Last week we had a not especially good Executive Committee meeting of our Board of Trustees. Then I headed off into the wilderness (the high wilderness of the White Mountains of New Hampshire) with the Chair of that same Board – my boss for all intents and purposes. Not sure I’d recommend that to my fellow university presidents, but, then again, I have a special boss. He’s been section hiking the Appalachian Trail for ten years now, northbound from Georgia three weeks at a time. This summer, with good luck behind him, he’ll cross into Maine. Each year, he invites family and friends to join him for a piece of the hike. I consider myself fortunate to be among the invited two years running.
A year ago, my three days on the trail across Vermont – the home of the Green Mountains – were challenging but delightful. This week, I came to understand where the moniker “The White Mountains” came from. They are bigger, steeper, and way rockier.
But despite the fact that my thigh muscles are screaming very loudly at me right now, the trip was even more special for me than last year. Tyler, my baby boy, just 21, came along for the hike. It’s not often a dad gets so much alone time with one child. I was blessed earlier this summer to spend ten days with Ty’s older sister in Guatemala, just us two. And now this treat. He was a joy to be with every agonizing step on the way, never a complaint, always out front of the rest of us old guys, but we’d eventually find him waiting at some beautiful spot. My beautiful boy.