Author Archives: Wendy Thomas

About Wendy Thomas

Wendy is a journalist, writer, blogger and teaches writing at Nashua Community College.

Lesson 1426 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Spoiler alert

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(spoiler alert)

We made it.

Griffin and I walked the entire length of New Hampshire – from the northern NH/Canadian border to the NH/Massachusetts southern border. Because of difficulties encountered on the very first day, we had to extend our original schedule by 2 days – so it took us a total of 16 days to walk our incredible state – but we did it.

Along the way we saw a black bear cross the road in front of us – my biggest fear next to seeing a snake which I also saw so basically I’m now fearless, had an eagle fly over our heads, woke up to a sunrise across a crystal clear lake while the loons sang their song, and saw the abject beauty that is northern New Hampshire.

Along the way, we smelled fresh pines that went on forever, passed by miles and miles of pure wilderness, and saw rivers that were so old, they had worn boulders down to shiny smoothness.

We also saw industry and cities that made sure art and nature were remembered in their planning and we now have a new appreciation for the convenience and ingenuity that is southern New Hampshire.

We have it all in this state.

We met so many people who will become life-long friends and we had an entire  online (and in come cases real life) community that supported our every step. We waved for miles and miles and discovered that there are no strangers in our state only friends we haven’t yet met.

Some pretty important people also took notice of our walk and acknowledged it, while others who had only learned of our adventure through online sources cheered us on – literally every step of the way.

Lessons were learned (oh so many lessons) and inner strength that had been hidden for too long was found.

We started this journey with no braces and no blisters.

We ended it with Griffin having 5 massive blisters (which required medical assistance) and me wearing 2 knee braces, an ankle brace and an air cast for ankle ligaments that were torn along the way.

Doc – “You shouldn’t be walking, you need to get off this ankle.”

Me – “I have 3 days to go and then I’ll get off it.”

Some nights we arrived at our hotel ready to walk the additional mile needed to get to the closest restaurant. Some nights we crawled to our hotel thanking the Gods above that a local restaurant had delivery service.

But you know what? we never once thought of quitting. Each day we got up, dressed our walking wounds and set out for the road. We walked until we met our daily goal which ended at a hotel each night. We walked in the rain, we walked in blistering heat, we got lost, and on more than a few occasions we wondered what drove us to take on this challenge. But come the morning, we were always back on the roads.

Quitting was just not an option.

Our border to border walk  is a journey that will never be forgotten and one that will bring a smile to our faces each time we think of it.

Starting next week I’ll begin documenting each of our days on the road. I had wanted to update this blog and Social Media each night but:

  1. Computers are heavy
  2. Internet and cell service are spotty up north, and
  3. Sleep was more important – both of us were asleep by 9 p.m. each night – so much for the night life I was planning on exploring.

I updated the Facebook Border to Border New Hampshire page when I could. If you want more spoilers got to that page and check out some of the photos.

If you want to wait – on Monday I’ll start with that incredible Day 1.

(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.

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Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – because we can

 

(Here is some background information on our Border to Border New Hampshire walk)

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Beginning on August 9th and continuing until August 22nd (14 days) my son, Griffin (23) and I (Wendy, 57) will walk the length of New Hampshire from its Canadian border to its Massachusetts’s border, a walk of approximately 220 miles.

Big deal, right? Lots of people go for long walks.

Our situation is a little different. For over 10 years Lyme disease has changed the way our family has lived. Griffin, when he was 13, was the first one of my six children to have symptoms of “one thing after another.” First it was a skin rash and then he had various aches and pains that seemed to move around. Then came the joint swelling, the headaches, the forgetfulness, the muscle twitches, and the visual disturbances – it seemed that every week it was something new.

Over the course of seven years I took him to 11 different doctors and got 11 different diagnoses. When he was finally diagnosed by a Lyme Literate Physician, his immune system had been decimated. As a result he has permanent Lyme related arthritis along with an auto-immune disease.

