Hikers: Lots of happy faces in Hiker Heaven
Everything about today was leisurely. Even though I woke up at 3:45, I stayed in my cot until 6:00. I rolled out of bed to put in my laundry early, because here at hiker heaven there are people who wash your clothes while you go about your day. No joke, it’s better than a hotel, and all of your newest, closest friends are there just hanging out. So after dropping off my laundry, I signed up for the 10am REI/In n Out run and then rode bikes with Ninja to the cafe. The bike ride to town is all downhill, so we pedal as hard as we can and basically coast a mile to breakfast, soaring through the cool desert air. The wind in my hair reminded me of childhood as we rolled up to the cafe. Pure bliss.
Breakfast today was simple, and the service comically terrible. We all laughed it off as we went on with our lovely day. There were 13 of us riding in the big van to REI, where we were let loose for an hour of gear replacement. We were like kids in a toy store, but feeling pressed for time, it was a bit of a frenzy. I tried on new shirts and pants trying to figure out my new size and shape. I’ve gone down 2 pant sizes and actually fit into things that are labeled as small. It was a little confusing, and way too much fun, as I ate up a lot of time trying stuff on. All I ended up buying was a new shirt, which was high on the list. I also grabbed a new spork, a bunch of trail bars and some electrolyte tablets before the buzzer went off. I barely got through half of my list, and we were soon whisked away for In n Out burgers. I got food and milkshakes for myself and some of the guys that didn’t get in on the ride list on time, so my arms were full getting back in the van. It was delightfully delicious, especially after McDonalds. The food at In n Out actually resembles food and I have always enjoyed it on the rare occasions I’m near one.
Back at that Saufleys, I was reunited with Landfill and Stampede who I hadn’t seen since Ziggy and the Bear’s house in Cabazon (roughly 200 miles ago). Stampede and I painted each other’s toes with blue and pink nail polish, followed by a glitter coat. We have to make these blister ridden hooves somewhat presentable, even just for ourselves. There was also a German film crew working on a documentary about the PCT, which was an interesting element…and I am pretty sure I’ll have some cameo appearances. Look for me in Germany: or here!
After pedicures, we rode bikes to town again. I tried to race Landfill, but my gears wouldn’t change and he won. It felt so much like being a kid in summertime, I wanted it to last forever. We got some Mexican food and finished our resupply at the grocery store before racing back to the house. Landfill and Stampede were fastest, while Ninja and I brought up the rear. Going back up the hill was a workout! You definitely use different muscles on a bike than we do for hiking.
Back at the house, I took another foot bath while eating ice cream (this was caught by the film crew), another shower and another cozy night wearing a loaner hoody (my favorite comfort item). It appropriately said, “USA,” as it is Memorial Day. The Saufleys then called everyone around the fire as they told the story of how they became trail angels. They apparently don’t tell it that often, as it was the first time in 2 years. What an honor! The story is highly entertaining and best told by them, but maybe I can tell some of you over a pint sometime if you care to hear it. They are simply amazing people, truly the cream of the crop.
Cheers to the Saufleys and their amazing work! They are a well oiled machine of angelic deeds, and it is highly impressive how efficiently they pull everything off. I tip my hat in gratitude and admiration. I hope to return to volunteer with them in the future. Thank you for everything Saufleys!!!!!
It’s now well after bedtime, as we plan to get up at 3 to hike the 25 miles to the Anderson’s, so that’s a wrap. Goodnight!