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View Full Version : Ensign Cowall Shelter - MD



Former Admin
10-19-2002, 11:43
Info, questions, comments, experiences (good or bad) regarding - Ensign Cowall Shelter

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

Future hikers - any questions?

ez-does-it
10-21-2002, 17:17
This shelter is fairly new and in very good shape,it has a
good out house and the water source is app. 0.2 from the shelter look for the blue blaze before the shelter.As I remmember there are not many spots around the shelter to tent out.

Papa Bear
06-01-2003, 13:12
A very rainy night, not too clear, but here's (http://gallery.backcountry.net/papabear_2003_HF_Duncannon/abi) shot of Ensign Cowall.

Pb

cryptobrian
03-21-2004, 11:13
This is a very nice shelter with plenty of protection, nice places to cook and clean and eat, and pretty easy access to water.

Here's another picture of the shelter. (http://www.stinkypigs.com/BackPacking/AppalachianTrail/MarylandSection/AT-MD/pages/Dcp_2243.htm)

Footslogger
03-21-2004, 11:32
This shelter is about a half mile (if that much) from a road. If you or someone in your group has a cell phone (I know ...I know, that's a controversial topic) you can call a local pizza place (phone number listed inside shelter) and order pizza/soda. Takes about 10 - 15 minutes and someone has to back-track down to the road to meet the delivery person, but hey ...nothing like a piece (or two) of pizza and a nice cold coke after a hard days hike.

Anyhow ....just thought I'd throw that in.

BSquared
05-16-2005, 15:09
We were through there last year in March, and there was little to no water in the spring (plenty in the creek, but it was a fair walk with several bottles of water). Anybody know if there's water there now? We're planning to hike through there probably next weekend (5/20/2005).

-BSquared

neo
05-17-2005, 01:01
i stayed there may 2003,i got there really late around 11:00pm,accidentley
scared a hiker when i tripped on a rock and woke him up.there was plently of water in the stream
the place is very close to a road i remember:cool: neo

DGrav
06-02-2006, 21:47
Where is the Phillip Cowall shelter in relation to the old Hemlock Hill Shelter show on My '98 AT mao (I do not thing there is a newer version)

We are heading out for a section hike on 6/12 southbound. The first day we may get dropped off late in the day so I want to see if we can make this shelter (I've heard Devils Racecourse has issues)

Thanks!

-Don

veteran
06-02-2006, 23:21
Ensign Cowall Shelter Map (http://www.topozone.com/print.asp?z=18&n=4389564.72&e=280460.98&size=l&u=5&datum=nad83), red X marks the location.

MedicineMan
06-02-2006, 23:42
how did you get the topozone map where you could actually use it, i.e. post it here where I could actually save it?????? this is something i need to know!!! thanks for any help.

dovecote
06-03-2006, 10:23
The Cowall Shelter is no more than .1 mile north of the old Hemlock Shelter. The spring at the new shelter is the same water source that was used at the old shelter.

veteran
06-03-2006, 10:35
how did you get the topozone map where you could actually use it, i.e. post it here where I could actually save it?????? this is something i need to know!!! thanks for any help.

Go to this site (http://www.cs.utk.edu/~dunigan/at/asort.html), it has all the shelters in alphabetical order. Select shelter then
select Topozone map and you got it.

i.e. post it here where I could actually save it??????

Just copy the URL address of the link and post it here as a hyperlink or just
post the Link.

Hope this helps.

DGrav
06-03-2006, 15:34
Great! Thanks alot!

MedicineMan
06-03-2006, 22:09
and i think i can do it with what you've given me....so a big thanks to you!

DGrav
06-04-2006, 08:05
I have heard that you can order pizza at this shelter. If there are any thru-hikers there I plan on doing a little trail magic. Is there anyway to dispose of the garbage there or will I be carring it until Dalghren?

wilderness bob
06-04-2006, 08:37
Memories indeed at the Ensign Cowall Shelter,
I stopped in there to get dressed during "Naked hiker day", 21 June 2005. Since I was dressed in my birthday suit I made up my mind that I would hike that way until I either crossed a road, found other hikers or walked in to a shelter (I was looking for a witness). I was to "rubbed raw" to continue on naked, it was to early to order pizza and the trail conditions beckoned me onward for another big mile day (24+ miles). I started at the Annapolis Rocks camp area and ended up at the Antietam Shelter. The EC Shelter was not far from the road at all however I cannot recall a place to dispose of any trash (DGrav, I would plan on hiking with it). Later that evening I came upon a dozen people at the Antietam Shelter having a Birthday/Summer Solstice party, I got lots of leftovers. It was a very good day. WB

