Shelter or Tent?

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the sum...

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the summit of Tricorner Knob (el. 6,120 feet/1,865 meters) in the Great Smoky Mountains. The shelter is one of the most remote structures in the state of Tennessee, being a 9 mile hike from the nearest parking lot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

IMG_0187

hiking shelter registers

A.T. Shelter

In January 2012, I posted about whether it’s better to shelter or tent. I’ve reproduced the discussion below. But now there may be a big disadvantage to sleeping in a shelter versus choosing a tent. Hantavirus! This nasty affliction is spread by rodents, especially mice. Mice habituate shelters, and hikers tolerate them.

In the picture above, hikers can hang their food, but hikers are exposed to mice scurrying around during the night. Hantavirus is a severe illness.  http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Case-of-hantavirus-in-Adirondacks-confirmed-3973769.php

Most hiking trails don’t provide shelters. The Appalachian Trail and The Long Trail (Vermont) have many shelters.

They are convenient, but a tent, especially for sleeping, has advantages.

Privacy – You aren’t a stuffed sardine when it gets crowded.

Warmth – A tent with a rain-fly is warmer than an open shelter.

Better Sleep – You are not poked, or kicked, or outsnored.

No Mice – Those critters can drive you nuts!

So why choose a shelter to sleep in?

Convenience – Less hassle. No need to unpack and set up a tent; no need to dismantle and re-pack the tent in the morning, possibly in the rain.

Clothesline – Many shelters have them already. Easy to rig up, or simply hang garments from nails and hooks provided. Clothes are protected from outside weather.

Ease – Can sit and lean against a wall to read, journal, contemplate (I’m sore, I’m tired, I wish I had pizza and beer.)

Camaraderie!

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The Long Trail

 

my first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan...

My first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan Allen following a few miles of Vermont’s Long Trail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The view of Mansfield's summit from t...

English: The view of Mansfield’s summit from the Long Trail. Photo by: Joe Calzarette Date: June 7, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long Trail, traversing the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border, is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in America.

This 272 mile footpath is not a cakewalk. It may begin that way, but the climbs over 4000 footers like Mt. Mansfield, with its tricky “chin,” are steep and taxing.

I hiked the Long Trail the year after doing the A.T. and remember saying to myself it should be easy. Ha! Parts of the last third of this trail were as strenuous as anything I found on the A.T., including the Mahoosucs in Maine.

The Long Trail is a fabulous hike with rugged surroundings and beautiful scenery. Go in autumn when the leaves start to turn, and charge your camera phone. You will meet other hikers camping at the rustic shelters. You will find access roads to towns for resupply.

If you are planning to thru-hike, read from Long Trail journals at www.trailjournals.com   And make sure to buy the Long Trail Guide.

For a good review of what it’s like to hike the Long Trail, I recommend the book The Ordinary Adventurer—Hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, by Jan Leitschuh.

The Long Trail–Vermont

Backpacking camels hump and over Mt Ethan...

Camel’s Hump from the Long Trail (Wikipedia)

This is the time of year hikers begin planning and training for a major thru-hike in the spring. Some backpackers will experience a let-down if they are unable to find the time or the wherewithal to hike the Appalachian, or the Pacific Crest, or the Continental Divide trails. But what about a shorter trail that gives one a long-distance experience? One having sections as demanding as anything you will see on the Appalachian Trail? I submit Vermont’s Long Trail.

I hiked it in 2004, the year after I’d done the A.T. and had no idea the last sections would be so rigorous. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even read up on it, figuring that it wouldn’t be daunting for an A.T. thru-hiker. Some of the scrambles, like the Mt. Mansfield Chin, are downright dangerous. When I made it to the end, right at the Canadian border, I was glad to be done and felt that I’d really accomplished something.

The Long Trail, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in America, is a 272 mile footpath traversing the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts line to Canada. Shelters accommodate hikers, and the trail is rustic and scenic.

There are advantages to doing the Long Trail before a major thru-hike like the A.T.

1) You will get a good idea of what you are in for if you want to tackle one of the big three thru-hikes. If you can do the Long Trail, you should be okay on the Appalachian or Pacific Crest trails.

2) The Long Trail is the perfect place to test gear and equipment.

3) You tune your legs and body for the larger adventure.

4) You become familiar with how to re-supply, hitch into towns, and otherwise develop a system of thru-hiking.

5) Because it’s shorter, you can pick the best time to hike it. I suggest late summer or early autumn.

The Long Trail in Vermont is a worthy test for you and a great hiking experience.

restofsavedDellphotos10May11581

Hiking Tip: How to always sleep dry

sleepbag001

sleepbag005Hiking in the rain happens all the time. You get used to it. Getting wet is one thing; sleeping in dampness is another. Anyone who’s slept in a damp sleeping bag will tell you of their misery on a cold night.

