02-Green Blobs and Grids

Ever look at the little grids listing all the parks in a guidebook?  The one with all the parks listed down the left side and with all the activities across the top?  You know – hiking, camping, horseback riding, dog sledding – from the ones you’re interested in to the ones you’ve never even heard of?  Well that’s what the state park system means to me right now: a grid on the back of a map.  Or a green blob on the map itself.  Either way, that’s about all I know about the state parks of New Hampshire at this point.

Yes, I’ve been to The Flume, so I’ve been to at least one of them before.  But by looking at the state map, or at the grid, nothing rings a bell.  So I’ve got some initial scoping out and basic groundwork to be laid.

Looking at the map, I can see that some are large (Pisgah, Pillsbury, Pawtuckaway) while others are just an asterisk.  Quite a few are ocean beaches.  Because I live in what’s known as the Upper Valley, every one of them seems far away.  In fact, based on my own unscientific calculation, the towns of Hanover, Lebanon, and Lyme are the  three towns in New Hampshire furthest away from any state park.   Even the two closest ones are small and unstaffed.  So visiting all the parks is going to require a bit of driving.

So I’ll definitely need to dust off my camping equipment unless I’m planning to stay in motels.  Besides, what better way is there to explore a park than camping in it?  Should tune up my bicycle, too, and probably get a new rack to replace the annoying one I currently have.  (It’s a rear-mount, and when it’s on the car I can’t open the trunk.)  Maybe I’ll even buy myself a boat.  Many parks seem to have lakes to explore.    I’m thinking one of those personal kayaks that are lightweight and easy to transport.  What about a stand-up surfboard?  They’re all the rage now and they’ll certainly get attention.  I should probably get two in case my wife comes along.  I have an old blow-up rowboat that’s about 30-years old but that really seems, well, lame!  Guess I’ll need to budget a little more than the $85 for the license plate!  Do you have a suggestion for a boat or is the kayak the right choice?

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