It is AT Terms time again!*
White Blaze: following the "official" Appalachian Trail as marked from start to finish. i.e. what Hansel and Gretel are doing.
Blue Blaze: hiking parts of the official AT but also taking some side trails, short cuts, or alternative routes.
Pink Blaze: hiking the trail in the romantic pursuit of the cute girl ahead of you.
Ladies and Gentleman, Gretel officially has a pink blazer! (But honestly, who could blame the guy? She's a good catch!) This pink blazer fellow does have a known name, but for the interest of this blog, we will just refer to him as "Pinky." Hansel and Gretel met Pinky on Hell Day (the previous post). He followed them into the town of Erwin, TN (340 miles from their start at Springer Mountain), and then followed them out. He stuck with them for a few days, all the while making passes at Gretel who dodged him time after time while slipping in "my boyfriend" at every opportunity.
One day on the Trail, Gretel arrived at the designated break spot in the middle of the day. Hansel was already there and snacking along with another group of male hikers (Pinky included) who made Gretel feel "uncomfortable as a woman," so she blazed through without stopping. It wasn't long before Gretel heard someone hiking behind her, undoubtably Pinky. She started running to keep a distance between her and him until she came to a stream.
Now the #1 rule of thru-hiking is to take care of your feet and keep them dry. Wet feet lead to all kinds of discomfort, blisters, etc. Any body of water should be handled with care and any other day, Gretel would have taken her sweet time to cross this stream. However, today her only thought was to move as quickly as possible.
You can guess where this is going. In no time flat, Gretel slipped and fell in the stream, soaking her shoes and socks all the way through with Pinky right on her tail. As she scrambled to get out of the stream she realized that, not only did she have soggy feet, she also managed to fall so that a thin stick shot its way right up her nose!
"I didn't know you could get anything that far up there... I was seriously gushing blood," she said, and it seems Pinky saw it all. But strong-willed Gretel was still completely set on avoiding any and all contacts with this dude. She refused to stop, blood or no blood, and forged ahead wiping her nose franticly as she walked. Pinky called after her, offering his concern, his help, a bandade, but Gretel wanted none of it.
"I'm fine!" She yelled back. He asked her if she was bleeding, but she was so flustered that she couldn't think of anything to tell him except, "A stick went up my nose." She tilted her head back and kept on trekking. Pinky kept on her tail and Gretel continued to reject his help. When they reached a flat spot in the trail he charged ahead of her while accusing her of being a P.I.T.A. (Pain In The A**).
Glad to have finally shaken Pinky, Gretel continued to the shelter in her own happy, bloody, soggy solitude. She reached the shelter with a massive headache to find Hansel waiting for her, grinning from ear to ear.
"What did you say to that guy?" He wanted to know. She told him that she didn't say anything, she just didn't stop for his help. Apparently, Pinky had angrily told Hansel that Gretel was the most stubborn person and continued onward. At least Gretel had successfully rid herself of her first Pink Blazer. It's just too bad her nose didn't fare better.
The moral of the story: don't run from Pink Blazers. We have not yet identified a preferred approach, but if you run, you will surely end up with a stick in your nose.
*Other info on the various types of blazing can be found in this discussion.