“A storm is threatening my very life today. If I don’t get some shelter, oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.”
Maybe it’s just me, but how many of you have played this Rolling Stones’ song in your mind – or even sang it out loud – when you’re out on the trail and in need of immediate shelter?
I know I have – every time I hear distant thunder. Or, when the blazing sun just won’t let up.
Trail shelters might not look like “home-sweet-home” or the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel.
They’re a little rough around the edges, a little breezy, a little musty…and maybe a little cold at times. They might not give you the privacy you’re accustomed to enjoying and they don’t have indoor plumbing.
BUT, they’re a blessing in disguise to a weary hiker, looking for a place to rest, a place to cook a hot meal, a little company, a shelter from a storm.
It might not be apropos to use the song Gimme Shelter when we’re talking about hiking. After all, Mick and the boys were singing about the Sixties and a different kind of storm altogether, but you can’t help it when a song pops into your head.
And, a storm is a storm whether we’re talking literally or metaphorically. Who wouldn’t shout “Gimme shelter” under the circumstances?
By my count, there are ten trail shelters along the 60 miles of Appalachian Trail our local hiking club is responsible for – from Bly Gap at the GA/NC state line to the Nantahala Outdoor Center on US 19.
I haven’t been to all of them…yet, but here are the ones, in no particular order, I’ve had the chance to visit. It’ll give you some idea of our local trail accommodations. Sorry, no concierge or maid service provided.
This is Cold Spring Shelter:
Here is Rock Gap Shelter:
And this is the new Long Branch Shelter:
Do you have a favorite shelter? A great shelter story? Let us know in the comments section.
See ya’ on the trail,