Friday, March 17, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - March 2017

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

The ramp is holding up to the snow just fine


Museum Cleanup Day//March 18

Help us clean the Museum on Saturday!!!

SignUp at: AT Museum Cleanup Day

All the snow has been shoveled and other outside work will be put off until winter weather is gone, but there is still plenty to do inside. We have merchandise that needs moved around, floors that need swept and mopped, displays that need cleaned, furniture to be moved and cheese and crackers to munch on as well.

The food alone is worth the trip!

Also, the lady bug population has sky rocketed in the museum this winter so there's that. At least the're not stink bugs.

AT Museum Greeter Sign Up 2017 & Docent Training//March 17...

Our first Docent training sessions for 2017 start this weekend and next!!!
March 17, 18, 19, 24 & 25

Click here to SignUp: Museum Greeter Orientation

If you can not sign up for shifts this weekend or next and really want to help just send us an email at 

The Docent/Greeter Schedule is Online!!!

 To SignUp for shifts starting Next Saturday click here: Docent/Greeter SignUp

I have completed the entire seasons SignUp schedule from May 25th to October 29th. You will be notified by email 24 hours before each scheduled shift so that you can't forget. If you have to back out of a shift it is as easy as the click of a button and I will then be notified myself to cover these open shifts. 

$18.00 @ AT Museum

In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.
$19.00 @ AT Museum

New Shirt Rack and Docent Stools


Road Scholar Hikes//April 3...May 8...

Our first Road scholar hike will be held on April 3rd starting from Shepherd's Spring @ 8;30 am

Hike the Appalachian Trail in Four States!
Passing through 14 states, the Appalachian Trail is more than 2180 miles long. Sample the treasures of the trail in daylong hikes in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. Stories from thru-hikers and naturalists help to bring the beauty of the trail alive. Hikes are 6-10 miles each day carrying a day pack.

Monday Pennsylvania Hikes, Arendstville-Shippensburg Rd to Pine Grove Furnace

We leave Shepherd’s Spring @ 8:30am, comfort stop @ Caledonia State Park



These stairs look wonderful!


Volunteer Picnic (Rescheduled)//April 29

I have scheduled this year's Volunteer Appreciation Picnic for April 29th. This picnic is for volunteers and those interested in volunteering and will be held at the AT Museum around noon during our open hours.

If you are interested and/or hungry I have created a sign up at: Volunteer Picnic


Angry Bird Trail Stories
Coming out of Elm Switzerland!

There was a grocery store in the center of town. It was something like you would expect to see in a small not so well known town along the Appalachian Trail. When I approached the deli counter in the back I decided that I wanted some local cheese. So I asked the nice lady behind the glass, 
                       //"Konnen Sie Englisch?" 
                       //She then replied with, "No."
                       //So I said, "Kann ich haben ein bisschen alpe Kase Bitte?" ...  "Auf hier?"
I knew what I had said was not totally correct but she understood that I was asking if I could have a little Swiss cheese. So she gave me a slice and I excitedly said,
                       //"Ja, gut." While using my hands to specify how much I wanted. 
She then put the blade to the alp cheese as I hand signaled...more...more...good...

Then the cashier asked if I needed any help in prefect English! 

On the way out of Weisstannen
 On the way out of town I stopped at the park. There was a little girl who was trying to talk to me. I understand only a little of what she was saying and told her,
                            //"Ich verstehe nur ein bisschen Deutsche" (I understand only a little)
So she tried harder...
After a minute or so I finally had to tell her,
                            //"Tut mir leid, Ich weiB night" (sorry, I don't know)
She wasn't very happy that I didn't understand her, but it was very impressive that she tried!
The Foostock, also known as the Ruchen


Coming Down the Trail
March 25// Museum Opening Day
April 3// First Road Scholar Hike of the Season
April 29th, Volunteer Picnic

