I got to the trailhead late at around 7:40 (I was running behind, and additionally went in the wrong end of the Gale River Road loop) and started up at 8:10, a little worried because a friend who was supposed to meet me wasn’t there yet. I ended up hiking with a woman and her dog for the first mile or so – they, like me, were hiking their 47th 4K that day!
Around 2-1/2 miles in, my friend Jenifer caught up to my full-pack plodding. We ended up at the summit after 3-1/2 hours, a little before noon.
The open rock of the summit would have been daunting for tying out the guy lines except that the old concrete foundation of the tower has wooden edges on it that stick out, perfect for a simple friction tie. I got everything together then enlisted help from some folks on the summit to tie off the guys while I raised the pole. We took a few pictures, then gathered around to sing the National Anthem.
At that point, I went to take pictures of the surrounding peaks. With the 300mm lens I got images of the flags on Lafayette, Lincoln, Liberty, Flume, Bond, West Bond, South Twin, and a peak I can’t identify. I got Cannon but can’t quite see the flag. I might have Bondcliff, but can’t tell at the distance.
There were a lot of people on the summit, and I tried to stay present but out of their way while they enjoyed the flag. The only problem I had was a group of through-hikers who plopped down their gear and stood around eating directly in front of the flag, sign, and journal. I chose not to say anything, but was incredibly annoyed when one used the journal to write “HI MOM” and pose for a picture. The flag had better have been in the frame…
Anyway, a got a number of thank-yous, not a lot of questions. A lot of people stayed on the lower ledges and didn’t come up. Around 1:30 I sat to eat and drink a little. We talked with Erin, the Garfield Ridge Tentsite caretaker, for a while. A former coworker and her husband showed up just as they had last year on West Bond.
I don’t know how many people were there for Fot48, and how many were coincidence, but around 2:00 everyone just vanished, so only a few were left to join in God Bless America before I took the flag down. One last family posed with the flag before I packed it up.
From there, it was a fast, easy (great trail!) hike down and I was at the Mooseland around 5:00 or so.
I’m still working on the pictures; I’ll get the rest of the album up tonight!