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  1. #1
    GA-ME 02 Kilted Hiker Trail Yeti's Avatar
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    Default Rusty's Hard Time Hollow

    Stayed there the other night....Rusty is a great guy. He said that he doesn't get as many hikers now as they all push on to Waynesboro. He really enjoys having hikers come and stay with him. He said that he is willing to take people to Waynesboro to pick up Mail Drops and then take them back ot the Hollow. He is not willing to just drop people off in Waynesboro or slackpack them there. So if you are hiking around, stop off and see Rusty.....its one of those trail stops that definately adds to the experience!
    "Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit"- Ed Abbey

  2. #2
    Registered User Singe03's Avatar
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    I can't believe people are skipping Rustys, a very unique experience that should not be missed. Rusty is a character and some of his rules are "interesting" but being there and talking to him pretty extensively made me see the world a little differently.

  3. #3
    Registered User Ramble~On's Avatar
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    Default Wouldn't miss it for the world.

    Rusty's Hard Time Hollow is a MUST (imho)

    Rusty is great....the experience was awesome and my memories bring a smile to my face .

    I couldn't imagine a thru hike without stopping at Rusty's....
    I don't know if he still does it or if he has any room left but can anybody tell me if he still takes a picture of everybody that stops through.

    It was great to get to put a face to the people in registers that I never got to meet becuase they were weeks or months ahead.

    The hot tub......sweatlodge and entire experience was wonderful.

  4. #4

    Default I skipped stopping by Rusty's; why?

    My reasoning was that it basically sounded like a shelter that was 2.5 miles off the Trail. When there were shelters much closer (like often right ON the Trail), I just couldn't see the logic behind going there. (I had the impression that there was no internet, no phone, no reliably available shower akin to how a solar shower at Woods Hole was no shower, no laundry, no stores within walking distance, rides to town discouraged, not sure it there was a phone there, etc., etc.) It didn't sound as if I was likely to be getting free food or close personal attention from female hikers there, or any other unusual, ah, compensation for being off the Trail in a place where I couldn't get much of anything useful (WRT my hike) accomplished. I can see thruhikers every day when I am actually on the Trail (not to mention that I get miles logged toward Katahdin if I do what I am out here to do, which is hike on the AT.) Now, if Rusty had those services I listed above, and especially if he moved his location to either within 0.4 mile of the Trail (or to along some road that the Trail crosses and can be easily hitched to), it would seem more reasonable IMO to go to his place.

    When I mentioned in a shelter register my puzzlement at how that place drew hikers as much as it did, one fellow male thruhiker got pretty irritated at me for questioning going there. He could only tell me as justification for such a detour off the Trail that Rusty is a really nice guy and has chickens. When I asked him repeatedly "And the reason (esp. WRT furthering my thruhike) that I should have gone there is?", all he could do was to repeat that Rusty was a nice guy and had chickens. I figure that there are lots of nice people in all the towns I see on my ATC maps, but I can't justify slowing down my thruhike to go see them. (I've seen and heard chickens before, and prefer owls, whipporwills, etc. over chickens.) I feel October 15 breathing down my neck probably more heavily than do most other thrus, I suspect.

    I was recently told by a fellow thruhiker that Rusty had in fact previously heard of me and had hoped I would stop by his place. I suppose he wanted to see if my backpack was as gargantuan as its reputation. I met a SOBO sectioner yesterday at Rod Hollow shelter who had A) heard of me already, and B) had been told that my pack weight exceeded 100 pounds. That was almost the impression that Mike Evans (proprieter of the pretty good Terrapin Hostel just north of Shenandoah) had. Trail stories do seem to often grow a bit in the telling.

  5. #5

    Thumbs up Just Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    When I asked him repeatedly "And the reason (esp. WRT furthering my thruhike) that I should have gone there is?"
    You don't ask questions about why you should stop at Rusty's. You just go. For me there were few "have to visit" hostels, but Rusty's was at the top of the list.

    The fact that his heart and home are open for any hiker to visit and re-visit is reason enuff. If you miss Rusty's, you're missing a big part of what the trail is all about.
    I hate Nike but Just Do It anyway!

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    He could only tell me as justification for such a detour off the Trail that Rusty is a really nice guy and has chickens. When I asked him repeatedly "And the reason (esp. WRT furthering my thruhike) that I should have gone there is?", all he could do was to repeat that Rusty was a nice guy and had chickens.
    You fail to read between the lines. If you had gone there and were polite, Rusty would have chopped off one or two chickens' heads and treated you to the best fried chicken anywhere.

