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  1. #61
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    While I once used shelters 90% of the time in the 70's and early 80's I no longer use them. All the reasons others have listed. But the question was why would someone use them. The two reasons are to avoid carrying a tent and to avoid tenting in the rain. I don't mind carrying a tent and don't even mind tenting in the rain. I do hate packing up a wet tent and putting up a wet tent in the rain. Shelters are great for breaks in bad weather and good for emergencies.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  2. #62
    Registered User Hawkwind61's Avatar
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    01-28-2009
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    Western MA
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    My hiking buddy (also a 'hammocker') and I did the Tulley Loop Trail a couple years back. Going out we were only supposed to have sporadic showers...well the rain kicked in about mid-day and a few hours later we found ourselves in some wild winds on our way to our destination for the night. A shelter on the MM just shy of the NH border. Our plan was to hammock per usual. Well...we got there after dark (it fell early due to torrential rain and unmerciful winds)...the place was brand-spankin' new and completety unoccupied...and the rain was still coming down in torrents so for the first time ever we stayed in a shelter. We found out the next day that we had been hiking through tornado winds and warnings...trust me - we were so darn happy to find an unoccupied shelter in the midst of that storm that we promised to never be snarky about shelters again

  3. #63
    Registered User
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    12-15-2003
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    Charlotte, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by SGT Rock View Post
    Go to shelters to watch the people. It is like a trail zoo.

    I always said thru hiking the trail is sorta like traveling with the circus.

  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    I always said thru hiking the trail is sorta like traveling with the circus.
    I love the circus,and I hear good things about the first couple of weeks in spring at any boat ramp too.

  5. #65
    PCT 2013, most of AT 2011, rest of AT 2014
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    11-27-2011
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    Tucson
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    Reasons I stayed in shelters:

    1) In bad weather, packing up a wet tent in the morning is not fun and adds a little weight. When it's been raining it feels very nice to have everything mostly dry in the morning, especially if you're starting to wonder if it's ever going to be sunny again.
    2) Less time breaking camp in the morning. Easier to lay out gear for organization/packing.
    3) Can be a blessing or a curse, but I had an easier time getting up early in shelters. In my tent, especially not near a shelter, sometimes I'd open my eyes and it would be something ridiculous like 9am already. But if people are up and moving early in a shelter it can inspire you to do the same and get on with your day. The problem is when it's too early and two jackasses are striking up a full-volume conversation at 5am, but that's the exception rather than the rule.
    4) Reading the shelter logs. You can do this anytime regardless of whether you're staying at the shelters, but it was part of my evening routine.
    5) The social aspect. I think a little community in the evening is nice, but that's personal preference. It's easy to be alone when you want to.

    I'd say I stayed in shelters about half the time on the trail. For the first few weeks, I didn't do it at all because they were always packed. I stayed in them more often the farther north I went because they were emptier. Nothing beats walking up to a shelter at dusk and seeing that you and a buddy or two have it all to yourselves for the night.
    "Hahk your own hahk." - Ron Haven

    "The world is a book, of which those who do not travel read only a page." - St. Augustine

    http://www.scrubhiker.com/

  6. #66
    lemon b's Avatar
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    06-17-2011
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    Bad weather, or being real tired and finding an empty or close to empty one, and as much as I hate to admit this. To watch the circus once in awhile, that can be a hoot. Usually I avoid em.

  7. #67

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    I rarely use shelters. Used to use them all the time early on. Most of my hiking was solo, and if a shelter was empty, or nearly so, I would usually choose to use it.

    I like the convenience of cooking out of the rain, and that's what I use them for now, mostly.

    As you can see from my avatar, I still occasionally stay in one, 1) If the weather is extremely bad (and then, only if the shelter is reasonably clean - I tented outside the Wm. Brien Shelter 2 weeks ago in near-hurricane force winds because I have a sturdy tent and the shelter was such a pit). and 2) If I am with friends who prefer to sleep in a (clean) shelter (even then, I'd rather hammock inside to keep the mice, spiders, and deer ticks out of my sleeping bag and hair).
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  8. #68
    Registered User
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    04-28-2004
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    I would stay in a shelter in the off-season if it was empty. I like to admire the architecture of small human scale shelters and such. Also would like to watch shelter mice and fall leaves and snow drifts and whatever other critters might occupy shelters in the off season.

    'Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
    When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
    I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
    I'll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
    In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
    Everything up to that point had been left unresolved.
    Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail,
    Poisoned in the bushes an' blown out on the trail,
    Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
    With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.
    She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    Now there's a wall between us, somethin' there's been lost
    I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed.
    Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
    But nothing really matters much, it's doom alone that counts
    And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
    And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
    Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
    I bargained for salvation an' they gave me a lethal dose.
    I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

    Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
    Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine.
    If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born.
    "Come in," she said,
    "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

  9. #69

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    I normally don't sleep in shelters unless the weather is really bad. I used one last night in Massachusetts because I was too exhausted to set up after a very long day, and secondly it was empty at 8pm. About 11pm 3 people pulled in and they were not very worried about how much noise they were making. I even heard the girl mention something about how much noise they were making, and one of her male counterparts used an expletive as to how much he cared about the noise he was making. So from now on, I will camp at a shelter, but I won't sleep in the shelter unless there is a hurricane.

  10. #70
    Registered User
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    08-28-2007
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    Plenty of mice protein to cook on the campfire.

  11. #71

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    It is hit or miss for me, I believe I try and make shelters a goal for a destination but also enjoy tenting. I like talking with others on the trail and shelters are good gathering spots. It also helps minimize the impact elsewhere, shelters are usually at strong water sources and have a privy so that potty impact is less as well.

    People always complain about mice, I have stayed in shelters probably 20-30 nights and have never had issues with mice
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  12. #72
    Registered User
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    06-07-2014
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    Pittsburgh
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    I always hiked ahead or behind the main pack of thru hikers....and so it made sense for me to carry a small tarp for emergencies and ditch the tent for Erwin --->Hanover

    people rolling in after hiker midnight is annoying for sure but they are almost exclusively thru-hikers.
    AT (LASH) '04-'14

  13. #73
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    07-07-2009
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    Unless it is full, I always stay in shelters.

  14. #74
    Registered User
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    09-07-2015
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    Lawrenceville, Georgia
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    I like shelters when the weather is really bad. Thunderstorms, ice storms, high winds...

    I section hike. Part of the attraction of the trail is getting either A) some solitude when hiking alone or B) some quality with my son when the two of us go. A shelter impinges on that. So I generally avoid them unless the weather makes it the wise choice.

    Now, if I were solo thru-hiking, I'm sure I'd use the shelters some, just for the company.

  15. #75

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    I like trail company and shelters offer that but when i want to sleep i like goin to my tent
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  16. #76
    Clueless Weekender
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    04-10-2011
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    Niskayuna, New York
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    I have a mild distaste for shelters. I quickly checked my journals for the last dozen nights that I spent on multi-day trips, and found that the count was 7 tent, 4 shelter and 1 motel.

    3 of the 4 shelter nights, I had the place to myself, and on one of those, I was glad of the raised floor because I was nursing a bad knee injury. The fourth was a bitterly cold night. I had my tent all pitched, and was lounging around the shelter listening to the conversation, huddled in my sleeping bag for warmth. I woke up in the shelter, and I had it to myself. Two of the other guys were tenting or hammocking, and a third had decamped in the night.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  17. #77
    Registered User
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    07-31-2012
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    Savannah, ga
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    I've stayed in shelters outside of the thru hiking season, and for the most part have found them mice free and clean. Pretty sure the mice migrate north with the bubble, so we've always missed them!

  18. #78

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    When hiking in the east (not often) I generally stay in shelters.
    1. They're convenient
    2. I'm lazy
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  19. #79
    Registered User paule's Avatar
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    06-23-2015
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    I was forced to stay at shelters in connecticut,but always picked a tent site.The social partaking of a certain plant just doesn't do it for me like it used to.I did like the shelter protocol though.Four older gentlemen were in the hut and pretty much had their gear spread out and taken over,when a hiker would approach they would ignore the individual and make the hut look as full as possible,one hiker even asked if there was room and was answered with "well it's awful tight"well it loosened up pretty quickly when a mom and daughter approached,hell they didn't even ask if there was room,they were just told there was plenty of room there,,,LOL,,,,so yes I would go along with the entertainment value of them.I love to stay in the tent,,,,just my choice,,,,the mice were awful at one of the shelters and the reason being I noticed people eating in them.....crumbs to us is a full dinner to a mouse

  20. #80
    Registered User
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    08-28-2007
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    Regardless of what anyone says, the #1 reason why folks stay at shelters is the ease and convenience. The conveniences of the AT are one of the major reasons why the AT has become so popular.

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