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  1. #21
    Registered User Wise Old Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnybgood View Post
    I can see the allure of possibly wanting to stay in a shelter in lieu of tenting during inclement weather. Packing away a wet tent always sucks.
    Good for lightening storms.... bout it...
    Dogs are excellent judges of character, this fact goes a long way toward explaining why some people don't like being around them.

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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    I staying in like two shelters outside of the Smokies and that was because I got to the shelter late and couldn't find a flat spot. I would almost always tent even if I showed up at a shelter area and I was the only one there.

    I loved the sound of rain beating on my tent while sleeping. Packing up a wet cuben tent in the morning was no different than packing a dry cuben tent. The wet-tent issue in a non-factor.
    I too had a cuban tent, what I found is that setting it up while it rains gets me wet, and packing it up while it rains gets me wet, as well as even though cuban is less water holding then Sil-nylon, it's still packing a wet tent.

    Yes there is a certain nicety about being in a dry place hearing the pouring rain, but that is also shelter related.

    So like anything else YMMV

  3. #23

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    Always carry shelter. But be open to trail shelters. Required in the Smokes, expedient in bad weather, and some are just awesome. Trail will tell you what it wants, you'll learn to listen to it

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    Met a hiker in VT who had to end a thru-hike on account of being bit by a brown recluse spider, in VT.
    I'm skeptical that the spider in question was a brown recluse given that VT isn't part of their natural range. Not saying it isnt possible, just unlikely.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_r...r#Distribution
    Last edited by Sarcasm the elf; 03-30-2014 at 15:18.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    I'm skeptical that the spider in question was a brown recluse given that VT isn't part of their natural range. Not saying it isnt possible, just unlikely.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_r...r#Distribution

    Wikipedia.. OK yes I can change that for you... see now that the Brown Recuse Spider is ever helpful to AT thru hikers (no need to check, I didn't edit it, and also think that Wikipedia is the modern day library of Alexandria and so much more).

  6. #26
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    I hate spiders too. That was just another nail in the coffin to keep me out of those grotesque boxes.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  7. #27
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    My research indicates the same as Sarcasm. Doesn't appear that VT has the environment that they enjoy.
    Lonehiker

  8. #28
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    My brother-in-law was bitten by a Spider while delivering mail on his mail-route in Southern Vermont. He did not save the spider for identification but it was a life threatening bite, there was serious flesh necrosis, and he was laid up for months. The doctors all agreed based on the symptoms and type of damage done that it must have been a Brown Recluse. Of course, this one may have hitched a ride on the mail.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    I'm skeptical that the spider in question was a brown recluse given that VT isn't part of their natural range. Not saying it isnt possible, just unlikely.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_r...r#Distribution
    You know, I never bothered to verify the dude's claim. It was a casual conversation with an AT hiker going the other way. Maybe there's another spider species native to VT that can leave necrotic bites?

    What struck me at the time was that the guy's (first) thru-hike ended in VT. Rather than pick up from VT, he started another thru-hike the following year.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    Met a hiker in VT who had to end a thru-hike on account of being bit by a brown recluse spider, in VT.
    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    You know, I never bothered to verify the dude's claim. It was a casual conversation with an AT hiker going the other way. Maybe there's another spider species native to VT that can leave necrotic bites?

    What struck me at the time was that the guy's (first) thru-hike ended in VT. Rather than pick up from VT, he started another thru-hike the following year.
    Your basic point that there are many creatures crawling around shelters is quite correct. The prevelance of wolf spiders combined with my slight arachnophobia is one of the reasons I am hesitant to stay in shelters myelf.

    Very cool that the guy decided to start another thru the following year. I'd be willing to bet that he realized that bailing in VT provided enough of an excuse for him to spend another 5 months backpacking.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  11. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Your basic point that there are many creatures crawling around shelters is quite correct. The prevelance of wolf spiders combined with my slight arachnophobia is one of the reasons I am hesitant to stay in shelters myself.
    For you Elf.....a story from a visit to NC:

    It's 1:30 am....I was sleeping soundly until I felt the weight of many heavily armored feet crawl across my arm....IT WOKE ME UP. I quickly brushed away something big and crawly and ran to the light switch. There at arm's length stood a six-foot spider staring at me with distain in his eye, eye, eye, etc.... With everyone asleep, I had to take matters into my own hands. He now lies under the weighty punishment of a handy Dr. Seuss, further compressed by a child's desk chair. It may sound like overkill....in fact I sincerely hope so, but I think perhaps my husband and children would be proud.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  12. #32
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    I staying in like two shelters outside of the Smokies and that was because I got to the shelter late and couldn't find a flat spot. I would almost always tent even if I showed up at a shelter area and I was the only one there.

