Half Gallon Challenge tag

Om nom report: The Half Gallon Challenge

2,181 / 2 = 1090.5

Yesterday, I passed the 1,090.5 mile marker- also known as the half way point of the Appalachian Trail. A thousand miles is a long ass ways to walk, and I get to do it all over again.

It is tradition that once a thru-hiker passes the half way point that they stop at the Pine Grove General Store (the nearest convenience store) to take part in the half gallon challenge– eating a half gallon of ice cream in a single sitting. Clearly- I was extremely excited to take part.

Since I’ve gotten on the trail back
in March, my appetite has been reminiscent to that of a pregnant Godzilla. Although a half gallon of ice cream is a tremendous amount of food- not to mention 2,240 calories- I was not only confident in my ability to complete the task, but expecting to do so with relative ease. As is often the case, my expectations were a tad misguided.

Less than half way through the giant brick of mint chocolate chip ice cream, my stomach began to send signals of “cease to continue stuffing or hurl will happen”. Luckily for me- I’m an expert in ignoring my stomach and continued to press on.

It wasn’t until the last quarter where I really hit the wall. Although I was eating something whereby “ice” was built into the name- I broke out into an intense sweat and full body discomfort. As I put another spoon full into my mouth, a tight knot in my neck refused to let it go any further. I was in trouble.

Unfortunately for my organs- I am excessively stubborn and competitive. Two of the hikers in our group threw in the towel with less ice cream remaining. I don’t throw towels- unless it’s a towel throwing contest- then I will throw more towels further than anyone else.

I tried deep breathing, doing push ups, napping, walking around the block, doing wind sprints- nothing would get the now green frothy blob to go down.

At this point Whoop had finished his half gallon 30 minutes prior and Bear Sweats had been done with his for almost an hour. This was getting embarrassing.

It was then Whoop walked out of the general store holding a hot dog (personally, I think he was rubbing it in). Strangely the idea of the sodium-rich wonder meat seemed to be the perfect palette cleanser to the cream and sugar barrage I had just experienced.

“Hey Whoop- can I get a bite of your hot dog?”

He obliged.

Turns out, that was the answer. I was able to get a few more bites down. I ran inside and got a wonder meat for myself. Twenty very painful minutes later- great success.


I then went on a quick 20 mile walk into an intense lightning storm.

This is my life.