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  1. #21
    13-45 Section Hiker Trash Berserker's Avatar
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    It's been a few years since I've been there, but my stay as a section hiker was awesome. Now mind you the place as not full, and my buddy and I developed a quick rapport with the caretaker and his buddies who were there helping out. We hung out with these guys late into the night and had a good old time. The caretaker did mention that some of the other care takers are not as friendly, so it sounds like this has been going on for a long time. At any rate, my stay there was what I like to call my "best night at a shelter on the AT".
    AT: 2007-2019 (45 sections)
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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grampie View Post
    Pond Cabin

    It hurts me so to read posts by folks who visit UGP and are not happy with their experience.

    To start off, I have thru-hiked and have been a caretaker at the cabin for the last 15 years. During that time I have met many hundreds of hiker visitors and have got to know most of the volunteer caretakers. Most, if not all, caretakers are outstanding folks who generously give their time to make a stay at the cabin a memorable experience.
    The cabin administration has created a set of caretakers rules that govern the daily operation of the cabin. These general rules leave flexibility for the caretaker, on duty, to intemperate them as they understand them. This flexibility leads to some different standards used by different caretakers.
    The caretakers position has become more and more taxing with the increased use over the past several years. A caretaker has to become more of a enforcer than just a vacationer at the cabin.
    The unfortunate results are that some folks can get upset when a rule is enforced in a manner not expectable by them.
    A thru-hiker who has walked hundreds of miles has experienced a lot of different circumstances during his or her hike. They have become hardened to the daily thru-hike grind and have learned to " go with the flow". Someone just walking in from the last road crossing expecting a certain predetermined experience and not finding it might just want to complain to Mom about it.
    Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

    Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  3. #23
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    I have met some real ****bird caretakers. I try not to let them spoil my trip. Most folks are excellent, and truly want you to have a positive experience. Please remember that people are people, some good and some bad. Keep getting out there, don’t let the bullies spoil your life. HYOH

  4. #24
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    I'm at the cabin right this instant in a bunk. Nothing but a pleasurable, welcoming experience so far.

    I walked here from Georgia but the caretaker didn't even ask if I was a hiking thru.

    Entitlement? Section hikers are worse than thru's.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    Show me the rule that states thruhikers get precedence over section hikers. What makes you think that sections hikers are just crossing the road and haven't hiked hundreds of miles?

    Your infamous exit from the role of caretaker exhibited well enough your opinion of section hikers, and that your retirement was the best possible event for the future of the cabin. My hope is that other caretakers who become intolerant and unwilling to follow the rules for the sake of their own opinions will also depart the caretaker ranks.
    It's easy to tell the difference between someone who just crossed the road and someone whos hiked hundreds of miles.

    The person who's hiked hundreds of miles wouldn't make a stink about a GA-ME thru hiker getting first dibs pancakes.

    Just today I saw a guy starting a two day hike. .2 miles in from the road where he started was a cooler with soda and a sign that read for "AT Thru Hikers". He drank two of them.







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  6. #26

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    We are seeing what happens when a resource is stretched beyond its capacity.

    Some weeks at the Cabin, there is simply not room for everyone to have the experience they expect or desire. Too many visitors (of all kinds) are attracted to this special place, and there simply is not room to accommodate everyone.

    Caretakers are put in a position where they need to allocate resources to some, but not to others. There are 16 bunks, there’s a finite square footage of griddle space, and one can only spend so much time washing dishes and bringing spring water across the pond for thirsty hikers.

    Were the facilities available only on a first come, first served basis (like other AT shelters and campsites), do you think on a weekend night there would be any bunk space for long distance hikers? More than likely, bunks would be filled by 2pm, mostly by weekenders, groups, or other hikers who can adjust their schedules to arrive early in the day.

    So, a priority of some sort has to be developed. Should the Cabin accept reservations? Are there enough volunteer resources to support that system? Should we just turn the whole thing over to the AMC so they can develop another revenue stream? Should thru hikers have some sort of registration system to “prove” they actually started at Springer (or Harpers Ferry, or Maine)? It’s a real problem, primarily due to the ever increasing number of Trail visitors loading a resource that has no means to keep up.

