I ran the route West to East (Little Orleans, MD to Big Pool, MD). I parked in the furthest west parking lot near Little Orleans campground... the rail trail's end is about 3/4mi west of the parking lot, so I jogged up from my car, and waited for a little more daylight before starting.
I began at 7:15am, carrying 1 water bottle with Nuun, pepper spray, my cell phone and car key. The temperature was 60 degrees, and humidity at 90%. Not as cool or dry as I hoped, but not awful.
I didn't see a single person for the first 16 miles... I am not fully comfortable with running so alone in such isolated areas, and nerves and heart rate ran REALLY high from the get-go. By the time my anxiety calmed down, my body was just tired, and I finished this route a lot slowed than I started.
I walked for about a minute in mile 18 to call my husband and let him know I was still alive (my Garmin Live Track had been out of service for 2 hours in the most isolated section), and I walked for about 30 seconds in mile 26 to take a photo of my marathon split. My water bottle was empty by mile 25 or so, but I felt adequately hydrated. This route is easy to do without aid in cool weather.
My husband and kids met me in the last 1/4mile to ride me into the finish, and drive me back to my car!
This time can be fairly easily beaten I'm sure, especially with support... it's practically a marathon with a cooldown. But I'm proud to set the mark and hopefully get some action flowing on this beautiful trail! The changing leaves, mountain and river views, and cliffs were just beautiful today!