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - February 2017

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

One of the cold overcast days

Incredible GoPro fish eye lens view

Tetras shelves to replace boxes

AT Museum Greeter Sign Up 2017 & Docent Training

2017 Hours of operation

Saturday, March 25 to Sunday, April 30 – Weekends, Noon to 4:00PM
Saturday, May 6 to Sunday July 16 – 9:00AM to 4:00PM every day
Monday, July 17 to Sunday, August 20 – Noon to 4:00PM every day
August 23 to October 29 - Noon to 4:00PM Wednesday thru Sunday
(Open Labor Day Monday, September 4, and, Columbus Day, Monday, October, 9)

The schedule for volunteers to sign up to be a greeter can be found at: AT Museum Greeter.
The Museum Greeter Orientation will be scheduled for March 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th and 25th. These sessions (5 in total) will provide Docents with a review of the processes and refresh the memory.
Please follow the links provided to sign up for these shifts.


Museum Cleanup Day

I have added shifts on the website for the Museum Cleanup Day on March 18th. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017 is the date for the spring clean-up at the Appalachian Trail Museum. Activities will start at 9:00AM and we should be done by 12:00 noon or 1:00PM. If you cannot make it for the entire morning, we appreciate whatever time you can spare.


ATC Volunteer of the Month

Congratulations to Ron Bungay for being noticed as the Appalachian Trail Conservancies Volunteer of the Month in January. His work around the Museum alone has been very fruitful, but that is only a glimpse of what Ron does for the trail community. I only know a little about Ron myself, but every time I am around him I seem to learn something very useful.
Thank you for all the work you do Ron!

Here is a link to the write up by the ATC: Ron Bungay

Photo by Carol Bungay

Museum Renovations

Closet under stairs
After a little stain they will blend right in


Volunteer Picnic

I have scheduled this year's Volunteer Picnic for April 22nd. This picnic is for anyone who gives their time to the A.T. Museum or are interested in getting involved. This is a great way for volunteers to get to know each other. The picnic will be held at the AT Museum around noon following the Pine Grove Furnace SP's Earth Day Volunteer Clean-up

If you are interested in getting involved I have created a sign up at: Volunteer Picnic


Angry Bird Trail Stories

The first rattle snake experience I've had was in the state of New Jersey while walking down the trail with my camera in hand not watching where I was stepping. Then, when I least expected it I heard the rattle about six inches from my right foot. After I jumped about six feet I turned around and began to take pictures and recorded two short videos.

Since then I have seen six more rattlers including two Mojave green rattle snakes which are the most venomous native snakes in the USA. The bite from one of these can kill a healthy adult in an hour. This photo of a Mojave green rattler was taken near Burney California.

I was keeping my eye on a group of birds that were trying to strike me when I heard some rustling in the bush I had just brushed my leg against. Thinking it was another bird I got closer to the bush and looked in. About that time I saw a rattle protruding from the branches. After jumping back I hurried to grab my camera and drew a warning sign in the sand for the hiker following me.


Coming Down the Trail
March 3rd - 5th, Appalachian Trail Kick Off Convention, Amacalola Falls State Park, GA
March 17th - 25th, Museum Greeter Orientation
March 18th, AT Museum Cleanup Day
March 25th, Museum Opening Day
April 22nd, Volunteer Picnic

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - January 2017

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

Though the museum seems quiet there are still quite a few things going on. From organizing little things, to planning speeches I have found that the work never ends, and that is a good thing. 

What the ramp looked like last year at this time

What the ramp looks like now
New clock added to the docent desk


Exhibit Committee Meeting
The date for the Exhibit Committee Meeting has been set for Saturday January 21st, from 10:am to noon on the second floor of the Appalachian Trail Museum. At this meeting we will discuss the idea of our become a hiker cards for the children's mini walk of the AT, the evolution of the backpack exhibit, and any new ideas you may have for exhibits to be displayed in our future.

To sign up you can follow this link: Exhibit Committee Meeting

Afterward we plan to have a social time to enjoy treats and good company. 
So stick around if you can!


