PCT Hikers arriving, angels ready to help


April 13, 2019

Nick Smirnoff (NPPA)

More than 1,000 hikers pass through Tehachapi each year as they travel the Pacific Crest Trail. Wind turbines add to the beautiful scenery along Tehachapi Willow Springs Rd. and Cameron Canyon Rd.

Soon Tehachapi will become the hub for international and domestic hikers.

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 about 2,663-miles long; extends through California, Oregon and Washington; and usually takes hikers more than six months to complete.

The current hikers have been hiking for weeks, sometimes months, when they arrive in town with their unmistakable smiles and tans. By this time in their journey, they are doing very well and are strong.

You'll find these hikers coming through our town in droves in April, May and June. Fewer come before and after these three months.

They like everything about our little town, and bring tourist dollars, smiles and opportunities to learn about their experiences and backgrounds.

Most hikers will exit the PCT at Tehachapi/Willow Spring Rd. near its intersection with the Cameron Canyon Rd. or on Hwy 58 at the Cameron Canyon Rd. overpass. At that point, they look for rides into or from Tehachapi to resupply and take a day off before continuing their journey.

Our little town has enlisted the help of PCT Trail Angels to help with transportation. Tehachapi's Trail Angels is a list of people who volunteer to help with transportation or other needs of the travelers. "Other needs" could be something like picking up supplies mailed to them at our Post Office, washing their clothes, eating at our restaurants or even seeing a movie. They may stay in one of our many hotels or at the City of Tehachapi Municipal Airport Aviator Park in town, which provides a place to sleep for up to three days at $5 per person, per day.

The Pacific Crest Trail Angels Group has been a part of our outreach for many years. This group was established years ago with the guidance of Anne Marie and George Novinger. It allows hikers to reach out and find resources to help them during their time here. In addition to that group, Tehachapi has established a mail drop service as well as coordination of rides to and from the trail. A mail drop allows PCT hikers to mail packages ahead of arrival in Tehachapi. Unlike the USPS, it allows PCT hikers to receive packages on Sundays or government holidays. If a hiker arrives after the post office closes on Saturday, they may need to stay in Tehachapi longer just to receive their package. That is a long time for a hiker to be off the trail. This mail drop helps remove that problem.

If you see backpackers, offer them a lift as they walk to or from lodging, camp spots, the Post Office, the market or Wit's End. Located downtown at 115 Mojave St., Wit's End is a place where hikers can pick up mail, have a place to relax during the day, charge their phones or use WiFi.

Angels need to keep in mind that their vehicle needs to be large enough not only to accommodate the number of hikers in their group but also their individual backpacks. An Angel's first name and contact number is placed on a list posted at trailheads and around businesses in town. If you get a call and are not home or can't help, the hiker usually calls someone else on the list. There is no obligation on your part to have any regular schedule. No skills are necessary for the job, just a heart that is open to these amazing people. You may find a person from Australia, France, Brazil or China sitting beside you.

Volunteers are always needed. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Kathi Hinkle or Dalton SteeleReed. Kathi may be reached via call/text at (661) 855-4101 or email kathihinkle@gmail.com and Dalton can be reached via email at dalton@witsendpct.com or call/text (661) 750-4852. We will gladly help you find the best way for you to connect and help hikers as they hike through Tehachapi. This year is the 51st anniversary of the Pacific Crest Trail. Tehachapi has embraced the hikers and we look forward to being part of the journey for years to come.

"Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants, and law-givers are ever at their wits' end devising. The hall and the theater and the church have been invented, and compulsory education. Why not add compulsory recreation? ... Our forefathers forged chains of duty and habit, which bind us notwithstanding our boasted freedom, and we ourselves in desperation add link to link, groaning and making medicinal laws for relief. Yet few think of pure rest or of the healing power of Nature."

– John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938), page 234.


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2024