Tag Archives: Lyme infection

Lesson 1471 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 11 (Ice towels and friends)

This was our 11th day. If you looked at a map, you’d see that we were roughly 2/3 of the way through New Hampshire. Although there were a few scattered mountains in our path for the most part, the big ones were behind us. We’d be seeing more people and businesses from now on.

People tend to put down roots where the land is flatter.

Susan offered us breakfast, and although I was jonesing for a cup of freshly brewed coffee, we were anxious to be on the road. Griffin and I declined the meal. We said our grateful thank-yous, pet the dog one last time and hugged Susan – our friend in the beautiful calm house and set off down her long driveway. I hadn’t yet told Griffin about the five bears that visited Susan’s yard and so it was I who cautiously looked around, on guard at each noise from the woods, while he happily whistled, excited at the new day.

Today was going to be another day when one of the red cars we saw on the road was going to be Marc. We had finally made it so that a drive up to see us was reasonable and didn’t take all day. He had arranged to meet us in Sanbornton where he would take us to lunch.

Today was going to be another good day. Continue reading


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Lesson 1470 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 10-4 (Telling Stories)

Day 10 Campton to Ashland cont.

We reached Ashland – which if we had thought Plymouth was a big town, we discovered Ashland was a metropolis.  We passed car dealerships, trucks, Dunkin Donuts (!), and stores with names I was familiar with. Now we were talking.

I had arranged to meet our contact, Susan, at the Ashland Post Office.

“Do you know what she looks like?” asked Griffin when I told him the plans.

“Not at all.”

Griffin sighed. “I’m not sure that I like this” he said in his most parental voice. “I think you’re forgetting all about Misery again.”

“Actually, Misery is the wrong reference, this would be more like House on the Hill.”

“Not making me feel better mom” Continue reading


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Lesson 1469 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 10-3 (Hello Bambies)

Day 10 Campton to Ashland cont.

Our path took us through Plymouth, a college town, where we stopped for Thai food (Thai food) for lunch. Griffin and I had learned that we could extend our stay in a restaurant (and therefore extend the time we were off our feet) by ordering an appetizer first and then eating our main meal veeeery slowly.

Even though it was a college town, two people with slightly grubby people with full backpacks draws some attention.

“Where are you coming from?” is what began a conversation with the people the next table over. We told them about our hike, noting that each day we had established more distance from our starting point of the Canadian border. The looks of amazement got more pronounced.

I loved telling people how far we had already walked.

“Yes and it took 10 days of walking for us to get right here, right now.” I said with an arm flourish, ta-dahh!

Even the pain I constantly felt wasn’t able to dim my sense of the dramatic.

After our lunch, chicken, curry, vegetables, with brown rice we walked across the street to some white Adirondack chairs sitting on a vast lawn, set up for anyone to use. We sat in the chairs and just peole watched. It was like sitting in the theater while incredible action shows on the screen. Plymouth wasn’t big, but it was the biggest town we had seen to date. People were talking and joking as they walked by us. Students bopped to music that only they heard through their ear buds. There were bikers. People, lots of people very busy just doing things.

We felt a little disoriented. So much activity after so many days of so little. Continue reading

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Lesson 1468 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 10-2 (100 Bottles)

Day 10 Campton to Ashland cont.


Griffin and I never ran out of things to talk about. Sometimes there would be silence and sometimes there would be discussion. It was always comfortable.

“What’s your next goal after this?” I asked him, looking at the white of the birches gracefully bowing over the water on my left. “Your next goal on your bucket list, what are you going to do when this is over?”

One of the reasons Griffin and I had undertaken this trip was to prove to ourselves that even with Lyme disease and chronic illness; we could still accomplish walking from one end of the state to the other.

Now that it was Day 10 we were starting to see the finish line. What we had doubted on a daily basis in the beginning (and even as late as last night when we thought we wouldn’t be able to continue) was starting to look like a distinct possibility. We were going to do this.

I could tell that Griffin was chewing on the thought, considering what would be a good next goal.

“I want to learn how to walk on stilts.”

I was surprised. “You mean the type of stilts that you hold onto?” I told him about the stilts, which were nothing more than a stick with a cross piece to stand on that I had used when I was a kid.

“No I want to learn how to use the type that strap onto your legs.” Continue reading

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Lesson 1467 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 10 (Being Badass)

Day 10 Campton to Ashland

The incessant beeping was not part of my dream. It was the alarm letting us know it was 6:00 A.M. – time to get up.

