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

Monday, July 18, 2011

The 100 Mile Wilderness

Hansel and Gretel left Monson in the morning at hit the ominous sign indicating the start of the 100 Mile Wilderness.  Now, having covered 2,000 miles of the Trail, struggled through the heat, and battled the mountains of New Hampshire, the 100 Mile Wilderness turned out to be much less threatening than the sign and the stories made it seem.  In hindsight, Hansel and Gretel thought the sign was really kind of ridiculous.  "It seems really serious, but it’s definitely not has hard as they made it out to be."  There are even back roads that drive in and out of it.  As the caretaker at one of the campsites said, “Yeah, ‘100 Mile Wilderness’ is kind of a misnomer.  More like ‘100 Mile Inconvenient Resupply.’”  It’s true that the wilderness does not go through any towns, but the threat-level is not much to speak of. 

Hansel and Gretel were in and out in 4 days.  The first day they hiked 26 miles, the second they did 21, the third they hiked 23 miles and the final day they covered a whopping 31 miles.  (That is actually 101 miles if anyone did the math since they had to hike an extra mile to bet picked up at a road.)  There were two difficult mountains to climb, some steep uphills, some ridge-walking, a big downhill, but other than that, their main challenge was finding ways to occupy their brains for the long hikes.  

Towards the end of the day their brains would be feeling particularly fried which is sometimes the recipe for negative feelings to pop their way out.  To distract themselves from these negative feelings, they would play little games as they walked together.  Here are some examples of the games they played:

The Word Association Game:
Person A says a word and then Person B says the first word that comes into their mind based on the word Person A said.  In response, Person A similarly says the first word that pops into his mind and the came continues switching back and forth between the two people.  After a while, you stop bouncing back and forth and try to recall the entire sequence word by word, reflecting on how ridiculous the associations became.  

The Movie Connection Game: 
This game is much like the word association game only it is played with movies.  Person A states a movie title.  Person B then provides a new movie title that pops into their head because of some connection to Person A's movie title.  The movies could be connected or associated for any reason at all.  It could be because they have a similar actor, or because they were set in the same place, or they have a common theme, etc.  The connections can be very loose.  For example, Hansel provided the movie "Along Came Polly" and Gretel responded "Kindergarten Cop" because both movies have a ferret in them.  Another connection they made was Gretel said "Jerry Maguire" and Hansel said "Philadelphia" because Bruce Springsteen wrote songs for both movies.  Hansel and Gretel ended up playing this game a lot because it was really pretty mindless.  They didn't have to think too hard since pretty much anything works.  

The Song Game:
For this game, Person A provides a word.  Then each person has to come up with 2 songs that have that word in it, while taking turns sharing their songs.  Since Person A provided the word, he must also provide the first song.  After Person B has provided their 2nd song, they sing the song until they feel like stopping on a new word.  The word that Person B stops on because the word for a new round of the game.  This was a great game for Hansel and Gretel because if they both knew the song, they would end up singing the whole song together before continuing on with the game.  As you might imagine, this takes time so 50 minutes would pass by and they would only have been through 4 rounds of the game.  That is almost 3 miles worth of singing!

They also played the 20 Question Game.  Person A thinks of something and then Person B has 20 Yes/No questions to figure out what Person A is thinking.  

So for the most part, the 100 Mile Wilderness was just kinda boring.  Most of it was low elevation so Hansel and Gretel were just walking through swamp areas or pine forests.  There wasn't much to see, although one thing that they really loved about Maine, was that there were so many beautiful lakes!  Unlike other places on the east coast, no one lives around the lakes.  They were just in the middle of the woods surrounded by trees.  They would be hiking along and suddenly come to this gorgeous body of water!  

Hansel and Gretel were also very lucky to have had perfect weather while hiking through the 100 Mile Wilderness.  There had not been much rain before they started it, so everything had plenty of time to dry up.  If it had been rainy, they probably would have had to go much slower and the trail would have been swampy and floody the whole way.  

Happy trails and some new games!

Hansel with a real picture of the scary 100 Mile Wilderness sign

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