David and I are planning to walk across England this summer with a group of friends. We’ll be doing Wainwright’s Walk, a coast to coast, 192 mile path in Northern England. To get ready for two weeks of walking between 10 and 25 miles a day, David and I have started training by doing long walks, so far walks that we can start out our door.
Yesterday we walked up roads to the top of Blake’s Hill, a rise to the south of our house. From there we took a five-mile hiking trail created by the Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative, or NALMC, a local organization “working together across our stone walls.” NALMC was created in part through inspiration from Aldo Leopold, a pioneer in the conservation movement and a proponent of a “land ethic,” a holistic consideration of our actions as humans on the entire system of the environment, not just the land itself but all the animals and plants connected to it.
Getting ready for the walk, I pulled out an article I’d saved from the local free paper that announced the opening of the trail, along with a map. It was dated July, 2008. I’ve been waiting a long time to hike this trail.
I wasn’t disappointed. The trail crosses beautiful open fields of Harmony Hill Farm then crosses into Northwood Meadows State Park. The open fields rise up and down, then the trail passes through pines and hardwoods, loops around Betty Meadow Pond to the main road of the State Park, then finishes on old Mountain Road, crossing over a stream that flows out of the head waters of the Lamprey River.
When we got back to our house we had logged almost 10 miles. I was happy to sit in the sun on the porch and enjoy a beer, getting ready for this same sequence three months from now in England.