One of the best places to hike in Southern California is Mount San Jacinto State Park, in part because there are a number of great routes up Southern California’s second highest mountain; and in part because the park offers a number of great hiking opportunities for all skill levels. One of the more moderate hikes that doesn’t involve summiting the mountain, but provides great views and solitude is Deer Springs Trail to Strawberry Junction.
One of the things most people don’t realize about Southern California is that while we do have beaches and deserts, we also have mountains – and those mountains have a number of great spots for hiking. Idyllwild, California, is a small mountain town that is close to both Los Angeles, and San Diego; it is located on the Western side of Mount San Jacinto, and can be utilized as a jumping off point to climb the mountain; and is also a great spot to go day hiking in or around the city year-round. While I love climbing San Jacinto, and have done so many times, it is a strenuous climb, and is one that is not for everyone. Fortunately, in this case, you don’t have to be a climber to get a great view of Idyllwild, and the surrounding portions of San Jacinto State Park and the San Jacinto – Santa Rosa National Monument as these views can be seen from the best day hike in the area, Suicide Rock.
There’s a number of ways to celebrate the end of the year. For some, it’s all about wearing green underwear, eating twelve nuts, twelve grapes, and packing a bag to leave at home. For others, it’s the typical night out extravaganza in around the world style, followed up by watching bowl games for the entirety of the first day of the year in a near comatose state. For me, I like to try and get out at least once at the end of December. It helps me feel like I haven’t become the blob after eating oodles of home-made Peppermint Bark and other delicacies throughout the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve period. Getting out at the end of the year is tricky – sometimes it feels like the only place you get to is the mall; but, I always find it worthwhile because it allows me to recharge my batteries, appreciate the beauty of winter, reflect on the year past, and set goals for the coming year.