Remembering 9/11 by Hiking Flag Rock
Remembering 9/11 by Hiking Flag Rock
I could feel that something big was going on, but I still hadn't really heard what. I think my mom was watching the news before I left, but she always watched the news. At school I finally found out. I had just walked into my construction classroom and my teacher had the tv on. He NEVER had the tv on, we were usually out on the jobsite working on the house we were all building. Instead we all sat in silence, watching the news play the same clips over and over and over again. Silence was not something that happened in this class of all boys and me. The more we watched it, the more despair set in and worry.
See, not only was I worried about all those poor people, I was also really worried about my dad. He's an airline pilot and at that point he had just gotten a new job. I couldn't quite remember which airline, since they all seemed to be named something patriotic, and my worry increased throughout the day. I'm sure I thought of all sorts of crazy scenarios, all of which weren't true in the end. Finally, my mom was able to contact him. He had landed someplace and we didn't know how long it would be before they let the airlines fly again.
Where were you on 9/11?
I was worried all but a brief second when compared to all the people who lost loved ones on that terrible day. Flag Rock is one small way to help remember 9/11. I've read a few different stories, but the hike is symbolic of the climb the rescuers took up the Twin Towers since the elevators were not usable. The top of State Street to Flag Rock was 1,353 vertical feet, which was the same height of the World Trade Center Towers.
The Salt Project hiked up to Flag rock on Monday. I had high hopes that we would all gather at the top of Flag Rock and give a good speech about 9/11, but we did have 30 people hiking with us, ages 1-75, plus 3 dogs. That's right, there was a grandma and she was amazing! Half of the group made it to Patsy's Mine and then a few of us ran (slowly) up to Flag Rock. It was getting dark fast and with all the kids and dogs, it's a good thing we split up.
Quick Timing Overview: We all started the hike at 6:45 and got to Patsy's Mine at 7:20. Melinda and her family bypassed the cave completely. Without stopping at Patsy's Mine they hit the top at about 7:45, hung out for 30 minutes while the sunset, headed down around 8:15, arrived back at the cul de sac around 9:15.
Where we started: DON'T follow our example! We started off of 100 N in Farmington. It's dead end that once had dirt road access that has since been blocked off. We got permission to hike from there, but honestly, just start the hike by driving to the dirt road. (Instructions below.)
It probably wasn't our smartest choice starting a hike so late in the day, but luckily, we all came prepared (somewhat) with flashlights. The path is marked and clear so as long as one has light, you should be fine.
It was kind of hilarious to see such a diverse group of people and dogs. We had a dog in every size, little, medium and large.
This is the point that this trailhead meets up with the main Patsy's Mine trailhead. (We took it here.) I think it may have been less switchbacks.
This is where our group split. When you are about to reach Patsy's Mine you'll see a sign that point the opposite direction to Flag Rock.
Seriously, this place is so cool. Everyone loved exploring the mine.
Don't forget some flashlights, head lamps and my husband even brought some glow sticks. (That's why he's the favorite parent, he thinks of all the cool things!) It is muddy and very cool (temperature) in the mine. You may even spy our black lab Kona in some of the photos.
I (Harmony) had decided to bypass Patsy's Mine as well. So I ditched my husband, the crying Aiko and our dog to try and make it up to Flag Rock before the sun went down.
It was so lovely. The whole time I kept thinking, surely we are getting closer, I'll make it up before it gets too dark right?! It's crazy how switchbacks are kind of deceiving.
Since Melinda and her family had bypassed the mine, they had been able to spend about 30 minutes at Flag Rock and watch the sunset.
Little Brother and I literally got to the rock, (we got there probably 20 minutes after Melinda) took a few pictures and then ran back down the hill. I was worried about my crying child, dog and her dad. Luckily, come to find out, our friends and glowstick had cheered her right up. She was giggling the whole way down.
Halfway down Flag Rock I ran into Stephanie and her crew. They had come out of the mine and decided to run up the last 1/2 mile from Patsy's to make it to Flag Rock.
