I made it! Finally. After several failed attempts I got to visit the newest AT shelter in the Nantahala Mountains. And what a beauty it is!
The Long Branch Shelter is situated near the head waters of Long Branch, which flows into the Standing Indian Basin. It’s a beautiful, two story timber frame shelter with a separate moldering privy, a fire pit and a good source of water.
Nicely situated at the end of a gentle ridge, Long Branch Shelter looks to the northeast over Standing Indian Basin. And it appears it would keep a tired hiker well protected from the elements.
I was very lucky last night to find five hikers calling it home for the evening. They raved about their accommodations and asked if I would pass their appreciation onto other members of the Nantahala Hiking Club.
Of course, I would.
They also asked what time the hiking club served breakfast, but I think my reply disappointed them slightly.
Anyway, I love how the trail brings people together from all over. Two of the hikers were from Indianapolis, one from CT, one from Saluda, NC and the fifth one from NJ. They were all retired gentlemen from different walks of like, but living one common dream for now.
Two of them have trail journals and if you’d like to follow their progress, you can find them here:
Another hiker, Stopsalot, has a blog and when I find it, I’ll add it to this list.
I had a great time chatting with these guys and I hope they have a safe and enjoyable walk in the woods.
Getting to the shelter – if you’re a local or you’re visiting the area and want to see it – is pretty easy despite the fact that I couldn’t find it until last night. But that had more to do with lack of signs and blue blazes when it first opened (now corrected) and then running out of daylight on subsequent attempts (days are longer now).
Simply take the Long Branch Trail from the Backcountry Info Center in Standing Indian (Forest Service Road 67, Macon County, NC) to Glassmine Gap (2.3 miles) and turn right, or southbound, on the AT. You’ll reach the blue blaze trail for Long Branch shelter, marked by a sign, about three fourths of a mile from Glass Mine Gap.
Let me know what you think of our new shelter if you ever get the chance to visit it. ‘Til then…
See ya’ on the trail,