Day 16-3 Nashua to Massachusetts
The Nashua River Rail Trail is a former railroad right of way that travels 11 miles through Massachusetts and ends in Nashua (or vice versa if you are going the other way.) The trail offers a 10-foot wide paved surface for the entire length and a five-foot wide gravel equestrian path for seven miles. It’ a way for pedestrians, bicyclists, inline skaters, wheelchairs and cross-country skiers to get outside when within the city.
It’s a beautiful trail, wooded and set back from houses and business.
“It smells like fall,” said Griffin as we walked in an area overhung with tree branches. .
It did. The trail was splattered with dropped pine needles and brown leaves that had begun their fall migrantcy from on high to low. There was that sharp smell of trees and plants casting off, getting ready for a rest.
The season was starting to turn. It smelled like the beginning of change.
We left the Rail trail to follow the back roads we had mapped out on our way to the Massachusetts state border. Stopping at a Dunkin Donuts, we got a bagel. I used the restroom. When we had resumed walking, we saw houses, dogs tied up in yards, similar to what we saw up north just more concentrated down here. The same but different.
And it was all available to these two walkers who were almost at the end of their journey. I turned on an online tracker so that Marc could keep track of our progress, we’d need a ride when we reached the end.
A good friend had found out where we were by way of the tracker. She met us with bottles of cold juice. “Incredible,” she said as she handed them to us. And then “I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten you bottles.”
Griffin and I thanked her. When we had finished our drinks we put the bottles in our packs. We’d put them in the recycling pile when we got home. Carrying extra weight now, was no big deal.
We found a shaded lawn and sat. Now that the end was so close, we weren’t in a great hurry to get there. It was like only eating one candy a day of your Halloween stash – allowing you to slowly eat candy for months, we wanted to make our trip last. We wanted to savor every minute until the end.
A fellow walker whom I had met online and who had been following our journey showed up to walk with us to the end. She had taken many walks in New Hampshire and had documented all her walks. She was also, a sojourner – a New Hampshire walker.
We welcomed her reminding her of the rule to walk at the rate of the slowest hiker. She laughed. “Not a problem,” She told us she was amazed and in awe of our trip.
We talked with our new acquaintance. She asked us about some of our adventures, I asked her about some of hers. Friends found through the act of walking.
Then Griffin and I turned left onto the final road that would bring us to our destination. In the distance,we saw the State Line post, white, bearing signs with black letters that read Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “State border” running down its trunk.
Griffin and I walked up to the post. We put our hands on it.
There were so many lesson learned during this trip. It started out as a challenge and turned into something upon which we will reflect for the rest of our lives. We met people, we shared stories, we learned things we had never even thought about before. We saw strength, we felt pain and ultimately we conquered.
Despite it all, we persevered and we made it to the finish line. In the end we discovered that “we could do this.”
We had truly become our own superheroes. No one would ever be able to take that away from us.
Griffin and I unzipped the top pockets of our pack and took out our rocks that we had chosen at the Canadian border and carried all the way to the Massachusetts border. We placed them on the grass at the bottom of the state border post on the New Hampshire side.
Racing up the street toward us were Marc and my daughters Addy and Emma. They gave me flowers and gave Griffin some sushi – family acknowledgement of favorites for a job well done.
We smiled. We laughed and we hugged.
And then we all got into our bright cherry red car to go home.
(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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