Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flags On The Front Range

I don't think I need to tell any readers of this blog what transpired on September 11, 2001 and how the events of that day shaped our social landscape here in America. In the days following that horrible day, September 15th to be exact, a group of hikers climbed to the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Liberty to raise an American flag. Instantly, a hiker tradition was started in New Hampshire which has been known annually as Flags on the 48; an event where hikers make their way to the summit of New Hampshire's 48 Four-Thousand foot peaks as a display of solidarity. Since then, every year on the weekend closest to the September 11th Anniversary, the tradition has continued through the dedicated hikers who climb to the tops of these peaks. (http://flagsonthe48.org/)

In the years that this tradition has gone on, myself and a few of my closest friends have always been proud to participate. From hiking to the most isolated peaks in New Hampshire's wilderness to last years ascent of the original peak, Mount Liberty. We could't sit idly by this year just because we've moved to Colorado and I promised some of our friends back east the we would stand united with them from the other side of the continent. So it was with great pleasure today that Sarah and I climbed to the summit of Bear Peak here in Boulder's Majestic Front Range.

I made my way to Home Depot on Saturday where I purchased a 10' section of PVC pipe. I then cut it in half. On one half I lined the grommets of my American Flag up to the pole, and drilled two holes into the pipe at those marks. Bought two bolts and matching wing nuts, a coupler and put it all together. I spent a total of $5.00 for the flag pole and the made for pretty comfortable and non-cumbersome hiking poles. I hiked with the flag in my pack as well as the above September 11th photo book from Reuters, and made our way to the peak.
Our View of the Continental Divide from up top.
In New Hampshire they fly the flags from Noon to 2pm on the various peaks. As a display of solidarity we decided to fly ours in Boulder between 10am and Noon to match up with the difference in time. After assembling the pole and flying the flag proudly, we enjoyed a magnificent day atop of Boulders famous Flat Irons, enjoying the near-cloudless sky, brilliant sun and views of the Great American Prairie below. It couldn't have been much better. We met few folks in our time between 10 and 11am but once Noon rolled around the summit became swamped with people, many of whom had seen the flag from afar and just had to come see what was up here. We entertained around 2 dozen + people while on the summit. So many people in fact that we decided to fly the flag a little longer and didn't take it down until 12:45pm. From an elevation of 8,461' we stood united, proudly, with our brothers and sisters back in New Hampshire. We made many new friends here in Colorado under a magnificent sky and Old Glory herself and.. while it was not needed, we appreciated the many thanks extended to use from various hikers for waving the flag today.
Visitors Unite
High Above The City of Boulder
And so with that, we sincerely hope that a new tradition has begun here in Colorado's Front Range. Our goal for next year is to organize our own "Flags on the Front Range" event, where we hope many fellow hikers will hike to the peaks of Colorado's Front Range from Wyoming to New Mexico. We'll assemble the list of peaks and knobs all along the 280 mile expanse that makes up the Front Range and in July, we'll welcome hikers to sign up to man the peaks with American Flags. I hope you'll join as as we continue to NEVER FORGET!