Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Day 27 - Monday, September 29, 2014

First morning at Molly Stark State Park, our tents are in lean-to Birch.

Asleep soundly and dreaming: trying to write about myself but the word processor keeps changing my sentences and adding words, which is frustrating.  Then, Pauline asks, “Tu dors-tu, Fleur-Ange?” I was sorry to be awoken to the realization I had finally been sleeping!

The bandage and tape that had been on my foot when I went to bed was gone.  I retrieved it from the bottom of my sleeping bag. Before putting on my socks and boots, I got a bone-shaped bandage from my Hogewoning Toyota First Aid kit.  Then, since the paper around it was hard to remove and by cutting it, made it less effective, I added two of the transparent tape slightly offset one from the other.  I also took 2 ibuprofens before setting out, so as to be able to walk at my usual pace.

Today our walk was taking us through the town of Brattleboro, Vermont.  Yesterday, we had driven there after our walk so we could reach Molly Stark State Park.  Pauline needed a battery, we needed more freeze dried food and we wanted to see the Brattleboro Food Coop that Rod Nunn said had been a model for the Mustard Seed Coop recently set up in Hamilton, ON.  Most everything we needed was within a block, I soon realized, including the restaurant Kim had recommended.  Milagros, she’d said, was the best Mexican-food restaurant in 3 states.  Not too spicy though, as she’d added, that we were still in New England.  Unfortunately, it was not open when we were there.  So I was hoping we would make downtown Brattleboro around noon.

We started on Route 5 again.  Pauline thought I was being quiet.  I’ve been trying to be more flexible and answer questions with minimal words, so as to accommodate everyone.  It seems to work best this way.  I still listened, to Pauline’s problem with waking too, to the insects who continue to sing and to the presence of traffic on Interstate 91 running parallel to the left of Route 5 South. And the tap of my walking stick ticking out the seconds of our walk.

While Dean was moving the RAVioli about 4 kms, Pauline and I passed a huge Catalpa tree.  Since I am becoming more and more grateful for large, old trees, I wanted to take its photo. I took Pauline's photo with it.  

Further along, during today’s walk, another large tree presented itself on our side of route 5.  It seemed to be a Silver Maple.  Do they grow that big or am I mistaking its identity?  Pauline agreed to take my photo by it.

At the 3 km mark, I got Dean to use his camera to take a photo of my native doll as my iPhone was out of power (no Wi-Fi at Molly Stark State Park.)

Dean reached us before we got into downtown Brattleboro.  He had stopped at the library on his way to us and found out about the use of computers and wi-fi. He stopped again to check the hours as he thought we could stop after we had our 20 kms done.  We walked along and I noticed weathervanes in the window of a hardware store.  We’d been admiring them on barns all along on our north-to-south walk through Vermont.  This was the first we’d found. So I’d inquired.  We waited for Dean but we must have missed him.  So headed for the car, that Dean had parked near the Co-op. 

I had thought we were coming behind Main Street but not so.   Across the street was an art gallery I had noticed, out of the corner of my eye again.  We saw beautiful objects in the window and Pauline was agreeable to go in.

At Gallery In the Woods, Deborah, artist, tending the store on this day shared with Pauline and I the photos of the black bears she’s had in her yard this year.  She says there are 6000 black bears in Vermont.  A mother bear brought her 3 cubs to Deborah’s last spring.  The male cub is now an impressive size.  She says she has had no difficulties with these bears. Otherwise we've only seen black bears of the wooden variety along our journey.

As we walked down Main St, it was not long that we saw Dean.  He was relieved to find us again. 

Off Dean went with the RAVioli, leaving Pauline and I to go up Canal St. in the now sunny and warm afternoon.  I commented that we hadn’t seen the “real pharmacy” Kim had told us was in Battleboro.  And then there it was. The Pharmacy was smaller than expected.  Nevertheless I did find Second Skin and Tape for my blister.  I will be well heeled tomorrow morning.

