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Old 12-14-2019, 11:50 PM   #1
DSettahr
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The largest collection of lean-to photos: Revised and Expanded again (image heavy)

Since the last time I did this, I've visited (and camped in) a bunch of new lean-tos on my quest to stay in every single lean-to and backcountry shelter in New York State. I decided that enough time had passed that it was time to post a collection of lean-to photos yet again. I also went back and re-edited some of my older photos so that they were more clear and easy to see.

The 273 lean-tos (and other shelters) depicted in these photos represent approximately 68% of the roughly 400 lean-tos and shelters that exist across the state that are available for free overnight use by the public during at least part of the year.

Note that all of the lean-tos shown still do exist in some capacity, some have been relocated/replaced since the photo depicting them was taken.




























































Continued in next post...
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Old 12-14-2019, 11:52 PM   #2
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Continued from above:















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Old 12-15-2019, 12:04 AM   #3
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Very cool. I never realized there was so much varied construction. Stone, metal roofing, board and batten, etc.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:24 AM   #4
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Very cool. I never realized there was so much varied construction. Stone, metal roofing, board and batten, etc.
Metal roofing is somewhat common on the Finger Lakes Trail as well as in state forests generally- it lasts longer that cedar or asphalt shingles, and there's usually easier access to get it into the shelter site (in some cases, the DEC/FLTC has motor vehicle access to the shelter sites via gated administrative access roads).

In the Adirondacks and Catskills, management philosophy is that lean-to materials should blend in with the surroundings- hence the use of cedar shingles where feasible, and asphalt shingles where cedar isn't practical. Plus, it's a lot easier to get packages of shingles than large pieces of corrugated metal into remote lean-to sites in the Adirondacks/Catskills.

I will also say that the metal seems like the clearly desirable alternative generally due to the durability of the material... until one has spent a rainy night camped in a lean-to with a metal roof.

The stone shelters are all located in the Hudson Highlands- and these are some of the oldest backcountry shelters built in NY that are still standing (some are nearly 100 years old!). So stone is clearly a building material that lasts, at least. While the stone shelters are interesting from an aesthetic and historical stand point, I will say that they aren't the nicest shelters for camping in- they tend to be a bit cold and damp. Usually there's a wood platform to sleep on, at least (and some of them have bunk beds).

I didn't include any photos because they aren't in NY, but some of the shelters on the Appalachian Trail get really elaborate- especially the larger ones that are designed to sleep upwards of 15 or even 20 people. Covered porches with picnic tables for eating and hanging out, bunk beds, loft areas to sleep additional campers, and so on. A few even have niceties such as swinging porch chairs, skylights, and even "running water" (spring water piped straight to the shelter from a source uphill).
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:41 AM   #5
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Wow! That's a book and postcards waiting to happen... very impressive indeed.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:49 AM   #6
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Wow! That's a book and postcards waiting to happen... very impressive indeed.
I thought about maybe trying to get a coffee table book together- there's a similar book about to be published that contains photos of every single shelter on the AT. The only issue is that I'm not sure that photos alone would make a book worth it- there'd need to be some sort of anecdotes for at least most of the lean-tos photographed. Information about the history of each lean-to would be interesting- but that would demand a lot of research.

Another thought that I had was that a poster collage of at least most of these photos might also be something folks might interested in.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:54 AM   #7
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Don't over think a project. Photos and descriptions of where the lean-to is, and maybe its age, is interesting.
Simple maps can also be a +.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:00 AM   #8
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Interestingly enough, it occurs to me that since the collection of AT shelter photos contains pictures of 275 "shelters, lean-tos, and huts," my photo collection might no longer be the "largest" such collection... for the time being. I guess it depends on technicality- my collection doesn't include huts, hers does.

