Tuesday, October 3, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - September 2017

September 2017
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

The museum has been quieter during the week, but we are still seeing some south bounders and plenty of section hikers. Come check out the flowers in full bloom.

Thanks to Georgia and Margy for the flowers!

*In other news, the museum and trail have been publicized in the October 2017 Susquehanna Style magazine. The author, Karen Hendricks, set up the interview and has done an excellent job of writing about our museum and how we are inspiring people to hit the trail. 

This article is so well written, you'll be glad you took the time to read it!


ALDHA Gathering
On October, 6th - 8th, the museum will be represented at the Gathering in Abingdon, Virginia. At the Gathering, we intend to have a benefit sale of any used but good hiking gear that a hiker might need. If you are interested in donating any items but can not make it to the Gathering we will gladly take your donation at the museum as long as we receive it no later than Thursday, October 5th at closing time(4pm).


 Ron and the crew are at it again! The second-floor bathroom has been insulated with soundproofing and the floor has been replaced with cement board. Also, tables and desks have been moved out of the second floor to make space for work and exhibits. On the third floor, the bookshelves have been covered with their second coat of finish. The railing has also been raised around the stairs leading from the second to the first floor. Thanks for all your help!!!

Bathroom floor before cement board
Bathroom floor after cement board

Martha cleaning, Bathroom soundproofing in the wall to the right

Cleared out the second floor with Mike

Margy and Jim stained the railing


Scout 551 Volunteer Work
On Saturday, September 23rd, scout troop 551 from the King of Prussia area decided to do a hike to Pole Steeple and completed a service project for the museum. Not only did they place pavers in the landing between the set of stairs between our main floor and our lower level, but they also mowed the lawn, weeded around trees, organized wood piles, and cut up some firewood. A big thank you to all the scouts and adults that helped! I also want to thank Barry Flicker for organizing this and Ed Riggs for helping set up in the morning.


Fall Furnace Festival
October 21st & 22nd the museum will need a volunteer or two to operate the information table that we set up beside the park people.  We will be setting up an information booth/tent next to the Pine Grove Furnace State Park booth. Not only will this be helpful to attract guests to the museum, but it will also be a great opportunity to connect with the park staff next door. If more than two are interested or you want to cover half the shift just leave a comment and we'll make it work. Here is the link to signup: PGFSPFFF


Volunteer Recognition Dinner
The volunteer recognition dinner has been scheduled for November 5th at the Iron Masters Mansion. The time is set for 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This again will be set up as a potluck. I hope that most of you can make it out. You all have really been a blessing sent from heaven. I can't say thanks enough! I have more to say but will save it for my speech. ☺


Angry Bird Trail Stories
On 6/3/2012, I spent the night in my hammock on Little Boardman Mountain. As soon as I started hiking it began to rain. After hiking 28 miles the day before I had no clue that I would be only hiking 14.3 today. 

Early in the day when I was at the east branch lean-to, I ran into Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the two who got to the 1-mile marker near Katahdin and said, "This is close enough, let's start from here." They also had two other friends with them who already left the trail. The heavy unnecessary equipment that they had was then given to these two who stayed on to hike. These two were not aware of the trail names that they were given and would not have approved. 

After briefly talking and eating breakfast I hiked on. Ascending White Cap Mountain was cold and windy. Then I encountered hail and sideways rain near the top. As I was hiking I noticed multiple trails caused by the flooding... So I picked a trail and kept going. Then I picked another, and another until I was off trail far enough that I wouldn't see another blaze between noon and dusk. I was determined to hike but didn't know which way. At one point I even sat down on a rock and thought, "Well I guess this is it." Then just before dark I came out of the woods perpendicular to the trail and found a sign that read, "↢Shelter 1.5 miles." I had only made up about four trail miles in all that time of hiking through the woods. Seeing this sign was one of the most comforting moments for me on the trail but it was also the longest mile and a half that I had ever walked.