We still had about 4 kms to do to complete our day’s walk.

We all agreed to a late lunch. I conceded my hope of going to Milagros and instead we picked up some tasty food at Brattleboro Coop and sat inside listening to a musician playing softly and intriguingly on a banjo.

Took Dean back to hardware store and the art gallery.  We got a weathervane with a hopping bunny.  Dean enjoyed the art gallery as much as we did.

I am sitting on my own by the fireside and lamp, writing this blog on our laptop.  We have no wi-fi here.  The plan is to go to Brattleboro’s public library tomorrow and post them after our walk is done.

There are only embers left in the fireplace.  The falling leaves sound like rain. Soon the Coleman lantern will run out of fuel.  I will have met my goal of getting to bed after 9 but before 10 am.

Day 26 – Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wanting to wish Bryce Kanbara a happy birthday.  Remembering my dear Mum-in-law Vera Wheaton and cousin-in-law Ted on the anniversary of their births.

This photo was taken at spot where we started walking.  If I remember correctly, tis was an organic farm.

We weren't far in our walk, that I spotted another lost glove.  Interesting that this one had electrical tape around the thumb! (added Dec.31/14)

I am only going to share a part of today’s walk_approximately 4-5 kilometres.  Pauline’s foot pad was low on battery so we have no indication of time and distance spent walking, just the distance according to our google map.  No matter, when Pauline estimated we were at 3 kilometres, we stopped for photos. 

Pauline has also started taking photos of a little figure.  There was a huge trunk with large standing splinters. Pauline placed her doll there and it looked fabulous.

I decided this could be my first pit stop.  I leaned my red walking stick against it so I wouldn’t forget it when I was done.  (It has happened before on this journey, and I had a little back-tracking to do.) I headed back of the road and crouched down.  I started to notice the smooth bark-less trunk.  It was substantial.  When I got up, I noticed that the trunk went on and on downhill.  I thought maybe it was an old oak or cedar.  I touched its trunk with respect and recorded it on my iPhone. 

I have a growing feeling that the trees are protective. I feel they are gentle souls. And that maybe there are still some trees alive today that were around at the time of Abigail’s captivity and journey to Montreal. This one might be one of those venerable trees. I was sorry I had not been there soon enough to see it while it was alive.

I returned to the road to catch up with Pauline.  We were not on route 5 at this point.  Soon we sw Dean at about the same time as there was a farm with goats and chickens on the right.  I carried on as the two took photos.  I trust Dean to get lots of photos while we are together, hoping to not be the one delaying our forward movement.

Dean said he had found the road or lane he was looking for, thanks to his gps, as there was not a street sign.

About a kilometre along, we came to an area announcing Someone Kuhn homes.  It looked like a new development, the houses being one storey and grey.  They looked nothing like the many-windowed two-storey colonial homes that abound in this state.  I arrived at RAVioli first, but Pauline had the keys.  As Dean approached, he remotely unlocked the door.  I opened the door.  That is when it struck me, that I had left my walking stick behind!

I told Dean.  He wanted to know how far back it was and did I want to go back.  I knew then exactly where I’d left it and yes, I wanted to get it.  I also wanted Dean to have a look at the large, fallen tree and to tell me what kind it was. I asked Pauline if she wanted to come along with Dean and I. She declined.  I could see there was a swing set, a picnic table at either side of the road and some wooden chairs that looked comfortable.  It was an opportunity for Pauline to sit and swing.  She had told me, while a New Discovery State Park, that she loved to do so and found it very relaxing.  She hadn’t had a chance while we were there: one night it was too late and the other nights, it had been too cold.  Pauline waved to us from the swing.

As I drove the RAV, Dean told me he would not likely be able to identify a bark-less tree.  We were there sooner than I thought.  I just stopped beyond it, having caught sight of the stump and my walking stick in the corner of my eye.

