As I Google Map the ECG route through Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, I am left with the impression, that one must be wealthy or willing to go many miles off trail to find sleeping accommodations. There seem to be sufficient B&Bs, hotels and motels along the route, but they are better spaced for the bicyclist. For a hiker doing an extended trip, these shelters are not always within one day’s walking distance and the many days spent on the trail may make lodging prohibitively expensive. Then there’s the camping. I’m finding many of the listed campgrounds, private and state, prohibit tents! I would have thought, at least in my home state of Maine, there would be a plethora of camping possibilities, but according to Google Maps, it just ain’t so.
So part of my mission has now become to locate alternatives along the route if they exist. I will be adding a new sub-routine to my normal day. Starting around 1pm I will start asking folks I meet, where I might set up a tent for a night, or where there might be inexpensive lodgings. (I haven’t even put a foot on the trail and already I feel like a depression era hobo!).
I hadn’t REALLY realized until I started looking into this trip, that the world just isn’t set up for walkers anymore. To stay off highways where pedestrians are not allowed, and to find alternate crossings when bridges prohibit foot traffic is difficult, and will add many miles to any walking journey. Not a problem if one is just out for a stroll in the countryside, through an urban center, or has no timetable to meet. There are plenty of sidewalks, country roads and trails out there. But to walk from one city to another by foot looks to be quite complicated. I am beginning to understand what it must have been like for disabled folks trying to get inside a theaters, shops or office buildings before legislature forced guaranteed access. All the planning they must have had to do before going to a new place, and the frustration of finding often as not, “There just isn’t anyway to get there from here.”
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