Taking the day off from posting

Having an “Anniversary Day” with Marc.

Will be back on Monday with more from the walk.

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Lesson 1440 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 3 cont (Water, water nowhere)

Day 3 – Stewartstown to Colebrook cont.

Both of us had been warned about protecting our skin using sun screen while on our walk and while we both carried tubes of sunscreen, until now, we hadn’t really had a reason to use any. There had been shade and clouds.

But because we were so relentless exposed to the hot, hot, cloudless sun on this day, I began to feel a certain stinging heat emanating from my skin above and beyond that incurred by the (record) heat wave. I could tell that certain parts of my body normally not exposed to the sun were getting burned.

It doesn’t take long.

I looked over at Griffin, he was doing fine. But he was also wearing mens’ clothing. His shorts came down to just above his knees and his sleeves almost to his elbows.

I on the other hand had shorts that stopped midway on my thighs and lovely pink delicate capped sleeves that barely covered my shoulders. What had also escaped my attention then, but certainly got it later in the evening when I took a shower, was the “V neck” on my sport’s shirt which although proving a “stunning neckline” also allowed my neck and chest to get burned.

It had never occurred to me that there would be such a difference in clothing between the men and women. Women literally sacrificed comfort for style while men had both comfort and protection. Men’s thighs and upper arms didn’t get burned. They didn’t get dark red “Vs” going down their chests.

Why hadn’t I ever noticed this? In hind sight it seemed a little silly.

Something was going to have to change and I had a feeling it was going to have to be my clothes. I made a mental list of things I wanted Trevor to bring with him when he drove up tomorrow. Long athletic shorts and a men’s shirt were placed at the top.

Even with the terrific heat, Griffin and I were slowly making progress. We kept a steady pace and were careful about constantly drinking water. Two liters of water may sound like a lot, but when you are sweating it out almost as fast as you can put it in, you soon realize that it is not nearly enough water when there is a (record) heat wave.

At all times, Griffin and I each carried 2 liter water bottles. At one of our mile breaks we drank from our water supply. One bottle was empty and we were already halfway through the other one.

“What happens if we run out of water?” Griffin asked me recapping his bottle.

I thought back to the evening before when I had asked a stranger for help getting us to the motel. I was not above asking for more help along the way if we needed it and I told Griffin as much.

Across the street was a red farm – beautifully taken care of and as pretty as a postcard.

“In fact, I should go over to that farm right now and ask them if we can fill our bottles with water.”

Griffin blanched, his stranger –danger training once again kicking into high gear. “We have half a bottle each left, let’s just wait until we really need it.”

I shrugged. It would have been easy to simply knock on the door, but in a way Griffin was right, if we got more water now, it would be extra weight that we’d have to carry. And already we were carrying too much on our backs.

We packed up our water and carried on – the sun now almost directly overhead.

There are so many things we did wrong on our walk, so many things I’ve kicked myself about and walking by that farm without stopping for water was one of the biggest that stands out. There is no doubt in my mind they would have filled our bottles, heck, they probably would have invited us into their gingham curtained kitchen for a glass of cold lemonade.

Cold lemonade – if I had enough moisture in my mouth I would have salivated at the thought.

As it turned out, that farm was the last house we saw. No one else lived in those parts. We were walking on a road which shouldered a mountain on one side and dropped off to a valley on the other. You’d have to be crazy to set up a home there.

Or try to walk it without water.

You can go for a long time without food, but you can’t, especially during a heatwave – while walking on a road out in the sun, go long without water.

Things were getting desperate. I had thoughts of people finding us days from now, desiccated travelers who hadn’t asked for water when we could.

Having found a little bit of internet service near the top of the mountain, I tweeted and put on Facebook a plea for water. I knew that some people were following our journey online and hoped against hope that maybe a friend of a friend knew a friend…

Griffin wasn’t concerned. “We’ll be fine,” he kept telling me.

Between the two of us we had a quarter bottle of water left with absolutely no end in sight. “Just take a sip,” I cautioned Griffin at our next mile break, “we have to make it last.” It was starting to feel like one of those Bear Grylls survival stories – thoughts of eventually drinking our urine crossed my mind. This, I didn’t tell Griffin.

It is the job of a mother to protect her children, to care for them and to provide for their needs. Water was a pretty big need. I wasn’t doing such a great job at mothering.

We had seen trail magic already on our walk. Becky, who went above and beyond taking care of us on the first day when we couldn’t walk another step and Debbie, who drove us to our hotel when we had gotten lost.

And now, unbelievably as we turned a bend, we saw a sign for a New Hampshire Welcome Center only 1 mile away. It was a mirage, it was luck, it was trail magic again – it was all of the above.

Because where there is a welcome there is water.

There are 13 welcome centers throughout New Hampshire. Each center provides restroom facilities and tourism literature. Several centers also provide food and drink vending machines.

This one provided picnic tables, rest rooms, those beautiful, beautiful vending machines, and water. Plenty of fresh, cold water.

Never have I ever been so happy to see a state run facility. I don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to put a Welcome Center in the middle of nowhere, but I send them my eternal thanks.

Griffin and I commandeered a picnic table in the shade and spread out a feast of a lunch. It was time of celebration – the walking Gods had saved us again. We ate granola bars, dried fruit, and some of the “emergency fudge.” I also ate the last of my raw dead cow (glad to be done with that) and we washed it all down with juice from the vending machines and bottles of water. Surely this was the best meal ever.

“Mom, you have to stop saying that about every meal we eat.” Griffin said, rolling his eyes at my pronouncement.

“But it’s true!”

Not being in any rush to move on, we took off our shoes and socks to rest and air our feet.

“Hey, look at that” Griffin said, twisting his foot sideways to get a better view. “I’ve got a blister.”

