By Chad Marler
One of the best ways to enjoy our mountain this time of year is a summer camping trip. I would encourage everyone to dust off those old packs and head out to experience our mountain habitat in its full glory.
A favorite route would be to depart Humber Park at sunrise and hike the Devils Slide Trail to Saddle Junction (2.5 miles). You will have a breathtaking view of Hemet and out to Diamond Valley Lake as the valley floor comes alive in the morning light.
As you arrive at Saddle Junction, you will have a choice of four trails. I recommend taking the Carumba Trail towards Laws Camp (2.2 miles). As you enjoy the shady walk, ferns and skunk cabbage will remind you of a scene from the movie Avatar. Tahquitz Valley, Reeds Meadow, and Tahquitz Creek are viewed from the trail on the way to Laws Camp.
Camping at Laws is like being a thousand miles away from civilization. You might see and hear a passing jet but no other sound will be heard except for the trickle of Willow Creek and the birds calling.
Since Laws Camp is at the 7,420-foot elevation, don’t be surprised if the temperature falls 30 to 40 degrees at night.
On your return hike to Saddle Junction, I would recommend taking the Willow Creek Trail (3.0 miles) which offers a wonderful fern-lined route.
Simple overnight trips like this will make you fall in love with our mountain all over again.
Remember to get your permit, bring a map and compass, never hike alone, tell someone behind where you are going and bring plenty of water.