Friday, March 28, 2014

139c. Shelter Logs, Part 3

I know this is going back out of order, but I have received an amazing email from EarthTone, a delightful and supportive gent who runs the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. This has necessitated that I add another entry to the Shelter Logs list, which is technically back at #139. I would not recommend that you be eating while you read this entry, because there's a lot of glitter.

DT and CG,

From time to time I receive a large envelope from the ATC [Appalachian Trail Conservancy] that contains a shelter log that has been filled up and has been retired.  We save each of these shelter logs in our storage unit for future reference and maybe use at the museum.  My boss will take anything and a used up shelter log is one of those anythings.

So, today, I get one and it is the Walnut Mountain Shelter log just outside of Hot Springs.  Of course, when I get one of these I must page through it so see if any of the trail names are familiar to me.  Lo and behold, not three pages in, with a date of 4/4 I find a Shanty Town entry.  The drawing immediately drew me to it as something I might have seen before.  

The attached picture is the log entry.  I'm sure you remember the circumstances.  Falling ice and breaking limbs everywhere. It was when you decided your group was cursed or jinxed.  :)

So, I start paging through some more and all of the sudden remember that Hot Springs was the hotbed of Noro Virus last year.  And looking at your entries from this time, it was when Whistle was suffering from the dred illness.  I quickly reminded myself to wash my hands after looking through, but continued on.  It was a fun read.  I saw lots of trail names that I recognized as I keep track of a lot of hikers and also to see the transition of the entries throughout the year.  From Spring time NOBOs to summer time college students and other hikers to the SOBO crew that comes through in the fall.  I Love My Job.

I wrote him back and informed him that he should indeed wash his hands as thoroughly as possible, as Whistle began upchucking bright orange vomit exactly 4 hours after she wrote the shelter log entry below. This one is in Whistle's handwriting, but I drew the gravestones.

I also want to point out that this was almost 2 weeks before we met Apple Butter, but apparently she was RIGHT BEHIND US! Her entry is at the bottom of the page below ours! How cool is that?!

I spoke with Whistle about this last night, and we had an interesting discussion about LNT (Leave No Trace). She had been using a large, gallon-sized ziploc bag to hurl into while she was ill on that April night. It was quite literally too dangerous to go outside to vomit, due to the ice storm and the falling trees. 

The next morning she was not keen on hiking out a squashy ziploc bag of barf, which was kind of like... Never mind. I just tried to think of a good metaphor for a squashy ziploc bag of barf, but then I realized the truth is the only way to describe it. However, the ground was completely frozen solid outside. So she used a rock to smash her way through the top layer of ice,  dug a hole in the cold dirt, and then poured the neon orange rainbow into its final resting place. Then she kicked dirt back over it. 

Because she is a very good person, she then gingerly zipped the top of the empty, though thoroughly disgusting bag closed, folded it up, and packed it out of the woods, where it would subsequently be thrown away in a public garbage can somewhere in Hot Springs. 

I would love to say that the garbage can then became the epicenter of all Noro Virus, simply because it would make Whistle into Typhoid Mary and then we'd all be (in)famous. However, we cannot claim to have that level of plague power, as there were already several reported instances of Noro Virus from other places on the trail before Whistle got the bug. She was just very early on in the domino chain.

I hope that was not altogether too quease-making for you, and if it was, I hope you are sitting near a ziploc bag, that the ground outside is not too frozen for you to dig a grave for your glitter, and that you are mindful of Leave No Trace, even when you think you might be dying.

Clever Girl


  1. Hey! Thanks to the advance warning I got from reading hiker blogs like yours last year, I asked my physician to prescribe Noro Virus meds for me to carry, and she did. I'm well armed to do battle with the bug if the need arises. Sisu -- currently holding at Buena Vista, Va. until some more snow melts. :-(

  2. I think being sick on the trail is like being seasick. First of all, it happens eventually to everyone. Second, you have to persevere even when you feel like quitting. You get up and keep going. We have such admiration for the inner strength of hikers who, at the lowest moments, put their boots on and get back on the trail. We continue to stand in awe. Love, Mom and Dad

  3. Loved seeing your cartoons in the logs! Made flip-flopping lots more fun!