Friday, December 18, 2015

Day 118: The Hunt For the Secret Privy

July 3: The day was another beautiful, clear one, lasting throughout the day. The trail, for the most part, was fairly easy hiking as well. Still muddy at times, but not particularly strenuous.

Trail magic hit me twice during the day. The first time was an ice chest with juice, and the ice in it kept it cold. It must have just been filled that day! The second bout of trail magic were root beers in a creek.

When I hiked the Long Trail, I had heard about a rumored secret shelter. I didn't know exactly where it was located--my Internet sleuthing had turned up information about it being located between two other shelters, and with no other information than that, I managed to track down the secret shelter. I was as surprised as anyone else that I succeeded since I considered finding it a long shot!

But this time around, I knew exactly where it was. I did, however, Google for information about it to see if anything had showed up online in the last couple of years and I was surprised when I found a someone blogging about it which included a photo of a beautifully, hand-built privy--mostly because I had never seen the privy! The secret shelter had a secret privy?!

So that was my mission today: To find the secret privy! Of course, it helped that I already knew the location of the secret shelter. Presumably, the secret privy would be nearby. On the trail, I'd ask most people about it just to get a sense of how well known it was, and among AT thru-hikers, few people knew about and absolutely nobody I talked to knew exactly where it was. I did write teasing entries in the registers about being on the "hunt" for the secret shelter and it "smelled" close. Even took the time to draw an elaborate maze with my stamp at one end and the secret shelter at the exit asking to "help the Green Tortuga find the secret shelter!"

(After I passed it, I wrote about "finding" it and how wonderful the "hot hub" was, the amazing secret privy, etc. And later still when someone else caught up with me, they had said they were all reading my entries and hoped I wouldn't find it, and cursed me when they found out that I had succeeded. "Doah! He found it!" Seemed that there was some guessing going on whether I'd find it or not, but nobody had a clue that the game was fixed!)

I made it to the secret shelter and it was as beautiful as I remembered it. Being the 4th of July weekend, I figured shelters might be crowded with people using their extended holiday to backpack and what a perfect time to duck into the protective embrace of a secret shelter that nobody knew about. In fact, it might be one of only times I get a shelter completely to myself! It would only be the second time on my hike I'd have a shelter completely to myself.

When I arrived, not surprisingly, nobody was there. I dropped my pack and immediately went on the search for the privy. I tried looking behind the shelter and didn't find anything except a few houses up on a hill. It didn't seem like a good place to put a privy. Too many eyes nearby! Seems like a privy should be more secluded.

So I went left of the shelter and after about five minutes of poking around, I found the secret privy. It was very well hidden! No signs marked it's location and the trail leading up to it looked like it hadn't been used in years it was so overgrown. It could have been a game trail for all I know. It was also a lot further away from the shelter than I expected which is why I didn't notice it the first time I was here.

But what a privy! A beautiful, curved structure. I looked inside and it hadn't appeared to be used in years. No smell at all because there was nothing TO smell! Yeah, this was hands down, the very best privy of the entire trail. I'd definitely make use of that!

When I got back to the shelter, I was surprised to see an older gentleman who had recently arrived. He was 70 years old and introduced himself as Stork. Looks like I wouldn't be having the shelter all to myself tonight after all!

Out of curiosity, I asked him about how he had learned about the secret shelter. He had planned to stay at the previous shelter originally, but apparently some weekenders had been illegally riding around and making all sorts of noise and the ridgerunner there quietly told him about the secret shelter and how to find it saying it would likely be quieter. So having the shelter to myself was foiled by a ridgerunner.

I didn't mind, though. Stork was an interesting guy and being by yourself is kind of boring anyhow. Plus, when he sat down on the old, rotted picnic table, the bench snapped and he fell backwards onto his back. Which was funny--as long as he didn't get hurt, and he didn't. But he felt bad about breaking the bench.

The table was obviously rotted and old, though, and I told him it was just a matter of time. He kept wanting to leave a note apologizing for breaking the bench and I'd tell him that I didn't think it was necessary. It's not like he was deliberately trying to break the table or doing anything stupid on it. He just tried to sit down.

Stork and I had a good time chatting. He'd been hiking for awhile and I asked if he remembered meeting any of the Four Horsemen. Superman would have been the most obvious because of the Superman logo on his chest.

Oh, yes, he remembered him! He described a weird bird call they'd give each other every time one of them arrived at the shelter. I smiled. Yes, that was definitely them! "But they sounded more like goats and I said they should be called the Four Goatmen!" And apparently, they really liked that idea and started calling themselves the Goatmen. At least for the rest of the night. (I'd later find a register entry by them signed Supergoat, Heavygoat, Bluegoat and Ginger Goat, so I suspect that would have been the shelter where the incident took place. But I think "Goatberry" sounds better than "Bluegoat.")

Anyhow, we had a good time chatting the rest of the night away before heading off to sleep.

Just in case you want to "help the Tortuga find the secret shelter!" (If you click on the image, a higher resolution version should appear.)

View of the Rutland Airport
This was my chair to admire the view. It was a surprising place to find a chair because it wasn't particularly close to any trailheads. Someone went to a lot of effort to carry it up here! But I had to try it out! Just don't lean back because what's not obvious in this photo--there's probably a five foot drop all around the chair since it's perched at the top of a boulder.

While sitting in the chair, I saw this fellow slowly working its way up towards me.

Trail magic!

This was the one place on the trail today where it became especially rugged, but it didn't last long!
Trail magic! This bag of cans was left in a creek to keep the root beer cold.

Just 500 miles left to Katahdin. I'm practically done already!!!!!

The secret shelter--more formally known as the Sangsong Shelter--is still alive and well!

It has a nice decor that most shelters don't have.

And a button to start a hot tub! Unfortunately, the hot tub itself is still missing....

Looking out the shelter, you can see the old, rotted picnic table that broke when Stork sat down on it.

And THIS is the secret privy! I missed it my first time at the shelter, but I made a special effort to find it this time around. Even the few people who know about the secret shelter don't know about the secret privy!

1 comment:

Rebiccola said...

I really like the style of your maze. Wow, that is a nice privy! Did you tell Stork about the secret privy?