Wednesday, March 28, 2018

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - March 2018

March 2018
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

2018 Hours of operation
Saturday, March 31 to Sunday, April 29 – Weekends, Noon to 4:00PM
Saturday, May 5 to Sunday, July 15 – 9:00AM to 4:00PM every day
Monday, July 16 to Sunday, August 19 – Noon to 4:00PM every day
August 22 to October 28 - Noon to 4:00PM Wednesday thru Sunday
(Open Labor Day Monday, September 3, and, Columbus Day, Monday, October 8)
Special Events:      Times to be announced

New maps of the Michaux State Forest ($15)
New strings and bridge on hiker lounge guitar

Museum Opens 8th Season
          The museum will be open on March 31st at noon! We may still have snow on the ground, but unless the roads are covered or dangerous we plan to be open. 


Hall Of Fame Banquet & Festival May 4th & 5th
          On May 4th we will be at the fully renovated Allenberry Resort Inn, located in Boiling Springs, PA. The evening will begin with a reception at 6 pm, followed by the banquet at 7 pm. The Buc Hill Aces will be our musical entertainment for both the banquet and the festival.

2018 Appalachian Trail Hall Of Fame Inductees

Click Here For Tickets To The 2018 Hall Of Fame Banquet

We have established a special email address for questions concerning the Appalachian Trail Hall Of Fame Banquet:

Hall Of Fame Festival May 5th
          On May 5th the Festival will be held at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park. The picnic lunch is open to the public free of charge, but donations are welcome. Your donations help us create new displays like the one pictured below. So far the schedule looks like this...

10:00am-Ron Rosen representing Elizabeth Levers
 11:00am-Graybeard presentation in lower level of museum
12:00pm-Picnic Lunch and music by the Buc Hill Aces
 1:00pm-Libby Hargrave representing George Masa
 2:00pm-Mountain Music by Buc Hill Aces

Linda Patton will also be giving tours of our library project and we'll be showing our new Avery canoe display at this time!

Another great display by Graphik Masters of York, PA

          We have had a few great volunteers busy this winter working on getting our second floor ready for exhibits. If you would like to help with renovations please let us know at You don't have to be a handyman but it would definitely help if you are. Lately, we have installed insulation in the top floor walls, painted areas of the resource library, spackled a few walls and moved in some furniture for the library/office use.

AT Museum Cleanup on March 24th
The Appalachian Trail Museum's Research Library to be established in 2018!

The first week of April, Linda Patton will be traveling from Florida to Pennsylvania to start work as the founding Librarian for the Research Library which will be set up on the 3rd floor of the Museum. Linda (trailname "eArThworm") is a long-time member of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Florida Trail Association, a former backpacker and trail builder, and a retired librarian from Florida State University. She will be bringing her collection of about 750 books; David Crooks will be bringing his collection of about 550 books and Roger Williamson's of just over 300 books. Linda will also be bringing a few books donated by the ATC, and there are possibly 1000+ books in storage in Carlisle. All together, there could be around 3,000 books to be processed into the Research Library's collection. Due to lack of space (and funds) maps, videos, and other types of materials requiring special housing will most likely have to wait to be added to the collection in the future.

Linda has already begun ordering the furniture, equipment and supplies for the library, hoping
to have everything delivered to the Museum and set up by the time she begins work in April. Joan McKean, another retired librarian and Museum volunteer, will be assisting Linda as much as she can. But Linda will most likely be staying for only eight weeks, and 3,000 books are a lot to process; so she will be looking for other volunteers to assist in various ways. The first job will be off-loading (sometimes heavy) boxes from delivery trucks, carrying them to the 3rd floor and doing some minor assembly on the furniture. Starting on the 9th, an assembly-line crew will be needed to attach film to each bookcase shelf (to protect books from wood off-gassing and acid) and put the shelves back into the cases. Someone with excellent penmanship will be needed to write call numbers on book slips.
Other jobs will come to light as the collection processing begins. Any volunteer with previous library experience could be especially valuable, but anyone with time and an interest in helping can let Linda know either now or when she arrives. She can be contacted at

You might want to check out her website at


Road Scholar Hike April 16th
          First road scholar hike of the Season. These hikes start at Shippensburg Road and end at the AT Museum(8 miles). The group is usually made up of people from all around the USA. If you've never volunteered to help on one of these hikes I encourage you to at least tag along and see what it's like. Bring your own water and lunch! Link to Details: Here


AT Flip-Flop Festival April 28th
          Last year was the first time that the AT Museum attended the Flip-Flop Festival in Harpers Ferry, WV. Here are a few photos from that event. We will be attending the festival again on the 28th of April and hope to meet a lot of future thru-hikers. Maybe we will be able to acquire some delicious West Virginia pepperoni rolls at this event as well!