I can’t tell you how many doctors told me that Griffin had “growing pains” or that he was just trying to get attention, or that he was faking his pain. After he was finally diagnosed by IgeneX Western Blot (and symptoms), I can tell you how angry I was at the medical community for not being able to properly diagnose and treat Lyme disease. We live in a heavily-wooded-tick-infested state for crying out loud.

Many of you with Lyme Disease have similar stories, I’m just one voice of many.

Once Griffin had been diagnosed and I started to learn about Lyme disease, co-infections (you mean those aren’t stretch marks?) and their symptoms I was able to recognize Lyme disease in four of my other kids and in myself.

For some of us multi-month treatment of antibiotics was able to kick the disease back. Others of us weren’t so lucky. We’ve had relapses, we’ve had new co-infection diagnoses, and we’ve all had permanent damage due to Lyme disease.

Griffin and I have moderate Lyme related arthritis, along with other orthopedic conditions – which can sometimes make even walking difficult.

But we’re not a family known for throwing in any towels.

Last year when Griffin and I were talking about personal challenges I mentioned that we should climb all of New Hampshire’s 4K+ mountains. We looked at a map of NH’s mountains, sighed and realized that with our joints, that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

“Well we could walk New Hampshire instead,” I volunteered.

And with that simple suggestion the idea of a Border-to-Border New Hampshire walk was hatched.

I’ve done my research. We’ve found shoes that fit and feel good on our Bartonella sore feet. I’ve found insoles that will help with joints that hurt because of arthritis. I’ll be using walking poles to help me with my balance. I’ll be carrying a tick key and tick spray, because although I’m willing to be outside in our beautiful state, never again will I go out unprepared.

Why are we willing to walk over 220 miles? Because it’s to prove to others as much as ourselves that even though we have damage from Lyme disease and even though we can no longer climb New Hampshire’s mountains, we can still get up and walk her beautiful roads. We can still get up and go out.

We can.

It’s not going to be easy – we have two days that cover over 20 long miles -and it won’t be without pain (Motrin will be our friend) but it *is* doable. We will walk the length of New Hampshire knowing that we have the support of many, many friends helping to lift and guide our steps along the way.

This is our schedule:

Day Calendar Day Start Finish Distance Total Distance
1 08/09/2016 US Border Inspection Station Pittsburg, NH 03592 22.1 22.1
2 08/10/2016 Pittsburg, NH 03592 North Stratford, Stratford, NH 26.5 48.6
3 08/11/2016 North Stratford, Stratford, NH Northumberland, NH 16.1 64.7
4 08/12/2016 Northumberland, NH Whitefield, NH 15.1 79.8
5 08/13/2016 Whitefield, NH Franconia Nh 14.7 94.5
6 08/14/2016 Franconia Nh Lincoln NH 15.8 110.3
7 08/15/2016 Lincoln NH Campton NH 16.9 127.2
8 08/16/2016 Campton, NH Ashland, NH 11.6 138.8
9 08/17/2016 Ashland, NH Sanbornton, NH 17.1 155.9
10 08/18/2016 Sanbornton, NH Canterbury NH 12.2 168.1
11 08/19/2016 Canterbury NH Concord NH 10.1 178.2
12 08/20/2016 Concord NH Manchester NH 16.7 194.9
13 08/21/2016 Manchester NH Merrimack NH 10.2 205.1
14 08/22/2016 Merrimack NH Mass border 12.4 217.5

 

Daily updates will be made here.

Social media:

  • Twitter – @BtoBNH
  • #BtoBNH
  • Snapchat – BtoBNH
  • Instagram – BtoBNH
  • Facebook – Border to Border New Hampshire

*

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease visit International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)

I work for The New Hampshire Challenge -a publication that shares information on New Hampshire disability issues from a family perspective  – Any Paypal donations to the Challenge should use this email – Mehkrumm@gmail.com

If you’d like to buy Griffin and I  a bottle of water along the way, you can do so through Paypal using this email address: wethomas@gmail.com

***

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.

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Lesson 1425 – Skunks and squeals

Charlie, our beloved Black Copper Marans, seems to have injured herself. She’s walking a little funny, she’s listing a little to one side, but the good news is that each day she seems to get a little better (which is why I’m going for a sprain-type injury and not an illness.)