I gingerly stood bracing myself against the wall expecting my feet to be so tender they wouldn’t hold me up. Having a chronic illness means forever being disappointed with your body and what it can do and I had been bitterly disappointed last night wondering if we should end the trip, the pain level reaching a new level that indicated damage.

But come the morning, we both discovered that we didn’t hurt as much. We could walk.

The day in front of us was doable.

Having a chronic illness also means that you are continually amazed at what your body can do.

Never a dull day.

“When this is all over, I’m going to sleep late for a whole week,” grumbled Griffin as we started our early morning routine. His bed was covered with bandages, tape, moleskin, and a pair of scissors. I sat on my bed rubbing HikeGoo on my feet.

At the end of the day we were supposed to meet up with some town officials from Ashland.  Arrangements had been made for one person in the town to put us up for the night – weary travelers at the Inn.

“Do you know this person?” asked Griffin as I told him the plans.

“Nope, but I’ve communicated through email to a friend of hers.”

“Do you know that friend?”

“No, but she seemed nice.”

Griffin muttered something about “here we go again with Misery” as he opened the bandages for his feet. I clearly was the risk taker of the two of us.

The rains were on the way out, and when we hit the road, we saw clouds hanging low in the valleys and even a few rain spouts that like a dream slowly disappeared the longer we we stared at them.

We were starting to see more houses and businesses. We weren’t particularly hungry, we had picked at our leftovers for breakfast, but at the first gas station we came upon we ordered bacon and cheese bagel sandwiches. Surprising ourselves, we gobbled them down and washed it all down with cold lemonade – although we were now officially heading into the southern part of the state where there would be more people and more commerce, we still weren’t going to take our chances.

We got food when we could. Continue reading

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Lesson 1466 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 9 cont. (Local Delivery)

Day 9 – Lincoln to Campton  (continued)

We still had 5 miles to go to get to our hotel and when you’ve pushed your feet to the limit too early, it makes for a very long afternoon.

We couldn’t go more than half a mile without taking a rest for our feet. We had given our all and there was no more left in the tank.

And still we walked. Rested and then walked some more.

Griffin noticed that I was in some serious pain. “We’re almost there, mom” he said looking at the map he had downloaded the night before. “It’s right up there, around the bend.”

We passed under a bridge, the sounds of cars on Route 93 above us.

“I have to stop, Griffin. I need to stop. Now” I groaned getting ready to sit on the rocks even though they were covered with bird poop.

“Mom, I swear, the hotel is just around this corner. Come on Mom, we can do this. You can do this.”

I sighed and adjusted my pack.

“Okay, let’s go.”

The hotel was around the corner (and up a small hill.) Griffin stayed outside of the main office while I checked ourselves in.

We hadn’t seen any restaurants or stores since we had stopped earlier for our sandwiches. It looked like those sandwiches were going to be our lunch and dinner for the day.

“There isn’t any place around here that delivers is there?” I optimistically asked the woman behind the check-in counter.

“There sure is,” she said and with a certain amount of pity in her eyes she dug out a menu from a folder.

“Griffin, we’re saved!” I reported to him as I waved the menu over my head. Continue reading

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Lesson 1465 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 9 cont. (Fresh Legs)

Day 9 – Lincoln to Campton  (continued)

We walked by acres and acres of Christmas tree farms (yes Virginia, there are Christmas tree farms) young green spuds of potential, lined up in orderly rows, patiently waiting to be adopted by a family for the holidays.

We saw white birches gently swaying over river banks, water so clear we could see grey and silver fish swimming, and Rosehip bushes their swollen buds ready for picking.

Interesting note – rosehips berries have more vitamin C than oranges do. If you’re ever stuck in the woods for a long time and are concerned about scurvy, pop a few of the berries into your tea or even in your soup and you’ll be fine.

We passed an old man who with his cane was struggling to get up his step driveway to his mailbox. Bent legs, bent back, he looked like he’d fall over with each step.

“Boy,” he yelled when he saw Griffin walking by “Get my mail. Get my newspaper.”

Griffin went over to his mailbox got the mail and newspaper and brought it to him halfway down the driveway.

“Here you go,” said Griffin. The man looked at Griffin, took the mail and mumbled something that didn’t quite make sense. That’s when we realized that he was probably deaf, as well as old, as well as arthritic.

Imagine the guts and fortitude it takes to get up each morning, knowing that you have to a climb a small but at times insurmountable mountain each day just to get your mail and then going out and doing it.

I wanted to be sure the man was okay, I wanted to help him back to his house, leave knowing that he was safe, but he waved us on, gnats in the wind. It wasn’t for us to intrude on his independence.

