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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Verbal and physical threats from an AT hostel owner

    Dear fellow hikers,

    We all want to have a pleasant time on the trail, but things can turn ugly, unfortunately.

    I have been verbally and physically threatened, on Dec 7th 2022, by the owner of the "Gooder Grove AT and Adventure Hostel" in Franklin (NC).
    Although I never complained online about any hostel, never, I feel the responsability to share this, publicly, for our safety.

    __________________

    ** What happened before the aggression ?

    We were 5 hikers staying there : 4 left earlier than they've initialy planned, because the hostel owner was verbally abusive and obsessive about some small details.
    I chose to stay 1 more night : my bad.

    ______________________

    ** Did a real aggression occur ?

    Yes, unfortunately.

    On the next morning, at 7 a.m., the owner insisted to talk about "What happened yesterday".
    I replied "Sir, you might want to think about that some other day,... etc...".
    He then felt "accused", "judged", etc. I tried to explain, I raised my voice at some point (which I shouldn't have), and then I kept silent.
    The owner then called me an "idiot", "*******", "prick", "duchebag".
    As I was cooking (and sharing what I cooked!), he insisted to talk : I answered nothing, I avoided eye contact.

    He entered the kitchen many times : I would then leave : he stalked me.

    He made various inapropriate comments.

    After 30min of this, he shut off the hot plate, pushed me, ordered me to "Leave [his] house".

    He threatened several times to "F***ing hurt [me] and call the cops" (these are his exact words), with an aggresive voice, and a very dark stare.
    He followed me to my room, insisting that he was gonna "Hurt [me]", having a "Kung Fu black belt".

    He repeated 10 times that I "Lied to [him]", and must now "Clean the kitchen, and make a donation for using the kitchen" (although it was included in the stay).
    PS: I paid for my entire stay.

    I locked myself in my room, waited, and left the hostel from the back door, wearing socks under the rain.

    ______________________

    ** Please don't delete this post !

    I don't blame this man for apparently having issues, or for apparently struggling in life : I'm only seriously concerned for hikers safety.
    I didn't get hurt physically : maybe I was lucky... But who knows what could happen in this hostel in the future - God forbid ?

    ______________________

    I wish you all to have a fantastic day.

    Let us continue to be kind and opened towards each other : a few rotten apples should not spoil the good cider that flows in the springs, the waterfalls and the fountains of this beautiful world we live in !

    Let us cherish every moment

    Enjoy you hike, friends,

    C.

  2. #2
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    You are the one that should have called the cops on him!

  3. #3
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    Just curious - "What happened yesterday". - that he wanted to talk about ? The other people leaving early or some other thing and why did you not want to talk about it?
    If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18

    Come to me, all you who are tired and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

  4. #4

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    It’s not your room that you retreated to, and agree, what happened yesterday?

  5. #5
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    not the first time I heard negative things about this hostel.
    I've even seen a little bit of the attitude when hikers waiting for a shuttle into town to go to a different hostel turned down his offer to get a ride in with him (and presumably convince them to stay at his place) - he then kicked up a bunch of gravel as he left the road crossing.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  6. #6
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    i've heard nothin' good about him or his hostel

  7. #7
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    Maybe he misunderstood and thought hikers enjoy staying at a 'hostile'.?

  8. #8
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    He was cussing at you calling you inappropriate names and threatening you with his "black belt" and was going to call the cops on you? For what was going to call the cops on you for?

  9. #9
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    I didn't even add that fact you said he pushed you! him laying hands on you and all the other stuff is enough for simple assault charges and there would be a record of him doing this for future hikers or anybody else he decides to bully around!

  10. #10

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    It does not seem like we are getting the entire story here. It would be interesting to hear what happened the previous day to trigger it. I have never been to the "Gooder Grove AT and Adventure Hostel" myself, nor can I say good or bad things about the place.
    I have stayed in my fair share of hostels. In my experience hiking multiple years off-season, hostels' owners are only human. When you hear some of the dumb things hikers do, and when repeated repeatedly by multiple hikers, it can take its toll even on the best hostel owners. If the owner is threatening to call the cops, it is normal for a reason behind it. Some of biggest reasons I have seen are someone damage something, left without paying or a hiker did something stupid that cause problems for the hostel owner. When hikers are in town, sometimes they forget they are not in the woods anymore and do things the hostel owner has to answer for with his/her neighbors or to maintain their license.

    Wolf
    Last edited by Wolf - 23000; 12-10-2022 at 19:16.

  11. #11
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Your story is much different from my stay there 6 years ago. Then, the owner or anyone in authority for that matter was just not there. They were going to do laundry for myself and a hiking partner (they wouldn't let me do it on their machine). Late in the day I had to retrieve our clothes from the washing machine and put them in the dryer. The person who insisted upon doing the clothes himself was nowhere to be found. I still remember with some flash-back fondness of the 60's a couple of non-hiking hippies beating on bongos for the better part of the day outside the front door.

