gayoutdoorsSeptember 10, 2007 at 12:36 pmPost count: 3
(9/8/07) Mark L., Rich T., Rick M., Carlos D., Peter S., Markus D., Jon N. and myself participated in this year’s Flags on the 48, joining 47 other hikers who carried the Stars and Stripes to the summits of all New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers in memory of all who died on September 11, 2001. Some were hesitant about climbing up the North Slide, but I’ve always thought it to be fun. It is my experience that New England trails are seldom as scary as advertised.
We left my house in Campton and got to Waterville Valley by 9:00ish. This was a hot, hazy and humid day so we barely made out the summits of the Osceolas. We started hiking around 9:15, each taking turns carrying the flag. The Livermore Trail was mellow and quiet. We got to the base of the North Slide around 10:45.
As we reached the base of North Slide, we agreed that it would be best for us to take a break before ascending this formidable opponent. This was Mark’s, Rich’s, Rick’s, and Markus’s first time to the Tripyramids, so it was beyond them what task was at hand.
We all headed up the slide at our own comfortable pace. Markus, Jon and Mark stuck with me. Anyway, the hardest part of the North Slide is at the bottom. One ledge in particular lacks decent handholds and is a little dodgy, but not a big deal if you trust friction. I would not want to go down this slide, though, especially in wet weather. There was a chance of a thunderstorm suddenly appearing throughout the day, so climbing to the top sooner rather than later, was in our best interest.
Then there is a long section of rough rock slabs to ascend, with increasing views behind us. There are a couple of sections that are a bit slippery, but we stayed mostly on rocks without any moss. Once the slide really widens, the views increase however it was so hazy there was no way that we could catch a glimpse of any other flags. The slide becomes more loose scree the further we went up. We then reached a a huge cairn about near the top of the slide. Rich asked where the slide ended and I said, “Here.”
There was a slight breeze and we thought the best place to unfurl our flag would be at the top of the slide. We waved it up high for a few minutes knowing full well probably nobody else was going to see it. After a few minutes we put the flag away and made our way to the summit. We got there around 12:15.
We got to work assembling the pole and raising the flag. :flag: Being new at this, we realized that there was not any way our flag would be ABOVE the trees. In the future, it might be best to place the flag on the top of the North Slide so that folks from Mt. Tecumseh and the Osceolas could see it. A smaller flag could also be placed on the summit as well to go along with the spirit of the event.
We all stopped for lunch.
After our own personal moments of silence for the victims of 9/11 one thing was clear to me. That on this fine summit in this great land of ours, 8 gay guys hiked to a place dreaded by most to enjoy our life of FREEDOM. We only wished we had all the freedoms that most people have…like the freedom to marry and to a certain extent, the freedom of being able to tell others we are gay. Despite the strides that have been made with gay rights, many of us still live in fear.
At some point we began to take pictures of ourselves on the summit.
After lunch, some of took a trip to Middle Tripyramid (4140′), and say hi to the folks there (AMC NH Chapter Young Members Group). Their flag was much bigger than ours and on a higher pole — we developed flag envy! They had better views but being so hazy, we could not see flags from other peaks. I’m not sure if we could have seen them even on a clear day given that the summits are so wooded. We then took off back to our summit.
We kept looking to the skies for an approaching thunderstorm but thankfully none came. In total, I think we saw about 15 hikers pass through the summit of North Tripyramid. We looked at our watch and it was 2:15…it was time for us to lower our flag and move on. Its a long walk out.
We decided to take the Pine Bend Brook and Scaur Ridge Trail to descend. The last stretch of the Scaur Ridge Trail follows an old woods road with a moderate grade back to Livermore Road.
After making it back to Livermore Road, we paused for a break once more before heading back on Livermore Road. The 3.8 miles back to the cars has always been an agonizing finish. Soon enough we reached our cars and took our boots off to air our feet.
Jon and I would like to thank our entire crew for their good spirits throughout the entirety of this long hike. :beer: We had a GREAT time and everyone seemed to enjoy each others company. I thank you all who also helped carry the flag. I know I had a blast and look forward to next year — with a BIGGER flag.
God Bless you all…and America. And please…as we did on North Tripyramid, don’t just take ONE moment of silence in remembrance… Take MANY.
Click Here To View Slide Show. With music and panning effects.
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