Wayside Inn
Hiking, Biking and Kayaking
August 6-8,  2010

Nothing stops NERSFL visually impaired & blind participants from making our trips happen!

The deadline for our summer weekend trip was rapidly approaching, with six participants signed up but many of our guides unable to join us. But the idea of cancelling our trip was out of the question said “if there is a will there is a way” President Marie Hennessy.

On Friday, August 6, the six NERSFL participants traveled from Massachusetts and Connecticut to South Station to meet van driver Mike from Need A Lift transportation Company for the ride to Bethlehem NH. Although we got a late start, our ride up to Bethlehem was extremely comfortable and pleasant. Mike immediately became a part of our group, joining in with much of our conversation during the trip and helping out whenever needed. Upon our arrival at the Wayside Inn we were met by owner Kathy Hoffman who once again graciously welcomed us - even at such a late hour.

After breakfast on Saturday the group was met at the Wayside Inn by six guides from the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country. After picking up lunch at the Village Store in Bethlehem, our favorite lunch stop, we were eager to get on our way. Some individuals chose to spend the day at the Flume in Franconia and enjoyed walking on a flat paved path while listening to the flume as guides described the flume’s natural beauty! What a great place to stop to relax and eat lunch.

Those of us who hiked Mt. Pemaquassett enjoyed a challenging climb with many rocks, roots and streams to negotiate with the assistance of our guides. But isn’t that what hiking is all about? It was nice to have lunch at the top before our climb down. Those hiking sticks really came in handy when hiking.

On Saturday evening we were picked up at the Wayside Inn by the ASPNC folks and all were invited to the home of ASPNC board members Maria and John Hines where we joined their friends and other ASPNC board members for their summer barbecue. There was a great variety of food choices and lots of fun was had by all.

On Sunday morning we were met by our guides, and after picking up lunch traveled back to Franconia where we were offered a half day of kayaking and/or biking. Those of us who chose to bike rode various types of tandems including recumbent tandems and trikes which were attached to the guide's bicycle. The Franconia bike path offered a nice gentle ride with some rather steep up hills to climb but coasting down them was great fun!

Those individuals who ventured out in the kayaks on the nearby lake paddled in both single and double kayaks. Participants enjoyed being out on the water and taking control of their single kayaks while receiving verbal directions from their guides. What a great feeling to handle and safely steer a kayak!

After a quick lunch our weekend had come to an end and our driver Mike was waiting for us at ASPNC headquarters to drive us back to South Station.

Many thanks to participants and guides who attended the weekend for their part in helping to make our summer event such a success! Thanks to Sandy Olney, Director of ASPNC, for her ongoing partnership and assistance in working with me to organize the trip details and thanks to our NERSFL board members who were unable to be with us for their work prior to our event.

It is my hope that after reading this trip review you or someone you know who would like to join us as a guide or visually impaired participant for next summer’s weekend trip!

by Marie Hennessy, President

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