Day 4 – Colebrook to North Stratford (cont.)
It turned out that the closest restaurant was in the town where we would be spending the night and the closest pharmacy was in the town we had left that morning. We were between a rock and a hard place (which, quite frankly isn’t that hard to do when you are hiking in New Hampshire.) What to do what to do.
We decided that food was more important at that point than bandages were (especially when those feet were begin driven to the restaurant.) So we headed toward our ending point North Stratford to fill our bellies with warm food.
Again I wondered how people managed with so little access to so few resources. Where I lived , it was easy, when I needed an ingredient I didn’t have while cooking a recipe, to send one of my kids to the store to get it.
“Darn, I need another jar of red sauce.” Or
“My eyes are bothering me, can you go and pick up some allergy drops?”
But when the store or pharmacy is a town away (and in some cases a few towns) it’s not so easy.
During your weekly (or bi-weekly or even monthly) visit to the store, you’d better plan for what you need when you’ll need it. If your recipe calls for two jars of red sauce and you only have one, then you’ll have to make do.
If you know you have seasonal allergies then you’d better get those drops *before* you need them otherwise, you’ll have to suffer itchy eyes until you can get a ride.
Life in a rural area takes a lot more planning than one in a residential or urban area. You have to be able to think on your feet when you can’t rely on convenience.
The restaurant (Riverside Market & Deli) we stopped at was really more of a deli counter in a store. They offered various sandwiches and salads ready to plate out. Griffin got a steak and cheese sub, I got a French toast Monte Cristo (the best Monte Cristo I had ever had!) and Trevor and Logan got meatball subs. The tab was left open as one by one we constantly got up to add chips, water, or drinks to our order.
We were together, out of the rain, it was a time to feast.
I had explained to the women working behind the counter that I was here with 3 of my sons and that 1 of them and I were walking the length of the state. One woman later came over to our table and started asking questions – Where had we started? How bad was our Lyme? How much did we walk each day and was it difficult?
Griffin and I answered truthfully, Canada – the Lyme had been bad but it was under control – we aimed for about 12-15 miles a day, and yes the first few days had been tough but it was getting easier.
“Huh,” the woman said after listening to our answers, “My sister keeps bugging me to do the Vermont Long Trail with her. Maybe I’ll give it a go after all.”
Griffin and I looked at each other and giving a quick high-five. Look at that, we were inspiring others to get outside. Another little bit of trail magic at work.
After lunch, we piled back into the car to go to the pharmacy back in Colebrook. My heart dropped a little to realize that we were back where we had started that morning, but hey – when you need it, you go where the pharmacy is and so that where we went.
The boys walked around the store while I grabbed a basket and like someone who had won a shopping spree started throwing in moleskin, scissors, bunion cushions, boxes of bandages, Motrin and a pair of nylon peds (a word that none of my sons knew) for Griffin and myself.
I had read online that peds worn *under * socks helped to reduce foot friction even more. We were going full throttle against these blisters and I had decided to hit them with everything that pharmacy had. After I had loaded my basket up with medical supplies, I looked around.
There were displays of cute seasonal decorations, magazines, books, nice shampoos – none of which I needed. If I bought them I’d have to carry them and I sure didn’t want to carry anything that I didn’t need.
It was probably the first time in my life when I stopped myself and said, nope – although I want that, I just don’t need that in my life.
That’s one of the biggest lessons I was learning while walking through rural New Hampshire. Take what you need and then take care of what you have.
Again, I thought about how much I had at home that was just sitting, unused. Why, why, why did I find it so necessary to constantly keep so much?
The time was getting close for Trevor and Logan to go back home. On the way to being dropped off near the cornfield where we had originally been picked up, Griffin and I went through our backpacks getting rid of things we now knew we wouldn’t need. From my pack alone I discarded:
- Heavy molded flip flops (which then left me without any shoes other than my walking ones – remember this for later.)
- 1 pair of underwear with broken elastic
- 2 women’s hiking shirts
- Pair of shorts that were the wrong size
- 3 pair of socks
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 windbreaker
- 1 half pound of Jordan Almonds (I love Jordan Almonds but I don’t love them enough to carry a half pound of them.)
- Toothpaste (we both didn’t need to carry some)
- Deodorant – see above
- Half of my food (nuts and seeds are heavy)
- 3 mini flashlights (including a head lamp)
- 2 travel packages of tissue
- 2 packages of wet wipes
- Metal utensils
- 5 tubes of Chapstick (I cannot live without Chapstick)
- A Farkle Travel game
- 2 Travel size bottles of Body wash
- 1 travel size bottle of shampoo
- Eye drops
- Nose Spray
- Head band
- Facial cream
- 3 pens
- Coin purse
- Small waterproof shoulder bag (it had only cast $29 at the Columbia Outlet store!)
- Bear horn (but kept the jingle bells on my pack – besides we were well past the area where bears were)
- 1 ziplock bag (hey, every micro ounce counted)
- Large tube of sunscreen
In total, I removed close to 5 pounds of unneeded things from my pack.
I also replaced my pocketless gym shorts with a pair of men’s long black athletic shorts. They weren’t very flattering but they had plenty of deep pockets and would keep my upper legs from getting sun burned.
What I ended up keeping:
- 1 pair of shorts (Washed in a sink when needed)
- 2 pairs of wool socks (washed a pair each night)
- 1 hiking shirt (washed each night)
- 2 pairs of underwear (washed a pair each night)
- Breathable long sleeve shirt
- 1 Chapstick
- Sunglass clips for my glasses
- 3Xl lightweight shirt used as night gown
- Cool towel (used every day to cool, for sun protection, and to sit on)
- Phone brick with cords and recharger
- Ziplock bag for storing clothing
- Ziplock bag for phone in pocket
- 2 large Smart Water bottles (lightweight and fit nicely into pack pockets.)
- Bottle of water flavoring (sometimes warm water didn’t cut it)
- Hiking tape, bandaids, moleskin, small scissors
- Small tube of sunscreen
- Trekking poles
- Toothpaste, deodorant
- Alfred Hitchcock magazine
- Extra ziplock bag for garbage during the day (had to be ziplock so bears wouldn’t be able to smell it)
- Personal items (muses and inspiration)
- My granite rock to leave at the end
It was time for us to continue our walk and for the boys to travel back home.
Before they left, I told Trevor and Logan, what I’d told them every time they’d ever gone off on their own – “Have fun, be safe, and be smart” They both got final kisses and hugs and we parted ways.
Trevor and Logan on the road in our bright red car – Griffin and I on road with our feet.
Our bellies were full, our packs lighter, and our spirits soared. The continuing rain was soft and warm and with only 7 miles to go until our end point, it looked like we had nothing short of a fantastic rest of the afternoon in front of us.
(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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