Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Palace in the Woods

Wednesday, September 19, 2012:

There are official Appalachian Trail shelters with caretakers that also charge a fee.  They're usually a good place to stay.  The best of these is one that very few AT hikers visit - the Crag Camp Shelter below Mt. Adams in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

There are official AT shelters with caretakers that don't charge a fee.  The best of these is the Upper Goose Pond Shelter in Mass. (canoe, hot pancakes for breakfast), with honorable mention to the Rt 501 shelter in Pennsylvania (pizza delivery).

Then there are official AT shelters that are free, set far back in the woods, and have no caretaker.  Today my hike took me by one of the best of these.  The Bryant Ridge Shelter ranks right up there with the Mountaineer Falls Shelter in Tennessee as one of the best designed and most palatial shelters on the trail.  There are some others that come close, but for me this one is a winner because of the ample roof space and the roomy, well-protected loft sleeping area.

There wasn't much else that was worthy of photos today.  That's not to say that I didn't love the hike.  It was a wonderful day in my favorite part of the country, on comfortable trail but with some big climbs.  The major climb was from the Bryant Ridge Shelter up to Floyd Mountain, more than 2000 feet of ascent.  But after a couple months in New England, this felt more like a pleasant walk than a climb.  The weather was nearly ideal.  I could not ask for a better hiking day, except perhaps for some better views of the country through which I was passing.

Well, I should have some views from Apple Orchard Mountain tomorrow.  And I get to drop through the Guillotine again.  Hope I don't lose my head.  Stay tuned.


Here's the map of today's hike and a link to a few more photos:

AT Day 233 - Bryant Ridge at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in Virginia

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