At 1,165.4 miles, we are officially past our halfway point in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia!
It’s insane to think that we have come so far, and yet have so much more to go. Every time I consider the figures, I’m simultaneously proud and mystified at what I never fully believed myself capable of. But, here we are, about to enter our eleventh state (Virginia: 550 miles), stronger and happier than ever.
Also marking the half way point is an Appalachian Trail tradition: The Half Gallon Challenge! In this challenge, thru-hikers, who after 1,000+ miles have sufficiently built up an impressive hiker hunger, are required to eat an entire half gallon of ice cream in under an hour.
How it works is that you buy a 1.5 quart box of ice cream, and if you can finish that, you go back in for the final pint.
It really didn’t start getting painful until the bottom of the first 1.5 quarts…
And then we all (for some reason which had nothing to do with logic or healthy decision making) went back for the second course.
And the results were in with Treasure Hunter finishing 1.5 quarts of Cookies and Cream ice cream plus the extra pint strawberry cup first in 45 minutes, Artemis coming in second with 1.5 quarts of Cookies and Cream plus one pint of strawberry in 50 minutes, and Muffin Man downing 1.5 quarts of Blackberry plus one pint of strawberry in 55.
And now we are all slightly nauseous members of the Half Gallon Club! The gentleman in the store presented us all with little wooden spoons with “Half Gallon Club” printed on them. Then, in our inexhaustible hunger, we ordered chicken tenders and french fries and chicken wraps.
At that point, we all proceeded to lie down until we were capable of moving again. We still had 4 miles of hiking (uphill) to the next shelter.
We’ve faced many challenges in the past 4 months. Now as autumn is upon us, the cold is coming to the mountains and with it new experiences and trials.
But we refuse to be discouraged, instead finding joy in the glorious gift that is every new day.