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Full shelters

   Download and Nexmos latest post is a great illustration of what we've
been talking about concerning shelters. I've always gone by "there's always
room for one more". These people are a great example of this. The couple of
times I've had problems with full shelters it was because of inexperienced
weekenders not knowing shelter etiquette. The worst was at the old Deep Gap
Shelter near Mt. Rogers (now gone). A thru hiker I was traveling with and I
arrived to find the shelter occupied by a large family group. If we had not
been very assertive they would not have made room. Other thru hikers took
one look at the shelter and set up their tents. One thing I learned is that
sardines have the right idea- the best arrangement in a full shelter is
head-foot-head. I started out facing the same way as everyone else and my
neighbors were just too close for comfort. I slept much better after
turning around. Just watch out for kicks to the head!
Last year at Old Orchard Shelter near Mt. Rogers I arrived in a downpour to
find a large group of Boy Scouts who didn't want to even make room for us
to stand out of the rain. They all moved to tents when the rain stopped.
   If anybody, thru hiker or not, shows up with an emergency or in obvious
need of shelter space I'd give it up. But, I only carry a bivy sack
(knowing I risk not getting into a shelter) so it will have to be a good
reason to keep me out.
With so many thru hikers on the trail the days of counting on shelter space
are over. Everybody needs to be ready to sleep elsewhere if they can't get
into a shelter.
                                                Steve Coombs
                                            GA 89 > ME 21st century

>From the weather reports it looks like there may be snow for Easter on the
trail. Some year for a thru hike!