Fourteenth day – M 7/20/20

START:  4:05am    Clendennin Rd  VA641
FINISH: 10pm    Craig Creek VA 621
47.2 miles    17:55     2.6mph
688.6 total miles    49.2 mpd

Continued warm, sunny weather. Mercury had much overgrowth to go through today slowing her down since she couldn’t see the footway (i.e. rocks /roots), The overgrowth is a side effect of the trail being ‘closed’ to maintainers during the COVID spring.
Physically she is feeling better except her feet are getting uglier with the wear and tear.
Jupiter is not getting uglier since he jumped into a nice hole in a creek and did his ‘great white whale’ routine to his guppie fishdom who rewarded him with playful nips, some in his nether regions.
Mercury continues to impress with her ability to put in long days solo through the heat and the darkness. After two weeks, she is getting into a groove and is now even with Odyssa (Jennifer Pharr Davis) and Stringbean. Barring accidents, if Mercury is able to increase her pace to 3.3 or 3.4, she will get more sleep and have a decent chance to have the second fastest AT traverse (both genders) and also set the American overall record.
Karel and Joren’s 41+ day record will remain safe for another year.
In the evening, we were visited by a Mercury website fan from Blacksburg (who brought us milkshakes and subs) along with an old friend of Jupiter’s who was AT mentored by him (Jupiter) back in 1984.
Onward to the Land of Neon!

Who is Mercury?

Liz Derstine, trail name “Mercury”, is a distance runner, endurance hiker, writer, and musician residing in Boston, MA. She holds the fastest known times for a woman on the Appalachian Trail (supported, northbound), Long Trail (self-supported), and Pinhoti Trail (self-supported).

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