So I turned the vehicle around.  Dean picked up the stick and walked along some of the length of the tree.  He was there some time.  He came back to tell me that he thought that it was a White Pine because to the way the branches grew out of the trunk.  “Ah! Eastern White Pine, then.”

I remembered reading back at Quechee Gorge State Park that Eastern White Pine lived about 400 years.  It was only 310 years ago that Abigail and company had travelled from Deerfield to Montreal.

When we got back, Pauline was still swinging.  As soon as she saw it, she stopped and was ready to go, so I have no photo of that.  Quickly got my back pack on and we were ready to go back to the road.  “No,” Dean informed us, we were to continue on this road where the swing set was near a building that might have been a small community centre.  Just then a school bus came by, and Dean had to wait before proceeding with RAVioli.  Dean wondered why there was a school bus on a Sunday. Young, bouncy got out and headed to a building on the opposite side of the road.  A woman at the door of what I had thought of as a community centre asked, “Could I help you?”  I said we were on a walk.  “This is a private school,” she said. It was a private school for Kindergarten to grade 8. 

“Do they live here year round?” I inquired.

“They can,” she replied.

The girls came from home situations that needed help.

The woman was surprised that Google map had taken us through here.  We had no idea.  I told her of my project and she wished us well.

I hurried on as Pauline had not stopped walking.  I passed horses in a field by a large barn. There was a garden that brought a painting by one of The Group of Seven to mind. 

Then I turned left.  I saw a building with a large silver tank behind it.  It looked like my friend Art’s maple syrup tank.  I think that was a building for making maple syrup in the spring.  Vermont makes a lot of maple syrup.  Down the hilly road, I went.  I caught up with Pauline.  There was a bubbling stream with sunlight.  I noticed there were cement steps to go down to it.

The woman had answered that the home and school (further along where we had not walked) were privately funded.  I walked on with the feeling that there was hope for this world.  A world where individuals care enough to share to help others have a brighter future.

Did Abigail have a brighter future? She was taken from a Puritan community.  Although adopted by an Iroquois chief of the Bear clan, she was soon re-baptized Catholic.  She and her husband Josiah Rising were rewarded with land for the devoutness. 


Native Doll among Fallen Leaves
3 kilometre mark

Oak Leaves Alight with Natural Light


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Day 25 - Saturday, September 27, 2014

                                          Native doll at 3 km mark on today's walk.

By 10:20 am this morning, all our layers were off.  We were walking in shorts and short sleeves.

                                                            Je suis une corneille
                                                                  qui ramasse 
                                                            des choses argentés
                                                             le long du chemin.

                                                          Je suis une corneille
                                                                qui se régale
                                                                  de photos
                                                              d'oiseau mort.
                                                                      M. F. W. Lamothe

                                                                  song sparrow

We walked with, on our immediate left, the railway.
We walked in the middle mode of transportation,
the road,
We walked with, on our immediate right, Big River,
as the English called Connecticut River in 1704.

A sign from Charlesville, New Hampshire, that seemed appropriate as I had asked Dean to take my photo dancing down the street.  (Je synchronisais ma danse avec celles des femmes de Nia chez Welkin Life Institute.) Also evoked the song: Quand il est mort le poète.

Not long before our walk was done, there was a book lying open on the side of the road, down from Union High School in Rockingham, Vt.  Here is the found text, which seemed appropriate somehow for the story of my ancestress, Abigail Nims.

Do you know it?


Friday, 26 September 2014

Day 24 - Friday, September 26, 2014

Today is our day off and we sure were in need of it.

