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  • Frodo
    Participant
    Post count: 333
    #47241 |

    This beautiful summer day started with myself, my 11 year old daughter Shannon, and our one year old Golden Retriever (Madison), arriving at the Lafayette parking lot at 7:50am. Waiting for us was Little Bear, and Mr. & Ms. X (which just happens to be their real last name) 

    We headed up the Falling Waters Trail at 8:20am and saw very few people until we reached the summit of Little Haystack at 11:10am. After a 10 minute break, we headed over (and up) to the summit of Lincoln, arriving at 11:50am. Waiting for us (by complete surprise) was Neighbor Dave, Chickety, and Swamp Yankee, which was an awesome surprise!

    Time was ticking… so we scrambled to assemble the 15’ long, and 2” dia pvc flag pole (the same one which was used on the Liberty hike back on 9-15-2001), and ended up raising the 96 square foot Old Glory into a slight breeze at 12:04pm. Next we assembled the POW flag and pole that Mr. X brought, and now we were complete. There were numerous people on the summit taking pictures and admiring the beauty of the colorful flags flapping in the in the breeze on the somewhat colorless landscape…

    About 5 minutes later, we heard the roar of an A10 Warthog heading over to Lafayette from Garfield. We watched as the pilot “buzzed” the summit, before looping around and heading straight for us on Lincoln. The plane came straight at us at about 500’ off the Franconia Ridge, basically following it. Just before the summit of Lincoln, the A-10 veered off a little to the left (towards Franconia Notch), and began rock it’s wings back and forth. As it passed by the dozen+ hikers on the summit (from about 200 yards), the plane rolled completely sideways (as if in a salute), and passed by us with a loud roar of it’s engines and an almost equally loud cheer from us! The A-10 was so close, that we could almost see the pilot! What a sight! Woo-Hoo!!!!!!!!

    Soon many hikers arrived, some taking pictures, some reflecting, some asking questions, some reading the mission statement that Little Bear had laminated, and some signing the journal that Little Bear brought along (she is awesome, and has faithfully accompanied me on the last four FOT48 memorial hikes.)

    We could see flags with the naked eye on Lafayette and Liberty, and with binoculars we could see flags on S. Twin, Garfield, Cannon, N. Kinsman, S. Kinsman, Flume, and W. Bond.

    All of a sudden my friend Lucky Laura arrives! With her face all covered white with sunscreen it took me a minute to recognize her, but there she was, smiling like the free spirit she is! We chat for a while and then she is off for Lafayette… This day is turning into a day full of surprises….

    At about 12:40 pm, myself and Mr. X depart for the summit of Lafayette. We pass Jenifer and Pepsi along the way (saying hi) and we arrive on Lafayette at 1:10pm, and greet the honorable Jaytrek57, who has coordinated the flag bearing on this peak along with Pepsi. We also see the state flag from Louisiana flapping in the breeze… Well done Jenifer!

    Mr.X and myself depart soon and head back to Mt. Lincoln, arriving at 1:45pm and the whole Lincoln crew gets ready to dismantle…

    At 2:00pm, it all comes down, and we prepare to leave without a trace… All of a sudden we see a glider being towed to about 7,000 feet over Franconia Notch. It is released from it’s tether, and begins to fly back and forth along the ridge, descending slightly with each pass. The glider silently passes by the summit of Lincoln, (only a few hundred feet from us), and we can see the pilot is a man wearing a floppy beach hat. He masterfully controls the silent white plane, and even appears like he is going to crash right into the side of Lafayette before banking left at the last minute and safely circling back around. As the pilot descends below the ridge, we begin our descent back down to the parking lot.

    We reach the parking lot at 4:50pm, after a leisurely hike down. As we are packing up and getting ready to leave, along comes my friend Karen Shields and her dog Ruby along with Kim Rexford, and another friend. (this day has been full of surprises!). They had just finished the Franconia Loop checking out the flags, and we actually somehow passed each other along the ridge without even realizing it!

    Such an amazing day… What happened on Sept 11th will never be forgotten, nor will my gratitude for all of my friends who came out to make a difference on this beautiful summer day…

    Never Forget… :flag: :flag: :flag:

    Dirt
    Post count: 54

    Great report Frodo. Wish I was able to see the A10s from Moriah, but none flew by.

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