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Former Admin
09-10-2002, 05:47
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Jim and Molly Denton Shelter

Past/Present hikers - what can future hikers expect here? Have any good stories or memories from here?

Future hikers - any questions?

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Kerosene
09-10-2002, 09:46
Stay away if you can. They've had historical problems with snakes and rats at this location. It was October 2001 and the any snake inhabitants were not around, but a good-sized wood rat scampered through the rafters all night long. Fortunately, an overnight camper joined me and hung his Bonfire tent lantern up, illuminating the entire shelter and keeping the rat to the shadows. Even so, I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, especially after reading numerous stories in the shelter register about how the rat liked to nibble at hiker's hair in the middle of the night. In retrospect, I should have either stayed at the Denton Shelter or pushed on to Dick's Dome, but it was my first day out.

The piped spring is just down the hill to the right of the shelter and is very nice.

stranger
02-02-2003, 18:51
Same rat problem as Dick's Dome but got to see the Beautiful Copperheads just below the fire ring...good tent sites before you reach the shelter.

gschwartzman
09-29-2004, 23:42
I'm the PATC shelter overseer at Manassas Gap. As best I can tell the past rodent problem has been solved. None reported in recent log books and I've seen none on several visits this year.

Snakes are around, so maybe that's why there's not a rat problem. I've seen several shy Black snakes (see my pic gallery) in the shelter.

Copperheads are know to den in and around the stone retaining wall just beyond the fire pit. I've not personally seen one in the shelter, but there are reports of copperheads sunning on the concrete slab near the fire pit.

Last year the shelter was lifted off the ground 18" to prevent burrowing beneath the shelter. And this Fall the retaining wall will be rebuilt in a way that discourages snake dens.

Anyway, it's still a good site and it's not gauranteed you'll see a snake - or that if you do, they'll do anything but sleep in the rafters of the shelter.

As for other amenities at the shelter, H2O source is very good and privy is usually pretty clean.

Several decent tent sites and firepits on the approach trail.

Garlic
05-15-2005, 10:22
This shelter has changed quite a bit since the early 1990's. PATC has a done a great job with it. Was out two weeks ago and didn't see the resident rat. A lot of tent sites in the area with a few campfire rings. A small piped spring just down the path (20' or so).

Crazy Larry #1
05-16-2005, 16:41
I'll never forget hiking onto Manassas Gap Shelter. After dinner I bedded down and good size copperhead dropped right onto my sleeping bag. He and I just looked at each other, he flicked his tongue at me and I flicked mine at him, then he slid off. After he was gone, I went and took the longest piss I think I ever did....wanderer

Teatime
05-16-2005, 22:34
When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.
I'll never forget hiking onto Manassas Gap Shelter. After dinner I bedded down and good size copperhead dropped right onto my sleeping bag. He and I just looked at each other, he flicked his tongue at me and I flicked mine at him, then he slid off. After he was gone, I went and took the longest piss I think I ever did....wanderer

Old Hickory MH
05-16-2005, 23:45
I was there on May 9th and found the shelter to be clean and minus the signs of mice, rats or snakes. I was told though by Bill the caretaker at Blackburn that the copperheads still do indeed have their den just a couple hundred yards down from the shelter. If the shelters are kept as clean as possible and people do not eat in them only as a last resort, the rodent problem will be kept down and the snakes will have no reason to visit the shelter.

Old Hickory MH......... I'd rather die living life than live life dying!

Crazy Larry #1
05-17-2005, 15:12
That was around August of 2001....wanderer

Crazy Larry #1
05-17-2005, 15:14
Around the last week of August or the first week of September 2001


When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.

Useless
05-30-2005, 18:37
A small milk snake poked its head out of a crack on the outer, right-hand side of the entrance about half way up. Then it retreated not to be seen again that night. I read and laughed at a few strange entries in the shelter log, a bear wearing a blue shirt offered us some herbal refreshments, and I learned why AT hikers rarely ever shake hands. Other than that, it was an uneventful and relaxing stay.

Happy Hiking

Crazy Larry #1
05-30-2005, 18:40
When, exactly was that? I was at this shelter last spring but only saw the shy black snake up in the corner.late august 2001

johnnyblisters
07-09-2005, 18:16
Just got back from a weekend hike from chester gap to snickers gap, stayed in this shelter with dagonpen and a thru-hiker (didnt catch his name). Had no problems with snakes or rodents of any kind.-milkman

Mini-Mosey
08-01-2005, 10:49
I tented here on an overnight backpacking trip this weekend. The water source is first-rate. I hadn't seen the shelter for 2 or 3 years. Since then, it's really been improved....floor repaired and painted, platform raised, etc. However, in log entries, there are reports of the resident copperhead sightings.

Sly
08-01-2005, 11:12
In December of '97 I thought it was one of the neatest little shelters on the trail. It even had emergency wool blankets.

The spring was one of the best I've seen anywhere, a real gusher.

gschwartzman
08-10-2005, 00:13
I tented here on an overnight backpacking trip this weekend. The water source is first-rate. I hadn't seen the shelter for 2 or 3 years. Since then, it's really been improved....floor repaired and painted, platform raised, etc. However, in log entries, there are reports of the resident copperhead sightings.Hello. I'm the PATC overseer for Manassas Gap Shelter.

Did you notice the date of the snake sightings in the log? some are old. We did extensive work on the rock retaining wall in front of the shelter. A great deal of effort was made to rebuild the retaining wall to included wire mesh behind the rocks. The hope is that this will deter the creation of snake dens so close to the shelter.

