McGahey: Remembering the Peak 1 patriots of 1989 |

McGahey: Remembering the Peak 1 patriots of 1989

Twenty five years ago today, Kirk McGahey and Bill Gorham hiked to the top of Peak 1 and planted an American flag.
Courtesy photo |

Twenty five years ago on July 4, 1989, I convinced my good friend Bill Gorham to climb up Peak 1 from Frisco to put an American Flag on the summit. I was 16 years old and he was 15. We had no hiking poles, vans for hiking shoes, garbage bags for rain jackets, duffel bags as backpacks. We carried our water in emptied out 2 liter Coke bottles, a huge walkie talkie which we used to communicate to our parents on the hour (as it was before the age of cell phones) and I was carrying an American flag and a small bag of cement.

Our adventure began in Frisco in Mountain Side, hiking up the trail towards Masontown. From Masontown, instead of taking the trail from Mount Royal, which we had no idea existed, we climbed directly up Mount Victoria’s avalanche path. It was extremely steep and tough going as every step resulted in a few inches of sliding back down. Once we reached the wind-torn summit of Mount Victoria, it was much easier, but still a long trek over to the rocky hills and multiple false summits up to the top of Peak 1.

Reaching the summit we dug a hole for the flagpole, poured some cement, and put some rocks around it to stabilize it. We took some pictures put our names into the log book and headed back down the mountain to Frisco.

Back in Frisco, the full size American Flag could only be seen through binoculars, and even with binoculars it was only a red and blue spec in the sunlight, but it lasted throughout the Summer and could be seen deep into the Fall.

If the weather holds, I hope to climb Peak 1 tomorrow, July 4th 2014, with my wife and dog. This time with a little bit better gear and on a proper hiking trail.

Kirk McGahey

Copper Mountain

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