Friday, April 5, 2013

Part 36 - My Official Bandanna

Judging from the number of homes I passed that had corrals, horse training facilities, and huge fenced backyards, I’m speculating that Agua Dulce is primarily a community of equine enthusiasts.  

Leaving the Vasquez Rock County Park, it didn’t take long to traverse the length of the Agua Dulce business district, as it consisted solely of about eight buildings, four on each side of the main drag.  The two most important establishments as far as hikers were concerned were a restaurant on the right side of the road and a full-service grocery store on the left side of the road. 

I made a beeline for the restaurant with full anticipation of enjoying some real food and the biggest, thickest chocolate malt the restaurant could serve up.  You remember the old Camel’s cigarette slogan, 

“I’d walk a mile for a Camel.”  Well, I can top that one many times over because I’d walk ten miles for a chocolate malt, and I did, more than once on the trail.  

Agua Dulce was the home of extraordinary trail angels Jeff and Donna Saufley, and after finishing my malt, I was anxious to move on to their place which was only a mile up the road.  Upon entering the Saufley’s property, I asked for directions from other hikers and was directed to the open garage adjoining the house.  

There I meet Donna, who graciously welcomed me to Hiker Heaven, as she and Jeff called their place.  She enthusiastically explained to me the protocol for enjoying my stay at her home.  While she was talking, I set my pack down on the cement driveway. 

 First were the instructions on how to get my laundry done, which she said she would personally do.  

“Put your dirty clothes in one of the laundry bags that you’ll find over by the side of the garage; put your name on the bag and set it inside the garage next to the washing machine.  When your laundry is finished, it will be moved to the steps of the trailer which houses the shower and kitchen.  If you need loaner clothes to wear while your laundry is being washed, you’ll find shirts and pants in totes next to the laundry bags.” 

“Showers and cooking facilities,” she continued, “are in the house trailer next to the house.  Just put your name on the list, and then pay attention to when it’s your turn to shower.” 

She then directed my attention to the portable tents set up around the yard. 

“Inside the tents, you’ll find cots to sleep on; search around until you find an empty one, and call it yours.”  

“There are loaner bikes to ride if you want to go back into town to the restaurant or the grocery store, and if you want to use the Internet, there are six laptop computers over by the cinder block wall next to the driveway.” 
“Portable Johns are down by the horse corrals, and if you have a resupply package, you’ll find it stacked on the shelving here in the garage, with names listed alphabetically.” 

“Finally,” she concluded, “we congratulate you on your perseverance on making it this far in your journey, and we wish you a safe and happy journey as you continue to make your way north towards Canada.” 

She then gave me a big hug and handed me an official 2013 ADZPCTKO bandanna, which for the class of 2013, was green in color.  I tied the neckerchief around my neck, and with the exception of washing it when I did laundry, I never removed it for the rest of the journey.  I wore it around my neck mainly because I didn’t want to lose it. 

Jeff and Donna Saufley - Trail Angels at Hiker Heaven in Aqua Dulce, and friends to hundreds of PCT hikers.

 Donna's garage has been turned into a mail depot.

In the garage, Donna and her assistants can send and receive hiker packages.

 Several laptop computes were set up under the shade of a tree for hikers to use.

The Saufley's compound could accommodate a maximum of 50 hikers per night.

 Viewing the Saufley's home from across the driveway.

Tents and camp cots dotted the backyard of Hiker Heaven.

It was great to see that Night Crawler had made it this far.

Taking a zero day at Hiker Heaven and enjoying the shade and coolness of the lawn and trees.

During the evening, many hikers would gather around the firepit to sing and converse.

Donna had a great system in place for doing everyone's laundry.

These are the loaner bikes that the Saufley's had available for riding into town.

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