At 4:30am the alarm clock sounded and in a sleepy stupor, Hansel and Gretel prepared for their hike. On their car ride back to the trailhead they through back some McDonalds sandwiches. Gretel had egg and cheese on a bagel and Hansel had the McSkillet burrito- clearly the breakfast of champions. At 5:40am they were on the trail. Hansel had been wearing his headlamp around his neck thinking they might need it, but the morning light was enough to illuminate the path.
Usually when Hansel and Gretel walk together, Gretel takes the lead. This way she can set the pace since Hansel tends to be a little quicker. Today was different. Today Hansel took the lead. If they were going to make it across the entire state, they would need a little extra fire under their fannies. After ten minutes they each turned on their ipods. As a special treat, we charged up 4 ipods loaded with music so that Hansel and Gretel would have some entrainment on this grueling hike. This, naturally, resulted in several dance breaks from Hansel, who can never resist the opportunity to get his groove on when "Party In The USA" comes ringing through his headphones?
They had their first experience with Aquamira, a tablet to add to water. It kills bacteria and makes it safe to drink. Since they didn't have their packs with them today, they could not carry their water purifier apparatus. The tablets made the water taste a little funky, but at least they had Gatorade powder to help disguise the funny flavor.
Hansel and Gretel did not sit down for a break until they were 30 miles into their trek. The last 10 miles were the hardest. Not only were they getting weary from having covered so much ground, they had also hit the hilliest and rockiest part of Maryland.
Two hours before they expected to finish, they started to hear thunder. They didn't think much of it, but when they were about one and half miles from the state line, giant storm cloud rolled in and the sky became extremely dark. With one mile to go, they started feeling rain drops. Having left their packs with Two Bad, they had no rain gear should they get caught in a storm.
Meanwhile, Two Bad sat waiting in the parking lot at the trail head where he was expecting them to arrive. Watching the sky and knowing they had nothing to keep them dry, he started to get nervous. Hansel and Gretel had already walked 40 miles, but with the storm quickly approaching, they decided it was time to run. Flashing down the trail, leaping over rocks and sticks, they dashed through the forest, the storm licking at their heals every step of the way. Two Bad couldn't believe his eyes when his two children came flying out of the woods, trekking poles pumping! They did it! They made it! 41 miles in 13 hours!
Exhausted, they piled into the car and drove to a gas station where they refueled on donuts, a Kit Kat, and a Twix bar. Hansel reported this had been the most physically challenging experience he had ever had. They went to the Macaroni Grill for dinner, which should have been heaven, but Hansel and Gretel were just too beat to eat their food and spent most of dinner staring at their respective meals. Somehow their energy returned when they stumbled on Maggie Moo's Ice Cream! It must be said, when you talk to a thru-hiker, there is something about ice cream that is just magical!
Happy trails and good night's rest!
Breakfast at 5am
McDonalds: clearly the breakfast of champions