Since we moved back to Orange County, California in 2008, we have always found ways to do recreational activities on weekends or on holidays. We also do his to escape the busy city goings-on. We go out and explore nature.
Because of work loads, my husband and I would go out hiking, camping or go on long drives and listen to audio books before they even come out on movies or TV Series. It is great to free the mind at some point.
When we are out communing with nature, we feel connected not just with ourselves but with the entire lives. We can think, meditate, feel.
Holy Jim-Elfin Falls was one of those trails we found that was one of a kind. It had a story. Beautiful and very interesting story. It was new to us.
We wanted to try it at the time and we were fortunate at our first try because we had a large truck making it easy for us to traverse the roads going in and out to the trail head (in my old blog, I stated that the trail head is impossible to reach for small-or low type vehicles because of rocks and creek beds that are deeper in wet/rainy season).
I was watching the news at past noon today and the fire is only about 5% contained. It is so sad and so unfortunate. I was telling my husband that we have been so grateful to have gone to this place and other places (but feel sorry and sad for others affected by tragedies) long before so many things have happened in this county such as fires and other natural calamities.
We went back a couple other times and saw a few cars would get stuck in the middle of the road(obviously new to the trails).
I have had a few blog sites and in recent years, I have either lost my hosting services or moved to a different one and everytime, it's a mess. That means, I losing most of my writings and other very important data.
Be careful out there and respect the wilderness. If you happen to see anything unusual in the vicinity that is not supposed to be done in the wilderness(according to wilderness policies and regulations) please report it immediately.
We all need to have relationships with nature to survive in this world. Afterall, we are humans.
*Written 2013 by myself
In light of what has happened the past few days, hearing about the two missing hikers (NAMES WITHHELD), who got lost in the wilderness of Cleveland National Forest, it is heart-breaking to know that this tragedy has befallen them and to their families. I cannot imagine how frightening it must be to just wait and see what will happen to them and their love ones..
In my other blog site in the past few years, I have blogged about Holy Jim-Elfin Falls Trail as one of the most wonderful trails I have ever discovered with my husband. Even though it is also one tough spot to reach. As avid hikers, my husband and I try to make sure that we research hiking spots ahead of time before we decide on pursuing plans. We may be spontaneous creatures of habit but we always are cautious with the consequences of our actions. We never push our luck.
Spring is the best time to go out and explore the outdoors not just for the beautiful sprouting wild flowers but for the cool spring flowing waters and this time of the year, there are lots and lots water falls, riverbeds, creeks and lakes to go to.
Holy Jim is more like a scenic trail..Holy Jim-Elfin Falls Trail is close to 3 miles out and back and depending on your skill level..(this trail is pretty easy to moderate, most parts), it takes about an hour to an hour and a half to finish from the trail head( at the Fire Volunteer Station). There are so many trail land marks to commemorate the trail. A lot of trail signs to follow as well. Elfin Falls Trail itself is very short.. not even half(1/2) mile.
Holy Jim-Elfin Falls in Cleveland National Forest is like a Disneyland in springtime.. If you don't go there early enough.. just like other trails with waterfalls, you'll never get to see or get a photo with it.. and you just regretted the hike you did and of course, the rough road drive that you took just to see that waterfalls(!).
And honestly, there is NO WATERFALLS if there was not enough rain this year.. or last season.. so it's pointless going there.
This hiking spot is not barren. It is very popular to locals and to tourists. Just like I said, A "Disneyland".. You CANNOT get lost IF YOU ONLY STAY ON THE TRAIL. As a hiker on this trail, I have been on this at least 3 different times..Winter, Spring and Summer..
There are houses along the trail, there's a fire/ranger station on the trail head.. there ARE people all over the place.. bikers, runners, hikers,.. people with picnic baskets..
It is very tempting to play around in the wilderness when we are out there but as I always say, we do not know what we are up against. When my husband and I go out on trails out of the city, we always wear backpacks and fill them with the basics.
My suggestions to those who want to do some hiking or walking more than 2-3 miles out in the wilderness.
- Please let someone know where you are going- bring a cell phone. Have an emergency contact # to call and call that # or call 911 right away the first indication you are in trouble on the trail.
- If you are using a fitness app, be aware that your navigation will eat up the battery.. so conserve your battery. Your power can only last for at least 2 hours if you have your phone fully charged.
- Pack your backpack with the basics-water, energy snacks, extra shirt/long sleeves, penlight w/battery, first aid kit, meds, wipes, bug spray, sunblock, compass.
- Wear proper footwear(hiking shoes/boots and socks).
- Use hiking sticks(will be helpful with downhill/uphill and uneven terrains).
- If possible, wear lightweight hiking/waking pants with zipper cut-offs. They are called convertible hiking pants because you can convert them into shorts easily and you don't need to bring extra set of pants if you have to... just in case you get stranded somewhere and your legs need "warming" up a bit. You just need to "zip" it back around.
- At the trail head, take or read the/ a map if there's any. Otherwise, you should have researched the hiking spot before going to the place or..ask kindly and see if you can tag along(if it's your first time on the trail) with some hikers who are there and who have been there before..
- NEVER(!) veer off the trail. Unless something is forcing you to do so..a horse or a snake.. or if you need a "pit stop"..
- Watch out for the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak!
When you get off the trail is when things go wrong most of the time. If you are not a usual hiker.. you will not be able to recognize which way is which.. when you are out in the woods, you see the lush greenery and get so engrossed in the beauty of the creek beds, the vines, where the trail leads to..
you just begin to wander...
- Remember marks, signs, and people you meet along the trail.
- Always check your time and pace.
- If you see people coming back from the destination you are going to, ask, ".. do you know where____ is?.. how much farther is it? which way.. ? Use this opportunity to make it to your destination. Adjust/re-adjust your time destination goal.
My husband and I have always been so very helpful to other hikers.. We can spot newbies from a few feet away. What we (especially my husband) do is ask if the hikers have been on the trail before.. if they say "no" and ask for directions.. we help them out or ask them if they want to follow us. Or if they are going a different way(if the main trail goes different ways...) and if we have gone to the place they are going to.. we still give them directions to that trail and hopefully they don't get lost.
It's just karma..
As of this writing, the second hiker, (NAME WITHHELD), has just been rescued and this is great news! Great job to all the volunteers who took the time and effort trying to search for the the missing hikers who were missing since Easter Sunday.