We got up early, drank a particularly healthy smoothie (flavored by leftover salad from the night before), said thanks and bye to the magical parents and a sleeping Cole, and hit the road at 6:00. For additional breakfast, and to combat the healthy smoothie, we stopped at the Cookie Jar to get some donuts as big as our faces. The drive was uneventful. Emily slept a bit and we listened to the Dollop podcasts. We made it to the Warwick Enterprise at 12:15 and they were nice enough to waive the sixth day of insurance (since we had only been driving three hours in it on the sixth day). Even more sweet, was that they said they could drive us anywhere locally after we are lunch at the Subway across the street. We gladly took them up on their offer and headed once more back to the creamery to the trail again.
We hit the trail at 1:30 and again went over the rugged two miles we had already hiked twice. We were hoping that after that ridge, things would settle down for a bit. They didn't. The rocks and ridges continued and often got a lot worse over the course of the day. We took a small break at a trail register to see who was around us after our break. Monty was five days ahead, but we had a lot of familiar faces near us, many of whom we hadn't seen for weeks. Patch, Fireproof, and Dirty Duck had all signed in that day. A couple miles further down the trail we ran into Mishap at the top of a particularly brutal climb (any steeper and it would have been rock climbing). She had been going slow recently due to a nagging cold, but otherwise was in good spirits.
Soon after running into her, we set up camp in a ravine between two rocky peaks. It was only six, and we had only gone 8.5 miles but we were tired from the travel in the morning and we thought it better to not push Emily's feet quite yet. Plus, we planned on actually trying to be normal humans and wake up reasonably early in the coming days. In camo, we checked in with Dean and Grant. Dean had gotten off trail for his family reunion at mile 1410 and would be hiking again the day after tomorrow so we had some time. Grant was chugging along as he does and was already twenty miles ahead of us after taking ten days off. We are still going to try and finish by September 7th, but that means we need to average 18.5 miles a day for the rest of the trip. 8.5 miles isn't a great start, but we will begin pushing 20-25 miles a day tomorrow. It sounds brutal, and it probably will be for a lot of it. But, now that our muscles are no longer stiff from all of our relaxing, we think we can suffer big miles for a month and a half...if Em's feet don't protest.