As I settled in at the shelter I realized I would be spending the night with some questionable people. My can of mace was on standby... (To Be Continued)


Things Coming Down the Trail

October 9th - Road Scholar Hike
October 21st and 22nd - Fall Furnace Fest
October 23rd - Road Scholar Hike
October 29th - Museum closes for the 2017 season
October 30th - Road Scholar Hike
November 5th - Volunteer Recognition Supper

Thursday, August 24, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - August 2017

August 2017
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

 So far this year we have had over 6000 visitors with almost 1000 of them being thru hikers. Our programs have been dwindling down but mostly we've had an attendance of 10 or more for each one. Also, this week I decided to view the eclipse from Tennessee with my grandfather. The temperature dropped 15 degrees, the frogs were peeping, the clouds were more visible and the atmosphere of the sun was the brightest white glow around the moon. I also saw what I think was Venus glowing like it was one of the stars.

Here are some pictures of a few great spots to hike/climb within the Michaux State Forest.
White Rocks (Near Mont Alto)
More White Rocks
Sunset Rocks View

Sunset Rocks Trail

My 11oz Homemade Cuben Fiber Tent
Lots of things happening!
      We will soon be continuing our road scholar hikes once again on Mondays starting on August 28th. These hikes have been a great way to meet people from all over the United States. It is also a great place to practice educating others about the trail and the environment. If you would like to learn more about what these hikes involve please contact me(Nathaniel) at manager@atmuseum.org.

      The Pine Grove Fall Furnace Festival for 2017 will be held on the 21st and 22nd of October. This year we are setting up a stand for the museum next to the park. Anyone interested in getting involved please let me know via email. 

      We are progressively seeing more south bound hikers coming from Maine this time of the year. Most of the SOBO hikers that I've talked to have started in June. Katahdin only opened for hikers on May 27th because of the weather. I was also told that the black flies were worse this year than any other in the last 50 or so. In 2012 I did not see very many on my thru hike south.

Also, read more below about our schedule coming up the trail. 


The second and third floor renovations are looking great. Anyone who would like to get involved just let me know by sending an email to manager@atmuseum.org.

Here is Jim cleaning and staining book shelves

Nail holes were filled and sanded
Even Chestnut came to help!


PCN Pennsylvania Cable Network 
     Airing on Sunday, September 3rd at 8:00 pm will be a guided tour of the Appalachian Trail Museum. On Wednesday, July 26th a camera crew came to the museum to film a guided tour led by yours truly. The tour started shortly after 9:00 am and continued until about 1:00 pm. I learned that when the cameras were not rolling I had no problems talking about all that I knew without any issues, but once the little red light let me know that I was being recorded all my thought went out the window. I did not anticipate that being on camera was going to be any different than talking to a group. This took a lot of trial and error, but I believe that all well.

For an update of when and where to find this show follow this link: ATMuseum Tour


Angry Bird Trail Stories
     Last year I decided to show one of my brothers the most exciting swimming hole in Pennsylvania along the trail (Peace Rock). So we set out on the two hour drive north from home. Once we got to Port Clinton we had to walk. On the way up I decided that I was going to strap my GoPro camera to my head and record the jump from 40 feet above the water. To get to the rock we had to swim across the river and climb. That was all done with no difficulty whatsoever.

     Then It was time... Press record... Run to the edge! With the camera strapped to my head and recording, I jumped!

     Only a few seconds later I had felt what I thought to be a fish trying to eat my leg or a fishing net trying to latch onto my foot. As I kicked it away I scrambled to the surface of the water as fast as I could. Looking up at my brother and swimming back to the bank I celebrated with shouts and invites.

     He then asked, "where is the camera?"

     Hands immediately to my head I felt that the camera was gone. After a few minutes of searching, we decided that we were not going to try swimming to the bottom without some goggles. Then another thought came to my mind... What if I took a grappling hook and tried to fish it out so that I didn't have to swim to the bottom at all! Perfect!!! So we drove home and gathered up some scuba goggles, rope, and a grappling hook. The next morning we got there early before the crowd arrived and swam to the rocks. before entering the water I discovered that it was only ten feet deep where I jumped in. Then I got the grappling hook stuck on the bottom of the river. I had to swim down to get it loose. I tied the rope off above and climbed to the surface of the water below. As I swam out to the rope my heart pounded with excitement and fear all at once.

