Trip Report: A rainy-day walk along the shores of Lake Massabesic

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.

A bit potato-quality, but here’s a magnificent heron! Extend wings, forget gravity…
Watch out! It’s really, really, really thin ice. Microscopic!
Fiddleheads! We let these grow, but generally, they sauté well with butter.

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. 

If you enjoy reading these posts, please subscribe — stay in the loop! Your email will only be used to alert you of new posts — typically 1-2 times per week. I will not use or share your email for any other purpose without your express permission. And feel free to share via social media using the buttons below. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

4 thoughts on “Trip Report: A rainy-day walk along the shores of Lake Massabesic”