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  1. #21
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    I agree with Ed Bell. We don't have shelters out here or out west. We tented on our section because we planned to do that. We tented near shelters because of the water. It was so dry last year. We stealthed one night and had to really trek for water. But if I got cold and wet or was alone, I would use a shelter if I had a gear problem or if there was bear activity. I am small and don't want to be a snack even though I know the odds are small.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    <snip>

    But I have a question for the OP (modiyooch): Why solicit other people's opinions on this subject? Would the responses affect your own behavior or decisions on the trail?
    Since he said us non-shelter using folk are in the minority when it comes to the AT, he was looking for an alternate opinion from the shelter-set. (as opposed to the jet-set)
    That's my dog, Echo. He's a fine young dog.

  3. #23
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    When I hike by myself, particularly for several days in a remote area, there is a certain enjoyment to being able to visit peaceably with others who you don't know well about the trail and such at the end of a day. Not necessarily every day, or even most, but there are times when several days of solitude is enough, and a bit of contact is satisfying, too. In the East, and in some parks, that occurs at shelters or the organized campgrounds that you can (and sometimes must) stay at and which are often the only places one can have open fires. In the west, which has fewer shelters, the social aspect of hiking occurs more at established campsites, which are usually close to a water source, a hot spring, or something else desireable.

    It's an optional thing, but one of the real under-considered aspects of backpacking is the chance to meet people and make new friends. Shelters and such can add to that.

    Rusty
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  4. #24
    Registered User Monkeywrench's Avatar
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    Shelters also concentrate use, and thus impacts. I think everyone but me should always use shelters! ;-)
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    Allen "Monkeywrench" Freeman
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    And I'll second (or third) that emotion.

    But I have a question for the OP (modiyooch): Why solicit other people's opinions on this subject? Would the responses affect your own behavior or decisions on the trail?
    No. I cannot tolerate mice and I love the seclusion while camping. I have found some beautiful places to pitch along the way. I was beginning to wonder if people thought that they were required to stay at shelters, GSNP and MD excluded. Also, I hiked with a friend this Spring and we had short days because we stopped at shelters. We would bypass a beautiful area just to get to a shelter and then it be too crowded and we had to tent at a distance. I also tend to walk until just before dusk. I don't think that I could stop at 5 in the evening, just because there was a shelter. Keep in mind, I am not anti social. I am very sociable. The friend that I hiked 140 miles with last Spring, I met the year before on the trail in PA. I am female and you should hear my coworkers. "you are hiking with a man you met for one day on the trail?" and my reply is "well you don't like it when I hike alone..." They just don't understand.

  6. #26
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    I have no real problem with them. I do carry a tent and usually use it. But I've slept in the shelters on nights when I was just too tired to be bothered putting up the tent. I've had little problems with mice. They've run over me a couple of times but never got into my stuff or chewed anything. I wear excellent ear plugs so I don't hear the snorers and talkers. I always stay next to a shelter - never stealth camp - because I like having the water nearby, the companionship, the benches, and tables, the bear cables, etc.
    "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by modiyooch View Post
    No. I cannot tolerate mice and I love the seclusion while camping. I have found some beautiful places to pitch along the way. I was beginning to wonder if people thought that they were required to stay at shelters, GSNP and MD excluded. Also, I hiked with a friend this Spring and we had short days because we stopped at shelters. We would bypass a beautiful area just to get to a shelter and then it be too crowded and we had to tent at a distance. I also tend to walk until just before dusk. I don't think that I could stop at 5 in the evening, just because there was a shelter. Keep in mind, I am not anti social. I am very sociable. The friend that I hiked 140 miles with last Spring, I met the year before on the trail in PA. I am female and you should hear my coworkers. "you are hiking with a man you met for one day on the trail?" and my reply is "well you don't like it when I hike alone..." They just don't understand.
    OK, you've explained your own reasoning but it's still not clear why other people's shelter preferences would matter to you.

    It's true that shelters can function as arbitrary goals and mileposts on a hike, but in that regard, just finding a decent campsite often has the same effect. And if it's company or companionship you're after, while camping for the night -- well, even more so. You hiked with a partner, so your need for companionship was satisfied that way.

  8. #28
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    Maybe they're just curious?

