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By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Hiker Depot welcomes Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers

The Forde Files No. 168


Tina Fisher Cunningham

Spouses Dalton (left) and David SteeleReed share a laugh with Hiker Depot co-organizer Rachel Newkirk of West Golden Hills.

Dalton and David SteeleReed of Tehachapi and Rachel Newkirk of West Golden Hills have taken the concept of Tehachapi hiker hospitality to a new dimension with the opening of their Hiker Depot in a house at 115 S. Mojave St.

Tina Fisher Cunningham

Donna Ford (trail name "Peter Pan"), 67, and husband Don Ford ("Bigfoot"), 67, of Palmer, Alaska, bid goodbye to [out of photo frame] Eric Coronado ("Yogabae"), 30 of Houston, Texas, and Gehn Shibayama ("Super Vegan"), almost 50, of Reno and Japan.

At the house, named "Wits' End," Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers can relax, make connections, use the wi-fi, recharge their devices, collect and send packages of supplies or grab a snack.

"This is a new thing for Tehachapi," Dalton SteeleReed said. "We are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week."

There are no overnight accommodations at the Hiker Depot.

The ability to pick up packages at the Hiker Depot is important to hikers who, if they arrive on a weekend, would have to wait until Monday to collect their vital supplies at the Post Office and get back on the trail.

The organizers do all they can to help hikers, including making contacts if medical attention is needed. They work with the PCT Trail Angels, who arrange rides for hikers between Tehachapi and the nearby trailheads.

Last year, Dalton drove as many as 40 hikers a day as a Trail Angel., a total of 1,000 miles. The Hiker Depot, he said, "is a new way to assist hikers."


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