Monday, July 11, 2011

And the countdown begins...

We're less than 1000 miles away from Katahdin, the northern terminus of the AT in Maine. A lot of huge milestones have been happening recently...including passing the halfway point, and finishing Pennsylvania. That means we've got 7 states left. Most of them are short, so we will blow past at least 4 more states in the next three weeks. It's hard to believe that we've started counting down.

My trail name changed from Bandit to Pair of Aces recently. I'd never really meant to stick with Bandit, but no better name had come along. So here I am at Harper's Ferry, a town that is really significant for thru-hikers because it's close to the halfway point of the trail (and you get your picture taken there as an official thru hiker candidate). Baltimore Jack - a trail legend who's thru-hiked 9 times - suggests that I be called Pair of Aces, since my knees are always wrapped in ace bandages. I really like the name, and since I hear "Oh my God! What happened to your knees!?" just about every day, it seemed to fit my hike better. There, Casey. Happy? :D My knees are fine, by the way - the aces just keep swelling down and are mainly a mental comfort.

Rachel is sticking with Catalyst. At the halfway point, she and 7 other thru hikers that were with us tried the traditional half gallon challenge. That's when you eat a half gallon of ice cream to commemorate the passing of the halfway point. What do you get for it? A tiny wooden spoon stick that says 'Half Gallon Challenge' and a whole lot of stomach pain. My advice to people hiking in that area - stay away from the privy at the next shelter. Rachel was a trooper, but she chose not to get sick by finishing the whole thing. She got a wooden spoon that says 'The I tried club." And no stomach pain. She did eat more ice cream than she's ever eaten in her life. I didn't try the half gallon challenge. I mainly took pictures and watched people put themselves in pain. I did the quarter pint challenge with ice cream. That worked out pretty well.

Mmmm..Neopolitan. Catalyst, Poncho, and Pebbles (CCW) at the half gallon challenge.

Pair of Aces

Halfway marker. More than halfway!

Soul Slosher at the half gallon challenge. Before

Soul Slosher at the halfway challenge. After. The look on his face was priceless.

There was a strip club. It's directly on the AT. Those white things on the side of the marquee sign are blazes.

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