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TakeABreak
06-24-2005, 04:50
O.K. it's been 5 years since I have been through Erwin, TN., When I was there I do not think, that, Bear Mountain Outiftter was in Erwin, at least I do not remember them being there. In looking at pg's 35 - 37 of the 2005 Companion, I see them, on the map just past the Holiday Inn, but do not see any info. about them in the companion. Can anyone tell me if they are a full service outfitter and how far they are off the trail (1.5, 2.0 approx. miles) I know most services are a distance off the trail in Erwin (about 3 miles or so), but according to the companion map the Outfitter appear's to be much closer.

My reason for asking is, I do not know if I will get to do a thru hike next year or not, but if I do, I am wanting to do it without riding in a vehicle at all, nor stay over night indoors the whole hike. I will get my mail drops, supplies, do laundry, take showers where people will allow me to pay and go. So I want to keep my walking distance in towns and to & from towns to a minimum. I will be using canister fuel and figure I may need one at this point, to get me into Damascus.

trippclark
06-24-2005, 10:19
This place is new (well, new within the past year and a half of so). We were coming through Erwin when they had just opened. At that time they were focused on hunting and fishing and had nothing for backpackers (nothing I was interested in anyway). That may have changed now. When I first saw the place (it is a large 2-story log building), I was enthused and thought it would be a big camping and hiking outfitter. I was disappointed. Again, this may have changed.

Miss Janet
06-24-2005, 11:13
Bear Mountian Outfitters is not a hiking, backbacking or boating "outfitters" at all. They never planned to be and they have no idea how they ended up in a hikers guidebook. They have a beautiful building that appears to be one of the nicest outfitters... and it is, if you fish, hunt, garden, farm... I have mentioned this to the editor of the Companion and hopefully it will be corrected for next year.
Mahoneys Outfitters is in nearby Johnson City and just moved into a beautiful new building themselves. They have been in business for about 30 years and they give great service and a 10% discount to long distance hikers.

Footslogger
06-24-2005, 11:17
Mahoneys Outfitters is in nearby Johnson City and just moved into a beautiful new building themselves. They have been in business for about 30 years and they give great service and a 10% discount to long distance hikers.===================================
Miss Janet ...I remember you shuttling us into Johnson City in 2003 and Mahoneys was our first stop of many that night. Great place and great people.

'Slogger
AT 2003

TakeABreak
06-24-2005, 18:30
Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate the good info. If I do what I am planning, I will simply buy an extra fuel canister in Hot Springs, to get me on into Damascus.

Sly
06-24-2005, 23:59
My reason for asking is, I do not know if I will get to do a thru hike next year or not, but if I do, I am wanting to do it without riding in a vehicle at all, nor stay over night indoors the whole hike. I will get my mail drops, supplies, do laundry, take showers where people will allow me to pay and go.

Sounds like a plan and you'll save a ton of money, although you'll end up humping extraneous amounts of food in lieu of a simple hitch.

One idea you may want to consider is mailing the canister from HS to the Nolichucky Hostel or "the other place' that's directly on trail, along with your food. Legally, you're supposed attach a label when mailing fuel, but since it will be going ground regardless, it makes little sense if packed correctly.

Then again, UJ's may sell the fuel.

TakeABreak
06-25-2005, 00:56
Sly, is Uncle Johnny's still open, I do not see any mention of it in the 2005 Companion or even on the map in the comapanion, in 2000, it was right at the trail coming off the mountain (for nobo's, that is). At the time he did sell canister fuel, if so, I will definitely buy one from him and see if I can pay for a shower on my way through.

Jack Tarlin
06-25-2005, 07:34
UJ's is indeed still open, and sells cannister fuel. This establishment was removed from the Thru-hiker's Compannion by that book's authors, editors, and publisher, due to the level and excessive number of complaints about the place. It has yet to have earned re-instatement in that publication.

TakeABreak
06-25-2005, 09:02
Jack, What might those complaints be, you can email directly if you want.

