Bear locker/box is provided, water is available but needs to be filtered/purified.
Large open shelter, in good shape. Bear box nearby, as well as latrines. Expect mice and other creatures if you stay at the shelter. Definitely a high traffic area.
2 level shelter just 1 mile from the Springer Mountain parking lot. It was snowy and cold when we visited but it would be a fun, cozy shelter to camp in.
I've camped here at least 3-4 times in all the different seasons/weather. Springer is an easy weekend backpacking get away. The shelter is only 1 mile away from the nearest parking lot, or you can start at Amicalola and hike the 8 miles for the Approach Trail. The shelter is standard and water is nearby (last July it was just a small trickle but still filled our bottles). The shelter is close to the terminus of the AT - definitely recommend setting up, eating dinner, then heading back to the terminus to watch the sunset there!
My amazing Appalachian Trail hiking adventure officially began when we reached Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Just past where it all begins in Georgia, there is the very first shelter that you see when you are northbound, and it's called Springer Mountain Shelter. This is where I chose to have Mountain House Homestyle Turkey Dinner Casserole to celebrate my first night on the trail!
Along the Appalachian trail, in addition to tentpads and campfire rings, there are three sided shelters that you are encouraged to use at night. They are made of wood, generally have a loft for extra sleeping, can fit about 10-12 people (more if it's raining, of course) and are raised and covered. My first night on the trail, my friend and I stayed at one of the most notable shelters on the AT…Springer Mountain Shelter. It's kind of where it all begins if you are headed north for the 2190 mile journey to Maine.
It's kind of cool. If you approach it in the evening, you'll likely hear the chatter of other hikers, earlier to arrive than you, before you see anyone. But when you come around the bend and see it for the first time, it's magical. Your first stop on the AT.
It's a three sided, wooden cabin-like structure with a big stone step to get inside. Simple in nature, it's a big open room with a loft where you throw down for the night. Pegs line up around the wall so you can hang a pack, your clothes, a flashlight or whatever you like. Not fancy, but exactly what you should expect when hiking this trail. There is a privy down the hill, and it's elevated and surrounded by "walls" for privacy. Just down another small trail is a stream for water. Very reliable in rainy season, but you MUST purify it before drinking. This location also has a bear box/locker for storing food at night so that you don't have to hang your bear bag. Everyone puts their food bags in and the clamp type lock goes on for the night. There were about 12 of us at the shelter the night we were there, and there was still plenty of room in the bear box.
There are also plenty of tent pads around the shelter, if you decide you'd rather have a bit more privacy.
Disclaimer: the shelters, because they are in the woods, and are essentially part of nature, are notorious for their critters. Come prepared for (and expect) mice. Bears may visit also, so please be aware, please be safe, and please don't leave a Snickers in your sleeping bag.
As a Ranger for They Dyrt, I have the amazing opportunity to receive products in exchange for an honest review. This time, Mountain House sent me one of their super yummy Homestyle Turkey Casserole Dinners to try. So I kept it safe in my backpack until my first night, when I knew I'd be famished!
As is true with Mountain House products, this one did not disappoint. They are so darn easy to make and perfect when you need good food fast. The package says "2 servings", but that depends on your appetite. I was so hungry, I ended up eating the entire package myself!
Inside, it's all freeze dried. The meat, the veggies and the stuffing. That's right, the stuffing is in there too. No joke…it's seriously awesome! Add the water that is says to add (boiling, of course), zip the bag shut, and wait a bit. Open, stir, wait a minute or so more, and enjoy! Almost like homemade, and yet it was freeze dried! Personally, I found the flavors to be perfectly balanced. Not too salty, reminded me of Thanksgiving Dinner! I'm a chef, and picky about my food. This one hit it home!
Things I liked:
- The ease of use - very simple to make a full, satisfying dinner as long as you can boil water.
- Full flavor - I felt like I was eating a turkey dinner. Just like at Thanksgiving!
- Lightweight - adds very little pack weight for it's worth in your belly.
Something I didn't like: Not a fan of how much space it takes up in my pack. But I get it…it's a convenience food. I totally understand how it works, and it works well. But a pack full of these meals is going to be bulky.
Bottom line, if I need a few good, solid, hot meals in my bag, these are my go to food. All in one, easy to use, satisfying and flavorful. This one is a winner!