As they emerged from a little hole in the woods, they were greeted by our cousin Julia and little baby Leah! Julia met them in a parking lot at the edge of Bears Den Park in the early evening. She loaded the stinky hikers into her car and took them straight to the grocery store where they restocked their Candy Bags. Their Candy Bags are one of the more invaluable items that they carry with them. It's difficult to imagine where they might be without the essential Peach Rings and Swedish Fish. Hansel and Gretel feel it is necessary to specify that Candy Bags should not be confused with Munchie Bags, which are used by certain hikers when they have the munchies.
When they arrived at Ben and Julie's house, they found Caleb (1st grade) and Molly (3 years old) who were returning a turtle to a creak by their house. Little Molly was sure to remind Hansel and Gretel several times throughout the night that they were stinky. They took her cue and gathered their laundry together to be washed and then took showers. Molly might not have been convinced that the shower was enough since all of their belongings were still a little ripe. Two months on the Trail just doesn't come out in a single washing.
Aunt Heidi arrived to join the party and brought with her a supply of her famous clipper cookies, which Hansel and Gretel sampled immediately. Then they all enjoyed some tasty snacks while Molly performed her newest favorite-thing-to-do, which is water bending. It's a fancy series of moves that looks like a form of marshal arts and is featured in the show Avatar. Molly's last favorite-thing-to-do was ballet, but water bending is probably much cooler.
They ate a delicious dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, portobello mushrooms (Ben and Gretel speculated over the best way to cook a mushroom on the grill- the resulting morsels were delicious), a tremendous pasta salad with feta cheese, corn-on-the-cob, and shrimp! What a feast! They spent a little time digesting and Aunt Heidi gave Gretel the ultimate foot massage. She offered Hansel a rub as well, but since his feet hurt him so much, he had to decline. More love for Gretel!!
Of course such a quality evening could not be concluded without a tasty morsel to top off the experience. Julie revealed the Ice Cream Sundae Extravaganza! There were four different ice cream flavor options and an assortment of toppings including Nerds! Hansel has been obsessed with putting Nerd candies on his ice cream which is apparently quite difficult to find. Gretel claimed the Reese's Explosion was the best ice cream flavor and after Hansel finished his first dish of vanilla with Nerds, he went for a second bowl of Reese's.
After dessert, they did a little more chatting, a little more water bending, and then Hansel and Gretel retired to their very own, huge, comfy beds for the night. Caleb was very kind to give his room to Gretel for the night while he had a sleep-over with Molly. He, of course, gave Gretel some very careful instructions not to touch any of his stuff; particularly a very specific drawer, which Molly told her was his underwear drawer!
The next morning introduced a delicious breakfast of home-made blueberry buckle, yummy pancakes, sausage for Hansel, and a hot cup of coffee! They folded their fresh laundry and packed their bags. Julie, Molly and Leah dropped them off at the trail head where they disappeared back into their hole in the woods. What a wonderful and refreshing visit! Sometimes an evening with family, delicious food, and a big hug that comes with love is the most anyone can ask for! Thanks Julie, Ben, Caleb, Molly, Leah and Aunt Heidi for taking such great care of Hansel and Gretel and being a part of their journey!
They made it!
Hansel, Molly, Julie, Leah, Gretel
Ice Cream Sundae Extravaganza!
Hansel, Molly and Gretel
Back into the woods they go! Thanks Family!