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 FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16 
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 FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
For Flags On The 48 2016 Matt grabbed Mt. Madison for the "open call" Hike-NH group (for lack of a better term). As the day neared and forecasts continued to deteriorate, calling for a mix of thunderstorms in the early morning and followed by falling temps and high winds. The group size shrunk by a few but Peter and I headed up to meet Matt and see exactly what we could accomplish for our part to help honor and remember those who lost their lives 15 years earlier, even if it was nothing more than putting up the flag in the parking lot and having lunch. Peter and I didn't know if Lisa, whom nobody had met before, was still going to join us for the hike, and we thought Beckie and Prema had said they were definitely not going to fight the high winds, but when the lightning bolts stopped we all emerged from fogged up cars at the Appalachia trailhead and that turned out to be the final group.

Just the forecast you want to wake up to for this event :(
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Not looking so hot at Lake Chocorua on the ride up
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Looking even less hot at the parking lot
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Monitoring lightning strikes nearby while sitting in the car
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By 9:45 of so the active lightning was off into Maine and we were off on the Valley Way
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Peter, myself, Prema, Beckie, Lisa and Matt ready to roll
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We were pretty sure we could easily make the Madison Springs Hut even in bad weather, but the lightning kept us from starting on time, so we knew that 12-2 wasn't going to happen for our flag since we didn't hit the trail until 10, but with nothing of note or worthwhile along Valley Way we made decent time, stopping mostly to explain to people coming down why we were headed up with 4 foot metal poles on our packs. We had a sort of rotation going as to who's turn it was to give the info out, and we discussed just making up flyers to hand out next year every time someone asks. Not that I mind chatting and explaining, but if you've done the event you know you answer that question a lot! When we hit treeline the summit of Madison was in the clouds, and the winds were roaring overhead just as predicted, but it wasn't terrible near the mostly empty hut, so we went in, had a snack and started preparing the flag setup on the floor inside.

Valley Way was a means to an end
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All smiles in spite of Mother Nature
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One of may stops to explain the lightning rods
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Blow downs are that much harder to get under with a pole on your back
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Near treeline things brightened
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The roar of the wind above was impressive however
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"Bad" is a relative term
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The "bad" cup. Half full? Or half empty?
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Could be worse
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Reaching the goal for this hike
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Piecing things together
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This little guy looks like he could use some excitement in his life
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We only used four segments of pole (reduced to three later) because it was enough to get the flag over the stumpy alpine trees and there was more than enough wind for it to fly proudly at the northern end of the Presidential Range. Places to put the pole were limited in the immediate hut area and we wound up setting it up on the leach field I think, or some sort of clearing with pipes sticking up, on the north side of the hut where it could be viewed by those passing the hut as well as out the windows of the dining room. The pole went up easily, but the ropes for the flag kept whipping up out of reach, so, the pole was shortened to about 9 feet and finally around 2:30 Old Glory was raised to the Star Spangled Banner provided by Lisa's phone. Beckie emerged from the trees shortly after so we took a couple quick group photos and headed back into the shelter of the hut.

With the prep work done we headed outside
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Matt and Peter in the required Iwo Jima shot
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Anchoring to what was available
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Nothing left to do but unfurl, attatch and let her fly!
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Beckie arriving
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Group photos
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You might think I'd notice a tree in the way
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Old Glory and JQA
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When we first got to the hut I noticed a lonely little American Flag in the lost and found cups on the desk. It didn't seem to belong there among the orphaned eyeglasses and pens, and needed more of a purpose in life. All along I had planned to go as far as the weather would allow and I brought pretty much my full winter pack with me for gear, intending to make a summit push but only if the clouds cleared. Well, they started to, and since the main flag needed to fly for a while at the hut Peter and I decided to go for the top while the others opted to keep an eye on the flag near the hut. Turns out even in winds gusting to near hurricane speed (I'm guessing) the warmer layers were overkill. Gloves, wind pants and a hard shell were enough to keep us warm. Didn't even need a hat, which was good because mine caught a gust of wind on the summit ridge and headed for the great gulf at highway speeds before I knew what was happening! :? As we climbed the wind speeds increased quite a bit but they actually helped push us up the mountain, so other than hunkering down in the stronger gusts and crawling the last few hundred feet it wasn't all that hard to get to the top. Slow going, trying to keep three points of contact most of the time so as not to get knocked over face first, but it never felt unsafe or we would have turned around. Half an hour later I'd like to think the little 6 inch American Flag was having the best three minutes of it's life fluttering like crazy in the breeze! The clouds cleared below us, the sun came out right as we neared the tip top and only Washington and Adams remained in the clouds. It was about an hour too late to see flags on the the other now visible summits unfortunately, but still well worth the effort in my book even if it didn't really count for anything.

