Thursday, October 15, 2015

AT Museum Volunteer Newsletter - Volume 2, Issue 12

Volume 2, Issue 12 - October, 2015
brought to you by Joe Harold, Appalachian Trail Museum Manager

We are in the home stretch of this year's Museum season and the leaves are looking pretty nice around the park and up on the mountain.  The past month has been a pretty busy one and the last few weeks of the season will continue to be so.  Thanks to all who are giving their valuable time.  It really is appreciated.  Lots of pictures in this edition.

Annual Volunteer Recognition Event

We have set the date for this year's Volunteer Recognition Event and moved the time to earlier in the day.  This year we will come together at the Ironmasters Mansion on SundayNovember 15th, 2015 at 1:00 pm.  All those who have contributed their time this year are invited and encouraged to attend as we have a delicious potluck dinner, tell some good stories and show our thanks for your dedication to the AT Museum.

Far Away and Local Outreach 

Some of you may know that my wife, Lisa and I traveled up to Millinocket, ME this September for the Trail's End Festival, with some hiking in NY, before, and NJ, after the Festival.  We had a great time and I was happy to be able to add three new AT states that I have hiked in and to represent the AT Museum up in Maine.  

Bear Mountain from the top of West Mountain in NY
We drove to New York and spent a night on the trail near Bear Mountain.  The climb up West Mountain was very tough for us, as we hadn't been out on the trail in a while.

Appalachian Trail Lodge
We next traveled to Millinocket, Maine and checked into the Appalachian Trail Lodge, run by Ole Man and NaviGator.

After settling in, we set up the Museum's traveling exhibit in the Community Center and then proceeded to explore the small town.

AT Museum Traveling Exhibit
On Saturday morning, we headed to Abol Bridge and did a nice 15 mile day hike up the Blueberry Ledges Trail to The Birches and then down the AT where we encountered excited Northbounders, who were almost finished with their hike.  

A foggy morning on the Blueberry Ledges Trail
The fog burned off and the day was very pleasant.  We finished up back at Abol Bridge and we could now get a good view of Katahdin "The Greatest Mountain".  

Mt Katahdin from Abol Bridge
We finished up in Maine and received some good comments on the exhibit and headed down to New Jersey, where we hiked another three days with my wife's sister and her friend.  This was a part of NJ I had never seen before, as we spend most of our NJ time down in flat, sandy, Cape May.

Culver Lake from the top of Kittatinny Mountain
After that adventure, I had a speaking engagement at the nearby Green Ridge Village Senior Living Community near Newville at their Living and Learning session.  I talked about the history of the trail and the Museum and answered some very interesting questions form the residents, who seemed to enjoy my talk.  

It lifted my spirits to see that no one is ever too old to be interested in the trail and the Museum.


The ALDHA Gathering

The Appalachian Long Distance Hiking Association (ALDHA) held its 34th Gathering last weekend.  This was once again a "local" event in relation to the Museum.  All the hikers, both young and old, came together on the campus of Shippensburg University, only a 30 minute drive over the mountain.  

The Museum's table set up, with some things to sell and a decent Silent Auction all with donated items.  
Tents of Gathering attendees line the edge of the field
More tents

My cheap Walmart tent.  It did the trick for the weekend, but isn't my normal shelter
One of the attendees, "Wood Nymph" had a pet rat named Little Girl
Saturday evening had a really nice talk from Cam "Swami" Honan who is an amazing hiker.  He talked about his "12 Long Walks" he did back in 2011 and 2012 where he traveled 12 long trails in the US and walked over 14,000 miles in 18 months.  Quite a guy. Check out his website The Hiking Life to learn more about this awesome man.

Swami talks about his dodgy knee

Work Crew at the Museum

One of the things that ALDHA likes to offer after the Gathering, are various work trips that the members can participate in to help the trail and other AT entities.  The had a group out doing AT boundary work and a nice sized group of 19 with Ron Bungay at their lead, came to the museum to transform quite a few areas in preparation of our ongoing renovation projects.  

