Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Lesson 1455 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 6 – Cont. (Walking as Medicine)

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

Day 6 – North Umberland to Whitefield (Continued)

Barron Brook is, from its pristine painted white exterior surrounded by flower gardens to its charmingly decorated interior, a storybook place for a respite. The living area had full couches in front of a fire place surrounded by primitive country style decorations that invited you to stop, rest, and get to know others.

Sunny and bright, it is a place that welcomes all.

When we made it to our room (down the stairs, down the hall) we found high beds, warm blankets, large windows looking onto a wooded back yard, a TV (for catching up on that day’s political news) and some of the best soaps and shampoos I had ever smelled. We took showers and I did our laundry. Our dinner of sandwiches was next and after our stomachs were content, we kicked back.

I had originally thought that we’d spend our evenings discovering the night life of each town we stayed in. I had even (although now I realize how crazy this was) had thought about packing a nice shirt and skirt to wear in the evenings. My ooh-la-la “going out” clothes.

It would have been a complete waste. Our evening attire consisted of a long lightweight tee shirt that served as a nightgown for me and a pair of shorts with a tee shirt for Griffin. Of course it had never occurred to me that in some of the places we stayed there would actually be no nightlife, but even if there was, by the evening we were pretty much tuckered out.

Our bodies were feeling stronger, but the last thing we wanted to do was go anywhere after we had ended our day.

Instead, all we wanted to do was watch CNN, scan Twitter and Facebook, and then Griffin would turn in for the night while I stayed up to read the next day’s Hitchcock story. Along with waving at each motorist, a retelling of each night’s story the next day was key to our journey.

As was my taking notes of our trip. Each night I’d take out my green notebook and the one pen I had allowed myself to keep and I’d take notes about what we saw and did that day. One list we kept adding to was the wildlife we had seen. To date we had seen the following live animals (we had decided that road kill of which we saw plenty didn’t count.)

  • Deer
  • Geese
  • Ducks
  • Turkey
  • Chipmunk
  • Horse (okay technically these aren’t wildlife but it was still pretty cool to see)
  • Cow
  • Donkey
  • And of course, that stunning, stunning Bald Eagle.

It wasn’t that this wildlife was so different from what we had seen in our southern part of the state. It’s that it was all there panoramicly right in front of us – in living color. As walkers we had become a part of the big picture – a feeling that’s missed when you happen to see something like, say a deer from inside of  your air conditioned car.

It’s been said that if you want to get the real feel of a town then you should walk through it. I think it also goes to say that if you want to get the feel of a state you should also do your best to walk through it. We were definitely getting to know New Hampshire in a way that was new to us.

I had thought about bringing a copy of Walden with me on this walk. It would have been perfect right? I was going to commune with nature, I was going to read the words of the original walking sojourner, I was going to be so learned and literate.

When I was doing my original packing I decided at the last minute not to bring the large paperback. The book was extra weight and quite frankly when I really thought about it, it seemed like too much of a cliché. Oh, you’re going on a walk? Where’s your Walden?

But if truth be told, there is a lot of what Thoreau wrote that perfectly fit our journey.

“The walking of which I speak has nothing in it akin to taking exercise as it is called, as the sick take medicine at stated hours… but it is itself the enterprise and adventure of the day.”

Henry David Thoreau, Walking

This walking journey had slowly morphed from being about us to being about something much, much bigger. Sure it started off as a way to prove to ourselves that we, even with bodies broken down by Lyme disease, could still get out there and do something physical and pretty incredible, but in the few days since we had started our walk we had discovered that our bodies were actually stronger than we had ever thought.

That’s an incredibly empowering realization.

Our walk had become a journey where we were meeting people, experiencing new ideas, and seeing things we had never seen before. Our initial physical challenge had become a traveling adventure that, like Thoreau implied of his walking, was nourishing our souls as well as our bodies.

We absolutely were spreading news of distant lands.  We were creating bridges and we had become sojourners ourselves. Our walk had become the medicine we hadn’t known we had so desperately needed.


(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 [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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