Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013.09.14 Mt Pierce - Flags on the 48

Sue and I had the profound privilege to hike Mt Pierce with a group of friends for the annual remembrance of the attacks of 9/11.  This event is organized each year by a group of hikers and each year teams volunteer to hike all 48 4k's in NH on the same Saturday morning on the date closest to September 11th.  Each team erects an American flag at every summit at noon.  It is truly an amazing and touching remembrance.  Check out the organization that puts this all together @ flagsonthe48.org.  The following is a trip report I had written shortly after this event which was posted on their website:

Our team of eight (including Bennie a golden retriever, who by the way has done all 48 4k’s) were all newbies to Flags on the 48. Some of us had seen the event in prior years but this was our first time participating. No doubt we will do it again.

Two people in our group hike a bit slower than the others (that’d be me) so we left about 45 minutes before the rest of the team. The remaining five left the Crawford Path trail head about 9:00 headed towards Mt. Pierce. Midway up the mountain our groups merged. As other groups have reported, it was a wet all day either from rain, drizzle or the constant water on the trail. Our spirits remained high regardless. That said, it was a bit tougher to remain positive in the cold wind at the summit.

We reached the summit around 11:15 and began setting up our flag which was flying strong by 11:45. As we started the process of setting up our flag, a Boy Scout troop of about 18 boys from MA arrived and they lent a hand with the set up. It was great to have them there!

Our flag was from the funeral of the father of one of our team members. His dad was a vet so the flag had some special meaning to us. It was the first time this flag had been out of its storage case.

Once the flag was raised, about 20 people in total had gathered at the summit and we all said the pledge of allegiance and sang our national anthem. One of our group members is a pastoral intern at our church so he then led us in a short prayer. Another member of our team then read a short poem written by her father shortly after 9-11. All in all it was very touching.

Over the next several hours the summit was a constant flow of traffic. Many folks were going to or from Jackson or to Eisenhower so we may have experienced more traffic than most summits. I would guess nearly 75 people in total passed through.

Beaten by the cold and drizzle, we began taking our flag down a bit after 1:30. I envy those who had sunshine as we saw nothing but the inside of a cloud all day.

Each and every chance we got during the ascent, at the summit or on the descent we would explain to those who didn’t know why we were carrying so many lengths of PVC (several thought we were fishing). It amazes me how many people, once hearing about the cause, would share a heartfelt thank you. Of course, most who did know of the event were also very thankful.

We may have been cold and wet on the outside, but our hearts and spirits were warmed by all of the positive feedback.


"Most" of our team.  Sue and I had left a bit earlier.  We are Mr. & Mrs Slowsky of the White Mountains so we needed a head start.

It was great that we had all these hands to help setup.





Our full Mt Pierce team poses with the flag.

She's on her way down.

 Our team's sherpa...

THE END!

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