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View Full Version : Who's in charge of The Place during Trail Days?



Overpass
11-21-2006, 16:22
First off, before anyone thinks I'm bashing the church, or being ungrateful for the incredible service The Place offers to hikers, I feel quite the opposite. I am truly grateful to them for this and have stayed at The Place several times over the past few years during section hikes. I always make a generous donation and also always do some chores around the house too, like clean a bathroom or sweep out some bunk rooms.

This past May when I attended Trail Days during my hike, I stayed at the campground Friday and Saturday night, but had to stay till Monday so I could mail some stuff home at the PO. The campground closed on sunday, so I hiked into town and set up my tent under a tree at The Place sunday night. On Monday morning I was sitting in the doorway of my tent lacing up my boots when a old, somewhat banged-up black pickup truck pulled up beside the Place near my tent. An older, heavyset man wearing a dark plaid shirt leaned out the window and in a very unpleasant tone, yelled "it’s time for you to be moving on". I said "what?" and he said "you can’t stay here more than two nights, now its time for you to be moving on". He was very rude and it was offensive to be spoken to as if I was some kind of homeless person who had to be "moved along". I said that I’d only been here overnight and had been at the campground all weekend. He then drove off without another word and I threw my stuff into my pack and left, feeling nettled and unwelcome. I’d always felt "warm and fuzzy" about the Place until then, but this ugly incident suddenly made it feel pretty unfriendly.

Does anyone know who this might have been and why he acted like this? I find it hard to believe that anyone from the church would behave like this, but he sure acted like he had some right to order people off the property. And it’s unlikely that he mistook me for someone who’d had a similar tent in the same spot all weekend, my tent is pretty distinctive. I guess it could have been some disgruntled town resident who was fed up with Trail Days, but I kinda doubt it. Who was this, and did anyone else have a similar experience at The Place last Trail Days?

Lone Wolf
11-21-2006, 16:27
His name is Tom Hayes. He is a church member and caretaker of the hostel.

freefall
11-21-2006, 21:26
On Monday morning I was sitting in the doorway of my tent lacing up my boots when a old, somewhat banged-up black pickup truck pulled up beside the Place near my tent. An older, heavyset man wearing a dark plaid shirt leaned out the window and in a very unpleasant tone, yelled "itís time for you to be moving on". I said "what?" and he said "you canít stay here more than two nights, now its time for you to be moving on". He was very rude and it was offensive to be spoken to as if I was some kind of homeless person who had to be "moved along". I said that Iíd only been here overnight and had been at the campground all weekend. He then drove off without another word and I threw my stuff into my pack and left, feeling nettled and unwelcome.

Who was this, and did anyone else have a similar experience at The Place last Trail Days?

Not during TD but before when we stayed in Damascus or rather the day we left. He was quite gruff. And actually seemed to follow us out of Damascus. We took the Creeper Trail out and he showed up in one of the Trail head parking lots. Then when we stopped in Taylor's Valley to get lunch and listen to some good bluegrass that night, there he was again.
Finally after 11pm when we finally hiked out of Taylor's Valley to the shelter, there he was again in his black pickup just before the bridge that was just before LW, Pirate and Willie's campsite.
Either he was really sad to see us go or was making sure we did. I didn't know what to make of him either given his WAY out of state plates....:rolleyes::-?

Overpass
11-26-2006, 13:32
Wow, freefall, that's kinda of creepy.

L. Wolf, do you have any idea why this guy acts this way? Also, is the church aware of his behavior?

Lone Wolf
11-26-2006, 14:01
He acts that way cuz way too many hikers in the past have ***ed things up at the hostel.

Overpass
11-26-2006, 14:30
So they welcome hikers to their hostel...then act nasty towards them when they stay there? :confused:

Jack Tarlin
11-26-2006, 14:52
Overpass:

They do indeed welcome hikers there, and have done so for many years.

On the other hand, they are tired of welcoming folks who leave messes; are disrespectful of the hostel's neighbors: ignore posted rules regarding dogs, tobacco, and alcohol; and who, in increasing numbers, leave absolutely nothing in the donation box. And this is a BIG problem at The Place.

THIS is what they're tired of, and this is the sort of thing that makes people rethink whether or not they want to keep running or maintaining a hostel.

Instead of getting bothered about a grumpy care-taker, maybe it'd be better if hikers stopped to think about WHY the guy is grumpy, and what hikers as a group can do to keep hostel caretakers happier. Doing the right thing when you're at a hostel is really not that difficult, but some people---more than you think---just don't get it.

generoll
11-26-2006, 15:21
Dunno Jack. I do agree about selfish, thoughtless hikers and how they can ruins things for those who follow, but it seems to me that you either learn to accept a certain level of asinine behavior or quit offering the service. If what the posters are saying is accurate then I'd say that the mission of the church is being seriously compromised by this guys behavior. Following hikers out of town is way over the top in my book.

freefall
11-26-2006, 15:35
Instead of getting bothered about a grumpy care-taker, maybe it'd be better if hikers stopped to think about WHY the guy is grumpy, and what hikers as a group can do to keep hostel caretakers happier. Doing the right thing when you're at a hostel is really not that difficult, but some people---more than you think---just don't get it.

Yep, we left The Place looking a lot better than when we got there. Cleaned the bathrooms, the kitchen, swept upstairs and down and would have put the trash in a dumpster had there been one but I assume that the caretaker or someone takes this to a collection facility to save money.
We did it because it needed to be done. I even paid for someone that didn't pay and didn't say anything to anyone about it (until now).
The day we were leaving, two men came in, looked like they just got off a construction site or something and took showers and left in their truck. I didn't look at the upstairs bath but the downstairs one was a mess. No I didn't stop and clean again. We were trying to get out before it got too late.
My next time thru, I won't stay at The Place- too much BS. If they had someone that took an active role, the problems would be greatly reduced. Not saying they have to be there all the time, just have a check in period where they collect money then have someone do a check out sweep- making sure that everyone that was supposed to leave, does. Maybe even make assignments at check in as far as cleaning. Most hikers don't mind pitching in especially when it costs so little to stay. But many don't know where to start (cleaning), they need a little direction.

Overpass
11-26-2006, 15:38
Thanks, Jack.

I do understand that all hostels have to deal with inconsiderate hikers louts, I'm sure that hostel owners all along the Trail also deal with their share of them as well.


Instead of getting bothered about a grumpy care-taker, maybe it'd be better if hikers stopped to think about WHY the guy is grumpy

Well, I DID in fact wonder, that's why I posted here and asked why the guy acted so rudely.


Doing the right thing when you're at a hostel is really not that difficult, but some people---more than you think---just don't get it.

I understand what you're saying, and yes I know that some people don't "get it", but my point was, that I WAS doing the right thing. I made a generous donation, even though I didn't even stay inside the house. I did NOT overstay, did NOT make a mess and was respectful of the rules and neighbors. I didn't even remotely resemble the stereotypical "hiker-trash", and if anything, I probably looked like a middle-aged soccer-mom with a pack. Despite all that, I was given a rude "bum's rush" off the property.

It's a shame if a few bad apples have soured the church on running the hostel, but if my experience is in any way typical of the way visitors are being treated an a regular basis, maybe the church should consider selling it to a private owner. I can't help but compare my stay at The Place with how I was treated at Miss Janet's earlier that month. I'm sure Miss Janet has had to deal with a lot of idiots as well over the years, but obviously, she has the skills to handle it and still maintain a postive atmosphere at her hostel.