I have raised my feet, put ice on my ankle so far this morning and finished Janet Heartson (our last B&B hostess)'s book Extraordinary Moments in an Ordinary Life._I like a quote by Goethe that Janet has in her book: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

I am answering messages.  My niece Alexis has asked where we are going, for what cause or reason. I have not explained this, and it would have been good for a post 2.  Here is my answer to her:

Nous marchons jusqu'à Deerfield, au Massachussetts.  Nous avons commencé à Montréal, plus spécifiquement au Sault-au-Récollet.  On nous demande si c'est pour une cause.  Ce ne l'est pas.  Plutôt c'est une performance artistique de ma part.  Je le fais pour raconter l'histoire de notre arrière-...-grand-mère Abigail Nims, qui comme sa mère Mehitable et son frère Ebeneezer et 109 autres furent capturés et amenés en Nouvelle-France en mars 1704. Abigail a vécu le restant de ses jours dans la région de Montréal.  Dans un sens, c'est comme si je retournais pour elle!  Entre temps, j'apprends ce que c'est de marcher presque 500 kms.  Et je pense qui aurait pu être témoin de cet évènement de l'hiver 1704.  Et ce que ce groupe de 50 français, 200 autochtones, et plus de 100 captifs auraient pu manger en route.  Nous suivons la route qu'ils ont suivi, le long de cours d'eau (la rivière Richelieu, le lac Champlain, les rivières Wells et Connecticut) autant que possible.

Dean made pancakes, from scratch, for the second time since our journey began.  However, let me be clear, that he didn't have to make the various flours he adds to the batter. Again we were thankful. We enjoyed them with butter and maple syrup received from my friends' farm in Quebec.

It is easier to be indoors and relaxing than outside in coolish weather.  Pauline and I shared that it was good to be at a B&B for our day off.

The day warmed up gradually.  I went out to check out the property where we have our B&B.  It is the whole house along a country road in Alstead, New Hampshire. I was attracted to the pond so headed down the hill.

I noticed three violets in bloom!!! The sun was shining on the pond. I noticed a  lot of dragonfly activity. I was able to get close and photograph some.  I would have liked to touch one but my hand movement scared them away.  Perhaps as was not as patient and slow-moving as when I have my iPhone in my hands.

So I thought I'd sit on the tall stump at the pond's edge (not visible in photo.)  Tried to brush off the thicket creeper, but one of my fingers discovered a thorny bush was growing over it too.  So I winded up sitting in the grass instead noticing the dragonflies.  A golden-coloured dragonfly kept landing on a brown grass blade. Can dragonflies see colour?  Why are they mating at this time of year? Where do they go in winter?  It was 1:07 pm and thought it would be a good meditation to just sit still for a while.  I bent my legs and wrapped my hands around my knees.

I could feel the sun warming my right arm.  Next thing I knew, a red dragonfly had landed on my right hand.  I'd been moving my eyes up and down and side to side, exercising them.  It took a brief second to focus my eyes on this dragonfly.  It was so close with no camera between us.  And it was a beautiful red_cadmium, light or medium?  I admired its tail, like a scouring rush.  Did it nod its head then?  Before it left, I felt another landing on my left hand! I glanced over to see a pair of dragonflies coupled, joined together in a vertical line, like two train wagons!  They have an interesting configuration I have observed on my own pond.  They remained there a while then all were gone.  I wished for them to come back so continued to sit (Janet Heartson's book Extraordinary Moments in an Ordinary Mind being fresh on my mind.)  Only when I started my quiet eye exercises did they come back.  The couple returned to my left hand again_slightly different colours_not sure of their gender.  I could see the chi pulsing through them. After they left, the single red one chose to return to my right hand.  It alighted three more times.  Its tiny legs, attached near its head, were resting on each side of one of my raised veins. I admired the gossamer, gold-tinged wings. I thought I saw a glint of gold and blue on my skin! I tried moving my head as did la libellule rouge. It was not possible to photograph them while they were on my hands, and no one found me sitting by the pond.  When I looked at the time, it was 1:35 p.m.

I returned, maybe 25 minutes later, but the sun was no longer beaming down on the pond and the dragonflies had gone elsewhere.