     I took a short breath of air and entered the water far too quickly. Using the rope I pulled myself to the bottom as fast as I could through the cloudy sediment-filled water. I thought I would run out of air and need to take another breath before I would reach the bottom. Not being able to see two feet in front of me in the first seven feet of descent had me nervous, but as soon as I reached the bottom and I saw the hook my lungs suddenly felt full of air again. As I grabbed the hook I noticed a little blue light and there it was, still turned on with the memory card full of the recording of what a rock's point of view from under the river would be.

     I did have my shirt stolen by a cleanup crew who really made that place shine, but other than that I went home with a well fought victory in my hands and a two hour recording of fish swimming near the bottom of the river.


Coming Up the Trail
August 28th Road Scholar Hike
September 25th Road Scholar Hike
October 1st Program by Nan Resinger
October 6th, 7th and 8th ALDHA Gathering
October 9th Road Scholar Hike
October 21st, 22nd Pine Grove Fall Furnace Festival
October 23rd Road Scholar Hike
October 30th Road Scholar Hike

Thursday, June 22, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - June 2017

June 2017
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

     Check out our website. It is being updated all the time with news of our HOF nominees and weekend programs schedule.

     After looking over some of the tents made by Hyperlite Mountain Gear at the AT Trail Days Festival I have decided to make my own ultra light tent with dyneema composite material. Just received the fabric in the mail so It should be under way soon. Expect to see pictures in a future newsletter!
cuben fiber
     This years HOF Festival drew a crowd of 271 people including 70 children and 15 thru hikers in attendance for the day. Our story time attracted 51 adults and 29 children. We also had five authors speaking and the Buc Hill Aces playing old time music at the furnace stack pavilion below the museum.
Ron Burger with ALDHA at the HOF Festival
     This was my second year attending the Mason-Dixon AT Outdoor Festival in Rouzerville, PA. Live music was great. I had to create some of my own as well but the hikers enjoyed it. Also got to meet some of my distant family from Quincy, PA. Easy thing to do with a big family.
Mason-Dixon AT Outdoor Festival


Searching for an Intern 
     In past years we have had an intern to help with much that goes on at the museum. This year there has been some interest but to no avail. So here is an overview of what to expect and what we are looking for in a potential intern. We are not limited to strictly what is listed below but are flexible to suit the interest of anyone who would like to apply. Please spread the news of this request!

The Appalachian Trail Museum seeks students who want to join our team for the summer to earn credit towards a degree program and gain real world experience working with museum visitors and presenters.  Interns provide a key function in the operation of the Museum, while also enhancing their studies.
Location: The A.T. Museum is located in Pine Grove Furnace State Park at Gardners, PA.

This is a part time, unpaid position which offers up to three hours of academic credit. Prospective interns must coordinate with their colleges or universities to ensure all requirements are met for academic credit.

Types of Internships at the AT Museum include
Public Programs Coordinator
Retail Sales and Inventory
Volunteer Coordinator
Landscaping, Grounds Keeping
Hiking Guide
Public Relations

·         Pursuing a BS/BA in Adventure Education, History, American Studies, Communications, Education, Journalism or Community/Social Studies. (Other academic areas may also be considered)
·         Junior or Senior. (Other academic years may also be considered)
·         GPA of 2.5 or higher.
·         Excellent oral, written and communication/presentation skills.
·         Basic computer skills.

     How to Apply:
·         Contact the A.T. Museum manager at manager@atmuseum.org expressing your interest in starting an internship, your qualifications and what you hope to achieve with an internship.
·         Work with your Intern programs advisor to coordinate school’s requirements.

Our crew of volunteers have really been doing some good work!

Jack Adams hangs drywall
Book shelves look level
Windows and door have been painted

See Ed painting in the top window?

Donation Plaques have been placed

Approaching Programs

//Saturday July 1 2017 Noon-4:00pm - Hiker Picnic 
Follow this link to Signup either as attending to greet hikers or to bring food.

//Saturday July 15 2017 2:00pm - Presentation by: Jeff Ryan
"Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail"

Tom Johnson presenting one of his popular trail history programs
If you or anyone you know is interested in presenting a program this summer please let Nathaniel know at manager@atmuseum.org.

Angry Bird Trail Stories
     Not too often do people actually ask me how I got my trail name. The name did not come from the game, but it would be crazy for me not to play angry birds with a trail name like Angry Bird.
     So here is the story of how it all happened...

