bet that in smaller towns it wouldn't be an issue. Unless, of course, Aunt Bea (or my mother-in-law) lives next door.:D

If there is already an established Inn, or Hotel, in town that sees you as a threat, you'll need to be prepared as well.

03-11-2003, 21:51

You've posted this here and on the journals at Trail Journals, but I didn't see any posts on Trail Forums (sister site to TJ).

There are a few other forums out there that you could post this information on as well.


are the ones that I can think of off hand. Maybe others can give more suggestions.

(You might want to mention the fact that your brother is still there inviting hikers to "the hostel" in your messages. That needs to be known so you don't sound so harsh about the arrests. You said above that he had been thrown out, so my understanding was that he was not there. )

SGT Rock
03-11-2003, 22:01
I agree about that. The fact that he is still there and may be telling people to come on in while you are not there and can't be available to say otherwise could be very confusing, especially to someone not "wired in" as it were. I would hate to be an innocent hiker caught in the middle of all this. I'm not faulting you for your position mind you - it is your house and property, I'm just saying that there wouldn't be any criminal or malicious intent on a hiker's part.

Tellico Gap
03-11-2003, 22:22
Okay ... thanks for all the advice ... I'm new at this in so many ways! I had a whole other wonderful life before all this erupted last week.

I was trying not to get too much into the family soap opera. It just seemed important to tell you all it was closed.

Sigh. Thanks for understanding as this all unfolds.

Keeping innocent hikers out of it was a primary concern. I guess I just don't know how to say it. I don't know when the sheriff will go there. It's not an emergency so they could go anytime. They will probably go often, advising hikers that it is closed, checking on the property, etc.

I hope my brother is leaving, but he has not as of today. He was thrown out, but has not gotten out.

I got a call from ALDHA and they have talked to my brother and he has confirmed to them that he did not have permission and that the hostel is closed. ALDHA is correcting their guidebooks, but I know there are many that will not know. ALDHA let him know that he has put them and hikers in an awkward position.

I'll work hard with the sheriff to let them know that unless someone has broken in or something like that, that hikers should be left alone.

By the way, one hostel owner sent me a note saying that they had licenses from all "but the Pope," so it must be a lot of work to license one of these. Insurance should be had, etc. I suspect serving food adds a whole other dimension.


SGT Rock
03-11-2003, 22:36
We hikers appreciate the bind you are in and than you for your understanding.

Hmmm, I'm not Catholic, so maybe I won't need a licence from the Pope either....

03-12-2003, 08:17
Permits, and the like are handled by the local juristiction. So, if you are considering opening a hostel, see what is required in your locality.

I recall talking with the owner of Gull Pond B & B in Rangely. His preference is to stay below the radar. So, he limits the number of hikers he can take in (just a few each night), so he doesn't need a license or permit, and doesn't serve any thing hot for breakfast so the health department doesn't bother him.

Jack Tarlin
03-12-2003, 16:45

I heard from another hiker site that at least one hiker presently on the Trail is aware of the situation at Tellico Gap and has been putting this in trail registers and notebooks as she goes along; hopefully, by the time most folks get to the Gap, they'll be aware of what the situation is. Of course, it couldn't hurt to post a good sized sign at the Gap, or maybe just before it, telling people what's going on.

Sorry you had to go thru all this; hope it doesn't put you off hikers for life, and I hope this is resolved soon.

Tellico Gap
03-13-2003, 09:38
Jack -

Thanks to all of you for spreading the word!

The forest service has sent their regional guys out to walk the trail and inform people, also. The local Nantahala Club is also on alert.

I am quite a distance from that section of the trail, so I cannot get a sign up, and anyway, I think my brother would take it down. Maybe I can ask the Nantahala Club to try. They are stewards of this section of the trail.

I am not turned of of hikers in any way. When I am there I always make brownies and head out for a little trail magic. Some of my dear friends are people I met right there on the trail. Can you believe my little girls first hiking boots (size 3 months) were sent to her by a thru hiking couple I met for 1 hour! Special people.

03-13-2003, 11:21
We have asked the new managers of Rainbow Springs to post
a notice in the store about the closing of Tellico Gap Hostel, just in case some hikers have not been told about the situation. Cassandra, we are very sorry to hear what your brother has done to you and your property. For all of those wanting to open a hostel along the Trail when they retire, feel free to contact us privately with any questions. Jensine & Buddy, former owners of
Rainbow Springs Campground.

Tellico Gap
03-18-2003, 11:26
Representatives from the United States Forest Service (USFS) and Appalachian Trail Conference (ATC) have agreed to take calls regarding the ownership of the property at Tellico Gap where the CLOSED "alleged" hostel is located.

Feel free to call them during regular business hours:

USFS: Morgan Summerville, USFS Asheville Region, 828-254-3708

ATC: Bob Williams, Director of Land Trust Programs, 304-535-6331
or Laurie Potteiger, Coordinator of Visitor Services same number as Williams 304-535-6331

Tellico Gap
03-19-2003, 16:48
This note was posted on at-l yesterday.

[email protected] [email protected]
Tue, 18 Mar 2003 15:58:42 -0500

Just received this from Jan regarding Tellico....

Hi Amy
Tell anyone who cares that i was at Tellico Gap hostel today, walked in this morning for some free waffles and coffee. They were closing the place down, and I got the last of the waffles and coffee. I just stopped in out of curiosity, and got fed. While I was there, the power was turned off. A fellow named Lindy, who I know from ALDHA Gatherings, was there helping his budd=
y The Waffle King close it down.
I'm in NOC tonite. Make those reservations early! No room in the Inn tonite due to spring breakers.

SGT Rock
03-19-2003, 16:53
Does this mean it was still being operated as a hostle up until yesterday?

Tellico Gap
03-20-2003, 13:48
Tellico Gap hostel is CLOSED! Has been! Anything Ron Vaughn has been doing for the last years has been a felony! Anyone there is trespassing. So, NO, it''s not open. At least not legally. Beware of police patrols and arrests.

SGT Rock
03-20-2003, 14:25
Roger, I understand it was supposed that. I understand it was supposed to be closed and not used anymore. But the message sounded like he was still doing it against your wishes. I guess that was my question. At least now it should be a non-issue.

03-20-2003, 18:58