  7. #7
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiritual Pilgrim - formerly AKA Taz
    You don't ask questions about why you should stop at Rusty's. You just go. For me there were few "have to visit" hostels, but Rusty's was at the top of the list.

    The fact that his heart and home are open for any hiker to visit and re-visit is reason enuff. If you miss Rusty's, you're missing a big part of what the trail is all about.
    That was the message I got on the trail in 1993, so I just went. It's the hostel for which I have the most fond memories. Quite frankly it was the only hostel that in retrospect I would have regretted missing, the only hostel that added something extra special to my long walk home.

    Having said this, I'm also aware of why a small minority didn't like their stop there. Rusty doesn't appeal to all hikers -- just most hikers. I like to think his appeal is to those who can relax and appreciate the unexpected and the different.

  8. #8
    trash, hiker the goat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weary
    That was the message I got on the trail in 1993, so I just went. It's the hostel for which I have the most fond memories. Quite frankly it was the only hostel that in retrospect I would have regretted missing, the only hostel that added something extra special to my long walk home.

    Having said this, I'm also aware of why a small minority didn't like their stop there. Rusty doesn't appeal to all hikers -- just most hikers. I like to think his appeal is to those who can relax and appreciate the unexpected and the different.
    well said, weary.

  9. #9
    Registered User Cheesewhiz's Avatar
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    If and when you hike the Trail you MUST stop at Rusty's. That is one of my favorite stops to date on the trail!!!
    :datz May the four winds blow me safely to Maine.

    www.trailjournals.com/cheesewhiz

  10. #10

    Default Rusty's Hard Time Hollow

    I thru-hiked a long time ago (1995) and, in reflecting on my many wonderful memories of the trail, hold the few days I spent at Rusty's as some of the best because they characterized for me much of what the trail is about. Although I had only a few zero days during my hike, I realized right when I started wandering down this guy's driveway that this place offered an experience that I was unlikely to get anywhere else. One writer below asked why he should hike out of his way to stay in a shelter with chickens. Well, my answer is simply that Rusty is a true character and passing by his place is missing out on an opportunity to broaden one's perspective on what the trail is and what makes thru-hiking more than a very long walk in the woods. The logic is admittedly difficult to explain, but I equate it to the difficulty in explaining why you are hiking a few thousand miles to someone who cannot relate. In short, 12,000 have been to Rusty's and I would guess that about 11,947 left better for the experience.
    On a road trip recently I dropped in to see Rusty for the first time in eleven years. He's still Rusty, and that 2.5 mile trip to the Hollow is still one of the best parts of the trail. (BTW, he does offer rides back to the trail.) Thanks.

  11. #11
    Registered User Phreak's Avatar
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    Default

    Can anyone tell me where Rusty's is located? I'm thru-hiking next year and if his place is still around then, I'd love to stop in for a bit.

    Thanks,
    B~

  12. #12
    Registered User kyhipo's Avatar
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    Default rustys hard time hollow

    right before you get into waynesboro hope i spelled it right.ky

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    I had the impression that there was no internet, no phone, no reliably available shower akin to how a solar shower at Woods Hole was no shower, no laundry, no stores within walking distance, rides to town discouraged, not sure it there was a phone there, etc., etc.) It didn't sound as if I was likely to be getting free food or close personal attention from female hikers there, or any other unusual, ah, compensation for being off the Trail in a place where I couldn't get much of anything useful (WRT my hike) accomplished. I can see thruhikers every day when I am actually on the Trail (not to mention that I get miles logged toward Katahdin if I do what I am out here to do, which is hike on the AT.) Now, if Rusty had those services I listed above, and especially if he moved his location to either within 0.4 mile of the Trail (or to along some road that the Trail crosses and can be easily hitched to), it would seem more reasonable IMO to go to his place.
    You've missed the big picture of the thru hike experiencce, and I feel sorry for you. Rustys is by far one of the most unique and unusual stops on the trail. Oh no, NO INTERNET!!! WHAT EVER WILL WE DO!!!

  14. #14

    Default

    When you got to Rusty's in 1995 made a big difference in your experience. I hit in the middle of a surge of hikers. There were 40+ people there that night plus dogs. Rusty spent most of the evening grumbling about "freeloaders"...with most of the offending people totally missing his meaningful scowls...getting increasingly drunk or high and generally raising Cain. !995 was the year that Rusty demanded that all references of the Hollow be removed from the Thru-hikers guides.

    When I got there, the place was a mess. The bunkhouse was flea-infested (thanks to people violating the rules and bringing their dogs into the bunkhouse with them). There was nothing re****l about it either since "The Bus" was running full blast until about 4 am.