January Renovations
Three of our dedicated volunteers decided to
 surprise us with some of their great looking handy work.

Storage Area Door

Trap Door Ceiling Access


Museum Cleanup Day & Docent Training

I have updated a few new shifts on for the Museum Cleanup Day on March 18th, the Museum Greeter Orientation on March 17th - 25th, and Docent Shifts will soon be updated as well. Please follow the links provided to sign up for these shifts.

The Museum Greeter Training Sessions will be scheduled for March 17th, 18th, 19th, 24th and 25th. These sessions (5 in total) will provide Docents with a review of the processes and refresh the memory. I will also be conducting hands on training on the PayPal Here software at all sessions.  Any new Docents will receive more intense training.

Saturday, March 18, 2017 is the date for the spring clean-up at the Appalachian Trail Museum. Activities will start at 9:00AM and we should be done by 12:00 noon or 1:00PM. If you cannot make it for the entire morning, we appreciate whatever time you can spare so we can have the museum in ship-shape for the opening the following Saturday March 25th.


Saturday/Sunday Public Programs 

Once again the Museum is hoping to offer a variety of Saturday/Sunday Public Programs.  We are starting to book the presenters now and hope to offer interesting presentations throughout the season. If you have something you would like to present, let me know and you can have an early pick of which Saturday/Sunday you want to present. Your topic can be just about anything relating to the trail, or the outdoors, or local history, etc... If the program can be held outdoors that would be great as well.

Send me a short description of your presentation and pick your date.  I will be updating the AT Museum Programs both here and at All Sundays are open between Memorial Day and Labor Day.


Angry Bird Trail Stories
Day number one on the Appalachian Trail: Hiking up to Katahdin was a little more than just another peak in the state of Maine for me. I never liked back tracking so I decided to hike up the Abol trail which was shorter and steeper. I then descend on the Appalachian Trail. This trail has been relocated since my accent in May of 2012 but still remains to be the shortest route to Katahdin to this day. Along this accent and for the next two days I hiked with another guy who I call Alabama. One because he is from Alabama, and two because I have forgotten his name. 

Knifes Edge Trail May 30th, 2012
After hiking down to the Katahdin Stream Campground I traded in the day pack that they provided for me and went on to the Hurd Brook Lean-to completing 18 trail miles for my first day on the trail. Along the way I dropped my phone in Nesowadnehunk Stream and had to improvise a way to dry it out in a zip lock full of rice that I kept in my front pocket for the next few days. On the third Morning however on top of Nesuntabunt Mountain I was so determined to take a picture with my phone that I did not care if it was broken in the process. The result was an amazing picture and a phone that has not died to this day. You can see the picture below and understand why I was so determined.

Sunrise view from Nesuntabunt Mtn. on Jun 1st, 2012


Things Coming Down The Trail
January 21st, Exhibit Committee Meeting
January 27th - 29th, Northern Ruck - Bears Den Hostel, VA
March 3rd - 5th, Appalachian Trail Kick Off Convention, Amacalola Falls State Park, GA
March 17th - 25th, Museum Greeter Orientation
March 25th, Museum Opening Day

Friday, December 16, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - December 2016

December 2016
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager.

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome that I have been given as I take on this new challenge at the museum! This year has been blessing after blessing and I am excited to take on this new adventure. I can only hope that you all are as excited as I am.

For those of you who have not had the opportunity to meet me, click on: MEET NATHANIEL SHANK, A. T. MUSEUM MANAGER

My pack and Angry Bird hanging out for the ride

Special Openings and Closing for Season
     After closing the museum for the season we still managed to open our doors to a few hikers and groups. Our approximate visitor attendance for the month of November was 44 including one thru hiker! 

'present' found in the docent desk
It's not that cold!


Volunteer Recognition Dinner
On November 20th, the Volunteer Recognition Dinner was held at the Ironmaster's Mansion. At the dinner we discussed this seasons success, new ideas for exhibits at the museum, the historical route of the AT and shared stories from this years docents and volunteers. 