We put a wash in the washing machine, table cloth, tea towel and bath towels.  We made a list of food and other supplies we needed and headed out to Walpole, NH and Bellows Falls, Vt.  We found everything we needed but not the "Second Skin" bandages my brother Henri had recommended by email earlier in the day.

                                                  Barber shop in Bellows Falls, Vermont

Kim, our B&B hostess would be picking up our wash around 6 or 6:30 after her work so we wanted to be back early. Her B&B advertised there was a dryer here but there wasn't so she has offered to pick it up, dry it at her home and return it here.  It's very good of her to do so.

Anyway she had also left us recommendations for eating establishments.  We had eaten at Poppolo's in Bellows Falls, Vermont_just over the bridge, last night and all three of us had loved it.  So we thought we would take her recommendation for simple and cheap_at Walpole Village Inn in Walpole, New Hampshire.  We got there before dinner was served and were given a tour by Mary, sort of "mother" of the place.  It was established in 1762!

When Bobby the bartender returned we sat on the porch surrounded by asters that looked like New England asters but perhaps were cultivated.  The bees loved them.  Pauline, Dean and I had fun taking photos of them. Pauline got braver with each additional photo she took.  It is not easy to take photos of busy bees; they just keep moving!

Bobby came back with a handful of the asters and dropped them in a blue vase.  This place certainly knew how to produce a simple elegance!

Bobby also regaled us of tales about the Inn_that there were tunnels there and at a related potato barns for people to escape to the river.  During conscription days there was a stone bar in the basement, a speakeasy (I did not know before tonight what the word meant!) And there was a tunnel from the street as well to enter the bar.

After reading the menu more attentively, we noticed there were a lot of dishes with peppers. Dean decided to go down the street to look for something else.  The folks were so gracious and the place so unlike camping, that Pauline and I stayed.  Besides I was having a glass of Malbec from Argentina!  We decided to go in the bar/dining room to have our meal. Pauline had ordered Zucchini noodles and thought it was very good.  I ordered a trout.  We ordered side dishes of grilled asparagus and herbed potatoes. Delicious.  Then, Pauline and I split an upside-down pineapple cake covered with ice-cream made just a half-mile down the road! As we paid for our meals, the place was filling up.

Dean joined us back at the car. He had found the restaurant down the road that Bobby, the bartender had recommended.  Dean had had a dish of spaghetti very much to his liking.  Pauline and I had not only talked some more in French but had gotten to know that Bobby and his wife had burros, goats, turtles, rescues of every sort and that Mary, a couple of years younger than Pauline and I, was delighted to teach her grandson of 3 about respecting insects and particularly bees and was looking forward to the family's anticipated move back from Boston, Massachusetts. Mary is on Facebook but I was not able to find her; maybe I have remembered her last name incorrectly.  There were certainly no icon photos of Mary's by her name proudly holding a grandson on her lap.

Dean had texted Kim that we would be back a little later.  She came to get our wet clothes.  Tiny ants were gathering around our jar of Hamilton wildflower honey so we quickly washed it off and placed it in the microwave.

Day 23 - Thursday, September 25, 2014

Checked the link and we had made it to the Front Page of the Wells River hebdomodary newspaper_photo and description!

See http://online.thebridgeweekly.com/app.php?RelId=

It is chillier in the morning.  Here is Pauline starting off wearing layers.

Native baby doll at three kilometres into the walk:

We've been walking the US Route 5 all week! Today, while walking towards us, Dean went into the bushes for a pit stop.  Lo and behold he saw a trail along the Connecticut River that he hadn't found on any maps.  

 Dean was happy to report that it was most like the trail the natives would have been using.  We were
happy to learn of it and to walk on it!

While we were on the trail, Pauline found an info board about foxes_red and grey ones.  She was fascinated to learn that the grey fox could climb trees.  I was amazed that the previous sleep, I had dreamt of a red fox and a fox with black & white hairs.  It is the second time during this journey_the other time, I dreamt of blooming lilypads, which we saw for the first time the day following my dream! (just after the Causeway taking us off Grand Isle Island if I remember correctly.)