It's a good thing too. The photos just got even better.
I can't think of a better way to teach our kids about the physical struggle some had to bear on 9/11. May we always remember.
*I know they do a group hike up to Flag Rock, that already took place last night. But you can still go to the ceremony at 6:30 AM at the Farmington Fire Station on 9/11.
Picture above from Lauren Taylor
(Click on the photo for a larger view.)
Things to Bring
- Flashlight and Extra Batteries, enough for everyone (Phones aren't the best, especially if you only have 6% left on your phone like I did.)
- Glow Sticks
- First Aid
- Good Shoes
- Watch out for Snakes (we haven't seen any but I know they are there.)
- Dogs allowed
- No public Bathrooms
- Hike it maintained well
I've found a few different stories about Patsy's Mine and Flag Rock. All of which have slightly different stories that all seem to be pretty legit to me. I've also had a hard time pinpointing exactly how long each of the hikes are. We'll do our best to try and give you a good overview.
Driving Access to Bonneville Shore Line (Preferred and recommended)
From what I've read, if you can start the hike at the trailhead by trying on the Bonneville Shore Line, it's the best option. I know you can access the road from the south side somewhere, as I've seen vehicles driving from the south to the north. (In fact, just this week I saw a truck) Here's the instruction from our fellow bloggers at Utah's Adventure Family.
"To take our route to the mine, follow 100 East in Farmington all the way to the north end where you’ll see a sign for Farmington Canyon/Skyline Drive. Head right and you will enter a gate, at which point you are 2 miles from the trailhead. Then up at the next gate, take a right again, so you are going south on a narrow dirt road. This road is fairly nasty, but our poor van has done much worse! Follow this road for 1.4 miles and you’ll pass a trailhead sign at about 1.35. The trail sign is hard to see because it’s up from the road, so watch the odometer. There is parking just beyond that sign at 1.4 miles."
The Salt Project Started here. (Not recommended as it adds like 1/2 mile or more.)
We started our hike this time on 100 N in Farmington. There is a road there that once gave you access to the Bonneville Shore Line Road, but it's blocked off and you have to call and get permission to hike from this point. (Which we did) But I would recommend just taking the driving instructions above. I only started at this point because it took me a while to round up our 30 people.
I found this website to be extremely helpful and has all the key information for the hike. The following information is from their website as well.
- Distance : About .70 miles to Patsy's Mine from the Bonneville short line. Then another 1/2 mile to Flag Rock if you decide to keep going.
- Parking Lot Elevation : 4781 ft
- Summit Elevation : 5333 ft
- Elevation Gain/Loss : 552 ft
- Time Required :1 hour round trip (This is probably if you don't have kids. Ours tend to spend a good hour in the mine.)
- Pets : Allowed
- Fees : Free,Open year round
- Water Info : Bring 1 liter of water. No creeks or streams nearby.
- Best Season : Spring, Fall – summer is OK but very hot.
Another Version of the North Trailhead
Instructions to hike from the North Trailhead that starts in Farmington Canyon. There is a parking lot. The following information came from here.
This version of the hike is 4.8 miles.
"From 89, get off on Park Lane and head east. Make a right onto Main Street. Turn left (east) onto 600 North. Turn left onto 100 East (which becomes Farmington Canyon Road). Drive 0.4 miles (from the intersection of 600 N and 100 E) and look for a small brown "Bonneville Shoreline Access" sign on the right side of the road. The parking is on the left side of the road. If you pass a big brown square sign that starts with "Motorized vehicles", a yellow "Road not maintained in winter" or "Entering Wasatch Cache National Forest".......you've gone too far. The trailhead is before all of these signs on the mountain side of the road."
South Trailhead: 40° 58.920’N, 111° 52.586’W
North Trailhead: 40.989779°, -111.879436°
Flag Rock: 40° 59.218’N, 111° 52.323’W