The trail has hand-pumped wells for water every few miles. If the handle is on the pump, then the water is available and safe to drink. Most pumps were active, but we did come across one or two that were not. The first one available is about 26 miles outside of DC.
The trail is rumored to be very rough and sloppy on parts. We were blessed with dry weather. There were some spots with mud patches, but almost always a dry line to get through. I could see, though, where it would be much more treacherous right after a recent rain. Today, though, it was no worse than any part of our own Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
The old canal itself is also much like our own in Ohio. Parts are deep flowing, and navigable by kayak or restored canal boats; other parts are nothing more than a muddy old former canal bed overgrown with trees and weeds.
We discussed a lunch break, with help from two ladies riding as volunteer bike patrollers. There were option in Poolesville, but that meant a 5-mile off-trail detour, which we weren't too ken on, or Brunswick, MD, but that would be only 6 miles fromour ending point for the day. Soon, however, we came to White's Ferry, a working ferry boat taking cars (and bikes) across the river, with the White's Ferry Grille cafe next door. Group of a dozen or two other bw tourists had just arrived before us, and the Grille wasn't really staffed or equipped to handle that many people at once. We waited over an hour to get our food. It was good food, though.
After lunch, we had about 25 miles to get to Harper's Ferry. I was struck by the number of other people bicycle touring the trail that we saw all day. Just a few years ago, if you were on you bike and saw some body else on a bike loaded with panniers and gear, it was such a novelty that you would always stop to chat. "Where are you from?" "Where are you headed?" "How long will it take you to gwt there?" Today, if you took the time to stop and hear the life story of every bike tourist you saw, you'd never get anywhere.
When younget to Harper's Ferry, there is a spiral staircase that leads up to a footbridge which takes you into town. We found a restaurant (Potomac Grill) and decided to go ahead and eat dinner before checking into our hotel (Econolodge) for the night. Total mileage for the day was about 66.