Sixteenth day – W 7/22/20

START:  Black Horse Gap  (BRP)    5:05am
FINISH: Punchbowl Crossing (BRP)  midnight
54.1 miles    18:55     2.9 mph
798.2 total miles     49.8 mpd
11.8 miles in front of JPD      23.3 miles ahead of Stringbean
Strong Thunderstorms – late afternoon/evening

After getting in late after a long hot day, Mercury departs for ‘work’ at her latest time – 5:05pm. It is a beautiful post-thunderstorm morning as the trail crisscrosses the Blue Ridge Parkway with stunning sunrise views that Mercury can enjoy on her northward flow.
She gets hit by a strong thunderstorm atop lofty Apple Orchard Mt. which gives her some extra pep to her step.
We get visited by six people from David Horton’s shire of Lynchburg.
Three youngins’ walk through a rainy night with Mercury. And yes, it is true. Misery loves company. Two others bring food – thanks for smoothies, milkshakes, watermelon, ice cream, etc. One Mercury fanboy on a motorcycle catches us at a trail crossing. Jupiter finds his  unabashed ‘agoginess’ refreshing. We sent a record for ‘selfies’.
Mercury is tired and has sore feet. Having multiple nights of sleep lasting 3.5 to 4 hours and walking close to fifty miles a day through the mountains, with an occasional torrential downpour, will do that to you.
Jupiter is writing this on his laptop while sitting on shaded concrete in front of a Food Lion. If Jupiter stays here long enough in his sartorial displender, someone may take pity on him and throw a few coins/bills his way.
However, back to the mountains to Mercury!

Who is Mercury?

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

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