I didn’t see or hear a single firework this Fourth of July.
In fact, my climbing partner William Holmquist and I barely saw another person. We spent America’s birthday in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness area in the Cascades.
We arrived at the trailhead around 2 p.m. on Wednesday and were greeted by at least 15 vehicles. But as we hiked the 5 miles toward the base of Mount Stuart, a steady stream of people hiking out assured us we wouldn’t be fighting for camp space. As it turned out, we were the only ones spending the night.
We weren’t the only ones who escaped the crowds and noise of Independence Day.
Some, like Allison Roskelley, Jess Roskelley, and Jed and Courtney Conklin, hit the river. The four of them headed to the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene to fly-fish.
“We found a remote camp spot right along the river, had a camp fire and roasted some s’mores that night, and waded all day on the Fourth up and down the river outside our camp,” Allison said.
The fishing was decent, Conklin said.
“It slowed way down around 1 p.m. with the heat,” he said. “Midsized terrestrials worked OK. I caught most of my fish on an Adams, though.”
Others, like Paul Delaney, went farther afield. Delaney spent the Fourth on the Rogue River in Oregon.
“I was on one of the best river trips in my many decades of running rivers,” he said.
For others, the Fourth presented a unique photo opportunity.
Zach and Megan Holt headed to the Idaho Selkirks with Bjorn Ernst and climbed Chimney Rock. While they climbed the iconic rock formation, Zach’s father, Eric Holt, hiked part of nearby Mount Roothaan. Once the climbing trio summited, they unfurled an American flag and Eric Holt snapped some photos.
“As we prepared for the climb, we realized carrying the pole would be the biggest challenge,” Holt said.
They ended up hooking the 6-foot extendable painters pole to Megan’s harness.
“It bounced and clanked its way up,” Holt said.
From the top of the distinctive rock, Holt and company basked in nature’s beauty. No fireworks needed.