Day 6 – North Umberland to Whitefield (Continued)
We were well fed and had even gotten a few cold drinks (and used the restroom) at local gas stations, life was looking pretty good. Because people had been following our walk online some of our readers had decided to support our walk by contributing money for our drinks. We made sure to post a toast to each of our supporters online to thank them. At least up in the north, there wasn’t a gas station that we didn’t stop in to buy a drink for toasting (and can I just say that when you walk for hours each day – cold Orange juice tastes mighty fine.)
With the reduction of pain (muscle pain from walking, the joint and foot pain left over from our Lyme Disease was ever present) we had the extra energy to joke, and laugh, and talk about whatever we wanted. We talked about books we had read, movies we had seen, how the changing of the seasons still amazed us and who would win if Superman fought Batman.
Because we were following New Hampshire’s road system, we had to walk facing traffic – at all times. For the most part, after Day 1 when there hadn’t been any traffic, we walked in single file, Griffin ahead, with me following his pace behind. Griffin would be the first to see any cars approaching and he was the first to wave.
Once I noticed he was waving, I doubled the wave behind him. A mini Congo-line of happy travelers waving to everyone who passed by.
It started off as almost a joke, let’s wave at the cars and see how many wave back, but we soon realized that without fail not only did everyone wave back but they also smiled when doing so. It didn’t take much to encourage us and soon waving at each car became an important part of our walk.
Why not? Think of how powerful it made us feel – with the simple wave of a hand we could make people smile (which then of course, made us smile.) IN our own little way, and in our own little corner of the world, we were contributing to world happiness. Because I was using my trekking poles, I either had to wave with my pole in the air or move it to the other side so that I could wave with a free hand.
But like the coffee I had had that morning, any inconvenience was definitely worth the indulgence.
One man with his son stopped on the side of the road, “Need a lift?” he asked.
“Nope, we’re good” we replied. We thanked him and after hearing our story smiled and drove on.
And that was the absolute truth – we were good. Because of this walking challenge we were spending our days outside getting hours and hours of exercise. We were seeing parts of our state we hadn’t even known existed and we were meeting people, new friends who listened to us and who took care of us.
Even though we were feeling stronger, we still planned our breaks to between 2 and 3 miles apart. We were very careful not to push our bodies over the limit. In the mornings, we’d make good mileage (fresh legs) and so would try to get in as many miles as we could before lunch. The afternoons were a bit tougher as fatigue and foot pain set in.
Breaks were always off the side of the road in a grassy spot under the trees which held back the drizzle. We’d stretch out, drink water and eat from our day’s supply of granola bars and snacks. At one store we came across, we stopped in and I got some chocolate peanut butter cookies which were gobbled down and had both of us licking our fingers.
Appetite makes you appreciate what you have.
One item I had kept from our “purge” was the cooling towel I had soaked in water that night for Griffin’s knotted shoulders. It now became used as a mat for me to sit on instead of the wet ground when we took our breaks. The towel was bright pink and so when I wasn’t using it, I’d hang it from the back of my pack as a sort of “red flag – lookout” warning signal for cars coming from the other direction. On that very hot day, now two days ago, I even tucked it under my hat, it draped over my neck protecting me from getting sun burned. There are a few things I used on this walk that I’d never go on another walk without and that towel was one of them. Lightweight- multi use – a perfect walking item.
By late afternoon, our feet would hurt, we’d be thirsty and when we reached our nightly hotel we were more than ready to kick our feet up for the rest of the evening. A rest well earned.
And so on Day 6 we continued our walk, waved at everyone we saw, ate good food, and bought sandwiches for our dinner later that night, made it to our hotel in good time.
The hotel where we stayed, Barron Brook, was actually a bed and breakfast (oh we so loved when we were supplied with a breakfast) and they had been waiting for us. When I had booked the room online the night before, I had mentioned in the comment section that we were walking the length of New Hampshire and that we wouldn’t have a car. I had wanted to get that information out of the way because I knew it would be an issue, as it had in the past when we had checked into hotels. “Seriously, no car?”
Turns out not having a car wasn’t a problem. But everyone wanted to find out about the “walkers.” The owners of the hotel had a teen son who was incredibly interested in what we were doing. He was a scout and had gone on several hikes in the area. He asked us to take out our map to show him the route we had taken and what roads we would be traveling on from here. He asked question after question about what we did, where we ate, did we camp?
“Leave them alone” the woman at the front desk chided him.
“No worries,” I replied, “It’s great that he’s so interested.”
While we were waiting for my credit card to go through, Griffin and I munched on the fresh and warm chocolate chip cookies set out in the welcome area for guests and we poured deeply from the lemon chilled water jug next to cookies.
“Everything’s all set” we were told.
“I’ll take them to their room,” the young man told his mother. Before I could object (ever the mom even to another son) he grabbed both of our packs, slung them over his shoulders and led the way. Two packs, and there we were complaining about one.
I asked him about his scouting, about high school, about living up here – foreign exchange students from the same state getting to know each other.
“For goodness sake, please leave them alone” his mother said when she walked by the open door of our room and heard her son still talking to us.
We had become new-day adventurers; we were travelers bringing news of distant lands and cities. Griffin looked at me, I looked at him, and we smiled at each other.
(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
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.