AT Museum stand in the center with banjo (2017)

Angry Bird Trail Story
          Hiking out of Harpers Ferry after talking my youngest brother into hiking the entire state of Maryland with me was depressing. It was the last time I expected to hike with a family member during my hike. I wanted to share so much of my hike with people I knew. I thought about it a lot actually. So when I got to Waynesboro, VA I decided to call my older sister who lived near VA Beach and asked if she would hike part of Virginia with me... Then she said yes! Everything changed!

          The next day I got her to meet me at Reeds Gap which is mile 13.6 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and approximately 20 trail miles south of Rockfish Gap where I hitched to Waynesboro, VA. From Reeds Gap we got a ride to Blue Ridge Parkway mile 51.7 and hiked .4 miles south to the Punchbowl Shelter. After picking apples and staying the night at the shelter we set off on our north bound hike back to the car. On our journey we got to experience trail magic, sunset views, unfiltered water, fresh unwashed non-homogenized/non-pasteurized/non-demoralized organic apples and pizza hut.

          At the end of the second day, we had hiked 47.8 miles over Bald Knob, Cole Mountain, The Preist and Three Ridges back to Reeds Gap. She summited three 4,000 foot mountains and hiked nearly 50 miles with me. I still feel bad for pushing the limits.

Advice from Angry Bird: Walk slow and take a lot of breaks when in the wild.


Coming down the trail
          March 30th - Pine Grove Furnace State Park campground opens
          March 31st - AT Museum opens
          April 1st - Ironmasters Mansion opens for guests
          April 16th? - Museum library project starts
          April 16th - Road Scholar Hike
          April 28th - AT Flip Flop Festival in Harpers Ferry, WV
          April 29th - Ironmasters challenge trail run and hike
          May 4th - Hall Of Fame Banquet
          May 5th - Hall Of Fame Festival
          May 7th - Road Scholar Hike
          May 31st - AT Museum Program about women of the Appalachian Trail
          June 2nd - AT Museum Children's Festival
          June 16th - Red Run Park AT Festival in Waynesboro, PA

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - November/December 2017

November/December 2017
Brought to you by Nathaniel "Angry Bird" Shank, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

Volunteer Hours & Special Thanks
     On Sunday, November 5th the Volunteer Recognition Dinner was held at the Iron Masters Mansion. There were 40+/- in attendance. The overall attendance at the museum this year was 9327 visitors. The volunteers donated 2558 hours of their time greeting hikers and visitors from all over the world, guiding road scholar hikes, resource library organization, garden and lawn work, building maintenance, renovation to 2nd and 3rd floor and constructing our new walkway. I'm sure there is plenty more that I am forgetting. 

     At the banquet, we recognized Gwen Loose for finding the open door and following through with final reports for grants that were available to us this year and in past years. She has helped us to accomplish what was thought to be impossible. Another person who really helped us a lot with outreach and donations is Robert "Red Wolf" Croyle. He is a wonderful person to work with. I can't imagine the museum without him.

     We also recognized Ron Bungay for his countless hours thinking, planning and building the upper floors of the museum. For all of his help this year at the museum we have created for him and his crew a patch (pictured) and honored him with the 2017 Presidents Award. 

The 2017 Volunteer Of the Year is Berry Flicker. Berry helped maintain the yard all summer, he donated gas, fixed lawn tools when needed, brought an army of scouts to help with an early fall cleanup and placing pavers in our walkway and he is one of the happiest people to be around. 

Thank you all for a great year!

Comming Events in 2018!
The Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet returns to the Allenberry Resort this coming May! In early April the inductees will be announced! The actual induction ceremony will be on Friday, May 4, 2018, at the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame Banquet, located at the Allenberry Resort. Follow THIS LINK to get your tickets.
Do you know someone who we should consider for the A.T. Hall of Fame?  Nominations are open now.  Just follow THIS LINK.  

The Appalachian Trail Museum Hall of Fame Festival will be held on Saturday, May 5th, 2018, at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park. We will be located at the pavilion below the AT Museum like usual.

The Appalachian Trail Museum Children's Festival will also be held at the Pine Grove Furnace State Park on June 2nd, 2018. This event will be held on the museum grounds.

January 1, 2018 at 1 PM
Meet at Fuller Lake Bath House
Join the Friends of Pine Grove Furnace State Park and park staff on a hike to
celebrate the new year. This guided hike will start at the Fuller Lake Bath House then
follow Old Railroad Bed Road to the Mountain Creek Trail. The hike will continue to the
end of the Mountain Creek Trail and return along Old Railroad Bed Road back to Fuller
Lake Bath House. Total distance is approximately 4 miles. The Friends group will serve
refreshments during the program.
Please dress for the weather, bring water, and wear sturdy shoes. The trail is
relatively flat, but there are tripping hazards, large stepping stones across side channels,
and steps at the bridge: no strollers, please. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.
In case of severe weather, check or our Facebook page:
We hope to see you “1/1 @ 1” at the Fuller Lake Bath House!


Janice Gibson donated seat covers.

Electricians have been working on track lighting for the second floor.

The water has been turned off for the season, but there are still a few cold weather hikers like myself who cannot stop exploring.

New Merchandise

Check out some of the new merchandise that was added to our inventory near the end of 2017. We now have two books by Mic Louther, Walking North and Taking the Long Way Home.  We also have another book by Jeffrey Ryan called Blazing Ahead.

On the way is a waterproof map of the Michaux State Forest by Purple Lizard Maps. A few of the great groups that helped create this map include the Pine Grove Furnace State Park Friends Group, Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve and Gettysburg Bicycle and Fitness. This map will be available for sale at the AT Museum and at in 2018.

Angry Bird Trail Stories (Continued)
     I got to the Carl A. Newhall Lean-to as it was getting dark(er). My clothes were wet but the contents of my pack were totally dry. I had stuffed some dry wood from the last shelter into my pack in case I really wanted a fire. Instead, I decided that I wanted to go right to sleep... or not! Before I could go to sleep the people at this shelter were giving me some wonderful advice. It was all legal but highly unethical. Some of the advice they gave me was also definitely illegal. So the advise was in reality not so wonderful. About an hour later another hiker showed up. I'll call him Redhead since I don't know his trail name. He was drenched, sleeping bag and all. I thought I was in a bad spot but after seeing him I realized how well off I really was! It was also a cold night. I don't remember a whole lot after this because I actually went to sleep very quickly. That seems to happen when I least think it would. 

     When we hiked out in the morning Redhead left before I did, but not by long. When I caught up with him he asked, "Did you see my knife?" I replied with, "Noooo!" That made us very happy to be away from there. Minutes later when the other hiker who was there showed up we had a few laughs and sighs of relief. Then the Canadians showed up and we had to cross the flooded, waist high, bitter cold, fast moving, slippery west branch of the pleasant river. I was the first to test the water and cross. They said I made it look easy, but it was far from easy. One of the Canadians fell and went straight back to shore behind me. Then the female that was with us was carried 200+/- feet down river getting hit by rocks along the way. She managed to escape by using her poles to push herself across. She was bruised pretty badly but managed to get out. 

     When looking up videos of that river online it is only ankle high. In hindsight, camping until the water was lower would have been a great route to take. If planning to ford a river be sure to unbuckle the waist belt from your pack before trying to cross. It may save your life.

If you would like to listen to me give a tour of the museum and talk about some of my experiences on the trail then you are in luck. The A.T. Museum was featured in the podcast "Effing Weird Museums".  HERE is a link to the episode, in which host Emily Morman interviews Museum Manager Nate Shank.


Coming Down the Trail
First Day Hike (P.G.F.S.P. Park Staff) - January 1st, 2018, 1pm @ Fuller Lake Bath House
Hall Of Fame Banquet - May 4th @ Allenberry Resort
Hall Of Fame Festival - May 5th, 2018
Program: Women of the A.T. - Thursday, May 31st, 6:30 pm @ A.T. Museum
AT Museum Children's Festival - June 2nd, 2018
Halfway Hiker Picnic - July 7th, 2018

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

      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