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Great North Woods

October 11, 2012

New Hampshire – Tuesday, Oct. 9

Now I’m ready to see New Hampshire in the daylight! I started the day off with a 2 1/2 mile walk all around Gorham. This town is the entrance to the “Great North Woods” part of the state. As often happens, my walking took me by a train station – many of the stations we walk by in these small towns are no longer used, but this one had been turned into a little train and town museum, and I knew I’d have to stop in there after my walk! It was a fun little museum and the lady there showed me all around and told me a lot about the displays. I think I would have liked to be a station manager back in the day – watching the trains go by; selling the tickets out of a cool machine with wooden balls and a different ticket for each destination, and taking care of telegraph messages. (I included a picture of the ticket dispenser, a ladies’ bathing suit from the ’30s/’40s and an old wheelchair). One of the things I was hoping to see in New Hampshire was the “old man of the mountain” profile that’s pictured on the backs of the New Hampshire state quarters. But the lady at the museum told me the “face” fell off the mountain 9 years ago! One of the trademarks of the state no longer exists. Mother Nature designed the profile, and Mother Nature took it away. Outside of the museum there was a small little capsule shaped ski-lift chair – one of the first lifts from back in the 50s at a local ski mountain. I can’t imagine anyone today would be willing to get in that thing! It was so small that the skis had to be put in a metal band on the outside of the lift. But people probably loved it then because they didn’t have to climb up the mountain! There’s a picture of that too – and it was small!
New Hampshire gets a lot of snow and they also had a train track plow outside – it had to be pushed by an engine, but it would remove a lot of snow!

I had a discount voucher for a cute little coffee shop, so I stopped in for some quiche and a cinnamon roll, and fortified by that, I was ready to sort out my donation of the day. I decided to do a food pantry donation, and found the Good Shepard Parish in Berlin, about 10 miles north, and called them to see what they needed. The lady I spoke with mentioned the typical peanut butter, boxed dinners, pasta and veggies and stuff. So I found a Wal-Mart and loaded up the cart. When I got up to Berlin, I think I mixed up which church the parish office belonged to, because I couldn’t find any offices or people – and I was at some huge church. So I called them again, and they were located about 1/2 mile down the road. I unloaded the goodies, and then did a couple miles of walking in Berlin. I was going to do more, because at first glance I thought this would be a good town to walk in, but as it turned out, there were lots of one way streets at odd angles on the hills with other streets, and it was kind of an industrial town and there were lots of trucks hauling logs, and I cut the walk a little short. Speaking of trucks with logs, they are a very common sight, both in northern Maine and here. There was a paper mill up in northern Maine, and then farther south I saw s huge place where the trees become lumber, and I’m not sure what they were doing with the trees in Berlin, but seeing sooooo many trucks loaded down with cut trees kind of makes one stop and think a bit.

Then, I backtracked a little and went to Moose Brook State Park, and that was much better, even if one of the trails was closed for the season. I got another mile and a half of walking in there. Then I continued to head west through the mountains, almost to the border of Vermont, to the town of Lancaster. And that was a fun town to walk in – we walked a couple more miles to finish off the walking for the day, and I knew there would be more good walking in the morning, so we stayed in Lancaster because I hadn’t decided if I was going to head just a little farther north, or head down to the White Mountains.

It was nice to be settled in at a reasonable hour, and I spent quite a bit of time on the phone – mostly talking to one of my aunts. My last surviving uncle passed away early Monday morning, and I had made a very difficult decision to not head to South Dakota for the funeral. But it was nice to have some time on the phone with my aunt while her house was quiet before other people started arriving. I will have a quiet moment of remembrance in some special place on Thursday morning when the memorial service is happening.

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