Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flags on the 48 from Mount Liberty

Flags on the 48 is a day when hikers gather in a show of remembrance for those thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001. American flags are raised over all 4,000 foot summits. My hike today would start at Lincoln Woods, hiking in on the Lincoln Woods trail to the Osseo Trail and crossing over Mount Flume on the Franconia Ridge Trail to Mount Liberty where I would watch the flag raising. This would also be a good vantage point for watching the flag raising on many other surrounding summits.

 Crossing the bridge to the Lincoln Woods Trail

 Early morning sun hitting the mountaintops

Turned left onto the Osseo Trail

 Sun breaking through the trees

 Leaves changing color

I thought it fitting to hike up to the summit of Mount Liberty where it all started fourteen years ago. For me it was not only remembering those lives lost that day but the thousands of lives lost since and the lives forever changed due to the horrific events of that day. It had a direct impact on my family with one son doing two tours of duty in Iraq and two in Afghanistan and another son wounded during combat in Fallujah, Iraq. Both sons interrupting college educations to serve their country. So I set out on a solo hike into the quiet solitude and serenity of the mountains to join others on this day of remembrance.

 Nate...young hiker I keep meeting on the trails

 Wooden steps begin...

 ...more steps

 ...and more steps

 As opposed to an outlook


There was a perfect day of weather in the forecast. It was dark and foggy when I left the house but cleared up on my way to the trailhead. I arrived at the Lincoln Woods parking area and found plenty of parking available. The morning was cool as I crossed the bridge and turned onto the Lincoln Woods Trail. It was a quick trip to the Osseo Trail and I started my hike up to Franconia Ridge.

 Still more steps...

 ...and the steps continue

 ...still more

 An outlook with a view to the south

 Steps are getting smaller

 ...and here's the last steps

It wasn't long before it warmed up enough to change to shorts and short sleeves. This was my first time on the Osseo Trail and I found it to be a pleasant climb up, very gradual and moderate until reaching a series of wooden steps. It was here that I crossed paths with a young hiker that I've met on a number of other hikes over the past year by coincidence. He had gotten an early start and was on his way down from the same hike I was doing. We talked for a few minutes then went our separate ways. 

 Mount Flume

 Mount's destination

 Loon Mountain

Up the wooden steps I went without any problem. Halfway up there is a downlook or another name for a scenic vista. I stepped out, shot a few photos and continued up the ladders. There was one more outlook to the south that I stopped at then I finished my climb on the wooden steps. The trail leveled out with one more moderately steep section. I was then at the trail junction of Flume Slide Trail and Franconia Ridge Trail. A short 0.1 mile on the Franconia Ridge Trail and I was on Mount Flume.

Mount Flume

Ledge scramble to the summit of Mount Liberty

 Mount Flume from Mount Liberty

 Owl's Head

 Flag going up over Mount Liberty

The weather was perfect and the views were spectacular. There was a large group of hikers just leaving the summit of Mount Flume coming my way. It was a tight squeeze on this narrow trail that has a considerable dropoff to one side down the slide. I didn't linger on the summit and kept going.

The surrounding summits were taken at full zoom 
 Mount Lafayette

 Mount Lincoln

 Cannon Mountain (no flag yet)

 South Kinsman

 Mount Garfield


 Mount Carrigain

 Mount Flume (no flag yet)

I reached the summit of Mount Liberty at 10:30 and picked out a nice spot to relax, eat and take lots of photos. The flag crew was already here and making preparations to raise the flag. I spent some time identifying the surrounding summits that I could see from my perch. The first flag I saw was at 11:00 AM on Bondcliff. 

More photos from Mount Liberty

 This little guy was enjoying the day

As noontime approached more flags started going including the one on Mount Liberty. The flag crew did a great job and the flag was raised without any problems. Flags are displayed from 12:00 to 2:00 PM. I saw flags on the following summits: Carrigain, Bondcliff, Garfield, Lafayette, Lincoln, South Kinsman and of course Mount Liberty. I could see the summits of Cannon Mountain and Mount Flume but did not see the flags before leaving the summit of Mount Liberty.

Heading back to Mount Flume

Mount Liberty from Mount Flume

Flag is flying over Mount Flume

A look back at Mount Flume

The slide on Mount Flume

I departed the summit for my return trip to Lincoln Woods at 12:30. Looking over to Mount Flume I could see the flag was still not up but by the time I arrived Old Glory was waving in the breeze. There was quite a crowd on this small summit leaving very little room to pass on the trail. I got a quick pic of the flag flying and kept on moving. It was all downhill from here.

Mount Garfield in the distance...flag still flying

View from the Downlook

Zooming in on Bondcliff

Full zoom of flag being lowered over Bondcliff

A last look at the flag over Mount Flume

Back at the wooden steps on Osseo I could still see three 4,000 footers with flags...Flume, Garfield and Bondcliff. I took time to step out onto the downlook again. The hour was approaching 2:00 PM, time for all flags to be lowered. I had a good view of Bondcliff so I zoomed in just in time to watch the flag be lowered and the flagpole taken down. I had also been able to zoom in on Mount Garfield. Both of these summits are a considerable distance away and without the 50x zoom I would not have been able to see these summits. The flag on Flume was flying high above the trees and needed very little zoom.

A split rock

Osseo Trail

Lincoln Woods Trail

Back at the beginning

I continued back down and arrived at the Lincoln Woods parking area at 4:00 PM. This was my first year joining other hikers on a 4,000 foot summit during Flags on the 48. A big "Thank You" to the dedicated flag crews doing an outstanding job of raising the flags on all of the summits! The weather was spectacular and it turned out to be a perfect day for this special event.

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!


  1. Nicely documented. I was with the crew on Carter Dome and we had many hikers go thru, but I know the flag wasn't seen from afar. We were able to use one camera to zoom over to South Carter and Middle Carter to see their flags. This was my first on a team, and grateful for the day. Hike on. JoAnne

    1. Thanks, JoAnne...and great job by you and your crew raising the flag on Carter Dome! That's a summit I was unable to zoom in on!