    When I left, I had to chase someone down to take my money. A few years ago, they did a GoFundMe for a new roof. Another hostel owner up the trail roasted them online for asking for the money. As I recall, the GoFundMe did not do well.

    All in all, not the best run place, but it was clean and comfortable.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf - 23000 View Post
    It does not seem like we are getting the entire story here. It would be interesting to hear what happened the previous day to trigger it.
    Wolf
    Need Paul Harvey to tell us the rest of the story, especially the previous day's events. Based on OP's location I wonder if there were some cultural differences adding to the mix of misunderstandings. Not that one culture's habits and expectations are better or worse, just sometimes different.

    Since we are carrying all of our worldly possessions on our back if we are not happy someplace then we can just slip on our socks(*), grab our pack, and leave.

    (*) since it was raining in the original post I might have put my boots on too.

  13. #13
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    Default 2/2

    Quote Originally Posted by Montana Mac View Post
    Just curious - "What happened yesterday". - that he wanted to talk about ? The other people leaving early or some other thing and why did you not want to talk about it?
    As I wrote above :
    Many small details and meaningless things were pretexts, for the hostel owner, to be verbally and emotionally obsessive and abusive. Washing hands, opening the kitchen window, etc... oh yeah !
    The kitchen, again ! Great !
    I won't make the whole list here : please give me a break...

    Why did I not want to talk with the man, you ask ?... Come on, man ! I'm not on the AT for this, and I can't help this person. I simply hope that he will want to seek the proper help that he apparently needs. And I hope no-one would get physically hurt there - God forbid.

    If more infos are needed :

    Among the 4 hikers, 1 cried "Because of how he talks" (these were her exact words)
    ). They left a note, that made the hostel owner very angry.
    He then asked me many times already (in the late afternoon) : "What happened?". I answered politely, explaining in carefuly-chosen words that hiking is difficult, and that these 4 expected a relaxed stay... And even though I took a long minute to phrase this very very carefully, he talked over me constantly, saying that I "Called [him] wrong", etc...
    He called his girlfriend, urging her to listen to me (although I said : "No Sir, it's not about her"). She appeared very embarrassed, she kept wandering around pretending to clean some stuff...
    She's a hiker who appatently settled there recently. During this scene, and on other moments too, it appeared to me that she was under pressure, or possibly being abused emotionaly/mentaly.
    I hope she will stay safe.


    I then left the room, saying in polite words that I wished to be alone. The owner then stalked me, as I went out shopping, asking "Why are you going out???", etc...

    I talked calmly yet firmly when wishing to be alone, and I didn't use profanaty, nor insults, nor treats. When physically treatened, I left as I was able to do so.





    Quote Originally Posted by chknfngrs View Post
    Its not your room that you retreated to, and agree, what happened yesterday?
    Right : it's the bunkroom in the back, on the right. I was alone in this small bunk : it feelt like a room.

    If more details are needed on this (oh my..., oh my...) :

    When the hostel owner once again came close to me, and actually pushed me, he said "Ok now you hit me on the plexus".
    He clearly wanted to escalate the situation, and he was building a false alibi for self defense : better leave while I could.

    While stalked, I closed and locked the two doors leading to my room : the owner managed to open the first door, and I heard him wander for a while behind the last door, still going on a rant.
    After some time, when I've packed, I opened the door and didn't saw him. I then took the backdoor situated just opposite... really wishing that I didn't forget something important.

    I try to make a long story short here. I don't mention all the alarming details...
    Among them : the owner was convinced that I was "Recording [him]", etc...

    I already wrote a lot more than I initially wanted to : you'll excuse me if this will be my last post on this thread, since I'd like to finish my hike on a more positive vibe !

    Ok : We should be careful on the internet, we should check what we read, question it, and not jump onto conclusions.
    The words that I quote are verbatim, and the situation happened exactly as I describe it (with my limited English, sorry).



    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    You are the one that should have called the cops on him!
    Yes, you are right.
    But wait... if I had called the police, would the other hikers have helped ?

    Let's see...

    - 1 hiker witnessed the aggression, and was in the kitchen as the owner told me, just another time "You are gonna get f***ing hurt" (exact quote), with a menacing physical posture, a very agressive voice, and a very dark stare.
    This hiker didn't say a word, nor during, nor after the agression.

    - The 4 hikers, who left the day before as they were genuinly scared (1 of them even cried "because of how he talks" - these are her exact words) went spending the night in another place, in the same town. They left the owner a note, that made him very angry, but they still took his shuttle, the morning of the aggression.

