(Via: http://www.flagsonthe48.org/) On September 11th, 2001 the consciousness of United States of America was undeniably altered by overwhelming and devastating acts of terrorism, so far reaching in their intensity that our country will forever carry the scars. Thousands of lives were lost in a fleeting moment, immeasurable families shattered and countless hearts broken.
We in the hiking community continue to honor the deceased with a tribute: flying the American flag atop all 48 four-thousand foot and higher mountains in New Hampshire on Sunday, September 11. By demonstrating our steadfast unity in this challenging endeavor, we also hope to express our unwavering support to the families, friends and communities whose losses are beyond comprehension and whose suffering we remember in our hearts.
This was the first year I was able to get out hiking to see it, and it was a fantastic day for it. I led a group hike to Mt. Garfield, a peak I’ve only visited once on a very long, very cold Pemi-Loop in November a few years back, and I had little to no views on that day.
We assembled at the trail head on Gale River road and hiked up via the Mt. Garfield Trail. This trail is in great shape and the footing is good, as it is an old trator road. There were ample places to refill water along the way, even above 3,000ft. As we joined the Garfield Ridge Trail the winds picked up and we added on some layers for the final .2mi section to the summit, where we were rewarded with great views. The team that had carried the flag and its supports informed us that it was higher, but the wind had snapped it down with a big gust. We could see the flags go up on Mt. Bond, South Twin, and Galehead. The Franconia ridge was in and out of the clouds all day. Just after we had lunch and were getting ready to descend, we cought sight of the Blackhawk helipcopter flying towards us. We all took some photos and enjoyed the walk out, just in time to beat the severe thunderstorms that rolled in from the west.
Distance: 10.03 mi
Avg Pace: 43:06 min/mi
Avg Speed: 1.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,006 ft