For more information on the dinner, click on: Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Here are some more photos from the dinner:
JACK ADAMS received the Presidents Award
ED RIGGS received the Volunteer Of The Year
TOM JOHNSON (P.A.T.C.)  talks about the Historical Route of the Appalachian Trail.

Exhibit Committees 
     In January/February we at the museum would like to have a meeting or two about the expansion of the exhibits on the second floor. If you would like to be involved with the creating of exhibits or have some great ideas or even just want to sit in on a meeting, please send an email to

My favorite artifact on display
My second favorite artifact on display

Become A Hiker Card 

                                                             All A.T. Section & Thru Hikers 
     As a part of the new children's mini walk of the Trail, we are creating cards for children to pick up as they enter the basement. The cards will contain a picture of a thru or section hiker and information about their hike. These cards will be available at the entrance to the children’s mini-hike exhibit for children to pick up and BECOME YOU as they take a mini-walk of the A.T.  

For the Become A Hiker Form send me an email at

If you have not yet completed the entire A.T., pass this on to someone who has and invite them to submit a form & photo(s). We’d love to feature children hikers as well.

(To be considered for the 2017 museum season, forms & photo(s) must be returned by January 15.  We will  begin creating 2017 hiker cards with the first 10 forms returned.)


Exploring New Trails
     Approximately 70 miles of shared-use trails exist throughout the Michaux State Forest and the immediate surrounding area. According to the Michaux regulations horses and mountain bikes may be ridden on nearly all state forest roads and trails except the Appalachian Trail, Rocky Knob Trail, Beaver Trail and Buck Ridge Trail. 

Maps can be found at: Michaux State Forest

Blueberry Trail one mile south of museum along 233

Blueberry Trail is definitely an appropriate name for this route! Too bad I was late for the season :(

Angry Bird Trail Stories
     While on the Appalachian Trail I had the privilege of meeting Baltimore Jack along with Bob Peoples at the Kincora Hostel in Hampton, Tennessee. After some humorous conversation about a can of "opossum meat" that had gone missing, and Bob Peoples' cats and a raccoon in which Bob had named, Baltimore Jack told me a story of when he was hiking along the trail and came across another hiker who was hiking with his cat. After Jack had hiked passed the fellow hiker and his cat companion he decided to leave cans of "cat trail magic" at the shelters. Well, on one of these town runs that he had been purchasing trail magic for this cat, another shopper happened to oversee Jack packing away the cans of food. Jack described to me the joy he had on his face as he resupplied his pack. Then the overseeing good Samaritan (most likely showing dread on his face) handed Jack a twenty dollar bill saying, "nobody has to live like that." Not knowing how to explain his situation without sounding crazy Jack reluctantly accepted the twenty dollars. His words to me where, "how do you explain that you are leaving trail magic for a cat to a person who is probably unfamiliar with the trail without sounding completely insane?" 

Climbing the peak of Germany:

Ascending the Austrian side of Zugspitze

The pass crossing into Germany

Zugspitze at last!


Things Coming Down The Trail
January/February - Exhibit Committee Meeting
March 25th - Opening Day

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - November 2016

November 2016
Brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager and Nathaniel Shank, new Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

Another successful season (actually our most successful) has come to an end.  We had a record number of visitors, topping 10,000 for the first time.  We also had a record amount of donations received at the Museum and our sales at our little gift shop were the best they have ever been.  We anticipate next year being just as busy and successful.  We hope you all continue to give your time as without you, the Museum doesn't exist.  

This is my (Joe's) last preparation of the Newsletter.  From now on, Nate will take on the responsibility of keeping you informed and interested.  I've had a great time.  

Thanks to all of you for your help.  It is certainly appreciated.

