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  1. #1
    GO ILLINI! illininagel's Avatar
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    Default Exactly How Bad Are the Mice?

    A question for those that have thru-hiked:

    Exactly how bad are the mice in the shelters along the AT? Are they merely a nuisance or will they pose a more serious health hazard?

    Will it force me to tent more frequently?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    They are worse off early on in the season. Once the warm weather hits, the snakes are out to put a hurtin' on the mice, and natural food supplies (for mice) become more abundant.

    Health hazard? I wouldn't worry.... If you don't like mice, you can always tent though. Its a big woods out there.

    Little Bear
    GA-ME 2000
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  3. #3
    Thru-Hiker Grimace's Avatar
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    I sstayed in tons of shelters and barely noticed them. I did hike SOBO which may make a difference. On the occasion that they were eating the shelter at night, ear plugs did the trick. I slept so well out there that they may have been crawling on my face, but I doubt it.

    Make sure you open up the poclets of your pack so the mice can crawl in and out. They'll make holes if you don't open the door for 'em.

    I don't think they are a huge health hazard. A little Hantu never hurt anyone.
    Grimace ME->GA '01
    JMT '03

  4. #4
    Registered Troll
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    I'm SCEEEEERRED of mouses! Saw this on another board and sceers the living nighttime out of me:

    Almost forgot to mention the mice at the Gooch Mountain Shelter. We took extra special precautions to pack away all our food and anything at all with a scent, but the mice still found a way to play some havoc on our night.

    -The mice of Gooch Mountain will chew on nice wool socks if they cannot find food.

    -When hunting for food the mice of Gooch Mountain will chew threw ziploc bags looking for food and eventually chew on some of your toilet paper.

    -Your cigars should be properly stored in a hard pelican case. If someone by chance stored their cigars in a zip loc, the mice of Gooch mountain have a certain taste for fine tobbaco leaf.

    -If the mice of Gooch Mountain cannot find any food, they will get mad and proceed to use your titanium cup as a toilet. I assume that is why they chewed into the toilet paper.

  5. #5
    Section Hiker 350 miles DebW's Avatar
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    Search the shelter for bits of tin foil before you go to bed. Mice chewing on foil are LOUD.

  6. #6

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    I had one run across my face one night. It didn't survive the experience. Caught it, crushed it and threw it out of the shelter in less time than it takes to tell it. Nothing like feeling something scampering acoss your face to make you sit up and take notice.

    Worst damage I suffered from a mouse occured because I forgot about some GORP in a jacket pocket then proceeded to forget to open up the jacket pocket. THe mice chewed a hole in the mesh of the pocket fabric, tore into the gorp and chewed my pack towel a bit. That was in the smokies. I never had a further problem with the mice other than the face incident. I did however develop an allergy to mouse dander or whatever. I had to sleep with my head toward the shelter opening rather than in to the wall or my sinuses would start to close up. Since the shelters are generally pitched a little bit toward the opening, it made for some interesting nights.
    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

  7. #7

    Default mice

    I found that if you put peanut butter on fellow hikers foreheads at nite. The mice would pretty much leave you alone

  8. #8
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    Default Lynchin'

    I heard of this hiker who <b>lynched</b> a mouse. Yup, put a noose around the little rascal's neck and hung him high, swingin from the rafters.

  9. #9
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    Don't forget to check to make sure that there aren't any mice taking a morning snooze in your pockets before you close them up! Out of Seth Warner shelter in southern Vermont I apparently zipped one inside a side pocket, forcing him or her to chew their way to freedom.

    I was a lot more concerned about the big wood rat in Manassas Gap Shelter in northern Virginia a few years ago. That sucker was big and had a penchant for nibbling on the salty hair of sleepers. Fortunately a local camper came by and kept a lantern burning all night, keeping the rat in the rafters, but I still didn't sleep very well.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  10. #10
    GO ILLINI! illininagel's Avatar
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    Kerosene,

    Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?

    I'm getting the impression that my preference might be to tent---but, with so many experienced thru-hikers staying in the shelters, there must be a very good reason. Is it generally the weather that prompts hikers to use the shelters? Or, is it the ease of setup, or the company of other hikers?

  11. #11

    :banana

    I am completely astounded at how many seemingly normal humans are afraid of a mouse. If you've got to be scared of something, pick something that can actually hurt you like a car or a gun or a dog.

  12. #12
    Registered User B Thrash's Avatar
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    Default

    Originally posted by illininagel
    Kerosene,

    Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?

