NORTH CONWAY — The non-profit Mount Washington Observatory celebrated their amazing Seek the Peak participants and the 20th anniversary of the event that went virtual in 2020 by raising nearly 300 story flags from the summit tower as the sun rose on a chilly September morning.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Observatory’s longstanding hike-a-thon was turned into a virtual event with dedicated participants encouraged to create an STP story flag to fly from the summit in a vibrant and inspiring commemorative display. Hikers rose to the challenge as did the nimble fingers of volunteers Jan Basch and Karen Franke who stitched together several strands of flags that turned into an epic kaleidoscope of color and memories.
Due to restrictions, the event to reveal the flags was kept to a small group of MWO staff who traveled to the summit by van in the early morning hours on Monday, Sept 21 arriving just before sunrise on a perfectly beautiful morning with light winds averaging 12 mph and temperatures just above freezing. As the sun rose the staff hoisted the flags with thousands of Seek the Peak participants on their minds from the 20 years of the event. A pulley system was used to raise the lines of flags from the observation deck to the top of the summit tower giving the impression the human anchors were flying strings of kites at 6,288 feet.
“It was truly an amazing morning and so special to finally hoist the flags that so many sent in with so much sentiment,” said Brand Manager Krissy Fraser. “We are so thankful to our Seek the Peak and MWO friends who shared their stories with us and we will look forward to a time in the future when we can raise the flags on the summit again with our STP family alongside us.”
The hoisting of the flags came in the waning hours of the summer season and happened to coincide with World Peace Day.
The Seek the Peak hike-a-thon raises a significant portion of MWO’s annual budget to support its work in weather observation, education and research atop Mount Washington. The event brings hundreds of participants to the White Mountains annually. Not only are participants encouraged to climb Mount Washington, they are also motivated to seek their own peak which many did. Seek the Peak 2021 dates will be announced soon at mountwashington.org.
About Mount Washington Observatory:
Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements from its weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit MountWashington.org.