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It’s going to be a fun (sneaky) year

My friends.

A lot has happened since I last wrote in this blog.

I’m now a State Representative for New Hampshire – which is keeping me preeety busy. It also means I haven’t been writing much. But I love writing my stories and I didn’t spend all that time on this blog just to see it die. And I miss you, my reading friends. I really do.

I had an idea.

Today is my birthday. It’s a big one (hint – it ends in a zero and comes after 50) When a woman reaches a certain age, it’s time to do something significant. And while being a state representative is certainly significant, I also wanted to do something fun. And nice.

I’m going to play a game.

I got a deck of 64 game cards called Sneaky Cards and I’m going to play the game and write about it during my 60th (ack, I said it!) year on earth. Each card has a good deed to do to others (Ex. play the largest game of tag, find a favorite new song, decide on a secret code word and give the card to the first person who says it, leave a generous tip etc.) once I complete the objective, I pass the card on. I “win” the game by getting rid of my cards.

I plan to write about the adventures of each card and you’ll be able to follow my year of “playing it forward” right here on this blog, where I’ve already shared so many life lessons.

So Happy Birthday to me and let the games begin.

 

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Long Walk 2018 – T minus 3 days

T minus 3 days till the Great Long Walk of 2018 takes place. This year I’ll be walking from the tip of Cape Cod to the Sagamore Bridge at the base of the Cape (about 68 miles total – I’ll be adding a few small detours from what Google Maps says.)

 

I’ll be walking alone for this one (not worried, there aren’t too many roads on the Cape so people will see me), but I’m also not going to be stupid. Yesterday I purchased a whistle and I’m going to be carrying a metal walking stick. (I’d like to say that it’s for protection but I’m also sure that I’ll be using it on hills and at the end of the day.)

I went back and forth on shoes. For the 2016 walk I wore sneaks and I shredded the tendon on the top of my foot (from walking on the roads’ inclines for so many miles.) I came very close to having surgery on that injury.

For 2017 I switched to hiking boots and ended up with 9 of the most painful blisters I’ve ever had -truly impressive.

The Cape is relatively flat. I’ve decided to go back to sneakers for this one (Saucony – which fit me well) and I’ll be packing bandages for any blisters that may occur. The goal is to walk 14 miles a day which may not sound like too much, but remember I’ve already gone beyond the time when my docs said I wouldn’t be able to walk anymore and would need a total knee(s).

This is why I continue to walk – because, for now anyway, I can.

And I will continue until the day that I can’t.

The weather isn’t going to be that great, rain is predicted for 3 of the 5 days I’ll be walking. I’m not afraid of getting wet, but cold is not my friend so I’m trying to figure out a layering system that will work. My last two walks were in the middle of August and as a result I’ve only done this in hot, hot, weather. It might be nice to have it be a little cooler (as long as it’s not frigid.)

And even though there has ever been only one bear sighting on the Cape (people think it swam over) I will keep the bear bells on my pack.

One can never be too careful when it comes to bears.

I will have access to the internet and will be making regular updates on this blog and on Facebook.  (https://www.facebook.com/wendy.thomas1)

I will also be updating on Twitter @WendyENThomas with the hashtag #LongWalk2018

 

Shoo bear. 

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2018 Big Walk Announcement

This year, I’m trying to juggle a few things (for one I’m on the ballot for State Rep for Merrimack, NH) but I still wanted to get another big walk in.

Unfortunately, my regular walking buddy – Griffin is bowing out this year.

But I’m not.

So on Friday September 28th, I’ll be walking from the tip of Cape Cod to the base (Sagamore Bridge.)

It’s about 68 miles and I plan to do it in 5 days which means about 14 miles a day. My knees are bothering me a little more this year  (damn that age thing, but I’ll keep doing big walks for as long as I can) but as the Cape is relatively flat (compared to New Hampshire) and the weather should be cooler, I think it’s totally doable.

Although I may have a few people joining me on various days, for the most part I’ll be walking alone.

Not in the least bit worried. I have a support team who will be keeping an eye on me and I have found the people of Cape Cod to be nothing but supportive and friendly. I plan to bring notebooks  – I’ll take tons of photos.

And I plan to talk to many in order to hear what their stories are.

So that I can share them with you.

As an aside, when I entered my start and stopping destinations in Google Maps, this is the route it gave me for my walk.

I’m good, but I’m not that good. 🙂

 

 

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Lesson 1549: 2017 NH Border-to-border walk

Griffin and I are back from our 2017 Border-to-border New Hampshire walk.  As always we returned with lots of lessons learned. I’ll be writing up our adventures (just like I did from last year’s), but for now here are some tips for anyone who might be planning day-long walks.

 

  1. Water – make sure you start the day off with at least 2 liters of water. Large, tall slim water bottles (for example Smart water) fit well into backpack side pockets. For a daily 12 mile walk, we’d allocate ½ bottle of water for every 3 miles. Small sips are better than drinking a lot at once, however, always drink if you are thirsty and never refuse a glass of water or drink when in a restaurant or at a store.

Related: Always stash toilet paper and napkins in your pack. Often when you drink that amount of water quickly, you need to pee. Out of necessity, true hikers learn how to quickly pee in the woods.

 

  1. A hat – I had some skin cancer surgery prior to our walk. My doctor advised I used a strong sun block (50 SPF) as well as sunglasses and wear a hat with at least a 3 inch brim all around (baseball caps are no good.) I used two different hats, one was water-proof on the days I needed to keep the rain out of my eyes, and the other was a cotton floppy hat with ventilation near the crown. My hat had a chin strap which came in handy when large trucks drove by and the wind threatened to blow my hat away. When we walked through the woods, bug spray on the hat kept insects away from my face and ears.