    They politely listened to the owner complaining about "that hiker..." during the 15-min drive, although they knew about the aggression (by text message),
    ... And when dropped at the trailhead, they smiled and posed for a photo : this cheerful photo is now the top banner of the hostel's FB page. The hiker who cried (quite undetstandably) is on the photo.
    Creepy...
    Under this photo, there's a new post with photos, about "The mess a thru-hiker left in our kitchen after skipping out to catch his shuttle" ... _ ... The truth is : I couldn't safely stay, and I stood 45 min under the rain, waiting for my 08:15 shuttle.

    None of these 5 hikers cared to post on FB, or to say a single word at no point.

    In retrospective :
    If I would've called the police - who are fantastic people, and who do their best to help -, it would've been :
    - me, a foreigner with no income for many months as I thru-hike,
    - VS the owner of a big house, a dog and a car.

    My two cents :
    Hikers need this man for a bunkroom and a ride : he understands this, and he knows how to take advantage of this.

    I hope that people will stay safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyslayer View Post
    [...]
    Based on OP's location I wonder if there were some cultural differences adding to the mix of misunderstandings. Not that one culture's habits and expectations are better or worse, just sometimes different.
    [...]
    Good point.
    Let me say, humbly, that :
    I happen to be fond of American culture since the earliest age. I'm a big Sydney Lumet / Orson Welles / Humphrey Bogart / Martin Scorsese / de Niro & al Pacino / Tarantino ... fan.
    Not to mention the rest : music, sports, ...
    I watch the Daily Show & SNL for about 10 y. now, and also LWT since the start (but a bit less recently).
    I call men Sir, and women Mam.
    I witnessed a small car accident on a store parking lot in Virginia (hopefuly, no-one got hurt) : I testified to the Officer, and thanked her for her service.

    Hope this helps.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goodman View Post
    Maybe he misunderstood and thought hikers enjoy staying at a 'hostile'.?
    Haha !
    And I expected to be in a hostel... not a hostage !

  14. #14

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    You do not have to read too far into the comment section on the Far Out app about Gooder Grove to see a similar pattern of behavior.
    "What brings no benefit to the hive brings no benefit to the bee" Marcus Aurelius

  15. #15
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    During my nobo flip flop last year I gathered a lot of recommendations from the nobos. This was the only hostel in the south that came up negative, based on some very reasonable hikers’ recommendations. There were a couple of ‘yellows’ about hostels that might appeal to some, but not all, I won’t mention them since some like them, and some don’t. Franklin could use a new hostel because it could be a really good trail town, although spread out a bit. I stayed at the sapphire inn, which is a good buy, but they had am noise due to the work crews who stay there. Chica and sunsets has great reviews but is small. While this isn’t directly relevant, Bobby the Greek was a fantastic shuttle driver who helped me find a place to stay.

  16. #16
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    I am sorry this happened to you. Trail life is difficult. I hope you have better trail days to come. Thanks for posting.

  17. #17
    There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary and those who don't.
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    As a student of Chinese martial arts for decades, I can unequivocally say that few would use the phrase 'black belt in Kung Fu'. There are dozens of disciplines. I happen to be a senior student in the Wing Chun discipline
    And can trace my schools lineage back to early 20th century China.
    And generally, Kung Fu schools exist in larger cities..

    This owner sounds like a bad guy. Certainly a bad liar. I have no place to review him, but those who do, should.
    Give me a mile of trail and I can show you the forest. Give me a mile of runway and I can show you the world.
    Long Trail Completed 2021.

  18. #18
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funkmeister View Post
    As a student of Chinese martial arts for decades, I can unequivocally say that few would use the phrase 'black belt in Kung Fu'. There are dozens of disciplines. I happen to be a senior student in the Wing Chun discipline
    And can trace my schools lineage back to early 20th century China.
    And generally, Kung Fu schools exist in larger cities..

    This owner sounds like a bad guy. Certainly a bad liar. I have no place to review him, but those who do, should.
    Agreed 100%! Red ,white and blue nobody can threaten you with Kung-fu! I've studied martial arts for about 10 years achieving multiple black belts in different styles mostly Japanese oriented.
    Saying you hit his solar plexus ? Yeah ok. He could be what he says he is and just abusing his art and using it for the wrong reasons which is even worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Agreed 100%! Red ,white and blue nobody can threaten you with Kung-fu! I've studied martial arts for about 10 years achieving multiple black belts in different styles mostly Japanese oriented.
    Saying you hit his solar plexus ? Yeah ok. He could be what he says he is and just abusing his art and using it for the wrong reasons which is even worse.
    You know, this would make a cool movie script! See the new kid gets pounded by the kids with the bad instructor. So then they decide.........and then the bad guy says to "Sweep the leg"......lol
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
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  20. #20
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhjanes View Post
    You know, this would make a cool movie script! See the new kid gets pounded by the kids with the bad instructor. So then they decide.........and then the bad guy says to "Sweep the leg"......lol
    Now that there's funny I don't care who you are
    I love It in the movies when the bad guy or gals gets what's coming to them. Cause mean people suck!
    That's why Home Alone is my favorite movie this time of year.

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