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  1. #1
    Long Trail '04
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    Default Half-Gallon Challenge

    Who's done the Half-Gallon Challenge? What was your time?



    Ice cream bliss comes with a reward
    June 23, 2004
    Stamford Advocate

    In Pennsylvania's Pine Grove State Park, we reached the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail, 1,085 miles, and embarked on one of our greatest tasks yet -- the half-gallon challenge.

    For 20 years, through-hikers have followed a tradition of eating a half-gallon of ice cream to celebrate this milestone. The rules of the challenge are simple -- when you reach Pine Grove park, you are to go immediately into the general store, purchase the ice cream of your choice, sit down, consume it as fast as possible and register your time in a hiker journal that the store keeps on hand.

    The record time to date is 7 minutes, 30 seconds.

    I had walked 10 miles, without eating much along the way, when I arrived in the park. I felt optimistic since it was a hot day, and I had a strong appetite. I huddled over my mint chocolate-chip tub and scarfed down half of it in 15 minutes. Taking a break to let it settle, I started thumbing through the hiker journal and, to my horror, read everyone's account.

    Most complained of stomach pains, and many were unable to finish. Some determined souls drank the melted remnants of their half-gallon and proceeded to vomit.

    Only a minute percentage, with a high lactose tolerance, were able to eat it all swiftly and painlessly.

    I grew nervous about what awaited me as I dug in to finish the rest, but I still felt obligated to fulfill the self-torturing ritual. After 1 1/2 hours, and several stomach cramps, the deed was done.

    I displayed my empty carton to the storekeeper and was presented with my hard-earned trophy -- a small wooden spoon printed with the words, "Half-Gallon Club Member."

    I thought "I'm an idiot" would be a more fitting engraving.

    Aside from the half-gallon extravaganza, trail life has become quite routine. Each day begins at dawn, when the early risers in a shelter begin to stir.

    There's always one hiker who's in a hurry to start cranking out miles and will be out walking before most of us open our eyes. I call this person the sweeper, because he or she will stroll through every web that the spiders and silkworms have weaved across the trail during the night.

    There's nothing like a face full of sticky webs to add to the unclean feeling of being a through-hiker. The rest of us usually sit around camp for a while and make oatmeal and coffee.

    Once on the trail, I usually become focused on hiking a strong pace, since I'm most energized in the morning. Like clockwork, whatever song has been stuck in my head that week will begin to play as the miles melt away until lunch time. I basically determine that it's lunch when the song begins to play at a slower speed and I start to become irritated by everything.

    After lunch -- a typical mix of granola bars, peanut butter and banana chips -- I hike at a more casual pace. Eventually, I begin the deep, intellectual thinking that many enjoy while in solitude with nature. Here is a sample inner monologue:

    "What should I have for dinner tonight, ramen noodles or mac and cheese? Gosh, what I'd give for a cheeseburger right now. I wonder whether I'll pass by a place with a snack bar or vending machine today. If I could only eat one type of food, what would it be? Chinese, definitely. Wow, what I could do to an all-you-can-eat buffet right now."

    By the time I awake from this hypnotic state, the day is nearing its end. I pull into a lean-to or camp site and congregate with the hikers I've encountered during the afternoon. We converse while making our suppers and on into the evening. Mostly, we talk about trail life and sometimes about our homes.

    It's very rare to have a discussion on politics or controversial current events. Many despise the intrusion of the outside world on the trail's tranquility.

    Ultimately, darkness bids us again to our sleeping bags and we drift to sleep. Most of us nod off with smiles on our faces, content with simple living and looking forward to eating breakfast.

  2. #2
    blue blazin' hiker trash
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    I tried the Half-gallon challenge at the store just outside of the park, because the ice cream is much cheaper there. I failed miserably. Jeopardy, on-the-other-hand finished his half-gallon of fudge royal in 13 minutes! Then he went into the store and bought a foot-long sub, bag of chip and a soda! Stomach of steel!

  3. #3
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    Been there, done it. More than once. My fastest time was 42 minutes. One of the dumbest things I've done besides answering Mt. Dew's posts.

  4. #4

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    Completed my Swiss Miss in 36 minutes. The fastest time in 1988 was 16 minutes (at least when I passed thru the store). Still have the wooden spoon as one of my souveniers. Back then when you finished you got to draw a poster which they hung on the wall. No one has mentioned that in years so I suspect that part of the tradition has ended.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Yeah Max Patch. In 86 we drew pics too. In 92 when I did it they gave you a wooden spoon with your time on it.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SavageLlama
    Who's done the Half-Gallon Challenge? What was your time?

    In Pennsylvania's Pine Grove State Park, we reached the halfway point on the Appalachian Trail, 1,085 miles, and embarked on one of our greatest tasks yet -- the half-gallon challenge.
    Really??

    What "challenge?"

    I got to Ironmasters at 3pm and the store didn't open until 4. I was irritated about waiting that hour cause I'd been salivating all the way from Caledonia about that ice cream. Took my time and finished in 30 minutes - stomach was a little queasy. But I went back to the hostel and had triple helpings of linguini with clam sauce and all the trimmings. Felt much better.