ARambler
06-25-2005, 09:16
I stayed at Uncle Johnnys last year and spent almost 4 days in the Erwin area this year. I believe Uncle Johnny's has earned a spot in the next Companion, especially for those who want to stay close to the trail. There is a possibility that it will not make the next issue due to people like Jack bad mouthing it. I see three reasons for negative comments. 1) Old information or incomplete information. Jack reported on WB that people were being pressured to slack pack from the Hiker Hostel. He failed to mention whether any of these people actually did slack pack. (answer: no) 2) Want to punish UJ for a long history of bad experiences. True, but next years hikers are really the ones hurt by bad information. 3) Better alternatives in the area. Very true, especially if you get a ride to Miss. Janets and she has room.

Jack Tarlin
06-25-2005, 10:39
Rambler:

I was trying to avoid this subject as it's been done to death over the years, but since your knickers are in a twist over my comment, here are some facts.

UJ's problems with the Companion are well known in the hiking community. The problems this place has with its reputation aren't my fault or responsibility.

The Companion's editors took action years ago because of a repeated history of problems and complaints, and I mean dozens of them. This was virtually unprecedented action: In the 10 years I've been associated with the Trail, there was NO other place that generated anywhere near this kind of unfortunate feedback; also, I know of no comparable facility where the level of feelings ran so high that the facility was dropped from the listings of a major hiker guide. The action taken by the Companion editors was unusual and unprecedented. However, it was also entirely understandable, and in the eyes of many, it was long overdue. In short, this was a problem place for all sorts of reasons. So for you to say that negative commentary about this place constitutes "bad information" either displays gross partisanship or more likely, gross ignorance on your part. This place generated controversy from the moment it opened.

As for the present, while it appears that things have greatly improved recently (as far as the degree of patron satisfaction), there are still problems:
I spent several weeks in the Hot Springs--Erwin area this spring and walked from Springer to Damascus, and encountered scores of hikers that had passed thru Erwin. While many reported a perfectly fine stay at UJ's (which was great news as it finally appeared that the "problems" were over and done with), there were also many comments in Trail registers about problems or confrontations with some members of the staff. Several hikers also told me personally that UJ staff had given them erroneous information about other Erwin hiker facilities (such as telling hikers that other Erwin hiker facilities were full when in fact they weren't, or telling folks that other places had no hot water, no working plumbing etc.) This sort of interference or meddling with other service providers is a real turn-off for hikers. Instead of maligning or lying about other places, the prudent hostel or business owner should instead concentrate on their OWN facility. By treating hikers right on each and every occasion, eventually positive word of mouth will get out and deserving places will prosper.

Unhfortunately, in some cases, this takes a long time, especially when a place is trying to get past a history of complaints and hiker ill will. I had hoped that all of this was in the past, but it was evident that this isn't yet the case.

Thipost is long enough. Rambler, hikers are indeed hurt by "bad information." Individuals and businesses can be hurt also, but when places get bad reputations entirely because of their own actions over many years, it is up to THEM to correct things. Rambler, if you really feel this way (about re-instatement in the Companion), then by all means write the two editors of next year's book and let them know what you think.

However, be aware that there are many folks who disagree with you. This includes hikers from as long ago as 1998, and it includes hikers who passed thru Erwin a few weeks ago.

Lastly, Rambler objects to what he views as my "negative" comments.

Rambler, these comments are based on facts and the historical record. Giving people truthful facts and information sometimes involves discussing unpleasant things. I'm sorry you find the discussion of facts to be a "negative" thing. As you say, giving hikers bad information is a bad thing. Ignoring certain subjects and failing to discuss certain topics because it encourages "negativism" is as bad as giving out "bad information." Informed hikers can make their own decisions on which places to visit or patronize, and I see nothing wrong in discussing these matters so these folks can indeed make prudent and wise decisions.

Sly
06-25-2005, 10:57
Didn't want to get into an argument about UJ's, just wanted help TakeABreak do his thing, no hitch, shower, fuel.

