Darling Run to Wellsboro Jct is above the gorge and not as scenic as the gorge itself. Slate Run toward Jersey Shore is below the main part of the gorge. Although there are some scenic spots, this section is more developed with a lot of road crossings. IMO, the best half day ride you can do is Darling run down to Blackwell Mills & back for a total distance of 33 miles. This is the deepest, most remote and most scenic section of the Pine Creek Gorge trail. There are no other public access points between Darling Run and Blackwell except the private camp at Tiadaghton but that is members only.
With a few stops to take in the scenery, this run takes about 3 - 3.5 hours. With any luck, you should be able to get the ride in on Thursday morning before the afternoon rain.
I was thinking of doing the pine creek gorge this week as well. Coming from Philadelphia area, I was thinking of staying in Williamsport. Is that a safe area?
Also, is there parking at the Slate Run trailhead? Realistically, I will drive up from Philly, then bike from Slate Run southward towards Jersey Shore. Stay in Williamsport that night. On day 2, I will bike from Slate Run towards Darling Run and back. Does that sound like a good itinerary?
Also, are there bathrooms around Slate Run? Is it a private bathroom with running water, or just a porta-potty? Are there places for lunch, or is it pack-your-own lunch?