    When I went to sleep that night, I was unhappy. The store had closed before I got back there, so I had to wait till the next day to get more ice cream.
    No one can solve problems for someone whose problem is that they don't want their problems solved.

  7. #7
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Talking

    From "The Camera Crew" (Arwen & Heather's) Friday, June 4, 2004 Trail Journal--

    "Today was Arwen's finest hour. Not only did he rise to meet the Half Gallon Challenge, he set a new record! He consumed an entire half gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a mere 7 minutes, 57 seconds. That means he snarfed a pint every 2 minutes, four times!"

    "It was a beautiful, yet monstrous sight to behold. Arwen, armed with nothing but a lexan spoon, pitted against his frozen, green, unforgiving enemy. ..."

    That Heather is quite a writer!!!!
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=66707

    Looks as if there may be a new record since June 4?!

    And to think, I knew them when they were wet-behind-their-ears on Springer!


    Rain Man

    .

  8. #8

    Default half gallon challenge

    i hiked a 17 mile day to get to the pine grove campstore in june of 2002. when i showed up there were 5 hikers already underway with the challenge. i sat and watched them for a while- 2 finished at just under an hour and 3 ended up throwing in the spoon.

    i went inside and bought my 1/2 gallon of strawberry ice cream. i walked back outside, sat down at the table, and dug in. i had to put on a fleece shirt not long after i started because i was getting so cold (it was in the 50s that day).

    but, after 17 minutes, 51 seconds that ice cream was gone.

    fun times, man. fun times.
    Grizzly Adam


    WACphotography | Blog

  9. #9
    Registered User Toolshed's Avatar
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    I was down there section hiking over Memorial Day weekend and met Trailite working on his half gallon and could see the quesiness on his face about 1/2 way through.
    'course, put me in my lazy boy and a great movie and I'll can clean out a full half-gallon withijn 15 minutes. My wife is astonished at how muh and how quickly I can eat ice cream It is always gone the first day, therefore she rarely buys it.
    .....Someday, like many others who joined WB in the early years, I may dry up and dissapear....

  10. #10
    American Idiot
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    What about buying that thing and letting it melt into a frothy drink? Then one chug-a-lug combined with an iron stomach, and that should be a new record.

  11. #11
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    Actually eating a cheap-ass quality half gallon of ice cream is pretty easy. Lotsa fluff in those inferior brands. I'd like to see someone eat 4 pints of Ben&Jerry's in 10 minutes. That s**t is dense!

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pencil Pusher
    What about buying that thing and letting it melt into a frothy drink? Then one chug-a-lug combined with an iron stomach, and that should be a new record.
    Gotta eat it not drink it.

  13. #13
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    Actually eating a cheap-ass quality half gallon of ice cream is pretty easy. Lotsa fluff in those inferior brands. ...
    That's for sure. Breyer's is mostly injected air these days. Used to be good, dense, real cream. Now, you're buying air.

    It's like the meat processors who inject water into the meat they sell by weight. Ice cream is by volune. Maybe the two ought to switch measures?!

    Rain Man

    .

  14. #14
    Registered User A-Train's Avatar
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    Wolf is right. The only pint I could find in Damscus was that poor excuse for ice cream brand PET, it went down like water. Eating 4 of those is NOTHING like going thru the equivalent quantity of B and J's Chubby Hubby or Phish Food
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
    GA-ME 03, LT 04/06, PCT 07'

  15. #15
    Section Hiker 500 miles smokymtnsteve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Wolf
    Actually eating a cheap-ass quality half gallon of ice cream is pretty easy. Lotsa fluff in those inferior brands. I'd like to see someone eat 4 pints of Ben&Jerry's in 10 minutes. That s**t is dense!

    I can't beleive Lone Wolf eats ice cream from those two Liberals ben and jerry
    "I'd rather kill a man than a snake. Not because I love snakes or hate men. It is a question, rather, of proportion." Edward Abbey

  16. #16
    Registered User
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    I don't eat B&Js and it has nothing to do with them being liberals.

  17. #17
    First Sergeant SGT Rock's Avatar
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    What if they made beer flavored Ice Cream? Then it would have air in it.
    SGT Rock
    http://hikinghq.net

    My 2008 Trail Journal of the BMT/AT

    BMT Thru-Hikers' Guide
    -----------------------------------------

    NO SNIVELING

  18. #18
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Default Half Gallon Challenge

    I did it last year on my thru in 38 minutes with chocolate. Was in caloric overload and had cramps for 2 days. Ah ...what memories !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  19. #19
    American Idiot
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    Quote Originally Posted by max patch
    Gotta eat it not drink it.
    Then the degree to which the ice cream is frozen plays a significant role in how quickly one can consume this half gallon. Therefore, not all ice creams are created equal. Where is the rule book that says one cannot let it melt?

  20. #20
    Geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pencil Pusher
    Then the degree to which the ice cream is frozen plays a significant role in how quickly one can consume this half gallon. Therefore, not all ice creams are created equal. Where is the rule book that says one cannot let it melt?
    Who cares?
    Frosty

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