GTEDC

This morning I will speak in front of the GTEDC (Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council). I am giving a short update about the hiker depot (Wits’ End).  All night I tossed in bed going over topics I want to mention in my short speach.

Every year

It seems to happen every year.  I come across a hiker needing a ride in from the trail.  She is often over 40.  She is often with either a brother or husband.  She didn’t know I’d be picking up hikers.  She walks up and has a look of desperation.  She looks like she would pay me every penny she has for some help and a ride into Tehachapi.  She may have fallen during her hike recently.  I bring them into town.  All they want is a comfortable hotel room for a night.

I have had to pause last night and take a deep breath.  I committed to help at the beginning of May/end of April.  June starts tomorrow.  It feels like there will be another month of hikers pushing through.  This year the region of the trail in the Sierra Mountains is full of a massive snow pack from this past winter.  Every time I take hikers back to the trail I hug them and remind them to stay safe and if they need anything to contact me.

Cold

This morning is 10°C (50°F). It is overcast. First hiker run today is at 8:30 AM. 

I drove four out this morning. Two from Germany. I really need to learn German soon. 

Yesterday was 86 hikers, today half that. They are slowing down or at least this bubble. 

International 

Today and yesterday felt like international days in the car – hikers from Germany, Israel, and France. 

It is nice to be reminded that I am a human living on a planet with humans that live all over. 

Wits’ End

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It has been a busy month for hiker season.  I have been mulling over the ideas for the hiker depot that will be called Wits’ End.

Howards End is a novel written by E.M. Forster in 1910.  For years David and I have referred to our place as Wits’ End.  Now with the planning of the hiker depot, we have decided to name is Wits’ End.

It will be a fluid project in terms of ideas and planning for now.  I have spoken at length with Rachel about it.  She is another trail angel who has a wonderful vision and outlook on life.  I always appreciate her input and guidance.

This week I have tried to discuss it with every hiker I encounter.  I bring up ideas and ask their input.  After years of doing this, I think I have a decent idea of how to start it initially.

First thing to offer is a mail drop. That involves having the address published in resources the hikers use, staffing the Wits’ End for the hikers to pick up packages.  That will involve some planning and organizing.  The goal is to be ready by next season.

Second thing is to get wi-fi setup.  That involves getting services restored to the structure.  I am already working on getting that accomplished.  That can be done after the first step without needing to worry about deadlines too much.  Meeting the deadlines to get published is going to take some planning.

After those things, there is a list of other items to work on that will take shape as things move forward.

  • coordinated angel/hiker transportation
  • lockers to store backpacks while waiting for motel rooms/angel hosting
  • meals prepared in yard
  • an active trail angel list for angels in Tehachapi
  • outdoor movies on weekends
  • hosting hikers from prior years to return to offer trail angel services
  • laundry and shower services
  • a map of surrounding services and establishments for hikers to enjoy

 

As time moves forward things should shape up better!

Garfield

Garfield left this week.  He was old.  We knew he was coming to the end of his life.  Yet, when he walked away on Tuesday it still hurt.  It still hurts days later.

I posted about it on FB. He was over 20 years old.  As a cat he had a good life.  The last few months I did everything I could to make him feel safe and happy.  I helped him throughout the day get on top of the dryer to his food dish.  He was getting thin.

PCT 2017

I went to find hikers to help out this morning.  I didn’t find any at Willow Springs or Cameron Rd/Hwy 58.  I came home and looked around a bit on the web.  It looks like it should be any day now for the season of 2017 PCT Sobo thru hikers to start.

Pete that thru hiked last year wrote this article about trail angels for Outdoor Magazine.

In Defense of Trail Angels

I came across one hiker walking up to 58.  He said there were others up ahead.  One of the hikers is doing the PCT on horseback.  I made sure to ask if they needed anything especially in terms of taking care of the horses.  Another hiker was hanging out with them, catching a short rest before he headed on towards Kennedy Meadows.

On the way back into town I came upon two hikers (El Stevorino and BottleCaps) in front of the truck stop.  I gave them a ride into town and a short tour before taking them to the airport campground. “Pancake” was there at the campground, so I gave him a ride to re-supply before heading home for lunch.

I did one more afternoon run, it is a hot sunny day and I wanted to try to make sure no one was out trying to hitch a ride into town.  No one out in the hot afternoon so I will work some at home and then go out later at the end of the day.

Winter is over

Winter in Tehachapi is over for now.  I worked outside last weekend with David.  I forgot sunscreen and ended up with a slight sunburn.  I’m looking forward to doing the PCT as a trail angel this month.  I’ve seen a few hikers go through town already.  I’ll dig out my log book and get started this week.

PCT Trail Angel

It hasn’t been long.  Two days now that I think about it.  This past Memorial Day weekend got me to thinking about the house, our goals, and changes we want to make.

The front yard is flourishing.  People stopped by and took photos of the flowers.  Now we have shifted to the back yard. Seeding a lawn is the next step.  Hopefully by next year, the hikers will have a space to crash for a night and do their laundry and get supplies.  Also a nice home cooked meal.

Yesterday I drove out Willow Springs Rd to the trail.  Then it started to click.  I became more active on twitter, drove around town today to try to help hikers shuttle around,  Only once did I drive out and no hikers.  Well, hikers that where headed back into Tehachapi.

I met another trail angel, Jetta Blue.  I asked her for some tips and pointers.  I had sent an email to a hiker named Mac last night.  Along with their input, the discussions with the hikers, I think I will be a better trail angel for the rest of this season.  Jetta Blue did say that there is a big group of hikers headed this way.  I’m glad this has worked out.  I will do my best to try to help out in the coming weeks.