Thursday, April 23, 2015

Homing in—A Little Background, Part 2

After having dated sufficient time to know that our relationship was headed for the marathon, not a sprint, we comfortably talked about life together after the kids (1 +3 =4) were “launched” (out of college, no longer on parental health insurance, various other metrics); what would we do, how did we want to live.
Rivière Missinaibi Nord Est, Quebec                        Photo by author
Of course the list of wilderness rivers to explore was long on D’s end and occasionally we explored them online, checking out guides and blog posts or getting information from regional experts at an Ontario sporting trade show (we’re talking the Copermine, North Seal, Thelon, Moisie, Snake, serious out-there rivers). Being a newbie to the kind of wilderness tripping D has favored for decades, I was happy to listen, and, in fact have helped knock a few off the proverbial list that are in Northern Quebec. There is always another river to explore when you include the vastness of Canada, D’s motherland.

Down the shore                                                           Photo by author
I felt I had a lot more to contribute when talked turned to how we wanted to live together. I don’t think our relationship would have progressed far if I was an avid beachcomber and sun worshiper. I’ve been to many beaches and islands in my day, but somewhere in my mid-adulthood I garnered the courage to tell a friend, to her utter horror: “I’m just not a beach person. I burn, get hot and bored, and favor a chilled salad for lunch over a soggy sandwich with a side of sand.” (I also can’t stand roller coasters or amusement parks and haven’t been to one in more than a dozen years.)
D and I agreed that mountains and lakes are much more exhilarating than beach life on the Jersey shore. To our multiple dear friends who have beach houses and graciously host us, don’t stop inviting. We value the time we spend with you.

Mountains and lakes exist even in New Jersey where we currently reside. But considering a change of scenery from the Garden State, while ruling out my native state of Pennsylvania and not going as far flung as D’s Ontario, we zeroed in on our ideal state—New Hampshire, a place we knew as home to summer camps, whitewater rivers, and the White Mountains.
We searched real estate sites online (NNEREN is a good one) trying to figure out where we might find a place to live in the woods with a creek and quiet (at least five miles from any interstate noise). When we considered New Hampshire regions we did a three-way divide—north, central, and south. We decided the north was too unpopulated and the south too populated. Central New Hampshire’s Grafton County  (west central) had some culture with Dartmouth in Hanover, and access to excellent medical care with Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon. To locals, it’s called the Upper Valley, referencing the Connecticut River that forms the western border of the state with Vermont.

We had a place in mind that felt like it could be home. D got out a compass and drew a circle on the map showing 20 miles from Lebanon (a 30-minute drive). We did not know our exact destination, but, we were homing in on a location.


  1. Hi there!
    Your homing in—A little background, part 2, writing is good and helping.
    wood router

  2. I’ve attended many beaches and islands inside my day, but somewhere inside my mid-adulthood I garnered the courage to see a friend, to your ex utter horror: “I’m hardly a beach person.

    My website logged on :