Aujourd'hui, nous avons marché sur "Old Connecticut Road", une route plus tranquille que la 5.

Birds are migrating.  Woolly Bear caterpillars are venturing out in the middle of the lanes.  I am dancing through the air, with feet in the harvested corn field.

I have been hearing the refrain and seeing the words of "Blackbird" last few days.  Thanks Dean for reminding me this is a Beatles song.  Like the voyageurs, it gives a rhythm and energy to my walk.

Here is Pauline sitting on a wall of stone, "en attendant Fleur-Ange." I am not dillydallying as Pauline teasingly (I think) wrote on Facebook.  I know exactly what I am doing as I do it or at least, my intuition knows.  Here is a photo of a bit of the painted line along today's walk! Dean saw what I saw, as soon as he saw this capture.

And most importantly, making connection with the waterways.  When I saw steps leading down to the Connecticut River, I called out to Pauline: "Je descends."  Good thing she stopped as I was done there quite a while.  The canoes by the dock reminded me that the young men who escaped and returned to Deerfield, found a canoe on one of the bodies of water and went off with it.

I lay on the dock and touched the water of the Connecticut River.  Processing it a while later, I realized the water had been warmer than I expected.  Close to the temperature of my hand at the time.

Back on route 5 in the afternoon, still seeing beautiful views of the Connecticut River.  The day had warmed up considerably from the morning.  It was 21 degrees C. when we had completed our 21.06 km-walk at 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Day 22 - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

As usual, took my hand-sized Native Baby Doll out at the 3 km mark and photographed her.

The highlight of the day was turkeys.  Pauline as usual was ahead of me.  Dean had moved the Rav, now know affectionately as "RAVioli" and was likely walking back towards us.  I could see Pauline crossing the road to take a photo.  I figured some farm animals that she could email to her grand-daughter.  As I got nearer I could see it was fowl, and that there was a pond.  As I got nearer yet, Pauline closed her iPad and headed back to the highway.  That's when I spotted the turkeys who were following her and heading for the road.  I put my hand out to stop the oncoming car and I crossed over towards the turkeys.  They were bent on coming with us.  So I started encouraging back to the yard. I had to take them all the way into the driveway before they decided to stay home.  Meanwhile I had my iPhone in hand and got some captures of them.  I've never been so close to free-ranging turkeys.  They had amazing colours on their feathers. Pauline is an animal magnet_the goats we saw later on also came forward and cried out.  Fortunately, they were in enclosures.  I like to think I was the animal saviour today!

We continued on US route 5, as we are limited to most of the rest of the way.  Pauline was still ahead when I saw "Save Fine Olde Barns".  Even though I called out to her at least two times, she could not hear me because of the distance separating us and the noise of the passing cars.  I would have liked a photo of myself beside this structure that usually is found on top of a barn.  It was much taller than I imagined when I saw others on top of barns!  Anyway, you will have to take my word for it.  I also would have liked to explore the property a bit more.  As Pauline was carrying on and oblivious to my stop,  I moved on too.

I had hoped I would drive back this way when we headed home but since we were close to an entrance to the interstate, that was not in the realm of possibility.

It always seem longer to go back to our campsite after a day's walk.  Today we did 21.93 kms in 4 hrs and 45 minutes.  Better than Dean expected when he saw me hobbling about this morning.  Taking two of his ibuprofen helped.  The moleskin Dean put over my blister rolled up and stuck to my sock instead of my skin.  The blister got bigger.  When we got back to our campsite, Pauline and I both soaked our feet in hot water and Epsom salts for a second night.

For supper we had freeze dried Pineapple Orange Chicken with organic chickpeas, bread, cheese, nut-thin crackers and wine.