Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace State Park

A short walk from the Ironmaster's Mansion hostel and the Pine Grove Furnace General Store is the Appalachian Trail Museum. Located in a restored building from the iron days of the site, the museum has exhibits about the trail and some of the notable through hikers. I'd joked to one of my friends "what would the AT museum house? Grandma Gatewood's sneakers?" And I was right. Note that Grandma Gatewood was ahead of her time in wearing Keds on the trail; minimalist shoes are now all the rage.

Despite my jokes, I found looking at the gear, including footwear, to be interesting. Of course the trail today is different than when Earl Schaffer laced up his Red Wings in 1948 for the first documented through hike. But modern gear and technology only helps the hiker, it doesn't make the hiker. Its not the shoes that hike the AT, its the man or woman in them. 

Aside from Shaffer and Gatewood, a half-dozen other pioneers of the trail were profiled. I checked and Mark Sanford wasn't among them, but aside from that omission the museum was fascinating. The centerpiece of the museum is an old trail shelter, and the walls are covered with signs from the trail, including the end all northbound folks want to see.

I'm glad I devoted a little bit of time to visiting the Appalachian Trail Museum, and I encourage you to do so as well.

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A Taste For The Woods: Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace State Park

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Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace State Park