You may know of hikers who quit their thru-hike because they got tired of dealing with rain. I saw it happen during the usual rainy spring on the A.T. and on the Long Trail during a weeks-long stretch of downpours. Hikers complained of damp sleeping bags and wet clothes that couldn’t dry. These hikers didn’t sleep comfortably.

HIKING TIP: Wrap your sleeping bag; keep a separate set of underwear only for sleeping.

A simple, fool-proof way to seal a sleeping bag from rain and dampness, is to wrap it in the ubiquitous green trash bag before putting it in your backpack. This, more than anything, keeps my bag dry. Always.  I also store “for sleeping only” a dry t-shirt and underpants in the sleeping bag.

When I wake in the morning, I remove this underwear and place it in a plastic baggie, which I then put back in my sleeping bag. I can handle hiking in wet clothes because I will become warm with movement and after food. But I never sleep wet or damp. In the picture with the unrolled bag, I’ve placed the trash bag on the left and my sleep underwear on the bottom of the bag. The other picture shows everything rolled up in the trash bag except for the original sleeping bag sack, which stays home.

Give yourself a well-deserved night’s sleep after hiking all day in rain. Keep your bag protected; sleep in dry underwear.

The Long Trail

Backpacking on The Long Trail

my first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan...

my first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan Allen following a few miles of Vermont’s Long Trail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The view of Mansfield's summit from t...

English: The view of Mansfield’s summit from the Long Trail. Photo by: Joe Calzarette Date: June 7, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hiking Vermont's Long Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long Trail, traversing the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border, is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in America.

This 272 mile footpath is not a cakewalk. It may begin that way, but the climbs over 4000 footers like Mt. Mansfield, with its tricky “chin,” are steep and taxing.

I hiked the Long Trail the year after doing the A.T. and remember saying to myself it should be easy. Ha! Parts of the last third of this trail were as strenuous as anything I found on the A.T., including the Mahoosucs in Maine.

The Long Trail is a fabulous hike with rugged surroundings and beautiful scenery. Go in autumn when the leaves start to turn, and pack your special camera. You will meet other hikers camping at the rustic shelters. You will find access roads to towns for resupply.

If you are planning to thru-hike, read from Long Trail journals at www.trailjournals.com   And make sure to buy the Long Trail Guide.

For a good review of what it’s like to hike the Long Trail, I recommend the book The Ordinary Adventurer—Hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, by Jan Leitschuh.

Shelter or Tent?

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the sum...

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the summit of Tricorner Knob (el. 6,120 feet/1,865 meters) in the Great Smoky Mountains. The shelter is one of the most remote structures in the state of Tennessee, being a 9 mile hike from the nearest parking lot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Appalachian Trail shelters and tents

In January 2012, I posted about whether it’s better to shelter or tent. I’ve reproduced the discussion below. But now there may be a big disadvantage to sleeping in a shelter versus choosing a tent. Hantavirus! This nasty affliction is spread by rodents, especially mice. Mice habituate shelters, and hikers tolerate them.

In the picture above, hikers can hang their food, but hikers are exposed to mice scurrying around during the night. Hantavirus is a severe illness.  http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Case-of-hantavirus-in-Adirondacks-confirmed-3973769.php

Most hiking trails don’t provide shelters. The Appalachian Trail and The Long Trail (Vermont) have many shelters.Hiking and tenting on long-distance trails

They are convenient, but a tent, especially for sleeping, has advantages.

Privacy – You aren’t a stuffed sardine when it gets crowded.

Warmth – A tent with a rain-fly is warmer than an open shelter.

Better Sleep – You are not poked, or kicked, or outsnored.

No Mice – Those critters can drive you nuts!

So why choose a shelter to sleep in?

Convenience – Less hassle. No need to unpack and set up a tent; no need to dismantle and re-pack the tent in the morning, possibly in the rain.

Clothesline – Many shelters have them already. Easy to rig up, or simply hang garments from nails and hooks provided. Clothes are protected from outside weather.

Ease – Can sit and lean against a wall to read, journal, contemplate (I’m sore, I’m tired, I wish I had pizza and beer.)

Camaraderie!

Happy Trails

Friends and fellow hikers:

After much thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to take a sabbatical on my blog, “Take a Long Hike.” Why? Because, for now, I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say about hiking.

I didn’t want to just disappear from my loyal subscribers. I thank every one of you.

My favorite hiking blog is still  www.SectionHiker.com  I suggest you check out Philip Werner’s blog. He has a lot of hiking experience, and he’s a strong writer.

Happy Trails!

