Pittsburg to Stewartstown Day 2 cont.
New Hampshire has water. Lots of it.
Running right down our state’s spine is the Connecticut river – the longest river in New England which flows roughly southward for 406.12 miles through four states. The Connecticut river begins at the U.S. border with Canada and ends at Long Island Sound. New Hampshire get to claim ownership of just about half of the river.
For those of you (me) who wondered why we have a river named after another state (and 3 large lakes called First, Second, and Third Connecticut Lake) it is because (and thanks go to Wikipedia for this tidbit) “The word “Connecticut” is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for “long tidal river”. The majestic Connecticut river starts in the northern mountains and ends at an entrance to the ocean – aptly named indeed.
Route 3, one of the few major roads in northern New Hampshire, was established on what was, no doubt, an initial foot travel path running alongside the Connecticut river. The history of how towns were established was not lost on us. It stands to reason that a vast wilderness would be most tamed near a body of water. Water is what quenches thirst, feeds crops, and helps in transportation of goods. Rivers allow for boats, boats bring people and goods in, and take products out. Ultimately it is that commerce and ability to travel that builds towns. Moving water led the way, settlers followed, and town organizers took note.
Because of the high mountains which feed the river and the downhill direction of higher northern New Hampshire to its lower southern portion, the water in the north runs fast and freely. It was not unusual for us see stretches of mini rapids as the water tumbled and raced over granite boulders lining the river bed. The sound of running water became an integral part of our day – the constant beat of New Hampshire’s heart.
“What I wouldn’t give for an inner tube right now,” sighed Griffin.
There is plenty of vegetation near a river. It’s not difficult to imagine what the early settlers saw when they first journeyed to the northern part of the state. Beautiful views, plenty of good land with renewable resources, enough wildlife to feed everyone, a pre-built highway on the river and shade at every turn where you could take off your shoes, kick back and rest. While we didn’t take advantage of the river for transportation (perhaps another time) we did take frequent advantage of what the river had to offer us land travelers with regard to soft grassy spots under large leafy trees.
Fast moving water also means that there is no opportunity for bacteria or algae overgrowth. Our days walking along the river were the sweetest smelling – a crisp perfume of grass, pine and organic vitality.
“Take a whiff of that goodness,” I’d remind Griffin whenever we’d break by a shore.
We were still in a fair amount of pain, but buoyed by the never ending breathtaking scenic views around every bend along with the cleanest air filling our lungs with each breath, all accompanied with a steady diet of Motrin and our sticking to the plan of resting every other mile, it certainly began to look like we would be able to complete this walking trip after all.
We started to believe again that we could do this.
Perhaps yesterday hadn’t really been all that bad, we suggested to each other. Today’s pain dulled by Motrin was questioning the level of yesterday’s which had already been partially lessened by time. Maybe we had just been a bunch of soft-soled babies yesterday. It just couldn’t have been as bad as we thought it was.
(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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