    Myself and my hiking companions at the time got up early and were walking up the driveway at about 5 am after dropping our donations in the bucket. I'd love to visit again at a less intensive time...I reckon it would be a totally different experience.

    Rusty's is an inholding in the National Forest, visible from the highway. It is a homestead with no electricity. It gets its water from a spring...which also provides refrigeration. The Spring House is really one of the highlights of the place. It is an insulated building where the spring flows out of the ground, through a pipe. There is a pump on the spring to pump water up to fill bottles and buckets. There is a spring pool there for the refrigeration of perishables and the cooling of sodas and such. Very cool.

    The solar shower must be filled by bucket (or that was the case in 1995). That may have changed by now.

    The hot tub is a wood fired unit down in the bottom of the hollow near the garden. There is an outhouse/privy for solid waste, there are designated pee areas for the liquids.

    The driveway is generally littered with flattened aluminum cans as the result of hikers attempts to hit empties past a certain spot on the driveway in an effort to win a T-shirt or some such souvenir. There is quite a bit to do there, and it is easy to see why some hikers get sucked into the gravity well there. I just hit it at the wrong time altogether.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
    AT'95, GA>ME

    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  15. #15

    Default

    [quote=icemanat95]
    Rusty's is an inholding in the National Forest, visible from the highway. It is a homestead with no electricity.quote]

    Times have changed a bit Iceman, Rustys now has electricity. However the rest of your description is still true. The spring house is pretty neat, when I got there it was filled w/ hundreds of sodas.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phreak
    Can anyone tell me where Rusty's is located? I'm thru-hiking next year and if his place is still around then, I'd love to stop in for a bit.

    Thanks,
    B~
    Trail to Rusty’s Hard Time Hollow, At Maupin Field Shelter, turn left on fire road (just north of shelter), and walk 1.2 miles west to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then turn left, south, and walk the parkway 1.3 miles to Rusty’s driveway on the left, at BRP mile 16.7. Gravel driveway has a gray, pipe gate with Rusty’s name and A.T. stickers on one end. Thru-hikers, cross-country cyclists, section-hikers, and weekend campers (no scouting groups) are welcome. The no-trespassing signs are mostly for the non-hikers, but hikers should heed the signs on the way down Rusty’s driveway.
    “Only two things are infinite; The universe and human stupidity,
    And I’m starting to wonder about the universe.”
    Albert Einstein

  17. #17

    Default

    My experience with Rusty's. In 96' I had an enjoyable stay there someone cooked a dinner and Rusty made his pancakes in the AM. I helped with a project that was going on and generally had a pleasant visit. In 00' when I visited there were all sorts of ''new rules'' and a bunch of young hangerons doing all sorts of chores and it seemed to me spying on the ''guests'' I nicknamed this group the ''Rusty's Police'' I can't say that the visit wasn't enjoyable just a little uncomfortabe. I neither endorse nor discourage visits to Rusty's. Its none of my business where other hikers visit when off trail. Rusty's is Rusty's! BTW in 00' no dinner no b'fast still made generous donation.
    E-Z---"from sea to shining sea''

  18. #18
    ...Or is it Hiker Trash? Almost There's Avatar
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    Default

    To add, Rusty's driveway/road is the only side road off of the parkway with a street light over it.
    Walking Dead Bear
    Formerly the Hiker Known as Almost There

  19. #19
    Registered User Mother's Finest's Avatar
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    Default

    once again everyone......hiking is about doing your own thing....it is about living your own life and making your own decisions.....to say that MS Smith has missed the whole point of the hiking experience because of missing the hollow is just ludicrous.

    the hollow may be a really cool place, and an awesome time had there by all, but what about HYOH?

    smith is out there and is no worse or better for making his own decision to keep on truckin

    peace
    mf

  20. #20
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    Default

    I loved my stay at Rusty's last year. The Hollow has a real sense of history to it, and I could've spent days there looking at all the hiker pictures posted on various walls, ceilings, and outhouse doors.

    Quote Originally Posted by minnesotasmith
    "And the reason (esp. WRT furthering my thruhike) that I should have gone there is?"
    For the experience? For the inspiration you get from seeing pictures of 20 years (or more) of thru-hikers? Is furthering your thruhike the only reason you get out of bed in the morning? Do you come to a blueblaze trail and say, "oo is there an overlook" or do you pass it by saying "it won't further my thruhike"?

    How do you know that the experience that makes your entire thruhike is on the trail, and not just a few miles off it?
    "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." --HST
    Uncle Silly VA->VT '05, VT->ME '07, VA->GA ??

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