--> Punchbowl Shelter, 25.3 miles
It turns out the group is from an NYC high school that does a 2-week intensive course at the beginning of the semester. They were nice, and gave me all of their leftover rice and lentils. Second dinner was great. The night was pretty cold- any colder and I would have needed more clothes.
I took my time this morning and stayed in my bag as long as possible. It was cold enough to start with my fleece on. I warmed up fairly quickly, and enjoyed the ridge walk. There were a few open areas with views. There was a long descent to US 60, the down some more to the Brown Mountain Creek shelter. That area used to be the homes and farms of a bunch of freed slaves. You could see some of the ruins in the forest.
It was fairly flat for the next five miles around a reservoir, then a climb back up to the mountains. I crossed the BRP again, then got here. Its nice that the trail and parkway don't follow each other as closely as Skyline Drive did. Who wants to constantly hear cars while they're hiking? Tomorrow I have a 10.5 mile day into Glasgow for some real food. Yum!