Early morning after closing for the season

Troop 248 Completes work project at the Museum 

On October 23rd Cub Scout Troop 248 from Zions View, PA spent the weekend in the Park and asked to do a service project at the Museum.  The grounds needed a little TLC before winter rolls in, so the scouts spent the day raking and doing a very nice clean up around the Museum.

The scouts made quick work of the leaves, sticks and chestnut casings that were littering the grounds and we are very appreciative of their hard work and service.  

Thanks Troop 248 for making the Museum look so good.  

Paint Party at the Museum 

The two upper floor renovations have been progressing well and we needed to get the third floor painted so the electrician can finish his work up there, so on Oct 29th, we called a paint party.  More than ten generous volunteers heeded the call, with Ron leading the crew and the work commenced.  
Mike and Roderick
Thom, Margy, Carolyn, Jen, (Ron) and Martha

Jim, (Jen), Mike, Carolyn, Martha and Ron

Jim, Jen, Carolyn, Ron and Margy
While a large group tackled the attic, another smaller group led by Howard, completed work on the mill race outside.  I haven't been around a long time, but I'm thinking that the race looks better than it ever has in recent history.  

Rich, Howard and Nate

Nate, Roderick, Howard and maybe Rich's butt.

Mill Race

The illusion is complete

Our zealous efforts had us running out of both primer and the top coat and Mike had to run to Home Depot for more primer, but we got the job done in short order.  

Evening shot.  All is quiet.
Much thanks goes to Ron, Carol, Margy, Howard, Nate, Jay, Mike, Martha, Thom, Carolyn, Rich, Jen, Jim and Roderick.   

Backpacks Through the Ages 

After trying to arrange a meeting with Dave Sherman since June to see the almost two dozen backpacks we have acquired from hikers over the years, we finally came together in early November to see what we had.  Dave, Gwen, Nate and I met at our storage unit in Carlisle and arranged all the packs we have in a few nice lines.  

Dave, Gwen and Nate discuss the possibilities
Each pack has a great story to tell and some of them will be a part of one of our new exhibits on the second floor of the Museum in the coming years.  Kelty seems to be a popular choice as almost half of them were that brand.

Keltys everywhere
Even with what we have, we are still looking for something to even out the pack exhibit.  External frame packs are well represented, but we are looking for packs from both sides of the timeline.  We are looking for a pack or two from the WWII era as well as an internal frame pack and an ultralight pack.  A highly desirable pack would be one like Warner Hall is wearing in the photo that was turned into the Springer Mountain Plaque in 1933 (May be a Trapper Nelson Pack).  If you have something that you can donate to the Museum with the possibility of it being used in our exhibit, let us know.  


Meet Nathaniel 

Nathaniel shows his homemade banjo that hiked the PCT with him
As a local of southern PA Nathaniel spent most of his childhood at the Shanks Feed Mill in Fairfield and graduated from Fairfield High. In 2012 Nathaniel graduated from Penn State University with a degree in forestry. Shortly after graduation he decided to thru hike the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia southbound. Along the trail he was unknowingly given the trail name Dress Shoes because he hiked from Maine to Pennsylvania in a pair of leather dress shoes, but the trail name that stuck was Angry Bird because of a gos hawk that struck him in the back of his head while hiking in Maine. After 110 days of hiking, $1,500 spent and 1,184 miles of trail behind him he stood on Springer Mountain. 

In 2013 he was hired by Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve as a forestry intern. During his internship he was in charge of planning and planting nearly 2,000 trees and shrubs within different blocks of the 600 plus acre preserve. He then became an environmental educator and continues to be involved with their programs and events.

In 2014 Nathaniel then decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada northbound. He was also given a promotion to manager of the cider operation at the Oyler's Organic Farm. 

Then when 2015 rolled around he decided to do a shorter hike across the Swiss Alps. Hiking more than 300km on the green trail of the Via Alpina he went from Saint-Gingolph France to the peak of Germany (Zugspitze). After this hike he has continued his involvement at the Oyler's Farm and Strawberry Hill and has been assisting with the men's ministry at Liberty Worship Center in Fairfield, PA. 

