Hiker Heaven

I started writing this post on a computer from the Wrightwood Public Library, and am finishing it up from Hiker Heaven in Agua Dulce, at mile 454 of the PCT. The Saufley’s, retired trail angels dedicating their lives to help out a bunch of lonely hikers, have opened their home for the last 18 years to thousand of PCT trekkers.  The spare guest house has a shower (with soap and shampoo for hikers to use), a full kitchen with real silverware, living room with the largest VCR collection I have ever seen, and many outlets to recharge our electronics. The Saufley’s have wifi to upload our pictures, a fire pit to relax next to at night, many bikes to borrow to get to and from town, and dozens of cots to cuddle up in as a reprieve from the hard ground. They even washed our laundry, a daunting task I wouldn’t wish on even the most evil of my enemies.

Bikes borrowed from Hiker Heaven to get into town

We wanted to share many more pictures and stories, but it’s incredibly time consuming and irritating to do so from an iPhone with the WordPress app so here they come from a real computer (well, more like a 1970 IBM360 that hasn’t even heard of the floppy disk technology, but it’s works nonetheless). We’ve accumulated a few unpublished pictures here, and added many more to previous posts so have another look!

Food on the PCT has been quite an adventure, last night (as a birthday present to myself) we headed down to the Pizza Joint and ate 6 gigantic slices of delicious, hot, meat-and-cheese-filled-goodness.  On the trail we try to cram 5000-6000 calories per day, which equals about 2.5 lbs of food per person per day, which is a ton of weight to carry! We are now experts at cooking instant mash potatoes, dehydrated re-fried beans, and just-add-water Mountain House meals. While not hiking or sleeping, we spend the rest of our day trying to shovel as much food as we can into our mouths, rarely taking a break to grunt at each other as a request to please pass the salami or peanut butter.

Southern California has been much more beautiful than any of us could have imagined. I was picturing hundreds of miles of flat sandy desert, speckled with rattlesnakes and scorpions in between cacti and desert shrubs.  In reality, we’ve spent most of our hike in vegetated foothills or alpine pine forests, dropping down to the desert between mountain ranges but mostly spending time away from the scorching heat.  While we’ve only actually had a handful of opportunities to swim or dip our stinky blister covered feet in water, the hiking has been much more pleasant than we anticipated.

After realizing we never posted the initial picture of us at the Southern Terminus, I wanted to get that picture online so everyone could see how clean and organized we looked, while our present state could better be described by looking and smelling the contents at the bottom of a garbage disposal. The San Gabriel Mountains have surprised us with freezing cold mornings, scorching hot days, and several ski areas in the middle of the desert, but we’re excited to cross the Mojave Desert and get into the Southern Sierras.

5 thoughts on “Hiker Heaven

  1. Chris Schmidt

    2.5 pounds of food per person per day is a lot of weight. I read once that on NOLS trips they carry 1.4 PPPD. That is usually what I pack for a week long trip. With careful planning, I can get the 1.4 pounds to include 3.000 calories per day. This leaves a deficit of probably 1,500 at least, depending on the pack weight and terrain covered.

    One suggestion I would give is to carry a small Nalgene of extra virgin olive oil. Aside from being multi-use, it is the most efficient calories per ounce…and it makes Mountain House meals taste better.

  2. Rees Hughes

    You will soon pass my friends, Kitt and Erin (aka Backup), who are not far in front of you but hiking at a slower clip. Keep an eye out for them and give them a hello for me.

  3. Chuck

    Just found you guys…I am following 32 PCT hikers this year…will be following you guys as well…good luck…Chuck

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