    I hate ear plugs and can't sleep with other people around. Plus, they kind of creep me out (shelters, not people). Not gonna lie.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny minnie View Post

    I hate ear plugs and can't sleep with other people around. Plus, they kind of creep me out (shelters, not people).
    that's cuz shelters are unnatural in the woods. shelter areas are mini urban areas. disgusting

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    that's cuz shelters are unnatural in the woods. shelter areas are mini urban areas. disgusting
    reminds me of crate/cardboard shelters where the homeless stay

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinny minnie View Post
    Maybe they're just curious?
    Maybe, but the OP has been around long enough to know that this is a very contentious topic. The thing is, it's not like a piece of gear; you can make up your mind (to use the shelter, or not) when the moment arrives. There's no need to commit or decide in advance. Heck, you can even choose differently from one day to the next. Just wing it. (That's what I do.)

    I hate ear plugs and can't sleep with other people around. Plus, they kind of creep me out (shelters, not people). Not gonna lie.
    I've seen creepy, ugly shelters, and I've seen some beautiful ones. I wouldn't generalize.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    shelter areas are mini urban areas. disgusting
    They are also prime mudsnake habitat. This is at the Roan High Knob shelter.
    Attachment 4664


  13. #33

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    When I was a kid in the 50's and 60's I imagined hobo life as an adventure and read a few books devoted to the subject. Seemed a cool thing to do.
    The seasonal migration up and down the AT and the "community of AT-only hikers" kinda reminded me of the hobo culture and I found this link: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/whi...thejungle.html There are some very interesting parallels

  14. #34
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    someone say Hobos?

  15. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flush2wice View Post
    They are also prime mudsnake habitat. This is at the Roan High Knob shelter.
    Attachment 4664
    Why would you take that photo, much less post it here?
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by _terrapin_ View Post
    Maybe, but the OP has been around long enough to know that this is a very contentious topic. The thing is, it's not like a piece of gear; you can make up your mind (to use the shelter, or not) when the moment arrives. There's no need to commit or decide in advance. Heck, you can even choose differently from one day to the next. Just wing it. (That's what I do.)



    I've seen creepy, ugly shelters, and I've seen some beautiful ones. I wouldn't generalize.
    Yeah, well it's an interesting topic to debate, to be sure...

    I'm not generalizing. I know there are some neat ones out there, and in beautiful locations. But they actually creep me out on several levels.

    1. I like pristine places. A shelter gets a whole lotta use. Some have mice and pests. Just like public bathrooms creep me out, shelters creep me out. Because I'm laying in an area where many other people have been.

    2. I can't stress enough that the people I encounter don't creep me out. BUT, the potential for a predator to find me is a lot higher if I am at a known shelter, than if I am out camping somewhere a little more stealth. I don't think predators are stalking me down the AT, but the fact remains that this is a marked location on a map where people know to go, and where they know they will encounter other people.

    3. It is like a mini urban area, in that people congregate there. Large amounts of people, over time. Litter can accumulate. People can be careless. People can be wasteful. People go there to get drunk, on occasion. None of which particularly tickles my fancy.

    4. Also, I find it really interesting how people feel better with a few walls up around them. Especially when bears are often smart enough to realize that shelters = people with packs of food.

    So I'm not saying I automatically assume a shelter is going to suck. And I'm not discounting the positives - the potential for meeting great people/socializing at the end of a long day, water source, privies, etc... But I am saying that because of all of the reasons I listed, they creep me out.

  17. #37
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    And I would like to say that that picture completely validates my feelings. UGH. Thanks.

  18. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOWGLI View Post
    Why would you take that photo, much less post it here?
    Thats what I thought too when I saw it....why did you take the picture in the first place?

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    someone say Hobos?
    ========================

    Yeah ...I thought I heard the "H" word my own self !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  20. #40
    As in "dessert" not "desert"
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    I usually camp in my tent or cowboy style (when there are no bugs and it doesn't look like rain) near shelters, but not in them. Once in a while I will sleep in a shelter, if it is windy or looks like rain, and if there is no good flat place without dead trees around to pitch a tent.

    Camping near a shelter has the following advantages, usually: 1) near water source, and 2) a privy, which, while one must be careful to wash hands, is less trouble than digging a cathole, and has less environmental impact. Also, 3) an established fire ring, in most places, if one wants a campfire while still minimizing environmental impact.

    Sleeping in shelters becomes far less objectionable in the winter, when the rodents and bugs are hibernating and you are likely to have the place to yourself.

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