Manchester, NH. 2021-05-05 (Wednesday.)
2 miles round-trip.
58 dF. RH ranged from about 99% to 100%. (In other words, it was raining. Sodden, in fact.) Winds were negligible.
It was a walk. Just a walk.
I’d say “in the woods” but let’s face it, Massabesic is an urban park. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not Thoreau, just some guy.
That said, while we didn’t see any today, it’s not at all unheard of for loons to take up residence somewhere on the lake. As I recall, in recent years, that’s meant as many as three families. Loons, for all their readily recognizable characteristics, are of some concern regarding conservation, due to their susceptibility to habitat loss. They’re not endangered per se, but hey, it doesn’t take much to be disruptive. In the greater Manchester area, that means there’s a lot of opportunities for knuckleheads to encroach on nests. But the knock-on effect of the loons is that while it’s an urban environment, ringed by noisy roads, at least there’s something to see most days.
What we did see, however, was a heron. It was quietly standing in ankle-deep water, just a bit off shore. I’d gone for a walk in the woods with a colleague and her intrepid five year old monkey. While he was briefly good at keeping mostly still for a short bit, kiddos will be quickly distracted by just about anything, and at the edge of a lake, there’s a lot of distractions. So the heron hung around long enough for me to get a photo or three, and then took to wing. I’m always enchanted by their flight, how they seem to glide absolutely effortlessly on these gigantic wings. This one delivered the goods magnificently.
So there was that.
Going down an old rail bed, the grownups dutifully stepped around the puddles, as one does. The monkey had different priorities, and so clean clothes and dry shoes were an early casualty, as typically happens, secondary to boundless energy being burned off. You make sure the kiddo has clean clothes at the start of the day, knowing that by evening, all sense of cleanliness will have been lovingly wiped away by gobs of dirt and grime, all in the relentless pursuit of childhood exploration. Brio is a wonderful thing.
As far as your intrepid narrator’s typical boundless energy? So much has been said about 2021 being better than 2020. I’m not feeling it. I’d been having issues with an ingrown toenail, and that was resolving itself. But somewhere along the way, plantar fasciitis came down the pike. For those who are saying “plantar what…?”
First off, every medical term has a root, and then usually a prefix and/or a suffix. “-itis” means inflammation. Tonsillitis? That’s an inflammation of one’s tonsils. And so on. Hang onto this tidbit for a moment, we’ll get back to it.
The plantar fascia is a tendon that runs from the heel to the toes, and supports the arch of the foot. The symptoms are pretty much a discrete laundry list, and when I say “discrete”, I really mean that if you’ve got ‘em, you know it. There’s some discussion about whether inflammation actually plays any role at all, but right now, that’s academic. What I’m concerned with is my heel hurts a whole lot. It’s hot dagger painful. The pain largely goes away after moving around a little, but it’s a signal that I ought to dial things back a bit for a while. Which I am, even though I’m pretty bad at “dial it back a bit.”
Overuse, increase in exercise, and old, worn out shoes are often the culprit, if things like obesity and a sedentary lifestyle aren’t in play. I think only the most poorly informed would suggest I’m obese or sedentary. That said, I’d been fairly aggressively bumping up my running mileage as the weather has been improving (hello, Mister Blue Sky!) and my shoes… I must confess, they’re older than dirt. Mea magna culpa.
The upside is that management is pretty simple. Trade in those old shoes for new, maybe try using an orthotic, and colleagues have suggested foam rolling and deep tissue massage. Usually it resolves on its own in a few weeks, maybe a few months. On the whole inflammation jag, NSAIDs might work, or they might not. Meh.
So today’s walk in the woods, as pedestrian as it was, marked an effort to at least get outside without adding further insult to injury. I’m hopeful that by the end of the month, early June at the latest, I can get back to the mountains in a real sense. Dr Scholl’s inserts have been a boon in the meantime. Stay tuned.
