Imp Shelter and Tentsite is a remote campsite maintained and authorized by the U.S Forest Service. During the summer months, it staffed and maintained by a caretaker, however, we were there during the off season. Imp Shelter is right off of the Appalachian Trail, down a short spur trail along the Carter-Moriah ridge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
NOTE: This shelter cannot be accessed without hiking in. It is is at least 5 miles from any trail head. Furthermore, there are no supplies stored at the site, so bring your own of whatever you need--even toilet paper! Make sure to have a water filtering set up, a cooking stove, and ample sleeping set up. NO FIRES ARE ALLOWED.
We were quite impressed by the Imp Shelter site. There are 5 tent platforms, nicely spaced through the woods. The outhouse is centrally located, but not too close to anyone's sleeping spot. We especially liked the bear box, because it is one less thing to worry about--and especially important when there are marauding squirrels about!
The shelter itself is well built. There is a lower floor, and then a loft that is about 4 feet above the main floor. The floor and loft were both level, and the boards were even and free from snags and splinters. There is not a door on the shelter, so be sure to protect your food and gear from the very curious squirrels that lurk about. There are pegs on the wall to hang gear on. We slept well--a few times the playful squirrel noises woke me up, but otherwise it was quiet. We had the whole place to ourselves.
We learned form the log book that all the timbers used for constructing the shelter were harvested from the woods nearby. Pretty neat!
The water supply is a freely flowing little flume just down a little path from the shelter. The water seemed to have tannins, but was fine, and were filtered it anyways. Make sure you get plenty of water here, as there is no other easy sources on the Carter ridge.
There is a bench in the campsite, right where there is a small clearing for views, which we thought was a nice touch.
All in all, this would be a great spot to spend a night while doing a hike along the Appalachian Trail, or while exploring many of the other beautiful trails in the region. There is a fee during the summer season, but in the off season the caretaker leaves and there is no charge.
As a Dyrt Ranger, I am given opportunities to test out cool gear from outdoor companies. Earlier in the summer, I received items from Wild Zora Foods to test out. We didn't use up all of the product,so for this trip, we brought along our remaining pouch of freeze dried Summit Savory Chicken. Basically, it is similar to a standard freeze-dried meal--a zip top, heat resistant bag with a meal inside. The bag is designed to even be eaten from if necessary. The thing that sets Wild Zora apart is that they don't use any artificial ingredients, they source organic where possible, and all sweeteners are natural and simple.
We had been backpacking in cold, damp conditions for 7 miles, so we were quite excited to get into camp with the promise of a high-protein, easy meal. We fired up the alcohol stove, an d watched the water slowly begin to boil. After pouring the hot water into the pouch and stirring, it took about 10 minutes for the food to be fully saturated and ready to eat.
We dug in and were impressed by the freshness of the flavors. However, it was a bit bland, and did feel like it could use more seasoning, and also additional salt. However, the chicken tasted like real chicken, as apposed to some sort of weird meat by-product. Also, there are not any artificial flavors, yeast extracts,, or other flavor enhancers common to freeze tried foods.
There is a ton of protein--the bag says it serves one person, which means there was 45 grams of protein for one person. However, my husband and I split the bag, and with some instant noodles on the side, it was a perfect amount of food. In terms of calories, given the amount of protein per bag, there was not a lot of extra calories. The vegetables used for the meal were not high-caloric ones, so bring along noodles, or other dense carbs if you want to refuel properly while hiking.
The Takeaway: I was very impressed by the simplicity of ingredients. The ingredients were all real food--someone on the AIP or Paleo diet could definitely eat this. The flavor was not exciting, but it was totally tolerable. I have heard that since I bought this meal, Wild Zora has actually reformulated ALL of their freeze dried meals, so I bet this tastes even better now. Here is the link to the updated version.
I will definitely be buying meals from this company for future trips. The simplicity of use, and the high quality ingredients are worth the price.