Punchbowl Shelter to Brown Mountain Creek shelter. Just 9 miles.
Today was HOT! The forecast for down in the lowlands was 95 degrees, and it felt pretty close to that up here too. There wasn’t any wind at all either. 90s, hot, humid, still air, it’s a killer combination. Tomorrow should be cooler, today was supposed to be the peak of this heat wave, but it’s still going to be in the 80s for a few days. I guess summer is here!
I stopped at this shelter after just 9 miles. After here, there’s a big 2500 foot, waterless, climb. I’ll tackle that in the morning when it’s a little cooler, and when I’ve got more energy. I do have the luxury of being able to do some short mile days while I wait for the gang to catch up. They went a couple more miles today, part way up that mountain, but then into Buena Vista. They will zero there tomorrow. So my plan is to get to Waynesboro a day or two ahead of them and then sync back up for Shenandoah. I can either do some normal mile days and take a zero in Waynesboro, or some shorter mile days and just spend one night there. They weren’t planning on spending any nights there, just a quick resupply stop if they need it.
Shenandoah sounds nice right now. Because the trail parallels Skyline Drive for most of the park, there are frequent restaurant, snack, and lodging options. We think we’ll be able to get away with carrying no more than two days of food through there. That’ll be fantastic if it works out. Still more guide checking to do on that one.