Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Because We Can

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

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


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 – [email protected]


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at [email protected]

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.

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