 

  1. Food – Don’t’ worry so much about food. Always carry some kind of power bar, but if you eat a breakfast and then start your day, worst case is that you’ll not eat until the evening (at which point that food is going to taste great.) If there’s food, eat it, if not, no worries, there will be some soon. One of our most memorable lunches was the day we spent walking for 10 miles in the woods. There were no stores. Lunch was a power bar with water in a quiet peaceful cemetery. We survived.

 

  1. Rewards – Early on we discovered that motivational candy did wonders. Each day we’d squirrel away 3 pieces of hard candy and we’d break them out when we had 4 then 2 miles to go and then we’d eat the last candy in celebration of having reached our goal at the end of our day.

 

  1. Blisters – be prepared for them. The best defense is to get used to the socks and shoes you will be wearing. But even if you are used to the shoes, there’s a good chance you’ll get blisters. Make sure you carry blister bandages (they have a “jell” section that goes over the blister), regular bandages, tape, moleskin and scissors. If you can take your shoes off at stops and be sure to change into open sandals (flip-flops work well) at the end of the day.

 

  1. Ground cloth – Quite by accident I had packed a plastic bag in which to roll my raincoat in so I could carry it outside of my pack. I ditched the raincoat, but the bag stayed in my pack. Early on in our walk when we were looking for a dry place to sit, I pulled the bag out, ripped it in half and for the rest of the trip we used it every time we sat on the ground. It weighed nothing and provided a lot of bug and moisture protection when we took breaks.

 

  1. Pockets – During one walk I made the mistake of wearing shorts that didn’t have any pockets. Big problem. I couldn’t carry my chapstick or my phone for taking photos. Deep pockets are a must.

 

  1. Zip plastic bags – we ran into a lot of rain. Our packs had rain covers but had we not also packed everything inside of zip plastic bags it would have been soaking. We also had extra bags to protect our phones when it rained.

 

  1. Music – In the morning when it was cooler and our legs were rested we had conversations. After lunch when we’d start to get tired, we’d plug into music (using only one earbud so we could still hear things around us.) It’s quite the experience to walk through the woods listening to the musical Pippin. On the trail I lost my original MP3 player, a small replacement was well worth its $15 price tag.

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Lesson 1546: 2017 NH Border-to-border walk V2

Last night Griffin and I figured out the route we’re going to take for this year’s NH border-to-border (width) walk. We’ve allowed 9 days (plus one extra if needed) to cover a little over 100 miles. If you remember, last year’s walk did a job on our bodies and while we had a wonderful time, it was a little painful. This year we’re limiting the daily mileage to allow our bodies a chance to recuperate each day. As we will also be walking close to our home (and because where we are walking, in some places there aren’t any hotels) we will be picked up and will sleep at our house during the middle days. We’ll be dropped off in the morning where we left off so that we can continue.

This time we are older and wiser. Expect less in our packs, better choice of clothing, and some extra time to explore each area. We will start at the New Hampshire/Vermont border and will walk to the New Hampshire/Ocean border in Portsmouth where we’ll celebrate with a lobster roll.

More information will be shared as it is known, but for now all systems are go and we have a start date. 

 

Note: this schedule is subject to change. 

Day Start Stop Dist (miles) Total Miles Sleeping
Friday 8/4 236-262 Franklin Pierce Hwy, West Chesterfield, NH 03466 Days Inn Keene NH, 3 Ash Brook Rd, Keene, NH 03431 12.9 12.9 Days Inn
Saturday 8/5 Days Inn Keene NH, 3 Ash Brook Rd, Keene, NH 03431 The Harrisville Inn, 797 Chesham Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450 12.0 24.9 The Harrisville Inn
Sunday 8/6 The Harrisville Inn, 797 Chesham Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450 Hancock Inn, 33 Main St, Hancock, NH 03449 8.8 33.7 Hancock Inn
Monday 8/7 Hancock Inn, 33 Main St, Hancock, NH 03449 Crotched Mountain Resort, 740 2nd NH Turnpike S, Francestown, NH 03043 11.3 45 Crotched Mountain Resort
Tuesday 8/8 Crotched Mountain Resort, 740 2nd NH Turnpike S, Francestown, NH 03043 French & Rising Funeral Home, 17 S Mast St, Goffstown, NH 03045 12.9 57.9 Home
Wednesday 8/9 French & Rising Funeral Home, 17 S Mast St, Goffstown, NH 03045 433-427 Manchester Rd, Auburn, NH 03032 11.9 69.8 Home
Thursday 8/10 433-427 Manchester Rd, Auburn, NH 03032 Raymond, New Hampshire 11.4 81.2 Home
Friday 8/11 Raymond, New Hampshire Newfields, New Hampshire 12.7 93.7
Saturday 8/12 Newfields, New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire 11 104.7 Home
Sunday 8/13 EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED

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Mini-announcement on our 2017 NH Border-to-border walk

Griffin and I have chosen the dates for our New Hampshire 2017 Border-to-border walk from Vermont to the NH coast at Portsmouth.

We will leave from the New Hampshire/Vermont on August 5th and finish up on or before August 13th. (We’ll see how it goes.)

Now that we have a start time, we can begin work on our daily schedule which I’ll post as soon as it is ready.

Absolutely can’t wait.

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Taking the day off from posting

Having an “Anniversary Day” with Marc.

Will be back on Monday with more from the walk. Continue reading

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