Things are looking up!
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So up we went!
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Birds eye view
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All but the tallest summits out of the clouds now
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Somewhere on these peaks there are a few of our fellow forumites
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Leaning into it to make some progress
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Almost there
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Another shot of the Dome and Cats
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Soooo close. Time to crawl! :D
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Success!!
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VFTT
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The trip back to the hut was equally slow going down directly into the wind. Gravity tried to pull us down but the wind tried to keep us up, and we found that by staying even 20 feet below the ridge to the south we could avoid the full force of the wind much of the way. There was a good bit of crab walking involved, but eventually we got back down to treeline where the winds let up a bit and Matt had taken down the flag and the rest of the crew was ready to go after our hour long trip to the top. Lisa had left, as she had a turn around time of 3PM, so should she read this it was nice to meet and hike with her, and she'd make a great addition to any flags group in the future. If she joins you just don't let her set the pace, unless you're running late and need to make up time! :lol: The rest of us set out together, with Matt, Peter and I soon going ahead to get down and tailgate for a couple hours, taking the Falls Way instead of the lower chunk of Valley Way, which was a spectacular stream-side stroll and the falls were all flowing beautifully from the morning rains I would assume. We ate, drank and be'd merry while waiting for B & P's headlamps to emerge from the woods safely before saying farewell and going our separate ways after a job well done.

5 minutes of fun and we headed back down
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Falls Way was the highlight of the trip down
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Tamma Falls, or something like that
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Gordon Falls
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Mission accomplished!
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Waiting for B & P we had some cookies, burgers, steak tips and beverages
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Lake Chocorua looking better on the ride home
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So, that is that for the 2016 Madison crew. A little bit of adversity this year but nothing at all compared to what so many went through 15 years ago, and what their friends and families still go through every day dealing with the loss. This was probably the least we in the hiking community can do to honor the lives lost in the attacks. I mean, lets face it, we went out for a hike, which we all love to do, and spent the day with a handful of great people for a great cause. I know a lot of people on this forum already participate, but if you don't, you should. Find a way. Leave early and get a head start if you are a slower hiker. Camp out or stay at a hut if you need two days. Take the tram, gondola, auto road or train if you can't make it up a 4000 footer. Find any way you can to be part of and experience this event. It's truly amazing and I promise you you won't be sorry. And since I'm rambling on here a huge thanks to the organizers and fellow participants of this event for all the work they put into this and for making it a day so many of us look forward to year after year.


Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:58 pm
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
Great job team Madison. :beer: It turned out to be a beautiful day.

On a side note......It seems the ladies made the trek but a few of the burly men didn't.
What's up with that :?: :roll: 8) :wink:

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Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:16 am
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
Great job everyone, thanks for taking care of this. I'm okay with my decision but I'm glad some folks were brave enough to head up. In hindsight I'd probably have gone, but there's always next year.

I love the mini-flag on the summit and the fact that it's whipping so fast that even with the higher shutter speed it's blurred. Glad it was only your hat the flew into the abyss and not you or Peter :shock:


Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:01 am
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
Really great team effort and glad you made is safely. Definitely earned the feast, wow!

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Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:00 am
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
krpayer wrote:
Great job everyone, thanks for taking care of this. I'm okay with my decision but I'm glad some folks were brave enough to head up. In hindsight I'd probably have gone, but there's always next year.


I felt a little guilty for bailing since a little rain and wind is nothing to endure compared to what FOT48 is honoring. :oops: I did get a nice little hike in with my boy later in the day and was glad that team Hike-NH still prevailed and flew the flag plus even managed to get one to the summit. Nice work guys!

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Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:58 am
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
Granite Guy wrote:
Didn't even need a hat, which was good because mine caught a gust of wind on the summit ridge and headed for the great gulf at highway speeds before I knew what was happening! :?


Just tell yourself it went off to join Greg's snowshoe and they are now enjoying eternal romance in the wilds below. :lol:

Seriously though, great effort all around! 8)

Brian


Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:45 pm
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 Re: FOT48 2016 - Mount Madison - 9/11/16
It was just another late start to an otherwise beautiful day. With nothing else to do, we can always bail at the trailhead or on the way up if things become to serious. Heck we could always hike something else. (pine mountain? its on the Hike NH list no?) Lucky for us it was just a slow moving squall line. A big shout out to the ladies and gentlemen that got it done. The technical two peaks we got counted for though unintentional were worth every step. Derek mentioned "it was a positive life experience". Every hike usually is one, but these hit a bit harder. You have to try a little harder. Plan a little better. Wait a little longer.

For the 2,996
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I have found a new respect for wind speeds. It is pretty much impossible to move purposefully when they get into the 50's forget about the gusts. Those put you wherever they feel. The little flag that could made it's way to the top. Tram, Car, walk, hike, crawl. You make your way doing something bigger than yourself. The wind , as we approached the ridge crest sounded light a freight train.

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Now lets gets the heck out of here!
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Congratulations to the crew from this year. The Sun sets on a day of remembrance. Those who have passed live on as long as we NEVER FORGET. Drive down that road. live your life to its fullest. There are others who cannot.

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Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:50 pm
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