For the past two years, American flags have periodically decorated the top of Ladyface Mountain, luring hikers to reach its summit. Each one unofficially marked the highest point on Ladyface at 2,031 feet.
Source of this article: Agoura Hills Patch, August 24, 2010
The most recent one was placed at the peak around March of this year, said Melanie Beck, an outdoor recreation planner for Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. As of mid-June, the flag was gone and the summit was back to its natural state. Who removed the flag remains a mystery.
Although Ladyface is a staple of the city, not all of the mountain is government-owned, according to Sheila Braden of the National Park Service. The summit, for instance, belongs to Gateway Foursquare Church.
Gateway’s Pastor Brian Campbell noted seeing multiple flags at the summit, but said the church did not take them down.
The flag thief
According to Campbell, there had been two flags at the top of Ladyface. The first and smaller of the two, which was put up in the fall of 2009, now flies at the church’s youth building. Campbell is unsure of what happenned to the larger flag, but has his suspicions.
“One day, one of our church members was nearing the peak when he encountered a man, also hiking. The man told our church member to go around a certain way to climb up [the pile of boulders] to get to the flag,” explained Campbell. “Meanwhile, as our friend began the final short ascent, the [other] man raced up the other side [of the pile], grabbed the flag, and threw it down the mountain, as he raced off.”
Agoura Hills resident Daniel Gorelick confirmed suspicions of a flag thief. “I saw the flag along Kanan Road once, and thought it might be fun to place at the top of the mountain,” he said. “I did, and it was up there for a while, but then we saw [and thought that] it had fallen a few months later, so we hiked Ladyface again, and found it in some brush towards the top.”
What’s really happening?
In the end, there is no definitive answer to what happened to the larger flag. Campbell also acknowledges that the story his congregant told may have been “slightly blown out of proportions.”
Whatever the reason for the flag’s removal, the peak has seen less activity lately. “Ever since the flag has disappeared,” Campbell said, “I haven’t seen any hikers at the summit. We used to see quite a few people at the top, daily.”