Agua Dulce is the town, but Hiker Heaven (www.hikerheaven.com) is the destination. Any hiker who has covered the 450 plus miles to get here, deserves the royal treatment from one of the PCT's most famed trail angels. Donna "L-Rod" Saufley and her husband Jeff have hosted over 3000 hikers over their thirteen years of Angeling.
During peak season, they will have up to 50 people camping in any of their nine giant tents, their trailer, the hammocks, or just around the campfire. Last night, there was about 38 of us. Describing the setup here will fail to give it the justice that it deserves, but it's worth trying.
While walking through town, toward Hiker Heaven (one mile off trail), a car pulled over and offered us a ride, even though we weren't hitching. The driver, "Burrito", volunteers to help Donna in her mission to spoil every hiker. She spends her free time shuttling hikers to larger stores in neighboring towns, such as REI or Wal-Mart, as the town of Agua Dulce had limited accomadations.
After being dropped at the Saufley's house, JJ (another volunteer) greeted us, and told us where to grab clean clothes, and what to do with all our dirty clothes. Three hours later, we were showered, and our clean clothing was being returned to us. Time is spent laying around, preparing packages, socializing, and generally being impressed with the efforts this trail angel has taken to spoil us.
There are billboards of trail information in the garage, next to bear canisters that can be borrowed for the high Sierras. Two laptops and a desktop allow for journaling, picture organizing, and printing of mailing labels for packages going out bound. A trailer offers a radio, with an eclectic mix of vinyl records, as well as a television for those who wish to catch a basketball game.
Last night, at the request of Psycho and Mover, the hosts shared their humorous and inspiring story of how it all began. It is also shared in a book titled "Zero Days" if you wish to track it down.
Right now, the day is warm, the breeze is bi-polar, and hikers are lazily scattered about resting feet beat down by forty miles of road walking. We have covered 455 miles, leaving 2205 miles left. If we take one zero day in each town I pass through between here and Canada, that leaves approximately 100 hiking days, if we wish to finish before october. This means we need to hike a minimum of 22 miles every hiking day for the next four months. Sadly, this will often be unfeasible in the Sierras, so when we get past them, it will be necessary to hike 25 or more miles on average.
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