In praise of short walks

My polling place is at a nearby school, adjacent to the Grater Woods conservation area. I was scheduled to work on Election Day as a ballot inspector (a fancy name for people who hand out ballots). I had a long wait to vote, then a short time before my shift began; what to do?

Go to the Grater Woods trails, of course.

Grater Woods, Merrimack NH.

The trails were nearly deserted. The day was chilly, breezy, and sunny. I lingered for a few minutes at a little pond that’s usually a busy spot. This day, it was all mine.

I was ten minutes away from a polling station where the line of voters wrapped around the building, and I felt like I was in another world. A mental reset: that’s the power of a short walk in the woods, even on Election Day.

Reblogged: Another N.H. Border-to-Border Walk

Wendy Thomas and son Griffin have made their second New Hampshire border-to-border walk, this time on a west-to-east route. (I wrote briefly last year about their first trip.) In this post from her own blog, Wendy offers advice for people contemplating their own adventures.

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. Water – make sure you […]

via Lesson 1549: 2017 NH Border-to-border walk — Lessons Learned from the Flock

Follow-up: two remarkable walkers finish their trip through the Granite State

A few weeks back, I told you about a pair of Granite State walkers who put me to shame with their border-to-border walk through New Hampshire. Wendy, half of the awesome pair, has written up the whole trip in a series of posts on her blog Lessons Learned from the Flock. Quickly now: click away from my site (and I don’t say that often!) and check out Wendy’s account of their journey.

I had the privilege of joining them in Nashua for their last couple of miles, and I got to see them greeting family members awaiting them at the Massachusetts border.

Now that I’ve read the day-by-day account of what it took for Wendy and her son Griffin to get to that state line marker, I’m more pleased for them than ever. They’ve given me some ideas, too.

As I read Wendy’s posts, I saw some things through her eyes that I had never noticed before, even on parts of her route that are familiar to me. I love living in a state that after more than thirty years can still surprise me with the beauty of its land and its people.

Wendy has reminded me to keep walking, keep watching, keep learning – and keep writing.

Nashua Riverwalk: French-Canadian heritage

In my opinion, Nashua’s best river walk is the unpaved trail along the Nashua River in Mine Falls Park. I give credit to the city anyway for efforts to create an official “Riverwalk” linking Mine Falls and the area behind the old mills east of Main Street. One feature along the way is the city’s tribute to the early-20th-century French-Canadian mill workers.

Parc de Notre Renaissance Francais is tucked into a parking lot just off Main Street, between Water Street and the river. Along with the millworker statue are several plaques offering some information about the influence French-Canadian immigrants have had on Nashua’s industrial and cultural history.

If you’ve never seen this nearly-hidden bit of art and history, take a few minutes to visit it when you’re in town for the Nashua Holiday Stroll on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.

All photos in this post by Ellen Kolb.

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Stratham Hill Park

The town of Stratham, New Hampshire keeps a decommissioned fire tower in use as an observation platform for anyone who takes the five-minute walk from the Stratham Park parking lot. It’s convenient for a quick stop anytime I’m heading over to Portsmouth or Rye via NH Route 33.

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Stratham Hill Tower (all photos in this post by Ellen Kolb)

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This marker adorns a rock along the trail that leads to the tower. Phillips Exeter Academy is about six miles from the park.

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At the base of the tower is a large circular marker naming the hills and mountains visible in the distance.

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Looking toward Portsmouth.

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A panoramic view, with Great Bay visible at left.