I’m in Agua Dulce as I write this (which is not the same time as when I am posting this – yay scheduled posts!). I got back on the Pacific Crest Trail at Tehachapi Pass / Highway 58, and hiked all the way here (Tehachapi Pass -> Agua Dulce is 112 miles / 175 kilometers).
Even though I was born in California, and lived my entire life in California until I graduated from college, I never went to Southern California at all before the age of 15. As far as I was concerned, Southern California might as well have been a different state, just like Oregon (which I had visited before the age of 15).
Then, when I was 15, I went to Southern California for the first time, and spent four weeks in Santa Clarita. It was the first time in my life I had been separated from both of my parents at the same time by hundreds of miles. It was the only time in my life that I stayed in a school dorm. My few couple times visiting the city of Los Angeles were day trips out of Santa Clarita.
I remember the mountains I could see from Santa Clarita. When I went to eat meals, I would glance out the windows at the mountains, pondering them. I especially remember going out at night and watching the mountain burn (there was a wildfire). I (mistakenly) thought they were the Tehachapi mountains.
At the time, I had no idea that the Pacific Crest Trail existed, let alone that it went through those mountains or that I would ever hike on it. Now I know those mountains are not the same as the Tehachapi mountains because I have now hiked through both ranges. It is good to be back in this area, and to finally get to know those mountains I pondered as a teenager with the soles of my feet.