Another milestone was reached today as I crossed the halfway point. Just shy of 3 months into the journey, I have hiked 1,092 miles on the AT. It's been an interesting time so far. Lately, I've been enjoying it a lot more from day to day. Things seem to keep improving, especially mentally. I've been meeting and hanging out with some new and old fun people and having a blast.
As much as people talk about Pennsylvania as dreaded hiking grounds, so far I've found it really enjoyable. That may all change when we hit the notorious rocky sections, but so far it has been beautiful. Nice shelters, nice trails, lots of mountain laurel, etc. It helps that we've also had cooler weather.
A tradition of thru hikers at the point of reaching the halfway point, is to stop at the Pine Grove Furnace Store along the trail and eat a half gallon of ice cream. Did I do it? Heck yeah I did! I really wanted to get mint chocolate chip, but they didn't have any, so I went with straight chocolate. It was good ice cream and I ate all of it in 21 minutes and 9 seconds. I had talked to other thru hikers of years past who had done it, and some made it sound painful. There were also some other thru hikers there who started it just before me, and one girl, Fifel, looked like she was in pain part of the way through. I didn't get brain freeze or have any issues other than the ice cream being a little hard in the center which slowed me down. That, and the fact that it was $6 for the half pint. Just a little pricey, but totally worth it. I worried that the hurt may hit later, but after about 5 hours and 3 miles hiked after, I still feel great. Only needed to eat a little for dinner, and Zion shared her extra broccoli cheddar soup with me.
Just before the half gallon challenge, I checked out the Appalachian Trail Museum. Some cool items and reads about the AT housed there.
Check out the picture of the natural face in the tree. Pretty cool.
Looking forward to another good day on the trail tomorrow heading into Boiling Springs. I'm thinking it'll involve less ice cream though. ;)