Celebrate Earth Day by going outside



Overlooking Rancho Cucamonga about half a mile into the trail.

Earth Day is coming up soon, which means you have to do something for the Earth. Some will say to recycle or pick up trash, which I would say is just common decency. If you don’t already do that, then you should really pick up new habits. Others will say to plant a tree, which if you have the means to do so, go right ahead.

But I have a different suggestion for the people that end up reading this article: go outside. 

Go on a hike or a walk. Just go do something rather than sit inside. There are many great things to see in the world around us which we may not have cared about without seeing it for ourselves. 

There are both physical and mental health benefits to hiking. Physical benefits generally include heart health, reducing the risk of respiratory problems, and improving balance, all of this is according to the National Park Service. Another study from Stanford University found that people who walk for 90 minutes in a natural area versus an urban setting saw decreased activity in the part of the brain that is associated with depression.

My friends and I had decided to go on the Etiwanda Falls Trail with the goal of reaching the waterfall as advertised in the title. The trail wasn’t particularly hard or steep for that matter, just a lot of loose rock to be wary of. On the way up to the falls, there aren’t many differences in the scenery but there was a very large tree off in the distance which we did not visit. 

A map of the North Etiwanda Preserve.

At some points, there was a small branching trail that often led to nothing but we did discover a nice resting spot with a small stream passing through. About 100 feet further there is a massive rock near the ledge of the trail. I imagine it serves as a typical photo spot, but you can also see the city in the background and a stream from the waterfall running below you. 

There wasn’t much past that point until you reached the waterfall which was a little deeper than the previous time I had gone on the trail due to recent snowmelt. We decided to follow a smaller stream to the left of the main one that led directly to the waterfall. This stream went on for a little under half a mile with several notable terrain pieces that one has to pass.

The main stream of Etiwanda Falls.

These landmarks include some small dams that noticeably slowed the flow of the stream down to the waterfall. Another was a massive boulder with a very steep path to the left of it we had to climb. The boulder itself showed oxidation on its surface due to a deep orange-brown color having developed around the water passing over it. Further down the stream, we discovered a tipi hut composed entirely of sticks with a rock and a log inside as makeshift seating. This served as a natural ending point for the trail as the physical ending point was just a cliff that we couldn’t have scaled.  

If anyone wants to go on a hike I would say Etiwanda Falls and Cucamonga Peak are pretty good. I’m certain Big Bear has some great trails, but I unfortunately don’t know any of them by name. If these options aren’t your thing then I would suggest going to this website, you can find a trail in your locality that is to your liking. 

Hopefully what I have described may convince someone to go on a hike or something of that nature and just take in the world around them. What we do affects the world around us and we aren’t the only things inhabiting this piece of rock floating in space. So make an effort to preserve what we have left for ourselves and those who come after us.