From the Flags on the 48 Site:
On September 11th, 2001 the consciousness of United States of America was undeniably altered by overwhelming and devastating acts of terrorism, so far reaching in their intensity that our country will forever carry the scars. Thousands of lives were lost in a fleeting moment, immeasurable families shattered and countless hearts broken.
We in the hiking community continue to honor the deceased with a tribute: flying the American flag atop all 48 four-thousand foot and higher mountains in New Hampshire on Sunday, September 11. By demonstrating our steadfast unity in this challenging endeavor, we also hope to express our unwavering support to the families, friends and communities whose losses are beyond comprehension and whose suffering we remember in our hearts.
The morning of the hike I met some fellow meetup hikers as well as some hikers joining us who signed up on the Flags on the 48 site. It was great to have such an assortment of hikers. Some of us had previously hiked these peaks while others were looking forward to stepping onto the summit of Mt. Field and our bonus 4000-footer (Mt. Willey). Even though we all had many differences in background, age, and hiking experience, it was clear that we were all there for a shared goal: to honor those who served and are currently serving and to those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001.
After introducing saying some hellos and swapping some stories, it was time to begin the hike. We decided to divide the responsibility of carrying the four 5-foot pvc pipes up the mountain. We found it best to use them like hiking poles and switched off as needed.
I actually hiked this range last year on September 11th and helped put the flag up on Mt. Tom. I started at the Willey house and ended at the Highland Center, but didn’t take the Avalon trail so that was something I really wanted to do.
The trail isn’t too bad until about a half mile or so approaching Mt. Avalon. That section was kind of a pain to lug those pipes up!
In case you become really concerned, there’s a 100 yard sign marking the summit. Anyone know what the deal is with the drawn in dollar signs? It’s on many of the signs on this trail….
Once we reached the summit of Mt. Field it was time to get to work! The flag needed to be up from 12:00 until 2:00 and it was quite windy! We had some protection as we had some tree coverage, but we wanted our flag to be seen! This meant a little creativity and collaboration on our part.
All hands were aboard with the raising of the flag. The flag was 5×8 feet and we treated it respectfully. We also had to fit the poles together, duct tape the sections and get it high enough to be seen above treeline.
A moment of focus and clarity as we set up the flag. This picture reminds me of the flag raising on Iwo Jima.
We had a brave volunteer to secure the pole halfway up a tree with bungee cord. We also had two lengths of para cord that were used to help fight against the wind.
Right after 1:00, A New Hampshire Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flew over the summit of Mt. Field. We were lucky as it was so windy that the helicopter couldn’t fly over all 48 summits.
|Photo courtesy of John Tully, Concord Monitor Staff|
After we ate some lunch on the summit, we hiked over to the Mt. Willey summit to check out their flag. They had some extra para cord which made for a really sturdy flag!
We returned to Mt. Field to meet back up with a couple hikers who had their own photo shoot while we visited Mt. Willey. They had also taken down the flag during that time. Leave no trace!
Instead of going down Avalon again, we opted for the A-Z trail back to our cars. This was a pretty steep and often rocky trail down.
We made it back just when the rain really started to come down. This was a great hike and a wonderful event to be part of. To see pictures of the other peaks and to sign up for next year (registration will begin sometime in August) visit: http://flagsonthe48.org/
Last modified: July 13, 2017