Scratchin' the Itch travel blog

PATC Milesburn Cabin. Very rustic. No running water and no electricity.

Quarry Gap Shelter with stone fireplace out front.

Potted plants on either corner.

Notice the magazine racks high on the wall. There is a skylight...

Brown tarp which can be lowered in bad weather.

Nice bench nestled among the rhododendron.

Wooden platforms for tents.

Food storage locker.

Rhododendron tunnel.


Not a sign I wanted to see. I take comfort knowing that...

This was a wonderful day for a hike. Our high temperature today was only 77 and with a light breeze, it was the best day we’ve had since arriving in Northern Virginia. Tomorrow is supposed to be another one about the same.

This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but the shelters today were outstanding. When I arrived at the Birch Run shelter this morning about 8:45, there were many, many hikers in an around the shelter as well as scattered about at tent sites. Several were still asleep, so I tried to quietly walk on by without disturbing too many. This was a single shelter, not a twin, so it was large with a covered cooking porch and picnic table out front. Gene was very impressed with the hardwood flooring when he stopped in for a break later in the day. The area was relatively flat so there were several great tent sites near the shelter.

Quarry Gap Shelter is like no other. It was originally built as a twin, but apparently, when the new roof was installed, they also put the roof over the space between the shelters making a very nice covered breezeway. Jim Stauch proclaims himself the innkeeper of this fine establishment and it is obvious that Jim takes pride in his work. There are pots of live plants hanging from the corners of the shelter, there are welcome signs on either end, there is a bench for resting out front, and a sheet of brown tarp rolled up at the back of the breezeway which can be lowered in bad weather to keep out wind and rain. This is not the rodent-ridden hovel I am so used to seeing along the AT.

Both the Birch Run and Quarry Gap shelters were built by CCC during the 1930s, but they have been well maintained over the years and are in fine condition. Both are very nice places to spend the night.

Also along the trail today was a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club cabin. PATC has several cabins along its 200 plus miles of trail which the club maintains. These cabins are locked and not available for walk-ins. Some of these cabins can be rented through the club and others are available for club members only. I think the trail crews use them more than anyone.

Tomorrow, we are heading for the midpoint along the AT--Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

That’s all for today.

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