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 www.PineGroveFriends.org 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 www.atmuseum.org 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 manager@atmuseum.org.

      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 manager@atmuseum.org.

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 manager@atmuseum.org 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 manager@atmuseum.org.

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"