    I'm getting the impression that my preference might be to tent---but, with so many experienced thru-hikers staying in the shelters, there must be a very good reason. Is it generally the weather that prompts hikers to use the shelters? Or, is it the ease of setup, or the company of other hikers?


    _________________________________________

    One very good reason is a large majority of thru-hikers have sent their tents, tarps, bivys home to reduce the weight so their shelter is in the shelters.

    Rigormortis
    Rigormortis

  13. #13

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    I avoided shelters my first week in Georgia because of all the hype about mice and overcrowding and such. But then it started raining and it really never stopped my whole hike. The persistent rains drove me into sheltering most nights and after a while, I didn't care about mice or overcrowding (both of which weren't much of a problem this year north of Georgia).

    My food bag was chewed through one night in Tennessee and a couple of my more fuzzy things were chewed on (for nesting material) near Damascus. Further north, I'd see mice from time to time, but they never seemed to even try to get at food bags or packs that were hung. Two attacks in 2200 miles is liveable.

    I found the most interesting weapon against them was an empty Pringles can which is irresistable to them and makes a great mouse-cannon once one goes inside (think Jai Alai or Lacrosse). We're talking 50 yard launces at least.

  14. #14

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    Originally posted by illininagel
    Kerosene,

    Just out of curiousity, with a rat that big residing in the rafters of the shelter, why not tent that night?

    Wood Rats are good looking, interesting animals, and should not be confused with non-native disease carrying rats like those that run around the streets & sewers of coastal cities like NYC.

    I encountered a Wood Rat recently while removing an old freezer from a trailhead on the Cumberland Trail here in Tennessee. It was living inside the unit that we were pulling from the woods. It was a strikingly beautiful critter.

  15. #15
    GAME 2000
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    Default

    Originally posted by B Thrash
    _________________________________________

    One very good reason is a large majority of thru-hikers have sent their tents, tarps, bivys home to reduce the weight so their shelter is in the shelters.

    Rigormortis
    Gee, I don't remember any thru-hiker that totally depended on the shelters when I hiked the trail in 2000. It sure seemed like every solo hiker had a tent/tarp/bivy and every couple/group also carried a common tent/tarp. At times no one wanted to sleep in trail shelters and at other times everyone wanted to. Had a lot to do with available options, whether it was raining and how bad the mosquittos where. But heck, I didn't camp with every thru-hiker that year and I was not aware of any kind of poll about shelters. However, when you state 'large majority', I felt I should speak out so that somebody doesn't head out without tent/tarp/bivy thinking that they won't need one, because I think they will.

    Youngblood

  16. #16
    GA-ME 3/5/02 -8/14/02
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    I'll have to agree with Youngblood, I don't think I met a single person on the trail in 2002 that hiked without some sort of alternative shelter. Especially come the warmer, summer months, when the bugs were out in full-force, the refuge of a completley screened-in tent became a neccesity. Even the lightest of the lightweighter's that we met, a guy who carried 8 pounds and hiked with only cold food so he wouldn't have to carry a stove and fuel, carried a sil-nylon tarp for shelter.

    Good luck!
    "It's a dangerous business, going out your door...if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."-The Hobbit

  17. #17
    Registered User squirrel bait's Avatar
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    How many mouse skins does it take to make a good hat. If I go ultra lite can I make clothing out of em? When you skin them do you leave their little ears on? A mouse skin kilt?
    "you ain't settin your sights to high son, but if you want to follow in my tracks I'll help ya up the trail some."

    Rooster Cogburn.

  18. #18
    6,000 miler free speech okay I'll try it!
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    :banana hitch hiking mice!!!!

    I had a mouse hitch a ride in my pack in GA. I only found out when superfly shouted "There is something eating its way out of your pack Mannnnn!!!!!!!" I almost **** myself from laughing so hard.
    don't like wolves or blue jays!

  19. #19

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    There was a hiker in 2000 who had mice born in his pack. Of course, his trail name became "Mouse Daddy". Speaking of birth, Also in 2000, I shared Gravel Spring Hut (in SNP) with a soon to be mama skunk. We got along well, I left her alone and she left me alone. About 2 AM she became a mama for real. I felt proud!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by chief
    There was a hiker in 2000 who had mice born in his pack. Of course, his trail name became "Mouse Daddy". Speaking of birth, Also in 2000, I shared Gravel Spring Hut (in SNP) with a soon to be mama skunk. We got along well, I left her alone and she left me alone. About 2 AM she became a mama for real. I felt proud!
    Cool, Dude! You should be proud. It amazes me how many people go into the woods, and seeing a "wild animal" want to kill it right off, like snakes.

    God bless you!

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