Woke this morning to the sound of light rain and the smell of coffee. Chicken Wing cooked us a good and substantial, to order, breakfast and brought us back to the trailhead.
This a big day for us. We passed the official halfway point and took photos.
We started our hike in a light rain and very dark sky's. Early on we passed a group of young hikers with their leaders from Hope Church in Holland, Michigan. We had met them yesterday and they cheered us on. Today we had a chance to walk with them a bit. Wonderful positive group. They were out for a week with their final destination here at Pine Grove Furnace.
We had watched the weather report on TV this morning and they were predicting the end of the World for the east coast so we thought we would be walking in rain all day. About an hour into our hike the rain stopped and the sun came out. Another beautiful day unfolded.
Last evening we made plans for tonight by calling Debbie at The Ironmaster's Mansion to let her know we hoped to stay here. She put our names on the list and told us there should be no problem but we couldn't check in until 5:00PM.
We arrived at Pine Grove Furnace around noon and as we were walking past the Ironmaster's Mansion on our way to the ice cream challenge,Debbie, who just happened to be on the porch, called to us and invited us in early. We never expected this. She gave us a cold bottle of water, showed us around the beautifully restored 1827 mansion, gave us sheets, pillow cases and towels and invited us to use any of the 4 shower facilities. (I believe Guardian thought he died and went to heaven).
The Mansion was purportedly a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves. We were shown a trap door in the floor in a closet under the main stair that leads to a basement that may have been used to hide slaves.
This is setting a new high for hostels. What a wonderful welcome to the halfway point of our hike The only thing missing is laundry facilities. Oh well, hiking the trail is not supposed to be easy.
Buffalo Bobby's taking his afternoon nap and Guardian & me are just enjoying the quiet. Fred T4(lawyer who argued the Snicker case back in Perisburg) is here too and I understood he played piano. There's a baby grand here in the living room. Fred corrected me. He said he gets paid NOT to play piano.
I know what your thinking. This Appalachain Trail hike seems like, well, a walk in the woods. A cake walk. Nothing could be further from the truth. We're holding back on the true hardships and depravations we go through daily so folks back home don't worry. Now, what flavor ice cream should I pick for the ice cream challenge? This isn't easy!!!
It's now 5:00 PM. The flavor chosen was Hersey's Cherry Vanilla. Yes, it was a full half gallon! Needless to say I was up to the challenge...consumed in 35 minutes. No record, but I was the oldest to accomplish this remarkable, some say foolhardy, feat today.
We then visited the AT Museum which was small but very interesting.
Once again Buffalo Bobby is taking a nap. I think he's exhausted from watching me consume the ice cream. Guardian is just incredulous. (Jane could have told him I was a shoe in). The prize was a bit underwhelming. A wooden ice cream spoon!
Box & El Flocko both did the ice cream challenge and won also. We met many of the usual suspects at the ice cream challenge and had lots of fun. Amazingly some ordered hamburgers afterwards. Of course there
were some dramatic failures. Moose Tracks and Green Mint Chocolate Chip were not good choices.
It's now 6:00PM and we're having microwave turkey meatloaf. Not too exciting but filling.
So, bottom line, we're halfway there and It's all downhill from here. Maybe not!
|Chicken Wing and Mountain Rose|
|Trolley Stop hits the halfway point|
|Guardian hits the halfway point|
|The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen|
|Ironmaster Mansion Hostel|
|Guardian and Buffalo Bobby relaxing before having Coffee|
|Guardian takes a break|
|The new AT museum|
|Original Sign at the summit|
|Some of the hikers at the ice cream challenge. Many would enter, few would win.|
|The Ice Cream Arrives|
|Trolley Stop begins the challenge!|
|Trolley Stop finishes the challenge.|
|Buffalo Bobby whimps out on the challenge and gets a 6oz Italian Ice|