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  1. #21
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    As I mentioned before, I stayed at the Gooch Mountain Shelter last week, on Thursday night to be exact.

    I have hiked the Georgia portion of the AT countless numbers of times camping near every shelter area.

    Never have I ever while on the trail met anyone like Kenneth. And the fact that he is the person in charge of the Gooch Mountain shelter makes it even more remarkable.

    From the second I arrived at 3:30 pm, Kenneth was standing at the end of the shelter picnic table making snarky comments to the hikers. At first I thought he was just an obnoxious thru-hiker but he later mentioned he was the ridge runner.

    He complained endlessly about picking up trash amongst other things and only left his spot by the table to step outside and roll a smoke.

    He also took pictures of people which was somewhat annoying saying he got paid more if he could prove he spent the night at the shelter area.

    You could instantly tell something wasn't right with Kenneth. His constant screaming and belittling nature made you fairly certain he was mentally unstable.

    I spent many hours in my hammock during the night thinking about how best to confront Kenneth the next morning. I wanted to get his full name so that I could report him and his actions to the ATC.

    In the end, I chickened out. For one, Kenneth used to build trails and is a big dude. I was right in the middle of a very enjoyable section hike on the Georgia Loop and didn't want to mess it up. I also didn't know how Kenneth would react. I literally worried that he would try to physically harm me.

    So I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and let nature run its course. Which is why seeing this thread has brought me much relief.

    Someone is going to have a very bad confrontation with Kenneth. That is almost certainly guaranteed.

    The fact that the ATC was made aware of the problem and chose not to act now makes them culpable for Kenneth's actions.

    Once the trial lawyers get involved, all it will take is one look at this thread and their case will be won.

    I still can't believe Kenneth didn't lose his job. It absolutely blows my mind on a scale that I can't describe.

    Some heads are going to roll on this one, unfortunately.
    Last edited by cneill13; 04-12-2016 at 11:20.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauriep View Post
    ATC employee Leanna Joyner, the supervisor of ATC ridgerunners in the southern region, wrote me the following yesterday and asked me to post it here:

    We immediately followed up on this report and here's what we found. Yes, he has had some trouble with broken bear cables at Gooch Mountain shelter and has hollered at people from a distance to get their attention before they use the broken bear lines. It started as one broken bear cable, and now the whole system is inoperable. Now his efforts are to ensure everyone is properly hanging their food using cordage, if they are not carrying a bear canister.

    Kenneth does smoke tobacco. He rolls his own cigarettes and uses a pipe.

    He may congregate and visit with hikers over dinner. He may even visit with them around the campfire, but he regularly dissuades use of drugs at campfires and shelter area. When it is dry and windy, as it has been this past week, he discourages people from campfires.

    As a caretaker at this site, Kenneth regularly cleans and maintains, packing out garbage thoughtlessly left behind by others. He has packed out in excess of 20 lbs on some patrols.

    Kenneth brings experience from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to his employment with ATC, which referred him to us for this position.

    We really appreciate the feedback. Next time, we wish you would call us directly 828-357-6541 with critiques or praise of our ridgerunners.

    After a thorough discussion we remain confident in Kenneth to do his job.

    - Laurie
    This whole synopsis of his good behavior is BS. I'm a twenty year law enforcement officer from another state. I know the difference between tobacco and marijuana. He acts like an idiot plain and simple. I won't be going back there to that shelter and will recommend other people skip it as well. I'll call when I get the chance and maybe clear your mind on his BS. It's not like people are just trying to break the cables but he does nothing to help folks and promotes the ATC in a very bad light.

  3. #23
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    id'a b.....h slapped that youngin' if i encountered him

  4. #24

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    I spent a night at Gooch April 8th. Ken was about the loudest one at the campfire. Deciding I'd get no sleep, I just hung out at the fire and socialized until 8:00 Afterwards the high winds drowned out his noise. Most of the older hikers just found him to be obnoxious. He did save one Hiker from hanging a bear pinata, otherwise he was useless. A search party came through, and pretty much had to drag him away from his comedy routine before he went to talk with them. He's not for everyone, that's for sure.

  5. #25
    Registered User AO2134's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I spent a night at Gooch April 8th. Ken was about the loudest one at the campfire. Deciding I'd get no sleep, I just hung out at the fire and socialized until 8:00 Afterwards the high winds drowned out his noise. Most of the older hikers just found him to be obnoxious. He did save one Hiker from hanging a bear pinata, otherwise he was useless. A search party came through, and pretty much had to drag him away from his comedy routine before he went to talk with them. He's not for everyone, that's for sure.
    I like to camp near Gooch Shelter as it is a nice distance for night one from Springer. I will be pushing on knowing this. I'd rather not risk finding out for myself if the stories are true.
    Foothills Trail - 14
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    AT - 15% complete
    Pinhoti Trail - 16 - Video

  6. #26
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    gooch gap itself is the best place to camp. 1 mile past theshelter

  7. #27
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    There is also a nice place to camp a very short distance north of the blue blazed shelter trail. Probably half way between the shelter and the gap. It's on the left and you can squeeze in maybe two or three tents. Nice and level with a fire ring but no water.

  8. #28
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    I assume everything has become quiet at Gooch Shelter

  9. #29
    Registered User JessNicole3608's Avatar
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    Wowwww :\ Will definitely avoid this shelter. Thanks!

  10. #30

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    I stayed there about a month ago, no sign of Kenneth, one other hiker, nice spot.

  11. #31
    Registered User cneill13's Avatar
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    Gooch Mountain is actually my favorite shelter in Georgia. Just not when Krazy Kenneth was there. He was a seasonal ridge runner during the 2016 peak thru-hiker season.

    I have been back there several times and no one was there. That was the first time I have ever seen a ridge runner at that shelter. Hopefully, it will be the last.

    Carl

  12. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by cneill13 View Post
    Gooch Mountain is actually my favorite shelter in Georgia. Just not when Krazy Kenneth was there. He was a seasonal ridge runner during the 2016 peak thru-hiker season.

    I have been back there several times and no one was there. That was the first time I have ever seen a ridge runner at that shelter. Hopefully, it will be the last.

    Carl
    Last year the ATC began staffing the Georgia shelters with caretakers during the peak spring season to help manage the crowds. After dealing with hoards of clueless newbies for a month or so, one can become quite testy.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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