Day 3 – Stewartstown to Colebrook cont.
A blister? My first thought was “what have you done wrong?” Followed, of course by my second thought, which was “what an ass you’re being Wendy, hikers get blisters all of the time.”
Even when I was a member on the track team at UCONN (a short, short season followed by the first of my orthopedic surgeries) I didn’t get blisters. Oh sure, I had shin splints and even stress fractures (a huge hint from the universe that my gait was off) but I hadn’t had those bothersome blisters that seemed to plague other runners. Or hikers.
As a result I didn’t have any experience on how to treat them other than put a bandage on and then cover that bandage with hiker’s tape – a wide sticky tape that helped to eliminate friction on the area.
Griffin and I had been very careful about our foot care. We religiously used Hiker’s Goo – a thick white paste that reminded me of diaper cream on our feet morning and night. We got our of our shoes as soon as we were in the hotel and several times a day we removed our shoes in order to let our feet breathe.
But apparently that wasn’t enough.
Griffin was walking in hiking shoes, I was walking in running shoes. He got blisters from his shoes, I did not.
Not enough data points to come to any kind of conclusion.
I dug into my pack (at the very bottom where “things not used on a daily basis” lived) and retrieved the bandages and tape.
“Did you feel it coming on ?” I asked as he cleaned the area with a baby wipe and then unwrapped the bandage.
“It felt hot,” replied Griffin. “But then my feet always feel hot.”
It was true. While walking on the road was perhaps easier on your joints, I might venture to guess that it’s harder on your feet. At the end of the day, our feet came out of our shoes like sizzling sausages.
I handed the tape when Griffin was ready, cautioning him not to wrap it around his foot too tight – just enough to stick to the area.
“Do you want 2 Motrin or 3?” I asked him, shaking 2 tablets out for myself. He went for 3.
Fully hydrated but now blistered. We got our packs ready and picked up where we had left off on route 3 – into gorgeous and undeveloped stretches of New Hampshire. We saw a deer standing on the side of the road, watching us until we got too close at which point she turned around and lept into the woods, her tail clearly flagging her annoyance.
We saw a hawk carrying a mouse in its talons fly across the road to land in the top branches of a pine. I sent a silent request to the universe for a quick and painless death for that fluff of prey.
And I saw Griffin begin limping just a little bit to one side.
Even though we had had plenty to drink at the rest stop and had refilled our liter water bottles, we found ourselves perilously close to not having enough water again. Although we tried, our bodies could not compete with the heat wave. But then we got hope in the beginning signs of civilizations.
We started getting a weak internet signal.
We started seeing more traffic.
We started seeing road signs for Colebrook.
I watched as a lazy turkey vulture circled in a wide arc gliding on the wind current. Not today, my little friend, not today.
When you are coming from the north on Route 3 into Colebrook,, you need to first navigate a ridiculously steep hill before you can enter the town proper. Of course after you have walked all day in the heat, this hill becomes a task of Herculean measure. I used my trekking poles as crutches while Griffin delicately sidestepped down the hill. We didn’t make great time.
“How do they manage this in the winter?” I wondered. Surely no one from the town could navigate north if there was snow.
Snow. Cool winds. Winter. Just the thought of weather other than record-breaking hot made me weak in the knees.
“Griffin, I need to sit down for a few minutes,” I told him. My legs felt like rubber. Even though our stopping point – a restaurant we had eaten in before our trip started was at the bottom of the hill, he didn’t complain.
That was another of many clues I ignored.
After a short break where we drank the rest of our water, we got up and walked a few more hundred feet.
“Ah, I think a rest in this front yard would be nice right about now,” Griffin said. Dropping his pack on the ground. Even though we had just rested, our walking rules were simple and obeyed without question.
- If you had something wrong with your feet (a stone in your shoe, an untied lace) you stopped and fixed it.
- If you needed water, you stopped and drank some.
- If you needed a break, you called for one and we took a break.
So even though we had just had a rest, we took another one. Within sight of the restaurant.
We sat under the shade of a tree and talked. We talked about the day’s walk, knowing that we were within a short distance of its final stop, we talked about how hot it was compared to the last two days, and we talked about these weird stomach aches that both of us had.
And our headaches.
We wondered if we could even eat anything once we got to the restaurant. We didn’t really feel that hungry.
Weird. Especially because we seemed to have gotten the same stomach aches around the same time each day.
Maybe it was an exercise thing, I thought. Or maybe it was all the extra pooping that Griffin and I seemed to be doing since we had ended the first day. Both of us had been pooping so much that it was nothing short of comical. (What’s better than a fart joke? A poop one!!) We started blaming the “magical toilets of the north” for our somewhat indelicate behavior.
“Come on Griffin, we’re almost there.” Once again we shouldered our packs and with nothing short of personal fortitude we made it to the restaurant. On the way in we passed the taxidermied bear draped on a banister. His eyes were wild and his ferocious mouth ready to clamp onto some poorly behaving child’s leg. Besides snakes, bears were one of my greatest fears. I looked away, thank God we hadn’t seen any of them on our walk. Now that we were entering civilization, it looked like this bad guy would be our last bear sighting. Music to my ears.
It was about 2:30 and the restaurant was empty. Our waitress came over and asked us if we wanted a drink. I ordered water and Griffin ordered lemonade. She delivered the drinks and by the time she came back to take our order, noticed that we had each emptied our glass.
“More?”, she asked.
“Did your bear over there..” – a thought I wisely kept to myself.
She brought another water and lemonade, which, like the magicians we were, also quickly made disappear. It wasn’t that we were being liquid gluttons, it was that it tasted *so* good. So very, very good.
Finally our waitress gave up and brought over a pitcher of water.
Griffin switched to water after his second lemonade and the two of us each drank 5 glasses before we even got our food. We both started to feel alive again.
There was internet at the restaurant and so I was doing a little poking around on the internet. “Look at this,” I said, tilting my phone screen so that Griffin could see what I was referring to.
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
Muscle or abdominal cramps.
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
“Griff,” I said as our lunch plates arrived and finally feeling a little hungry. “I think it’s a good thing that we got here when we did.”
(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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