Careful Out There...

11:31 a.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Found this posted on the NPS Shenandoah website...


There has been an outbreak of Norovirus among Appalachian Trail (A.T.) hikers. This highly contagious virus causes your stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed, which leads to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

Norovirus is transmitted by contact with an infected person, contaminated food or water, or contaminated surfaces. The virus has a 12 to 48-hour incubation period and lasts 24 to 60 hours. Infected hikers may be contagious for 3 days to 2 weeks after recovery.

Outbreaks occur more often where people share untreated water sources and facilities for sleeping, dining, showering, and toileting. The virus can spread rapidly in crowded shelters and hostels.

Sanitation is key to avoiding and spreading Norovirus. Take the following steps to prevent contracting and spreading the illness:

  • Treat all water by boiling, filtering, and/or treating with chemicals. To learn how best to treat your water,
  • Do not eat out of the same food bag, share utensils, or drink from other hikers' water bottles.
  • Wash your hands with biodegradable soap (200' from water sources) before eating or preparing food and after toileting.
  • Be aware that alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be ineffective against Norovirus.
  • Follow Leave No Trace guidelines for disposing of human waste. For best practices visit
  • For more information visit
12:16 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for the head's up and the links but they missed the biggest one of all:  AVOID THE SHELTERS AT ALL COSTS!

Of course, I call them Rat Boxes and wish they could all be dismantled but in the meantime, avoid them by carrying your own shelter and camping before or after these car ports.

Signed, Jaded.

1:47 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Thanks for the head's up and the links but they missed the biggest one of all:  AVOID THE SHELTERS AT ALL COSTS!

Ahhhhh yes, the jungle gyms for the mice. 

I am with ya Tipi. I typically avoid them at all costs as well. 

1:54 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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That is a recurring problem everywhere there is heavy traffic and shelters provided for large groups.

The Wonderland Trail around Rainer is a good example.  Nothing like the sound of little feet across your bag to let you sleep soundly, knowing that you have all your stuff secured from them....

.... or do I.

I've thought it would be a service to the environment and humanity if someone would bring along an extra large size of Decon and salt the lodges on the way.

2:28 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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I avoid thew shelters..I use one once and only..never again.Its would be better to remove them..

2:42 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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they ought to be called rat hostels.

2:46 p.m. on June 14, 2013 (EDT)
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Haven't had much exposure to rats but mice, spiders, chipmunks, squirrels, so on and so forth(including a few nosey bears) have made their presence know over the times that I have utilized shelters of the days long past. 

I have also been greeted by my good buddy Mr. Brown Recluse on quite a few occasions. 

One of the many reasons I utilize a tent and no longer use shelters all that much. 

5:49 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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So all the people who said viruses weren't a problem in water treatment were misinformed? So much for using just a water filter.

8:28 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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It's not the water Peter, Its the dirty filthy people that contaminate the water. Norovirus Is not naturally occuring in water, it has to be put there by human fecal matter. This is only one of the reasons why people joke about shelters being disease pits. Norovirus can be transmitted various other ways as well other than by contaminated water.

Always consider your source. The water sources at shelters on the AT During peak thru season is astronomically higher odds of becoming contaminated for at least some period of time.

8:23 a.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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If there's the possibility of a virus being in the water, regardless of the source, a water filter just doesn't cut it. I'm sure that deer and marmots also carry fecal viruses, and they get to water sources where there are very few people. 

May 26, 2018
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