Hiker's Oasis at Kamp Anza.
Staying here was one of the
absolute highlights of our trip.
And here's Paul! A knight
in shining armor, and
quite a good cook,
I might add.
Scott tears it up in the Hiker
The little red sprint at rest.
Paul Miller and Pat Ziegler live at Kamp Anza, a mobile home park where people can
also camp. Paul and Pat let hikers let hikers stay in their yard, called Hikers Oasis.
Their house has a shady porch and a big tree-shaded lawn set back from the rest of the
They are what are known as "Trail Angels," and provide cold drinks and food. When we arrived, there was every sort of cold juice imaginable along with iced tea and water. After showers and laundry, Paul (Pat is away this week) took us and his friend Bill (aka. "Mr. Bill," another trail angel) out to dinner where we demolished quite a bit of food. (he wouldn't let us treat them...what a guy!)
These two provided great dinner conversation. Mr. Bill told a hair-raising story of an experience he had while backpacking in the San Gabriels several years ago that was so riveting that we stopped eating just to listen. He is a very interesting man. I believe he has hiked all or most of the PCT in sections and has incredible knowledge of the trail and water sources.
Paul has been taking care of my blisters and soaking my feet in Epsom salts. The feet rejoice! For breakfast, he made French toast and coffee and then whipped up burritos for lunch. We've been jetting all over these country roads in Paul's tiny red Chevy Sprint and we fly around the corners like a red streak. It makes for quite a picture with "Bear" (Paul's nickname) carting hikers, their packages and a load of water bottles around desert back roads with a cloud of dust in tow. (he stashes water for hikers). He will drive us back to the trail tomorrow morning.
He has a golf cart (the "hiker mobile") that he lets us take around Kamp Anza on trips to the store, bathroom, and showers. But wait! The hiker mobile does more than transport trail-weary hikers around camp. Today we crushed all the old water containers from this season's hike and Scott and I loaded up the mobile and made a run to the dumpster holding onto two precariously balanced trashcans. We have been helping Paul with computer work to earn our keep and playing with his cat, Miserable Beast. (I believe the cat's name is really Missy, but she was never addressed as such in my presence.)
Paul has many great stories and much wisdom to share. He also gave rattlesnake advice. Apparently, they don't have eyelids like we do, so if you can't get one to move off the trail (as we couldn't yesterday--a big guy, about 5 feet, very docile. We said move, he said, no, you move. He won.) you get some sand and toss it in their eye--not tons--just enough to annoy. They can't stand it. I would still choose to go around them when possible.
Well, folks, it's time for ice cream. Tune in next time to read about our assent into the San Jacintos or "up the divide" as the locals say.