View Full Version : Chatfield Shelter History

01-18-2010, 20:59
(From my '06 journal.)

I got back on the trail late, and hiked to the Louise Chatfield Shelter arriving just at dark. A few more minutes and I would have had to put on my headlamp. I sat down at the picnic table outside the shelter and introduced myself to the several people who were also sitting there. Two guys my age who were section hiking and a young couple... Cory, and his fiance, Elizabeth.

Turns out Cory is the son of one of the section hikers. He and Elizabeth had hiked to this shelter that day to surprise his dad on his birthday. WOW, the dad was REALLY surprised! They had a great reunion and it was fun to hear the story about planning the surprise. Seems like everyone knew about it but the dad!

Then the dad proudly told me there was more to the story....

Cory's fiancee, Elizabeth, is Elizabeth Chatfield. As in we were staying at the Chatfield Shelter. The shelter had been dedicated to her grandmother, Louise Chatfield just prior to her death in 1986. (They carried her in on a stretcher for the dedication!)

From Elizabeth's description, Louise Chatfield was quite a powerhouse in those parts, having helped organize the local AT club, battling a large power company that intended to drown a beautiful, nearby valley (that's now a park) and etc, etc. She was also later described as "the mother of the Mountains-To-Sea Trail... A trail that begins at Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, and winds its way across the state to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks..."

Surprisingly, Elizabeth had not ever been to the shelter. It was her first trip there, too!

What a wonderful story! I felt incredibly lucky to be at that shelter on that particular night. Now I wonder about the history of others who have AT shelters named in their honor.

03-01-2010, 13:32
Thank you for sharing.

08-23-2010, 17:39
August 2010.

One of the best shelters between Dickey Gap and Chestnut Knob
Nice stream flowing in a very hot and dry summer.