Monday, October 14, 2013

Flags on the 48 2013 - Flume (and Liberty) - September 14, 2013

Just like in 2012, a Hike-NH group was put together for the annual Flags on the 48 event (click the link to read more about this awesome event. The short summary is that every year near September 11, hikers sign up to hike to each of New Hampshire's 48 4000-footers and fly American Flags for a couple hours in rememberance of the events of that day). With only myself and Krpayer re-upping for this year, it was another great chance to see a few familiar faces and meet a bunch of new folks we interact with frequently on the forums. All told, we had a group of 11 (I'm using forum handles here): myself, krpayer, GraniteGuy, hiker 0200, theGibba, IQuest (and his pup Marlie), NH_Flyer, Cdailley (Chris Dailey, who keeps an awesome blog of his own), Petch, and Beckie & Prema (who is in fact 2 people). Krpayer once again brought his 5'x8' flag, and this year I brought the flag pole, an aluminum one I'd made up from a bunch of scrap I got my hands on. This year we were determined to fly that flag properly!

Originally the group had all decided to do a traverse, climbing up the Flume Slide Trail and descending the Osseo Trail, but a couple days of heavy rains right before the event caused us to take the safer option of a simple out-and-back on the Osseo Trail, so as to avoid the wet slabs of the steep Flume Slide Trail. Setting off before 7:30 on the Lincoln Woods Trail, we all made great time up to the Osseo Trail junction, and really made quick work of the climb too. I'd been down this trail twice, both times at the tail end of a single-day Franconia Ridge traverse, but I'd never ascended it. The end verdict is that it was an easy climb too, and the fact that our group made the summit in barely over 3 hours (5.6 miles, 3150ft climb) backs that up.

The Pemi River flowing well this morning

Climbing the ladder section on the Osseo Trail

Not much to see from the "downlook" on the Osseo Trail today

Approaching the summit of Flume

We immediately got to work on setting up the flagpole, which consisted of 3.5-foot long sections of aluminum pipe with tight-fitting sleeves inside at the joints. A pair of simple bolts at each junction held it all in place. This pole sets up before the flag, and an eyebolt at the top is used to raise the flag like a normal flagpole, which enables easier raising of the pole without the giant flag catching the breeze and tugging it over. That, of course, was not a huge issue this year, as the breeze was fairly light. Nevertheless, the pole set up beautifully, and then we raised the flag. This year we set up 18.5 feet of flagpole, and the flag was flying by 11, well ahead of schedule (nominally the flags fly from 12-2PM). The wind was also perfect this year, just enough to fly the flag most of the time it was up, but not excessive like last year.

The flag is, well, flying

There's some breeze, just in time!

A brief tease of blue skies, which immediately went away until late evening.

Team Hike-NH (minus Beckie and Prema)
Beckie and Prema, who had urged us to go ahead without them as they were slower hikers, made the summit shortly after the flag was up (and I might add, for all their concerns, they made it up in book time!). After a little while, about half of the group headed over to Liberty for a quick visit, where we found their summit even more socked in that ours. We didn't hang around long, but returned to our flag shortly before it was time to take it down.

Liberty's flag

Well done by the scout troop manning this peak
When 2PM passed, we took down the flag and headed back to the parking lot, where many people had brought food for what turned into an awesome tailgate! So much good food, drink (responsibly of course) and conversation was had! A few other Hike-NHers also stopped by for a few minutes to help us eat some of the food, and to converse. It was a great day all around. We may not have gotten any views, but we hiked for a great cause, honored those who lost their lives during the terrible events on September 9, 2001, and had a good time amongst each other. I'm sure we'll get a group together again for next year!

Route: Lincoln Woods Trail, Osseo Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail (out-and-back to Liberty)
Peaks: Flume (4328', NH4K), Liberty (4459', NH4K)
Mileage: 13.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 4150'
Book Time: 8hr 45min

Hiking out on the Lincoln Woods Trail (part of which has had the railroad ties buried, woohoo!)


  1. Hi Matt! I'm looking to create a patch to commemorate the FOT48 hike, there's been a lot of interest in getting a new one made. I thought about using the elevation profile of Mt. Liberty in the background of the image. I didn't have my GPS at the time I hiked Liberty and I was wondering if you would share you plot with me (I use Garmin's Base Camp as well, so I should be able to open the file you've posted on your blog). I would be super appreciative if you could share yours with me and will send you a final patch once they arrive! Thank you so much in advance!

  2. Carrie-Ann, the GPX track from this hike can be found at I can probably dig up a track that involved the Liberty Springs Trail too. It sounds like Jim Roy over on the FOT48 committee is asking about getting a new batch of the old design made up though.