Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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  • SilentCal
      Post count: 1307
      #48037 |

      Where to start?

      Honestly this trip report does not start on 9/11 of this year. Nope it starts two weeks after last years event. My step-daughter, Kristen, died from a suicide three weeks prior. I was pretty much a mess. I wrote up a resignation for Flags and had decided to walk away from all of this. My decision was hasty and not well thought out. Two friends (you guys both know who you are) basically talked me out of it and reminded me of that line in Shawshank Redemption “Get busy living or get busy dying’. Living and getting back to Flags is what I decided to do.

      Numerous roadblocks got thrown in the way. Hurricane Irene’s road damage caused headaches. Endless spam kept popping up. Last minute cancellations got sorted out and covered. But, in a usual haphazard way, I find myself riding in Brian’s SUV to the peak that I orginally started Flags on, Cannon.

      The lot is bustling and the groups for the Kinsmans are gearing up and heading out. I have my original flag and the original pole from my first Flags. I have however, a huge flag getting a ride on the tram. So Brian, Bill, Jaytrek, Erica and I head up. We have a date with a tower.

      We, at least I thought so, made really good time to the tower. We meet Erica’s mom, Gram, and she has brought some of the tools we need to fly the large flag. She also has a poster of pictures of the past events. As we get the Original flag up, The mammoth 30×45 flag makes it way up being brought up by the head Fool Scout, Russ himself. After some creative thinking, the flag is tossed over the side and draped over the cab. High five’s abound as we get the flag secured.

      This Flags event is a little different as I run into many friends that have made the trip up to say hello and catch the views. Way too many to mention here. Thanks everyone for stopping by.

      I believe it was Brian who pulled me aside and said, “hey there is a helicopter by the Kinsmans.” Sure enough we waited and bit and the copter made a pass near our summit. They made a double pass around us and we could clearly see the crew taking pictures of us and giving us a thumbs up. Certainly the hightlight of the day.

      We could spot Flags on North and South Kinsman, Liberty, Flume, Lincoln, and Garfield. Lafayette was shrouded in clouds for most of the day. I hope someone from that angle was able to see our flag. The time soon arrived at 2:00 and everyone packed up and headed out. Another year in the books.

      So in the end, life can throw some rotten stuff your way. It’s the getting back up that is tough and that’s a real message that Flags carries.

      Thanks everyone for taking part.
      Flag 2012 is on SATURDAY September 8th.

        Post count: 14

        I was supposed to be on N. Kinsman with Joe and gang, but a cold sidelined me, so I went to plan B and brought my wife up the tram. She was amazed at it all. I was certainly amazed at the humongous flag up there, and am also anxiously awaiting a photo from Garfield or Lincoln. 🙂 Great job, folks, really great job.

        The day started with me watching the ceremonies on TV, and at each moment of silence marking a plane hit or a building collapse, my eyes would well up, feeling great sorrow. When that Blackhawk was making the rounds, I also was welling up again, but this time in joy and pride. It was an immense gesture by the Guard.

        As we came through the notch heading up, I was surprised and very pleased to see a flag where the Old Man once stood. Very awesome spot. I hadn’t realized this has been done before, by some very special folks.

        Thank you to all participants in a tough year to pull this off, I was at least happy to visit if I couldn’t pitch in. And welcome back, Jim.

        Some pics:

          Post count: 5

          Thanks for sharing your story. More importantly, thank you for organizing this event. My wife and I experienced it for the first time this year – we were on Mt Moriah. Knowing that the same thing was happening on all 48 peaks was very moving. Seeing the flag on Mt Madison was the highlight for me.

          I too have felt the pain of losing a child. At the time it felt like life was over, but eventually you realize that life goes on. Back then I never could have imagined I would be completing my 29th 4000’er while participating in such a memorable event. Bruce Springsteen’s song “Reason to Believe” sums it up.

          Thanks again. I hope to be on one of the peaks next year.

            Post count: 60

            Thank you, SilentCal, for sharing your personal story with us. It makes our day on Cannon all the more meaningful. We wish you and your wife all the best.

            My husband and I have participated in this event for 8 years now. You and the other Steering Committee members are the heart and soul of Flags. Thanks to you all for the hard work year after year. Great job!!

            Now to attempt posting some pictures. Stand by Chris.

            See you all next year,

              Post count: 6

              Thanks Jim, for planning FOT 48. I’m happy you stayed with it. When life knocks you down, it’s easy to stay there. You are so right, what makes us great is getting back up and get back in the fight.

              It was a great day on Cannon, made even more memorable by the Blackhawk making its tour of the peaks. Those pictures were awesome, great job tracking them down.

              You and Cathie are an inspiration to us all. Thanks for a wonderful day, and for teaching us how to keep on going.



              New Hampshire
                Post count: 168

                I guess if we are going to wax philosophical I will add my memories to this as well….

