pine Grove Furnace State park

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July 12, 1983 Tuesday (1088.8 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

The temperature was cool this morning when I awoke, but after ascending just a bit I found out that all the cool air was just hanging in the depression near the shelter. I soon found out what the weather was really like - extremely warm. I hit a sudden rise in temperature as I went up. I cruised the nine miles to Pine Grove Furnace State Park in about 2 ½ to 3 hours and met several hikers going south along the way.

At the park there is a store which is famous as being the home of the half-gallon club, a half gallon of ice cream that is. Prospective members can buy a half gallon of ice cream from the store and if successful at eating the whole carton in one setting, a piece of oak tag construction paper and a magic marker are rewarded to the new member so they can make a sign to hang in the store proclaiming that they were an official member. I looked though their selection and ended up with a half gallon of Black Raspberry ice cream for my attempt. I sat out on the front porch of the building as I began to eat in the heat. I must say that the heat has a lot to do with the successful completion of the snack; the heat melts the ice cream making it smooth and easy to scoop out and swallow. If I had to eat the whole thing while it was frozen solid, I would not have completed the challenge, but "on this day July 12, 1983 Gonzo! ate and became an official member of the Pine Grove Furnace State Park Half Gallon Club," as it stated on my sign. I talked with some other people after eating, one who bought me an A & W Rootbeer, which I also consumed. I called everyone at the butcher shop afterwards to tell everyone the good news: as far as I could figure it, I had just completed half of the Appalachian Trail, as well as becoming a member of the Half-Gallon Club. Maybe I would make it after all. It seemed possible to me now, although I knew all along, deep down inside, I could make it. I only talked for 6 minutes (cost $4.32).

Planning for Duncannon, PA, I requested no more Lipton Tea for the time being, appropriate guidebooks, soap & shampoo, Lipton's noodles (specifically no butter, cheese, or chicken flavors. I wanted Beef or Sour Cream and Chives), Knoors green pea soup, candy bars, Pop-Tarts, a flashlight, and of course homade cookies. I think I must have noticed my boots beginning to fail as I also seem to have requested Mom to look for a box for boots, and to possibly have a coat and a rain jacket ready to be sent at a later date. I requested an REI catalogue in the next package too. (notes from mom)

I moved on to my goal for the night, which was to cover the distance to Moyer's Campground. I set off on the twelve-mile hike from the store to the campground with a half gallon of ice cream and a can of rootbeer in my stomach, but did not feel too bloated. I could probably still cover the distance to my planned stop for the night. I took a short break at Tagg Run Shelters just over seven and a half miles past Pine Grove Furnace. Luckily the terrain featured little elevation change, 500 feet at most over several miles. After the initial climb up Piney Ridge, the trail was downhill for several miles. I thought of playing Monopoly as I crossed over a set of railroad tracks owned by the Reading Railroad Company. The trail took me up and over Trent Hill before I located the side trail (road) to the campground. At this point I had to make a choice between the new shelter and the campground. There seemed to be some controversy over the new shelter that was being built near Moyer's Campground. I believe that Mr. Moyer was not happy that the shelter was being built there since it would decrease his business by hikers. Either that, or it was being built on his land through eminent domain or something. Perhaps it was some other landowner who planned on charging hikers to stay. Whatever the problem, I decided to spend the night at the Campground since it had showers, a little store and also showed movies at night. The charge was $1.50 for a tentsite, shower usage and admission to the movie. If you wanted to use the pool you would have to pay the $7.50 regular site fee. I chose to do my swimming in the shower. I washed my shorts and shirt while I took a long shower, and later relaxed in the back of the store while watching a VHS video showing of "Hanger 18" about a UFO crash coverup by the US Government. It starred Darren McGavin, the actor from "the Night Stalker" and was a refreshing distraction from the usual trail life.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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