Pack mules aid C Hill flag project |

Pack mules aid C Hill flag project

Karl Horeis
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Mitchell Miles, 11, in foreground, takes a quick break after hauling a 47-pound bag of Basalite pre-mixed concrete up to C-Hill with his 12-year-old friend Tommy Scott on Saturday morning.

Four pack mules owned by a Mound House couple joined the effort to haul 3,000 bags of concrete to the C Hill Flag site Saturday. A person can only haul one 47-pound bag but Hershey, Chester, Mini Pearl and Lucy carried six to eight bags each on every trip up the dusty trail.

“This is the best day we’ve had as far as getting concrete moved – without a doubt,” said Bill Miles, whose construction firm has taken the lead on building the concrete bases.

Fifty-five 4-foot-deep holes have been dug through broken rocks and sand for the concrete. Fifty bags of concrete will be mixed in each hole. Raised concrete bases are already finished along the left side of the flag and halfway across the bottom.

But there’s still plenty of concrete to carry. Two 5-foot walls of bags – looking like sand bags at a bunker – await hauling at the saddle near the flag site. They were purchased at cost from Basalite of Carson City.

Dennis Wischmeier of Dayton was relieved to see the mules. A triathlete training for a half Ironman race (a mile and a quarter swim, 56-mile bike and 13-mile run), he carried eight bags over to the flag site Saturday morning.

“The bags start out feeling like 40 pounds and by the time you get to the top they feel like 50 or 60,” he said, wiping sweat with a dusty arm.

A young volunteer in clean clothes threw a bag over his shoulder and started up the trail.

“That’s a gotta be a rookie,” Wischmeier said. “He’s going too fast.”

The C Hill flag effort began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. An original flag on a wooden frame was destroyed by heavy winds in December 2002. The Waterfall fire, which ignited July 14, and burned along C Hill further hindered reconstruction efforts.

At the flag site – about 1,200 feet around the corner and maybe 200 feet higher in elevation – volunteers used bucket brigades to pass bags up the crumbling slope. Twelve-year-old Tommy Scott wrapped his arms around the bags and hoisted them right along with the men. They’re pretty heavy, he said.

“They said they are about 47 pounds.”

“They seem more like a hundred pounds,” said his buddy, Mitchell Miles, 11. They are both members of Boy Scout Troop 16.

After the concrete footings are done, 11 sections of steel drill casing, each 70 feet long, will be secured to them for a base. The final 65-by-120-foot flag will be made of 390 red, white and blue Alumalite panels.

Long-time C Hill flag volunteers are glad to see so much progress on the flag lately.

“As far as morale and spirit we’re excited,” said Gil Ayarbe. He made his way around the work site in a baby blue, C Hill Climb T-shirt, introducing himself to volunteers.

“I want to know you,” he’d say. “I want to know everyone who comes up here to help with this project.”

Robin Williams, president of the C Hill Flag Foundation, wore the same shirt as she helped prepare a lunch of barbecued sausages donated by the Sausage Factory. Water and donuts came from Smith’s and the Grocery Outlet.

The group has about $8,000 left in the bank but they’ll need more, she said.

“Everything is taking longer and is harder than we expected,” she said.

They would like to have the flag completed by Nevada Day, but more volunteers are needed.

“The ideal situation would be two have 300 volunteers up here the weekend after next for a big bucket brigade right to the flag,” said Mike Roach, construction coordinator on the project.

To donate or volunteer, call Bill Miles at 230-6013 or Mike Roach at 720-3598.