And the Wood Comes into Leaf

Day 41 – Stan Murray Shelter to 19E 11.1 miles

“I woke last night to the sound of thunder; how far off, I sat and wondered” –  ‘Night Moves’ – Bob Segar

At 4:40am I was woken up to lightning and the distant sound of thunder. I laid in my sleeping bag and debated when I wanted to get up. I tossed and turned all night long – no surprise – and really wanted a few more zzzs. Rained hadn’t yet started up. My tent is in 2 pieces,  a rainfly and the tent itself. My concern has always been setting up and taking it down in the rain. Once the fly is off, the inside will be exposed to the elements.  Around 5:15am I started packing. Better to do it now while there is no rain then wishing later. I hit the trail by 6:15am, just as soon as I could see. 

I also wanted to head out early as more thunderstorms were in the forecast.  Today I had to go up and over Hump and Little Hump Mountains.  The last thing I want to do was be exposed on a bald with lightning crashing around. Thankfully the storms held off even if the clouds blew in and obscured my views on Hump Mountain.  

My main objective was to get down safely and take cover in the tree line. The wind was whipping! 

The descent was rocky and rooty. I ran into a fellow female hiker and the chatter made the morning go by quickly. We took each other’s picture at the “leaving North Carolina” sign. She took a break and I went on my way. I passed by several campsites near a stream. Looked around at how much the woods have changed since I was last here. Green canopies and a carpet of dozens of types of flowers.

I hit 19E before noon and called the Station at 19E for a pickup. Shower, laundry, charging my electronics, drying out my tent. Dinner later. It’s like I never left. Just don’t tell my knees and feet that.  

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