Mini-Mosey
08-10-2005, 20:13
It seems to me that some were fairly recent, although I can't remember dates. When did you put the wire mesh in? And, most importantly, thanks very much for all your hard work. It's very noticeable.

gschwartzman
08-11-2005, 23:19
Thanks, the wire/mesh screen went in behind the retaining wall this past fall. Bob Picket, the PATC Club Naturalist, and his crew deserve the credit for the idea and most of the work. They are very hard workers to say the least. It sure was fun removing a stone wall where copperheads are known to live! luckily none were at home this day. yikes!

We're hoping feedback from the logbook will help determine how much this helps.

The former shelter overseers and other PATC members did alot, too, including raising the entire shelter about 2.5 feet off the ground. The surrounding site and shelter is much improved over the last several years, I believe. :)

jamarshall
04-30-2006, 21:40
Log was missing from shelter last week. No snake sightings, no rodents. A few locals dropped by to cook burgers, but they were friendly (there's a side trail that's only about a half hour hike up to the shelter) and left as it was getting dark. Heard grouse drumming the next morning and found a couple of morels near the shelter. Another very peaceful spot.

Lemni Skate
10-13-2008, 13:41
I stayed there in Late April of 2008. Had it all to myself. Looked like a Disney movie when all the wildlife scrambled away when I go there.

Spring was very close to shelter and water was gushing out like a fire hose. I was asleep before seven as I was exhausted as I did my first ever overnighter with a full pack as a shakedown hike for a full two-weeker I was doing later.

Slept like a baby, but I was up and hiking again before dawn.

C Seeker
11-26-2010, 10:15
I was there last April during the week of Easter. I saw no snakes, thank goodness (the only animal I am scared of, maybe because I got 3 feet away from a copper head and 1 foot way from a huge rattle snake)

This was a really nice shelter, and loved the spring! There was a pipe with tons of water shooting out, plus water seeping out of the rock around the pipe. It all went down into a lush green, rocket, open land. I think I fell in love with it at first sight.

Great job on keeping the shelter clean, and snake free!

kerosenehat
09-17-2013, 05:40
Anyone stay there lately? Staying Friday night.. how's the spring is it nearby?

sweeper
09-17-2013, 06:23
I do believe it was Manasses Gap where back in 73 I came across a set of brand new heavy leather hiking boots, very pricey back than.
It seams the owner had been late winter camping and attempted to dry his boots by the fire, one boot was totally toasted. He walked out in his booties or sox or whatnot. He did survive, very lucky.
It had been a heavy snow year and I NB in april crossed several large snowdrifts still melting in the 80 degree temps.
That was the tail I was told about the hiker, but there were reports of a very fat and satisfied copperhead in the area.
nice shelter and we had quite an evenings discussion about those boots. We always figured if anyone else was ever stranded there and was hungry enough they could survive for awhile by eating the boots and left them beside the firepit.

Kerosene
09-17-2013, 08:05
I think that copperhead, or my likely its progeny, were still there along with a gigantic wood rat in the rafters when I (tried) to sleep overnight in October 2001!

Hard to believe that that spring wouldn't provide water, but things may have changed in a decade.

johnnybgood
09-17-2013, 15:28
I haven't overnighted there since last fall but the spring was running well then. Great place to hear trains in the distance as they cross a trestle at Compton Gap.

Studlintsean
09-17-2013, 17:36
I hiked a few weeks ago in the relative area (I tented at Dicks Dome) so take this with a grain of salt but all springs in the area were flowing fine. We had some rain recently and I think you should be good.

kerosenehat
09-17-2013, 20:43
Thanks all ill report in next on the shelter and such. Have. A great week

striper
09-18-2013, 16:28
Spent some time there two weeks ago but just for a long lunch. Saw no rodents or snakes. Saw a bear about a mile north on the trail.

kerosenehat
09-22-2013, 10:01
Manassas gap shelter was clean and piped spring was great. Just stopped for a rest and refill.

Studlintsean
02-17-2014, 11:14
Stayed here last night. It was cold with lots of snow but the shelter was in great shape and clean. Spring was flowing great.

Kaptainkriz
11-28-2016, 19:42
Passed throught last night. Shelter was clean and tidy and the spring was still running strong. :sun

Praha4
11-29-2016, 02:19
well I had a weird experience there in September this year.

first, have to say Jim & Molly Denton shelter is one of the nicest shelters on the AT

and the privy is also impressive...the caretaker supplied toilet paper and hand sanitizer gel, which amazed me

but...as I was exiting the privy early in the morning, my jacket sleeve got caught in the privy door latch, causing me to lose my balance, and fall off the privy platform, with a hard landing on my right shoulder as I impacted the ground beside the privy.

this may sound wierd, but for a brief moment, it felt as if someone was pushing me off the platform

are there any stories of ghosts at that shelter?

long story short, I had to cut short my hike, come home. Upon returning home, the Xrays showed I had a proximal humerus fracture on the shoulder.

wore an arm sling for 5 weeks

but it's better now...maybe one of Mosby's raiders pushed me off

Quaterstaff
03-19-2019, 18:04
Stopped at Manassas Gap yesterday for a short break on our hike from Weaverton Cliffs to Front Royal. That whole section had a tremendous amount of blowdown, Manassas Gap shelter looked like a tornado went thru. The shelter is fine, but many trees in the area litterally snapped in half from storms. The crews have been out clearing the trail and shelters.....much respect out to those folks, a huge job.
The shelter and privy are intact, now a few less trees.