Garbage Man

Neel Gap, GA, Saturday March 1, 2015 — Beep – beep – beep – beep. That’s the sound of your friendly hiker garbage man backing out of a shelter with his pack full of detritus others have left behind.

When I staggered into the hostel at Neel Gap with ten pounds of junk. The most galling was the four liters of frozen water.

Seems some folks didn’t realize that you take your water bottle to bed with you when it’s freezing outside at night. So they left the frozen water behind for yours truly to haul thirty miles to the nearest trash receptacle. That’s not to mention the other junk in the photo.

This really isn’t a complaint. That’s why we are here, to help the hikers understand how to do the right thing. When they don’t, we remove the trash before it can serve as a bad example to others.

We also remove blowdown. Sawing keeps you warm, believe me.

In the morning the snow reminds me of a stiff starched white shirt. Sort of crunchy when you put it on. The weather is turning so by noon the snow is as limp as that same starched white shirt on a Georgia summer day. Today the slush was three inches deep with about an inch of water as a top coat.

Tomorrow the forecast is for rain. That’ll remove the snow and slush, but only by turning the trail into a river in the process.

Throughout all of this, the hikers seem intrepid. After all, they’ve come 50 miles. Maine can’t be far ahead.

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12 thoughts on “Garbage Man

  1. Do you have a spiel you give to all hikers as you meet them? Does it depend on the hiker(s)?

    Nice work clearing that big thing covering the trail. I hope your saw is sharp.

    Be safe and stay warm and dry.

  2. Hey Sisu – are you using snow shoes? I remember having a discussion with you about them prior to our 2014 departure. Seems they’d be handy for winter ridge running….

    >

  3. “Throughout all of this, the hikers seem intrepid. After all, they’ve come 50 miles. Maine can’t be far ahead. ”

    Couldn’t stop laughing!

  4. Impressive work clearing those blowdowns. They look to be big enough to require a sawyer crew to handle. Thanks for the great work,

  5. Jim,

    Thanks for your great work down there in Georgia educating hikers, clearing trail, and packing out trash. Your witty and pithy writing and excellent photos provide valuable insight to the outside world about what goes on in Georgia during thru-hiker season, and a hint of all the volunteer labor that’s required to keep the trail maintained.

    Ditto on all the comment above, too.

    • Thanks for your kind complement. I’m hoping to help folks understand that hiking the AT is more than a walk in the woods. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes.

      My WordPress app crashed and I locked myself out of my trunk where my MacBook is stored. There’ll be several new posts as soon as I get a new key in Atlanta.

  6. I Love Trail Maintainers, the least known Trail Angels on the Trail.
    Bogey & I Pack it in and Pack it out and when we can we take out the garbage others leave.
    Thank you everyone for cherishing this miracle called the A.T.

  7. Jeez, I’m the caretaker at Jerry’s Cabin shelter at mile point 300 NOBO. Hikers still leave trash and unwanted gear here. I’d say some just leave things all the way till they quit hiking or get to Maine…..

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