I said goodbye to Jitter this morning after we had a short hike out of our campsite back to the road. I got back to the car and was feeling a pretty heavy heart. Each day is pulling me farther away from the Trail and I can feel it in my body. I’m so glad I decided to do this gradually. The shock of a plane ride home would have been a real blow.
This drive home also makes me realize how far this Trail is. I drove another seven hours today through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia and then headed to my favorite place that I stayed – Stanimals in Glasgow, Virginia. I needed just one more fix of their particular style of hospitality and it is a great place to get my laundry done and hang out with Charlie.
Charlie hiked the Trail last year and he has some great stories. He was one of those hikers that took as much time as they wanted on Trail and ended up finishing in October with a flip flop. He skipped ahead to bag Katahdin before they closed and then went back and finished on Mt, Greylock in Massachusetts. I love hearing about his adventures. He took a bunch of zeros and spent a tons of time in all the Trail towns meeting all the fun locals. Next time that is going to be my style.
Charlie is also one of those hikers that refused to leave the Trail. When he got off, he found this gig managing Stanimals in Glasgow and he is perfect for it. He is fastidious to a fault and he keeps the inn in perfect shape. At the same time, he creates a warm atmosphere. He left a note on the door for me to make myself at home and I sure did. I did laundry, cut my hair and plopped on the couch and binge watched The Politician on NetFlix. He even made me some homemade blueberry bread as we snacked on that before bedtime. I ran to the store and bought tuna packets and rice sides for my next two days with Neil. He is at Standing Indian campground in North Carolina this week and I am headed there this morning to be there for his birthday and to get a few days of hiking and camping in.