Yesterday, I completed another hike on my bucket list, Mt. San Jacinto. The peak is 10,834 ft above sea level and is the second-highest mountain range in Southern California. From the top, you can see the highest peak in Southern California, Mt. San Gorgonio, along with another famous peak, Mt. Baldy.  You can hike this mountain from a handful of different trails. One of the more popular starting points is from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The tramway takes you from 2,643 to 8,516 ft, a gain of almost 6,000 ft of elevation in ten minutes. The hike from the tramway is then 11 miles, with an elevation gain of approximately 2,300 ft.

I hiked this peak alone, although I am never alone (Psalm 139:9-10). Two thoughts came to my mind during this hike.

  1. My brain has too many tabs open

The wilderness is good for the soul. It allows me time to think without the daily distractions of life, closing the tabs in my brain one at a time. As I walked, the sound of water in the stream was peaceful as I slowed down to enjoy the moment. Instead of incessantly checking my email, I rested on God’s sovereignty. Finding rest is not possible when you are trying to remain in control or feeling your importance is so great that you cannot slow down. Few things in life are so critical that they need an immediate response. All the stimulation of notifications makes it hard to rest. To close the tabs fully, I must constantly remind myself of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus is not a demanding Savior, but one in which we can find rest for our souls and to live with our human limits. Hiking has a way of realigning my thoughts to remember what is true.

  1. The creativity of the Lord

John Muir said, “San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found on this earth.” I thought about this quote as I hiked to the peak. It is hard to describe the sights below when you are over 10,000 feet. The main thought that came to my mind was how creative the Lord is, from the variety of trees and plants to the slopes covered with snow. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The creation around us declares the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). Nature has a way of reminding the human heart of the grandeur of the Lord and his creation. You can see for miles and miles from Mt. San Jacinto, and the different angles reveal something new. From one end, you see the Palm Springs area; looking out in another direction, you see the peaks of other peaks (Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. Baldy). The other direction goes out to the Pacific Ocean. I do not have enough faith to believe in anything but the God of the Bible, who created everything and holds everything together (Colossians 1:16-17).

Slowing down to enjoy God’s creation is one of my favorite activities because the benefits are so helpful. Hiking brings me the joy of remembrance, reflection, and rest. All great experiences come to an end, but some of them cause imprints on the mind that bring joy when you recall them.

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