A group of us spent our Fourth of July hiking to the top of Mt. Wilson in order to catch fireworks shows from Long Beach to the Rose Bowl. It was a challenging climb to the top, 2:39 hours with ~4,600 ft of gain in a little over 7 miles, heavy backpacks filled with Scooby snacks and beverages, all while racing the sunset. We get to the top and are confronted by a ranger who asked if we had hiked to the top. Once he found out we did, he said something along the lines of, “Well, then you deserve the best view for the show.” and he didn’t make us leave. For a “free” fireworks display, we sure had to “work” hard for it, PHEW!
A couple of highlights of the evening were the Rose Bowl Fireworks which were the easiest to see, a beautiful baby rattler sighting, and meeting a young guy (who was also) hiking in the same direction wearing full fireman gear as he prepared for the academy next month. I had seen him preparing for this hike at the base of the trail and I approached him to see what was going on because we weren’t sure why there would be a firefighter about to tackle the trails (heat, Fourth of July fireworks, forest fires — oh no!). After he told me he was training, I brought up the Prescott tragedy and he told me that he had lost a friend, one of the hotshots named Kevin Woyjeck from Seal Beach. That was a sad thing to hear and I had yet another reason to be thankful on this special day.
As the fireworks died down, we turned on our headlamps and headed back down and were exhausted when we got back to our cars. Obviously the fireworks weren’t very BIG since we were so high up, but it was still a fun-filled night with great friends, great views and great stories to retell later.