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  1. #1
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    Default cooking/eating near shelter

    Looking to hike in GSMP during March. This is not my first time at a shelter, but just wanted to know everyone's thoughts on eating/cooking in the proximity of a shelter. Last fall while hiking from Max Patch to Hot Springs I tented, but the shelters looked like a waffle house with all the cooking/eating going on.

  2. #2

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    Gotta eat, right?

  3. #3
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    Most everyone that stays at or around the shelters (and this is just from my personal experience) take advantage of the picnic tables or the ledge on the side of the shelter to eat. Just make sure everyone cleans up their mess when they're done.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  4. #4
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    The food I eat in the shelters is far healthier than waffle house.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  5. #5

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    Probably not a great idea for wildlife control but the reality is folks cook and eat in and in front of the shelters. Eventually a bear gets habituated and then they close the shelter. There is old famous photo somewhere of hikers feeding bears through the chain link fences that used to close in the front of shelters. At least one rare shelter in the mid Atlantic (north of Bears Den? )has a separate covered eating pavilions with picnic tables and campfire ring separate from the shelter. I always like the concept but expect during the bubble it becomes an overflow shelter.

  6. #6
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Some of the newer shelters have an eating area away from the actual structure. In the White Mountains, shelters and campsites have designated "dining" areas, which are usually where the bear boxes for food storage are located.

    Strictly speaking, you probably shouldn't eat near a shelter because of food smells and food dropping both of which can attract animals. My guess is that is why there are so many mice around shelters - they are first attracted to the smells of dropped food as well as actual food smells when hikers are eating. Having said all that, many shelters have picnic tables right at the shelter and even those that don't, hikers still will eat near the shelters. I observed some will do that even when designated dining areas are available.

    A couple of years ago I came upon a crowded shelter. About 100 yards off in a clearing were a couple of bears milling around. Everyone was cooking and eating at the shelter. I went right by the shelter, pitched a tent and stayed far away.
    Last edited by ldsailor; 02-27-2019 at 12:37.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  7. #7

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    If it's raining or otherwise crappy weather, everyone cooks and eats in the shelter. I don't remember if any GSMNP huts are equipped with picnic tables. I can't recall seeing any.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    I don't remember if any GSMNP huts are equipped with picnic tables.
    There is a narrow ledge table and bench built into the support for the new roofline applied to most of the shelters, and some of them also have a ledge under a side eave.

    Mollies Ridge has everything to the side, no roof extension.

    Davenport Gap shelter has a much smaller extension out front and to the side, and if I remember correctly, it still had the chain link fence last time I was there.

  9. #9
    Registered User carouselambra's Avatar
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    One thing I do at any campsite is if there is any chance of any food spilling while transferring to a container (Ex: my morning powdered drink mix into a Gatorade bottle), I do it over a fire ring so that hopefully if anything spills the smell has a chance to be burned away with the next fire.

  10. #10
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    be prepared for mice at all the GSMNP shelters (and a lot of campsites as well)..........



    they are the product of bad food handling/storage...

  11. #11
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Unfortunately, in GSMNP, there seems to always be "that one person"...
    Even though there are signs in the shelter saying things along the lines of not eating/cooking in the shelter, I still see people all the time with their food on the sleeping platforms.

    I do not recall exactly what the signs say in the GSMNP shelters, and even though it looks like some of the shelters have cook tables off to the side of the shelter, the typical etiquette is that everyone cooks and eats at the tables (with the seats) under the extensions mentioned above.

  12. #12
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    the typical etiquette is that everyone cooks and eats at the tables (with the seats) under the extensions mentioned above.


    and to be honest------the space between these seats/table and the platforms are generally about 4 to 6 feet........

    so there's really not much separation of food and shelter areas......

  13. #13

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    Lots of people eat near shelters, a horrifying portion eat very sloppily near shelters. There's probably a pound or more of food bits hitting the ground every single day at each shelter.

  14. #14
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    Solve the mouse problem, put a cat at each shelter.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentF View Post
    Looking to hike in GSMP during March. This is not my first time at a shelter, but just wanted to know everyone's thoughts on eating/cooking in the proximity of a shelter. Last fall while hiking from Max Patch to Hot Springs I tented, but the shelters looked like a waffle house with all the cooking/eating going on.
    That is what shelters are for.

    Thats also why bears get attracted to them .

  16. #16

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    Eat at a shelter, camp elsewhere.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bayview View Post
    Solve the mouse problem, put a cat at each shelter.
    But that's what the snakes are for
    fortis fortuna adjuvat

  18. #18
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    Eat at a shelter, camp elsewhere.
    The OP is asking about GSMNP. Camping elsewhere is not a option on the AT within the park.

  19. #19

    Default

    Rule of thumb:

    If there is a designated cooking and eating area, use it.
    If not, around the fire pit is a popular area.
    If it's raining, do what you need to do. Just try not to spill anything.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  20. #20
    Registered User evyck da fleet's Avatar
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    Dinner (and breakfast) are usually made on the ledge of a shelter by thru and section hikers whether they stay at that shelter or move to the next. Not much you can do when you’re required to stay there except rely on strength in hiker numbers and that someone is more afraid of bears

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