Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Lesson 1459 Border to Border New Hampshire Walk – Day 8 (The Hills Are Alive)

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

Day 8 – Franconia to Lincoln

Day 8! Day 8! We had been on the road for over a week and, perhaps more importantly, we had reached the halfway point on our trip. 8 days down, 8 more to go.

Griffin and I discussed the progress we had made since we had started as we poured premade batter into the hotel’s waffle iron. In front of us was a large TV that ran loops of morning news ensuring those who had recently woken up were lulled back to numbness. But not us we were going to be outdoors, we had miles (and miles) to go before we slept.

And it was another Marc day – which meant that we’d be getting a good lunch. Marc was coming up with some medication that Griffin had to take on a regular basis. As it had to be kept refrigerated, Marc and I had made plans before our walk even started that on the day it was delivered, he’d drive it up for Griffin. It was that important.

The specter of taking his medication aside, like college kids we were looking forward to the care packages we knew would be arriving. Griffin had asked for new hiking shirts (for some reason he didn’t like the peach and orange ones I had bought for him) and I wanted to hear news from home. How were the kids were doing? Did Logan and Trevor get settled in their dorms? Was everyone eating dinner now that I wasn’t there to make it each night or had those at home reverted to two weeks of fast food?

We had decided that Marc would meet us in Franconia and that meant Griffin and I had a lot of walking to do in order to get there. Soggy gray clouds covered the sky and based on a text I had receieved from Marc, we knew that heavy rain was forecasted for the afternoon.

We had to get going.

Griffin and I finished our waffles, poured ourselves another glass of orange juice and went back to our room to prepare our feet, pack our gear and hit the road.

Of course, leaving Littleton meant walking up and up another mountain. Honestly, how on earth did people survive winters and icy roads up here? They must slide all over the place or at least have to live with chains on their tires from fall till spring. It couldn’t be easy living on the side of a mountain.

We passed houses set far back from the roads, stacks of wood piled up on the side ready for the winter, barns painted the blood red that comes from the long honored farmer’s tradition. We saw cabins with porches and wooden rocking chairs tucked behind gravel driveways. As we walked we passed lawns that were well maintained, ancient stonewalls laid down by the hands of those long gone, Indian Paintbrush flowers in full bloom, and when there was a break in the trees we saw in the distance that which is New Hampshire – mountains, trees, and valleys that seemed to go on forever.

Like my decision to drink coffee even knowing I’d have to take a lot of pee breaks –sometimes the indulgence is worth the trouble it may bring.

I want to live here, I thought to myself. I want to be beyond the reach of social media interference, cantankerous neighbors, and obligations for the sake of fulfilling obligations. I want to have room to breathe; I want to know what my priorities in life are again.

“Could you live up here?” I asked Griffin, gazing at the view, momentarily forgetting that the view gets covered with snow in the winter.

“No way, not unless they got internet and cell service. I also like the convenience of stores, I want to be able to get what I need without having to travel a few towns to get it.”

Griffin was at one end of the age spectrum, eager to get on with his life, with no patience for anything that stood in his way. He was a young man with a mission.

I was at the other end, tired of the never ending treadmill, wanting a chance to do my work but be able to kick back at the end of the day and relax my tired bones. I wanted to be surrounded by nature, to look out my window and remember my roots, what once was so cherished in my life. Having a store nearby, didn’t seem to me like the priority it had been just a few days ago.

When we had reached the main road that would bring us in Franconia we stopped for water and a snack. We had come a fair distance and so far, had beaten the rain. I looked at my phone to see a text message from Marc.

Heavy rains coming your way be careful.

I put my phone back into the Ziploc bag that served as wet weather protection and looked around taking in the view before the rain would blur it.

Across the street, someone had taken granite rocks and balanced them on top of each other – a modern day cairn. Some person had the discipline to collect the rocks and then place them on each other using balance and patience as their only tools – all in the name of meditative art.

Juxtaposing the strongest essence of New Hampshire – it’s granite-  with one of the most precarious things in nature – pure balance.

Knowing that a strong wind, an errant branch, a heavy rain could push the rocks down demanding that you to build them up once again.


(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]

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