Day 6 – North Umberland to Whitefield
Each night, after we’d get to our hotel and once we had reliable cell service, we’d use our phones to look at hotels in the next town we’d be stopping in and then I’d book a room with the hotel that was at most 16 miles from our starting point (we had painfully learned that 16 miles with packs on roads was pretty much our daily limit.)
The stop for day 6 was Whitefield. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t even been aware that New Hampshire had a town called Whitefield (or a North Umberland for that matter) but it did and that’s where we were going to stay – about 15 miles away according to our calculations.
We went to sleep knowing that our next day was not only a reasonable distance to walk, but that we were assured a clean, safe bed at the end of the day. .
Our alarms, as usual, were set for 6:30 in the morning. We wanted to get going early to avoid the worst of the afternoon heat (this was of course before we drew back the curtains and saw yet another overcast sky.) Donning our freshly laundered shampoo washed shirts and underwear (side note we had gotten wrong underwear, if you want your underpants to be dry in the morning, get sports style – no matter how early I washed our clothing our underwear was always damp in the morning.) we went through our morning routine.
Griffin carefully wrapped his many blistered feet while I covered mine in HikeGoo. We put our peds on, then wool socks (which were also washed each night – and alternated between the pair that had had a full day to dry) and we went to see Oli and Gerry in order to check out.
True to their word, the owners had opened the office early and the coffee machine was ready to go. I filled a cup to the brim, wrapped my hands around for warmth and inhaled its aroma. I ignored Griffin’s glare indicating he was well aware that me having coffee meant that we’d (I’d) be taking a lot of “woods” breaks along the way.
Didn’t matter – sometimes the indulgence is worth the trouble it may bring.
I talked for a bit with our new friends and then it was time for us to begin our day. Still overcast, still drizzly, perfect walking weather.
A bit down the road we came across a Job Lots – a store that sold odd lots of things gotten from essentially fire sales. “Let’s go in,” I told Griffin, “at least I can use a real bathroom there.”
“When you’ve had 6 kids then you can complain,” I reminded him, “until then if I need to pee, and if there’s a bathroom I’m using it.”
Griffin stayed outside with my pack while I went in. In order to get to the rest rooms, I had to walk through the men’s clothing section. Displayed were the remainders of the summer stock as well as the beginning of the fall/winter stock. I passed by some jackets and then a rack of polar fleece shirts.
The rain that had continued for 2 days (even though it followed the record breaking heat wave) had me a little concerned. I had lived in New Hampshire long enough to know that weather could turn on a dime. Even in the summer.
I knew we had just dropped a lot of weight from our packs, I knew that we had learned the lesson of not carrying things we didn’t need or wouldn’t use, but the mom in me was compelled to buy the fleece. When I came out of the restroom I picked up two of the lightweight polar fleece shirts and a pair of flipflops (I had ditched them with Trevor and had realized too late that it left me with nothing to wear if I took my shoes off in the hotel – bare feet on a hotel rug is not my cup of tea.)
I paid for the items and brought them out to Griffin.
Who then wrinkled his nose at my purchase “Really? More clothes?”
“Just take it,” I told him and handed over the shirt.
“You’re not my mom,” he grumbled, a little rankled at being told what to do and letting me know that this decision was bordering on an unfair advantage.
I laughed at his remark, his perfectly delivered humorous warning that I was close to crossing a line. “As a matter of fact I am. So take it.” I countered.
When Griffin felt the weight of the shirts (feather light) and realized they wouldn’t take up much room or weight in our clothing bag (a large Ziploc bag that we’d place our clothing in and then sit on to force the air out before we put it in our packs) he acquiesced. “Fine.”
We repacked our packs, got rid of any trash from our purchase (we had learned to take advantage of garbage containers when we saw them) and put our packs on our backs.
“Ready to go?” I asked.
“Wait a minute,” Griffin said as he unhooked his pack, swung it off his shoulders, and put it on the ground next to me. “I need to go.”
(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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