|Ever since Lizz and I tried to hike up to the summit of Cowpen Mountain back in June (and couldn't because the |
undergrowth was too high to bushwhack through), I had been anxious to come back and check on my flag.
Thanksgiving this year was even better because my daughter and family were home for the long weekend. The
weather was great and I talked my son-in-law John into going hiking with me. "It's your patriotic DUTY to go
with me and help replace the AMERICAN FLAG atop Cowpen Mountain" was my leading argument
to try and get him to come with me.
"If there is a beer in there some where, like when we get back, I'm in!" he quickly responded.
Seriously, John likes to hike and we were on our way north and headed for the Cohutta Wilderness. Soon we
were at the Three Forks Mountain parking lot (trail head for the East Cowpen Trail) and on our way to the
Summit. The weather was fantastic -- clear blue skies and moderately warm for a late November date.
After bushwhacking our way to the top (a separate 3/10s of a mile slightly uphill trip from the summit of the
East Cowpen Trail itself), we reached the top where I was sadden to see that my flag was no longer flying.
We finally reached the actual summit, marked with a huge pile of rocks (someone stole the official brass
Geodetic Benchmark Marker). I saw that my flag pole had rotted, fallen over and the flag, while still attached,
was tattered beyond belief. The winds up here on the summit get quite fierce at times and I am sure the small
flag had flow proudly before finally succumbing to the elements.
No matter and as I immediately set about securing a new pole, a sapling of the right size again "just happened to
fall over right in front of me." It must be magic or something because every time I come up here,
a flag pole just falls over for me to use. :-)
After raising the new pole and flag and securing it in the middle of the pile of rocks, John and I gave it a final
salute as we made our way out of the thicket (shrub trees and briers there in the clearing) and headed
for the truck back down at the trail head.
It was a great hike and we both enjoyed the journey together and yes, we enjoyed a round or two of cool ones
once we safely reached home.