Piney River North Fork Campsite(818.5) to Harpers Creek Shelter(834.6) 16.1 Miles
Last night was only the third time this whole trip I've camped by myself. It was kind of nice. I had a creek flowing right next to my hammock that acted like a white noise machine. A pretty severe thunderstorm came through around nine and it rained all night. I was up at 6 and out of camp by 7:30. It takes a little longer to pack things away when they are wet.
I had a nice and easy start to my day. The first four miles went quickly. The ground was wet from the rain last night and my shoes were soon soaked, but it didn't really matter because it rained all day.
The main obstacle of the day was a mountain called, The Priest. Climbing it wasn't the issue, for northbound hikers it's the decent that's difficult. You lose 3,000 feet of elevation over 5 miles. Most of the terrain is rocky and filled with exposed roots. With the rain it was treacherous. It took me almost three hours to complete. Usually, I would finish in 2-2.5 hours. I was not a happy camper when it went from a light rain to a downpour with one mile to go. I did learn a valuable lesson though, when you are wearing dirty socks and they get soaking wet you get a funky rash and/or blisters.
When I was a little girl my mom told me to never say the word hate, therefore let me say that I strongly disliked, The Priest.
I did enjoy the Priest shelter. It was located at the summit of the mountain. It is tradition on the trail to leave a confession in the shelter register. I really enjoyed reading people's confessions. I confessed that my main motivation for hiking the AT was so I didn't have to work for six months. I also said that it irritates me when people hang their bear bag right next to my hammock. Most of the confessions I read are not suitable to be repeated on here.
After carefully making my way down The Priest, I crossed over the Tye River. There was another cool suspension bridge.
From here I only had one more mountain to climb, but it was very difficult because my feet were in rough shape. I listened to an audiobook and hobbled the last few miles into camp. Since I'm meeting my parents early tomorrow afternoon I hiked a shorter day today. I haven't stopped so early in the day, 4:00, since my first week on the trail. I had dinner cooked and my hammock setup by 4:30. It was nice to just relax and have a leisurely meal. Around 5:00, Lightning Bolt, came into the shelter. I met him early this afternoon. He is a thru-hiker from Germany that works in politics. Shortly after he came in, Cyborg and Stealth Bomber arrived. We talked and joked around for the rest of the night. I'm not sure when our paths will cross again. The trail works in a mysterious way. Even though I'm taking a few days off in Harpers Ferry, I'm sure I'll see them again.
I'm very excited to see my mom and dad tomorrow. After they pick me up and get me decontaminated, we will go to Waynesboro for the night. They will return me to the trail Thursday afternoon and continue on to my nieces birthday party in Northern Virginia.
"Mother Nature is the ultimate truth of the show must go on." -Terri Guillemets