Rain continued into the night. But when I got up to pee, the rain had ceased. When I awoke, no rain. Yipee! Packing in the rain isn't fun. On the trail at 6:30am for a 400-foot climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway then the biggest climb of the day (900 feet) to an FAA tower on Apple Orchard Mountain. On the descent, I enjoyed views of the fog in the valley to the west as the attached photo illustrates. The Appalachian Trail continued its 3500-foot descent to the James River, except for a 700-foot climb of Highcock Knob where I ate lunch. Then down again. On dry, west-facing slopes with shrubby oaks and short pines, I enjoyed seeing many mountain laurel shrubs in full flower. The habitat seemed ideal for rattlesnakes, but no snakes. When I reached the Matts Creek shelter, my legs begged for a rest. The steep descent wore them out. In a mile, I reached the 300-foot wide James River flowing languidly. I crossed on a long footbridge then headed uphill. By this time, the day's heat had cooked me. Was I glad to reach the Johns Hollow shelter. Dinner, a rinse in the creek, then setting up my tent (the shelter was full). Today's miles - 21.6. Total miles - 786.0.