Day 4 – Colebrook to North Stratford
My phone alarm annoyingly rang waking me up from a dreamless sleep. Within microseconds, Griffin’s phone also began beeping. It was official; the morning of our fourth day had arrived. Time to get up little cowboys.
I parted the insulated drapes that had blocked golfers from peering into our room and looked onto the golf course. Heavy grey clouds hung low. We were going to be in for some rain today.
It was fine with me, rain would be so much better than that heat of yesterday.
Both of us began to get ready, a dance so rehearsed that it was becoming automatic.
Use the magical toilets
Prepare our feet with HikeGoo (and for Griffin anyway, bandages)
Pack our bags, night things at the bottom, things used daily at the top
Eat any leftovers from the night before
Take our morning Motrin
Remember to gather all plugs and rechargers
Even though it looked like rain for most of the day, the sunburned “V” on my chest I had seen in the mirror last night convinced me to ditch my women’s sports shirts and instead I took one of Griffin’s. A round collar, longer sleeves, still just as brightly colored as my shirts – it’s what made more sense.
“The tops of my legs don’t hurt” I marveled.
“Mine don’t either”
It was a miracle. First our backs and now parts of our legs were no longer hurting. Our bodies were adapting.
We were in high spirits. Not only had we made it to day 4 (which was our original day 2 before we added those 2 extra days in between), but that meant we were back on our original schedule. What had seemed so impossible just 3 days ago, now seemed like (literally) a mountain that we could certainly climb.
We were also excited because we’d be seeing Trevor along with Logan, who had decided to come up for the ride. For Griffin and I this meant we’d be able to offload some weight, and more importantly it meant we’d have a good lunch.
And I’d be able to see both boys before they left the following week to go back to college. Logan had been at home for the summer working at a local business so I’d had a chance to see him all summer, but Trevor had been away for weeks attending military basic training and this would be the only chance I would get to see him before he left for his senior year. I was really looking forward to seeing them both.
Anticipation of all things good tends to lighten your step.
Things were definitely looking up.
Except of course for Griffin’s darn blister. We’d have to keep an eye on that.
Our shoes tied, our rain gear ready, Griffin and I lifted our packs to our back.
“This feels different,” I said to Griffin.
“Yeah, it does. It feels like I could actually carry this all day with no problem.” He adjusted his straps. “Isn’t that just great that we finally get used to the weight right before we get rid of some of it?”
“Yes, but think about how it will feel when we do drop that extra weight.”
We both imagined a carefree stroll through New Hampshire, leaping like gazelles with our feather-weighted packs on our backs. Oh yes, today was going to be a fine day. We opened the door and entered into day 4 hike.
There was a light, warm drizzle – the kind of rain where I would put the kids in their bathing suits and send them in the back yard to play. To be truthful, it was refreshing.
We didn’t make it much past the downtown section of Colebrook when a driver in a red pickup truck pulled over in front of us.
“Where are you heading?” she asked us.
“Massachusetts.” Griffin replied, ready for the confused inevitable confused looks.
“I THOUGHT THAT WAS YOU GUYS!!” She beamed.
I had been posting updates to a “Border to Border New Hampshire” Facebook page and she had been following our progress. She told us about her brother who had Lyme disease. She thought what we were doing was great and wished us luck. It turned out she had to travel up and down Route 3 several times that day – she’d be sure to honk when she saw us.
Through big smiles, we thanked her and continued walking.
Not much further on a gentleman and his wife stopped their car by the side of the road.
“Where are you walking to?” He asked?
By now we had our answer down pat – short and simple. “Massachusetts”
He told us that he had seen us walking in Pittsburg and that we “didn’t look like we needed a ride” so he hadn’t offered one.
“Looks like you still don’t need a ride, you’re doing great.” He smiled, waved at us, and drove away.
Griffin and I couldn’t wipe the smiles from our faces. Sure we were walking in the rain, sure by the end of the day our bodies were sore, but there were people out there we didn’t even know who were cheering us on.
A dose of encouragement goes a long, long way.
We felt like sharing our good fortune with others. Griffin and I decided to smile and wave to every car that passed us. There were no strangers in New Hampshire, only friends we hadn’t yet met.
We continued walking, waving, taking breaks, and talking about seeing Trevor and Logan. Marc had said he was sending up some supplies and like a kid waiting for a holiday package at school, we wondered endlessly about what we were getting. Griffin had asked for fresh watermelon. I just wanted shorts that had pockets.
Even though we were seeing more towns, in between them was still pretty desolate. On the one hand, this meant that there were only a few if any stores where we could buy cold drinks and food, but on the other hand, it meant we had free peeing access to our great state.
While Griffin learned what the phrase “bird watching” was and how to do actual “bird watching” (guys have it so easy) I learned how best to squat (your butt faces downhill and it helps if there is a young tree to grab hold off.) I was getting so good at peeing in the woods that what before had taken minutes now only needed seconds.
I took an inordinate amount of pride in that accomplishment.
We walked. We talked. Outside of town, we came across a large park filled with religious statues. One statue was surrounded with colored lights and rocks that had been painted various colors. Another statue stood on an island, the only way to get to it was by way of a small bridge that spanned a now drained moat.
It was a down-scaled Disney land for the religious crowd.
“Let’s stop here,” suggested Griffin.
We walked over to a bench under a tree and took off our packs. I wasn’t going to be taking any chances with anyone’s angry God, there would be no peeing for me at this stop. I would hold it.
I was a little surprised at this request for a break (although as the rules stated, a request for a stop is never questioned.) We had stopped a little while before, we weren’t hot, and we had been drinking plenty of water.
Maybe he just wanted a closer look at the statues, maybe he wanted more food.
But then I saw him take off his shoes and socks.
In the rain?
“Darn. Another one.”
(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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