     6/8/2012: I started out my hike for the day at the pleasant pond lean-to. Not much was happening on that rainy morning, but as I was walking I noticed a bird making a lot of noise somewhere up in the trees ahead of me. I didn't think much of it but notice how it called out in intervals of seven. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 then it paused. What was going on up there? So I kept hiking and things got quiet. I had even passed where I thought this bird was. Seconds later I felt what I thought was a branch or tree fruit of some sort hit me in the top of my head. When I grabbed my head and reached up to stop a tree from falling on me I saw the gos hawk flying away ahead of me. So I looked around and saw nothing other than the bird that could have hit me. Other than my hat being moved up on my head I walked away with no harm done. Then to get my revenge I walked to Caratunk, ME and ate some eggs for breakfast. That'll teach 'em - or so I thought...

     My journal entry says, "This morning on my way to Caratunk a bird swooped down and hit me in the back of my head and it felt like a nerf bat. Then I stopped in Caratunk for a bite to eat... eggs!
My drawing of the hawk in the background

    In other news, I placed 20th overall for the half marathon that my uncle talked me into running with him. He more so just mentioned it and I said, "Yea, I'll do it." Then it turned into a family event...
Seven Shanks competed in the Iron Run and Charcoal Challenge

     Down the Trail
//Sunday June 25 2017 2:00pm - Movie Night: "Horace Kephart, His Life and Legacy"
//Saturday July 1 2017 Noon-4:00pm - Hiker Picnic
//Saturday July 15 2017 2:00pm - Jeff Ryan "Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail"
//Saturday July 22 2017 2:00pm - Tom Johnson "Myron Avery and the creation of the AT"
//Saturday July 29 2017 2:00pm - Andre Weltman Traces of the Pig Iron Industry across South Mountain"
//Sunday August 6 2017 2:00pm - Larry Marschall "The Great American Solar Eclipse of  August 21, 2017"
//Sunday August 20 2017 2:00pm - Marian Orlousky "Leave No Trace"

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - May 2017

May 2017
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

Coffee Table donated by Bruce Dunlavy

New Children's Exhibit Sign

Flip Flop Festival (Harper's Ferry WV)


Volunteer Needs
If you know somebody who would want to be a greeter at the museum or volunteer in other ways send me a message at manager@atmuseum.org 

May, 19th-20th…The Museum will have a display at the Appalachian Trail Days Festival in Damascus, Virginia. Docents will be needed during that weekend to keep the museum open.

Road Scholar Hikes
 If you are interested in helping with the group but are not interested in being "the guide" then you can still signup just as long as you leave a comment with your sign up.

Monday, May 22nd…Meeting at the AT Museum at 9:20 A.M. to shuttle up to big flat and hiking back to the museum.

Follow this link for signups: Volunteer Needs


Hall Of Fame Banquet/ June 2nd
This banquet is swiftly approaching so don't forget to mark your calendars for June, 2nd at the Comfort Suites in Carlisle. 

Don't forget to buy your tickets to the HOF Banquet by clicking HERE or by coming down to the museum to purchase tickets in person.

HOF Hiker Festival/ June 3rd
This event will be held at the Appalachian Trail Museum free of charge.

Sign up to volunteer HERE.

During the festival there will be plenty to do around the park with children's activities, authors talking about the trail, bluegrass music and FOOD!!! Invite is open to all free of charge.

Saturday morning/ June 3rd, from 9 AM to 11 AM, Pine Grove Furnace State Park will also be hosting a special event for children by the Fred Rodgers Co./PBS WITF/“Daniel Tiger.”


Program//Saturday May 27 2017 2:00pm - Presentation by: Tom Johnson

"How the Appalachian Trail Came to Pennsylvania

Tom Johnson is an excellent speaker and will be talking about how the Appalachian Trail was developed in Our local area. 

This presentation will be held inside the AT Museum's lower level where the children's exhibits are on display. This presentation should last about an hour leaving time for questions and answers after.


