Day 1 - Duncannon to Darlington Shelter
Miles - 11.5
Time on trail - 5:30
Average speed - 2.1 mph
There's a term in training called "specificity." To wit, cross training can be valuable, but you need to practice primarily in the sport you want to gain mastery in. One day on the trail has been enough to remind me of that principle, as I've started to break in a whole new set of muscles, and the aches that go with them. But on the whole, a good start.
The first half of the day was spent getting to the start. A 2-1/2 hour drive to Harpers Ferry, a two hour ride my shuttle driver, and I was at the doorstep of the Doyle Hotel, a tired old 1905 hotel in the tired little blue-collar town of Duncannon, PA.
The Doyle is an AT landmark, epitomizing the somewhat scruffy reality of AT hiking (high-end trekking it's not...). But the hosts are friendly, and thy actually make a good cheeseburger, complete with fresh-cut fries. And a beer at 11:30 seemed OK too.
Fueled up, I climbed out of town and onto the trail. 45 minutes later I was rewarded with a nice vista of the town and the Susquehanna River. Then it was into the green tunnel.
After several miles of slow and rocky trail, things smoothed out a bit and I started to make some better time, stopping on the hours to stay hydrated. I made it into the shelter around 6, in time for dinner and a little company, with a husband and wife who retired early, a couple of other section hikers, and two SOBOs - Rocky and Bee Sting. A little time by the fire, then off to bed in my tent.