EarlyBird2007
09-05-2006, 08:26
Camped there last Sat. night. Full shelter, with a scout troop and a bunch of section hikers (like me). Nice facility, has a loft, sleeps about 8-9 comfortably. Good spring a short distance away, decent tenting areas. A welcome respite from the Ernesto deluge!!

geobart
11-28-2006, 15:05
Stayed oovernight at Cowell Shelter on November 23 (yes, Thanksgiving!) found it a very clean and very nice shelter. Someone had left a folded blanket and pillow for the next "tenants."

Cell service is somewhat "variable" and you need to locate a good spot.

The privy seemed fairly new and very clean.

The Shelter is located an easy 5-10 minutes from the nearby Wolfsville road. I don't know whether or not you can order pizza, but if I had known that was a possibility, I might have tried on that drippy, drizzly night.

The spring, located a little piece down the trail, off to the left, wasn't "gushing", but there was enough water there to draw from. Also, as another hiker posted earlier, there was a good running stream a few more paces down the trail. :)

Undershaft
06-25-2007, 17:02
The spring was in good shape last month. You can indeed order pizza and pick it up 1/4 mile south of the shelter on wolfsville road. It seemed from the register entries that a lot of hikers are choosing to stay at the free state hostel on wolfsville road instead of the shelter. Lots of great things said about the hostel and it's owners.

mweinstone
06-25-2007, 18:33
this shelter sounds great! hope to be blessed by its pizza proximity on next thru attempt.

GitRdone
08-12-2007, 10:31
I plan to hike the Pen Mar to Harper's Ferry section in late September 07.. I had thought about staying at this shelter and appreciate knowing more about it from this forum. Does anyone know about the water sitiuation right now at this shelter and how they think it will be in September. I have not seen much in the forums about a lack of water during this big dry spell this summer.

Topcat
08-12-2007, 18:47
There is a good spring there...but it is a long way down hill and a long way back up. You will be left a short day if you stop their on your way to Harper's Ferry. Have a great trip

damush
08-12-2007, 22:31
the spring is not a long way down hill, it's 50 yds from the shelter, right past the tent sites...i was there on 7/30/07 and the spring is "boxed in" and low and slow but was still serviceable. hope it's still flowing in sept., you'll need it heading south the next morning- enjoy the rocks.

veteran
08-15-2007, 16:10
Spring and Other Drinking Water Conditions in Md. and Pa.

http://www.patc.net/chapters/north/water.htm

mdgamewarden
11-03-2007, 01:22
This link did not work?
Spring and Other Drinking Water Conditions in Md. and Pa.
http://www.patc.net/chapters/north/water.htm

I am planning an over night trip on the AT over new years or the week after. I have some friends that have never done any winter camping so I am planning a stay at Pine Knob. (close to the car if anyone gives in) The next night I am looking for a hike up Ensign. Its a very long way for my friends that have never packed in there life. Well there be water there that will help lighten the load a little.

rafe
11-03-2007, 07:45
It's very close to the road. Might worry about that a bit. But fear not, there's a beautiful hostel 0.3 miles down the hill.

tazie
02-22-2008, 17:50
Hiked by there a few weeks ago- why is the shelter named after him? I googled for info and found an Ensign Robert Cowell- is that him? But no mention of the App Trail. Just curious, tks.

Programbo
02-24-2008, 00:47
Hiked by there a few weeks ago- why is the shelter named after him?

I'm sure this isn't him but it's as good a reason as I can think of to name a shelter after someone :p

" Roberta Cowell, born as Robert Cowell on May 21, 1921, became the first known British male-to-female transsexual to undergo vaginoplasty on May 15, 1951......."

Also "Ted Bundy" the serial killer was actually born Theodore Robert Cowell..His last name was later changed when his mother married

rafe
02-24-2008, 00:52
I'm sure this isn't him but it's as good a reason as I can think of to name a shelter after someone :p

" Roberta Cowell, born as Robert Cowell on May 21, 1921, became the first known British male-to-female transsexual to undergo vaginoplasty on May 15, 1951......."

Also "Ted Bundy" the serial killer was actually born Theodore Robert Cowell..His last name was later changed when his mother married

I'm sure these tidbits this will make for cheery and interesting conversation for some future dwellers at that shelter. Personally, I'd recommend walking out to the road and down the hill 0.3 miles to stay with Ken and Janelle Berry (FreeState Hiker Hostel.)