Ray Anderson

September 22, 2003

September 22, 2003

Hiking Tip: How to always sleep dry

Camping and sleeping dry

Sleeping bag with arms and legs

Sleeping bag with arms and legs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thru-hiking and sleeping dry

Hiking in the rain happens all the time. You get used to it. Getting wet is one thing; sleeping in dampness is another. Anyone who’s slept in a damp sleeping bag will tell you of their misery on a cold night.

You may know of hikers who quit their thru-hike because they got tired of dealing with rain. I saw it happen during the usual rainy spring on the A.T. and on the Long Trail during a weeks-long stretch of downpours. Hikers complained of damp sleeping bags and wet clothes that couldn’t dry. These hikers didn’t sleep comfortably.

HIKING TIP: Wrap your sleeping bag; keep a separate set of underwear only for sleeping.

A simple, fool-proof way to seal a sleeping bag from rain and dampness, is to wrap it in the ubiquitous green trash bag before putting it in your backpack. This, more than anything, keeps my bag dry. Always.  I also store “for sleeping only” a dry t-shirt and underpants in the sleeping bag.

When I wake in the morning, I remove this underwear and place it in a plastic baggie, which I then put back in my sleeping bag. I can handle hiking in wet clothes because I will become warm with movement and after food. But I never sleep wet or damp. In the picture with the unrolled bag, I’ve placed the trash bag on the left and my sleep underwear on the bottom of the bag. The other picture shows everything rolled up in the trash bag except for the original sleeping bag sack, which stays home.

Give yourself a well-deserved night’s sleep after hiking all day in rain. Keep your bag protected; sleep in dry underwear.

The Long Trail

Backpacking on The Long Trail

my first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan...

my first hike up camels hump and over Mt Ethan Allen following a few miles of Vermont’s Long Trail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The view of Mansfield's summit from t...

English: The view of Mansfield’s summit from the Long Trail. Photo by: Joe Calzarette Date: June 7, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hiking Vermont's Long Trail

The Long Trail, traversing the length of Vermont from the Massachusetts-Vermont line to the Canadian border, is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in America.

This 272 mile footpath is not a cakewalk. It may begin that way, but the climbs over 4000 footers like Mt. Mansfield, with its tricky “chin,” are steep and taxing.

I hiked the Long Trail the year after doing the A.T. and remember saying to myself it should be easy. Ha! Parts of the last third of this trail were as strenuous as anything I found on the A.T., including the Mahoosucs in Maine.

The Long Trail is a fabulous hike with rugged surroundings and beautiful scenery. Go in autumn when the leaves start to turn, and pack your camera. You will meet other hikers camping at the rustic shelters. You will find access roads to towns for resupply.

If you are planning to thru-hike, read from Long Trail journals at www.trailjournals.com   And make sure to buy the Long Trail Guide.

For a good review of what it’s like to hike the Long Trail, I recommend the book The Ordinary Adventurer—Hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, by Jan Leitschuh.

Shelter or Tent?

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the sum...

The Tricorner Knob Shelter, just below the summit of Tricorner Knob (el. 6,120 feet/1,865 meters) in the Great Smoky Mountains. The shelter is one of the most remote structures in the state of Tennessee, being a 9 mile hike from the nearest parking lot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

hantavirus

Appalachian Trail shelters and tents

In January 2012, I posted about whether it’s better to shelter or tent. I’ve reproduced the discussion below. But now there may be a big disadvantage to sleeping in a shelter versus choosing a tent. Hantavirus! This nasty affliction is spread by rodents, especially mice. Mice habituate shelters, and hikers tolerate them.

In the picture above, hikers can hang their food, but they are lying ducks for mice scurrying around during the night. Hantavirus is a severe illness.  http://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Case-of-hantavirus-in-Adirondacks-confirmed-3973769.php

Most hiking trails don’t provide shelters. The Appalachian Trail and The Long Trail (Vermont) have many shelters.Hiking and tenting on long-distance trails

They are convenient, but a tent, especially for sleeping, has advantages.

Privacy – You aren’t a stuffed sardine when it gets crowded.

Warmth – A tent with a rainfly is warmer than an open shelter.

Better Sleep – You are not poked, or kicked, or outsnored.

No Mice – Those critters can drive you nuts!

So why choose a shelter to sleep in?

Convenience – Less hassle. No need to unpack and set up a tent; no need to dismantle and re-pack the tent in the morning, possibly in the rain.

Clothesline – Many shelters have them already. Easy to rig up, or simply hang garments from nails and hooks provided. Clothes are protected from outside weather.

Ease – Can sit and lean against a wall to read, journal, contemplate (I’m sore, I’m tired, I wish I had a pizza and beer.)

Camaraderie!