According to the 2003 Companion (not in 2005 online, can't find 2004) Mahoney's (423 282-8889) has a satellite store at USA Raft (800 USA-RAFT) next to the Nolichucky Gorge Campground and Hostel.

Sly
06-25-2005, 11:08
Informed hikers can make their own decisions on which places to visit or patronize, and I see nothing wrong in discussing these matters so these folks can indeed make prudent and wise decisions.

Regardless of UJ's reputation it's difficult, if not impossible, to make a decision on whether to utilize the place if it's not even listed in the Companion.

As field editor for "north of Hot Springs to Erwin section" this year, I'll atleast update UJ's info and pass it on to Mrs. Gorp and Rambunny.

Youngblood
06-25-2005, 11:49
Didn't want to get into an argument about UJ's, just wanted help TakeABreak do his thing, no hitch, shower, fuel.

According to the 2003 Companion (not in 2005 online, can't find 2004) Mahoney's (423 282-8889) has a satellite store at USA Raft (800 USA-RAFT) next to the Nolichucky Gorge Campground and Hostel.
Sly,

I saved ALDHA's online companions for 2002 through 2005 and have them on my computer. If you need copies of any of them to help with your updates drop me an email address to send them to. They are Adobe Reader files and each year is broken down into about 8 or so seperate documents... ie GA-TN, VA, etc.

Youngblood

Jack Tarlin
06-25-2005, 18:14
That's good to hear, Sly. As a diligent and thoughtful section editor, I hope you take two days and hike the thirty miles north of Erwin, examining all the Taril registers, that contain dozens of first-hand, current descriptions about how hikers were treated in Erwin.

I'm sure you'll find information that is illuminating and informative.

Crazy Larry #1
06-25-2005, 19:06
Lastly, Rambler objects to what he views as my "negative" comments.

Rambler, these comments are based on facts and the historical record. Giving people truthful facts and information sometimes involves discussing unpleasant things. I'm sorry you find the discussion of facts to be a "negative" thing. As you say, giving hikers bad information is a bad thing. Ignoring certain subjects and failing to discuss certain topics because it encourages "negativism" is as bad as giving out "bad information." Informed hikers can make their own decisions on which places to visit or patronize, and I see nothing wrong in discussing these matters so these folks can indeed make prudent and wise decisions.
well said jack, i do back up what you have to say.

TakeABreak
06-25-2005, 20:41
Well Jack first let me apologize to you for the way I asked the question, I should have sent you a direct message instead.

Next When I stayed there, at UJ's, there were some questionable things that I did not push, that until I read the above I guess I had just dismissed as coincidence and my own mis-understanding.

1) The private room cost was listed as on price when my friend and I decided to share the room (using seperate bunks), we were bot charged the full price listed for the room, thus paying double what was listed in the companion.

2) My friend bought a new stove from him, and we both discovered upon entering Damascus, she was over-charged according to fair market value.

3) I now remember her fuel canister did last as long it should have and when she bought a new one (fuel canister) in Damascus, she said I think UJ, sold me a light canister.

4) We both arrived within an hour of each other, at UJ'S, around 2pm, and the next afternoon when we went to leave he tried to convince us to stay around a few days, citing bad weather approaching, in his defense we did get caught in an ice storm, but he should told that and suggested carrying extra food, not staying, any hiker not prepared with equipment for foul weather should no be out in the woods.

Also, UJ is not the only one who does things on the A.T. that are unethical, Old man shaw told me in 2001, he had tried to get all of the hostel owners to agree upon what they would charge people, which I informed him was a violation of federal price fixing laws and that the pie-lady was right to hold out and not to agree to fix prices, he looked at me in amazement when I told him this. I would like to say he was a very man and may god rest his soul.

The motel in port clinton ripped my friend Ausable-Mike on his deposit for our room, no one was around to give it back to him when we left, and he left a note for them where they could mail it and never did.

