Upper Rustic – Garapito Loop



4.5 billion years ago, earth began to form from hydrogen, helium, and interstellar dust. The result of evolution is what is present today. Many people do not stop to wonder that the physical/historical events that shaped the earth is relevant to their lives, when it should be acknowledged. This will allow people to value what is surrounding them. So many people are disconnected from nature, and drawn into urban living that they do not realize environmental/human pollution is occurring as well. The Upper Rustic — Garapito Loop in Tarzana, California is an example of how people can be more wary that the history of Earth is important.

This hiking trail is located in the Santa Monica Mountains at Topanga State Park. The trail is roughly about 10 miles around. It’s an adventurous loop with poorly maintained trails through one of the most rugged areas of the Santa Monica Mountains. There are remote and rugged canyons as well, a lovely creek, blue gorge, and cathedral rocks. Also the park includes  geological formations: earthquake faults, marine fossils, volcanic intrusions, and a wide variety of sedimentary rocks. The best times to hike are the fall, winter, and spring seasons. The elevation is 1,200 feet. There are many mammal species, more than 60 reptile and amphibian species, many species of migrating and resident bird species. There is also access to clean, fresh air rather than the smoggy, polluted urban air.

Topanga is a Native American old Shoshonean language word meaning ‘above’ and referring to the canyon settlement being above the flood waters of the topanga creek. The area was originally inhabited by Native American groups referred to as the Topanga culture. The topanga region was invaded until after the establishment of the Pueblo de Los Angeles and Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana in the late 1700s. The land remained relatively unused except for the portions used for crops and grazing. The steeper sections were defined as unstable, even for sheep and cattle. Land was made available under the Homestead Act. In the 1920s, the area became more popular for a weekend getaway destination for residents of growing Los Angeles.

Earth has given humans everything they needed to survive and thrive. The natural world has provided humans food, water, materials for shelter, medicine, and natural cycles such as climate and nutrients. Jeremy Hance, the author of the article “What Does Nature Give Us?” says, “Scientists have come to term such gifts ‘ecosystem services.’” The growth of technology and industry has disconnected people from the natural world and they often forget that nature remains as giving, even as it vanishes bit-by-bit. Though the reliance on the natural world of what humans consume and use on a daily basis stays the commodity of multitudes of interactions within nature, and many of those interactions are jeopardized. Not only are they supplied with physical goods, the natural world provides them with less touchable offerings such as beauty art and spirituality.

Nature has fresh water in watersheds, wetlands, and forests. Even with pollution threatening many of the world’s drinking sources, these freshwater ecosystems will naturally clean pollution and toxins from the water due to the microorganisms, soils, and plant roots. The more biodiverse the ecosystem, the faster water is purified. Biodiversity produces food, fibers, wood products; it cleans water, controls agricultural pests, pollinates and dispersers the world plants; and provides recreation, such as birdwatching, gardening, diving, and ecotourism.

The natural world helps regulate the Earth’s climate. Ecosystems such as rainforests, wetlands, and mangroves store significant amounts of carbon, while the ocean captures massive amounts of carbon through phytoplankton. Humans have turned to the rivers and ocean for the primary protein source of fish. Fisheries also provide livelihood.  Insects, birds, and even some mammals, pollinate the world’s plants, including much of human agriculture. Around 80% of the world’s plants require a different species to act as pollinator. Nature is human being’s medicine cabinet as it has provided medications such as aspirin, morphine, cancer and HIV drugs.Research has found that spending time in a green space provides benefits for one’s mental and physical health, also that art is and can be inspired by nature with human spirituality, according to Jeremy Hance’s article

Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulates, biological materials, or other harmful materials into the Earth’s atmosphere, possibly causing disease, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as food crops, or the natural or built environment. The atmosphere is a complex natural gaseous system that is essential to support life on planet Earth. Stratospheric ozone depletion due to air pollution has long been recognized as a threat to human health as well as to the Earth’s ecosystems. the Industrial Revolution of the mid-19th century introduced new sources of air and water pollution. By the middle of the 20th century, the effects of these changes were beginning to be felt in countries around the world.

Sources of air pollution in urban areas include transportation engines, power and heat generation, industrial processes, and the burning of solid wastes. Oxygen, nitrogen, and argon–the biggest components of air– are generally the same percentage in the mountains and at ground level despite the height. The main difference is that the air in the mountains is thinner and has less moisture. So high mountains have less pollution of various types. Mountains and nature walks lead to fresh air that humans do not get when they step outside their door. Such as the Garapito Loop whose elevation in 1,200 feet is already clear and smog free.

To survive is to continue to live or exist despite dangerous or life threatening situations. There are many circumstances that could threaten the survival of a person or a group of people where physical survival skills come into hand. For example, being stranded in the middle of the mountains because the GPS and all other electronics ran out of battery in the dark. Having a set of survival skills is essential to get through the night, or in any other parallel situation.

According to “ The Wilderness Survival Skills Everyone Should Know,” by Thorlin Klosowski, one should learn how to operate procedures for first aid from bites, burns, poisoning, infections, bone fractures, wounds, sprains, and hypothermia. Along with that: to create shelter when in need and to learn how to make a fire with items around you without using a match. An individual can start considering “The Rule of Threes” : three minutes without air, three hours without a regulated body temperature, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Depending on what area someone is in, there can be edible fruits, plants, mushrooms, moss, cacti, and algae. Different types of navigation will send you to safety: celestial navigation, using the sun and the night sky to locate cardinal directions; map, compass, GPS; natural navigation, using the condition of surrounding objects near you (running water); and dead reckoning, the process of calculating one’s current position and advancing to that course. It is also important to have a knife with you for many possible uses, understand wildlife that surround the area and what to do when encountered. If stranded and see a helicopter, wave your hands in a Y form.  It would be best if an adventurous individual does not know any survival skills when going to unfamiliar rural areas, but one would not take the chances.

Being able to understand the surroundings in rural areas is beneficial for nature hikes and walks because instead of just looking at the wonders, one will know why that specific object is there and what it is used for. It is very beneficial for people to go higher in the atmosphere for fresh, unpolluted air for nature heals, relieves anger, stress, and it increases pleasant feelings. From the Center for Spirituality and Healing by the University of Minnesota, they say it contributes to your physical well being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell. Nature soothes as individuals  are absorbed by nature scenes and distracted from our pain and discomfort. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological well being, meaningfulness, and vitality. Also being able to acquire survival skills can be very handy in a sticky situation for oneself or another. When going on nature walks, individuals must realize that there is a history and value to the area and surroundings.

All things considered, the history of earth is important because we must acknowledge the physical/historical events that shaped earth as today–what nature has to provide us with. Environmental and human pollution awareness is spread, and with that comes the ability to value what we have around us. Must human beings acquire the knowledge of earth before going on hiking/nature walks to better enjoy and understand what is around them? Definitely!


Works Cited























Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s