Outside of my family, the person with which I have had the longest relationship in my life is a man named Craig Floyd. I met Craig when I was 14 years old when I lived in northern Maine while my dad was stationed at the now closed Loring AFB. Craig was a young Air Force buck sergeant air traffic controller and I got to know him because he was my scout leader. At the time, I probably spent more time at his and his wife’s house than I did my own.
After retiring from the Air Force, which included a tour in Vietnam, Craig worked for and retired from the US Postal Service. Through multiple moves, marriages, and children, we have managed to keep in touch with each other over the years (Facebook has been a big help). The last time I saw Craig was in the late 80’s when I grabbed a flight student for a cross country flight to New London, CT, and visited him at his recently constructed log home on the land that has been in his family since the 1700’s. Today, Craig honored me by driving over two hours from his home in Stonington to visit me on the A.T.
One of the reasons that I got a motel room was so I could be half presentable for Craig’s visit. He arrived shortly after 8:00 am and we spent an hour visiting at an outside picnic table before heading to a local diner for breakfast. Craig is currently the manager of Coogan Farms, a not-for-profit farm that is the only farm in the country that donates 100% of the harvest to a local food bank. He is very passionate about the mission of the farm and feeding the undernourished children, which made me feel almost ashamed to talk about something as insignificant as hiking the A.T.
It was so wonderful to see Craig again and get caught up on what has been happening in our lives. After breakfast, he drove me back to the motel to pack and than drove me back to the trailhead to resume my hike. As we said our goodbyes, I told him that I would love to visit his farm someday and put in some volunteer hours. Thank you, Craig, for making the long drive across the state to see me. It was indeed a highlight of my journey.
After my visit with Craig, I was walking on air for the rest of the day. The rain had finally cleared out of the area and the trail even started on a nice road walk down a country road. Because of my later than usual start time, I intentionally planned a short mileage day and the easy path followed the ridge line with occasional views of the surrounding countryside.
Arriving early at the Mt Algo Shelter, I breezed through my usual camp chores and enjoyed a quiet dinner by myself. They say that the best thing about the trail is the relationships that you will build, but today it was all about those special relationships that have withstood the test of time.