Mile 439.6-454.5 (14.9)
We got up at 5:30 and were moving by 6:30. It’s always nice to start hiking in the cool morning hours, especially when we’re cowboy camping right next to the trail for all passing hikers to see.
The trail was downhill for four miles to the Santa Clara River. We saw a few hikers on the way, but we saw a whole lot more in the next stretch going over the hills to Agua Dulce. It was a relatively easy ten miles over some hills and it seemed like we weren’t the only hikers intent on getting to Hiker Heaven. We passed ten hikers in ten miles. The trail feels so crowded sometimes.
The ten hikers on the trail were nothing compared to the fifty that were waiting for us at Hiker Heaven.
Hiker Heaven is run by mega trail angels Donna and Jeff Saufley (and a host of volunteers). They open up their back yard and trailer house to hikers. They have a very tightly run system. The Saufleys and their team of volunteers show hikers the property, do our laundry, drive us to popular spots like town and REI and the doctor’s, empty the trash and recycling, print out the upcoming water report and help with just about anything else we need. There’s a tent with a mail package station and a sewing machine. There’s another tent with four computers with Internet. There’s wifi on the property. There’s a big screen tv with a mess of movies. A stocked kitchen. A fire pit. This place earns its name. Heaven!
We covered the 15 miles to Hiker Heaven in four hours and it paid off. There are two private rooms on the property reserved for couples andwe got the last remaining room. Such a treat.