What I saying alot of places along the trail have turned into places that want to nickle and dime the hiker, yes they have aright to make a living and a profit, but I found a lot are out to what I said above, nickle and dime the hiker, to get what they can out of them. While there are some who barely charge you enough to cover their cost to run the place, like the Kincora.

If I do what I would to do next year, I guess, unless I hear something bad about this place, I will do a mail drop at greasy creek and take care of what needs I have their.

Once again I did not mean to start up a fight here, but I do repectfully appreciate everyone's comments here and giving me the straight scoup, the way they see it.

digger51
06-25-2005, 23:31
In 2001 I stayed at UJ's and had bad experiences. He misplaced a friends mail drop and my friend had to have more medicine sent from home then found it as my friend was leaving. He kicked a guy out in front of me for accepting a ride from Ms Janet. He wouldnt sell fuel until after 10 am on the mornng after we checked in making us late getting out. And on and on. If I get to Erwin again I will be visiting Ms Janet and happily skip the little hostel on the corner.

Sly
06-25-2005, 23:49
That's good to hear, Sly. As a diligent and thoughtful section editor, I hope you take two days and hike the thirty miles north of Erwin, examining all the Trail registers,

That's a thought, I may get up there after I hike my own section. If not, I'll have to rely on the southbound edition of "as the trail turns." In the meantime, if you have something you'd like me to include in my report, please email me.


Sly's email (slyatpct@aol.com)

PS What happened to your hand, you OK?

ARambler
06-26-2005, 09:46
At the risk of digging a deeper hole, I have couple of apologies and clarifications. 1) Jack, I apologize for what you feel was an attack. I didn't mean to be negative to prove you were negative. I think in your follow-up it is clear that much of your reason for keeping UJ out of the Companion is based on pre 2004 bad reputation. 2) In no way do I want to say that reputation is not warranted. Jack only hinted at what I dislike most. UJ started a feud with a better hostel and repeatedly lied (and possibly other things) to sabotage it. Now, my only concern is that much of the rebuilding of service in the last two years has been done by hosts that may or may not be at UJ's in 2006. 3) I still think UJ should be in the Companion. Warnings like (always) make sure you know what things cost, pay the night before if you want to leave early, and there are better hostels in Erwin are what WB is all about. 4) I agree (with one of the few helpful posts in this tread) that a mail drop at the Greasy Creek Friendly is a good idea. There is good (dry) camping in the Gap on the AT. Rambler

Jack Tarlin
06-26-2005, 10:31
Rambler:

Thank you for your last comments.

It's unfortunate, and perhaps unfair, but on the Trail, it's a lot harder to get a good reputation back after you lose it.....sometimes this takes years, and in many cases, requires that a busines change management or even ownership.

A lot of us have been waiting a long time for things to "settle" in Erwin, and, in fact, we thought that had happened by this year. (There was, after a fashion, new management at UJ's, and fewer problems). Unfortunately, problems haven't completeley ended there, at least not according to this year's hikers. It is to be hoped that this situation resolves itself eventually.

There are enough hikers pasing thru Erwin every year to support several facilities, offering different sorts of accomodations and services. With luck, next year things will be better, with all service providers concentrating on serving their customers courteously and well, and letting their competition go their own way without interference or meddling. Erwin is a great Trail town and will hopefully become a better one.

orangebug
06-26-2005, 15:06
... 4) I agree (with one of the few helpful posts in this tread) that a mail drop at the Greasy Creek Friendly is a good idea. There is good (dry) camping in the Gap on the AT. I went there last November on a section hike. I doubt that t mail drop would be as good an idea as simply contacting them and assuring that they will have light resupply stuff for sale. Depending on the time of year (length of day) and strength of the hiker, it might be possible to make Greasy Creek in one day, although I wished I'd saved water, hung a hammock on Mt Unaka and made a slightly longer day 2.

Greasy Creek is a pretty interesting place all by itself, with strange neighbors and such. However, my experiences were good and I enjoyed the variety compared to other hostels. Shower was good. Laundry very convenient. Food very good. Bed (in the main house) excellent.

OB