Pittsburg, part of Coos County and the largest town by area in New Hampshire (and in New England) has a beauty that is breathtaking. To someone who actually cried the day John Denver died, walking by lakes, smelling fresh pine and seeing mile after mile of clean un-adulterated land it constantly filled my heart with joy.
It seemed I had finally come home from a lifetime of being immersed in the busyness of life with 6 kids and I couldn’t get over what I was seeing.
“Griffin, look at that lake! Look at those mountains. Just take a look at that view!” I constantly pointed out what amazed me.
Far too excited to eat breakfast that morning (always eat when you have the chance – mistake number #1) I had only quickly downed a cup of coffee (hey guess what coffee is a diuretic and it stimulates the bowel – mistake number #2) before Marc dropped us off at the Canadian border. I wasn’t worried. I had a day pack that was filled with bars and trail snacks. We were going to be just fine.
And besides, our final destination was only 15 miles away. We figured that if we walked a leisurely 3-4 miles an hour we’d get to a local store by around 2 p.m. There would be plenty of time for us to look around the area, eat dinner in a nice restaurant (made assumptions on what we’d find – mistake #3) and maybe even get a swim in (packed a bathing suit – mistake #4)
We walked the first mile (we knew it was the first mile because route 3 has mile markers in .2 mile increments all along its length laughing and singing. Even though we had jingle bells on our packs to warn bears of our approach and I carried a bear horn (in two pieces so not sure how helpful it would be if/when really needed – mistake #5), I had heard that singing will also warn them and make them stay away.
Shortly after the first mile we came across a port-a-potty by the side of a lake.
“How incredibly civilized they are up here” I thought to myself.
“Just going to duck in for a bit,” I said to Griffin. The coffee had done its magic and I was grateful for the chance to not have to do in the woods what bears do in the woods.
Spit, spot and we were on the road again. Two miles in, we marveled at how easy this walk was going to be. (Never take the rest of the day for granted – mistake #6) The sun was bright, the early morning cool had burned off and the sky was a deep blue. We were in our element. All ingredients for perfection.
“Can you believe that we’re only 13 miles away from our ending point for the day?” Griffin grinned at how easy this walk was and how much fun we would have (see mistake #6)
When Marc had driven away after dropping us off, he cleverly left our 3 uneaten bananas (too heavy for us to carry) on the side of the road at mile increments as a sort of incentive. We found one of his “road kills” and laughed at his joke while we split the fruit (I knew that he had left them because that is exactly what I would have done. We’re married for a reason.) Knowing there had been 3 bananas in the car, we kept our eyes peeled for the other two. (We never found them, apparently what Marc ended up doing was feeding the very bears that we were so desperately trying to keep away – mistake #7)
I had worn gym shorts that had no pockets (mistake #8) and so every time I wanted to take a photo I had to stop, take off my pack, unzip and pocket and pull out my phone.
“Huh,” I pointed out to Griffin. “There’s no cell or internet service up here.”
“How do they live?” asked Griffin. He pulled out his phone and launched Pokemon Go.
“There are no Pokemon up here either.”
“Hmm,: we both said imagining a life without the internet – wouldn’t that be interesting?
Here’s the thing about gorgeous views up north– you don’t just see them, you actually live in them.
In one of the few photos I took that first day. You can see that we were traveling a relatively flat road. But wait, do you see that rise *directly* in front of us? (Hint, there are no “rises” in Pittsburg, only big-*ss mountains.)
“There’s a mountain in our way” Griffin said with a bit of trepidation in his voice.
“Don’t be ridiculous, roads don’t go over mountains, they go around mountains, we’ll be fine.” I replied (I’m giving myself a mistake #9 just for being so stupid.)
Shortly after this exchange. We both noticed that the road had started to incline.
(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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