"We are going to be killing ourselves!" Hansel reported. Until they meet up with Dad on May 2nd, they will be covering 20 plus miles every day! The reason for this death march is that they are about 8 miles behind schedule and because there was some very ambitions planning for their resupply days.
Gretel did most to the grunt work when it came to planning out their entire hike. She figured out how many miles they should cover per day and where they would be sleeping. She was correct in assuming that they would be able to handle 20 mile days at this point in the excursion, but it might have been a little much to expect so many miles on a day when they also need to go into town, restock food, get a shower and do laundry. I wonder if the excellent hygiene of Hansel and Gretel will suffer in these next 10 days? One good thing about their upcoming challenge: the terrain is not as mountainous which will make it easier, though there is still no denying that 20 miles a day is going to be tough on their feet.
In other news, they will be reaching the 500 mile mark at the top of Pine Mountain tomorrow! Also, Hansel was able to pick up a new backpack in Damascus since his old pack had a big hole in it. The unfortunate thing is that the new pack is extremely uncomfortable and really hurts his back on the uphills. When you are hiking the Trail, your gear is your life, and a comfortable, quality backpack is essential. But don't worry, there is a plan in the making. Hansel is going to order a new pack that is the same style as his old one, but in a bigger size. He'll have it mailed to our home in New Jersey, and then Dad can bring it with him when he meets them at the end of the death march.
Finally, an update on Hansel and Gretel's MS fundraising mission. So far, all of you have helped them raise $3,365.00!! More than 50 people have contributed to their cause and we are all so appreciative of your generosity! If you would still like to make a donation, just visit Hansel and Gretel's page at the MSAA website. The link is always available in the site bar on the right, or you can just click right here. Thanks so much to everyone for following the story, for your continued support, and for your kind words of encouragement! It means so much to our terrific Trail travelers!
Some pictures from the Virginia/Tennessee State Line: