Today we went through the numerical half way mark. We are now closer to the end than we are to the start!
Reaching this target, as well as visiting the AT museum in Pine Grove Furnace, left me totally inspired and newly motivated.
The Museum is in an old mill.
It gives the history of the trail, conceptualise by Benin MacKaye and in practise put on the ground by Myton Avery. Strangely the two guys never really worked together. It also gives the story (and some exhibits) of the pioneers who first hiked the full trail, including that of (Janet you will know this one) Emma Gatewood, the first woman to hike the trail when she was 67!!! Some of her gear is displayed in a glass cabinet and I was staring at it for minutes, picturing her on the same path I was walking on this morning, sleeping in the same spot I slept last night….
There is also a poster talking about thru-hikers on the trail as follows: “each year these stubborn adventurers pick up the gauntlet along with their packs and start walking, some confidently and some hopefully, heading for Mt Kathadin in Maine, more than 2000 miles away”.
I don’t think of myself as an adventurer but hey, Trevor and I are two of those guys heading to Maine and I am so happy about that!
Yesterday a lot of talk on the trail around us was about today’s highlight. There is this tradition: thru-hikers attempt to eat half a gallon of Hershey’s Ice Cream at the general store in Pine Grove Furnace. That is about 1.85 liters! The tradition must have originated from the time when Hershey still sold half gallons. Nowadays those taking up the challenge have to buy a small 500ml tub and a big 1350ml tub.
We were 10 hikers at the store this morning around 11h. I wasn’t going to try eating all that ice cream, and neither did the other female (we both had the 500ml tub). A father and son team also said no way. But Trevor and 5 young guys were going to give it their best shot.
Four out of six taking on the challenge succeeded, the first two comfortably within 30mins, the next two after more than an hour and looking like 6yr old boys staring at the spinach they had to finish before they could be excused from the dinner table.
Trevor wasn’t one of the successful candidates :
The guy closest to the camera in the photo of 4 young guys (blue shirt) was the other one who didn’t make it. When I went to check how he was getting on with it he said I should give him words of encouragement. I told him even Trevor is doing better than him. He said “you are terrible – don’t ever become a coach” 😀
This afternoon’s walk would have been easy if the rain didn’t come. It wasn’t that bad though, once your shoes and socks are wet, and you accept that you are wet, it can be quite soothing, walking with rain gently falling down on you. We are in our tent now listening to the rain. It is almost like hearing rain on a tin roof – just better as the roof is much closer 😀.
By the way, some forest re-establishment projects going on in this area. It has something to do with curbing the influence of Mountain Laurels, those little cluster flowers looking like a star shaped ball before they opened. At first I thought they were beautiful but now I know they are the little sister of the rhododendron, both displaying such flowering beauty but so throttling in nature!