Friday, March 23, 2012

Shelters and Privys

I thought I'd show you a few pics of the shelters and privies on the trail.  This one was one of the last ones we came to in Georgia, Plumorchard Shelter.  They are normally about .1-.2 miles off of the main trail, and you follow a blue blaze to get to them.  All side trails, to shelters, water, or other hiking trails, are always blue blazed, whereas the AT is white blazed.  They usually are 3-sided, have a sleepnig platform, and picnic table, or some benches with backs to them.  This one also had a ladder that led to another sleeping loft.  There are also pegs to hang gear from, and usually, about 200 yards away, are some bear cables strung between the trees to hang your food from.  We prefer not to sleep in them, because of mice and just having to sleep next to other folks (sometimes they are packed, especially in foul weather), but we know we will have to in the Smokies.  You are required to sleep in them in the Smokes in the backcountry, and those have bear-proof fences that close on the front, for protection at night.

The privies are basically an outhouse with some screening around it, so you can at least get a little privacy.  There is a big bucket next to them full of wood chips, and after you "go", you throw a scoop in.  Believe it or not, this somehow keeps the odor down.  Believe me, it works. 

Sitting down at the picnic tables is a real treat - much better than sitting on the ground at our age.  Just a lot better for cooking and eating, as you can imagine, so we usually work a shelter into our schedule, either at lunch time, or supper, or both.  The shelters also have shelter journals, where we make a dated entry, and it's entertaining to read what other have written.  You can also keep track of other hikers that you know, by looking at their entries - are they a day ahead?  Are they taking a zero day in the next town?

- Steady and F100

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