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

      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

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 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

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 

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - April 2017

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

Thanks to the boy scouts of Troop #430 from Delaware County for a new walkway! 

You can also check out the photos of our new walkway on our facebook page HERE

New hiking stick medallions added to our store items.


Flip Flop Festival/ April 22nd & 23rd

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy will be hosting its third annual Flip Flop Festival on April 22nd in Harper's Ferry, WV. There will be music, raffles, vendors, workshops, kids activities, pack shakedowns, and more...

For more information click: HERE


Volunteer Picnic/ April 29th @ AT Museum!!!

This picnic (Pot Luck) will be held at the furnace stack pavilion behind the museum. If you volunteer or are interested at all feel free to attend. You can also find our "to bring" signup list at: Volunteer Picnic


CVVB US Army Heritage Center seeking volunteers!

Also check out the CVVB video on YouTube


AT Hall of Fame Banquet/ June 2nd

Cumberland Valley Visitors Bureau will be receiving the "Partnership Appreciation Award" at the banquet this year. More information can be found HERE

To register and attend the banquet click here: Hall Of Fame Banquet


AT Hiker Festival/ June 3rd

First I would like to announce that this year our festival will be funded by a grant from Sandy Hollow Arts and Recreation for the Environment (SHARE). They have been very generous and deserve a big thanks for everything they are funding for us this year.

The funding will be going toward our musicians, signage, advertising for the event, and the needs for our activities. Among our kids activities there will be mountain music by the Buc Hill Aces. We will also have a few speakers to talk about books that they have authored about the Appalachian Trail. 

A better schedule of event will be out soon. The event will last from 11 A.M. to approx... 3:30 P.M.
The SignUp that has been created for the festival can be found here: Hiker Festival

Also Very Important...

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.”


Angry Bird Trail Stories

Because I had dropped my phone in the creek on my first day out on the trail my phone had not been very operational. I was still able to charge it and take photos but was not getting cell tower reception. So it was not until two weeks into my hike in Rangeley(?) Maine that I decided to call home from another phone that did work!!!

It was very freeing to not know what was going on back home but some of my family wondered if I was still alive.

Sight near Horns Pond Lean-tos. What you do not see in this photo is the baby moose that kept me awake all night by crying and running around the shelter looking for its mother. 

My phone did end up working eventually and still works to this day. It has survived falling into water, snow, onto rocks, mud, getting rained on, stepped on, extreme heat in the Mojave, extreme cold in Yosemite, and the list goes on... It has been around with me for the AT, PCT, Via Alpina and I continue to use it for taking pictures for this newsletter. 


Down the Trail
April 22// Flip Flop Festival @ ATC Headquarters in Harpers Ferry WV
April 29// Volunteer Picnic
June 3// Hiker Festival

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 where the AT crosses Shippensburg Road @ 10:00 am. Meet at 9:20am at the AT Museum to shuttle up.

In partnership with the Road Scholars, we provide hiking guides to help with the 8.5 mile hike from Big Flat parking to the Museum, opening the museum for the group after the hike.

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

Click Here to SignUp: Road Scholar Hikes 2017



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