Happy Dirt Day!

Today marks six years ago that I had this picture taken with President George W. Bush, here in the Adirondacks. The President was here to commemorate Earth Day by working with a crew of us locals who could get security clearance, on a hiking/mountain bike trail in Wilmington. He spoke later in the day at Whiteface Mountain about all the great things he was planning to do for the environment during his coming administration. I remember we stood outside for a long time waiting for the President and his entourage to arrive. It was a cold and damp day, with the spring snowfall emphasizing we were in the Adirondacks. The President decided he liked me and I became his “running buddy” because I asked him if he’d like to help me nail up a trail marker with a mountain bike on it. After he nailed the trail marker to a tree, he asked me, “What does this mean on the trail marker?” I explained to him the little picture was a mountain bike, and it meant one could use this trail for mountain biking in addition to hiking or running, my preferred activity. When he heard I was a runner, he became my best friend for the day since he prefers running over mountain biking as well. I suppose it is safer. It was an interesting experience; I met a number of very fit marksmen who were hidden in the woods surrounding the entire trail system, and I met Ari Fleischer, the President’s press secretary at the time, who was freezing cold in his tassled loafers and thin dress socks.

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