BobSaidiParticipantSeptember 18, 2011 at 2:15 pmPost count: 16
We had originally signed up for Mount Hancock, but with the Kancamagus Highway closed due to storm damage we decided on Wednesday to change our destination to Mount Clay. Our group of nine departed from the Forest Service lot near the Cog Railroad at 7:15 and ascended via the Jewell Trail. We had a very enjoyable climb and reached the summit of Mount Clay at 10:30. We quickly raised our 5 foot by 9 foot flag on a 20 foot pole. Our flag stood straight out in the stiff breeze the entire time we were at the top, but for the first couple of hours we were hidden by the clouds flying over the ridge top.
Our next task was to set up the propane grill and cook a batch of freedom dogs. This was a great touch, and everyone enjoyed the meal. After we ate, four of us who had not yet tagged Mount Jefferson decided to take a quick hike and visit with our neighbors. We left our packs behind and got there in just over an hour—it’s so much easier to hike without a pack on your back! We exchanged greetings with the team there and headed back to Clay.
On the trip back to Mount Clay we could see the clouds lifting there, and looking back at Jefferson we could finally see the peak and the flag flying over it. When we returned to Clay just after 1:30, someone had brought out a pair of binoculars and we could see the flags over the northern Presidentials and a few other peaks as well. Shortly after our return, as we were eating another round of hot dogs, the clouds finally dissipated over Mount Washington and we could see the flag flying over the summit rocks at the top of New England. At 2:30, after four hours at the summit, we packed up our flag and headed back down the trail. We reached the parking lot at 4:40 (a 2:10 descent versus 3:30 book time).
This was my first time doing the Flags On The 48, and it was a wonderful experience. I didn’t know anyone else on this hike, but the people on this team were all great and easy to get along with. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.
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