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Standing Bear Farm

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:08 am
by Rockhound
Recently I read a journal that painted SBF in a bit of a bad light. Having volunteered at he hostel in 2008, 2009, and this year, I felt an obligation to share an alternate, if not a little biased, viewpoint.
SBF is just north of the Smokies past I-40. Directions are in all the AT guidebooks. Occasionally hikers take the road from I-40 instead of the trail. Sometimes due to fatigue and sometimes hikers can't follow the directions in their handbooks. SBF often takes the blame for the laters lack of reading comprehension. Recently one hiker said he took the road so he could beat an older couple to the hostel and claim the best accommodations before they got there. He was a little upset when he found out he would be sharing the cabin with the older couple anyway. We are a hiker hostel, not the Ritz Carlton. This same person seemed a bit disgruntled about the resupply prices. SBF has a resupply that most would call a hikers paradise. Pizzas sandwiches, sodas, iced tea, eggs, bacon, chips, and all the hiker resupply favorites. Enough to easily get to Hotsprings or Fontana. quite a welcome site for a hungry, weary hiker. The prices are comparable to or in many cases less than convenience store prices. Sometimes we do get hikers with that entitled attitude expecting to see Walmart prices. Personally I feel anyone complaining about the prices here look a bit foolish. Maria works very hard at providing hikers with a large variety of hiker favorites at very reasonable prices and it is insulting to see entitled hikers complain. A recent hiker even had the gaul to complain about keeping his own tab while he was here for 3 days. It's called the honor system.
When staying at SBF one has the choice of staying in the bunkhouse or tenting for $15 a night or staying in the cabin for $20. Reservations are not accepted at all in the height of thru-hiker season and only by those driving in the rest of the year. Simply because people hiking in will often miss their arrival date. Not all the time but enough to make this the policy. SBF has never, however, turned a hiker away. They will always make room somewhere. Recently a hiker stayed in the cabin for two nights and wanted to stay a third but unfortunately it had been reserved by a drive in. He got so upset he threw a tantrum. Honestly he looked quite foolish but often the squeaky wheel gets the grease. While he was out hiking that day arrangements were made so he could stay in the cabin anyway. Rather that show any appreciation, said hiker returned still irrational and bellicose and chose to call a shuttle service that does charge higher prices but can pick hikers up at times of their choosing.
Often we also hikers that feel shuttles should be on demand at their convenience for no more than the price of gas. There is an afternoon shuttle to Hartford each day for the things hikers can't purchase here. Tobacco, ice cream, beer....Sometimes hikers wish to go over 30 miles round trip to Newport having the shuttler wait while they run their errands and have trouble understanding that these longer trips cost gas and time and are best arranged in conjunction with other errands that Maria has scheduled in Newport.
I'm sure the hiker mentioned here spent a lot more on that shuttle and a hotel than if he would have just listened for a minute and realized his embarrassing behavior got him a third night in the cabin. Odd for someone who would complain so vocally about resupply costs that most would call more than reasonable.
My personal opinion is that person is having a difficult go of the trail. Is unhappy being out here but is too stubborn to quit. Rather than showing gratitude to service providers they choose to complain about anything that is not exactly how/when/where they want it.
Beware the entitled hiker he will try to spread his misery.
One last note. SBF is a laid back, rustic, "make yourself at home" kind of place. Occasionally the folks here will drink a beer or two. As for the drivers they wait until all their shuttles are done before partaking. Teetotalers are still welcome but please do not judge lest ye be judged yourself.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:25 pm
by Rockhound
I would be very interested in any thoughts/comments by others who have stayed here. The most common thing I hear upon hikers arrivals is "This place is so beautiful. Which it is. It is an oasis that allows hikers to get off the trail without getting off the trail.
One more complaint by the hiker badmouthing SBF was that there was no hot water in the showers. Not true. Sometimes people will turn off the pilot light to the flash heater. It has to be relit of course before the next person gets in. Some people would rather Be angry and complain about a cold shower rather than mentioning it to any of 6 people here that know how to turn on the hot water.
One other thing that said hiker complained about that Hawk who volunteers here was complaining that he has to sort through the trash each day to remove cans and plastics from the garbage each day because we recycle. He does. I do too. It happens all the time and it gets frustrating. Said hiker said they should have signs mentioning this. We do. Very clearly printed on the lid to each can is a sign saying "trash only" "aluminum cans only" or "plastics only". We also have a compost bucket in the kitchen. In the lieu of neon signs and periodic announcements I do not know how much clearer the request to recycle could be but apparently apathy is as widespread as entitlement among the hiking set.
I have not mentioned the name of the particular hiker for there is no need. And it would be in bad taste. After his lambasting from his very narrow perspective I just thought it fair others deserve a chance to share their experiences so as to get an accurate picture of what to expect at SBf rather than just going by the opinion and outright lies of an apathetic, needy, entitled person who is really not enjoying his hiking experience.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:41 pm
by Rockhound
Oh. I almost forgot the most important part. Said hiker left without paying for his 2 nights accommodations, food or shuttle fee. Ironic that someone casting such aspersions would choose to steal from a service provider. Is that what they call the pot calling the kettle black?

Standing Bear Farm

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:11 am
by LordoftheWings
Maria, there are always two side to the story. I have no concerns about being the character in your version of the story. I have gone the previous 250 or so miles on the trail so my expectations of hostels are based on the good business practices of other hostels. I was advised by the your County Sheriff's office not to pay you until their investigation had concluded. I am following their recommendations. Once they finish I would be happy to pay the entire amount.