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. https://www.facebook.com/johar923
3. Trailjournals website: http://www.trailjournals.com/pamola... 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 - http://cgmasterchief.blogspot.com/ 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: https://www.youtube.com/user/johar9... 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.


  1. Go get'em Joe! I am sure you have learned enough to be prepared for the journey. I did not see an actual start day listed, just the mention of a late start, but I can personally vouch for the fact that May 15 is not too late to start - and the crowds will be less. Oh, yea, about the Kelty packs....Of course Kelty is the best, and internals are for woossies.

    1. Well thank you Mr/Ms Unknow. We plan to hit the trail on April 26th. Not as late as mid-May, but hopefully behind the crowds. I currently wear a woosie pack made by Osprey. Its name is Phobos.

      Take care,
      Joe "EarthTone" Harold

    2. I checked your journal. This is Gonzo, isn't it? :)