                I came into the event in 2006. I had only started hiking in 2005, and due to a number of excuses I could not join Jim that year on Moosilauke after he invited me. It was a bit of an honor considering I had only known him through the forums and a brief visit on a Mt. Martha/Owl’s Head hike. That was the same trip I met Bill (Pucknuts). In 2006 I found my way on to Bill’s team led by his ever inventive friend Brownie. It would come to pass that Bill would not only become a great friend, but that I would spend every event but one (2008) in his company. In 2008 I joined Jim’s team on Ike, and that was also the year I had the absolute humbling honor of joining the steering committee for the Flags on the 48 event. 2009 was the first chance I had to actually feel like I was doing something when Jim went on an ocean cruise that encompassed event weekend (and which he still gets hell for 😆 ), but sadly I would have to again take over Jim’s job after his life altering moment. Since he was to lead our charge up Tom I went into emergency mode trying to cobble a rig together. Always dependable, Bill stepped up to help out. I provided the flag, he threw a pole together, and on 5 days notice we had a serviceable unit ready to fly.

                So coming into 2011 it was going to be very special for many reasons. Once again I would be spending an important day doing something wonderful with old and new friends. I would be remembering 10 long years of the ghost of what 9/11/01 left behind it. I would be getting my little buddy back after a 2 year hiatus. My parents, who don’t hike, would be able to see our handy work (part of the reason we chose to do Cannon, with the tram nearby to provide access). And we would be pulling off one hell of a trick by flying what will probably go down in history as the largest flag to ever fly for this event. The salute by the Army National Guard helicopter was a fitting tribute. Jim had heard a rumor it would be the Air Force/Air National Guard. But somehow I think a New Hampshire Guard unit paying tribute to hikers on New Hampshire mountains was much more fitting.

                So here I am, 6 events later, reflecting on what this has meant for me. I don’t know if I am going to shock everyone or not, but to me I love this event for all the happiness it brings. Yes, happiness. I know that the reason we do it was brought to us under the most horrifying and saddening of events. But to me, seeing everyone having fun and enjoying the day in a respectful way, it just reinforces to me that the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 may have taken down 4 planes, 2 buildings, the Pentagon and thousands of innocent lives. But they failed to break our spirit. You can kick a man when he is down, but it will take a lot more to break his spirit. I am happy, healthy, living and breathing. Where is Osama Bin Laden? Need I say more?

                So to Bill: Thank you for allowing me to be there for the first event I attended. For being a great friend. For being you. Your awesome dude. 8)

                And to you Jim…my little friend….my buddy….my brother….thank you for being one hell of a guy. There are a few people behind the scenes of Flags who do their thing, but you really are the rock that anchors it. I am glad I was able to dissuade you from taking the course you were planning on a year ago and that you picked yourself up, soldiered on, and didn’t let tragedy keep you down. There were hundreds of people this weekend who are glad too, whether they knew it…and you…or not.


                  Post count: 54

                  Bri, you realy know how to write from the heart. Thank you my friend, and you know that I’d take a bullet for you too (well, as long as it was just a flesh wound).
                  I’ll never forget the year that I got to Galehead and found that Jim had left patches for me. From that time on I knew that this event is a community event where you reach out to others. When you have a leader like that it’s very easy to follow his example.

                  I do not stand in front of you to stop your progress, I do not stand behind you to ride your coattails …I simply stand beside you as we walk hand-in-hand

                  Peace to all and I can ony hope that our small gesture brings some comfort to those that lost someone.

                    Post count: 11

                    Some great accounts and stories, but I have to ask… how the heck did you fold back up a flag that big?

                    New Hampshire
                      Post count: 168

                      @sdways01 wrote:

                      Some great accounts and stories, but I have to ask… how the heck did you fold back up a flag that big?

                      The flag came up on the tram folded in the traditional triangle, but due to room, conditions (it was pretty windy up there) it had to go back down the tram roughly bundled up. Jim is (assuming he hasn’t already) going to fold it back up properly where he is staying for the week.

                      Jim had toyed with the idea of hiking the monster flag up himself, but I vetoed his plan. I didn’t need him killing himself. ANd I tell ya, that flag had to weigh a good 40 pounds…so add that to the rest of a regular pack load….yikes!!!! 😀


                        Post count: 41

                        @New Hampshire wrote:

                        …I didn’t need him killing himself. ANd I tell ya, that flag had to weigh a good 40 pounds…so add that to the rest of a regular pack load….yikes!!!! 😀


                        I saw him carry at least 75lbs to the Fool Scouts Ball

                          Post count: 1307

                          @mtnpa wrote:

                          @New Hampshire wrote:

                          …I didn’t need him killing himself. ANd I tell ya, that flag had to weigh a good 40 pounds…so add that to the rest of a regular pack load….yikes!!!! 😀


                          I saw him carry at least 75lbs to the Fool Scouts Ball

                          and you then saw me moaning and groaning the rest of my time there. Actually, Brian and I were toying with the idea of draping it off Bondcliff next year. Won’t happen though. I may keep it for future Cannon trips.

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