Getting back to that lovely, albeit rainy walk…
We got about a mile or so out before turning around. On the way back, I noted a bunch of violets on the side of the path. Fiddleheads have been steadily unrolling, and are almost ferns. (If you’re a fan of eating fiddleheads, say, sautéed in butter, strike now while the iron’s hot!) And there were various other odd flowers here and there. Bellworts were just coming out, and there were a few partridge berries. One abutting backyard we passed had grape hyacinths, and their irises (or perhaps lilies) were well on their way — in a few weeks, that’s going to be quite the show!
Was it glamorous? Eh… but then again, I got outside, without a whole lot of fuss or bother. It was a rainy day, and while that doesn’t really bother me, it wasn’t particularly a photogenic day. That happens.
But wow, that heron. Totally worth it. Sometimes, there’s just one thing that sticks with you. I’ve been thinking of that majestic heron ever since. Gliding itself effortlessly aloft… soaring on those magnificent wings. Watching that kind of thing, your own feet feel a little lighter.
As always, stay safe out there.
Nuts and Bolts: Massabesic is the public water supply for the City of Manchester. As such, there is no bathing allowed. Indeed, you’re not supposed to put as much as a toe in the water. Oddly, you can launch your boat — I don’t know how that works. Setting that aside, take route 101 east from route 93, and drive toward Candia. Take the exit for route 28, and head south. At the rotary, take the second exit (so you’re functionally continuing straight) and in about a minute and a half, you’ll be at the lake. There are several trailheads, and trails all over the place, so choose your own adventure here.
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4 thoughts on “Trip Report: A rainy-day walk along the shores of Lake Massabesic”
Good morning. First let me address this. I had subscribed to your reports and was receiving notifications of new reports in my email. I enjoy reading your accounts of your adventures. But then I noticed that you were going on hikes and submitting reports but they were no longer coming to me. So I figured I must have been kicked out of your fan club. So I continued to read but not comment. Recently I started to get email notifications again, soooo, am I back in the club? Was I ever kicked out!?
Anyway, I have some experience the foot ailment you are experiencing. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/plantar-fasciitis-stretches
People will try to sell you all manner of gadgets but I have found that stretching your calf and Achilles gently several times a day will help to get you back to normal. Then continuing to keep it stretched will help keep it away. Emerel
So on 1. No you didn’t get kicked off the list — and I’m happy you continue reading my posts. I was having technical issues that took a bit to resolve. Please reach out if you don’t get emails. Unfortunately this is one of those things where I’m usually the last person to know.
On 2, that’s good info, and about where I was going. I swapped out my insoles, which needed doing anyway, and yep, I stretch. It certainly helps, but with warmer weather basically here, it’s obviously never quick enough. 😀
Well that’s good news! I probably won’t comment every time but it’s nice to know it’s ok to do so. Back to the stretching. I’m not sure what your level of stretching knowledge is but it may well be greater than mine. I used to have horrible pf pain from standing on hard floors for many hours a day. I tried the gadgets and it never got better. Then a person showed me how to stretch my calves and Achilles. It got better and went away and hasn’t returned. Mr brother had the same issue, I showed him the stretches and it went away. He continues to do the stretches daily and it hasn’t returned. I do two stretches. One for the upper calf and one for the Achilles. Do them GENTLY and do them several times a day. 30 seconds per stretch per leg 3 sets per leg. It’s not a top secret stretch, it’s the ones you see when it looks like someone is pushing a wall. Bent knee for the Achilles, straight leg for the calf. It works for me. Good luck finding relief.
And while I really enjoy your words and still photography, the videos were a bit less for me. Just a personal taste thing. Others may feel differently. Emerel
Thanks for the kind thoughts. I actually work in healthcare, so stretching is something I’m pretty comfortable with. As they say “physician, heal thyself.” As they also say “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” which is a great indication of my utter inability to prevent myself from doing silly things like getting hurt. *grin*