Program//Sunday June 11 2017 2:00pm - Presentation by: Lorrie Preston

"Bears, Rivers, & Pastoral Beauty - NJ, NY, CT & MA on the Appalachian Trail"

Lorrie Preston, a.k.a. "Shutterbug" is an A.T. Museum Docent, SATC and CVATC Member

Did you know that NJ has the most bears per square mile of any state along the A.T.?
It's true!
Join us as we take a closer look at the serene beauty and surprises that the trail brings from NJ through MA, as Shutterbug & friends continue their section-hike of the A.T. through the seasons.  This multi-media program is fifth in a series highlighting the natural beauty, history, and memories that make each state that the trail passes through a unique experience, all its own.


Angry Bird Trail Stories

  In 2012, I hiked from Maine to Georgia starting May 30 and finishing November 20th. My trail name was "Angry Bird" because I was struck by a Gos Hawk when still in Maine hiking along the trail. I was also given the name dress shoes for wearing dress shoes from Maine to PA (they did have a sneaker bottom). 

     1. Why was the Appalachian Trail created?
In the 1920's Benton MacKaye made public his ideas of building a trail accross the Appalachian Mountains. Benton MacKaye himself said, "The ulitmate purpose of the Appalachian Trail? To walk. To see. And to see what you see." 

     2. Why did you decide to thru-hike the AT?
When I was young I met a man in Harpers Ferry who was thru hiking the trail. I didn't know about the trail until then, but from that point on I had a pull on my heart to be alone in the wild. 

     3. In your opinion, is it better to thru-hike the AT North to South or South to North, and why?
I hiked North to South and I would say that is a good way to have some alone time in the wild. I would reccomend starting earlier than the crowd because it is less imact on the trail and better for the environment (plus who wants to hike in the wild with a crowd of people). Northbound is better for the epic finish on Mt. Katahdin though. Do your research because parts of the trail close in the winter.

     4. What are the most important things to bring while hiking the AT and why?
Comfortable fitting gear is extremely vital. Comfortable shoes is by far the most important gear to have. I also reccomend walking with hiking poles. Your knees will thank you later! Your pack should fit perfectly as well and not be too heavy. It is easy to carry too much stuff but all you really need is water, food, a sleeping bag and a tent. Simple is better!

Sunday Meetin' Shoes

     5. How did you personally prepare for the hike?
I went on a few small test hikes around my home to see what gear I was not using every day. I parted ways with a lot of gear and ended up buying a new pack, new shoes, new sleeping bag and a hammok instead of a tent (later I used a tent to avoid mosquitoes). I was already physically fit.

     6. What aspect of doing the thru-hike was the most challenging, and why?
I didn't ever want the trail to end so getting off the trail was mentally the hardest part. Because people back home didn't have the experience that I had they couldn't relate to what I had gone through so that was hard for a while to adapt. Also when I got home I realized how noisy and colorful things are, especially in public places. 

     7. Was there a certain portion of the Appalachian Trail that was particularly harder than other parts?  What made it harder?
Maine was my favorite section of the trail because it was the hardest to complete. There was a lot of flooding when I hiked through Maine so my feet where blistered up and the river crossings where dangerous. Also in Tennessee huricane Sandy had hit so I was walking through knee to waiste deep snow and my water kept freezing.

Roan Mtn. TE

     8. When would you say is the best time of the year to begin hiking it?
If you are going south I would say May. If you are going north I would say February-March whenever the weather is warm enough. 

     9. Would you recommend hiking it solo or with a partner?
Solo is better because you are not relying on another persons schedule. You will want to go into towns that others will not and vis versa. 

     10. What kinds of foods are the best to pack?
I did not pack like other hikers packed (I had no stove to save weight), but I found a staple food that works for me that I wouldn't get tired of eating. That was peanut butter and jelly with real bread and not flat bread like other hikers would use. Some other good choices are trail mix, roman noodles, instant mashed potatoes and oat meal. It is also good to carry snickers, nutri grain bars and other good snacks. Nutella on everything is also a very great treat. On the trail there is a lot of time to think about food!!!

     11. If you had to give advice to a future thru-hiker, what would you tell them?
Having good shoes and socks is so important because your feet keep you going. If you have a large pack you will fill it up with things that you don't need. Also take the time to enjoy where you are because when it is over you'll want to keep going. 


Down the Trail
May 19-21//Trail Days Festival (Damascus VA)
May 27// First Program of the Year!!! Presentation on how the AT came to PA by Tom Johnson.
June 3// AT Museum Hiker Festival