In our continuing effort to be better at towns, we got out of the motel about an hour before checkout (everything's an improvement!) and walked down to Fannie's, a breakfast joint about a half mile from us. A local we ran into on the way there told us we were in for a treat, and she was correct. Fannie's had a wonderful creative menu, delicious pastries and coffee. We again had to stay for a while after breakfast to catch up on the blog, but we called an Uber again before long (rather than attempt to brave the killer bus again) and went back to the creamery.
We had a long chat about the rest of the trail. Being close/not close is really getting to us, there was much demoralized chat. We assured ourselves that we will indeed finish, but it seems the blues are hitting us hard at this point. Plus, Emily's feet are still bothering her and it's a real bummer to still be battling injuries after going through so much at the beginning. Still, we headed back into the woods to try and get closer still.
We found more rock ridges, and made it 1.6 miles down the trail before Emily's feet really said no. We stopped dead and knew there was no going on today. We just weren't sure what to do. Emily took off her shoes and her feet were purple. They looked swollen and had black and blue bruises on the tops. This isn't what feet should look like no matter how many miles a thru hiker has done. She needed new shoes, obviously, but also rest or we would never get ourselves to Maine.
We thought about just going back to the motel and getting a room for a few nights, but motels are never as restful as we want them to be. Also, we found that there's no outfitters within 25 miles for An to get new shoes. Originally, we wanted to hike 90 more miles and hit an outfitter on the trail, but that obviously wasn't a possibility. We knew our friend Tenacious was off trail resting her PA caused tendonitis. She's from CT, and about two hours away. Though, she would be heading back to the trail in two days. She, in a beyond the beyonds show of generosity, offered to either swing us a new pair of shoes or bring us over to an outfitters, but we decided, like so many of our friends, it was time to take an off trail break. We were only a 5 hour drive (or a 12 hour bus/train trip, no thanks) from Maine at this point. With a nearby car rental place, we thought we would drive to Maine to stay with Tyler's parents. Hugs from parents sounded like just what we needed.
Going against all of our principles, we hiked the 1.6 miles back, called yet another car back to the motel, so we could double check our plan and figure out logistics that night. Despite the short mileage, it was an exhausting afternoon of planning, logistics, and emotion. We kept our optimism as best we could. Though when we returned it would take an 18 mile average to finish by September 7th, but, we still think and hope it is possible.
*view from our motel room
As a nice morale boost, Leap Frog and Extra Mile had also recently checked into the motel. Extra Mile noticed us coming in as he was doing laundry and exchanged a big Huggables hug with Huggables. Leap Frog was celebrating seven years sober today! They needed to head to the outfitters with us the next day, which we gladly offered. To say thanks, they paid for delivery Chinese that evening. They even brought Emily flowers and chocolate in the evening to cheer her up. They made everything much better. Some say the trail provides, for us, it's been the friends we've met along the way.
*Extra Mile ordering Chinese and Tyler doing logistics