Aesculus
03-05-2008, 22:46
I stayed at this shelter during my past trek through Maryland. I have only slept in a few, but this is the nicest one so far. It has a really nice loft, a good privy, and a nice spring just down the trail from the shelter. It was in nice shape. Humorous warning though; I was awoken at 5:30 by a female turkey on the prowl calling through the site, beautiful but obnoxious.

Nasty Dog Virus
07-20-2009, 08:01
Does anyone know who Ens. Phillip Cowall was? what happened to him? it does say memorial shelter...

dzierzak
07-20-2009, 12:55
"David and Cindy Cowall of Salisbury, Md., had donated funds to PATC in 1998
in memory of their son, who had loved the Appalachian Trail."

The Register - Spring 2000
(AT Newsletter)

sir limpsalot
05-30-2010, 08:16
I just tented at this shelter wed. nite. I used on of 2 formal tent pads set off maybe 50 yards from the shelter- other tents sites surround. there are fire rings and spots closer, but they aren't real level.The shelter is clean:) and is in good repair. It's very close to the trail and easily seen. The water source (boxed spring) is good, but a stretch away southbound, then down a currently mud-bog path maybe 30 yards off trail. Outhouse is close to the shelter. A few thru-hikers came in to eat while I was there, they then left. Me and one section hiker (Coach) overnited and, with bearbags hung, had no wildlife issues. Something to consider:(: this shelter sits up at the same elevation as the nearby road (small valley in between)and the noise of trucks pulling up the mountain or jake-braking it down is pretty loud throughout the night

mad4scrapping
08-23-2010, 17:40
we had lunch at this shelter a couple of days ago. the box spring on the way to the shelter (if you are nobo) was very stagnant and yucky. however, the stream running below the shelter, down the hill, was running better and we were able to get good water there by pumping.

RETCW4
10-25-2010, 09:59
Stayed at Ensign Cowell Shelter on 10/24 and spring is dry. Other hikers ordered pizza and had bottled water delivered.

Tumbleweed

IronGutsTommy
01-13-2011, 14:10
i was there on thanksgiving, 2010. spring was decent if you pacjk a filter to suck it up with. nothing a few spring rains cant fix. i recommend passing this one though only because for nobos, the next roads right past the shelter, 1/4 mile at most, and if you hike east down that road the free state hiker hostels on your left. best hoistel ive stayed at, that one and bears den. both offer free long distance phone calls and internet/computer use. bone pac at free state and his wife were most accomodating, and its worth a stop just to read about bone pacs thru hike he did to raise money for the hospital/clinic he works at. extra thanks for opening their doors to me even though the thru hike companion said they were closed for the season. (they say they never turn anyone away)

asciibaron
02-08-2011, 11:36
i was there on thanksgiving, 2010. spring was decent if you pacjk a filter to suck it up with. nothing a few spring rains cant fix.

i was there in early December - the spring was looking sad - i pulled water from the rocks instead of the pit. in the summer, this spring is next to worthless. was there in August 2010 and a trail angel left sealed jugs at the road crossing for NOBO's to use. i plan on dropping a few jugs at the shelter this summer if the spring proves unreliable.

Mrs Baggins
04-30-2012, 11:57
Last update on this shelter is date Feb 2011. Anyone been there within the last 6 months? Water? Shelter condition? Just wondering in case we decide to overnight there on a 2 day trip in mid-May.

Blissful
04-30-2012, 20:19
I was there Saturday. Shelter fine. Water good. Plenty of assorted tent pads. Come later in May and maybe I'll see you somewhere on the trail!

dovecote
05-13-2012, 12:56
Stayed at the shelter the afternoon of 5/8 waiting out a storm. Shelter was in good shape and stayed dry during a good storm. No flat level sites around the shelter to pitch tents but as other posts indicate there are tent site pads in close vicinity. Three sites are north of the shelter via a blue blazed trail and two sites south of the shelter. At the shelter itself was a trash laden firepit and a Shenandoah bear pole. Water from the boxed spring was plentiful.