We waved back and walked on. Continue reading

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Lesson 1464 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 9 cont. (Weight gain with illness)

Day 9 – Lincoln to Campton  (continued)

When you have a chronic illness that brings systemic unrelenting pain (Lyme Disease and Autoimmune Diseases) you tend to withdraw.  You tend to isolate and keep to yourself.

You spend hours trying to deny the reality that is your body.

I remember times when I was in so much pain that I’d ask myself if I was really thirsty enough to justify the agony it would take to get up from the chair and walk to the kitchen for a glass of water.

When you are in pain like that it literally hurts to move. Between not getting exercise, medication, systemic inflammation, and eating comfort food to feel good at least once in a while, you tend to gain weight.

Both Griffin and I were well over what was considered a healthy weight.

But 9 days on the road was starting to change our bodies.

Because we had to walk single file and I chose to let Griffin set the pace in front of me, I was the one to notice that his “love handles” had gotten smaller. His legs had lost any pudginess and were now formed of muscles.

I noticed that our belly equator (the hip belt on our packs that cut right across our pudgy tummies) wasn’t as pronounced as it has been when we started our walk.

And I noticed that the swelling in my ankles, of particular concern to me, because it can be an early indication of heart dysfunction – something my mother died of – was gone.

Granted we were walking about 8 hours a day, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t so much the hours spent as much as it was the consistency. If you want to save your body from decay then you have to get out and use it.

Every day. No excuses. Continue reading

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Lesson 1463 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 9 (A field of toilets)

Day 9 – Lincoln to Campton

New Hampshire has some interesting stories. One in particular that has gotten a lot of attention is the tale of Barney and Betty Hill.

Barney and Betty were a New Hampshire couple who claimed they were abducted by aliens in a rural part of Lancaster New Hampshire (close to where we were journeying.) They were returning from a trip to Canada, saw a bright light and then found themselves in a different location two hours later with no recollection of how they got there.

It’s easy to dismiss the story (Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a popular one) but there are many strange things about this incident that have never been resolved. The couple was interviewed. After Betty had started getting dreams about the incident she went to a hypnotist for therapy and all kinds of strange memories about the abduction came out. Barney also attended hypnotic therapy and his repressed memories matched Betty’s.

To this day, The Hill Abduction, as it came to be known, remains one of the most credible alien abduction stories around.

And we Granite Staters are very proud of our alien abductions.

Griffin and I passed a gas station with a large mural of a typical alien – green, a large head with big black eyes, skinny extremities – painted on an outside wall. Inside the gas station there were strings of green alien lights strung from one wall to another. You could even buy green glass pot pipes in honor of the incident.

“So can you tell me about Barney and Betty and the aliens?” I asked hoping to get additional “hometown” information. Continue reading

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Lesson 1462 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 8 cont. (Flannel Pants)

Day 8 – Franconia to Lincoln (continued)


It continued to pour and it was dark, dark, dark, dark. Too dark for walkers who didn’t carry flashlights (or at least who didn’t carry flashlights after our equipment dump on Day 3.) Where before we were waving at approaching cars in comradery and friendship, now we were waving to make sure they saw us walking on the side of the road – we are here! We are here! Our hotel was still 1.5 miles away and we hadn’t had dinner yet and we were exhausted.

We came to an underpass, a respite from the rain.

“Hey Griff, let’s stop here for a little while to get our bearings. We can check to see if there are any local restaurants.”  That got Griffin’s attention. We agreed that we’d stop at the first one we saw – no matter what kind of food it offered.

While Griffin was googling for food, I checked my text messages from home.

From Marc:

Be careful, there are tornado warnings in your area for the evening.

Yikes! We don’t get tornadoes often in New Hampshire, but when we do, because of the flying debris and from trees falling down, they can cause a lot of damage. And when you are hikers in the open with no protection, it could be deadly.

I told Griffin about the tornado warning. “Let’s go,” I said putting my pack on. “We need to power through this.”

And so we walked as quickly as we could in the rain and dark, waving at approaching cars and getting splashed by road spray until we reached the Indian Head resort.

They had a restaurant. That was where we were going to eat.

There was a 20 minute wait for dinner and so two drowned rats that we were, we sat on a coach in the hallway, shivering, and dripped onto the polished floor.

“I’m going into the gift shop,” I said, leaving Griffin to guard my pack.

The hotel gift shop was filled with typical souvenirs – cedar boxes, Indian decorations, posters and jewelry. They also had a small collection of clothing, the sorts of things that people might have forgotten to pack, a warm sweatshirt, night clothes, shorts. I looked at the sleep pants , I felt the flannel between my fingers –  they were warm and dry. Continue reading

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