    Yes, there are Caretakers who’s life skills and personalities can adapt well to gracefully allocating finite resources in a situation where who has preference is essentially impossible to determine (and, should the facility ONLY be open to long distance hikers—is that fair?). There are also Caretakers who have difficulty communicating respectfully in stressful situations. Unfortunately, the stressful nature of “high season” is driving those volunteers who do not thrive on chaos away (another resource being exceeded by the need to provide for an ever increasing number of visitors).

    So where does this end? Does an increasing visitor dissatisfaction level result in more hikers opting to pass the Cabin by and rebalancing the demand on the resource? Do we develop more draconian rules and further limit a Caretaker’s flexibility? Should we just turn away all but the first 16 hikers? Maybe we just close the Cabin during July because we can’t accommodate the numbers of visitors.

    Sorry to be painting such a gloomy picture—but the realities can be pretty daunting. We’ll continue to look for and train volunteer Caretakers, attempt to clarify ways to prioritize visitors, and continue to do our best to keep this resource available for all visitors.

    Cosmo

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    I'm at the cabin right this instant in a bunk. Nothing but a pleasurable, welcoming experience so far.

    I walked here from Georgia but the caretaker didn't even ask if I was a hiking thru.

    Entitlement? Section hikers are worse than thru's.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
    obviously your smell negated the need to ask

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    The person who's hiked hundreds of miles wouldn't make a stink about a GA-ME thru hiker getting first dibs pancakes.
    HAHAHAHA oh yes **I** would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmo View Post
    We are seeing what happens when a resource is stretched beyond its capacity.

    Some weeks at the Cabin, there is simply not room for everyone to have the experience they expect or desire. Too many visitors (of all kinds) are attracted to this special place, and there simply is not room to accommodate everyone.

    Caretakers are put in a position where they need to allocate resources to some, but not to others. There are 16 bunks, there’s a finite square footage of griddle space, and one can only spend so much time washing dishes and bringing spring water across the pond for thirsty hikers.

    Were the facilities available only on a first come, first served basis (like other AT shelters and campsites), do you think on a weekend night there would be any bunk space for long distance hikers? More than likely, bunks would be filled by 2pm, mostly by weekenders, groups, or other hikers who can adjust their schedules to arrive early in the day.
    it doesnt solve all the issues at all, but perhaps a start would be making it clear the cabin is not there for people who just want to have a free place to stay by hiking 3.2 miles round trip. from a read of this thread it seems that there is at present no stated rule against doing that (said people can technically say they are section hikers).

    i find myself in an interesting spot in this discussion. on one hand, i'm the last person to say anything is just for "thru hikers" (as that term is most commonly used), but i also have a real loathing for people who aren't really hiking but just want to use the resources that are in place for hikers. i think even someone on a 30 mile overnight should be able to stay if they so chose. but someone should not be able to hike 1.6 miles just to have a cool free place to stay for a night. that person is, in my mind "not a section hiker" or even really a hiker at all. thats someone who wants a free place to spend a night and doesn't mind making a short hike to get it.

    honestly, my solution would be to charge money. this is what happens when something with a lot of appeal is free.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    HAHAHAHA oh yes **I** would.
    Why the distaste towards thru hikers?

    99% of the people on the AT show support and try to really help people attempting a thru hike. Especially so far into the hike.

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  11. #31
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    My daughter and I SECTION hike every June and a couple of years ago stopped here. The caretaker was wonderful. She actually gave us a tour around the grounds and let us know about pancakes in the morning. I ONLY tent so it was never my intention to stay indoors. I loved the platforms and chose the one the furthest away. We were respectful and appreciative of the spot.
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

  12. #32
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Apart from my thru hike, I have stopped by twice as a day hiker — most recently last year.

    Seeing a guy from NY —likely homeless — on the way underscored just how difficult the caretakers role is. Lots of day hikers came by as I sat on the porch like I owned the place.