    I loved the sound of rain beating on my tent while sleeping. Packing up a wet cuben tent in the morning was no different than packing a dry cuben tent. The wet-tent issue in a non-factor.
    I agree with it all except the noise, cuben pulled tight is LOUD almost as loud as a tin roof. I carry a 10X10 inch piece of the orange water soak em up type cloth to remove the last of the drops but if windy the trees rain for hours. It can trick you into thinking it is still raining!

  13. #33
    Registered User rusty bumper's Avatar
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    In my 5 months on the AT, I stayed in shelters 3 nights. Once in the Smokeys (and I was really happy to be in there due to the nasty weather), once in VA due to a pending thunderstorm, and once in the Whites in NH. Many times I camped within a half mile or so of a shelter...it seemed like decent tent sites could always be found that way. Most of the time I just searched for a tent site at the end of my hiking day...no matter where I happened to be. I never used a privey during my entire hike.

  14. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    I'm skeptical that the spider in question was a brown recluse given that VT isn't part of their natural range. Not saying it isnt possible, just unlikely.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_r...r#Distribution
    I wouldn't doubt there are these spiders in Vt, after all there are alligators in Maine; it's true I saw the documentary http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Placid_(film)

  15. #35
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    Even in the Smokies people tent around the shelters. And in the Whites there are many many stealth sites which have been used for ages. I typically hike until I feel like stopping and water up and camp off trail between shelters. But when it's pouring getting to a shelter is very nice indeed. And once past Harpers Ferry very rarely full.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  16. #36
    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dzarn View Post
    Just been a passive reader of this great AT forum. Wealth of information here... would like to attempt a thru hike of the AT; but that most likely won't happen due to work and regular life. Have a couple of questions though concerning AT shelters.

    It is possible or has anyone ever completed an AT thru hike without using the shelters... just by tent only? I would sleep better alone then hearing everyone snore in a shelter, so I would be likely to use a tent all the time rather then using a shelter from time to time.

    Your thoughts?
    You CAN hike the entire AT without using a shelter, you can also hike the entire AT hopping on one foot. Both ways are unnecessary. Try a shelter, then decide. Try it multiple times, sometimes the experience is dependent on the company. Some are nice, some are dirty. Some have mice, some have mice but you won't even know it.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by flemdawg1 View Post
    You CAN hike the entire AT without using a shelter, you can also hike the entire AT hopping on one foot. Both ways are unnecessary. Try a shelter, then decide. Try it multiple times, sometimes the experience is dependent on the company. Some are nice, some are dirty. Some have mice, some have mice but you won't even know it.
    I like the tone of this post. I often decide when I arrive. If the place looks nasty, or there's something about the people already there, or whatever... I move on. My last several sections have been off-season, and shelters mostly empty. Mice were generally not an issue.

    Two shelters I didn't care for: Calf Mountain, Dick's Dome. Shelters not-to-be-missed: Pierce Pond (for the view and setting,) Bryant Ridge (impressive, modern structure.)

    If I have any doubts about reaching a shelter before dark, I'll try to stock up on water so that (if need be) I can make camp in the woods.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    What struck me at the time was that the guy's (first) thru-hike ended in VT. Rather than pick up from VT, he started another thru-hike the following year.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    Very cool that the guy decided to start another thru the following year. I'd be willing to bet that he realized that bailing in VT provided enough of an excuse for him to spend another 5 months backpacking.
    Although you would think he might have either done a Southbound hike the second time or at the least started in VT going north to Katahdin then back to VT and south, just in case something happened again (after all I doubt he expected it to happen the first time, so why would he expect an issue the second time).
    That way at least he would have covered all of the trail once, rather than having something happen and having covered parts of the trail twice and still leaving parts he hadn't hiked.

  19. #39
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    I haven't thru-hiked but I agree with what most people are saying. I can see it now, I'm wet, tired, hungry. There's a storm picking up. It's getting late, and voilla... a nice dry, clean, maybe empty shelter. Holdddd uppp. I'm staying there tonight. Why hike another 1/2 mile to set up my hammock in the pouring rain?

    I'm open to using them. But I'll probably only resort to them under certain circumstances. Besides, I love my hammock, and if it's a nice night, I'd rather leave the shelter space for someone else.

    Also hey, who knows you might come across a cool party at a shelter one night. If your into it, why the heck wouldn't you stay?

    I've given up trying to plan out every little detail for my AT thru. I've got my gear, I'll have plenty of funds. I'm throwing everything out the window on springer and just going for it. Living day by day on the Appalachian Trail. Slowing things down for a bit.

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    Good for lightening storms.... bout it...
    Back in the early 80's (maybe 1983) two hikers were killed by lightening in the Mount Collins Shelter in the Smokies. Apparently they were both sitting on the bottom bunk when they were killed.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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