Day 5 – North Stratford to North Umberland
Our phone alarms beeped waking us from our deep sleeps. Even though Griffin and I suffered from mild to sometimes moderate insomnia (it’s actually a symptom of Lyme disease) we had both discovered that since we had started our walk, our bedtimes were early and our sleeps were uninterrupted. Hooray for the magic that is exercise and exhaustion.
We looked out of the tiny window in our room to the solid overcast sky. It was going to be another drizzly day, but as long as it wasn’t that (record) heat wave again, we were fine with it. We had prepared for rain and had rain jackets for us and covers for our packs. Bring it on – besides, a little bit of rain never hurt anyone.
As we got ready for the day’s walk, we realized two things:
It was the morning of Day 5. Day 5!!! Griffin and I had been on the road for four days already (although it certainly seemed like a lot more, especially when we had those damn mountains to climb.) Because we had stretched out our original 14-day schedule by two extra days, this morning meant that we were on the cusp of being one third the way though our journey.
What had looked so impossible on the afternoon of our first day now seemed like something that we’d be able to finish. Griffin and I high-fived each other in solidarity.
Part of this excitement in our progress was also due to our second realization of the day. Our calf muscles didn’t hurt anymore. Four days of constant pain, four days of just keep on keepin’ on and we were finally rewarded with bodies that had become strong enough to fully participate in the walk – bodies that supported our work. This, of course, didn’t mean that we were pain free, but it meant that our body pain had retreated to a level that was manageable.
We could work with manageable pain.
When we were done with our preparations (using the toilet down the hall, bandaging blisters, and packing our gear)we walked quietly down the hallway, being careful to not wake up any of the wedding guests who had arrived overnight. It felt like my childhood days of sneaking down the stairs to get a late night snack from the kitchen – careful of that third step, it creaks in the middle.
A bed and breakfast supplies well a bed and a breakfast. We peeked into the dining area and saw a few guests at tables with coffee, orange juice and tucking into their food. The perfume of bacon wafted everywhere.
Above the diners was a row of mounted deer heads. I was appalled, and wondered how someone could eat with such a deadly audience looking on, but then I remembered where I was. Hunting was a way of life up here. People hunted and then ate the meat (there is no trophy hunting done up north by locals)
Mounting racks and deer heads was, in a way, paying respect to the animal. It was a way to use every bit of the animal. It Showed that the animals were an integral and natural part of everyone’s lives.
It was easy for me, a buyer of sanitized Styrofoam plated meat, to be squeamish. I was removed from the direct source of meat, these people were not. They walked the talk of eating meat. My views on hunting became a little more tolerant that day.
Realizing that most of the people in the dining room were connected to the wedding, Griffin and I decided to skip breakfast and instead grab a breakfast sandwich later somewhere on the road (We just broke the food rule that we had remembered the night before.)
We thanked Cathy for her hospitality and got on our way. Today was a 16 mile walk and we wanted to get started sooner rather than later. Our plan was to rest every two miles, break if needed, and stop when we saw our first restaurant or gas station.
This was Route 3. Surely they’d be gas stations along it, right?
A few miles later, we realized our critical mistake. There were no restaurants, there were no gas stations. We had made the grievous error of giving up the opportunity to have bacon when we could have had some.
Instead of coffee, orange juice, muffins and bacon, our breakfast that day was granola bars and lemon electrolyte enhance water with the last of our “emergency fudge” thrown in. With mouths watering at the memory, both of us swore that we could still smell the bacon on our clothing.
I thought back to the mounted deer. Of course hunting was important up here, with the friggin’ lack of restaurants and stores if people didn’t hunt, they’d probably starve to death.
(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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