Pittsburg to Pittsburg Day 1 continued.
In Pittsburg there is a store called Treats and Treasures. It’s surely one of the finest stores in all of northern New Hampshire. The owner, Al G. had found out about our walk via a Facebook entry and had instructed us to let him know when we reached his store for he was willing to supply us with food and drink in support of our quest.
In front of this fine, fine establishment, there they keep a row of lawn chairs. Griffin and I crawled to the chairs, (not exaggerating here) removed our packs, put down the trekking poles, exhaled the breath we had been holding for the last mile and sat down confident that there would be no goose poop on our butts when we finally (if we ever) got back up. We had found our own personal Shangri la.
Griffin immediately took his shoes off, but because I had to go inside to let them know we were here, I did not. Always the mom. Instead I hobbled to the indoor counter and addressed the worker identifying us as the “walkers.”
Pittsburg has an angel among its ranks who goes by the name of Becky.
Becky, Becky, Becky.
“Who knew there were mountains in New Hampshire?” I said to her noting her alarm at my appearance and attempting a joke to explain away my limping.
I grabbed some cold drinks (lemonade for me, orange juice for Griffin) placed an order for sandwiches and went back outside to wait until they were done and my name was called.
“Griffin, we made it.” I said, noting that he had finished his orange juice in one gulp. I only sipped at mine trying to overcome the queasiness that had suddenly popped up in the last hour. (Mistake #14 – know the signs of heat exhaustion.)
“Hmm” he replied. Grateful that we had completed our mileage for the day, but if truth be told, also a little angry at me for bringing him along on this journey.
“You know,” he had told me earlier in the day when the sun was hot and the miles were long, “I don’t ever really remember officially signing up for this little walk of yours.”
“You did. You’ll remember when you have some food in your belly and by the end, you’ll be thanking me.” I said, not entirely sure of any truth in my words.
Becky came outside with sandwiches, chips, and granola bars. We ate the ham and cheese on a bagel sandwiches licking our fingers and if truth be told, even scooping out the bits of American cheese that had fallen off in the foil wrappers. The drinks were cold and tart, and the chips salty and crisp.
A truly finer feast had never been had.
Once we had eaten and having access to internet service thanks to a store’s hot spot, we looked up where we were staying for the night – Cabins at Lopstick.
A half mile away.
“We can do this, Griffin.” I hadn’t realized it at the time, but that little phrase “we can do this” would become the mantra and rallying cry for our entire walk. Four little words, each with only one syllable that would have the power to make us get up and carry on.
Both of us sighed and started lacing up our shoes. We had no other option than to walk to our destination.
It was then that Becky, Becky, Becky came outside again. She obviously took pity on this ragtag pair of inexperienced walkers who appeared to be so ill prepared for the roads of Pittsburg.
“My shift is over,” she told me. “Do you want a ride to Lopstick? It’s not far, but there is a killer hill to get to the main office.”
It took no convincing. Tears of either pain or gratitude filled our eyes. We were not deserving of such compassion and yet here it was being offered to us with nothing more than a “thank you” in return.
Although determined to walk the entire route, Griffin and I were no dummies. We threw our backs into the trunk of Becky’s car and got a ride half a mile away and up, it seemed, the side of yet another mountain. (Protip #3 – take all the help you can get.)
“You are the nicest, nicest lady in the world.” Said Griffin to Becky.
Becky left us at the main office and drove away with us waving goodbye at her and forever singing her praises. The owners at Lopstick had also heard about our walk and had offered us a cabin for the night. Generosity apparently knew no bounds in this town called Pittsburg.
From the website, this is what I knew about Cabins at Lopstick.
“They have Great cabins, a spectacular view, and warm northern hospitality! Located in New Hampshire’s Connecticut Lakes Region, we offer cozy, housekeeping cabins on First Connecticut Lake, Back Lake, on the River or with a spectacular view of First Connecticut Lake and its surrounding mountains. Each uniquely different, individual cabin has a fully equipped kitchen, one, two and three bedrooms, satellite television, outdoor grill in summer months and private porches with great views.”
I didn’t know what our accommodations would include when I walked up the steps to the office but at this point a tent would have been fine, as long as it meant we could get off of our feet.
I talked with the workers at the front desk. Yes, they knew people who had Lyme disease, yes, it was a big problem up there. And yes, they admired us for our walk and wished us nothing but success.
We were given a key to a cabin and instructed to walk back down the hill (mountain) to Cabin 3. “It’s got a pretty view” I was assured.
When one is in pain the world tends to collapse and get smaller. Colors and humors dull – survival mode is entered, walls are erected. But I dare anyone, even someone who is in extreme pain and fatigue not to gasp at the sight which is that of First Connecticut Lake.
“Look” I whispered to Griffin. “Just look at that view.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” replied Griffin as he shucked his pack and shoes on his way to his bedroom. “I’ll look at it later.”
Within minutes I heard him snoring.
I sat up for a bit longer gazing at the lake’s view. This was a gorgeous cabin, generously offered to us simply for taking a walk. I was amazed and touched at the generosity we had so far encountered in Pittsburg.
When I was a child I vacationed at a friend’s family summer camp located in the Adirondacks. Canoes, campfires, hikes in the woods, and early morning trout fishing filled my days while loon calls, group puzzles, fires in a giant stone hearth, and an occasional bear in the camp filled my nights. First Connecticut Lake in all its splendor was pulling that buried memory from my past, reminding me that I was once again in a place that felt as comfortable as any home could ever be.
(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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