Having walked north each day for the last seventy-two days, we now have fewer miles to go then we’ve walked already. We approached the halfway point with trepidation, aware that Zeno’s Dichotomy Paradox told us that the halfway point was a necessary but impossible point to reach in any journey (because of the need to first get halfway to the halfway point, ad infinitum). Like Diogenes the Cynic, we defied Zeno by jumping over the halfway point.
This momentous day started with another slow morning. Having again stayed up to late enjoying our pizza and ice cream, the kids were slow to rise. The weather has taken on a welcome pattern of raining each night but clearing during the day. Other than the slight inconvenience of always carrying a wet tent, this provided plenty of water with minimal discomfort.
We walked off around nine, leaving Ginger and Gilligan who had decided to try to catch a ride into Gettysburg for some civil war tourism, and the kids set a lackluster pace due to their cumulative lack of sleep over the last few days. Then moments before reaching the halfway point, Ginger and Gilligan caught us from behind, providing a welcome burst of enthusiasm. We took pictures at the official halfway point, then continued on another three miles to take pictures at the halfway sign (located at the 2011 midpoint).
Then we walked into Pine Grove Furnace State Park, another beautiful Pennsylvania park,, for a stop at the general store where thruhikers traditionally attempt the Half Gallon Challenge (eating a half gallon of ice cream in honor of the halfway point). Cartwheel and RobinHood each held there’s up to their stomachs for a volume comparison. Then everyone but Mama Bear and Gilligan sat down to dig in. About halfway through, Cartwheel pointed out that the half gallons of Hershey’s ice cream sold by the store primarily for this half gallon challenge are really only 1.5 quarts. Robin Hood declared that it should be renamed the three eight gallon challenge, but the symbolism just isn’t quite the same. Despite the discovery of this lowering of glutinous standards, most of the contestants tapped out, with only Ginger actually completing the challenge. She signed the book and was awarded her honorary wooden spoon.
We then headed over for a dip in the lake and some hot showers and some delicious dinner provided by a 2011 thruhiker named Bobwhite, who’s interested in making a lightweight dog pack for Orion to try. We ate under a covered pavilion as it started to drizzle. The rain held off and we walked to camp later then we had hoped. While the adults set up camp, the kids honored their halfway day by lighting some sparklers that had been given to them by their friend Brave.