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    #47929 |

    Our September 11th memorial hike began in the parking lot at MacDonald’s in Lincoln. This has been our meeting place over that past few years enabling us to meet and greet each other and enjoy a friendly cup of coffee. We had a large crew this year; many from prior FOT48 and many first timers. We got on the road at 7:45, headed through the notch, pass Cannon and onto route 302. We reached the Ethan Pond trail head at 8:30. Hooked up with the Sullivan family – Gregg had such a good time last year he decided to bring his extended family along this year; which included a number of energetic “young hikers”.
    We started up the trail head at approximately 8:50 with the “young hikers” in the lead. This would be the last time we would see them until the summit. The flag gear including the poles, flag and base were all in one pack and the plan was to take turns carry it to the summit. I had the first turn and the trail started a little steeper than I expected. As we headed up the Ethan Pond trail the group segregated itself into different groups. When we got to the Willey range trail I gladly handed the pole pack to the new guy John. At this point we had traveled 1.6 miles and we had 1.1 to go – the fun was just beginning. After about another 30 minutes of hiking we arrived at the “ladders”. These were impressive both in enormity and workmanship. John H. volunteered to take the pole pack up the ladders. It was a struggle but John did a great job and survived. After we all got up the ladders it was a short distance to the summit. At the summit we finally caught up to the young hikers, evaluated the situation and decided to raise the flag at the east outlook which overlook the presidential range.
    At the summit it didn’t take us very long to secure the flag pole and raise the American in honor of our September 11th heroes. The day was gorgeous with blues skies, few clouds and a light breeze. We were able to spot other flags on Jackson, Eisenhower, Carrigain, Pierce and Monroe. A number of us traveled over to Field to bag the peak and view their flag. We had lunch, celebrated our heroes and remember them in prayer. At 2 PM we dismantled the flag and started down the trails in separate groups.
    The hike down was filled with good conversation and laughter. The ladders were approached with caution but conquered with skill (backwards) and enthusiasm (cries for help). Actually they weren’t all that bad and we had a lot of fun with them. We finally got to the end of our hike.
    At the trail head we were able to look back at the summit of Willey and marveled at its enormity and relish in what we accomplished and most importantly – why we did it.

    This is a great event. Thank you all for sharing it with me.

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