About 2 hours after I posted my last report from the road, my wife called to tell me my five year old daughter, Tess, had a severe fever (>105ª). She (my wife, Bettina) had been up much of the night before (after I had left to drive back to NH) with Tess; they had spent the morning in the hospital because she had the same fever that morning. But the hospital had cleared her of the terrifying conditions, and sent them home.

The fear in Bettina’s voice that night urged me to come home, and I drove back, arriving around midnight. We battled the fever through the night, and I spent the next day with her to comfort her. She was stable and happy by the end of the day, so I drove back to NH.

Which means I missed Tamworth to Center Harbor. Ugh.When these walks began, I was certain I wouldn’t miss any of them. When I got that call, all certainties melted. Tess is fine.

Day 8 was to be Center Harbor to Laconia. The day began perfectly, with a clear and not too cold walk through Meredith, and then up the hill to RT 106 on the way to Laconia. But then 7 miles out, black ice brought the walk to a halt. After an hour or so waiting for the roads to be salted, our fearless leader, Xanni, ordered the walk stopped. The lecture I was to give that night in Laconia was cancelled. (As this was to be my only real lecture on the walk, I had given it many many hours of preparation. I’m sorry now for the time away from my fellow walkers that all that required.)

To cover the gap between where we stopped and where we were to start on Monday, a team of 5 started off early, racing to walk the 7 miles and catch up to the Day 9 walkers. I passed the team as I drove to the start of day 9.

We had a fantastically large group walking on the MLK day walk — a bunch from Cambridge, including Safra Center friends, and Ron and Cornelia Suskind, as well as Bettina with the (healthier) Tess. We ended in one of the most beautiful Shaker Villages I’ve seen, and wonderful return to simplicity after too many days of complexity.