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(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Lesson 1439 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 3 (Show off)

Day 3 – Stewartstown to Colebrook

If you had said to us on the morning of Day 3 that we had to walk the entire length of New Hampshire in the next 13 days, both Griffin and I would have curled into a fetal position and refused to get out of our beds. Nope, not gonna do it. But instead, if you said to us that for the day –

For the day-

We only had to walk a little less than 10 miles, we would have reacted the same way we did that very morning when we woke up and realized what was in front of us. “Bring it on.” We were rested, our joints didn’t hurt -as much, and our morning Motrin was working its magic.

Seen from the beginning, a huge goal is impossible. But a goal broken down into its bite-sized steps is highly achievable.

Today’s 10 miles was definitely bite-sized.

Bring. It. On.

Which is why the night before, we had decided to sleep-in (relatively speaking) until 8 o’clock. Our plan was to have a nice breakfast of leftovers from last night’s dinner (best food ever) and be on the road by 9 o’clock.

We had a solid walking plan for the day. We’d break every two miles (that’s only 5 breaks!) and stop for a long leisurely lunch at roughly the half-way point. We’d be at our hotel so early this afternoon, maybe we’d even be able to do some poking around when we got to the next town.

The possibilities were endless and exciting. Today was going to be fun.

We practically sang as we put our supplies into our packs. The laundry I had washed in the shower the night before was still a little damp but in it went. It would be dry by the time I needed it tomorrow. We were learning the skill of packing the things we wouldn’t use or didn’t need during the day (toiletries, extra clothing, my Alfred  Hitchcock magazine) at the bottom of our packs and the items we would be using (phone, rechargeable bricks, snacks) at the top.

Oh what a great day it was going to be. Continue reading

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Lesson 1438 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 2 cont. (Zombie apocalypse)

Pittsburg to  Stewartstown Day 2 cont.

 

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I walked (as well as I could) over to the driveway, to the voices in the garage.

A woman saw me and came over.

Not sure what to say, not sure how to say it, I decided to go with the truth.

“My son and I have had a really stupid idea,” I began. “We thought it would be a good idea to walk the state from Canada to Massachusetts. But it’s too long.” I tried not to sound like I was whining.

I looked back at Griffin who was still fuming as he sat on the grass in the park. “We’re good people,” I tried to assure her “we’re just lost. The motel we were supposed to stay at was supposed to be over this bridge but it’s not. I’m wondering if you could give my son and I a ride to where it is?”

Now how many of us would have been receptive to a sweaty dirty woman in your driveway asking for a ride for her and her equally sweaty, dirty (and somewhat angry) looking son who was on the other side of the road. I waited, holding my breath expecting to hear, “Well, um, I’m busy right now.”

Instead the woman (Debbie) without missing a beat, called over her shoulder to the man in the garage saying “I’ve got to give these nice people a ride, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As a mother, my eyes filled with tears. Someone was going to help us.

As a fellow human, my heart filled with joy. There are people out there who are willing to help others. Continue reading

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Lesson 1437 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 2 cont. (Wrong turns and had enough)

Pittsburg to  Stewartstown Day 2 cont.

 

Ten miles may not seem like a lot.

But walk them on a hot road,

With overloaded, poorly fitting packs,

And joints that were compromised to begin with,

And I guarantee that you will agree 10 miles can be forever.

But when you have made reservations in the only hotel in town, you really don’t have any choice but to continue walking.

After our 15 mile first day, we had to complete a 16.5 mile second day.

Or we weren’t going to be sleeping in beds that night.

Because we didn’t have internet or cell service along the way, Griffin and I amused ourselves with good-old-fashioned talk. We talked about the scenery; we talked about his starting a semester at school and my teaching one. Did he transfer the money for payments yet? Was my syllabus ready?

We booted up a waterproof speaker that I had packed at the last moment (it didn’t weigh that much right?) We sang to Black Eyed Peas – Tonight’s gonna be a good night.

When we had finally exhausted topics to talk about and we were still several miles outside of town, the silence was only interjected when there was something significant to say with answers that required the least amount of energy in return.

“Do you see that river over there?”

“Hmm.”

“That’s Vermont on the other side.”

“I know.” Continue reading

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Lesson 1436 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 2 cont. (Accidents and Lyme)

Pittsburg to  Stewartstown Day 2 cont.

 

 

And then, of course, there was my body. Griffin wasn’t the only one with medical problems.

One summer morning, when I was 16, I was riding my bike on the roads of my town. A friend had told me about some local bike races and I had high hopes of signing up for a few. I had already gone about 20 miles into my workout and everything felt good. I was young, I was strong.

I started going down a steep hill – not holding back on my brakes. I wanted all the speed I could get. A car was coming up the hill.

I saw her.

The driver, an older woman, didn’t see me. Continue reading

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Lesson 1435 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 2 cont. (Lyme disease sucks)

Pittsburg to  Stewartstown Day 2 cont.

 

Lyme Disease sucks.

There’s no other way to say it, constant pain and illness absolutely sucks.

Griffin and I had Lyme disease (along with 4 of my other children.) We both had some very serious reasons for our never-ending pain that could at times send us into silent periods of endurance. Our walk was a challenge. Just put one foot in front of the other.

Just keep going.

Griffin had always been a happy, athletic, and good humored kid. Since his early days, he was one of the most optimistic people I had ever encounter – my bright sunny, the glass is half-full boy. But after he entered Middle School it was  “one thing after another” with his health.

“Mom, what’s this?”

I brought him to the doctors with a bright circular red rash under his armpit – the office did no tests (even though I questioned Lyme based on the little I knew back then  that having an unexplained rash of some sort could be a sign.) Instead they declared that Griffin had a yeast infection on his skin and they sent us home with a prescription of anti-fungal cream. Continue reading

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