ravenSeptember 17, 2014 at 2:45 amPost count: 24
Flags on the 48 (2014)
Mount Field (4340’)
13 September 2014
The ten members of Team Field met at about 8:45 AM at the Avalon Trailhead in Crawford Notch. We were getting ready to take part as one of 48 teams participating in the 2014 “Flags on the 48” memorial hike. On a Saturday each year close to the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, hikers on all 48 of the 4,000 foot mountains in New Hampshire carry the Stars and Stripes as well as the rigging necessary to fly the flag to the summit of each mountain. The goal for all teams is to fly the flag from noon until 2:00 PM. The hike is to honor those killed or affected in some way by the 9-11 attacks.
Our group was ready to go fairly quickly with everyone on time and not much preparation to do. We met most of the Mount Tom team in the parking lot and would later see many of them on Mount Field as well. It was cold and windy in the notch as is often the case. Even though it was mid September, the temperatures in the notch were in the high 30’s, there was a cold breeze, and there were even a few flurries signaling the coming fall. We carried a 10 foot PVC pole up, some straps, guy lines, carabiners, duct tape, and a few other things I use for the flag pole. I’ve used the same set up for 4 different FOT48 hikes. I take enough to rig a 20 foot pole when there is an open summit, and other times I carry 10 feet of pole to strap to a tree trunk to get the flag above the canopy on wooded summits. You could do either on Field, but we opted for one pole today.
The hike up was pleasant, especially once in the protection of the trees and out of the windy notch. We moved along steadily hiking up the gradual beginning of the Avalon Trail. After a mile or so, we came to the junction with the A to Z Trail. We continued on Avalon which gets steadily steeper at this point. Along this stretch we decided to split into two groups of five, both with maps of the route. The front group would take the flag and rigging to get set up to fly by noon. The second group would follow behind a little more steadily.
Once at the summit, we quickly got the rigging out and decided to attempt to strap the pole to an obvious tree close to the summit cairn. I climbed the tree and found a nice dense patch of branches to sit on while getting a few straps in place for the pole and flag. We were able to carefully get the pole and flag up above the top of the tree where it could fly in the strong breeze. My hands were fairly chilled by the time I came down, but they warmed quickly. Looking around, we all had a few layers on. Two of the group left shortly after the flag was up in order to keep from getting too cold. Shortly after they did so, the second half of our team arrived in good spirits. We all set about to staying warm, eating our lunches, and talking to the many hikers who came over the ridge, a few familiar faces and names. Some of the group had personal remembrances they observed.
Before long there were only two of us left as the most of the group got a head start to work their way back to the trail head. At 2:00 PM, we lowered the flag, took down the straps and rigging and hit the trail back down. We came upon our group at the side trail to Avalon, which had some nice, if cloudy views. Most of the day, it had been getting more and more socked in. With not much more effort, we found ourselves at the trail head about 4 PM having hiked about 6 miles and about 2500 feet of gain over the course of the day.
This is my fifth year taking part in Flags on the 48, four times as a peak coordinator. I have to say, I enjoyed the group this year and everyone worked well as a team to come together for a successful hike. Thanks to everyone who was a part of it: Joann, Al, Keith, Nancy, Jan, Jackie, John, John, and Jay.
Pictures:jodeaconParticipantSeptember 19, 2014 at 2:08 pmPost count: 6
What an awesome adventure! :flag: Our team was so well organized with raven at the lead. His encouragement, climbing skills, and team management made for a very pleasant experience! Thanks so much for your dedication raven! Joann
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