My Next Adventure 

As you all know, I'm moving on at the end of this year and I have a huge adventure planned.  I have really enjoyed having a job literally ON the trail, but having that constant reminder of how far the trail goes in each direction and interacting with the hikers all the time, has brought my wanderlust to a boil.  

I think I have intended to complete the trial for a while now.  Up until this year, it was still just the nebulous idea of a dreamer.  As things moved along in my life, I saw a window, where my bride, Lisa, and I can take some time off and take a hike.  

So that is what we are going to do.  Next April, Lisa (LoGear) and I (EarthTone) will be flying down to Atlanta (using the miles we earned paying for a wedding) and start our Quest of Pamola.  If you didn't know, Pamola is a god of thunder and protector of Katahdin.  He has the body of a man, the head of a moose and the wings and talons of an eagle. We hope to walk from Georgia to Maine and if found worthy by Pamola, summit his mountain.  

We are in no hurry, as we have the time to do this at our own pace.  We are starting late in the month to avoid the crowds and will probably be doing a bit of cleanup as we go along behind the larger bubbles.  It is a Long Distance Hike and that can mean whatever you want.  I have set several goals (being a Thru-Hiker is a secondary goal of less importance) that I hope to meet along the way.  Each will add to our adventure and give us more stories to tell.  The further we go, the more stories.  

Being someone who likes to share my journeys, I have set up several sites where I will possibly be posting our progress and my thoughts as we move up the Trail. I know that it is hard to walk all day, do your camp chores, then find time to write and post and signal can be sporadic at certain places, but if I am posting, then these are the possible places I will be posting.

1. Facebook Like Page "Adventures of EarthTone and LoGear". This will probably be my go-to, as near as daily as possible, easy place to post. If you use Facebook and Like this page, you will see my updates in your feed.
2. I may also post to my personal Facebook Page. If you are my friend (or following), then you will see it.
3. Trailjournals website: I hope to keep this up-to-date with a nice mileage accumulation and maybe a picture or two, but it is a unwieldy to use with a phone out on the trail, so updates may come late and in chunks. Eventually, it will be updated with all the data as a record of the hike. My other hikes are all documented here.
4. Our Blog: The Adventures of EarthTone and LoGear - I started this Blog about seven years ago and have more or less added to it as things happened in my life and I had the desire to write about them. If you dig down into it, you will see its theme change from time to time. Evolving into what it is now. This is my personal blog. I invite you in to check it out. Eventually this too will contain a complete rendition of the hike. I will probably update this more on a weekly schedule if I can.
5. Instagram: earthtone923. From time to time I might post a photo. Not my go to app, but who knows.
6. SnapChat: earthtone923. I followed a few hikers on this for the 2016 season. It is kinda cool, but can get annoying at times. I might do a few short videos from time to time when I get the inkling
7. YouTube: I don't plan on posting many videos, but you never know. I don't plan on being a filmmaker out there, so anything I post will probably be pretty raw and in need of editing.
Hopefully I will keep at least one or two of these going during the hike.
People are always asking "why are you doing this hike".  Some can answer quickly, some need to think about it a while.  I have thought about it for a long time and here is my latest response:
I want to be an outsider
To watch the dawn break in the forest
To feel the midday sun on my neck as I move North
To see a sunset each day
To walk among the falling rain and feel a stiff breeze chill me
To be with the beasts of the forest and talk with the people who walk with me
To live life to its fullest each day that I hike
So come along with LoGear and I, virtually or in person.  All are welcome to our Tramily. (Trail+Family=Tramily)

Things Coming Down the Trail

November 20th, 2016 - Volunteer Recognition Dinner
March 25th, 2017 - Museum opens for its eighth season

For those wanting to see me not wearing hiking clothes:

And a few more to part with:
Four Managers, all in a row.

Jeff and Ed place the last grate onto the ramp.  Job just about done.