A tradition at Morningside Recovery is our adventure therapy trips. This month, we set out for a Big Bear hiking trip in the San Bernardino Mountains. The beautiful scenery, lush atmosphere, and compassionate bonding was just what our clients needed this July.
Day One: Big Bear Hiking Trip
In the morning, we set off for the gorgeous San Bernardino Mountains. We arrived at beautiful Big Bear Lake mid-morning under partially cloudy blue skies. We headed out on the Siberia Trail to explore the southern slopes of the mountains. Our first major encounter was Champion Lodgepole Pine which is the oldest and largest Lodgepole Pines in California. We marveled in its splendor having to hike to the far side of a meadow to take it all in.
Afterwards, we moved on down the trail hiking. We came to Gunsight which is a ginormous rock outcropping that teeters on the ledge of a 1000 foot drop off and offers 360 degree views of the whole valley. Our team had to rock scramble to the top providing one another with support and spotting for potential falls (just as we do in our recovery for addictions and improved mental health).
After the hike and subsequent driving adventure we were HOT! We jumped in the cool refreshing water and swam out to China Island which is a small outcropping of rocks about 20 yards offshore. We scrambled up the rocks and spent some time cliff jumping from ledges of varying heights all the way up to 20 feet. Numerous cannonballs, front-lips, and awkward splashes ensued.
Feeling refreshed and cooled off we headed to Hanna Flat (which is in Fawnskin,CA) and our campground home for the next couple of nights. We set up camp on the back side of a hill along a creek surrounded by pine trees. Upon completion we set about preparing dinner and building a campfire. It’s amazing how much better food tastes while camping. After dinner and clean up, we changed into comfortable clothes and had a nice process group around the fire.
We ate a nutritious breakfast and headed to the base of Grays Peak which is a 1200 foot climb to 7900 feet and an overlook that provides breathtaking views of the West End of Big Bear Lake. Also near the top is a breeding area for Bald Eagles. We saw a few while we were hiking.
We spent time at the top eating lunch, resting, and participating in a sensory awareness exercise that allowed the clients to connect with their 5 senses in new ways and help promote awareness. The hike down was much quicker than the hike up and a little more enjoyable. We reached the bottom and made the decision to head back over to China Island for more cliff-jumping and swimming.
We headed back to camp and set about gathering wood and prepping our campfire. Together, we had another delicious home cooked camp meal and got to experiences some of the client’s more “interesting” food preparation skills. We ate together as a family at the picnic table and talked about the challenge of summiting Grays Peak and the clients congratulated one another on the 6 mile accomplishment.
We gathered around the fire and shared about what we learned about ourselves and how we felt we grew during the hike. Clients stated that they felt a sense of accomplishment, were able to build self-confidence, and were able to push through mental and physical limitations with support from one another. We had another round of SMORES and went to bed exhausted.
The last night of our Big Bear hiking trip was interesting. About 2 in the morning we woke up to wet faces as an unexpected rain storm came barreling through the mountains. We quickly scurried about like busy chipmunks setting up our rain-flys and attempting to stay dry. We still managed to wake up refreshed and packed up camp in a light mist. Due to the weather we decided to wait it out at the Big Bear Discovery Center and learn more about the area, animals, and wildlife. After the rain cleared we drove down to the foothills over to Navitat in Wrightwood, CA.
We met up with our guides and got geared up in helmets, gloves, and full climbing harnesses. We drove up the mountains in off-road vans and hiked the rest of the way to the summit. After a safety talk and orientation we began our Eco-Zip Line Adventure. We spent the next 4 hours zipping from tree top to tree top at heights of up to 350 feet above the ground at speeds of 50 mph. We also were able to experience 2 rappels down 100 foot trees and three log suspension bridges that crisscrossed the valley floor.
After a full day of zip line we rewarded ourselves with “real food” at the local Mexican restaurant followed by some wonderful homemade ice cream. With bellies full and bodies exhausted, we made the drive back to Newport Beach. We arrived home dirty, tired, and fulfilled. It was another wonderful MAP Adventure Trip.
Adventure Therapy at Morningside Recovery
Morningside Recovery’s Big Bear hiking trip is the perfect example of adventure therapy at our facility. Through this unique addiction therapy service, clients have the opportunity to explore new areas, practice coping mechanisms, and bond with others. We also offer services such as:
If you’d like to learn more about our programs or how to join us on our next Big Bear hiking trip, call us today at 855-631-2135.