Our group of five arrived at the summit of Mt. Hale shortly before noon and we had the colors flying at 12:01. We had printed out Alpine Zone’s mission statement on strips of paper which we handed out to each person or group that arrived. I must admit that the negative posts I read on the AMC website made me apprehensive about how this would be recieved and if we were imposing on other people’s hiking experience by virtually taking over the summit. I need not have worried at all. At least twenty people joined with us and all were very excited and supportive. Each person participated in holding the flagpole and having their picture taken with the flag.
Just prior to 2 o’clock Scott and Meghan Hayman came into the summit clearing. It was 5 year old Meghan’s first 4000 footer and they were quite excited that they had made it before the flag was taken down. Scott said he could hear the flag whipping in the wind before he ever saw us and knew he was on time. Meghan got a round of applause from all as she stood on Mt. Hales summit cairn with her father. We left the flag up for them to enjoy and waited for their friends Chris and his son Cam(also about 5 years) to summit for their first 4k. Then Ken Hunt arrived with his 10 year old friend Chloe for her first 4k.
I found myself taking out the mission statement to read often during the hike and while with our new friends on the summit. In the parking lot after the hike Nick Blaney, who accompanied his mother Jody, told me that it really hit him, what we were doing, when he saw the flags flying from other summits. We could see flags on South Twin, North Twin and Mt. Bond.
Thanks to all who participated with us and on all the other 48 and to those who wanted to but could not make it. We will never forget Sept 11, 2001 nor those we lost and their families.