Friday Cabins #33: Hiker Shelters of the Appalachian Trail
Writer Sarah Jones Decker shares her five favorite huts of the 250+ that shelter hikers along the 2,200 mile trail from Georgia to Maine
Happy long-weekend Friday ya'll! Hope you're taking a least one day to relax. This here is our Friday Cabins newsletter from Cabins Etc, a weekly curation of cabin projects around the globe that inspire, awe, and make you want your own even more than you do now (if that’s possible).
We got one more month of summer, so live it up! Of course, this is coming from a hot-weather-loving writer—I know all you Fall folks can't wait to break out the light layers.
Today we're sticking close-ish to home with subject and inspiration—Field Mag contributor Justin Tucker just recently finished his north bound (nobo) thru-hike of the legendary 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail (which runs from Georgia to Maine). So today, we’re highlighting a handful of the long trail’s many lean-tos, shelters, and cabins, created to shelter hikers from the East Coast’s often foreboding weather. Read on below, and start planning your future hike today!
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Though speaking with Justin would make a lot of sense, he’s still processing his experience. Instead, we’ve connected with photographer and thru-hiker Sarah Jones Decker, who in years past undertook the momentous task of cataloging 250+ shelters along the AT to produce a Rizzoli-published book entitled, “The Appalachian Trail: Backcountry Shelters, Lean-tos, and Huts.”
In the stout publication, Decker documents each unique, rustic shelter with her own photography, detailed history, images, stories, and maps—making for the perfect manuscript to pour over fireside, or with your morning coffee. Below, we offer a brief look at a handful of her favorite shelters. And though some may look forlorn, make no mistake, they’re successfully played host to thru and section hikers along the trail for decades. See the full seven via our article linked below.
William Penn Shelter, PA
This funky open-air cabin was built in 1993 and features a sleeping loft with windows, a common space below, and a picnic bench outside.
Lakes of the Clouds Hut in the Whites, NH
Built-in 1915, this weathered stone bunkhouse is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, below Mt. Washington and its famous observatory. Inside, the mountain chalet holds bunkrooms, dining areas, bathrooms, and meals are prepared by the staff, or "Croo", in New Hampshire talk.
Overmountain Shelter, NC
This barn in the mountains of North Carolina is a famed spot for thru-hikers to rest or recharge. Although it’s currently closed for overnight guests, camping is allowed nearby… and it’s where Decker dreamed up her idea for her subsequent book.
Bryant Ridge Shelter, VA
This wooden shelter was built in dedication to architect Nelson Leavell Garnett Jr. by his architecture classmates in 1992. The somewhat unsuspecting exterior conceals an impressive three-levels of bunks under its roof and sleeps up to 16 travelers. (That odd hook thing in the second photo is for hanging clothes to dry out and to keep food bags safe from hungry chipmunks and animals of the like, btw.)
William Brien Memorial Shelter, NY
Built in 1933, this stone structure is one of the oldest shelters on the AT. The utilitarian design makes smart use of the surrounding environment by integrating large boulders and with hand-stacked rock walls. Although considered rudimentary in some minds, this simple technique has clearly stood the test of time. Two other stone structures nearby make these three the oldest structures in a row on the trail.
That’s all for now. Enjoy ur weekend! Get outside :)