MD HIKER 73
11-12-2012, 16:37
I stayed at this shelter on an overnighter from pen mar to rt40 on the night of 11/10/12. The shelter was nice a little nose from cars on wolfsville rd but not too bad, shared the shelter with to outhers from Md and a group of ladys from PA. Had a great night with great company!

chknfngrs
04-27-2017, 23:20
Stayed the night of 4/23/2017. Shared with flip floppper Sceptiq such a nice guy, and two other flippers who's names I forget. One had a dog named Leif. Great shelter, privy was nearly full tilt. Good water. Road noise was present but not impossible

Trillium
05-02-2017, 12:34
I stayed the night of 4/26/27. Got water at the creek just past the road; thought I'd check out the boxed spring but the path to it was all deep muck. Next morning as I was hiking up the hill just past the shelter, I heard the sound of water to the west of the trail. As Lone Wolf says, you need to keep your ears open and you can find water. This source was barely .1 past the shelter and was running very well. Probably the result of 48 hrs of rain.

Outcast
05-16-2019, 11:25
Anyone stay here within the last (2) two years? I curious to know water source in the summer months and I don't want to assume, but ability for tent camping there if someone knows.

ldsailor
05-16-2019, 12:21
Anyone stay here within the last (2) two years? I curious to know water source in the summer months and I don't want to assume, but ability for tent camping there if someone knows.

I stayed there on September 16, 2017. As I recall, there is a small spring for water that is not reliable, but I was able to get enough for the night. As for tenting, I stayed in the shelter, but my journal reminded me of a family also in the shelter. Both the husband and wife snored like freight trains, so at 4 AM I got up looking for a spot to put up a tarp, but I didn't find a suitable spot. The AT Guide does show an area for tents. If you choose to pass the shelter, there is water further up the trail (NOBO) and a shelter 5 miles from the Ensign Cowall. Problem is that next shelter is .6 mile off the AT and it's another .3 mile down a steep trail to get water.

I'd roll the dice with the Ensign Cowall shelter if I were you and maybe get water for the night at the Pogo campsite (again, assuming you are NOBO).

MisterQ
05-16-2019, 13:57
Anyone stay here within the last (2) two years? I curious to know water source in the summer months and I don't want to assume, but ability for tent camping there if someone knows.

There is an nice large tenting area uphill from the shelter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Outcast
05-28-2019, 22:03
Thanks Idsailor & MisterQ.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

LittleRock
05-29-2019, 08:30
Stayed at this shelter last fall. Very glad to be there as a heavy rainstorm started about 10 minutes after I arrived and lasted for several hours.

There is a reliable piped spring about 100 yards downhill from the privy on the dirt access road, on your left. Plenty of tent camping spaces uphill from the shelter.

Linesman
05-29-2019, 22:54
Lots of misinformation in Idsailors post. The piped spring at EC didnít dry up in the 2018 season. There is brook between the road and the shelter that could be more reliable. Thereís also a pooling spring nearby. Hauling from pogo would be a mistake.

As for the next shelter north, raven rock is .1 west of the trail, water source is .3 east and down 200 feet. Old information regarding the dismantled devils racecourse shelter still circulates.

ldsailor
05-30-2019, 12:31
Lots of misinformation in Idsailors post. The piped spring at EC didnít dry up in the 2018 season. There is brook between the road and the shelter that could be more reliable. Thereís also a pooling spring nearby. Hauling from pogo would be a mistake.

As for the next shelter north, raven rock is .1 west of the trail, water source is .3 east and down 200 feet. Old information regarding the dismantled devils racecourse shelter still circulates.
You're correct about the off trail distance to Raven Rock Shelter. I misread the AT Guide and picked up the distance to Richie Road (.6 mile) in error.

As for the water situation, if you take another look at my post, I was there in 2017 not 2018. In some parts of Maryland they experienced record rainfall for 2018. The area of the shelter had a lot of rain that year in August and September. In 2017 there was little rain in August and September in the area where the shelter is located. The AT Guide also notes there is an unreliable water source at the shelter. If this information is incorrect, perhaps an email to the AT Guide might be in order. I was there in September and there was water at the spring, but as I recall, not a well flowing source.

Linesman
05-30-2019, 14:07
If it's that dry then pogo will be nasty too. I'd rather hike to the dollar general 1 mile down wolfsville road.

ldsailor
05-31-2019, 10:44
If it's that dry then pogo will be nasty too. I'd rather hike to the dollar general 1 mile down wolfsville road.

Here is an image taken from Guthook where two separate hikers who passed the Ensign Cowall Shelter within the last couple of weeks commented on the water situation. Both agree that hikers should get water before reaching the shelter and the current situation with water at the shelter is a "trickle" as one hiker noted.

45236

Linesman
05-31-2019, 14:11
They mean the stream between the road and the shelter, very close, not Pogo.