Happy Fourth of July!

Posted by: Molly Herber on Jul 2, 2015

Whether you're on a beach, in the mountains, or in a city, we hope you enjoy celebrating the United States' birthday this weekend! If you don't have plans yet, take a look below to get some inspiration from the way these NOLS alumni celebrated the Fourth of July in the backcountry.


There was a giant hailstorm on the 4th in the Beartooths in Montana—nothing cooler than some natural fireworks! (Amy Carraux Price, Outdoor Educator with WFR, 2007)

brooks-eaton-sno-cone-july-4 Instructor Cait Parker delivers patriotic snow cones for the Fourth of July. Photo by Brooks Eaton.

We were backpacking in the Palisades in eastern Idaho. To celebrate the 4th, we were attempting to make fried cookies/candy bars when a thunderstorm rolled in. We spread out, got into lightning positions, and witnessed the most incredible show of light! (Angela Filauro Schroeder, Teton Valley Semester, June 2004)

amy-rathke-group-4th-july Celebrating 4th of July in the rain with high spirits. Photo by Amy Rathke.

It was the North Cascades Mountaineering Course of 1991 on the summit of Mt Baker. We had climbed to within a few hundred feet of the summit that afternoon and bivvied out under the stars to be ready to summit... the next morning. Our instructors provided the entertainment by firing off bottle rockets there under the stars with the peaks of the North Cascades showing above the cloud deck in the valleys. (Clayton Cornwell, North Cascades Mountaineering, 1991)

. Photo by Amy Rathke.

Found my journal from the 1972, 1-W course, June 1-July 7 that I worked on. Students started Survival on June 2, Instructors walked out and we were in Lander on July 4. Watched the parade, went to the Rodeo, dinner with George Hunker at Shorty's house and then the Drive-in movie with fireworks. (Tom Mason, 1-W, June 1972)

amy-rathke-group-galsses-4thjuly Fourth of July glasses look better with bear spray and NOLS windpants. Photo by Amy Rathke.

Right as the clock struck midnight on the Fourth of July, we were canoeing on the Big Salmon River under the midnight sun in the Yukon! We were in the middle of a 75 km paddle that took 16 hours, hopped up on chocolate almonds and cheesy pasta! We celebrated by singing "O Canada!" (Madeline Louise)

Thanks for all the memories! We can't wait to hear what you do for Fourth of July 2015.

Share your Fourth of July adventures and other backcountry shenanigans with the NOLS community on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

glowing-nols-cody-brundidge Photo by Cody Brundidge.


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Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber