Mr. SFF and I had a fantastic long four day weekend for the 4th of July. The rain finally relented on Sunday and we had three glorious days of weather. The best part though was the evening of the 4th. We planned an evening hike with a couple of close friends and boy, was it amazing!
The four of us carpooled to the trail head and strapped on our hiking boots around 6:30 pm. I love hiking but this was the first time I had set out for a hike when I would normally be heading home. None of us had hiked this particular trail but based on research we figured it would be one of the most direct routes to the top of one of the highest peaks in our area, giving us a clear view of the entire valley.
Due to the craziness of schedules we hadn’t seen these friends in a while so we had great conversions on the hike up, which was a welcomed distraction to the unrelenting uphill climb. We even got into a little about investments (I explained the differences between Roth and Traditional IRAs) as well as some into life insurance as well. Mr. SFF and I obviously talk about this stuff all of the time but I really love when friends ask questions as I am hopeful my friends will also have financial success in their lives.
We reached the summit in under two hours, so a nice healthy pace, and it was beautiful! The sun was casting a gorgeous golden glow on the tops of the surrounding peaks as it was starting to set. And we were not the only people with this idea as there were at least 25 other people already awaiting the treasure the evening had in store. None of my iphone photos do this experience justice.
At the peak we found a nice place to sit and took out our food and had a great little picnic as we waited for the sun to set. It is amazing how good food can taste after a hike! We didn’t eat anything all that special but it all tasted amazing.
After the sun set the temps started to drop so we layer up (yup, wearing a puffy insulating layer in July) as we waited for the “show” to start. Shortly after 9 the magic began as all of the small towns in the valley put on their fireworks shows. From the peak of the mountain everything looked small but it was so incredible watching little clusters of fireworks pop up in all directions. Over the next 45 minutes we watched the fireworks display of probably a dozen or so towns. It was so magical!
We started our trek back down the mountain around 10 pm, wearing our headlamps as it was dark at this point. Only a couple of minutes into our decent we got a little private fireworks display as some of the other hikers still at the top lit off a handful of fireworks. It was a great little treat as we headed out.
Most of the time when you hike it takes more time to go up than down but as we had some fairly technical rock scrambles and we only had our headlamps as a source of light it took a little longer to descend. We reached our car around 12:15 so it was just over 2 hours to get out. I was the only one out of the four of us who had never hiked in the dark and although I was a little nervous at first it turned out to be pretty cool. We just took our time and a couple of times even stopped to turn our lights off and just enjoy the illumination of the moon. Getting out in nature really can be such an amazing and energizing experience. I really do love where I live!
The drive home took about an hour so we didn’t arrive home until 1:15 in the morning, certainly a much later night than my usual 10 pm bedtime. I really don’t like to stay up that late when I have to work the next day but the experience was worth the lack of sleep. And strangely I was still energized by the time I got to bed that I didn’t fall asleep until almost 2 am. So today I am working on about 4 1/2 hours of sleep and am dreaming of the day where work doesn’t get in the way of our adventures. Once we hit FI this type of excursion won’t have have to be limited by work schedules. Maybe some day in the future we could do a similar trip but maybe reserve one of the cabins near the mountain peaks so we could stay overnight instead of heading straight home. I think that is the only thing that could have made this adventure any more amazing.
Throughout this journey towards FIRE I have been trying to find the true joy in everyday life. Some days are better than others as I do have the daily grind of work but I do know that I need to find happiness now as FIRE doesn’t necessarily bring joy itself. Yesterday though was a true day of joy. All evening all of us were exclaiming how great it was to not only get out and hike but also to enjoy this incredible experience together. It is days like this that I realize how lucky we are to live in such an amazing area and how fortunate we are in life. Happy 4th!