Grand Junction will kick off 2017 on a high note with a new American flag flying high from the summit of Mt. Garfield.

For over 40 years, the summit of Western Colorado's iconic Mt. Garfield has been the site for an American flag. There have been dozens and dozens of flags flown at this spot over the decades. For some time now, the flag has been missing. As of the morning of December 30, 2016, the flag has been returned.

On Friday morning, December 30, accompanied by my faithful companion Fluffy and an $11.99 flag purchased at Tru Value Hardware in Grand Junction, I made the ascent up Mt. Garfield.

Near the summit of Mt. Garfield you'll find a old piece of iron pipe. Back in the day, namely the 1970's, a group calling themselves "The Filthy Few" used this pipe to launch mortars from the top of the mountain. Over the decades, this pipe has also served as the base to support a flag pole.

For the last 40 years or so, various members of the Grand Valley community including Rick Sheley, various members of "The Filthy Few," and even the occasional Boy Scout or two would make the climb up the mountain to replace the flag.

Typically, a flag at this site has a relatively short life span. Between vandals and high winds, flags don't typically last very long.

In case you were wondering, the pole supporting this flag is high enough to prevent the flag from touching the ground. I do have one regret - this particular situation is in violation of flag etiquette in that it does not have a light illuminating it at night. Protocol dictates the flag either has to be illuminated after dark or must be taken down.

I apologize in advance, but I simply cannot climb up Mt. Garfield every evening to take it down and then climb up again each morning to put it back up. The option of a solar light fastened to the base was considered. Unfortunately, a solar light would probably suffer a shorter lifespan than the flag.

Earlier in 2016, I had asked the question, "How do we go about getting the flag replaced at the summit of Mt. Garfield?" It was my hope to have a more "permanent" structure placed there. Specifically, a taller flag pole, one high enough to keep the flag safe from vandals, and strong enough to support a heavy flag during high winds.

I was, and am still, willing to donate my new, rather expensive 5X8 heavy material flag. This flag would require a flag pole at least ten feet in length, and strong enough to support a fairly heavy piece of material. It would also require a base strong enough to support the pole. This would no doubt involve the pouring of concrete, and almost certainly, some drilling in the rock. Obviously, I do not have permission to drill on Mt. Garfield.

So, for the time being, it is my hope this flag will be adequate. It means something, to me at least, to know we are rolling into a new year with a flag flying high over head.

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