PCT Hikers bring tourism, smiles to town

Linda McDermott


As you might have noticed, Tehachapi is the hub for international and domestic hikers right now. The world is walking into our amazing community from the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail starting in Mexico and ending at the Canadian border. The trail is over 2600 miles long and usually takes hikers over 6 months to complete.

The current hikers have been hiking for weeks, sometimes months, when they come into our town. Without a shower, they can be rather grubby, but it is hard to ignore their bright smiles. By this time, they are doing really well and are strong hikers.

I decided to become a Trail Angel which means that I get calls from absolute strangers who need a ride into or from town to the trail head, or are looking for a place to stay. As an Angel, I can help out as much or as little as I want.

While I usually only give rides, sometimes I host strangers in my home. I have hosted a young man from Brazil, a young girl from Germany hiking by herself, several Americans and most recently the hikers in the attached pictures. This crew took my heart with them as they left. There were two from France, one from Germany, two from Israel, and one from Corsica. Somehow, they hooked up and became a group traveling together. One way or the other, they ended up in my house for two nights as I made two trips to get them. The French croissants, made from scratch by the French folks, were a huge bonus. I made them a spaghetti dinner the first night, and basically four of the men ate the pound of spaghetti because I had taken the two French youngsters to Tehachapi's Glider Port where they were welcomed to a true American pot luck and shown a glider by Cam Martin.

I called a girlfriend and the two of us were able to take the hikers back to the trail after two nights with me. We waved to each other until we couldn't see each other any longer as they trekked on the trail. As soon as we turned our cars around, there were six more hikers getting off the trail, needing rides into town. There were two young men from Denmark, two girls from Taiwan, and two fellows from Rochester, NY. We were able to take them all, and as usual, they were very grateful.

With all these amazing nationalities showing up at our doorstep, I am always amazed at how well everyone gets along. If only the camaraderie could be communicated to the world!

Anyone interested in becoming a Trail Angel can contact (661) 822-5379. No particular skills are necessary, just a heart that is open to smiling at these amazing people.


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