Thursday, October 5, 2017

Blue Mountain Shelter to Tray Mountain Shelter

There are liberal numbers of shelters available along the AT.  We typically pass one or two of them each day.  They date to all periods since the AT was established in the 1930s.  The typical design has changed from the early days, when they were constructed like small enclosed cottages.  The Blood Mountain Shelter, built in 1934, is an example of this style, which would be recognizable by European and Canadian mountaineers.  Most of the shelters, however, are open to the air on one side.  When I read of this design during my planning for the hike my first question, as would be for most Canadians, was "What about the bugs?"  The short answer is that there aren't any.  I have not seen a single mosquito or biting fly in the week that we have been here.  Not only does the U.S. get Trump as President, but there are no bugs - how lucky can one country get?

The typical three sided Shelter has a flat area for laying out Thermorests and sleeping bags, often nominally for 7 people.  There is also generally a roofed but open air area for cooking with backpacking stoves.  Ancillary amenities generally include an outhouse and a cable system or lockable metal trunk to keep food away from bears.  Most, but not all, shelters have a stream or spring nearby to provide water.

It is possible to walk the AT without a tent by using the shelters.  This is not recommended, however, as shelters may be fully occupied.  If you are carrying a tent, as we are, there is also the opportunity to camp at one of the many camping areas.  These usually have no amenities, but there are many more than there are shelters.  In most parts of the AT there is also tolerance for wild camping just about anywhere.

Finding a shelter fully occupied is not currently one of our concerns.  Despite the fine weather it appears that for the second night in a row we will be the only occupants of our shelter.

PS to the blog: A family of 8 showed up at the shelter an hour before dark and Bruce and I fled to a campsite where we  erected our tent.  The sound of screaming children and disciplining parents fills the forest


  1. Just because I'm not on the trip doesn't mean I can draw the sights!

  2. Thought that looked like your artwork!!!!

  3. Thought that looked like your artwork!!!!