The Shelter Life…Continued


Stopwatch in front of our throne, the typical privy on the AT. Don’t breathe too deeply.

After the night we had last night, I realized that more needs to be told about the shelter life. All this past week, we heard weather forecasts that would scare any hiker into staying in town and not leaving until the storms blew over. Unfortunately, we weren’t near a town, so we decided to just keep hiking this week, knowing that we could be hit by a thunderstorm at any moment in the day or night time.

Yesterday was quite the day for us. In order to have a shorter day of 17 miles into town today, we had to hike 38 miles to a shelter yesterday. We wanted to get to the shelter because the forecasts called for the worst storms on Wednesday evening, and since we have already tented in two really bad storms, we wanted to avoid getting caught in another one. As we entered camp at 8:15pm after a day of hiking that started at 6:15am, we arrived at the Wapiti shelter. It only fit 6 and thankfully there were only 4 hikers there. There was space at the inn, and I had a huge sigh of relief.

As we went to sleep, it was hot and humid, and thought it had rained that morning, it seemed like the storms would just blow over us. I eventually woke up to the thunderstorms around 1am, and it seemed like the typical lightning, thunder and rain. Then the wind really picked up and suddenly it started hailing. At that moment, the hail, wind and rain came into half the shelter and all six of us were huddled against the back wall, with our sleeping pads shielding us from the incoming hail. At that moment, I was so thankful for a shelter, as though I was slightly damp and had to wait for the storm to die down before going back to sleep, it was still way better than being in a tent.

The other part about shelters that needs to be told is the privy. It’s certainly not a luxury abode in which to take care of bowel movements, but if a person doesn’t want to dig in order to poop, a privy is the perfect place. While it is just a hole like any hole a person could dig, it usually has a toilet seat, a door, and a little more privacy than the width of a tree off the side of a trail. Sometimes the smell is a little detracting, but there are so many bad smells following my own personal being on the trail, it hardly phases me. Because a privy is that much more civilized than digging a hole, we do not count privy poops for our poops in the woods in our statistics.

I’m sure I will have more to say about shelters as time goes on, as the life surrounding them still astonishes me.

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