    The pond and cabin are nice enough, but what this place offers more than anything else is place to connect, I think.

    Regardless of how the AMC [this is managed by the AMC, albeit on the chapter level, correct?) decides to ration bunks, I hope the caretakers are given wide latitude in how they elect to interpret and/or bend the rules.

    I also hope hope that MOST everyone who is not staying overnight is made welcome when checking th place out, or just passing through — in the same way the club aspires to do so at the Huts.

    That was my experience, but as a former thru hiker I expect it may have been easier for me to assume “ownership” of my spot on the porch than others. Welcoming (and explaining) signage might help. Not sure.

  13. #33
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    It's easy to tell the difference between someone who just crossed the road and someone whos hiked hundreds of miles.
    Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.
    It's all good in the woods.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    “Upper Goose Pond Cabin is owned by the National Park Service and managed by AMC volunteers. Located on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the southwest corner of Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, Upper Goose Pond is exclusively for thru-hikers and section hikers of the AT.”

    Attachment 43066
    This is really all that needs to be said. The caretaker appears to be in the wrong. It also sounds like it's been addressed so hopefully there won't be anymore issues. Maybe carry a screenshot of this policy if you go and advise the caretaker if they protest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    Why the distaste towards thru hikers?

    99% of the people on the AT show support and try to really help people attempting a thru hike. Especially so far into the hike.

    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk
    and thats exactly the problem.

    so let me give you this hypothetical- i'm out on a week long 100 mile section hike. i arrive at UGP at 6pm at the end of a 20 mile day. i get the last bunk, but i am told if a "thru hiker" arrives i'll have to vacate it for them.

    at 8pm a thru hiker arrives and i am asked to vacate.

    if you think this makes sense or is in anyway fair or justified then you my friend are the walking epitome of why i, and others, can not stand a good number of thru hikers.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    Apart from my thru hike, I have stopped by twice as a day hiker — most recently last year.

    Seeing a guy from NY —likely homeless — on the way underscored just how difficult the caretakers role is. Lots of day hikers came by as I sat on the porch like I owned the place.

    The pond and cabin are nice enough, but what this place offers more than anything else is place to connect, I think.

    Regardless of how the AMC [this is managed by the AMC, albeit on the chapter level, correct?) decides to ration bunks, I hope the caretakers are given wide latitude in how they elect to interpret and/or bend the rules.

    I also hope hope that MOST everyone who is not staying overnight is made welcome when checking th place out, or just passing through — in the same way the club aspires to do so at the Huts.

    That was my experience, but as a former thru hiker I expect it may have been easier for me to assume “ownership” of my spot on the porch than others. Welcoming (and explaining) signage might help. Not sure.
    not looking to start anything but i just want to point out that, while i may be mistaken, i do believe a day hiker just going there to hang out for a few hours IS indeed against the currently written rules.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post

    Just today I saw a guy starting a two day hike. .2 miles in from the road where he started was a cooler with soda and a sign that read for "AT Thru Hikers". He drank two of them.
    So?

    I thru hiked last year. Never once did I worry about if another other hiker was deserving of Trail magic. Thru hikers aren't trail gods deserving all lowly section and day hikers to genuflect at their mere presence.

    If I was out on a short hike today and came upon a cooler marked "thru hikers" I would help myself without a second thought.

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    I've seen that happen MANY times.
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    Yep, the thrus are the ones who curl up and take a zero when it starts raining in the morning, and the section hikers are the ones who gear up and head out into it... seen it happen several times.
    I've seen that happen MANY times.
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

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    what about using some sort of registration system to address overcrowding/overuse?

    something along the lines of everyone must show ID and register (everyone, not one person per party). then put a rule in place about how frequently someone can come stay overnight. once per season seems logical but i also think maybe that won't make much of a dent as i wouldnt think there are many people who are in the habit of going there 3 or 4 times a summer. maybe once every 3 seasons? if you stayed there this summer you cant stay there next year or the year after? that might whittle down a good number of "we go there one weekend every year" people.

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