Sunday, June 23, 2013

We're Getting Some Ice Creams, You Wanna Come?

6/18: 15.8 miles. Deer Lick Shelter to Quarry Gap Shelter.

6/19: 16.9 miles. Quarry Gap Shelter to Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

6/20: 19.1 miles. Pine Grove Furnace State Park to Boiling Springs Campground.

6/21: 14.8 miles. Boiling Springs Campground to Darlington Shelter.

6/22: 11.3 miles. Darlingon Shelter to Duncannon, PA


There is a widespread misunderstanding regarding the difference between adults and children. So often I have heard adults say that they pine for the golden days of youth, when they had no responsibility, could be care-free and whimsical. It's confusing for me. Don't these people remember the homework? The requirement of having to ask before being allowed to do anything? The inability to choose what was being bought at the grocery store? The chores that had to be completed by someone else's standards? The lack of any money other than a $5 a week allowance? THE GIRL SCOUTS?!

Of course there is an incredible amount of responsibilities that come along with adulthood, but there is one key difference: Choice. As a child you are a ball of imagination trapped in a world where your only choice is what order you get to do your homework in. Your meals are chosen for you, your days are scheduled for you, your clothes are chosen for you and they're never as cool as your friends' clothes and you can't even always choose your own friends because you have to convince your parents to let you hang out with them on the weekend.

But as an adult you can do ANYTHING YOU WANT, as long as you work hard enough to save the money to do it. You can run down the aisles of a grocery store and fill your cart with nothing but cheetos and grapes and no one can stop you. You can have a dinner party on a Tuesday for no reason at all. You can go to sleep whenever you want and wake up whenever you want, within the confines of a job of course. But if you're not enjoying your job, you can technically switch careers or take a vacation. Wanna make a garden? Do it! Wanna go to clown school? Get your rubber nose and buckle down your red boot straps! Tired of clown school? Quit! Turn your giant clown shoes into outdoor potters for your garden! It's a lot harder to just quit elementary school. People get all ruffled. 

I watched with a mixture of horror and fascination as both Whistle and Dumptruck shoveled spoonful after spoonful of ice cream into their mouths. The half gallon challenge had been calling our names since the beginning of the trail- taunting us with its pure licentiousness. Wasn't this the sort of thing that called out to us in our childhood dreams? How is it possible that we can sit around a picnic table as full-grown adults and eat 2,400 calories of frozen lactose without even a second thought? I'll tell you how: we're grown-ups, and we can do whatever we want. 

The half-gallon challenge is another mini-quest of the AT, where hikers are encouraged to test the boundaries of their GI tract by eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream. A half gallon is a whole standard family-sized carton, followed by another pint. This happens at the Pine Grove General Store, which is a few miles beyond the halfway point of the trail. Dumptruck selected Moose Tracks, while Whistle selected Black Cherry. Grim and I abstained, because we were both not feeling 100% already. Dumptruck was able to eat his entire carton, followed by a pint in under 30 minutes. Is he a monster or is he a man? He is a monster of a man.

Whistle made it through her Black Cherry carton without incident until the last cup or so. She decided to drink the last bit, and then fell silent. There was a quiet moment, where outwardly nothing was happening. Whistle sat with a contented look of accomplishment. Meanwhile, inside Whistle's body, the penny dropped. She suddenly lurched forward, grabbed her empty ice cream carton, and vomited up beautiful puffy cherry clouds. The deed was done in a matter of moments, and Whistle proclaimed that it was the most pleasant barf that she had ever experienced.

"It tasted exactly the same! And it was still cold!" She said gleefully, clapping her hands together and looking around for something else to eat. 

The four of us (Grim, Whistle, Dumptruck and I) recovered from our 4-state-challenge and have been continuing our trek North with some hobbling. None of us were specifically injured by the trek, but we are feeling a bit of extra tendonitis. Grim has actually been sick for the past week, but has continued to be approximately one zillion times faster at hiking than we are. We all still do the same amount of miles, but by the time us other 3 get there, Grim has already finished his dinner and is lightly dozing. We've also been in a little bubble with 2 other hilarious hikers named Sunshine and Carpenter, who were there to witness the filming of our halfway video (it was Sunshine who reminded Whistle to put salt on her eggs). Yesterday we ran into Hot Dog and Apple Butter(!!!!), it was amazing and wonderful. We are taking a zero and they already took their zero, so they're a day ahead of us. But it's great to know they're blazing ahead! The Shanty Town Scouting Team.

Summer solstice happened this past week, and we had camped near a cornfield. The sun had set over a horizon that went farther into the distance than we're used to. Fireflies filled the fields, little moving stars winking on and off and swirling around us like a shoulder-height milky way. Whistle, Grim, Dumptruck, Sunshine and I attempted to set off some floating chinese lanterns, but failed miserably because it was far too windy. The escapade ended with Dumptruck sprinting across the field, flailing his arms and stomping up and down on a burning pile of crepe paper caught in the rushes. Don't worry, we left no trace.

The next day, we found a Mulberry tree, and spent 10 full minutes standing in the shade, filling our mouths with the berries. Our fingers, lips and tongues were stained a bright purple, and we laughed as children who have found the candy stash. Except better because we don't get in trouble. We're grown-ups!

Clever Girl

Yes. This is re-ice-cream.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone who can happily barf is a travel companion for the ages. Good ol' Whistle! Aboard ship we were always looking for food that tasted the same coming up as going down. I'm adding black cherry ice cream to the list, although I suspect there is a timing element involved. Enjoy your zero...wish it was in a nicer place than Duncannon. We're trying to figure the origin of the name...we figure it's either dunking witches or firing cannons; maybe a combination! What would the rules of a game be with the name "DunCannon"? Love and miss you...keep having fun. Love, Mom and Dad