The epic journey of a sibling pair as they trek 2,181 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachia Trail.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Grand Return!

Gretel and Two Bad are back!  They returned to the trail on Saturday, June 18th at the Massachusetts/Vermont boarder.  Two Bad will be hiking all of Vermont with Hansel and Gretel, but in attempt to get back into the vigor of hiking many-mile days, Two Bad and Gretel started Vermont three days ahead of Hansel.  This means Hansel will be averaging 25-mile days in order to catch up with them, which he did.

They all met up in Manchester Center and stayed at the Green Mountain Hostel.  The hostel was owned by really great guy named Jeff who actually had two houses; the bigger of the two was designated for hikers.  The house had 3 bedrooms that were loaded with single beds.  The room where Hansel, Gretel, and Two Bad stayed had 4 single beds in addition to a TV with a selection of DVDs.  The hostel also had a fridge that was stocked with sodas, milk, and eggs.  There were plates and silverware to use.  "This place was just hooked up!" Hansel recounted.  It just had everything a hiker could want.  

The next day the three hikers resupplied and hit the trail.  This was a big day for Two Bad and may have been more than he was really prepared for.  They needed to pack in about 16 miles, and it did not help that the weather was awful.  As a matter of fact, Vermont in general was not ideal for hiking.  Although the first two days that Gretel and Two Bad were on the Trail were nice, it rained for 4 days straight once they met up with Hansel.  It has also been established that Vermont is a very muddy state.  Two Bad thought he was very clever to dub the state "Vermuck" which he repeated over and over throughout their hike.  

Vermont is also a bit of a rocky state.  Lots of little rocks that you had to be aware of all the time.  Here is a thru-hiking formula for you: 

                 Rain + Mud + Rocks + 40 lb Backpack = Falling

All three of them have just been falling all week.  Most of the time they didn't hurt themselves too badly, but they had to slow their pace a bit in an effort to maintain a level of caution and safety.  Having a heavy pack on your back does not help when the terrain is slippery and uneven because once you start to slip, the pack can through your center of gravity and bring you down easily.  Two Bad kept catching himself on his right knee (which happens to be the worse of his two bad knees) and in two days he probably hit it at least five times.  He also hurt his wrist pretty bad, rolled his ankle, and smacked his forearm hard on a rock.  Needless to say, Mother Nature was kicking his butt. 

"Yeah, but he didn't complain, like, ever!" Hansel reported.  "He was such a trooper.  He would have kept going until he died.  He would have just kept walking."

The only time they really had to stop and take care of things was two days after leaving the Green Mountain Hostel.  The crew stopped for a lunch break.  While munching, Two Bad took off his boot to reveal and sock full of blood.  The whole thing was pink and there was blood between his toes.  Open wounds on your feet is something to be concerned about when you are hiking.  Your feet, socks and shoes are most likely wet, which increases the potential for an infection.  

So, they finished at about 10 miles and got picked up by the owners of the Inn At Long Trail.  This in lies right off of the Long Trail (hence the name).  The Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail overlap for about 60 miles until the Long Trail branches north to Canada and the AT goes east to Maine.  In any case, the inn keeps were wonderful people and extremely hiker friendly.  Two Bad was able to clean up his toe.  As it turned out, it was only his pinky toe.  It seems as though the little toe nail got ripped off somehow, but everything was okay.  

They was also an Irish Pub connected to the Inn.  Super cheap and super great!  The beer was about $3.50 a pint and most expensive meal was $11.  There was also a live band!  The famous Blarney Rebel Band is a crew of 3 Italian Brothers who sing Celtic music.  They actually won "Best Celtic Song of 2009" with their tune "Stand With Me Boys."  I couldn't find a full free version of it, but here is a link to part of the song.  

That brings us close to the end of Vermont.  It's been a tough hike, but they are hanging in there!

Happy trails and sturdy ground!

Hansel, Gretel and Two Bad at the Inn

Hansel is reading up on a new topic: The Appalachian Trail 

The Famous Blarney Rebel Band

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