At PCT mile 454 the trail passes through Agua Dulce. This is a very small town with a population of about 4,000. There’s not much going for this town except Hiker Heaven. Hiker Heaven is the home of trail angels that have turned their house into the ultimate hiker hostel. And it lives up to the name. Upon entrance you are greater by a volunteer and given a tour. On the grounds there are tents scattered all over the yard and a full guest house that hikers can use. They give rides into LA and even do the hikers laundry for them! They do this all without asking for a penny.
I have passed through multiple hiker hostels so far but nothing touches this place. The hosts are so giving and have truly created a “hiker heaven”.
After taking a full day to enjoy the place, I packed up and headed back into southern California’s dry desert.
Warner Springs is a small town at mile 109. The community center there welcomes thru-hiker every year with food and let’s them camp out on their lawn. From there it is about 70 miles to a small town called Idlewild. During this 70 mile stretch I was able to hike with two guys from Israel. Both men had just gotten out of their required service in the armed forces and were on their celebratory vacation. By talking to them I was able to learn a lot about what it is like to live in Israel and a lot about the struggles they face as a country. A very interesting aspect of the trail is the diversity of people.
It is rare you feel like a minority in your own country but on the trail that seems to be the case. There are tons of people from Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, and all over Europe. Talking to all the people has really given me insight into worlds I’ve never known about. After eating one of the best burgers of my life at Paradise Valley Cafe, I split up with them and headed back to the trail to hike the last 12 miles before the trail closes for a small section due to fire damage. Most people skip this 12 mile stretch in addition to the closer and hitch directly to Idlewild, but I figure I have the time so I chose to do it.
After the trail closed I took a side trail that led me all the way to Idlewild. In this small town I found a hostel type place that gives you a bunk and shower for $25 so I figured I’d sleep in a bed for a change. Tomorrow I will climb the San Jacinto Mt. My biggest test thus far. -Noel Nelson