Camped alone at Darlington Shelter construction site. The old shelter is dismantled and its wood stacked nearby. Two large pile of new materials are covered by huge tarps. Don't regret the missing shelter. If the privy (also due to be rebuilt and relocated) is any indication of the shelter's condition, I'm not sure I'd even want to cook under it. I have a good site adjacent to the shelter's picnic table. I can see a small valley and another ridge to the north--probably where the trail will take me tomorrow.
Good day to walk today--cool and overcast. The AT route crossing the Cumberland Valley is an achievement. The trail passes through highly populated areas and open farm land north of Boiling Springs, yet it is separated and screened from all this human activity. Not entirely, though. I was aware of people and people saw me but we did not interfere with each other. Cumberland Valley was for a long time a tedious road walk through the rolling hills one of America's finest agricultural areas. I enjoyed the walk. Trail was good terrain, largely flat. Tiring though, 14 miles is a long day. Lef leg and knee held up. Had some pain in my left hip. Short day tomorrow. I can rest a bit.
Weather is turning favorable. Clouds are breaking up. I see blue sky and sunlight. The land is bright and cheerful again. Today, under gray skies, the land was somber and dark. The shelter journal shows a steady stream of hikers--one or two entries in five of the last seven days. Section hikers and weekenders (some groups). Odds are pretty good I will have this mountain to myself tonight.
Crossing the Cumberland Valley is noisy. The AT is never far from roads and it crosses I-81, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 11. I heard the turnpike long before I saw it. Traffic noise was the major intrusion on the trail today. Even now, somewhat removed from all the acivity, I can still hear it in the evening stillness although now I am more aware of aircraft noise.