View Full Version : The Hemlocks Shelter (and privy)

03-03-2004, 22:37
The Hemlocks is the southernmost shelter in Mass, and is adjacent to the Glen Brook Shelter and tentsite area. The Glen Brook Shelter was the first shelter erected by the (then) new Mass AT Committee in the early 80's. The Hemlocks (possibly, and arguably, the last new shelter to be built in Mass--some will undoubtedly be replaced some day) was completed in 1999, by some of the same volunteers. It is situated in a grove of hemlocks about 150 yards east of the trail, about 1.5 miles north of Mt Everett. Water can be obtained at the stream crossing the AT between the side trail to The Hemlocks and the side trail to Glen Brook.

Since the shelter is in a hemlock grove, it is rather dark inside, I've had to use my flashlight to find stuff in my pack in the afternoon. Guess we should have put in a skylight, I guess. Perhaps after the wolly adelgid gets done with the hemlock trees, it won't be an issue.

The shelter is a post and beam frame, using timbers from trees donated by a long time Mass AT volunteer. The frame was cut and fitted on his driveway, then disassembled and trucked to within about a 1/4 mile of the site. From there on down, it (along with everything else) was carried down by hand and power wheelbarrow. It took about a month and a half to complete the project. The shelter has 4 bunks, a loft and overhang, as well as a picnic table.

The privy is of the "mouldering" variety. A shallow bin recieves the waste and the depositee is instructed to toss in a hand full of duff with each use. beacuse the deposits are relatively dry (folks are asked to pee in the woods) and oxygen is available, aerobic bacteria and other organisims break down the waste fairly quickly. The privy is constructed so the outhouse can be slid from one side of the bin to the other, allowing the unused side to "rest" while the other is filled. Once the waste has been decomposed it is dry, odor free, and it's volume reduced by about 80 percent. It is buried at a reasonable distance from the shelter.

Because of this process, material other than that which is produced by your digestive system is not welcome in the privy. If trash, menstrual pads, tampons, food wrappings etc are put into the pivy, they need to be sorted out of the decomposed waste (not a favorite job of the volunteers, as you can imagine) and packed out of the site.

Sages Ravine, Laurel Ridge and The Hemlocks, as well as Upper Goose Pond Cabin all use similar systems, as do many other sites further north in VT and NH, so get used to treating these privys with some care. "If it didn't go into your mouth, don't put it in the privy".

More than you wanted to know, pehaps,


09-03-2005, 23:49
If anyone finds a blue Croc in Hemlocks Shelter - it's mine, I lost it and I heard from another SOBO that he saw it there. So if you just happen to pack it out, drop me a note at [email protected] or leave me a note on http://www.sobohobos.com (http://www.sobohobos.com/) - I wouldn't mind paring it back up with its partner, who is starting to get lonely :P!

-Shian, AKA Barrel Roll

12-18-2007, 16:35
Stayed at this shelter 11/16/07 in GREAT shape! gorgeous spot! we pitched tents in the first snow fall of the season along side of it. There was plenty of water in the stream crossing just north of the shelter

04-12-2008, 14:25
I spent two nights and a very relaxing zero day here last summer. The builders did a great job with this shelter. The only complaint was the noise from the weekend party hikers at Glen Brook down the hill. The water source was good. A bunch of thruhikers complained that there were no level tent spots. No problems with my hammock. They all left and camped at Glen Brook. Hemlocks is a great spot.

Cosmo Rules
04-14-2008, 12:15
K-N & I spent two nights at The Hemlock's during last Spring's nor-easter. We were stir crazy after the first night.