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Old 12-15-2019, 10:02 AM   #9
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A book of NY or Adirondack leantos would be interesting. Doesn't have to be the largest.
Postcards would also be interesting, and they sell in the right shops as souvenirs but profit may be questionable...or not.
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:11 AM   #10
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I’ll have to go through my slides, for my favorites, Snowbird and Lake Tear of the Clouds from the early 1960s.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodly View Post
Don't over think a project. Photos and descriptions of where the lean-to is, and maybe its age, is interesting.
Simple maps can also be a +.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodly View Post
A book of NY or Adirondack leantos would be interesting. Doesn't have to be the largest.
Postcards would also be interesting, and they sell in the right shops as souvenirs but profit may be questionable...or not.
Sure. Even getting my hands on the ages alone would no easy task, though. For the AT, a lot of that info is publicly available (hence the easy inclusion of lean-to construction dates in that book).

As a completionist, I know that I'd probably also end up less than satisfied with the end product if I attempted to put it together prior to having photos of them all. I think a poster is more likely in the short term, while I'd personally prefer to continue gathering even more photos before attempting something like a coffee table book.
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Old 12-15-2019, 11:24 AM   #12
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Iíll have to go through my slides, for my favorites, Snowbird and Lake Tear of the Clouds from the early 1960s.
If you get a chance and can scan them in and share them online, please do- they'd definitely be of interest to the community for sure.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:51 PM   #13
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If you do ever publish something I'll be buying it.
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Old 12-15-2019, 01:08 PM   #14
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I thought about maybe trying to get a coffee table book together- there's a similar book about to be published that contains photos of every single shelter on the AT. The only issue is that I'm not sure that photos alone would make a book worth it- there'd need to be some sort of anecdotes for at least most of the lean-tos photographed. Information about the history of each lean-to would be interesting- but that would demand a lot of research.
Just photos would be fairly repetitious. Besides what you suggest I think trail maps to each LT and perhaps several interesting hikes in the vicinity of each would be of great interest. Huge project for a limited audience (books are not easy to sell and good color pictures up the cost appreciably). Maybe a Facebook group like John Sasso's History group? That way you would get pictures and anecdotes from a potentially unlimited population.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:23 PM   #15
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Just photos would be fairly repetitious. Besides what you suggest I think trail maps to each LT and perhaps several interesting hikes in the vicinity of each would be of great interest. Huge project for a limited audience (books are not easy to sell and good color pictures up the cost appreciably). Maybe a Facebook group like John Sasso's History group? That way you would get pictures and anecdotes from a potentially unlimited population.
Yeah. Part of my hesitation towards a purely "coffee table book" approach also is the number of "coffee table books" you always see steeply discounted at the bookstore because they don't really sell well. I agree that some level of actual utility (suggested hikes, a map) like you suggest would be beneficial.

But then there's also the Leave No Trace aspect to consider- some of these shelters certainly don't need any more use then they already get.
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Old 12-15-2019, 02:31 PM   #16
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But then there's also the Leave No Trace aspect to consider- some of these shelters certainly don't need any more use then they already get.
Agreed. But at least they are all trailed and serve to concentrate impact. I began a slide climbing guide book only to abandon the project for the same reasons.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:01 PM   #17
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An acquaintance of mine recently published a book on barns, sort of coffee table format with high resolution pictures. I don't recall the exact final tally but it ended up costing him money. Self publishing can be a nightmare.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:32 PM   #18
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An acquaintance of mine recently published a book on barns, sort of coffee table format with high resolution pictures. I don't recall the exact final tally but it ended up costing him money. Self publishing can be a nightmare.
Yeah, that's another consideration. The overhead on a poster at least would be far less than for a book. Plus with a poster, it'd be easier to do smaller print runs more frequently to meet demand- if it does materialize.
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Old 12-15-2019, 05:56 PM   #19
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Yeah, that's another consideration. The overhead on a poster at least would be far less than for a book. Plus with a poster, it'd be easier to do smaller print runs more frequently to meet demand- if it does materialize.
With a poster you could print those on demand via a print service like Vistaprint. You wouldn't even have to place the order until you got an order yourself. They'd still have it within a week or so.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:36 PM   #20
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