August 1, 2016 tro4130

Escape to nature for creative inspiration

“We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent,” – Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning through Immersion in Natural Settings.

The last few weeks at work had been pretty stressful so I decided, mid-week, to do a quick overnighter to one of my favorite mountains in Southern California; Mt. San Jacinto. The plan was conceived Wednesday and by Saturday morning I was making it happen.

I woke up that Saturday morning a few hours later than I had planned. The tickle in my throat confirmed my worst fear; I was sick. Not wanting to feel lazy along with being sick, I decided I would suck it up and make good on my plans. I quickly threw my bags I packed the night before into the bed of the truck and headed out.

 

Deep Springs Trail Idyllwild, CA

Beginning of the Deep Springs Trail in Idyllwild, CA.

 

It was 2:00p.m. and 95 degrees by the time I reached Idyllwild Ranger Station to inquire about available permits. I was lucky enough to grab the last available permit for Saturday evening at Strawberry Junction Camp. This camp is on another part of the mountain I had not explored so I was excited about this new start.

 

Trail Marker Mt. San Jacinto

Trail Marker on Deer Springs Trail in Idyllwild, CA.

 

I setup camp at Strawberry Junction around 4:30p.m. The camp is 4.8 miles from the Deer Springs trailhead and seemed like a great spot to setup for the night and take a break from the extreme heat. After dinner and a short break in the hammock, I set off for the summit of Mt. San Jacinto around 6:45p.m.

 

Backpacking Dinner

Backpacking Dinner – Cream of Mushroom Soup with Beef Jerky bits.

 

After a few hours and time spent taking photos from lookout points, it had gotten dark. I estimated my pace to be between 2-2.5 mph so the fact I had not passed the Little Round Valley campgrounds after a few hours of hiking made me nervous. Further, rangers mentioned there was no water available on the trail yet I had crossed 2 lightly flowing streams. It’s near 9:00p.m. and I am not exactly confident I am on the right path to the summit. Considering my options, I decide it’s wise to go back to camp and not further confuse myself in the dark.

 

 

The hike back to camp was long and spooky. I made sure I was crossing recognizable markers on the trail I made mental note on the way up, however it being very dark (hiking on the west side of the mountain – moon rises in east so no moonlight till after midnight) made it  difficult to quickly spot marker points even with a new headlamp. My headlamp was very good at picking out creature eyes in the dark corners of the forest but I was not exactly thrilled at that observation. In fact, one set of eyes seemed to follow me along the trail as I walked back to camp even though I was being loud, aggressive and throwing objects…very unnerving. I was extremely happy, and tired, by the time I got back to camp around 10:30p.m. Although I was spooked by the creature eyes, I was too tired to worry about it and quickly fell asleep.

 

Breakfast with a Squirrel

Breakfast with a Squirrel at Mt. San Jacinto, CA.

 

Waking up to the sounds of another beautiful mountain morning was a welcome sound. Birds and squirrels both chirped loudly as if to shout to all things listening about the beauty of the morning. I responded with my own version of celebration then sat down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee next to my squirrel companion.

 

7:00a.m. Sunday morning hiking out of Mt. San Jacinto, CA.

Sunday morning at Mt. San Jacinto, CA.

 

The hike back out to the truck was much cooler than the previous day and I was glad to be on the trail by 7:00a.m. I packed 6 liters of water with me for the overnight trip and had over 2 liters left on the way down. Near the end of the trail, I came across a group of 3 hikers who asked if I could spare water. Apparently one of their hydration packs sprung a leak and they lost almost all of their water so I gladly gave up a full container (32oz) of water for them to continue on their climb.

On the drive home, I felt sick but was happy I decided to go on the adventure. Although I did not find the San Jacinto summit at night this time, I did find the solitude and adventure I yearned for. I hiked 18.3 miles on a new trail, got turned around yet found my way back safely, had little to no cellphone coverage, and felt good about my setup and gear for future trips. I have yet to be on a trip where I felt I had enough time to do what I set out to do and this may one reason I keep coming back. I also come back because time spent in the woods alone and away from the constant chimes and alerts of a technological world seem to inspire a creativity in me that keeps me fulfilled and motivated.

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For a 360 degree photo of the sunset from Mt. San Jacinto check out the Facebook page.

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About the Author

tro4130 Trevor is a Website Developer and Designer who can be found spending time with his family in the great outdoors.

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