I had to head out to the board meeting early in the morning, so you could imagine my total delight when I came back to the Museum around 2:30 and saw all that had been accomplished.  
There used to be a cleaning closet here.  Not any more.
Top floor where most of the work was going on
Workers get to work
The old bathroom on the top floor is demolished.  
Sheet rock installed and some floor boards removed to
facilitate the completion of the HVAC ducting.
This vital work enabled us to prepare for the next phase of our renovations.  Eventually 50% of the floor boards in the top floor will be removed to create a mezzanine, allowing visitors to see the nice arched window from below.  This space will also be our Resource Library, where we will house our rare and historic books, guides and other publications for the use of researchers and other interested parties.  We have a long way to go, but this work group helped us get a lot closer than we were.

I didn't get any pictures, but the Museum grounds had a lot of work done to them too.  The grass was cut and a lot of weeding was done at the stone wall along the old road where the trail travels down to the parking lot.  Everything had a nice fall freshness that made me feel good.

The travel time guesstimate for the workers was around 113 hours and the volunteer hours were 119.

The Gathering brings people from all over and these states were represented by the workers. California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.

My UTMOST Thanks goes to the following workers, who gave their time and sweat to help the Museum realize its dream of expanding to every floor of the Old Grist Mill.

Ron "Yellow Shoes" Bungay
Susan Gail "SG" Arey
Warren & Ann "46 & Storyteller" Axtell
Marilyn "Ameba" Beckley
Mark "Capt. America" Bailey
Dave "Owel Dave" Fleischman
Cheryl "Nike" Hadrych
Veri "Misssing Kink" Hurst
Dan "Milesback" Houchins
Jeff Kunkleman
Pete "Peak" & Laura Lane
Thomas "Radar" Baker
Jim "Jimp" Paschetto
Deb & Charles "Maw & Paw" Tucker
Greg "Weather Carrot" Walter
George "Billy Goat" Woodard

Very note worthy is Billy Goat who probably has more trail miles than than the rest of the crew put together.

Thanks once again.  We really appreciate it.

AT Museum Board Retreat

Back in April the Appalachian Trail Museum Board of Directors held their annual Spring business meeting and decided that a retreat would probably be a good thing to have in October, to see how far we have come since we first incorporated, where we are now, and where we want to go next.  Linda Witmer joined us back in April and was with us again this past Monday as the board came together at Margy's house.  

The board gets to work
With Linda's facilitation, the board figured out what is next for Appalachian Trail Museum, Inc., and made plans to update our documents and plans to show how we have grown over the last several years.  

Linda talks about a strategic plan

Basement Update

Things continue to happen in the new Children's area in the bottom floor of the Old Grist Mill.  Greg of Graphik Masters, our exhibit designer dropped off two of the 14 state display boards for the basement children's section.  They still need to be mounted and several more need to be designed and built, but we are on our way.

Make sure you go down to the basement the next time you are volunteering at the museum to check them out.  

We still have a lot of work gathering pictures (and permission for their use) and writing the copy that will go on the boards to highlight each state that the trail travels through, so if you have good pictures or can write a line or two, let us know. ____________________________________________

Captain Stupid Lives

If you have read our first published book, THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story, then you would recognize the trail name "Captain Stupid", the main protagonist of Richard Judy's first novel.  Larry Luxenberg, Richard and Margy Schmidt have collaborated to create a new Tee Shirt that we will sell at the Museum.  I think it came out rather nice. 

Captain Stupid - from THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story
Larry models the back of the shirt

Things Coming Down the Trail

November 1st, 2015 - AT Museum closes for the 2015 season
November 2nd, 2015 - Last Road Scholar Hike of the season
November 5th, 2015 - Last Group comes to the Museum
November 15th, 2015 - 1:00 pm - Volunteer Recognition Event

An October addition to the Dead Woman's Hollow sign.


  1. Great edition, Joe. You do a really good job with this and it helps us all know what is going on with the museum and hiking community. Thanks.

  2. Very nice newsletter just packed with the 'stuff' we are all working on! Nice job, Joe- AND great job to all the volunteers who make this happen!