4th of July top of Mousilauke
another picture at the top of Mt. Mousilauke

Growing up, I would spend every Fourth of July the same way. I would hang out on the beach in the morning, go to a barbeque at my best friend’s house in the evening, and end the day by watching a really solid fireworks show from our local fireworks people. Looking back, those fireworks were what made it special for me. I always enjoyed seeing big colorful explosions paint the sky in its grand finale while sitting next to my friend just repeating the phrases “ooooh,” and “ahhhh” over and over again in alternating order. To give you a sense of how much I loved those fireworks, one of my earliest memories is of me crying when I heard that the show was cancelled one year.

Naturally, last year I was looking to do something similar. My friend brought a grill from home so that we could have a barbeque, as well as some kosher meats, and I provided the porch of my off-campus apartment. The only thing we didn’t have were fireworks, and I had no idea where we were going to find some. Luckily, just a few days before the fourth, the DOC sent out an email informing everyone that there would be a large hike going up Mt. Moosilauke (a 4000-footer that is basically Dartmouth’s mountain), and that we would watch fireworks from the top. The second I saw that email I had made up my mind that I was going up that mountain.

At about noon on the Fourth of July, my friend came over and started barbequing. We invited around 10 people, ate some food, and hung out for a few hours. About an hour after everyone left, it was time to head over to the vans leaving for the hike. We started going up the mountain at around 5 P.M., leaving us more than enough time to get there before sunset. After nearly three hours, a lot of effort, and some great support from some of my friends, we made it to the top. Being up there was incredible; it wasn’t the first time I had been at the top of Mousilauke, but it was the first time I had been up there with nearly 60 other people. All that was left to do was find a spot near my friends and wait for the fireworks.

That’s when I realized I had completely misunderstood what they meant when they said we would watch fireworks from the top. I thought we would set them off at the top of the mountain and watch them like any ordinary fourth of July, however, that couldn’t be farther from what happened. As it turns out, being 4000 feet high gives you a nice view of all the nearby towns, and each of them was having their own firework show. As such, we got to watch not just one set of fireworks, but every set of fireworks in the nearby area. Sure, the blasts looked like tiny smatterings of color very, very far below us, but that didn’t make it any less special. On the contrary, seeing the world below me light up in all different colors made it my new favorite way to watch fireworks. It should come as no surprise then that given the opportunity to do it again this summer, I signed up for the hike without a second thought. If anything, it was all the better the second time around.

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