Last night, I lifted her into the coop area and wondered if she’d be able to get on a roost for the night. When I checked in on her just a little later, she was standing on top of the nesting boxes. Okay so there’s my answer, no roost for her right now. That’s okay, she’ll still be comfortable where she is.

Even though it was dusk, the babies were reluctant to go into the coop. I had to gather them one by one and place them inside myself. Kids, you know?

When I put one of the youngin’s into the coop, I heard (it was too dark to see) Charlie in the back, pushing the wood shavings around her to make a nice nest.

I stuck my head inside the coop, “Goodnight sweetheart,” I said to her. “Hope you feel better in the morning”

That’s when Charlie emerged from inside the nesting box. Only Charlie wasn’t Charlie. Charlie was a skunk.

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That’s not Charlie

You know in movies when people are frightened and they run with their hands over their heads – and you think to yourself, “that’s so fake, no one runs like that!”?

I’m here to tell you that in actuality people (I) do run like that when they’re (I’m) trying to get away from a skunk.

running scared

They (I) also squeal loudly enough for the kids to come outside to see what mom’s up to now. Continue reading

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Lesson 1424 – It’s second thought time

 

In the I-know-this-isn’t-the-most-important-decision-in-the-world department:

The general consensus of the earrings I posted yesterday was that I should wear the “teal rock candy” ones, however when I put them on, within a few hours my ears started to get itchy and inflamed (it’s stainless steel, silver, or gold only for me.) Although adorable, it looks like those are not going to work for me.

And although the dangles are not heavy, I do appreciate the reminder that I will be putting on and taking off my pack many times and I wouldn’t want an earring to get caught on the straps (shudder.)

I’ll keep looking for New Hampshire made non-dangly earrings for our trip. (which begins in 6!!! Days!)

 

In the What-on-earth-was-I-thinking? department:

It never occurred to be me to frightened of our trip. My son and I (both adults) will simply be walking the roads of New Hampshire.

But in the last week no less than 4 people have told me that they would be terrified to do such a thing.

What on earth is there to fear? Continue reading

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Lesson 1423 – It’s all about New Hampshire

 

Our Border to Border New Hampshire walk (which starts in ONE WEEK!!!) will be a celebration of all things New Hampshire. During our 220 mile walk Griffin and I  plan on visiting unique businesses and attractions and eating the foods (and in my case anyway, drinking some of our local beers) that make our state great.

As much as we can, we’ll also be using and wearing New Hampshire products. I am going to wear one pair of earrings for the walk (but who knows, maybe I’ll purchase more along the way.)

These are the three I have that are in the running to be worn on our trip (all made in New Hampshire.)

These little beauties made our of horse nails. Continue reading

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Lesson 1422 – But what about my muse?

I have always been a stuffed animal kind of gal. When I was younger they lined my bed and even now, I can spot about a half dozen peeking about in my office. They are my friends, they are my muses. I will always love them.

So do you think I’d go on a two-week walk without taking at least one? Nope, wouldn’t be able to do it. Of course I’ll be taking a stuffed animal, but which one?

Can’t bring my chicken, she’d take up too much room in my pack. Continue reading

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Lesson 1421 – Wait, there’s a “Moose Corridor” in New Hampshire?

 

If you’ve been reading along, you know that one of my biggest fears about our Border-to-Border New Hampshire walk is not blisters (I think I can do enough proactively to avoid those), pain (that’s what walking poles and Motrin was invented for) or even finding a place to stay each night (I’m positive that New Hampshire will provide.)

Nope my biggest fear has been bears.

That is, at least, until last night.

Yesterday I drove to our nearest NH visitors’ center to get maps and brochures of attractions in New Hampshire that we would be likely to pass by. I spread a map out and explained to the “map guy”- Andrew that my son and I were going to walk the length of New Hampshire. I traced our path with my finger from top to bottom. He looked at our route and within seconds started pulling out brochures and publications which would help us along the way.

Got to like a guy that knows how to do his job. Continue reading

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